Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London



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30 December 2008

See London's underwhelming Roman Amphitheatre

Deep beneath the Guildhall Art Gallery there are a series of small walls which form part of a semi-circle.

These are the remains of Roman London's Amphitheatre, discovered during excavations beneath the Guildhall in 1988, and included in the new art gallery when it reopened in 1999 (having been closed since it was bombed out in 1941).

To be honest the whole experience is rather underwhelming, but nevertheless it is part of London's history and it is a reminder of how our city has changed.

It's open 10am-5pm Mon-Sat and 12-4pm on Sundays. Entrance is included in the price of the art gallery at a very acceptable £2.50, and it's free if you can prove you live or work in the City of London. For more information click here.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of Kevan^

28 December 2008

Visit an island with a place in rock history

Deep in the heart of Twickenham is Eel Pie Island, a small islet which is home to around 120 people.

The island was formerly home to the Eel Pie Hotel, which played host to a range of rock and roll greats during the 1960s, until it burned down in 1971. Charles Dickens also wrote Little Dorrit at the hotel.

The island is revered by those who visited in the 60s and was home to Eel Pie Studios, owned by Pete Townshend. Today the rock legacy is maintained by the band the Mystery Jets, who live there, and to a certain extent by the Eel Pie Club, a music club which is situated on the mainland nearby.

To get to the island from Central London, catch the tube of mainline railway to Richmond, then the H22 or 490 bus to Twickenham and walk from there. There are no roads of vehicles on the island and the only access is by a single footbridge. Click here for a map.

^Picture of Eel Pie Island Footbridge from flickr courtesy of Jim Linwood^

27 December 2008

Learn about London's Canals

One of the London museums one rarely hears much about is the London Canal Museum. Opened in 1992 in a former Ice Warehouse, the museum charts the history of London's man-made waterways.

It costs £3 to get in but it is entirely independent and self-funded so I'm more than happy to chip in. I just hope Canals are interesting enough.

The nearest tube is Kings Cross St Pancras and you can find out more on the website at www.canalmuseum.org.uk.

^Picture from London Canal Museum Website^

23 December 2008

Join the Tired Of London New Years Day Walk

Following on from the success of last year's New Years Day Walk on Hampstead Heath, you are invited to a second annual New Years Day Walk to bring in 2009.

Seeing as Kew Gardens is open for free on New Years Day, a walk along the Thames Path in the vicinity of Kew and Richmond is the plan, with a (short) visit to London's most famous overpriced gardens thrown in. Keep an eye on the facebook event for more information, but the walk probably involve meeting at Kew/ Barnes at around 11am on New Years Day. The consumption of a pub lunch by the river is more-or-less inevitable.

**************This event has now passed**************

8 December 2008

Embrace austerity Britain - go charity and second hand shopping

In these times of recession and credit crunch, so long as you keep your job, it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom.

Back in 2007, Time Out put together a guide to some of the best charity shops in London, which due to their longevity is still very relevant.

Alternatively, if you're looking for something more chic on a budget, YouLoveFashion has a list of some of London's best vintage clothes shops.

So go and buy yourself a nice warm dead man's coat, turn down the heating and act like you're George Orwell in Keep The Aspidistra Flying.

1 December 2008

Eat in the bath

Ciro’s Pizza Pomodoro at Bishopsgate is a modern pizzeria based inside a former Ottoman Hamam (Turkish Baths). Originally built in 1894 the restaurant classes itself as "one of London’s hidden architectural gems", and is definitely worth a look

It's at Bishopsgate in the City and pizza's are less than a tenner. You can book online or on 020 7920 9207, but it's closed weekends (like all of the City).

^Picture by Squirmelia^

19 November 2008

Watch a free(ish) film in a bar at London Bridge

Down at the very sedate Roxy Bar and Screen in London Bridge you can catch free (or very cheap) films most weeknights, and during the daytime on weekends.

This is a genuine bar in all but the discreet cinema screen, which is rolled down to show classic, arthouse and just plain good films on a daily basis.

Most films are free entry. However, they have had to start charging a very small cover charge on some screenings, to cover the cost of the film etc.

None of the screenings require tickets, so you can just rock up and grab a chair / table. All the screenings operate on a first-come first-served basis, so arrive early if you want a sofa!

They also do pretty good food, and if you want to come for dinner they can reserve you a table on 020 7403 4423.

Follow this link to see what's playing: http://www.roxybarandscreen.com/

18 November 2008

Take your pick from the Londonist's London for Free Map

Here's a useful tool, courtesy of those clever sorts over at the Londonist. You can also click on their logo below to visit their excellent site. It's a map of a whole bunch places where you can find free events at galleries, theatres and attractions in London all laid out on Google Maps.

Surely that's well worth a look. Click on the map below and it should open in a new window (albeit slowly).

11 November 2008

Meet the animals at London Zoo

London Zoo was opened in 1828 and is "the world's oldest scientific zoo", whatever that means.

It's undoubtedly one of Britain's leading zoos (cos it's in London, innit) and it says here there are 15,104 animals. That's pretty impressive for a few sheds by the canal on the Camden borders.

The Zoo is slowly undertaking a renovation project to make the cages more like animals' natural environments, and this has seen the opening of renewed areas like the Blackburn Pavilion, which recreates a tropical rainforest atmosphere in what was the Bird House (the birds are, naturally, still there), Gorilla Kingdom and various other natural things.

It all sounds very nice, but it is still just a Zoo, and it's a bit steep at £13.90. Nevertheless, I do not doubt that it's a reasonable day's entertainment. The nearest tube is Camden Town and from there it's a pleasant walk down the canal, or along a busy road. You choose.

Here's the website: http://www.zsl.org/

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of neiljs^

10 November 2008

Take in the new Saatchi Gallery

Now in it's third incarnation at the Duke of York's HQ off the Kings Road in Chelsea, the Saatchi Gallery reopened in the new 70,000 square ft space in October 2008.

The current exhibition is called The Revolution Continues: New Art from China, and brings together the work of 24 young Chinese artists over four floors.

It's just down the road from Sloane Square tube, it's open 10am-6pm, 7 days a week, and it's absolutely free, thanks to the oodles of cash Saatchi has made from hawking tired advertising ideas over the years.

Visit the website at http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/

^Picture from flickr courtesy of Jim Linwood^

7 November 2008

Go boating in the Park

There are many places to hire a rowing boat in London, and enjoy the simple pleasures of messing around in boats. Here are just a few of them:

Battersea Park Boating Lake. Around £3.50 for half an hour or £4.50 for an hour, according to Time Out in 2007.

Serpentine Boats, Hyde Park. Boat Hire in London's most famous Park for less than £10.

Regents Park Boating Lake. Similar to Hyde Park, and just like in the end bit of that Happy Go Lucky Film.

Alexandra Palace Boating Lake, N22. In the shadow of the palace itself, and bound to be reasonably priced. Plus it's next to the (pitiful) deer park and you can do a nice countryside walk to Hampstead Heath.

Richmond Boat House, TW9. Hire a rowing boat on the Thames at Richmond.

Most are only open roughly March-September so give them a call before packing your picnic.

^Picture of the Regent's Park Rowing Lake from flickr courtesy of Metro Centric^

6 November 2008

Explore the Wellcome Collection

The Wellcome Collection, in Euston, is a series of Exhibitions displaying a mix of medical artefacts and artworks, apparently intended to explore 'ideas about the connections between medicine, life and art'.

Based on the collections of notable pharmacist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and collector (and undoubtedly eccentric) Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome, the collection only opened in 2007 and is made up of three exhibition spaces, an auditorium and an events space. There is also a cafe and bookshop.

The Collection is generally open 10am - 6pm, with later opening on Thursdays and the nearest tube stations are Euston and Euston Square, and I'm pretty sure it's free.

Visit the website here: http://www.wellcomecollection.org/

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of graham^

Watch the Lord Mayor's Firework Display

Don't miss a great free fireworks display in the heart of the city this Saturday evening, and every year in early November.

From 5pm, the Annual Lord Mayor's fireworks display will explode more than half a ton of fireworks in the sky above London.

It all takes place between Blackfriars and Waterloo bridges, and you can watch for free from either bridge, or the Victoria Embankment/ South Bank between them.

Click here for more information: http://www.lordmayorsshow.org/visitors/fireworks

^Picture from flickr courtesy of ajps2^

4 November 2008

Visit a nature reserve in the heart of West London

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's 42 hectare London Wetland Centre at Barnes is a recognised as the best urban site in Europe to watch wildlife. It is an international award winning visitor attraction and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

It's just a few minutes by bus from Hammersmith Tube, 9.30-6pm in Summer (last admission 5pm) and 9.30am to 5pm in Winter (last admission 4pm).

Whilst it is a little pricey at £8.95, it's a rare chance to get back to nature without leaving the city, and because of this it attracts an unrivalled array of wildfowl and wildlife, looking for a stop-off in the urban sprawl.

Just visit the website here.

^Picture by frielp^

31 October 2008

Visit London's most famous cemetary

There are many large cemetaries in London, but the most famous one has to be Highgate Cemetary.

It's most famous for the tomb of Karl Marx, but also of Douglas Adams, George Eliot, Michael Faraday, Sidney Nolan and even Crufts founder Charles Cruft.

The East Cemetery is open from 10.00am on weekdays and 11.00am weekends. It closes at 5pm from 1st April - 31st October and 4pm from 1st November - 31st March.

Admission is £3.00, and the nearest Tube station is Archway (Northern Line) and then either walk up Highgate Hill to Waterlow Park (around 10 minutes) or catch a 271, 210or 143 bus to Waterlow Park, then the Park for five minutes, and exit the Park onto Swain's Lane. The lower park exit is adjacent to the Cemetery gates.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of Anosmia^

30 October 2008

Hire a canal boat for the day

It's a little way out of London, but Lee Valley Boats at Broxbourne (25 mins from Liverpool Street) you can hire a canal boat for the day for £125 (between up to eight people).

Canal Boats are easy to operate, and there is always something different to see, from tunnels to industrial heritage, wildlife and other boats. Once you get out as far as Broxbourne, it can also feel positively rural at times, with fields and nature close up, and always the chance to sneak back inside the cabin for a cup of tea or a bite to eat.

The day boats carry 8-12 people and there are also longer breaks available if you have a bit more time (and money).

For more information, give them a call on 01992 462085, or check out the website.

29 October 2008

Experience 90 years of the RAF - for Free!

The RAF Museum at Colindale (near Hendon) in North London, is one of the best museums of flight in the World

The Museum is on the site of the original London Aerodrome, and has five buildings contain containing around 130 different aircraft, alongside artefacts, aviation memorabilia, art and photographs from the earliest balloon flights to state-of-the-art modern aircraft, and most of all, it's absolutely free!

The museum is open daily from 10am - 6pm, but the Grahame White Factory, which only makes up a very small part of the museum closes at noon.

The museum is a ten minute walk from Colindale Tube (half an hour from Kings Cross on the Northern Line). For more information click here.


28 October 2008

Visit the largest Hindu Temple outside India

One of the benefits of living in one of the most multicultural cities in the world is that we have a rich array of cultural sites to visit. One of the most interesting of which is the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir London, listed in the Guiness Book of Records 2000 as the "Biggest Hindu Temple outside India", the Temple, in Neasden, was built by His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, and is made of 2,828 tonnes of Bulgarian limestone and 2,000 tonnes of Italian marble, at a cost of £12 million.

The website makes it clear that "everyone is welcome to visit the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Individuals and families do not need to book their visit. On arrival, please enquire at the reception desk if a guide is available.", and has an excellent page on how to get there.

The Temple's Website is at http://www.mandir.org/

It's situated at 105-119 Brentfield Rd, North London, NW10 8LD (Nearest Tube Neasden), click here for a map.

^Picture by Colin Gregory Palmer^

23 October 2008


The author began this blog in October 2008 because he thought he was beginning to get bored of living in London.

Having lived here since May 2006, and had a great couple of years, it just felt a little like he was doing the same thing day after day.

However, we all know that there are, in reality, an almost infinite number of things to see and do. An almost unlimited selection of experiences and events stretched out before us. The only problem is we can never really find inspiration when we need it, only when we're not really looking.

That's why Tired of London, Tired of Life began. As a place for the author to document those moments of inspiration so he could draw on them later on, and come back to ideas at a later date when looking for something to do.

It's all part of a plan to get the most out of the greatest city on earth, and you can play too, by joining in, or doing them yourself.