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.


28 February 2010

Drive through the Blackwall Tunnel

Actually made up of two tunnels, The Blackwall Tunnel links Tower Hamlets and Greenwich along the A102 road.

The western tunnel was designed by Sir Alexander Binnie and built by S. Pearson & Sons, and work began in 1892. When the tunnel was officially opened by the Prince of Wales in May 1897, it had cost £1.4 million, and seven workmen had died during construction. To clear the site in Greenwich, around 600 houses were demolished, including, legend has it, one which originally belonged to Sir Walter Raleigh.

The second, eastern, tunnel was opened in 1967. It is wider and lacks the sharp turns of the western tunnel, which were reputedly the result of a swerve to avoid a plague burial ground. Its construction involved the building of two distinctive ventilation towers, designed by architect Terry Farrell, which stand in Blackwall. The southern ventilation shafts rise through the Millenium Dome, hence the hole in the roof.

For more on the Blackwall Tunnel, see http://www.blackwalltunnel.com/

27 February 2010

Have a Pie and a Pint at the Camel, Bethnal Green

Your author spent a very pleasant evening around Bethnal Green this week, and following a reasonably good quality open mic night at the Gallery Cafe, finally got to pop into the Camel on Globe Road.

Understandably in this area it's going to be full of art and media tw*ts, but there was actually a very good mix of people in the pub, and it was as pretty inside as it is outside, with a mix of old and new features blended together in a considerate way.

The pub has a good range of drinks, with some well kept ales in the mix, and your author understands that the 'gourmet' (whatever that means) pies are well worth a try. At £8.95, they're at the top end of the pie pricing scale so one would hope so.

Your author has just done a search on the internet and found out that his review is very similar to that of Time Out. This probably means someone should start paying him for this but he promises there was no copying. Judge for yourself here, or for more on the pies see the East London Advertiser here.

^Picture by rjw1^

26 February 2010

Go shopping in Britain's first shopping arcade

Opened in 1819, Mayfair's Burlington Arcade was Britain’s very first shopping Arcade, and still claims to be the longest covered shopping street in England. You have to be pretty rich if you want to build a shopping arcade in Mayfair to stop people throwing stuff over your wall, but that's apparently why Lord George Cavendish built the Burlington Arcade, so sick was he with passers-by throwing oyster shells into his garden.

The arcade is pretty upmarket, and there is little the likes of your author would realistically want to buy. It is pretty, however, and its smart uniform shop fronts and a glazed roof are given even more charm by the uniformed Burlington Arcade Beadles who patrol the length in top hats and tailcoats, claiming to be the smallest police force in the world.

When the arcade opened, the Beadles were hired to ensure that no whistling, singing, playing of musical instruments and running took place. These rules were reputedly to stop thieves and pick-pockets from communicating and fleeing, but the carrying of large parcels, opening of umbrellas or use of babies’ prams in the arcade was also forbidden.

These rules are still enforced to this day and your author can certainly vouch for it, having faced the wrath of a senior Beadle and narrowly avoided ejection whilst attempting a test whistle in December. For more on all aspects of the arcade, see http://www.burlington-arcade.co.uk/

^Picture by Phil_Parker^

25 February 2010

Have a drink & a sausage at the Harp

Pubs in the heart of London's Touristland have always been a bit hit-and-miss, but the Harp, in Covent Garden, is a real gem. It's a genuine, characterful pub, with a great range of ales and other drinks.

Last time your author visited they even had a Uley Bitter, from the South Cotswolds, on tap, which your author can assure readers is a mark of quality. Given the great range and excellent atmosphere of the place, it's a popular spot with members of the Campaign for Real Ale, and they travel from all over the country to enjoy the Harp's hospitality, and it has won numerous accolades from local beer groups.

Given the location, the downstairs bar is almost always busy but the upstairs room is usually a little quieter, and there's a smoking space in the alleyway behind the pub. If you need something to eat the friendly bar staff can also offer you a fine sausage bap, made with finest O'Hagan's Sausages, the winner of the Britain's "Best Sausage Maker" Award.

For more on the Harp, see http://www.harpcoventgarden.com/

^Picture by AndyRob^

24 February 2010

Trace the source of the 1854 Cholera Epidemic

Many readers will be aware of this one, but for anyone who is not, the Broad Street Pump is famous as the source of the 1854 outbreak of cholera in Soho, but this was only ever discovered thanks to the work of one man, Dr John Snow.

Residents were stumped as to what was causing the illness and it was only when Dr Snow mapped the addresses of the sick that he noticed that most of those who had been struck by the disease had a unifying characteristic - their nearest accessible water source was the pump located at the junction of Broad Street, now Broadwick Street, and Cambridge Street, now Lexington Street, close to the rear wall of what is now a Sam Smiths pub called the John Snow.

Snow subsequently managed to persuade those responsible to take the handle off the pump, and this prevented infected water from being used. Later on, it was discovered that the spring below had been contaminated with sewage. A replica pump has since been installed nearby (see above) to commemorate this. He also managed to use statistics to show the connection between the quality of the source of water and cholera cases, demonstrating that the Southwark and Vauxhall Waterworks Company was using water from a sewage-polluted section of the Thames and delivering it to homes with an increased incidence of cholera.

For more on Dr John Snow, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Snow_(physician)

^Picture by Matt Biddulph^

23 February 2010

Explore outer space with the Astronomical Society of Haringey

Formed in the early 1970s by Fred Clarke, the brother of acclaimed science fiction author Sir Arthur C. Clarke, and on the recommendation of Sir Patrick Moore, the Astronomical Society of Haringey meets monthly for lectures on a wide range of subject matter covering space research, astronautics, cosmology, science fiction and astronomy.

The first lecture was given by Arthur C. Clarke himself, and for many years the Society met and gave exhibitions in and around Alexandra Palace, meeting in the Palace rooms both before and after the fire.

The society has since moved to a room at Ashmole School, where they meet for monthly lectures, usually on the third Thursday of the month. There are also occasional observing sessions, with society equipment including an Eight and a Half Inch Dobsonian, a Five Inch Refractor and two Six Inch Fork mounted newtonians, which sound fearsome.

Membership of the society is around £15, and the next meeting, on 25th February, will see writer, journalist and TV producer Piers Bizony will make his first visit to the Society. For more, see http://www.ashastro.org.uk

^Picture by DraconianRain^

22 February 2010

Drink in the pub where Lenin and Stalin 'first met'

Whilst recorded history has it that that a young Joseph Stalin first met Vladimir Ilyich Lenin at the Bolshevik Congress in Tsarist Finland in 1905, London legend has it that they actually met a couple of years earlier in the pub which is now the Crown Tavern, on Clerkenwell Green.

Lenin had recently moved the publication of the Russian socialist newspaper Iskra to Clerkenwell Green, and was living on nearby Percy Circus, a short walk away. The legend goes that the two met in the Crown and Anchor pub, which has since been renamed the Crown Tavern, when the Stalin came to London to train as a Bolshevik. At the time, Clerkenwell was a hotbed of leftism.

Whether or not it is true we will never know. Probably not, but it's a nice pub with an interesting history anyway. In Victorian times the upstairs Apollo Lounge was the ‘Apollo Concert Hall’, with nightly music hall entertainment. More recently, and with less impact on world history, Dame Judi Dench is seen in Crown in the film ‘Notes On A Scandal’.

For more information, see the pub's website at http://thecrowntavernec1.co.uk/.

^Picture by the fantastic Ewan-M^

21 February 2010

Watch out for the London Air Ambulance

It's not a thing that you should aim to ride, but it good to know it's there. The London Air Ambulance is a vital part of the city's infrastructure, carrying out around 1,500 missions a year and providing an invaluable link, to allow patients to be treated quickly without having to sit in an ambulance in traffic.

London has had an air ambulance since 1989, and it began working out of Biggin Hill, but moved to The Royal London on Whitechapel Road in 1990, when it was felt a more central base was needed. Your author still hears it there almost daily as he pedals down the Whitechapel Road, and often sees it in other areas of London, touching down anywhere it can find space, such as on Euston Road in the picture above.

The Ambulance costs £2.25 million a year to run, and is only part-funded by the NHS. The rest of the funding comes from donations to its registered charity, which come from ordinary people and corporate donors, the most conspicuous of which is Virgin, whose logo appears on the side of the helicopter.

For more information, or to make a donation, see http://www.londonsairambulance.com, or find the Ambulance on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TheHelipad

^Picture by Lamrock - images^

20 February 2010

Peer at the Deal Porters Sculpture

The deal porters were the labourers in the London's docks who handled imports of softwood timber from North America, also known as "deal".

The wood was placed in piles up to 60 feet high in quayside warehouses for storage. As you might imagine, therefore, the handlers needed tremendous physical strength, total cooperation and a head for heights. The trade was very dangerous, and the porters even wore a special leather headgear and "apron" over their shoulders in order to protect their heads and necks from wooden splinters.

The deal porters are commemorated with a statue beside Canada Water, as a nod to the deal industry which characterised Canada Dock until the 1970s, and the sculpture itself was originally made in softwood before being cast in bronze.

They sculpture was created by sculptors Philip Bews and Diane Gorvin. For more background on the deal porters, see here

19 February 2010

Discover the World Time Today clock at Piccadilly Circus

Your author felt a bit mean for slating the Insider London Tube Tour a week or two ago on account of its cost, but he stands by his opinions. One thing they did introduce him to, however, was the fantastic World Time Today clock at Piccadilly Circus tube station.

When architect Charles Holden and builder was John Mowlem & Co refurbished the station at a cost of half-a-million-pounds between 1925 and completed in 1928, the clock was installed as a nod to how the world had changed and how the modern commuter needed such futuristic devices to keep abreast of the situation around the world.

The clock features a time band which moves across its central line at the same pace as the earth rotates, and shows the rough time at any point at any time, and whether it is day or night. The only sad thing is that few people notice the clock nowadays in the station's hustle and bustle. As acclaimed London blogger Diamond Geezer observed in 2004, "it's like Piccadilly Circus" round there.

For more on the station as a whole see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piccadilly_Circus_tube_station

18 February 2010

Drink in the shadow of Big Ben at St Stephen's Tavern

The St Stephen's Tavern, on Westminster Bridge Road and named as a result of the various connections between St Stephen and the Palace of Westminster, is the closest pub to the Houses of Parliament and it is a great place for a swift half if you work in the area, or if you find yourself touristing there and in need of a rest. In the summer you can even stand outside and enjoy unrivalled views of Big Ben.

A bit of research suggests that the pub is Grade II listed and is around 125 years old. The St Stephen's Tavern only reopened in 2003, having been closed since the late 1980s for various reasons. It is perhaps for this reason that many Parliamentarians prefer to drink in the nearby Red Lion, and this is more of a Civil Servant pub.

Despite the lengthy closure, the pub has been refurbished to an excellent standard with the help of English Heritage. Your author also understands that it benefited from having many interior fittings kept in storage during the period of closure so it could be refitted to a near-original appearance.

For more information, see the Evening Standard's article here, from where much of the above is taken. The Standard would have us believe that former Prime Ministers Baldwin, Churchill and Macmillan drank here and there is no reason to doubt them.

^Picture by Ewan-M^

17 February 2010

Admire the view from Stave Hill

Stave Hill is an artificial mound created in the 1980s overlooking the Russia Dock Woodland, in Rotherhithe, Docklands. The hill is conical and stands 30 foot tall, with steps up one side leading to a viewing platform and a relief map, cast in bronze and designed by Michael Rizzell, showing the former docks which occupied the area.

Nearby Russia Dock and Stave Dock, originally key parts of the Surrey Commercial Docks, which were filled in, also in the 1980s, then redeveloped by the London Docklands Development Corporation. Russia Dock became the site of a woodland and eco park to which your author will return at a later date.

The hill provides great views over Canary Wharf, and when your author was there on a crisp Saturday morning just before Christmas they were matched with excellent vistas of the City of London and South London.

Yesterday evening the forecast for today was sunshine, so if it was right why not take a look. For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stave_Hill

16 February 2010

Celebrate pancake day at Creme de la Crepe

For anyone who wants to get their pancake fix but is looking for something a bit more sedate than the Kindness Offensive's free pancake extravaganza, which kicks off an Ed's Diner this morning, why not pop along to the oddly named Creme de la Crepe in Covent Garden market today.

If, like your author, you mostly avoid non-pastie-based shops and cafes in the Covent Garden Market buildings like the touristland plague, you probably wont be aware of this small creperie, which has been operating downstairs in the South-Westerly corner of the piazza since October 2008.

Originally started as a Scotland, on a market stall in St Andrews in 2004, the company has gone from strength to strength, moving to Borough Market in 2007 and opening a proper cafe in Covent Garden the next year. Along the way they've catered fashion shows, appeared on Channel 4 and provided crepes to the American Embassy.

Creme de la Crepe is at 29 The Piazza, Covent Garden (downstairs in the SW corner). Eat in crepes are between £3.30 and £5.50 and you can find out more at http://www.cremedelacrepe.co.uk/, but turn down the volume to avoid their annoying website soundtrack.

15 February 2010

Find the Crystal Palace Sphinx

When London hosted the Great Exhibition in 1851, it was a chance for London to show the world the power and greatness of Britain in the Victorian Age. As such, it was decorated with various architectural and aesthetic flourishes which reflected the global nature of the exhibition. A Sphinx was inevitable really...

The 990,000 square ft Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park as a place for more than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world to gather and celebrate the progress of the industrial revolution and the might of the empire.

The 'Palace', originally designed by Joseph Paxton, who had been gardener at Chatsworth, in Derbyshire, was subsequently relocated to Sydenham, to the area we all now know as Crystal Palace. Many of the sculptures and flourishes were relocated with it, and whilst the palace itself burned down in 1936, some of the other elements remain and the Sphinx still stands guard at the entrance, keeping watch to check who accesses the empty terraces where once a palace stood.

For more on the Crystal Palace, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crystal_Palace

^Picture by GoforChris^

14 February 2010

Visit the Markfield Beam Engine

As mentioned last Sunday, it is time to have a look at the Markfield Beam Engine and Museum, which is open today as part of regular openings on the second Sunday of each month. The engine, in Markfield Park, Harringey was once used to move sewage from Tottenham into the London system for treatment at the Beckton sewage works.

The 100 horsepower beam pumping engine, built in 1886 by Wood Brothers, is housed in an original Grade II listed Engine House in the former sewage treatment works for Tottenham which have now become part of Markfield Park.

The Engine operated from 1886 until 1905 continuously, and carried on service on standby operation until 1964 when sewers were diverted to the extended East Middlesex Works at Deephams. The engine has recently been restored and can be seen operating under steam on designated days.

Meanwhile, the museum is open on the second Sunday of each month from 11am until 4pm. For more information, see http://www.mbeam.org/

13 February 2010

Visit St Mary's Church, Rotherhithe

There has been a church on the site of St Mary's, Rotherhithe for around 1,000 years and the current building was created in 1716 to replace the 12th century building which stood on the site.

Designed by John James, an associate of Sir Christopher Wren, it has associations with the maritime history of Britain, and also the 'Mayflower', the boat on which the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to America, which departed from nearby. It also has links to the South Pacific as Prince Lee Boo of Pelau, a Pacific Island prince who arrived in 1784 and is buried in the churchyard.

The history of the place is fascinating and there is too much detail to recall here, so for more information, see http://www.stmaryrotherhithe.org/

12 February 2010

Gaze on the Thames from Dumsey Meadow

Dumsey Meadow is a green space in a bend in the River Thames just downstream from Chertsey Bridge. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and claims to be the only piece of undeveloped water meadow remaining on the River Thames inside the M25.

The Meadow and the river which runs alongside it are the venue for The Chertsey Regatta, an annual regatta which takes place in August and began in 1851. In 2004 the future of the regatta was threatened when the meadow received its Site of Special Scientific Interest designation. However, with the help of the local authorities and English Nature, an agreement was reached allowing the regatta to continue.

Click here to see the meadow on a map or for more on Dumsey Meadow see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumsey_Meadow

^Picture from Wikipedia under Wikimedia Commons^

11 February 2010

Discover London's 'Petit France' at the Kensington Crêperie

The area around the Institut français du Royaume-Uni, near South Kensington Tube Station, is London's 'Petite France'. It's like a little bit of France in London with a number of Parisian-style restaurants, bookshops, baguette shops, bars and even a French school, all laid out along several pleasant bistro-lined roads.

The Kensington Crêperie, on Exhibition Road, is right at the heart of this area, operating as one of London's top French Crêperie cafés since 2001. Housed in a Grade 2 listed former dairy, and rich with French paraphernalia and pictures by well-known photographic artist, Shimon Mizrahy, the cafe has apparently adopted continental furniture, traditional tiles and outdoor seating to give it a particularly Parisian feel.

Crêpes are also available as a take away option, and there is a sister cafe - The Marylebone Crêperie - for those based around Oxford Street. The Kensington Creperie is open Tuesday to Sunday 11am until 11.30pm (midnight on busy days) and Mondays from midday until 11.30pm. Crêpes cost from £3.00 to £8.50. For more information, see http://www.kensingtoncreperie.com/

10 February 2010

Take a tour of the Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden has had a difficult history. Originally built in 1732, it was subsequently ravaged by fires in 1808 and 1857. Whilst the current Opera House retains the façade, foyer and auditorium of the 1858 rebuild, almost every other element of the present building dates from an extensive refurbishment in the 1990s.

The current Opera House auditorium is a Grade 1 listed building seating 2,268 people and has four tiers of boxes and balconies and an amphitheatre gallery. The stage has probably played host to some of the finest names in ballet and opera, whose names escape your author.

If you can't face sitting through hours and hours of Opera (or even worse ballet) you can still have a poke around on an official tour. Tours usually Monday to Friday at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm, and on Saturdays at 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm and 1.30pm, but this is understandably subject to changes and rehearsals to you should contact them to check. They take about an hour and a half and cost £10.

For more information, see http://www.roh.org.uk/whatson/tour.aspx

^Picture by danielabsilva^

9 February 2010

Drink in a Bavarian Beerhouse

Established in 2005 in a basement on City Road, between Shoreditch, Farringdon and Angel, the Bavarian Beerhouse claims to be the UK's only authentic German/Bavarian Restaurant offering a wide selection of German beers, Bavarian food and unique entertainment in a rustic bier keller environment.

The Beerhouse is open daily for drinks and a range of traditional Bavarian food including meat, pretzels and bread imported from Germany. The Restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner, closing at at 10pm.

The Beerhouse is open til 11pm Monday to Thursday, til 1am on Friday and Saturday, and until 9pm on Sundays. For more information, see http://www.bavarian-beerhouse.com/

^Picture by murphyz^

8 February 2010

Visit the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, Greenwich

The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, is opposite Thornhill's famous Painted Hall, and is just as impressive.

Originally completed to the designs of Thomas Ripley in 1751, the chapel was gutted by a fire in 1779, and was redesigned and rebuilt under James ‘Athenian’ Stuart, in the ‘Greek revival’ style, with detailing by his Clerk of Works, William Newton.

The chapel reopened in 1789, and though it has since undergone changes, a 1950 refurbishment means it stands today almost exactly as it did then.

The chapel is open to the public, for free, every day, and is also known for its acoustics so it can be a good idea to try to visit during a choral or organ recital. For more details, see http://www.oldroyalnavalcollege.org/the-chapel/

7 February 2010

Have a light lunch at the Markfield Park Cafe

The new cafe in Markfield Park, in Seven Sisters ward, Haringey, opened its doors to the public on Saturday 19th September 2009. The cafe is also known as Pistachios in the Park, as it is run by a franchise with the same name, which runs a number of park cafes and specialises in healthy eating and selling educational wooden toys.

The cafe sits in an extension to the Pump House in the park, which stopped working in 1964 and has undergone extensive restoration by the Markfield Beam Engine and Museum Trust who occupy the building and open it to the public every month, but more about that next Sunday.

The cafe has free wifi, a free car park and sits on the edge of a 7.6 hectare park by the River Lee with football pitches, a children's playground, a BMX park, a bowling green and a rose garden (in season).

The cafe is open 9am-5pm daily and 9.30am-5pm on Sundays. For more, see http://www.pistachiosinthepark.org.uk/page9.htm

6 February 2010

See the new minaret at the Brick Lane Mosque

The Swiss probably wouldn't like it, and some ridiculous people have been talking about it aggravating racial tensions, but your author thinks the new Minaret, winched into place in mid-December, beside the Brick Lane Jamme Masjid is brilliant.

Towering above the corner of Fournier Street and Brick Lane, and topped with a bright crescent moon, the new minaret is 90ft tall, and is right in the heart of the Brick Lane area in every sense.

The Mosque itself is a converted former synagogue and Huguenot church, and as such is a symbol of how the area has changed. The Minaret is part of an £8.6m regeneration project which will also see new arches erected along Brick Lane, all paid for with money from the Bishops Square development near Liverpool Street Station.

For more, see the East London Advertiser.

^Apologies for the awful picture, taken on your author's phone ^

5 February 2010

Drink Champagne at 590ft in Vertigo 42

Sadly, it's a bit beyond your author's means, but if you're looking for a drink at the top of a skyscraper in London, you're in luck. Vertigo 42, the champagne bar on the 42nd floor of Tower 42, is open to anyone who has made a reservation and can stump up the cash.

The bar is open Monday to Friday, 12 noon - 3pm and 5pm - 11pm, and Saturdays 5pm - 11pm only. The cheapest drink on the example menu is an £8 a glass wine (175ml and exclusive of 12.5% service charge, of course), but it would be an experience and bottles are from £32.

There's also good news if you're looking to host a party. The champagne lounge can be hired exclusively from Monday to Friday, but your author has a feeling it will cost you.

Vertigo 42 is in Tower 42, Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HQ. For more on Vertigo 42, see http://www.vertigo42.co.uk/

^Picture by Malinki^

4 February 2010

Play netball in the shadow of the Gherkin

It may not feel like the sort of weather you want to be outside in playing netball, but your author has it on good authority that the London charities netball league is in full swing, so if you're looking for somewhere to play with a bit of history, you could contact the good folks at St Botolph without Bishopsgate, a living church in the heart of the City of London.

Their courts are in the gardens behind the church, which as the name suggests is just off Bishopsgate. The courts operate for netball only in the winter and for tennis and netball in the summer. Bookings are possible between 8 am and 9 pm, Monday to Friday in 1 hour sessions, between 12 noon and 2 pm as half hour sessions, starting on the hour and at half past the hour.

Your author thinks a full court is around £40 an hour and floodlights might be available if you have enough £1 coins to feed the meter, but this isn't clear. Best ask when you contact them.

For more, and to contact the Verger and Court Manager, see http://www.botolph.org.uk/hall-court-hire/

3 February 2010

Visit the Albert Memorial

London has many royal memorials, but the grandest and most impressive is surely the Albert Memorial, opposite the Royal Albert Hall, in Kensington Gardens.

Your author tries to give a bit of variety with his suggestions, but sometimes the originals are the best. The Albert Memorial was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her late husband Prince Albert, after his death in 1861. Designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, it finally opened in 1872, but the seated statue of Albert, by John Henry Foley, wasn't added until 1875.

The huge memorial has a range of features including allegorical sculptures at each corner, depicting the Victorian industrial arts and sciences - agriculture, commerce, engineering and manufacturing - and the Victorian continents - Europe, Asia, Africa and The Americas.

For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Memorial

^Picture by ajagendorf25^

2 February 2010

Learn about the War on Photography, with David Hoffman

Your author is often behind the curve, so after missing recommending last week's mass gathering in Trafalgar Square, he might suggest you can still find out about the "I’m a Photographer, not a Terrorist" movement tonight at the Frontline Club with co-founder and veteran filmmaker, David Hoffman.

Hoffman has been a key campaigner against legislation and police restrictions on photography, and is speaking at the Frontline Club, London's club to promote independent current affairs and journalism, to talk about the campaign in more depth, and reflect on the challenges facing the photography profession, particularly the ready availability of free substitutes for photojournalists’ work .

The event costs £12.50 and is followed by a question and answer session moderated by photographer Chris Steele-Perkins. For more information, see http://frontlineclub.com/events/2010/02/in-the-picture-with-david-hoffman-war-on-photography.html

^Picture by Dr John2005 under Creative Commons licence^

1 February 2010

Take the London Insider Tube Tour

Your author was treated to a free tour on the London Underground recently by the good people at Insider London, and it was very pleasant. Their two hour tour takes participants through 150 years of tube history, teaching them about various aspects of the construction and development of the world's first underground railway.

The downside, however, is that at £34.50 the cost is steep and your author isn't sure it is worth that much, even though you do get to learn some interesting titbits along the way, and even get the chance of spotting a 'ghost station' or two along the route.

For the money, the tours are also private, held in small groups, and they run whenever you want, beginning at Farringdon and ending at Westminster. For real enthusiasts there is also a six hour option which costs £79.50, and doesn't include lunch because they 'like to let guests choose exactly what they would like'. In truth these tours are both prohibitively priced for anyone but the most ardent cash-rich underground fan, and your author suggests you might be better off buying a book and doing it yourself.

For more on the tour, see http://insider-trends.com/london-underground-tours/ or to book email contact@insider-london.co.uk.

^Picture by Axel Rouvin^