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



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25 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Your author is in the country with family until the new year and this website will probably not be updated until then.

If you are seeking inspiration in the meantime, try Londonist or IanVisits or buy a book.

24 December 2014

Attend Midnight Mass at St Martin-in-the-Fields

Whilst nowadays you need tickets in advance to attend Midnight Mass at Westminster Abbey, they'll still let you in without advance booking at St Martin-in-the-Fields, where we are told that the climax of all their Advent preparation and Christmas worship will see the lighting of the Christmas candle and the welcoming of the Christ child.

The service is led by the Clergy and Choir of St Martin-in-the-Fields and set to Mozart’s Mass in F, with readings from the Rev'd Richard Carter.

For more, see http://www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/press-releases/christmas-at-st-martin-in-the-fields/

^Picture © Gerry Lynch used under a Creative Commons license^

23 December 2014

Buy your turkey at Smithfield Market

There are now only two chances for you to get your festive meats from Smithfield Market before the big feast, with the usual 2am to 8am today and tomorrow, and the exciting possibility of attending the annual Christmas Eve auction at Harts the Butchers in Smithfield tomorrow morning around 10.30am.

If you can't make tomorrow's sale, the largest wholesale meat market in the UK is still open today until 8am and there are a number of butchers in the vicinity who can sort you out. Smithfield Butchers on Smithfield Street is a particularly sure bet, open until 5pm today and boldly boasting "there is no need to order your Christmas meats this year, Just pop by and see us in store. We will have a full stock".

For more, see http://smithfieldmarket.com/, or for more on tomorrow's sale read Ian's article from last year.

^Picture © Mike Quinn used under a Creative Commons license^

22 December 2014

Sit in the Red Cross Garden

Designed as an 'open air sitting room' for the inhabitants of Southwark, the Red Cross Garden is found on Redcross Way, SE1, and was originally laid out by Octavia Hill in 1887 on the site of a former paper factory and derelict warehouse, which had been severely damaged by fire.

Even by the 1940s we are told the garden had already fallen foul of the grass and tarmac that began to take over London's shared places, but with the dawn of a new century the Bankside Open Spaces Trust decided to return it to its former glory and the garden was officially reopened by the Princess Royal on 1st June 2006. Even at this time of the year it's looking pretty special

For more, see http://www.bost.org.uk/open-places/red-cross-garden/

21 December 2014

Sing carols at St George the Martyr, Borough

If your're looking for an atmospheric Christmas carol service this evening then head along to St George the Maryr in Southwark. The third church to stand on its site at the heart of an ancient parish, the current St George's was designed by John Price and completed in 1736 as part of the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches.

Surrounded by offices and homes, the church is a venue for regular worship and lunchtime music recitals, as well as plenty of community activities. It is known for its associations with Marshalsea Prison, which once stood nearby, where Charles Dickens' father was imprisoned. The church was used by Dickens in Little Dorrit, and the east window features a representation of Dorrit.

For more, see http://www.stgeorge-themartyr.co.uk/site/?page_id=906

^Picture © Richard Rogerson used under a Creative Commons license^

20 December 2014

Drink mulled wine at Greenwich Market

Whilst other markets pop up and down regularly at this time of year, Greenwich Market is a stalwart, and generally offers a better choice of gifts than most of the other markets anyway. This time of year the hilariously-named Ye Olde Drink also offers mulled wine at the southern end of the marketplace to warm chilly market-goers.

Though there has been a market around for longer, the Royal Charter for Greenwich Market was issued to the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital on the 19th December 1700, allowing the market to take place for 1,000 years. In the mid-1800s it began to move from the gates of the Hospital to its current location, where it has been held since.

For more, see http://www.greenwichmarketlondon.com/

19 December 2014

Go skating at the Natural History Museum

Almost unbelievably, the now-annual ice rink on the lawn at the Natural History Museum opened on 30th October this year, and remains open until 4th January, offering a chance for anyone with a spare £10 - £16 to take to the ice in the shadow of Alfred Waterhouse's grand Victorian masterpiece.

We're told that it's a fun day or evening out for the whole family, which is why weekends and school holidays are probably best avoided. However, there is a segregated family space for beginners and children, and if you go late in the evening they'll probably be in bed. But then you'll have to put up with the third-date crowd.

For more, see http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/ice-rink/visit/

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

18 December 2014

Enjoy a Christmas evening at the Dickens Museum

The man who all but invented the London Christmas lived at 48 Doughty Street from 1837 until 1839, and it was in this house that he completed and published The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. Tonight, the house which is now the Charles Dickens Museum is open for a special seasonal late evening.

We are told the event will feature drinks at the Museum's‘Bar Humbug’, screenings of Brian Desmond's 1951 classic, ‘Scrooge’, featuring Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge, and carol singing around the piano. Tickets are £12.

For more, see http://www.dickensmuseum.com/.

^Dickens Museum picture from Flickr courtesy of Matt From London^

17 December 2014

Attend the Barbican Design Market

Like seemingly everywhere nowadays, the Barbican Centre is running a Christmas fair, with this one offering some of London's finest independent makers and artisans. We're told it'll be "teeming with innovative and original gifts from decorations and accessories to prints and homeware" but the main reason to attend is to snap up an original piece of the Thames foreshore from Amelia Parker.

The jewellery is made from genuine Thames-detritus, in the form of centuries-old clay pipes hand-picked by Jane Parker on the Thames foreshore and pieced together in attractive designs.

For more, see http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=15502

^Picture © simiant used under a Creative Commons license^

16 December 2014

Hear the British Humanist Choir at the Hand & Shears

Not everyone wants to embrace religion at this time of years, so thanks to the good sorts at Londonist for tipping us off that the British Humanist Choir are holding their own festive sing-a-long at the Hand & Shears in Smithfield this evening.

We're told that attendees should expect "the Pogues, Tim Minchin and a gospel song about a well-known but financially perturbed supermarket chain", and it's free to attend. Just bring your singing voice, and a few quid for a pint .

For more, see https://www.facebook.com/bhachoir

15 December 2014

Catch the Southbank Centre Express

Forget Crossrail, the newest railway line in London is already here, in the form of the 36 seater Southbank Centre Express, which trundles along the South Bank between Hungerford Bridge and Festival Pier daily until 4th January.

Sure, fares are a little higher than other forms of transport at £4 single but when you consider how much new railway lines in London usually cost, that's a real bargain.

For more, see http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/southbank-centre-express-1000710

14 December 2014

Watch a pantomime horse race

The 2014 pantomime horse race takes place in Greenwich this morning, with more than 20 horses competing in the 5th annual race, which this year takes on a science fiction theme.

Alongside the horses we're told to expect a battalion of Stormtroopers & Darth Vader marching from the Cutty Sark to Devonport House, and some people who used to be on the telly many years ago.

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

13 December 2014

Visit City Road Lock

For those who prefer engineering to shopping, the Canal & River Trust is hosting a special open day at City Road Lock today, offering the chance to meet the canal maintenance teams and take a trip to the bottom of the lock.

The open days are part of a £100,000 refurbishment of the lock, which involve the replacement of the five tonne top gates and the fitting of new ones. Sounds like chilly work.

For more, see https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/winter-open-days-201415/city-road-lock-open-days

^Picture © Canal & River Trust^

12 December 2014

Sing carols at Kenwood

Carols in north London tonight, as English Heritage host a concert in the Orangery at Kenwood House in Hampstead, followed by a glass of wine or juice.

It's great to see houses like Kenwood hosting events other than corporate events and tours, but for those who prefer their visits to be more traditional the property remains open daily during the winter season.

For more, see http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/carol-concert-Ken-12-12-2014/

11 December 2014

Drink at the Royal Oak

An attractive little Victorian corner pub where Tabard Street meets Nebraska Street, the Royal Oak is the London outpost of Harvey's, the Sussex brewer based in Lewes. A popular spot with real ale types, the pub has a fine wooden interior, separated into two rooms both served by a central bar.

When the pub was built, it stood on Kent Street, but the street was renamed as Tabard Street to reflect the Tabard Inn, a favourite drinking spot for those departing London famously featured in Geoffrey Chaucer’s the Canterbury Tales.

For more, see http://www.harveys.org.uk/pubs-tenancies/find-our-beer/the-royal-oak-london

10 December 2014

Go Christmas shopping at the Chelsea Physic Garden

Christmas shopping seems to be inevitable at this time of year, but rather than face the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, this week you could instead pay a visit to Chelsea Physic Garden to explore, and buy a range of books and gifts, and try some delicious festive treats at the Tangerine Dream Café.

Of course, it's only open on weekdays from 10am til 4pm until Friday, but no self-respecting Sloanie goes to work any more, so the time is just fine for most locals.

For more, see http://chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk/special-events/festive-opening-days/

9 December 2014

Sing carols around the Trafalgar Square Tree

The annual carol singing season in the shadow of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree began yesterday and runs until 23rd December, and during that period we are told that over 50 carol groups will come along to sing for an hour each from 4pm - 8pm each weekday and 2pm - 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

As any watcher of 1990s Blue Peter will know, the tree is a Norwegian Spruce, and a new one has been given each year since 1947 by the people of the city of Oslo as a thank you for Britain’s support during the Second World War.

For more, see https://www.london.gov.uk/get-involved/events/christmas-in-trafalgar-square

8 December 2014

Sing carols at Kensington Palace

Tonight and next week, Kensington Palace are inviting potential carollers through the doors  (for a fee) to sing in the State Rooms and enjoy mulled wine and mince pies.

The evenings take the form of a guided tour of the Palace with room guides who will reveal stories of Christmases past, culminating in a sing song around their 30 ft tree.

For more, see http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/WhatsOn/ChristmasCarolsatKensingtonPalace

7 December 2014

Visit the Kirkaldy Testing Museum

It's the first Sunday of the month, and despite concerns about its future over the past year or so thankfully that still means we are afforded an opportunity to visit the site of David Kirkaldy's Victorian testing works at 99 Southwark Street, in Southwark and witness his testing machine in operation.

The machine was constructed in Leeds especially for the space in the 1860s, and built to test the strength and breaking points of various materials, and measuring 47 feet 7 inches long, and 116 tons in weight.

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

6 December 2014

Visit the artists of Eel Pie Island

As well as being a tranquil residential haven across a quaint bridge from Twickenham, Eel Pie Island is also home to the studios of some 26 artists, who work in and around the working Eel Pie Boatyard, which continues to provide repairs to Thames boats.

Today and all this weekend the studios are open to the public from 10.30am - 5.30pm for a special open day which offers a chance to see what life is like working on a tiny island in the world's greatest city, and also pick up some unusual Christmas presents.

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

5 December 2014

Attend a carol concert at St James's Piccadilly

There are plenty of carol concerts around town at the moment, but a particularly atmospheric one is on offer tonight at St James's Piccadilly, where Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs are conducted by Roger Humphrey, with Rosemary Pennington and Meriel Barclay providing accompaniment.

We are told to expect a programme including Britten - A Ceremony of Carols, and music by John Rutter, Bob Chilcott, as well as other Christmas music, with audience participation carols.

For more, see http://www.sjp.org.uk/evening-concerts.html

^Picture © Tony Hisgett used under a Creative Commons license^

4 December 2014

Attend the Pigs Ear Beer and Cider Festival

The Pigs Ear Beer and Cider Festival 2014 is currently taking place at the Round Chapel in Hackney, and despite the absence of the best pig-themed beers in the world, they still seem to be doing a decent job of providing Hackney-dwellers with real beer.

The venue is otherwise known as the former Clapton Park United Reformed Church, a Grade II* Hackney architectural highlight which is worth a visit in its own right.

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

3 December 2014

See the Turner Prize exhibition

The Turner Prize 2014 winner may have been announced on Monday but you still have a few weeks to see the exhibition at the Tate Britain, and see for yourself why Duncan Campbell's effort was judged the best of a particularly bland field.

This certainly isn't the best money you can spend on an exhibition in London this month, or even this week, and when your author visited on Sunday there were very few people there, with Campbell's film attracting more interested parties than any of the other works. Nevertheless, it's useful to give yourself a barometer of tedious works if you want to be able to judge the good ones, James Richards' collection of found images thrown together by his self-belief in his own innate ability to art is a particular low point.

For more, see http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/turner-prize-2014

2 December 2014

Drink coffee at 2 Love Tea & Coffee House

A tea and coffee shop with one of the best views in London, the 2 Love Tea & Coffee House is a kiosk with a handful of tables sitting along the Thames across the road from Lambeth Palace.

Though slightly more expensive than any old tea kiosk, they'll still do you a cup of tea for £1.50 and you'll get to sit away from the traffic on the river bank and watch those funny little duck buses pretend to be real boats. The stretch of south bank between Westminster Bridge and Lambeth Bridge is one of the best, quiet and uncrowded with fine views to the Houses of Parliament, and the 2 Love Tea & Coffee House helps to make the most of that view.

For more, see https://www.facebook.com/2loveteaandcoffeehouse/

1 December 2014

Walk the Thames to North Greenwich

There are changes afoot along the Thames in North Greenwich, and where there were once industrial sites beside the Thames they are now being slowly swallowed up by 'luxury' flats. Whilst not all change is bad, your author has long been a fan of the quiet of this stretch of the river in the early evening, and on Saturday witnessed the most spectacular sunset over the river here, separated by the hustle and bustle of London traffic.

Now is very much the time to go and walk this stretch of the river, for it has already changed and within a year much of it will be gone. The best way to do so is to catch the DLR to Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich and walk along the river to the O2 and North Greenwich tube station. If you allow enough time, you may even get to enjoy a half at the Cutty Sark, one of London's best riverside pubs.

For more, see http://853blog.com/2013/04/01/greenwichs-thames-path-has-fully-reopened-for-now/

30 November 2014

Visit the Southbank Centre Christmas Market

Advent begins today and with it the frenzy of commercialism that marks the Christmas season is upon us. You can choose to ignore it or actively embrace it in places like the Southbank Centre Christmas Market, which sprung up a couple of weeks ago in little wooden chalets beside the Thames.

The market promises stalls selling all sorts of gifty things, but the real draw for many is food and drink, with mulled wine and plenty of other seasonal treats on offer if you're prepared to stump up the cash.

For more, see http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/southbank-centre-christmas-market-1000650-0

29 November 2014

Attend Christ Church East Greenwich Christmas Fair

The best value Christmas fair in the business is back today, and even though it takes place in November, the amazing offers on show beat anything one might see at a 'black friday', exemplified by the scarf your author bought there for 50p three years ago.

We are told to expect toys, games, jams, bric-a-brac and a raffle and music in what is a pleasantly low key community affair. If you think Greenwich seems a bit far to travel today do look at the website of your local church and see when their fair is.

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

28 November 2014

Sit in the lounge at the Jameson, Brook Green

It's only late November, and there are already more fake Christmases being flogged around town than you can shake a stick at, so it was with great pleasure last night that your author stumbled into the Jameson pub in Brook Green and found landlord Damien Smyth arranging the Christmas decorations in what was already a snug lounge area of his pub.

The result was a lovely evening which genuinely felt like a family Christmas in front of the fire, with great conversation and comfortable chairs, and a couple of drinks. The pub is open to all, daily, and boasts a baby grand piano and food served each evening.

For more, see https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Jameson/

27 November 2014

Celebrate Winston Churchill's birthday at the Cabinet War Rooms

Winston Churchill would have been 140 years old today, and to celebrate the Churchill War Rooms in Westminster is having a party, with all his favourite things including a silent disco and a chance to visit the gift shop.

There will also be booze and a chance to dress up like Churchill and have your photo taken. It all seems a bit disingenuous really, but presumably that's what the kids like and there is really nowhere else to celebrate.

For full details, see http://www.iwm.org.uk/events/churchill-war-rooms/lates-at-churchill-war-rooms-churchill-s-birthday

^Picture © Tony Kent used under a Creative Commons license^

26 November 2014

See Kew Gardens by night

It's that time of year again, and with the nights getting longer by the day and autumn turning to winter, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew open their evening illuminations tonight for the beginning of a season which will see them open from 5pm until 10pm from now until 3rd January.

Visitors are promised a garden of fire, a tunnel of lights, some sparkling giant snowflakes, a Father Christmas' grotto of some sort and plenty of lit up trees and greenhouses. as well as Victorian fairground rides and seasonal food and drink.

For more, see http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/whats-on/christmas-kew-event-details

^Picture © Ben Hanbury used under a Creative Commons license^

25 November 2014

Do life drawing at the Goldsmiths' Centre

The Goldsmiths' Centre was opened in Clerkenwell in 2012 by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths as a collaborative learning, working and events place for jewellers and silversmiths. It also hosts events and classes for ordinary sorts and every last Tuesday of the month London Drawing hosts a life drawing class in their "creative space".

The classes cost £10 and tickets are usually available on the door. We are told that the drawing session features a variety of models, poses and approaches, and boasts lots of tuition and a friendly crowd.

For more, see http://www.goldsmiths-centre.org/whats-on/public-events/life-drawing-class-with-london-drawing-2/

^Picture from Wikimedia Commons^

24 November 2014

Wander in St Andrew's Gardens

Once a burial ground for St Andrew's Holborn, until it was closed to burials in 1850, St Andrew's Gardens off Gray's Inn Road has been open for public recreation since 1885 when it was acquired by St Pancras Borough Council.

Today, it offers grass and trees interrupted by occasional flower beds and 18th century tombs, in a relaxing haven from the thundering nearby traffic not too far from Mount Pleasant.

For more, see http://londonist.com/2008/09/natureist_st_andrews_gardens.php

23 November 2014

Attend a fair at Turner's House

It seems a bit early to be thinking about Christmas, but at Sandycombe Lodge, otherwise known as Turner's House, the country retreat of the famous painter, they're already firing up the mulled wine vat and the lucrative gifting opportunities for a Christmas fair which offers the chance to buy cards, prints, scarves and jewellery.

If nothing else, it's a great opportunity to get into the house that was home to Professor Harold Livermore until his death in 2010, after which it was left to the trust to be preserved as a monument to the painter. The house was added to English Heritage's Heritage at Risk Register last year, this might be your last chance to see it this year.

For more, http://www.turnerintwickenham.org.uk/christmas-fair-sunday-23-november/

^Picture © Jim Linwood used under a Creative Commons license^

22 November 2014

Attend the Blackheath and Greenwich Amnesty International book sale

As regular readers will be aware, the Blackheath and Greenwich Amnesty International church book sale is something of an institution in south east London, and is also recognised as one of Amnesty International’s most successful fundraising events. Their autumn books sale takes place today at the Church of the Ascension in Dartmouth Row from 10am - 4pm, and this is a special "half price" edition, with reduced books on offer.

The Blackheath and Greenwich Amnesty International annual book sale has been taking place for more than 40 years, and remains as popular as ever, held within a church first established by a relation of US President, rebuilt in 1750 and extended in 1838, before finally being declared a parish church on Ascension Day in 1883.

For more, see http://www.amnesty.org.uk/groups/blackheath-and-greenwich/autumn-half-price-booksale

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

21 November 2014

Explore Sherlock's City, late at the Museum of London

A special late opening at the Museum of London this evening as part of their Sherlock Holmes exhibition brings life drawing, improvisational comedy, a maze of memories and self defence lessons as well as some specially-commissioned theatre.

You will also be offered the chance to hear talks from memory expert, Ed Cooke, undertake workshops with creative art people Hurdy Gurdy, dust your wine glasses for prints and find out how to profile psychopaths. As usual with these things, it'll either be great or it'll be awful.

For more, see http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/london-wall/whats-on/adult-events/late-events/

20 November 2014

Explore the Institute of Sexology

Inspired by a feature on the Today Programme featuring Meg John Barker, your author popped in to The Institute of Sexology preview at the Wellcome Collection yesterday lunchtime, and found within it a thoughtfully-presented exhibition on the study of sex, looking at the work of pioneers such as Magnus Hirschfeld, Marie Stopes, Masters and Johnson, Sigmund Freud and Alfred Kinsey.

Themed around places in which sex research takes place, the exhibition focuses on objects relating to sexology, with original artefacts such as Marie Stopes' table of sexual arousal and videos of porcupine sex displayed alongside relevant books like the Joy of Sex, and contemporary artworks exploring sexual identity by artists such as Zanele Muholi and John Stezaker, The exhibition will be accompanied by a number of upcoming events, such as "Cruising for art", "Researching Pornography" and "Uncovering Freud", from now until the "Institute" closes in September next year.

For more, see http://www.wellcomecollection.org/exhibitions/institute-sexology

19 November 2014

Visit St Mary's, Barnes

A grade II* listed church which traces its history back to the early 12th century, St Mary's Church in Barnes was extended in the 13th century, and a tower was added in the 15th century, helping to create much of the church we see today.

Though parts of the building were destroyed in a fire in 1978, the majority is original, and the church hosts regular concerts and other events.

For more, see http://www.stmarybarnes.org/index.html

18 November 2014

See Alex Chinneck's Melting House

Your author only noticed it on Sunday, and today is the final day to see Alex Chinneck's - A Pound of Flesh for 50p melting house art installation on Southwark Street near London Bridge.

Installed as part of the Merge Festival, the work features a life size house, built from 8,000 wax bricks, which has been being melted by hand since late September.

For more, see http://mergefestival.co.uk/merge-events-2014/2014/9/19/alex-chinneck-a-pound-of-flesh-for-50p-the-melting-building

17 November 2014

Drink at the Bricklayers Arms, Putney

Your author recently spent much more time than usual in Putney, and during this time he was reintroduced to its oldest pub, the Bricklayers Arms, which was built in 1826 and was originally known as the Waterman’s Arms, due to passing trade from Thames boatmen.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the new railway lines brought even more opportunistic developers to west London than we are used to today. With riverboats no longer the most popular form of transport, the pub was renamed after its new clientèle. Today, it's one of the best pubs in the area, more popular with CAMRA members than bricklayers, due to its rotating real ale selection and themed beer festivals.

For more, see http://www.bricklayers-arms.co.uk/history

^Picture © Matthew Black used under a Creative Commons license^

16 November 2014

Attend the Great British Bioscience Festival

The Great British Bioscience Festival has been taking place in Museum Gardens, Bethnal Green, and continues today until 3pm. The free festival explores the world of biology via interactive science exhibits and the chance to talk to scientists.

The festival is part of the 20th birthday celebrations of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and, we are told, features glow in the dark seeds, a virtual farm and a human gut you can walk through.

For more, see http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/events/1411-gb-bioscience-festival-london.aspx

^Picture © Santero on Reddit used under a Creative Commons license^

15 November 2014

Wander on Putney Lower Common

First protected along with Wimbledon Common in the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act of 1871, Lower Putney Common is a pretty area of grassland and trees that couples with Barnes Common and Barn to provide an almost uninterrupted green space between Barnes Station and Beverley Brook, a tributary of the Thames, west London.

In recent years, the Common has been the source of controversy in west London circles over Wandsworth Council's plans to convert the former Putney Hospital site into a new primary school and flats, leading to the formation of a Friends of Putney Common group, which seeks to prevent inappropriate development at the old Putney Hospital site and to protect Putney Common.

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

^Picture © Shaun Ferguson used under a Creative Commons license^

14 November 2014

Listen to music at the London Jazz Festival

The EFG London Jazz Festival kicks off today, with free performances at the Albert Hall, the Southbank Centre, Kings Place, the Barbican and Ronnie Scott's, and plenty of other events running until the 23rd November.

The Festival has been running since 1992, having evolved from the Camden Jazz Week which has been taking place since 1970, and claims to be London's pan-city music festival, whatever that means.

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

^Picture © Richard Kaby used under a Creative Commons license^

13 November 2014

Drink at the Thornhill Arms

An externally attractive 19th century street corner pub off the Caledonian Road, marked by its tin-glazed pottery tiles bearing the livery of former Bethnal Green brewer Charrington's, the Thornhill Arms is a decent place for a drink of an evening, and rarely gets too busy.

The Thornhill is marked by its central oval bar, wooden floors and furniture and old photos, which help it to keep a comfortable air of authenticity in an era when pubs are often ruined.

For more, see http://www.fancyapint.com/Pub/london/the-thornhill-arms/981

^Picture © Julian Osley used under a Creative Commons license^

12 November 2014

See the Spirit of Soho Mural

Completed in 1991, the Spirit of Soho Mural is found on the corner of Broadwick Street and Carnaby Street and is filled with Soho greats including Karl Marx, William Blake, Dylan Thomas, jazz musician George Melly, amongst many many others.

London Remembers tells us that the restored in 2006 by Shaftesbury PLC and The Soho Society, and each striking of the hour on the clock sees actress and opera singer Theresa Cornelys wink at Casanova, whilst Marx takes a sip of Coca Cola.

For more, see http://www.londonremembers.com/memorials/spirit-of-soho-mural

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

11 November 2014

See the Field of Remembrance

Officially opened last Thursday, 6th November, at 11am the Field of Remembrance outside Westminster Abbey has been held annually since 1928, when it was organised by George Arthur Howson, who served during the First World War and was founder and chairman of the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory.

The Field provides an opportunity for people to honour and remember loved ones who died serving in our Armed Forces, and is open to visitors daily from 9am until 4pm, until this Sunday, 16th November.

For more, see http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/about-us/calendar-of-events/general/westminster-field-of-remembrance

^Picture © PAUL FARMER used under a Creative Commons license^

10 November 2014

Climb Box Hill

Outside London it may be, but TfL runs buses to Box Hill, overlooking Dorking in Surrey, and it is a very popular spot with Londoners seeking a bit of countryside. This year, the National Trust is marking 100 years since it was given Box Hill by local man Leopold Salomons, and though the views from its 735 ft peak have changed slightly over that time, they retain much of the green space which was once popular with donkey riders arriving at the top.

The National Trust tells us that 850,000 people visit the Hill each year, and there were plenty making the walk to the top as your author climbed up through brown leaves and green yew trees towards the top.

For more, see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/box-hill/

^Picture © Chris Downer used under a Creative Commons license^

9 November 2014

Remember the Fallen

You probably wont actually be able to get within half a mile of the National Service of Remembrance today at the Cenotaph in Whitehall at 11am, but even if you only head for the area you are sure to be swept up in tide of marching veterans at some point during the morning.

And in the centenary year of the beginning of the Great War, we should be thankful that we still offer those who have laid down their lives for freedom, and those who are willing to do so, such dignified annual and constant tributes.

For more, see http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/how-the-nation-remembers/remembrance-sunday

^Picture © Peter Broster used under a Creative Commons license^

8 November 2014

Attend the Brockham Bonfire

Out of London tonight, as your author is off to attend one of Britain's biggest Guy Fawkes night events at Brockham in Surrey, just outside the M25.

The forecast is awful, but if you want to come, entry is free and there are late trains to get you back from nearby Dorking. A huge bonfire, an amazing fireworks display, a torchlit parade and a pig auction await you.

For more, see http://www.brockhambonfire.com/

7 November 2014

Take a tour of Lincoln's Inn

Thanks to IanVisits, who reminds us all that a twice-a-month guided tour of Lincoln's Inn takes place today, as every first and third Friday of the month at 2 pm, beginning in the Chapel Undercroft.

One of the four Inns of Court, Lincoln's Inn traces its history back to at least 1422.

For more, see http://www.lincolnsinn.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=245&Itemid=249

^Picture © Tony Hisgett used under a Creative Commons license^

6 November 2014

Talk to Strangers in Kensington

Time for another Talking To Strangers this evening, an event which encourages Londoners to have interesting conversations with people they have never met, in the safety of a central London pub.

Come along from 7pm for interesting and enlightening chats, in conjunction with the excellent Thinking Bob.

For more, see http://www.meetup.com/talkingtostrangers/events/216205372/