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.


17 July 2015


This blog has existed since October 2008, and has been written almost-daily since the 2 January 2009. It's given birth to books, it has taken your author to every corner of this beautiful city on a much more regular basis than before to explore the best London has to offer, and it has made him some truly great friends he hopes to have for the rest of his life. From this week, however, your author will be spending rather less time in the capital, and as a result it will become more difficult to add daily updates here. As such, less regular updates will continue here, and a new website Tom's Britain will also cover interesting things to see and do in other parts of Britain.

Of course, this will beg the question of whether your author is tired of London. This website began because he was beginning to get tired of it, but it not only cured that malaise, it helped to fall in love with the city in a far deeper way than he ever had before. Our capital city is the best in the world, but of course that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other things to see on this Great island which are outside London, and it's time to have another look at them. That said, whether it likes it or not, London is part of Britain and as well as things to do in London continuing to be covered here, they'll also feature on the new website, just not every single day as for the last nearly-seven-years.

So, keep visiting for less regular London updates, or visit http://www.tomsbritain.com/ for more from elsewhere.

15 July 2015

Listen to Brass on the Grass at Westminster Abbey

Each summer, Westminster Abbey hosts a free series of brass band concerts in College Garden, which is accessible for non-Abbey-ticket-holders via the cloisters to the rear of the Abbey. Today's concert kicks off at 12.30pm and features Regent Brass, a traditional brass band from Wembley in North West London.

The concert is part of a series of Wednesday brass concerts on the grass which continue until mid-September. Refreshments, sandwiches and cream scones are usually available and in case of rain the concert will decamp to St Margaret's Church in front of the Abbey.

For more, see http://www.westminster-abbey.org/music/concerts/2015/brass-on-the-grass-lunch-time-music

13 July 2015

Seek the site of the King's Bench Prison

Originally the King's Bench Prison, and later the Queen's Prison and the Southwark Convict Prison, a prison stood on the site of what is now the Scovell Estate in Borough from 1758 until 1880, replacing a medieval prison which had taken its name from the King's Bench court of law in which cases of defamation and  bankruptcy were heard, amongst others.

In an area with plenty of Dickensian connections, it is probably little surprise that the site is mentioned in his work, and Mr Micawber in David Copperfield is imprisoned for debt in the King's Bench Prison. The Scovell Estate which occupies the site today was built in the 1970s and consists of pleasant low-rise cottagey and rather homely houses administrated by Southwark Council, with some owned by long term leaseholders.

For more, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King%27s_Bench_Prison

12 July 2015

Celebrate Bastille Day in Borough Market

It's Bastille Day on Tuesday, and to celebrate Borough Market is hosting a special French event, with food and drink,  traditional waiter’s races, bi-lingual storytelling, face painting, and petanque playing.

Then this evening from 6pm until 9pm, the Green Market host more celebrations, with music, eating, drinking, dancing and singing.

For more, see http://boroughmarket.org.uk/bastille-day-celebrations-sunday-12th-july-2015

^Picture © Catherine Sharman used under a Creative Commons license^

11 July 2015

Attend Barnes Fair

The 41st Barnes Fair kicks off on Barnes Green this morning from 9.30am, with live music, food and drink and some three hundred stalls, plus special medieval themed special element, celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

A grand parade of medieval themed floats will also feature, making its way around Barnes between about at 11am and 11.45am. Other demonstrations include ballet, youth dance and karate.

For more. see http://www.barnesfair.com/

^Picture © Paul Robertson used under a Creative Commons license^

10 July 2015

Watch tennis in King's Cross

Your author drank Pimm's and pretended to watch tennis until the sun set last night in the new Lewis Cubitt Square, a perhaps temporary place to be beside Central Saint Martins in the heart of one of the largest urban regeneration projects in Europe in King's Cross.

Children played in fountains, Murrays won at tennis, and everyone had a jolly nice time, whilst thirty-somethings tried to remember where they had spent hazy late nights nearby ("it was something to do with a freight yard and the clubs were called something like The Cross and The Key"). At lunchtimes, stalls serve food and in the evenings until the men’s final this Sunday, 12th July a big screen shows tennis to people lolling in deck chairs.

For more, see http://www.kingscross.co.uk/event/strawberries-screen-2015

9 July 2015


There's supposed to be a tube strike today, and so it seems the perfect opportunity for some evangelising about cycling in London. The best thing your author has done since he arrived in London is to buy a bike. It saves time, it helps you exercise and it helps you to understand the city better. Sure, it's rather dangerous, and our medieval street pattern isn't even designed for bicycles, let alone cars, buses and cycles all vying for the same piece of tarmac, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

You don't need thousands of pounds, an outfit made of lycra, or an encyclopaedic knowledge of bike maintenance to cycle in London. You just need a cheap bike and a willingness to follow confusing cycle routes, and probably an A to Z. You won't save the world, you shouldn't be angry with drivers, and you shouldn't go on and on and on about it. But perhaps it's ok once in a while to mention it as something worth trying...

For more, see https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/

8 July 2015

Attend the City Beerfest

Timed to coincide with the City of London Festival, the City Beerfest returns to Guildhall Yard today for its third year, featuring beers from 15 popular breweries and live music from Galway's We Banjo 3, 'powerhouse ensemble' The Kansas Smitty’s House Band, imaginary-island-based-conceptual-music-project Malphino and Cuban-born violinist and jazz musician Omar Puente.

So, it's not really raining, and your job really isn't that important, so switch off that computer early this afternoon and head to the City for boozing and music.

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

7 July 2015

Walk in Tavistock Square

Ten years ago today at 9.47am,18 year old Hasib Hussain blew himself up on the number 30 bus in Tavistock Square, killing Anthony Fatayi-Williams, Jamie Gordon, Giles Hart, Marie Hartley, Miriam Hyman, Shahara Islam, Neetu Jain, Sam Ly, Shayanuja Parathasangary, Anat Rosenberg, Philip Russell, William Wise, Gladys Wundowa and himself. The senseless loss of these lives will never be forgotten.

To mark ten years since the bombings, Londoners are being invited to get off their bus, train or tube a stop early and walk the last bit of the journey, in a simple moment of reflection and unity to remember those who lost their lives on 7th July 2005.

For more, see http://www.tavistocksquarememorialtrust.org/news/join-us-and-walktogether-on-7-july

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

6 July 2015

Risk booking a swim in the King's Cross pond

This time last week - having bought a ticket - your author trekked all the way to the new King's Cross man-made natural swimming pond for a lunchtime swim, only to be told on arrival that there was no swimming that day after all due to poor water quality. Though a refund has not been forthcoming, and the pond website was no longer working at the time of writing, those who have managed to take a dip insist it is worth the risk.

The 40 metre chemical-free pond is a temporary construction at the heart of the King's Cross construction site, and if you can manage to secure a booking, are lucky enough to be allowed to fulfil your booking and enjoy swimming in full view of a building site and a public viewing platform it's a great setting to do so, open weekdays from 6am - dusk and weekends from 8am - dusk. Tickets are£3.50 - £6.50 depending on time.

For more, see http://www.kingscross.co.uk/kings-cross-pond-club

5 July 2015

Seek the Secret Princess of Severndroog

A special interactive event as part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, The Secret Princess of Severndroog sees Severndroog Castle in south east London imagined as a fairytale castle,by a theatre company.

Families are invited to help free a princess from a spell which has locked her up in the castle in a woodland walking adventure, whilst adults are still free to visit the interesting folly in its own right.

For more, see http://www.festival.org/whatson/160/the-secret-princess-of-severndroog/

4 July 2015

Attend the Bermondsey Carnival

The free Bermondsey Carnival takes place in Southwark Park today, with music, a funfair, food stalls, a rumble in the jumble jumble sale and a headline set from Deptford. New Cross' 70s rock hero Steve Harley and his band Cockney Rebel .

The carnival continues from noon until 8pm and also features the SE16 Dance Hall programmed by SE16 Dance and giveaways from Millwall FC.

For more, see http://www.southwark.gov.uk/events/event/3633/bermondsey_carnival_2015

3 July 2015

Watch the Waterloo Carnival procession

A miniature Waterloo Carnival takes place today, with a myths and legends theme featuring a mythical picnic at 11.30am, a carnival at 1.30pm and a musical finale at 2pm featuring Westminster legend Kate Hoey MP.

This evening sees a myths and legends themed after party at the Horse & Stables on Westminster Bridge Road, where attendees are invited to come as their own myth or legend.

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

^Picture © Mark Hillary used under a Creative Commons license^

2 July 2015

Attend the London Folkfest

Now in its 5th year, the London Folkfest begind at the Bedford in Balham today, and continues until Sunday, offering live music across three stages and a number of genres with a special Country & Americana flavoured evening on Saturday, especially for the 4th of July.

A celebrated Balham landmark, the Bedford was built as a hotel in the 1830's, and became famous in the 1960s and 70s as a live music venue which hosted early gigs by bands like The Clash and U2. Doors open at 7pm tonight and on Friday and Saturday and at noon on Sunday 5th July.

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

^Picture © Ewan Munro used under a Creative Commons license^

1 July 2015

Watch the sunset from the wall at the Cutty Sark

This post has been written before, but once again the sunset over the Thames at the Cutty Sark - on Ballast Quay in Greenwich - was fantastic. The pub is a fantastic spot, in a beautiful part of town, with little traffic except the boats and swans to interrupt the slowly setting sun. The pub dates in its current form from around 1795, and once stood among industrial dockyards with ships tied up to the quay outside.

Yesterday, the quayside was busy but far from packed, and the wall in front of the pub had plenty of space for latecomers to show up and enjoy the last rays of sunshine shimmering across the river estuary. Today is set to be another beautiful one, so make sure you get out and enjoy the evening. The most difficult step is the first one out of the door...

For more, see http://www.cuttysarkse10.co.uk/