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.


22 May 2015

Have a break

Tired of London, Tired of Life is away.

Your author is off climbing mountains, paddling in cold streams and falling asleep to the sounds of chattering oyster-catchers in Wales, but inspiration for interesting Whitsundays out in London and England is available in these books, out now:


21 May 2015

Drink at the Victoria, Pages Walk

A refreshingly friendly pub - found on a backstreet between the Bricklayers' Arms roundabout and Bermondsey - the Victoria was built in the 1880s for railwaymen working in the area, and is today run by brothers Pat and Mike McKenna, as it has been since 1984. Today it's an attractive backstreet haven where all are welcome.

The pub benefits from its quiet side street setting, where only those who are passing are likely to stumble across it, and its immediately recognisable original Truman's Brewery tiling, although now it is an excellent freehouse. Any pub that was Evening Standard pub of the year in 1972 is worth a visit in your author's book.

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

20 May 2015

Take a Dickensian walk

Sure, the idea of a costumed tour is the sort of thing you may expect to find in North America, or the smaller market towns of northern England, but it's good when people get into character and today a special regular tour of Dickensian London leaves the Dickens Museum at 11:30am and 5pm.

The hour and a half tours cover the area between the Charles Dickens Museum and Holborn Circus, led by Richard Jones, the author of Walking Dickensian London, who has been giving walking tours of Dickens' London for longer than your author has been able to walk.
For more, see http://www.dickensmuseum.com/events/costumed-dickensian-walks/
^Picture © Peter Curbishley used under a Creative Commons license^

19 May 2015

Attend a lunchtime concert at St Martin in the Fields

Prize-winning Croatian pianist Diana Brekalo comes to St Martin in the Fields this lunchtime for a free concert as part of the St Martin's monthly Embassy Series, which brings international acts to the famous church in an attempt to bolster its reputation as an international church and world-famous concert venue.

The Embassy Series runs monthly, taking place every third Tuesday, and invites performers based on the recommendation of their embassy in the United Kingdom.

For more, see http://www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/event/free-lunchtime-concert-st-martins-embassy-series-diana-brekalo/

18 May 2015

See Hans Haacke's Gift Horse

There's a bronze skeleton of a horse with a bow on it on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square at the moment, and the bow shows some numbers from the London Stock Exchange. It's not the cleverest or most innovative thing to stand on the plinth, but the skeleton at least is a nice contrast with London's other equestrian statues, and some people seem to like the bow.

It's great that they're still doing this, but why on earth they never commissioned the pipe-organ cashpoint, your author will never know.

For more, see https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/arts-culture/fourth-plinth/2014-2015-commissions/hans-haacke

^Picture © stu smith under a Creative Commons license^

17 May 2015

Visit 13 Princelet Street

Over the last 20 years or so, your author has had some of his best holidays in cottages, castles, follies and forts owned by the Landmark Trust, a national charity which takes on buildings with interesting stories and makes them available for holiday lets. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Trust are this weekend opening 25 of their buildings around the country to the public for a pair of open days. In London, 13 Princelet Street - an 18th century Huguenot silk weaver's house in Spitalfields - has been chosen to open.

Admission is free, and leaflets are available on the building's history. It's a great chance to get inside this hidden east London gem, as normally you would almost certainly have to part with a thousand pounds or more to do so.

For more, see http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/news-and-events/upcoming-events/princelet-open-day113/

16 May 2015

Attend the Rickmansworth Festival

The 22nd Rickmansworth Festival takes place today and tomorrow along the Grand Union Canal between Batchworth and Stockers Locks in Rickmansworth - just inside the M25 near Watford - and also in the neighbouring Aquadrome.

Visitors can expect live music, a dog show, a Spitfire flypast, medieval living history displays, canal boat trips, a funfair and a bar, as well as all the usual food, craft and charity stalls common at these sorts of festivals.

For more, see http://www.rwt.org.uk/festival/

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

15 May 2015

Spend an evening at the Bank of England

An interesting museum exists within the Bank of England, but sadly many of those who work a usual Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm week, there's usually no chance of getting inside without skipping work. Well relief is at hand with a special late opening this evening as part of the excellent Museums at Night weekend. Tonight, doors will open from 5:30pm - 9:00pm, with the chance to meet banknote experts and question the Bank's mysterious Bullion team.

These extra events, plus the permanent displays we don't normally get to see when we're sitting at a desk sending emails, including the chance to lift a genuine bar of gold, and view the temporary exhibition flora and fauna, which examines the animals and plants depicted on banknotes and on the Bank of England building.

For more, see http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/Pages/museum/exhibitions/night.aspx

^Picture © Sean O'Neill used under a Creative Commons license^

14 May 2015

Drink wine at Dr Johnson's House with Museums at Night

The national Museums at Night weekend began yesterday, and in the City of London this means a special late night opening of the former home of Dr Samuel Johnson, who inspired this website. The event sees all four floors of the House open, and the very reasonable entry fee includes a complimentary glass of wine in Johnson's Withdrawing Room.

Other Museums at Night events take place this evening at the former London homes of John Keats, George Frideric Handel and Benjamin Franklin, as well as the Museum of the Order of St John in Clerkenwell and others whilst over the weekend there are special events at Banqueting House, Ham House & Garden, Brunel Museum and the Charles Dickens Museum, as well as scores of others in London and around the country.

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

13 May 2015

Run the Bridges Handicap Race

You can achieve a lot in your lunchtime, and since July 1977 keen types have been meeting in front of St Thomas' Hospital on Albert Embankment by by Westminster Bridge for the Bridges Race, a timed 2.3 mile handicap run which takes in both Vauxhall and Lambeth Bridges over usually less than half an hour. The race now takes place monthly on the second Wednesday on each month and today is the day.

The race is organised by volunteers, and all you have to do if you want to take part is contact the organisers before 11.45am on the day in question with your name, date of birth, estimated time and club (or none) and assuming they're not oversubscribed that month (it's hard to cope with more than 30 runners so there's a waiting list) they'll organise you a number and provisional handicap and you're in.

For more, see http://bridges.optimisefitness.com/index.html

^Picture © N Chadwick used under a Creative Commons license^

12 May 2015

Attend the Honourable Artillery Company open evening

City of London reservists the Honourable Artillery Company are the second oldest military organisation in the world, the oldest surviving regiment in the British Army and an important part of the British Army Reserve. Usually a rather private bunch, tonight the Company throws open its doors from 5pm until 9pm, in an annual event which seeks to raise awareness of its existence and encourage new recruits.

The evening offers the chance to watch military displays with gunfire, enjoy a free barbecue, see a parachute drop, observe displays from the Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team, listen to music from the Band and Corps of Drums of the Honourable Artillery Company and visit a secret museum and enjoy a pint at the Company's HQ, Armoury House, and (apart from the pint) it's absolutely free.

For more, see http://www.hac.org.uk/home.aspx

11 May 2015

See the Arnos Park viaduct

A large brick viaduct skirts the western reaches of Arnos Park in the London Borough of Enfield, north London, carrying the Piccadilly line over 34 arches between Arnos Grove and Southgate stations.

The viaduct opened in 1933, as part of the Piccadilly line extension from Finsbury Park to Cockfosters, built in 44 acre Arnos Park, then a very new public space, having been opened in 1928 in what was once the Arnos Grove Estate.

For more, see http://150greatthingsabouttheunderground.com/2012/07/06/33-the-viaduct-at-arnos-grove/

^Picture © ㇹヮィㇳ used under a Creative Commons license^

10 May 2015

Celebrate VE Day 70 at Severndroog Castle

A day of songs, dance and celebration takes place today at Severndroog Castle - atop Shooter's Hill in south-east London - as part of a special event to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

In what is promised to be a "good old fashioned street party", the Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust invites visitors for swing dance with a band from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and London Swing Dance, learning about how the building was used during the Second World War, storytelling, craft, face painting, tea and cakes and a barbeque.

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

9 May 2015

View the VE Day 70 exhibition in Trafalgar Square

On V.E. Day, crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square to celebrate the end of war in Europe, and tomorrow the Square will host the Band of the Grenadier Guards playing music from the 1940s to celebrate. Today and all weekend the Square is also marking this important anniversary with an an exhibition of V.E. Day photographs, which is also on show at City Hall.

Trafalgar Square was famously where the young Princess Elizabeth - later Queen Elizabeth - celebrated the end of the War, so it seems like a fitting location to mark such an important historic anniversary.

For more, see https://www.london.gov.uk/get-involved/events/ve-day-70th-anniversary

8 May 2015

Celebrate VE Day 70 in Broomfield Park

It's the 70th anniversary of VE Day today, and with all this electioneering that's been going on, sadly it could easily pass most of us by. However, there is still plenty on offer for those looking to remember this historic anniversary, including a service of Remembrance at 3pm at the Cenotaph, special lights on the Houses of Parliament and St Paul's in central London, the lighting of a special beacon at the Tower of London at 9.32pm and scores more events.

Those looking for a celebratory atmosphere could do worse than heading to Broomfield Park in Enfield, where following two minutes of silence to remember the fallen, North London Brass will begin a concert to mark the end of World Wars with some joyful 1940s classics.

For more, see http://www.enfield.gov.uk/news/article/1477/enfield_celebrates_ve_day

^Picture © Christine Matthews used under a Creative Commons license^

7 May 2015


Whilst many spend a lot of time complaining about politicians, running the Government takes a great deal of hard work, intelligence and good judgement. We need good people to do the job, and we are today offered the chance to choose which of the people who have applied in our area are best for that job.

Plus one of the best things about voting as far as your author is concerned is getting to visit local schools, community halls, churches and other interesting places that aren't usually open to the public. Vote early, vote often (or not, actually).

For more, see https://www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk/polling-stations

^Picture © secretlondon123 used under a Creative Commons license^

6 May 2015

Find a memorial to Sullivan

A Grade II listed memorial to Sir Arthur Sullivan, half of musical duo Gilbert and Sullivan, stands in Victoria Embankment Gardens. The memorial was unveiled by Princess Louise in 1903, not far from the Savoy Theatre built by Gilbert and Sullivan collaborator Richard D'Oyly Carte to show their comic operas.

The memorial is topped off with Sullivan himself, whilst below a weeping muse leans against the plinth and some sheet music, a mandolin and a Pan mask are discarded on its base. Sullivan died at his London flat on the 22nd November 1900, aged 58.

For more, see http://memoirsofametrogirl.com/2013/04/05/arthur-sullivan-memorial-embankment-gardens-london-racy-statue/

^Picture © Betsy Weber used under a Creative Commons license^

5 May 2015

Learn about Forensics at the Wellcome Collection

Always behind the curve, your author finally got round on Friday to visiting the Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime exhibition at the Wellcome Collection. Though the details of this type of thing can often be a bit lurid, the exhibition is undoubtedly fascinating, examining not only the details of cases, but also looking at techniques used in training and forensic investigation such as Frances Glessner Lee's miniature murder scene dioramas used to educate detectives and Sally Mann’s photograph of a Tennessee Body Farm, where the corpses of deceased donors are left outside used to test decay rates.

Later in the exhibition, a Morgue section examines pathology and autopsy and includes Šejla Kamerić's Ab uno disce omnes, an artwork which allows visitors to step inside what feels like a refrigerated morgue and reflect on the 1992–95 war in the former Yugoslavia, its impact on Bosnian society and aftermath. There's a great deal to take in, and the content is gruesome enough that many may not want to do the exhibition all in one go, but thankfully it is free and return visits are encouraged.

For more, see http://wellcomecollection.org/forensics

4 May 2015

Attend Southgate May Fair

The Annual May Day Fair returns to Christ Church Southgate today, with plenty to see and do on The Green and the Walker Cricket Ground.

On the cricket ground there will be a bouncy castle, hot food, live music, a bar and an inflatable squash court, in an event given an extra importance as 2015 is the 400th anniversary of Christian worship on the site of Christ Church, Southgate.

For more, see http://southgategreen.org.uk/event/may-day-fair-2/?instance_id=122

^Picture © Christine Matthews used under a Creative Commons license^

3 May 2015

Eat Malaysian food on the South Bank

A special Malaysian food market popped up on the South Bank yesterday, and is open again today, offering you the chance to buy food and eat it in the area between the Oxo Tower and Waterloo Bridge.

Visitors are told to expect around 15 different Malaysian restaurants and food sellers, as well as music and some live cookery demonstrations.

For more, see http://www.malaysiakitchen.co.uk/springmarket.html

^Picture © Malaysia Kitchen used under a Creative Commons license^

2 May 2015

Attend the Canalway Cavalcade

Our canals are more popular than ever, and over in Little Venice today and all weekend including Monday, one of the largest canal celebrations in the country - the IWA Canalway Cavalcade - is taking place.

As well as around 100 boats, we can expect ll Morris dancing, real-ale bar, stalls, Punch and Judy, a one man band, a Boat Handling Competition, the Blessing of the Boats by Father Gary Bradley, Vicar of Little Venice, music and a parade of boats, amongst other things.

For more, see https://www.waterways.org.uk/events_festivals/canalway_cavalcade_2015/iwa_canalway_cavalcade_2015

1 May 2015

Follow the Deptford Jack

Summer is just around the corner, and today is May Day, so down in Deptford the Fowlers Troop will be parading a traditional start-of-summer Jack in the Green through the streets in a 1980s revival of an event performed until about 1906.

The Jack will visit the Dog and Bell, the Lord Hood, the Star and Garter, the Plume of Feathers and the Richard I in Greenwich, before finishing up at the Ashburnham Arms at around 5pm. For anyone who forgot to take today off work, please see last year's reminder and pay more attention next time.

For more, see http://www.deptford-jack.org.uk/mayday2015.htm