Tired of London, Tired of Life - One thing a day to do in London

A website about things to do in London

14 July 2014

Take a break, or buy a book

Tired of London, Tired of Life is away.

Inspiration for interesting days out in London and England is available in these great books, out now:

  • 'Tired of London, Tired of Life: One Thing A Day To Do in London', a 224 page illustrated colour book based on this website, published by Virgin Books on 5th January 2012.

  • and

    13 July 2014

    See Billingsgate Roman House and Baths

    A rare opening at a the Billingsgate Roman House and Baths takes place today with the Museum of London as part of the national Festival of Archaeology in the cellar of 101 Lower Thames Street. It is believed that the house was first built in what was then a Thames-side location in the late 2nd century, then expanded with the addition of a bath house in the 3rd century.

    These remains are not a new discovery, having been unearthed in 1848 as the Coal Exchange was constructed on this site, and they were protected in the Ancient Monuments Act of 1882, before further discoveries were made as the Coal Exchange and its neighbours were demolished in 1967-70. They are rarely open, and entry is free so if you do have time to head down today between 11am and 4pm you will thank yourself.

    For more, see http://www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk/events/994

    ^Picture © Michael Jones used under a Creative Commons license^

    12 July 2014

    Attend Lewisham People's Day

    It's Lewisham People’s Day today, which returns for its 30th year, once again being held at Mountsfield Park in Hither Green. Headliners Dreadzone play The Big Top at 6.45pm, but before then there is nearly seven hours of arts, crafts, community organisations, bread baking, sports, dancing, bands, DJs and family fun from noon.

    The park is split into four areas, with broadly family-oriented activities in the green area, active events and a funfair in the blue area, music and youth activities in the red area and the Big Top and 'music hub' in the Yellow area. It's all funded by the Lewisham taxpayer so you won't have to pay for entry.

    For more, see http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/events/whats-on/peoples-day/pages/default.aspx

    ^Picture © Robin Bray-Hurren used under a Creative Commons license^

    11 July 2014

    Find the waterfall in Regent's Park

    It is easy to walk right past Queen Mary's Gardens, hidden within the Inner Circle at Regent's Park, without realising it is open to the public, hidden as it is across a public road from the rest of the park, yet right at its heart. Yet one you know it is there, it is for most the highlight of the park, its rose garden rich with blooms and other areas rich offering quiet havens for wildlife and park-goers.

    One unexpected part of the garden opened in 1932 in the name of George V's wife is the waterfall, which is part of a small Japanese garden, and flows down the side of a mound presumably constructed from earth excavated the lake into which it flows. It is possible to climb to the top of the waterfall, from where a strategically-placed bench offers views over the falls, and to the little bridge and gardens below.

    For more, see http://sequinsandcherryblossom.com/2014/05/07/the-japanese-garden-in-regents-park/

    10 July 2014

    Eat Korean food at Po Cha

    If New Malden is London's Little Korea, then St Giles High Street, in the shadow of Centre Point, is London's Micro Korea, with a tiny handful of Korean eateries inexplicably clustered together on a small section of the street, with Assa at number 53, Seoul Bakery at 55, Po Cha at 56 and Woo Jung at 59. Last week, your author chose to have a quick dinner at Po Cha (full name 포장마차 or Po-Chun Ma-Cha) which, we are told makes reference to food carts common in South Korea.

     The food was good and budget-friendly with a simple Kimchi stew and rice about £7 comfortably offering enough for one person, a high turnover of customers sitting at small tables and the bar and the open kitchen at the back a hive of activity. The tiny dining room also offered regular karaoke sessions, and whilst it is hard to see how they would fit into the space, they are sure to be great fun.

    For more, see http://asimplegeekylife.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/po-cha-korean-restaurant-london-st.html

    9 July 2014

    Watch free music at the More London Free Festival

    For more than a decade, the More London Free Festival has been providing free summer entertainment in its amphitheatre beside City Hall, and today this year's music selection kicks off, with music every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday lunchtime and evening until 25th July, before theatre in August and films in September.

    The music season is starting in a rather sedate fashion with the Office Choir of the year at 12.30pm and then the some 50s & 60s cocktail  & lounge music from Cocktail Nation from 6.30pm.

    For more, see http://www.morelondon.com/events/calendar/free-music1/#content

    8 July 2014

    Go cycling on Ingrebourne Hill

    Once a farm, then a gravel pit, then a landfill site, and later landscaped into a gentle artificial mound, Ingrebourne Hill covers more than 130 acres of the London Borough of Havering beside the River Ingrebourne, in the care of the Forestry Commission. The Hill is a country park and includes a specially-built mountain bike track.

    The hill also features miles of ordinary walking and cycling trails, and a lake called Lake Stillwell and a community woodland, hence the involvement of the Forestry Commission. There are also fine views from its viewpoint south to the Thames and the South Downs, and west to central London,

    For more, see http://www.forestry.gov.uk/ingrebourne

    7 July 2014

    Watch the Tour de France in London

    Over the weekend, Yorkshire got its chance to witness the cyclists of the Tour de France, but today it comes to London, leaving Cambridge around noon and then heading south to Essex before entering London through Epping Forest, crossing Walthamstow and the Olympic Park, then heading for Docklands, the City and Westminster, for a spring finish in front of Buckingham Palace between 3.30 and 4pm.

    There is also a 'Publicity Caravan' which passes through an hour or so before the cyclists, and there will be official 'Tour de France Fan Parks' at the Olympic Park, Trafalgar Square and Green Park with perks such as food and drink, cycling activities, a cinema and music. We're told to expect extra congestion if trying to travel as the race is passing through, so it's probably best to just stand still and watch for the cyclists flashing by.

    For more, see https://www.tfl.gov.uk/campaign/tour-de-france-2014

    ^Picture © John Turner used under a Creative Commons license^

    6 July 2014

    Attend the Lewisham Pensioners Booksale

    Your author is rather a fan of the Lewisham Pensioners' Booksale, which takes place again today from 11am - 3pm at 436 Lewisham High Street, offering hundreds of books for sale with paperback prices a budget friendly 25p each or five for £1.

    The Forum itself seems to be a trade union style campaigning group for older people, funded by the London Borough of Lewisham and established in 1986 to provide a voice for seniors within the Lewisham area. It is run by volunteers and the book sale helps to supplement the public funds it receives.

    For more, see http://www.lewishampensionersforum.org/

    5 July 2014

    Attend Ealing Beer Festival

    The 25th Ealing Beer Festival draws to a close in west London today, run by the West Middlesex branch of Campaign for Real Ale and located in the picturesque surroundings of Ealing's Walpole Park.

    We are told there were around 300 cask beers on offer when the Festival began on Wednesday, and plenty are still on offer today, with marquees to keep the showers off should they arrive as scheduled.

    For more, see http://www.ealingbeerfestival.org.uk/

    ^Picture © Gordon Joly used under a Creative Commons license^

    4 July 2014

    Find FDR in Grosvenor Square

    It's American Independence Day today, so it seems fitting to feature the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The statue depicts the President, who led the USA through the Second World War and died in office in 1945. It was installed in Grosvenor Square in 1948, following a redesign of the Square to accommodate it.

    The statue was designed by Sir William Reid Dick and unveiled by Eleanor Roosevelt on 12th April 1948 in the presence of Clement Attlee, Winston Churchill and King George VI.

    For more, see http://www.inlondonguide.co.uk/london-sight-guide/weird-wonderful-london/roosevelts-statue-grosvenor-sq.html

    ^Picture © Duncan Harris used under a Creative Commons license^

    3 July 2014

    Learn the history of the Croydon Advertiser

    It's almost the end of Croydon Heritage Festival already, and sadly your author didn't really notice it happening, but thanks to Kake for tipping us off that tonight fans of local newspapers can enjoy a special event that charts the history of the Croydon Advertiser through the eyes of editor Glenn Ebrey.

    We are told that the Advertiser is Croydon’s oldest newspaper, having been covering local events for some 145 years since it was founded by Jesse Ward in 1869.

    For more, see http://croydonheritagefestival.co.uk/Calendar/1027/Talks/145-years-of-the-Croydon-Advertiser

    ^Picture © Kake / Kake used under a Creative Commons license^

    2 July 2014

    Visit John Wesley's House

    Found within the grounds of Wesley's Chapel on City Road, Wesley's House was built to Methodism founder John Wesley's requirements in 1779, and provided a base for him for the last twelve years of his life, staying here in winter to write and preach in London and spending the summers touring the country evangelising to anyone who would listen. Indeed, Wesley would often preach outside until his last open air sermon in the fields at Winchelsea in Sussex in October 1790 - well into his eighties - and a framed picture of this sermon is found within the house.

    Now Grade I listed, the house underwent extensive work in the 1890s, when museum was first opened, but stepping inside with the help of a well briefed guide, it still has all the major features of an eighteenth century town house, and the rooms are full of artefacts that are contemporary to Wesley's residence here. For Methodists, the most important room is Wesley's small plain prayer room, off his bedroom, where he would spend hours each day reading and praying. We are told that Methodists around the world consider the room the Power House of Methodism, and there is certainly something special about it.

    For more, see http://www.wesleyschapel.org.uk/house.htm

    1 July 2014

    Eat at Zaibatsu

    Trafalgar Road in Greenwich has never really been a particular culinary hotspot, with Greggs and KFC among its most-visited eateries, but there are a few highlights in the mix and Zaibatsu, squeezed between Trafalgar Cafe and the budget-friendly Hardy's Free House, is one such place, a Japanese fusion restaurant that has for some time been receiving rave reviews for its sushi, sashimi, noodles and tempura.

    Your author never claims to be an expert on such things, can state from long-term observation that Zaibatsu is almost always busy, even on a Sunday or Monday night, and on a recent visit the quality of the food was excellent, the staff friendly and helpful and the budget-friendly menu and bring-your-own policy very welcome. Readers should definitely consider visiting to form their own opinions.

    For more, see http://www.zaibatsufusion.co.uk/

    29 June 2014

    Visit Eel Pie Island

    A rare opportunity to get inside the buildings on Eel Pie island in Twickenham takes place this weekend and next, with the Eel Pie Island Open Studios event

    The private island is home to some 26 artists' studios, found in and around the boatyard, and today and next weekend you're invited to come inside as they open their doors to interested visitors, and offer the opportunity to get inside their studios, talk to the artists and but their art.

    For more, see http://www.eelpieislandartists.co.uk/