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



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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/

5 November 2014

Attend bonfire night in Brockwell Park

It's 5th November today, and tonight is Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night. However, if you want to find a bonfire to enjoy it in front of in London you'll have to search hard to find one. Modern firework displays involve a lot of red tape and training, and it seems bonfire providers are thin on the ground. However, if you're willing to pay an entry fee, it seems there is fire to be found in Brockwell Park.

£7 buys you not only fireworks and a "lighthouse bonfire" but also Human Catherine Wheel and Fire Bird performance, the London School of Samba and a giant mechanical Fire Bird and Disco Turtle, whatever that is.

For more, see http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/events/fireworks

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

4 November 2014

See Francis Bacon's Study for a Portrait

On display in the 1950 room at Tate Britain, we are told that Francis Bacon's Study for a Portrait 1952 dates from an important  point in Bacon's portraiture, probably created in the studio Rodrigo Moynihan at the Royal College of Art in London.

We're also told that Study for a Portrait shows us Bacon had developed an interest in the mouth, possibly as a result of buying a book on diseases of the mouth in 1935 in Paris.

For more, see http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/bacon-study-for-a-portrait-t12616

^Picture © Son of Groucho used under a Creative Commons license^

3 November 2014

Find the Canada Memorial

Located in Green Park and opened in 1994 by the Queen of Canada, the Canada Memorial is the work of Pierre Granche, one of Canada's most famous sculptors, and remembers nearly a million Canadian men and women who served with British forces during the First and Second World Wars, and particularly the 100,000 who died in the conflicts.

The two halves of the memorial are divided by a pathway that points to Halifax, Nova Scotia, from where many Canadian service personnel set sail on the journey to Britain. It also features bronze maple leaves embedded, which at this time of year are joined by many other leaves.

For more, see http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/overseas/second-world-war/england/green-park-memorial

^Picture © Robin Sones used under a Creative Commons license^

2 November 2014

See old cars in Regent Street

Some 300 classic cars from descend on Regent Street today, in a showcase of 125 years of motoring which displays anything from 19th Century vehicles to, we are told, the 21st Century 'cars of the future', and last year attracted 400,000 visitors.

The annual free show lasts from 10:30am to 4pm, with the highlight often a strong selection of pre-1905 veteran cars, which meet here as part of the annual Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

For more, see http://regentstreetmotorshow.com/

^Picture © Garry Knight used under a Creative Commons license^

1 November 2014

Attend the Blackheath Fireworks

Though we are still a few days from the 5th November, tonight is a busy night for London fireworks, and up on Blackheath Lewisham Council are putting on one of the best displays within the M25 for free from 8pm.

Food, drink and a funfair is also on offer from 4pm and 5pm, and to avoid the crowds head to Greenwich this afternoon for a wander round, then walk up the hill about 6pm or 7pm.

For more, see http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/events/whats-on/fireworks/Pages/default.aspx

^Picture © Jon Nicholls used under a Creative Commons license^