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 March 2015

Buy 'London, The Weekends Start Here: Fifty-two Weekends of Things to See and Do'

Your author is off on holiday for a little while, to experience first hand the Severe Weather Warnings of Scotland, but there's good news for those looking for inspiration in the meantime. There's a new book out...

Your author spent a considerable amount of time and effort putting together this new book, and the words are bolstered by illustrations from the very talented David Doran.

The blurb reads:

"During the week, London is the bustlingly centre of big business, with millions of people working all around the capital, but it’s at the weekend that the city really comes alive. 

With London, The Weekends Start Here, explore the unrivalled range of cultural, artistic, historical and outdoor experiences this dynamic capital has to offer, with plenty of time to achieve the unexpected before another Monday morning rolls round. 

Perfect for Londoners and visitors alike, discover 52 themed weekends, organised by season, with over 250 interesting and quirky entries for unusual and surprising attractions. Including all you need to know about location, transport and the best places to eat and drink. 

From Wild London in the spring to Nordic London in the winter and Tea Drinker’s London, Quiet London, Japanese London and more in between. Multicultural and historical, urban and wild, peaceful and vibrant – there’s plenty to do in London to suit your mood and interests, as well as the time of year."

For more, see http://www.amazon.co.uk/London-The-Weekends-Start-Here/dp/075355626X

Back soon...

27 March 2015

Go late at the V&A

This month's free V&A late event is inspired by their Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition, with music, a digital download trail, an Edible Bubble Experience - whatever that means - and a chance to go into a library that Alexander McQueen also went into at some point, and look at all the stuff in there. Books, presumably...

We are also told to expect kestrels, a life-drawing class where you can draw a tortoise, workshops, crystals and food and drink. Drop in any time from 6.30pm until 10pm.

For more, see http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/f/friday-late/

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

26 March 2015

Listen to jazz on the Golden Hinde II

Your author has experienced great folk music on the Golden Hinde II, the replica of Sir Francis Drake's boat in Bankside, before. For those with an interest in experimental jazz, the venue is opening up tonight to jazz types from 7.30pm, with live acts from 8pm.

We're told to expect Feenß Quintet, which features Fini Bearman, Nicholas Costley-White, Matt Robinson, Tom Farmer & Dave Hamblett, as well as Double Bassist Ryan Trebilcock who is supported by guitarist Hannes Riepler, multi-instrumentalist Lewis Wright, saxophonist George Crowley & Time Giles.

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

25 March 2015

Visit King's College London Chapel

Hidden deep within the Strand Campus of King's College London is a spectacular chapel designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1864, to reflect the "character of an ancient basilica". Despite considerable damage during the Second World War which resulted in the lowering of the main ceiling to accommodate lecture theatres above, the Chapel still retains the grace and charm of Gilbert Scott's original design.

When your author dropped in yesterday, light was streaming through Joseph Nuttgens stained glass windows, candles remained on the benches from the previous evening's candle-lit service and a student had just dropped in to begin his organ practice, which drifted down the stairs on departure. The chapel hosts regular services every weekday and the public are welcome to drop in at other times when the Strand Campus is open.

For more, see http://www.kcl.ac.uk/aboutkings/principal/dean/chaplaincy/prayeratkings/strand/college-chapel.aspx

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

24 March 2015

Drink at the Old Red Lion, Kennington

Built in 1929 in mock Tudor style on the site of an earlier pub which traces its history back to the mid-18th century, the Old Red Lion in Kennington is a decent local pub with Grade II listing an interesting architectural style inside and out. Its inter-war quirks continue throughout, and whilst much of the interior is now given over to a modern idea of style, it retains its two bars separated by low doors, and its adzed oak ceiling and interesting beams.

It's even worth a visit apart from its architecture, with decent beers, friendly staff and plenty of board games, dolls houses and that sort of thing. They claim  like many London boozers to "pride themselves on their relaxed and friendly atmosphere that emanates the feel of a village local", but to be honest, when your author visited last week, that wasn't far off the mark.

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

^Picture © Tom Bastin used under a Creative Commons license^

23 March 2015

See the Hitchcock Mosaics at Leytonstone Station

Probably Leytonstone's most famous resident, Alfred Hitchcock was born at 517 Leytonstone High Road on 13 August 1899, the son of a greengrocer and poulterer. In 2001, a series of mosaics were unveiled at Leytonstone Underground Station to mark the great man's centenary, each depicting a scene from one of his great works, including North by Northwest, The Birds, Vertigo & Strangers on a Train.

We are told that the mosaics were produced by Greenwich Mural Workshop at the Macbean Centre in Woolwich, using around 80,000 vitreous glass tesserae, Scenes were chosen by local people, and artists included Steve and Nathan Lobb, Carol Kenna, Claire Notley and Julie Noburn.

For more, see http://www.thejoyofshards.co.uk/london/hitch/

22 March 2015

Celebrate Norouz at the V&A

A special event at the V&A today marks Norouz, or Persian New Year, with Persian classical music, folk dance, stories, poetry and sound sculpture.

The day also offers the chance to make a paper carpet, design a tile, see a calligraphy demonstration and take part in other activities, to mark a festival celebrated each year around the spring equinox by Iranians, Kurds, Afghans other western Asian groups.

For more, see http://www.vam.ac.uk/whatson/media/uploads/files/Norouz_Daysheet_Final.pdf

^Picture © Andy Aldridge used under a Creative Commons license^

21 March 2015

Come and see me at Watermark Books

Your author will be signing copies of his new book, 'London, The Weekends Start Here: Fifty-two weekends of things to see and do' at Watermark Books in King's Cross Station today from 3pm. It's a smashing little bookshop, well worth a visit.

The shop was opened in the new Kings Cross after its refurbishment, and was the first Watermark in Europe, part of a chain of travel-focused shops in Australia and North America. The shop has a great selection of books and very knowledgeable staff, which set it apart from usual station bookshops.

For more, see https://twitter.com/Watermark_Books/

20 March 2015

Watch the eclipse at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

There's a partial solar eclipse this morning, which, we are told, will reach it's peak at about 9.30am, when 84 % of the sun will be gone. We're not supposed to look at it with the naked eye, but thanks to Londonist's Where To Watch The Partial Solar Eclipse In London article, it's easy to find some people with telescopes and the like to help us look.

The eclipse continues from  8.25am to about 10.40am and Londonist's M@ tells us that the Royal Observatory in Greenwich will be opening at 8am to allow us to see the eclipse, whilst the Flamsteed Astronomy Society will have their big telescopes out in front of the General Wolfe statue in Greenwich Park.

For more, see http://flamsteed.info/event/solar-eclipse-viewing-event/

19 March 2015

Drink at the Colton Arms

A lovely little pub in the backstreets south of Queen's Club and Baron's Court tube station, the Colton Arms dates from mid-19th century, and is noted for its two storey stuccoed front with sash windows an authentic interior fitted out in what we are told is a 1950s 'publican's rustic' style.

The pub seemingly takes its name from George Colton Moore of North End Lane, who built it along with the adjoining terrace. Inside, it is a welcoming affair, far enough from the main roads, offices and parades of shops to retain a true 'backstreet boozer' air, and with not really enough space to get rowdy. Still, it's always been happily ticking over with customers when your author has popped in, and long may it remain so.

For more, see http://coltonarms.com/

^Picture © Phillip Perry used under a Creative Commons license^

18 March 2015

Do life drawing at the Zabludowicz Collection

Housed in a 19th-century former Methodist chapel in Chalk Farm, the Zabludowicz Collection has been an art project and exhibition space since 2007, displaying works from the permanent collection of Chaim "Poju" Zabludowicz - one of Britain's richest men - as well as special exhibitions and new commissions.

Tonight, the Collection hosts its weekly life drawing class with artist John Close exploring the current exhibition - Testing Ground by the Still House Group - through the human figure.

For more, see http://www.zabludowiczcollection.com/london/events/life-drawing-18-march-2015

^Picture from Wikimedia Commons^

17 March 2015

Listen to young people's music at Rich Mix

Let's be honest...none of us know much about the music of the youth nowadays, but over at Rich Mix in east London this evening there's a chance to find out what's going on. A free gig offers the chance to see some of London’s best young rock, pop and urban musicians.

Presumably, this event - part of Music for Youth’s London Rock, Pop & Urban Regional Festival- is a bit like the battle of the bands used to be down Stroud in the 90s, and we'll get to hear rock, pop, hip-hop and rap from some of the best local musicians in the area.

For more, see http://www.richmix.org.uk/whats-on/event/shoreditch-regional-festival-17-march/

^Picture © andrew woodyatt used under a Creative Commons license^

16 March 2015

Buy junk at The Junk Shop, Greenwich

In these days of overdevelopment, high turnover in high street shops, and upselling of old things as 'vintage' places like the Junk Shop in Greenwich South Street, Greenwich are few and far between nowadays, and whilst prices for its contents have inflated along with similar items elsewhere, it still retains a rather timeless aladdin's cave air.

The shop continues into a segmented downstairs rummaging area, which is well worth a visit, and where you will encounter various antiques dealers, and there's also a cafe/ tea room out the back, which is open daily from 10.30am until 4pm, and your author has recently heard rumours of a Junk Shop Meridian, though he hasn't seen it himself.

For more, see http://www.greenwichmarketlondon.com/shops/detail/the-junk-shop

15 March 2015

Attend the St Patrick's Day Parade & Festival

The annual St Patrick's Day Parade & Festival take place today from noon until 6pm in London. The event begins with a 1.5 mile parade from Piccadilly to Whitehall, before a stage in nearby Trafalgar Square will offer Irish music, song dance, culture and arts.

There will also be an Irish food market, children’s activities and the chance to talk to representatives of Irish community organisations. Notable events on stage will include people from the Commitments musical a W.B. Yeats 150th Anniversary celebration with Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall and Young Poet Aisling Fahey Irish folk rock band Hermitage Green and the Lord of the Dance.

For more, see http://london.gov.uk/get-involved/events/st-patricks-day-parade-and-festival-2014

^Picture © Blowing Puffer Fish used under a Creative Commons license^

14 March 2015

Attend the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea

The Affordable Art Fair returns to Battersea Park this weekend, with art from over 1,100 drawn from 112 different galleries. Whilst some tend to have a slightly different conception of what constitutes 'affordable' than the rest of us, we are told there is plenty to be found under £500.


As well as the chance to buy some art, the fair also features workshops, demonstrations and talks, including a talk from SLAM (the South London Art Map) of the newest and most innovative galleries at the fair at 2.30pm.

^Picture © radim99 used under a Creative Commons license^

12 March 2015

Come to the launch of 'London, The Weekends Start Here'

Your author's new book, 'London, The Weekends Start Here: Fifty-two Weekends of Things to See and Do' should be taking to shelves in bookshops all across the capital today, and readers of this website are invited to attend the book launch at Stanfords in Covent Garden this evening from 6.30pm to help celebrate its release into the wild.

In principle, everyone is welcome, but it you could please make sure you rsvp to tomtiredoflondon[at]gmail[dot]com if you'd like to attend, that will help to make sure that things don't get too busy and there is enough wine and biscuits for everyone.

For more, see http://www.tiredoflondontiredoflife.com/p/book-launc-12-march.html

11 March 2015

Buy books at Stanfords

Tomorrow evening, your author will be celebrating the release of 'London, The Weekends Start Here: Fifty-two Weekends of Things to See and Do' at Britain's best travel bookshop, Stanfords in Covent Garden, and all readers of this website are invited. It's an honour to be able to launch it in such a historic venue, for Stanfords traces its history back to 1853, and has been trading from the same premises at 12-14 Long Acre since 1873.

It was to Stanfords on Long Acre that famous travellers like David Livingston, Robert Falcon Scott and  Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary came to find the maps and guides that fed their thirst for adventure, and the shop continues to attract modern adventurers like Ranulph Fiennes, Michael Palin, Bear Grylls and others. Truly, Britain's greatest explorers have always gone to Stanfords, and for as long as the doors remain open, they will continue to do so.

For more, see http://www.stanfords.co.uk/The-History-of-Stanfords.htm

10 March 2015

See History Is Now at the Hayward Gallery

A couple of weeks ago, your author found time on a sunny Sunday for a walk to the Hayward Gallery, to see History Is Now: 7 Artists Take On Britain, an incoherent exhibition reflecting on Britain in the run up to the General Election. The result is seven completely separate exhibitions not linked by any theme, but featuring some interesting collections of things John Akomfrah, Simon Fujiwara, Roger Hiorns, Hannah Starkey, Richard Wentworth and Jane and Louise Wilson made or found, with an almost-invisible theme of current-affairs-from-the-last-fifty-years-or-so.

The lack of any real structure isn't necessarily a bad thing, although some of the artists clearly just offered whatever was lying around in the studio when they were approached with the cheque book. In other places - such as with Simon Fujiwara's collection of objects - the interest of exhibition is more as an examination of the artist's brain through the prism of object choices, which is interesting in its own way. This, together with Roger Hiorns' exploration of the BSE epidemic and vCJD, makes the whole thing feel at times much more museum than art gallery, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing, and the point is driven home by the Bloodhound surface-to-air missile on the roof, presumably meant to make us reflect on war, rather than just think "Awesome...".

For more, see http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/history-is-now-7-artists-take-88866

9 March 2015

Attend a lunchtime lecture at the Museum of London

First founded in 1597, following instructions in the will of Sir Thomas Gresham, Gresham College is an educational establishment which hosts more than a hundred free lectures each year in the City of London. One such talk takes place at the Museum of London this lunchtime, where Dr Nathaniel Millett giving a lecture titled "North America's Largest Act of Slave Resistance?"

The talk explores the story of a place known as "Negro Fort", established at Prospect Bluff in Spanish Florida during the War of 1812. The Fort came about when British Royal Marine and radical anti-slavery advocate Edward Nicolls recruited hundreds of slaves from across the south east of what is now the United States to join the British war effort, making them British subjects. The Fort was left heavily armed when the British were forced to withdraw, and for a while a free community thrived with a strong sense of British identity. It sounds like a fascinating story.

For more, see http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/north-americas-largest-act-of-slave-resistance

8 March 2015

Attend the Crossbones Garden fundraising launch

Moves are afood to create a community garden on the site of Crossbones Graveyard on Redcross Way in Borough, a pre-medieval unconsecrated burial ground with the remains of around 15,000 poor people were laid to rest, including many of the local prostitutes known as "Winchester Geese".

Today sees the launch of the funding campaign to transform the graveyard, with volunteers meeting outside the gates around 1.30pm.

For more, see http://www.bost.org.uk/open-places/crossbones-graveyard/

7 March 2015

Celebrate International Womens Day at the Museum of London Docklands

Over at the Museum of London Docklands, they're celebrating International Women's Day today, with the chance to hear stories of Grace O’Malley, the Irish Pirate Queen who sailed up the Thames to meet Elizabeth I at Greenwich Palace and petition for the release of her children, and an account of Mary Driscoll's struggles as a striking match girl.

There's also a chance to make art and hear about famous women who travelled the world throughout history.

For more, see http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/docklands/whats-on/family-events/weekend-fun/

6 March 2015

Go late at the Wallace Collection

The University of the Arts London takes over the Wallace Collection this evening for a special free late night opening, featuring performances, talks, special displays, installations, drinks and live music.

Visitors are told to expect 18th-century French slow fashion salons, 3D printed decorative motifs. performances based on Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s The Swing, and live music in The Wallace Restaurant.

For more, see http://www.wallacecollection.org/collections/event/6178

5 March 2015

Remember the Cornish Rebels who marched on London

Today is St Piran's Day, the Cornish national day, which seems a fitting moment to remember a Cornish Army who once marched on London. A plaque on the outer wall of Greenwich Park, just to the east of Blackheath Gate entrance remembers Michael An Gof and Thomas Flamank, the leaders of the 1497 Cornish Rebellion. The Rebellion saw around 15,000 Cornishmen march from Cornwall to London in an uprising rooted in high taxation of tin miners. The rebels camped on Blackheath and by Deptford Bridge, before they were finally met by the King's forces at Deptford.

The battle is known as either the Battle of Deptford Bridge or the Battle of Blackheath, and this dichotomy is at the root of the rebels' loss, for the forces were split, with a group left guarding the river crossing at Deptford, whilst the rest camped on Blackheath. As the King's forces approached from central London, they met the isolated force at the Bridge first, and quickly defeated it. Once this had happened, with the rebels in disarray, the battle was all but over. Those left on the heath were soon defeated.

For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornish_Rebellion_of_1497

4 March 2015

Attend the GLA Housing Committee

Most people your author encounters complain about the state of the London housing market, and many say 'the Government' should do something, but few of us really consider how our elected representatives might be working to combat the problem. Well for those with an interest in the minutiae of London housing policy, today's public GLA Housing Committee meeting at 2pm is a goldmine.

The meeting will consider reports on The Impact of Investor Buyers on London’s New Build Market, and the relative benefits of Knock[ing] it Down or Do[ing] it Up?. When your author is retired, all he plans to do is attend these sorts of meetings and ask difficult questions. For meeting fans, the draft minutes of the last committee can be read here.

For more, see https://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=302&MId=5721

3 March 2015

Talk to Strangers at The Globe

Once a month, your author joins with London best socialisers Thinking Bob and others who he has never met before for an evening of conversation above a central London pub. Thought provoking questions are written in the preceding days and new conversations are fostered every half hour or so so things don't get too dull.

The result is almost always a great night out, where all are tested to talk about new things in a safe environment, and everyone is there for the same reason. That reason is that it is good to talk to new people for its own sake, as having conversations can help us learn how the world works.

If you fancy it, do come along tonight from 7pm. For more, see http://www.meetup.com/talkingtostrangers/

2 March 2015

Attend the London Bloggers Meetup

Your author will be returning to the London Bloggers Meetup to speak on a panel with Matt Brown from Londonist & Mena from Kids Love This Stuff. Laughably, the topic is 'monetisation', a topic which this blog knows very little about, but hopefully there will be scope for some broader talking about writing on the internet.

This excellent regular meetup group was and is a must for everyone starting out in regular blogging on any topic in London, and your author is fairly certain he would not still be writing today if it hadn't been for the early help of organiser Andy Bargery and the wisdom of the bloggers who attend.

For more, see http://www.meetup.com/londonbloggersmeetup/events/220278324/

^Picture © Klaxon used under a Creative Commons license^

1 March 2015

Attend the Reel Islington Film Festival

The Reel Islington Film Festival draws to a close today, with short films, long films, drinks and music in various venues across Islington.

Today's highlights include Leos Carax's Franco-German fantasy drama Holy Motors, live music by Walter Cronkite and the Seven O'Clock News Andrzej Wajda's 1960 fil Niewinni Czarodzieje, described as 'a provocative film about contemporary youth in post-war Warsaw'.

For more, see http://reelislington.com/festivals/full-programme/

^Picture © .Reel Islington^