Category Archives: London

London

20+ Things To Do In London During This Holiday Season

As we finally reach the festive month that is December, here’s a bunch of things to see and do in the merriest month of winter in London. From traditional Christmas activities, to mouthwatering menus, as well as Christmas markets and workshops, I’ve got you sorted.

TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS THINGS TO DO IN LONDON

Natural History Museum Ice Rink
Set against the backdrop of the Waterhouse building, the Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum is one of the most magical places to be this winter. Experience the thrill of skating surrounded by fairy lights nestled in frost-covered trees, with the smell of mulled wine and toasted marshmallows in the air.

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
Returning for its 12th year, head down to this annual, family-friendly event in Hyde Park. With a huge Christmas market, a stunning ice kingdom, big-top shows, an ice rink and a host of Christmas-themed activities and fun, you’re sure to feel festive in no time.

Christmas in Leicester Square
See one of London’s most famous squares transformed for the festive season as part of Christmas in Leicester Square. The festival features a traditional Christmas market, a Santa’s grotto for families and a Belgian spiegeltent.

Winter Festival @ Southbank Centre
The Southbank Centre will be transformed into a magical Christmas landscape this winter, with a bustling market, twinkling lights and a host of seasonal events. The festival offers a packed programme of free and ticketed events for all ages – from world-class theatrical performances and festive concerts, to social dances, community choirs and activities.

The Great Christmas Pudding Race @ Covent Garden, 7 December
One of the most exciting events of the Christmas season, this charity fun-run takes place in London’s iconic Covent Garden, helping to raise vital funds for the charity Cancer Research UK. Teams in fantastic fancy-dress costumes race to compete the festive course, navigating obstacles such as a giant inflatable slide and a crazy foam slalom all whilst balancing a Christmas Pudding on a tray!

Skate at Somerset House
Make the most of the wintry weather as one of London’s most beautiful outdoor ice rinks returns for Skate at Somerset House. In partnership with Fortnum & Mason, this icy experience is open all day and well into the evening, when the rink comes alive with special club nights featuring top DJs.

Skate in the City, Broadgate Ice Rink
Embrace the magic of Christmas in the heart of the City. Broadgate Ice Rink is just a two-minute walk from Liverpool Street Station, in the midst of an impressive array of Christmas decorations, shops, bars and restaurants.

Tower of London Ice Rink
Skate in the grounds of one of London’s most dramatic landmarks, and soak up the centuries-old historic atmosphere at this exclusive outdoor ice-rink.

ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS THINGS TO DO IN LONDON

CHRISTMAS MARKETS AND POP-UPS IN LONDON

Frost Fair festival @ Museum of London Docklands, 21 – 22 December
When the River Thames would freeze over, many years ago, huge celebrations called Frost Fairs were held on the ice. Join the Museum of London Docklands for a weekend of festivities recreating the magic of these special festivals, with interactive games and workshops, enchanting performances and arts and crafts.

The Peter Pan Cup @ Hyde Park, 25 December
Watch one of the more unusual London events in December, as brave outdoor swimmers compete in the icy waters of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park for the annual Christmas Day race. Don’t miss this event, which has been taking place on Christmas mornings since 1864.

Enchanted Eltham Palace @ Eltham Palace, 12 – 15 December
Once a favoured medieval palace and then the childhood home of Henry VII, Eltham Palace was transformed into a striking Art Deco mansion by eccentric millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in the 1900s. Explore the stunning historic landscape lit up after dark with the return of their popular enchanting evening, with an illuminated trail, interactive colour displays and fairground rides.

Maltby Street Christmas Night Market, 6-20 December
As nights draw in and the festive season approaches, Maltby Street Market warmly invites everyone to join them on their beloved Ropewalk for the first run of their seasonal after dark markets. We’re talking carolling, hot mulled wine and mince pies, as well as responsibly sourced Christmas trees you can buy.

Plastic Freedom Pop-Up 6 – 8 December
If you’re looking for gifts that are plastic free to spread that eco-love to your family and friends, then this pop-up is your go-to destination. The Sea Containers London X Plastic Freedom pop-up will sell a wide variety of items, from limited-edition Self Care Company X Plastic Freedom candles and specially curated grooming gift sets to Christmas sock sets and brass and wood Christmas tree decorations.

A sustainable gift-wrapping station will be setup within the space, where guests can either bring in their own items to be wrapped or have items purchased on the day wrapped for them using recycled, hand-printed paper, boxes and hessian bows.

Christmas at Brixton Village
London’s most diverse and vibrant market, Brixton Village, has a really exciting line-up of events, and has been kitted out with full Christmas sparkle, pop-up street food in partnership with Street Food Union, and even a specially designed Instagram Mural for visitors to capture their perfect Christmas moment. As well as all of this, there is a really great line-up of festive music performances (detailed below), both this weekend and during upcoming weekends in December. There are also some great Christmas deals such as Salon’s Christmas Banquet, raclette and champagne at Champagne & Fromage, and Lost in Brixton’s festive drinks packages.

CHRISTMAS FOOD MENUS IN LONDON

This festive season, Perrier-Jouët and the Intercontinental Park Lane will launch an exclusive Afternoon Tea experience, inspired by the classic English carol “The Twelve Days Of Christmas”. Featuring an array of delicious sweet and savoury favourites including partridge and pear pithivier and sandwiches such as smoked salmon, roast beef, chicken and beetroot. There is also winter spiced scones, chocolate tart, and traditional Christmas mince pies – all enjoyed alongside a glass of perfectly chilled Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut or Belle Epoque. It’s available daily (from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm) until the 5th of January, 2020.

There is no better way to kick-start your celebrations than at Champagne and Fromage, a shop and bistro in Brixton Village, which will be offering customers a special offer on raclette, the perfect accompaniment to a well-deserved glass of fizz. Champagne and Fromage offers an Authentic French menu with a vast selection of award-winning grower Champagne and over 50 soft and hard artisan cheeses.

Harry’s Bar, James Street is launching a limited edition ‘Golden toadstool,’ a festive take on its most popular dessert. The decadent funghi encompasses a dark chocolate dome encasing iced vanilla parfait with blackberries, salted caramel, and toasted hazelnuts.

A Christmas cuddle in a bun. Blacklock have created the ultimate ‘Christmas burger,’ featuring Philip Warren Turkey thighs rubbed in a mix of Christmas spices, served in a brioche bun with Blacklock sausage and onion patty, middlewhite bacon, cranberry ketchup, and greens.

Big Mamma have gone all out with the ‘Christmas Tree’ pizza. Layered with Mozzarella di bufala, broccoli-parmigiano cream, topped with crunchy potatoes, stracciatella and ‘burned’ tomatoes. This one-off special will be available at both Circolo and Gloria.

Looking for the spot for your festive get-together? Whether you’re planning a meal with friends, a family celebration, or you want to take over the whole space for a blowout lunch or dinner, Salon in Brixton will be providing festive cheer with a set Christmas Banquet Menu for groups of 6 or more. Dishes will include indulgent options such as Aylesbury duck with celeriac and pickled walnut, and Caramelised pear with chestnut and sour cream.

Wahaca’s unique ‘Mince Pie Empanada’ has made a comeback and this year it’s infused with Mezcal and served with Brandy Butter ice cream. This, alongside the ‘Turkey & Stuffing Taquito special with Grilled Hispi Cabbage,’ means Wahaca’s festive menu will be an unmissable treat this Christmas.

CHRISTMAS WORKSHOPS IN LONDON

Gift Wrap Printmaking Workshop with Laurie Avon (free), Thursday and Saturdays, December 2019
Illustrator Laurie Avon is leading one-hour rubber stamp printmaking workshops at Islington Square this festive season where participants can create their own personalised gift wrapping paper to take home. Using simple tools and a take-home approach, Laurie’s workshops celebrate the evolution of stamps – from a historic symbol of authority, to a playful means of expression.

Christmas Leftovers and Fermentation – 11 & 12 December @
Cub
Hoxton bar and restaurant Cub has released this month’s Fermentation Masterclasses with a festive twist.  Taking place in ‘The Cub Cave’ a subterranean bar beneath Cub, the events are hosted by Dr Johnny Drain, one of the world’s leading experts in fermentation. Guests will learn how to make their own ferments from leftovers whilst enjoying tasty drinks and snacks from the Cub team. Tickets can be purchased here

Wreath-making workshops @ Christmas at The Yards, 28 November, 5  & 14 December
Christmas wreath-making workshops with the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers, priced at £5 and with proceeds going to the charity Action for Children – 5.30pm

Festive craft workshops @ Christmas at The Yards @ Christmas at The Yards // 28 November, 5  & 14 December
Make Kirigami cards, learn how to write beautiful hand lettered gift tags or create pop-up cards and paper baubles as part of a series of creative Christmas craft sessions – 5-7pm & 12-1:30pm

So that’s it for the top treats and attractions you should definitely indulge in this season, but it’ll be over so quickly, I better get started researching next year’s list soon!

London

Places To Eat Near Victoria Station

restaurant near victoria station

There’s more to Victoria than just people rushing for their train home, tourists trying to find the bus station or the odd musical theatre production. The neighbourhood is becoming more and more alive and a lot of restaurants are opening up in the area which can get a little overwhelming. So to help sift through it all, I’ve narrowed it down with some of my favourite restaurant picks in Victoria.

restaurant near victoria station

Victoria Food Hall

This place, which opened last summer, is a food hall paradise and the perfect spot if you’re looking for a place to eat near Victoria Station. I’ve seen people take their parents (perfect as you can immediately but them back on the train home afterwards) friends (the more friends the more food preferences) and dates (crucial test to see if they’re willing to share their food) there. So far I’ve tried three places:

Super Tacos Al Cartone

When the craving for Mexican food strikes (only every other day!) head to Super Tacos in Market Hall Victoria. So far their steak taco and tortillas are my favourite, but I haven’t yet made my way through the whole menu.

Soft Serve Society

My favourite soft serve place is now also in Victoria! The ice cream comes in flavours like matcha, coconut or good old vanilla that you can top off with strawberry crunch, pocky sticks or salted caramel sauce for the perfect treat.

restaurant near victoria station

Monti’s Deli

Another top pick at the Market Hall Victoria is Monti’s Deli, especially the egg and cheese bun, which is pure perfection and a 10/10 would-eat-again. They are apparently also the go-to place for a pastrami bagel, but I don’t think I could order anything else when I can just have another fluffy egg and cheese bun.

In and around the wider Victoria area you’ll also find:
restaurant near victoria station

Ole & Steen

Whether you’re after a rye sandwich, salmon salad or Scandinavian-style cakes, Ole & Steen got you covered. But the real reason you venture here is their delicious cinnamon swirl, seriously go in and try – you won’t regret it.
restaurant near victoria station

Bleecker Street

American burger lovers … this one is for you. Bleecker Street can do no wrong with their juicy meat, perfect buns, perfect melted cheese and no over the top toppings. The real king of burgers.

Aster for a Prosecco Saturday Brunch

When Aster just opened it had Nordic-French dishes like salmon hot dogs, celeriac and flower cocktails on the menu for a friendly price. Now its turned into your go-to Saturday brunch spot with saver picks like smoked salmon, cauliflower steak and quinoa salads.
restaurant near victoria station

Bone Daddies

This ever-expanding chain is the best place to get your ramen slurp on, or if that’s not your bowl, then their poke, bao buns (my fave) and katsu curry are well worthwhile alternatives to chow down on.

Black Sheep Coffee

Did someone say caffeine? From oat latte to coffee smoothies and a classic espresso … When it comes to coffee Black Sheef Coffee has your back.

restaurant near victoria station
If that wasn’t enough, you can also find major chains nearby such as the Ivy, Shake Shack, Crosstown Donuts and Wagamama in case you don’t feel like trying something new.

London

The other most Instagrammable places in London – London Photo Spots

We can all agree that London is beyond photogenic with almost every corner being worthy of a snap. But you can only take so many photos of Tower Bridge, Peggy Porchen and Notting Hill before you get bored. Over the years I’ve stumbled upon some other favourite places that showcase the various faces of the capital – so I thought I’d share my top picks for your next London trip which might also supercharge your Instagram feed.

Seven Dials Market

Food, food, food! The perfect spot for your tastebuds and your Instagram feed is the recently opened Seven Dials Market featuring some of the best London Street Food – including a conveyor belt…for cheese!
Best Time For Picture: Indoors, so anytime
Cost: Free to go inside

Shad Thames

If you find yourself next to Tower Bridge head down the stairs and walk through this historic riverside street that showcases the rawer side of London.
Best Time For Picture: day and evening both have their charm
Cost: Free to visit

Barbican Conservatory

When the weather gets rainy and you’re looking for somewhere indoors to explore, then head to the Barbican Conservatory and explore the different species of trees and plants as well as a special cacti and succulents corner. Only open on Sunday so might need a little planning.
Best Time For Picture: Indoors; avoid the first hour as the light might make your photos too overexposed
Cost: Free to visit, but donation is encouraged

Severndroog Castle

Don’t let the word castle get your hopes up as it’s really only a little tower, but this 18th Century gem hidden in a park in South East London offers a great 360° views of the London skyline.
Best Time For Picture: Day time
Cost: Check website for up to date entrance fees

Phone Boxes LSU

Did you really visit London if you didn’t get a photo in or in front of one of the red phone boxes? There are so many phone boxes, but my favourite ones are near LSU in Bloomsbury.
Best Time For Picture: Day time
Cost: Free to visit

St John’s Gate

St John’s Gate is a Tudor gate dating all the way back to 1504. It used to be the entrance to the Priory’s inner precinct, now it’s the home to the Museum of the Order of St John, where you can learn more about the history of the Order.
Best Time For Picture: Day time
Cost: Free to visit

Tate Britain

Just like several other London museums the Tate Britain is a perfect spot for those who are interested in architecture. Their unique selling point might be the stairs inside the main lobby.
Best Time For Picture: Indoors, so anytime
Cost: Free to visit

Fleet Street

Walking through Fleet Street is a walk down history lane: from the art deco offices to Tudor style pubs and several monuments and statues.
Best Time For Picture: Day time
Cost: Free to visit

Alexandra Palace Theatre

London Instagrammable Photo Spots Alexandra Palace Theatre

The recently refurbished Victorian theatre is the oldest new theatre in London and every corner is photo worthy. You can only visit it as part of a tour (or to see a show) so keep that in mind before going all the way up the hill.
Best Time For Picture: Indoors, so anytime
Cost: Check website for up to date entrance fees

Mithras Temple

London Instagrammable Photo Spots Mithranium The London Mithraeum houses the remains of the Roman Temple of Mithras and a selection of Roman Artefacts. Do bring your best low-light camera as though it’s atmospheric, it’s very, very dark.
Best Time For Picture: Indoors, so anytime
Cost: Free, but you need to book ahead

Wallace Collection

London Instagrammable Photo Spots Wallace Collection

Just one of those gorgeous historic mansions filled to the brim with 18th and 19th century paintings and grand coloured rooms that will brigthen up your Instagram feed.
Best Time For Picture: Indoors, so anytime
Cost: Free

Green On The Screen

If you’re not interested in spending money on a film you’ll definitely be interested in shooting a photo of exterior of one of the oldest cinemas in the UK.
Best Time For Picture: Evening
Cost: Free, check website for movie screenings and costs

Two Temple House

From Mahogany carvings to a grand staircase and stained-glass windows and ceilings, this is a Gothic Revival heaven. Keep in mind that it’s only open for selected exhibitions, so make sure to check if ahead of time.
Best Time For Picture: Indoors, so anytime
Cost: Check website for up to date entrance fees

Lesnes Abbey Ruins London Instagrammable Photo Spots Lesnes Abbey Ruins

The stunning ruins of a 12th century Abbey, plus its gorgeous surrounding woodlands, complete with bluebells, are definitely worth the trek to South East London. The added bonus is it’s a popular dog walking destination too.
Best Time For Picture: Day
Cost: Free

Octagon Room at Orleans House Gallery

London Instagrammable Photo Spots

The Octagon Room was built in the 18th Century to impress the royal guests, and if that’s not their equivalent of Instagram worthy then I don’t know what is. It’s small and all the way in Richmond so you might want to combine it with a walk by the River Thames or Richmond Park.
Best Time For Picture: Indoors, so anytime
Cost: Free

London

Pup Art: A Tale of The Dog Paintings in London Galleries

dogs in paintings tate modern london

Dogs…they’re a great way to sell products on TV, boost your likes on Instagram, or encourage you to see that latest rom-com, but they’re art appeal goes back further than you might thin.

If you’re after dogs in paintings, then you could do worse than visit the Renaissance section of any portrait gallery! That’s one of the useless things I learned from revisiting London museums and doing the Museum Musings. During these visits I also took some snaps for my friend’s Dogs in Paintings Instagram account and thought I’d share some of my fur-vourites today.

The National Gallery – Probably the place to be, the museum has a pawfect selection of dogs in paintings:

 

dogs in paintings national gallery london

dogs in paintings national gallery london dogs in paintings national gallery london

The Wallace Collection – Furtunately for us Mr Wallace collected a lot of portraits with pups:

dogs in paintings wallace collection london dogs in paintings wallace collection london dogs in paintings wallace collection london

Victoria & Albert – It’s one of my least favourite museums in London, but I do dig their dogs in paintings catalogue:

dogs in paintings v&a museum london dogs in paintings v&a museum london dogs in paintings v&a museum london

Tate Britain – Tate Britain might be a bit dusty and outdated … but their mutts on canvas collection goes on furever:

dogs in paintings tate britain london dogs in paintings tate britain london dogs in paintings tate britain london

London

My London Summer 2019 Wanderlist

Today I’m sharing my London Summer Bucket List with all the things I can’t wait to go see and do in possibly the best season of the year.

Go To An Outdoor Movie Screening – Between screenings on a rooftop, in a park or in a Neoclassic courtyard, I’m spoilt for choice for my outdoor film fix!

Staycation in London – More specifically… I’m after a hotel with a magical rooftop pool. The Curtain has one and is reasonably priced, so I’m keeping an eye on it and potential swimwear in mind. Otherwise there is always the good old local Lido.

Eat All The Ice-Cream – Really… a summer isn’t complete without gouging myself on the cold stuff at my favourite ice cream spots as well as discovering new ones. Gelato baby!

Give Kew Gardens Another Try – Happy give this historic greenhouse and garden destination a second chance in the right season. Plus I need to check out Temper House as it was sadly shut when I went before.

Check Out An Exhibition – I haven’t been to an exhibition in months so I’m saving it for a really hot day where I can escape to the museum for all of its air-con loveliness. Right now it’s between Stanley Kubrick at the Design Museum or the Manga Exhibition at British Museum.

Finish the Green Chain Walk – I have two more sections before I finally finish the Green Chain Walk and can grab my medal. Ok, maybe there is no medal, but I will feel more complete – and isn’t that the best reward of all?

Finish That Pile Of Books – There will be rainy days and there will be the weekends before pay day where I can lock my self in the house or garden and escape between the pages.

See the art work at Serpentine – A visit to Hyde Park is never a punishment. Combine it with some free art and possibility for dogspotting and that’s a Sunday afternoon sorted. Maybe go all out and have a picnic of cheese, crackers and wine, of course.

What are your summer plans?