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



For more regular updates, visit Tom's Britain, a new website about things to do in Britain.


30 April 2009

Watch a band in a train shed

With London losing so many great nightclubs and live music venues, it's time to embrace those we have, so the Roundhouse is an arts centre in Camden, beside Chalk Farm Tube, housed in a Grade II* listed Victorian engine shed. Whilst, sadly, the Victorians didn't know how to not build a pillar in the middle of where the band should be, it's otherwise a good venue with plenty of space, bars and pretty good sound and lighting.

Unusually for such a venue, it's publicly owned, having been run by Camden Council since the early eighties. Whilst it's not just a venue for bands, and hosts a whole range of arts events and also workshops and events for young people, most people will know it as a venue which attracts many of the great and good in popular music to demonstrate their talents.

To see what's on, visit the website at http://www.roundhouse.org.uk/

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Wikipedia under Wikimedia Commons^

29 April 2009

Eat at the Stockpot

The Stockpot Restaurants, on Old Compton Street and Panton Street, are typical theatreland restaurants with a plan to feed people as quickly as possible.

That said, they're cheaper than average and have a certain charm which is made better by being able to get a no-frills multiple-course meal for less than a tenner.

The food isn't exactly worthy of a Michelin star, but it is fine, the staff are friendly and it's a perfect spot for a quick bite to eat between other things when you're in central London.

The restaurants are at 18 Old Compton Street, in Soho and 38 Panton Street, just off Leicester Square.

Click here and here to see the locations on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of antmoose^

28 April 2009

Visit Honeywood - the Museum of Sutton

Honeywood House is a 17th century building, extended in 1896 and 1903, which houses the Museum of the London Borough of Sutton.

The house is in a picturesque setting beside two ponds and has recently been restored to it's 1903 decor. Most of the house is open to the public, including the billiard room which still has its original Edwardian table and fittings.

The museum contains displays on local history, including Henry VIII and Nonsuch Palace, the River Wandle, and Victorian and Edwardian periods, as well as a collection of paintings showing the local area in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Honeywood is approximately five minutes walk from Carshalton railway station, which is on the overground from Victoria and Clapham Junction. The museum is open 11am - 5pm, Wednesday to Friday and 10am - 5pm Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays. There is also a tea room, which is open sporadically. Admission is £1.60. For more information, visit the Friends of Honeywood website at http://www.friendsofhoneywood.co.uk/

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Wikipedia under Wikimedia Commons^

27 April 2009

Explore Charles Darwin's Study

Charles Darwin undoubtedly had a huge impact on modern thinking, and it was at Down House, near Orpington, that he and his family lived from 1842 until his death in 1882, and where he wrote The Origin of Species.

Now maintained by English Heritage, Down House is currently subject to a bid to become a registered World Heritage Site and is maintained as a museum to Darwin's work.

Entrance is a rather steep £8.80, and it is probably best accessed by bike (perhaps via train to Orpington - 25 mins - though a bus is an alternative option), the house is around 15 miles from Central London, surrounded by countryside and near Biggin Hill airport. If you want to make a day of it, there is a tea room at the house, or the nearby village of Downe has two pubs.

For more information visit the page on the English Heritage website at here.

Click here to view the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Chris Barber^

26 April 2009

Watch the marathon

It's the obvious thing to suggest, but you can't go into Central London today without noticing that it's on, so watching the London Marathon is today's suggestion.

Sure, it's not a great spectator sport unless you know someone who is running, but it is certainly a big draw. The marathon has been held in London every year since 1981.

If you are watching it for sport, as opposed to supporting a friend, your author understands the last five races have been won by Kenyans, so wont it be interesting to see if another Kenyan wins this year (probably not).

Tower Bridge and the Birdcage Walk/the Mall have always been amongst notable watching spots, but it looks the same from anywhere really!

For more information, visit the website at http://www.london-marathon.co.uk.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of dps^

25 April 2009

Have a drink on the Inn the Park roof terrace

Inn the Park, in St James' Park, is yet another distinctive Peyton and Byrne establishment, with it's own brand of overpriced tourist fare produced to a reasonably high standard.

On a sunny day, however, it does make a lovely spot for a drink, and has a nice roof terrace which offers a welcome escape from the Westminster crowds. As always with tourist hotspots, drinks are particularly expensive, but it's a lot more pleasant here than cramming yourself into the Chandos of a summer's evening, so many will think it is worthwhile, even if you take into account the dredging works on the nearby lake.

For more information on the food and drink on offer, visit the website at http://www.innthepark.com/.

Click here to view the location on a map.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of King Chung Huang^

24 April 2009

Slow Down

The Slow Down London Festival is upon us, and we are all being urged to relax and enjoy life's slower, simpler pleasures. The concept is designed to inspire Londoners to improve their lives by slowing down to do things well, rather than as fast as possible, and is supported by a range of partners, including the British Museum, Living Streets, the Southbank Centre, the RSPB, the Rambler's Association and Foyles, amongst many others.

The festival begins today with the short 'Big Slow Walk' to enjoy the view across Waterloo Bridge, meeting in Embankment Gardens at 5pm, and continues until Monday 4th May, taking in talks, art, music, meditation, food and workshops.

If this sounds like something which would interest you, why not take a look at the website at, http://slowdownlondon.co.uk/ or the full programme here.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Phil Hawksworth^

23 April 2009

Go dinosaur hunting in Crystal Palace

There was once a time before large models of extinct animals. Then, in the 1850s, famous sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins was commissioned to build first dinosaur sculptures in the world, pre-dating Charles Darwin's Origin of Species by six years.

Now branded by the Park's owners as 'the world's first theme park', there they still stand today, extensively restored in 2002 thanks to Bromley Council and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and awarded Grade I listed status in 2007.

The sculptures represent fifteen extinct species, though some sculptures are not quite accurate, but the anatomical errors have been retained for that Victorian authenticity (and due to their listed status).

Many thanks to Reese Stoltzfus, a South Londoner who contacted your author with this suggestion to cancel out the North London bias on this site. If you have anything you think should be included, anywhere within the M25, please do share it.

For more information on the dinosaur park, visit the wikipedia page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_Palace_Dinosaurs.

Click here to view the location on a map.

^Picture from Wikipedia, under Wikimedia Commons^

22 April 2009

See inside the Brompton Oratory

The Brompton Oratory, in South Kensington, (real name Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary) is London's second largest Roman Catholic church. Designed by Herbert Gribble, in a competition in 1876, work began in 1880 and the new church was finally completed in 1895.

From a atheist's touristing point of view, Catholic Churches have many benefits as destinations. They never underwent the iconoclasm that protestant churches did, and the Catholic Church has maintained it's immense wealth so they'er still free to enter.

Owing to its size and position, the Oratory has played host to a few famous occasions over the years including the marriages of Edward Elgar and Alfred Hitchcock (not to each other).

For more information, visit the Oratory's website at http://www.bromptonoratory.com/

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of Gaspa^

21 April 2009

Visit the home of the South Place Ethical Society

Founded in 1793, the South Place Ethical Society, based at Conway Hall in Bloomsbury, is thought to be the world's oldest surviving freethought organisation, and is now the only remaining Ethical Society in the country. Nowadays, the Society is a charity devoted to an entirely secular approach to ethics and thought, amongst other more modest aims.

The educational charity now 'maintains a tradition of free enquiry in all areas of thought and action' and arranges many talks, courses and seminars for members and non-members as well as Sunday chamber music concerts.

For more than a hundred years the Ethical Society was based at South Place in the City of London, before it moved to its current spot Red Lion Square, in Bloomsbury, in 1929.

Nowadays the hall attracts a range of events, from lectures and concerts to book sales and dance classes, all at very reasonable prices (and sometimes free).

For more information, visit the Conway Hall website at http://www.conwayhall.org.uk, or the SPES website at http://www.ethicalsoc.org.uk.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of futureshape^

20 April 2009

Eat at the Wong Kei

There are countless restaurants in China Town, but one of the most famous is the Wong Kei at 41–43 Wardour Street. The Wong Kei is apparently one of the largest capacity Chinese restaurants in the UK.

Memorable for it's cheap food and brusque waiters, the Wong Kei is certainly a distinctive establishment and the building itself was once owned by Willy Clarkson, a famous theatrical wig maker.

It's certainly one of the restaurants in the area with the biggest reputation, beginning on arrival, when you will be seemingly randomly allocated a floor to report to to be allocated a table (really all based on group size). Once you arrive at your table the service remains brusque and almost rude, which is part of the reason for it's cultish reputation. The food is good though, and cheap too.

For more information visit the page on wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wong_Kei

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of malias^

19 April 2009

Visit the National Army Museum

The National Army Museum, beside the Royal Hospital Chelsea, is the central museum of the British Army. It charts the history of the British Army from the Norman Conquest to present day.

The most interesting sections are those covering the Napoleonic Wars and the First and Second World Wars, including the Siborne Model of the Battle of Waterloo, a 24 by 19 ft replica of the battlefield including over 90,000 hand-painted lead soldiers.

The museum is free and is open daily, 10.00am - 5.30pm, and entry is free. The nearest tube is Sloane Square (though that is quite a distance). For more information visit the website at http://www.national-army-museum.ac.uk/.

Click here to see the location on a map.

18 April 2009

Go shopping at Bangla City

London's rich multiculturalism gives rise to many different communities in the city, and within those communities people want to buy things which are distinctive to their cuisine and culture. Hence we are blessed with many shops and supermarkets selling unusual items which are usually not found outside their home countries.

The Bangla City Continental Supermarket is an odd institution. For a start Bangladesh is part of the Indian Subcontinent, and its an area of the world with few supermarkets. Nevertheless, it's an interesting place, with many items you wouldn't find in your local Tescos.

Pop in next time your on Brick Lane and see the range of produce on offer. Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of La Malula^

17 April 2009

While away a Saturday crafternoon

You may have read about this one elsewhere, but your author couldn't let today pass without mentioning an uber-twee craft event being held tomorrow.

In a move that will appeal to fans of the Art4Fun Cafe in West Hampstead, tomorrow (Saturday 18th April) an organisation called Crafty Creatures launches its very first crafternoon extravaganza at the St Pancras Church Hall in St Pancras.

The idea is you pop along, taking an old t-shirt with you, and get taught how to make it into a 't-shirt dog'. It's in aid of Fairpensions, and we are told that there will be roller-skating hostesses serving up home made cakes and a wide selection of hot drinks. There will also be a raffle, and music.

You're right...this is one of the twee-est sounding things that your author has heard of in a long time, but we could all do with a bit more crafting in our lives.

Entry is £5, and the event is being held at St Pancras Church Hall 1 Lancing Street, NW1 1NA, tomorrow from 1pm – 5pm. For more information visit http://thecraftycreatures.blogspot.com.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture borrowed from Crafty Creatures Website^

16 April 2009

Drink with Horatio Nelson at the Trafalgar Tavern

Going to Greenwich always feels a bit like being at the seaside, and nowhere is this feeling more acute than when having a drink at the Trafalgar Tavern.

Built in the year Victoria came to the throne, 1837, this public house was at the forefront of Britain's naval history, and it attracted such high profile visitors as William Ewart Gladstone, who dined here with all his ministers in an annual tradition known as the ministerial whitebait dinner, and Charles Dickens, who enjoyed the experience so much he kept notes of his visits in his diary and based a scene from his book Our Mutual Friend here.

Whilst there are other great pubs in the area, the Trafalgar Tavern's excellent riverside setting beside the Old Royal Naval College is unrivalled (if we forget about the Yacht next door for a moment), and has the added benefit of being able to enjoy a drink by the Thames, overlooked by a statue of Horatio Nelson.

For more information on the pub, why not visit the website at http://www.trafalgartavern.co.uk/.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of MairiMcCann^

15 April 2009

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the Albion Caff

On of the latest additions to the uber-trendy Redchurch Street in London's East End, the Albion Caff, Sir Terence Conran's latest creation, is a 'traditional British Cafe' with a stylish twist.

Whilst there are lunch and evening menus, breakfast, served throughout the day, is certainly the raison d'etre of this establishment, and though it's slightly more pricey than your local greasy spoon it makes up for it with a pleasant atmosphere and good ingredients and it is certainly a winning combination at present.

When your author visited, for breakfast on Good Friday, the cafe was packed with the usual East London clientelle of people who have put a bit too much time into their hair and clothes, but the atmosphere was relaxed nonetheless. So relaxed, in fact, that the tea and hot cross buns took his table well into the lunchtime slot, which the staff seemed to accept without question, to their credit.

The Albion also has a small shop, which staff maintained was open until midnight daily, stocking a range of the sort of upmarket groceries and baked goods which should ordinarily only be considered for the 'present' or 'special occasion' markets. Your author anticipates, however, that as it is local he will soon be drawn into paying for at least a few items in the range of produce on offer, some of which even comes from Barton Court, Terence Conran's country home.

For more information on the Albion, why not visit the website at http://www.albioncaff.co.uk/.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture kindly provided by the Albion press office^

14 April 2009

Play Samba with the Paraiso

The Paraiso School of Samba is London's best samba band. Led by Henrique da Silva, who grew up in Rio de Janeiro as part of the legendary Mangueria samba community there, where he began playing aged 8, the School began in 2001 and has been frequently judged best Samba School at the Notting Hill Carnival. The School maintains close connections with the Samba Schools of Rio and frequently attracts some of Brazil's finest musicians to play alongside it's members.

The Paraiso holds both dance and percussion classes twice weekly. Percussion classes are held on Wednesdays at 8.30pm at the Space in Old Street, and on Thursdays at 8.30pm at St Matthews Church in Brixton. There are also dance classes on Wednesdays at 7.00pm at Old Street and Thursdays at 7.30pm (beginners) and 8.30pm (intermediates) at Brixton. All classes cost £7.

You may have noticed your author mentioned the Paraiso in his Londonist interview yesterday, and it is no conincidence as he has played with them for a year and a half and joined them at Notting Hill Carnival last year where the School, numbering 250 members and extended for around half a mile, was rated the best samba school by judges and the third best act overall. Not bad considering it is the world's second largest carnival.

So, if you have ever fancied trying your hand at Brazilian percussion or dancing, why not pop along. The Wednesday classes are specifically aimed at beginners and improvers, and if you're not sure and want to talk about it just email tomtiredoflondon[at]gmail[dot]com or visit http://www.paraisosamba.co.uk/

^Picture from flickr courtesy of fotologic^

13 April 2009

Attend a free lecture at Gresham College

Gresham College, in Holborn, was founded in 1597 by Sir Thomas Gresham, pictured below, the son of the Lord Mayor of London. Unusually for an educational establishment, however, it provides no qualifications and has no students.

Instead, the college, supported by the City of London Corporation, exists to provide free academic lectures to all who wish to attend and has a number of afiliated academics who add to the broad range of topics on offer, which include the medieval educational canon of Divinity, Music, Astronomy, Geometry, Medicine, Law and Rhetoric, as well as Commerce.

The lectures are either at lunchtime or after work and upcoming lectures include one on the promotion of happiness by Government, one on genetics, and one on the presidency of George W Bush.

Lectures almost all take place at the 14th Century Barnard's Inn Hall, in Holborn. For more information, visit the website at http://www.gresham.ac.uk/

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture of the college founder, Sir Thomas Gresham from Wikipedia under Wikimedia Commons^

12 April 2009

See the Queen's rides

The Royal Mews, on Buckingham Palace Road, is part of the palace itself and is where the Queen keeps her horses and carriages.

The Royal Mews was originally based at Charing Cross, on the site where Trafalgar Square is now, but this has been the Royal stables since 1761, when George III moved some of his horses and carriages to the grounds of Buckingham House, which his son later developed into Buckingham Palace.

Queen Victoria expanded the stables substantially to the size we see today. They are home to the Gold State Coach, which has not been used since the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002, and other carriages, along with arounc 30 horses

Entry to the Mews costs £7.50 (and it is just some horses and carriages) and the Mews is open to the public daily (except Fridays) from 28th March until 31st October from 11am - 4pm.

For more information, visit http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/default.asp?action=article&ID=31.

11 April 2009

Find the spot where the Blitz began

You can learn a lot about our city by looking at how it was influenced by the bombs which fell on it during the Second World War. The Barbican has to be one of the most obvious examples of this, and it was here that the first bomb was dropped on the City, in Fore Street on the south side on 25th August 1940.

Subsequently, almost 30,000 bombs fell on the capital. Many significant areas of London were completely destroyed and even today in many areas of the city economic and social divides are still defined by the ares which were bombed out and the areas which were left standing. Huge divides in the quality of housing are evident when you move a few streets.

The spot where the the first bomb fell in 1940 is marked by a small plaque, and it wasn't until 1969, 29 years later, that the Barbican Estate was officially opened.

Click here for a Channel 4 site with more on the Blitz and here for a short video on later raids.

Click here to see the location on a map.

10 April 2009

Drink in the BBC's favourite pub

The Yorkshire Grey is a pretty little pub, a short distance from Broadcasting House and a number of other less famous BBC offices, and as a result it attracts a significant number of state-funded meeja types who work up a thirst during their days thinking about how to spend the telly tax.

Mainly as a result of it's position, the pub has long had an association with the BBC and the walls are decorated with memorabilia from the early days of broadcasting. It's another Sam Smiths establishment so the drinks are reasonable but not excellent, and the decor is traditional and finished to a fairly high standard.

Whilst the pub does get quite busy, considering the proximity of Oxford Street it's amazing it doesn't get busier, and there is a cosy upstairs bar which opens at busier times.

For more information visit http://www.fancyapint.com/pubs/pub13.html.

Click here to see the location on a map.

9 April 2009

See the animals at Battersea Park (petting) Zoo

It's easy to forget that the Zoo in Regent's Park is not London's only Zoo. Though it is much smaller, Battersea Park Zoo is a 'family' zoo in the park devoted to smaller amimals. On site you can meet Lemurs, Tamarins, Donkeys Goats, Sheep, Guinea pigs, Rabbits, Squirrel Monkeys, Meerkats and Otters.

Threatened with closure in 2003, the zoo was saved by the Heap family who also run the New Forest Conservation Park in Hampshire and the The Chestnut Centre in the Peak District.

The zoo is open 10am - 4pm in winter and 5pm in summer and at weekends the Otters and Meerkats are fed at 11.00am and 2.30pm, whilst the monkey feedings are at 11.30am and 3pm. Entry is £6.50.

For more information visit the website at http://www.batterseaparkzoo.co.uk.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Lemur picture (not actually from the zoo) from flickr courtesy of Just chaos^

8 April 2009

Eat ice cream at the Queen's grocery shop

Right in the centre of town, opposite the Royal Academy, Fortnum & Mason, at 181 Piccadilly, was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason. The store has held Royal Warrants for over 150 years, and specialises in food fit for kings.

Whilst this is not ordinarily your author's thing, he has previously been tempted by sweet-toothed friends to the the Parlour Restaurant, on the First Floor. The Parlour specialises in overpriced ice creams, but they are certainly a cut above a 99 and there are a range interesting flavours on offer.

For more information visit the website at http://www.fortnumandmason.com/Our-Restaurants/Parlour-Restaurant.aspx.

Click here to see the location on a map.

7 April 2009

Explore the world's oldest hedge maze

Possibly the most famous maze in the world, Hampton Court Maze is not particularly difficult, but it is one of the oldest surviving hedge maze still in operation.

The maze was originally part of a network of paths and labyrinths that made up William III's 'Wilderness Garden', planted around 1690 by George London and Henry Wise. It covers a third of an acre and contains around half a mile of paths.

The maze is open from 10am until 6pm (last admission 5.15pm) in summer, whilst in winter it closes at 4pm. Tickets are available either in combination with the rest of Hampton Court at around £13 or separately for less. For more information, visit the website at http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/maze.aspx.

Trains run from Waterloo to Hampton Court regularly. Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of gailf548^

6 April 2009

Hire a deck chair

A lot of living in the nation's capital can be about dashing around from place to place, so in a nod to the upcoming Slow Down London festival, today's item covers one of London's purest pleasures. Sitting in the park.

Deck chair season in the Royal Parks is now upon us, and it continues until the end of September and for around £2 you can hire a chair and sit and watch the world go by.

Deck chairs are available in St James' Park, Regents Park, Green Park and Hyde Park and in some places further afield, though they are only on offer during good weather (and when it's raining you probably wont want one).

To help you pick your park, why not visit the Royal Parks website at http://www.royalparks.org.uk.

For more information on Slow Down London visit http://slowdownlondon.co.uk.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of jumblejet^

5 April 2009

Learn about the history of film

The Movieum, a museum of the history of film, is the latest resident of County Hall, and it brings together a range of film costumes and tat in interesting galleries charting the history of British film, and demonstrating different film-making techniques.

There are a range of costumes, sets and props along the way to keep you interested including a Mini from the Italian Job, a Spear from Zulu and one of the genuine costumes Christopher Reeve wore in Superman. It's all set out in an informative way in the corridors of the old County Hall building, which always have their own grand charm regardless of what Saatchi or the Movieum have parked up in them.

Whilst this is all very interesting, and there's the chance to 'make your own film' along the way, at £17 a go it is really too expensive, and it does suffer from that sort of tacky West-End style presentation that County Hall seems destined to always present to the thousands of tourists who seem to love it.

For more information, and for your chance to buy discounted ticekts, visit the Movieum website at http://www.themovieum.com.

4 April 2009

Eat Georgian food in Hackney

The Little Georgia Cafe, now situated at 87 Goldsmiths Row on the road between Hackney City Farm and Broadway Market, in Hackney is a nice cafe and must be one of London's few Georgian venues.

Georgia is not famous for a huge amount, and your author has no knowledge to suggest that they are a gastronomic superpower, but one of the great things about our city, of course, is the sheer range of cuisine on offer and this place is certainly evidence of this.

Whilst alcoholic drinks are not on the menu, tea and coffee flow with wild abandon, and it's good to discover the Georgian food, so next time you're in the area, why not pop by for some breakfast.

Click here to see the location on a map.

3 April 2009

Visit the Hackney Museum

As the name suggests, it's a museum about Hackney, funded by Hackney Borough Council. Most boroughs in London seem to have their own museum nowadays, but Hackney is a particularly vibrant borough, so it's a particularly interesting one.

Though the borough was only officially put together in 1965 as an amalgamation of Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington, its history goes back much further. Historically, it's one of London's poorest areas but it also has a rich industrial and cultural heritage, so there is a great deal to recall in the museum.

The museum looks at different aspects of life in the borough, covering work, housing, education, transport and more. It is part of the civic centre just off Mare Street and opposite the Hackney Empire. The museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9.30am - 5.30pm, Thur: 9.30am - 8pm, Sat: 10am - 5pm, and is closed Sun, Mon and Bank Holidays.

For more information, visit the website at http://www.hackney.gov.uk/cm-museum.htm.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of activefree^

2 April 2009

Discover the building where world leaders meet

Today, 20 of the most powerful people in the world will meet at the ExCeL conference centre in Docklands, but what's on tomorrow? What event could possibly follow such a vital meeting of world powers? Oh right, a get-rich-quick self help seminar run by a weird looking American man.

Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of ExCeL, where no event is too big or small, nothing too exciting or mundane, as long as you're willing to part with the cash. ExCeL was opened in late 2000, covers a 100 acre site in the Royal Docks area of Docklands, and was built by the same construction company that built the Dorchester Hotel, the original Wembley Stadium, the Millennium Dome, the Eden Project and the Millennium Bridge.

Nowadays, the hall plays host to hundreds of events for business and the public and today Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, Dmitry Medvedev, Hu Jintao and others will meet under the same roof which usually hosts events like the London Boat Show, the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, the British Motor Show and Grand Designs Live.

So if you want to know what's coming up at ExCeL, have a look at the website at http://www.excel-london.co.uk/whatson. Either that, or wait until the 2012 Olympics when it will host the boxing, fencing, judo, taekwondo, table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Wikipedia under Wikimedia Commons^

1 April 2009

Stop by the ICA Cafe Bar

One of your author's friends once billed the ICA Cafe Bar as one of the best bars in London, an absolutely awesome place to drink with an amazing atmosphere and a massive range of drinks. In truth, it's just a reasonable bar on the Mall, a stone's throw from Trafalgar Square, but in that it already scores a hit as it's the only bar on the Mall and one of very few good ones in an area with a dearth of good places for a drink.

Another Peyton and Byrne establishment (their empire seems larger the more you look) it's well designed and is a good place to get a drink even if you're not tempted by any of the cultural offerings in the Institute itself. Time Out describes the bar as 'very much a bar, and a well-stocked, artily cool, late-opening one at that'. That's probably overstating it a bit, but it's very pleasant.

Thankfully, the ICA has also now dropped the ridiculous (though local authority imposed) £2 entry charge for the café and the bar which was in place until last year, and consequently entry to the bar is now free, as in any rational establishment (though drinks are still charged for). So if you're in the area and fancy a drink remember that this exists. It's too easy to get drawn into the Chandos or that Wetherspoons on Whitehall.

The ICA Cafe Bar is open Monday: 12 noon to 11pm, Tuesday - Saturday: 12 noon to 1am, and Sundays 12 noon to 10.30pm. For more information visit http://www.ica.org.uk/ICA%20Bar%20and%20Café%3B+15176.twl.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from flickr courtesy of futureshape^