23 Summery Things To Do In London This Month: August 2019

Notting Hill Carnival takes place over the bank holiday weekend. Image: Shutterstock

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS: School’s out for summer. If you’re looking for ways to keep the kids amused, take a look at our guide to London in the school holidays. We’ve covered family-friendly attractions, exhibitions, events and theatre shows, plus plenty of places to eat and drink.

BBC PROMS: The huge classical music series continues with concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and other venues throughout the month, in addition to talks and family workshops. Highlights this month include The Sound of SpaceMozart’s Requiem and The Warner Brothers StoryUntil 14 September

STATE ROOMS: Every summer, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are opened to the public, offering a chance to see inside the glitzy Throne Room and Ballroom, among other areas. This year there’s also a special exhibition, Queen Victoria’s Palace. Marking the 200th anniversary of her birth, it looks at how the monarch transformed the Palace from private house to royal residence. Until 29 September

Spice Gals is one of the August highlights at Underbelly Festival

UNDERBELLY: Performing arts festival Underbelly rumbles on in its purple tent by the Thames. August highlights include disco circus night Club Briefs, a celebration of three decades of the Phoenix Arts Club, and a Spice Girls drag showUntil 29 September

51ST STATE: There will be plenty of sniggering ravers as they ride the Piccadilly line to Cockfosters for music festival 51st State in Trent Park. This year is the event’s fifth birthday, and it’s celebrating the only way it knows how — masses of house music with a dash of garage, a hint of soul and a dollop of disco across seven stages. 3 August

EASTERN ELECTRICS: Another festival dedicated to making your body move but with acts like Goldie, Big Narstie and Hannah Wants, Eastern Electrics has a hard edge. Expect bass, the kind that may leave your ears ringing for a week. If that sounds a bit much, you can always just follow the roaming samba band around the site for two straight days. 3-4 August

Prudential RideLondon takes cyclists through London and beyond

PRUDENTIAL RIDELONDON: Get on yer bike for a weekend of cycling, courtesy of Prudential RideLondon. Sign up to take part in the family-friendly RideLondon-Surrey 19, which joins the final 19 miles of the London-Surrey 100 route between Sandown Park and Green Park. Otherwise, take part in the FreeCycle, a traffic-free 7-mile route through the streets of central London. 3-4 August

MELTDOWN FESTIVAL: Musician and producer Nile Rodgers has curated the 26th edition of Southbank Centre’s Meltdown Festival. Expect eight days of cutting edge live music events — some of which are selling out fast. Our picks include the music of Stranger Things, Rodgers himself in conversation with music manager Merck Mercuriadis, the Eurythmics Songbook, and a free day of catwalking at the Vogue Ball.  3-11 August

SHARD SESSIONS: As live music venues go, the View from The Shard is a fairly unique one. Enjoy a series of late-night summer concerts and DJ sets 800ft above the capital, with a glass of Moët & Chandon. 3 August-12 October

Enjoy live music at The View From The Shard

GREAT BRITISH BEER FESTIVAL: At time of writing, the full line-up for this year’s Great British Beer Festival has yet to be announced, but we do know that there will be a plethora of beer tastings (last year’s event had 1,000 beers, ciders and perries from over 400 breweries), plus live music, pub games and street food. 6-10 August

ESPRESSO MARTINI FESTIVAL: If cocktails are more your buzz, the Mr Black Expresso Martini Festival is dedicated to the caffeine-laced serve. Sign up for a free digital pass to get £6 espresso martinis at participating bars across London, and access to various pop-ups and parties. 7-11 August

Film 4 Summer Screen comes to Somerset House

FILM 4 SUMMER SCREEN: The cobbled courtyard of Somerset House houses a giant cinema for Film4 Summer Screen. As usual, we’re offered an edgier, more unique selection of films than the crowd-pleasers at summer cinemas — not that that usually stops it selling out. The full programme is available here, and includes Black Panther, Reservoir Dogs and This Is England. Just remember to bring something soft to sit on. 8-21 August

CATHEDRAL LATES: St Paul’s Cathedral stays open late for a chance to see the church in twilight hours on Thursday evenings in August. Visit the main cathedral and crypt, without the usual daytime crowds — non-flash photography is permitted. 8-29 August

LONDON CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL: Almost 100 breweries are on the line-up for London Craft Beer Festival, a three-day brewing celebration at Tobacco Dock. Focus may be on the drinks, but the music line-up is pretty decent too, with the likes of Friendly Fires, Kaiser Chiefs and Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip playing DJ sets. 9-11 August

Tuck into sweet treats at London Dessert Festival

LONDON DESSERT FESTIVAL: Satiate your sweet tooth at London Dessert Festival. Eat your way around dishes from producers and chefs from all over the country, including plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. We’re also promised Instagrammable walls and themed rooms, food photography workshops, and make-up artists offering styles inspired by desserts. 17-18 August

ARIANA GRANDE: American pop singer Ariana Grande brings her Sweetener World Tour to the O2 for three dates in August (plus a further two in October). English singer-songwriter Ella Mai is the support act. 17-20 August

FLEABAG: Phoebe Waller-Bridge takes her phenomenally successful TV show back to its original form as a one-woman stage show. “I know!” we hear you cry, “but tickets have all sold out”. Not so. There are still ways of getting tickets if you know how, which we do, and we’ve shared the info with you. You’re welcome. 20 August-14 September

The Monster obstacle course comes to Ally Pally

THE MONSTER: Kids, it’s time to move over and let the adults have fun. The Monster is a giant inflatable obstacle course popping up at Alexandra Palace — and it’s only for adults. The 300m long course is surrounded by bars, street food stalls and live DJ sets. 23-28 August

SOUTH WEST FOUR: Mega. That’s the one word that sums up Clapham Common’s EDM/grime/garage/whatever-the-hell-people-want-to-dance-to end of summer weekender. The line-up is massive. Dance music is a broad church, so if you and your mates all have differing tastes this could be the festival for you — there’s at least one act on this behemoth of this line-up that everyone will go crazy for. What’s ours? Tough choice, but TQD have never let us down before. Clapham Common, £57-£99, book ahead, 24-25 August

Image: Shutterstock

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL: Europe’s biggest street festival takes over west London for the bank holiday weekend. Notting Hill Carnival has been running for over 50 years, so it’s got the blend of performers, dancers, epic sound systems and tempting street food down to a tee. 24-26 August

BANK HOLIDAY: The final weekend of August is a bank holiday — the last one before Christmas (sob). Make the most of it with our guide to things to do in London on bank holiday weekend26 August

Mamma Mia The Party begins this month — alas, not in Waterloo

MAMMA MIA THE PARTY: Long-awaited ABBA-themed restaurant Mamma Mia The Party opens inside the O2. The “immersive theatrical experience” is overseen by ABBA member Björn Ulvaeus, and is set in a Greek taverna in Skopelos, the island where parts of Mamma Mia were filmed. Watch the story of Nikos, the taverna’s owner, play out in front of you, while they tuck into Mediterranean food and drink, all soundtracked by ABBA songs. You’ll need Money, Money, Money to go though — tickets start at £135 per person, plus a 12% booking fee. Mamma Mia! 29 August-16 February

SOUTHPORT WEEKENDER: Despite having a Merseyside town in its name, Southport Weekender is in south London, Crystal Palace to be precise (it’s also worth pointing out that it’s just one day). The reason for the name lies in the festival’s origins, a R&B, garage, house and soul weekend in Southport Pontins. The team have brought the self-proclaimed ‘world’s friendliest party’ vibe down to the Big Smoke, for a few years now, although this is its first time in south London. No line-up announced at the time of writing. Crystal Palace Park, £45-£66, book ahead, 31 August

Check out our guide to summer in London for more music festivals, outdoor film screenings, pop-up beaches and more.

#london, #uk

Binge Watching London: New Book Reveals Capital’s TV Secrets

Any number of books have charted London’s literary and movie locations. Isn’t it about time that on-demand TV — the medium of the moment — got its own book?

Step forward Binge Watching London by Marion Miclet. This richly illustrated tome explores the London of your telebox, tracking down settings from hit series while discussing the wider historical and cultural interest of that location.

The book is divided into themed sections like Royal London, Gothic London, futuristic London and rom-com London. Each comes with a map showing key locations, also available online in interactive form.

This is a book very much rooted in our modern ‘golden age’ of television. Its focus is on 21st century treasures like The Crown, Fleabag, Killing Eve, Black Mirror, Luther, The Thick of It, Call the Midwife, Doctor Who (2.0), and so on. While older shows are name-checked here and there for historical context, you’ll find that Minder and Dixon of Dock Green play second fiddle to the likes of Sherlock.

This tilt to the modern adds freshness and zing. Miclet seems often to write about a scene we watched only a few weeks ago. The obvious downside is that the book will date all the quicker, as new ‘instant classics’ emerge. Such is the pace of modern drama that a second edition will be needed before the year is out. (May the publisher use the opportunity to find room for an index?)

Miclet writes in a chatty, personable tone with an infectious passion for the subject. It’s a breathtaking ride, and an essential purchase for anyone who enjoys deep immersion in a boxset drama (which is to say, all of us).

Binge Watching London by Marion Miclet is out now from Cernunnos. Launch party 11 July 2019 in Highbury. A companion volume for New York is also available.

#london, #uk

Top Ten London: Top 10 Things to Do in Barnet, London

On the most northern edges of Greater London, the Borough of Barnet is not only one of the largest in landmass at roughly 33.5 square miles, but also one of the largest in population with 387,800 residents.  Being further out from the center of the city, though, it hasn’t got as much to attract visitors as Westminster, Chelsea, and the City of London, amongst other parts of London.  However, that doesn’t mean it is devoid of places to visit.  Whether you’re looking for peaceful greenery or a chance to step into history, Barnet has a little bit of everything for everyone.  We’ve identified our ten favorite sites to see below, and you can let us know your own in the comments.


One of the city’s many monuments to the honored dead, the Gate of Honor at Mill Hill School is a memorial to soldiers of the first and second World Wars.  It was built in 1920 and opened in 1924, with WWII soldiers’ names added to it later on.  The monument is Grade II listed.


Golfers rejoice, for you will find your paradise in Barnet.  The borough has no shortage of golf courses including the Metro Golf Center, North London Golf Course, North Middlesex Golf Club, the Shire, and more.  For those who maybe want a bit more fun, there is also Dinosaur Safari Adventure Golf.  Honestly, there are more courses here than I have seen in any other part of the city.


If you need a place to wear out your kids, Clown Town is it.  The name might give you the impression of a circus, but the only clowns here are the ones painted on the walls.  With ball pits, jungle gyms, and tons of play areas, Clown Town will help get some of that energy out to help you get through your trip and give your kids something fun to do amidst the museums and monuments of the city.


As the name might suggest, this is a part of Hampstead Heath that extends up into Barnet.  Unlike the rest of Hampstead Heath, the extension did not originate in the heath itself but in farmland that was gifted by Henrietta Barnett.  The traces of its farming past can be seen in the boundaries of the extension as evidenced by the farming boundaries, hedgerows, and trees that are still found in this part of the park.


Glebelands Local Nature Reserve is a Grade I Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation.  It was formed out of the old Finchley Common and is filled with plants of different varieties, including a number of rare flowers that bloom there, including the lesser water plantain, for which GLNR is the only known site in the city.


Perhaps the premiere performing arts venue in Barnett, artsdepot comprises two theaters as well as dance and drama studios, a gallery space, and a café.  The venue has been open since 2004 and puts on a number of productions including traditional plays, contemporary dance reviews, stand-up comedy, and more.  Checking the performance calendar will surely find a show you’ll want to see.


There are plenty of farms throughout Greater London that exist primarily to teach, and Belmont Children’s Farm is no different.  Well, maybe it is since the farm contains a variety of exotic animals that you won’t find at other London farms.  Besides the normal cows, sheep, and typical farm animals, Belmont also hosts owls, rodents, and other animals that are important to farm life.


Local museums are a great place to learn about the area, and the Barnet museum is no exception.  Found in a Georgian house on Wood Street in Chipping Barnet, the museum has exhibits dedicated to the borough’s history.  Some permanent exhibits include the important Battle of Barnet, fairs, local businesses, and important discoveries.  For those wanting to trace roots to the area or discover more about Barnet, it is going to be the best place for research.


The Welsh Harp Nature Reserve and reservoir straddles both the boroughs of Barnet and Brent.  Besides the lush flora throughout the reserve, the primary attractions include the number of birds, fowl, and animals that live within the area.  It can also be a very popular place for water sport or a bike ride, though walking through the reserve will be the option to see everything at nature’s own pace.


The greatest attraction in Barnett, though, is the RAF Museum.  Dedicated to the history of the Royal Air Force since its formation in 1918, the museum not only includes exhibits for this illustrious armed force but a number of flying craft that the RAF has used over the decades, including the famous Spitfire and Hurricane planes.  Any aircraft of military enthusiast will want to make this museum a must-visit location in London.

Top Ten London: Top 10 Things to Do in Barnet, London – Londontopia – The Website for People Who Love London

#london, #uk

New Afternoon Teas To Try In London This Month: May 2019

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Summer Garden Afternoon Tea at the Egerton House Hotel

London’s awash with afternoon teas, from the traditional to the quirky to the vegan. And new ones are always being added to the selection too — take a look at the menus making their debut in London this month, including special Chelsea Flower Show afternoon teas. Some of them are only around for a short time, so book quickly if they take your fancy.

St James’s Afternoon Tea at The Stafford

We’re kicking things off with a playful offering this month — the St James’s Afternoon Tea takes inspiration from the area of St James’s, with nods to the luxury shops and boutiques that surround the hotel.

Lock & Co. hatmakers, tailor Henry Poole & Co, and James J. Fox cigar shop are all represented in the all-important top tier via an edible bowler hat, tuxedo and cigar respectively. The cheddar and chive scones use cheese from local cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield too.

St James’s Afternoon Tea at The Stafford. £45, or £58 with a glass of champagne.

Available: Daily, 12pm-7pm.

Gin Afternoon Tea at Conrad London St James

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Why nobody has come up with the heavenly crossover of gin and afternoon tea before is beyond us, but those wizards at Emmeline’s Lounge have finally done it.

The Gin Afternoon Tea was created in partnership with the City of London Distillery, and offers gin infused treats, washed down with cocktails.

For example, notes of juniper berries, fresh orange and lemon and coriander seeds in the Square Mile Gin have been paired with a charred lemon and pink grapefruit tart with rosemary meringue. The Six Bells Gin is served alongside the elderflower jelly honey cake and pear mousse delice. Freshly baked scones, a selection of sandwiches and teas from Lalani & Co also make an appearance. But really, we’re here for the gin.

Gin Afternoon Tea at Emmeline’s Lounge, Conrad London St James. £45 per person with a glass of champagne or three cocktail tasters, or £100 for two with a bottle of champagne.

Available: Daily, 1.30pm-6pm

Summer Garden Afternoon Tea at The Egerton House Hotel

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The entirety of the Egerton House Hotel has been given something of a floral makeover in advance of the Chelsea Flower Show — and that includes the food.

The traditional English afternoon tea has been replaced with a summer garden version, including rosewater chocolate brownie, summer fruit vanilla tart, marigold macaroons, lavender posset with poppy seed biscuit, blueberry tower and a spinach, blackcurrant and edible flowers cupcake.

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Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free afternoon tea options are available, and botanical cocktails are on the bar menu throughout the summer too.

Summer Garden Afternoon Tea at The Egerton House Hotel. £48 per person/£64.50 per person with champagne.

Available: until September 2019

English Country Garden Afternoon Tea at 108 Pantry

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108 Pantry launches an English Country Garden Afternoon Tea — its first afternoon tea that’s available in a fully vegan option, with floral flavours and seasonal ingredients leading the menu. Savouries include smashed avocado, roasted piquillo peppers and rocket, or barbecue baked sweet potato, coriander, lime and cashew mayo on onion bread.

Lemon drizzle cake, cashew & blueberry ‘cheesecake’ and salted caramel slice with toffee popcorn are among the sweet options, but the highlight, at least for originality, is a lollipop encasing an edible flower.

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English Country Garden Afternoon Tea at 108 Pantry. £32 per person/£42 with a glass of sparkling wine.

Available: Monday-Friday, 2pm-6pm. Saturday-Sunday 12pm-6pm.

Floral-Inspired Afternoon Tea at 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel

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Located so close to the event, it’s no surprise that 100 Queen’s Gate is getting in on the Chelsea Flower Show action, by temporarily transforming its traditional afternoon tea into a floral offering.

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The meal is hosted inside Botanica, the hotel’s new plant-filled tea room, and consists of pickled baby carrot, baby beetroot and courgette flowers, along with botanical-inspired pasties, and cakes served on a bed of edible chocolate soil. Savouries include gin and tonic smoked salmon and cream cheese, on flower-shaped dark rye bread.

Chelsea Flower Show afternoon tea at 100 Queen’s Gate. £35 per person.

Available: 13 May-30 June 2019.

Traditional afternoon tea at The Green Room at The Curtain Hotel, Shoreditch

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With all these themed, limited edition afternoon teas, it’s refreshing to see someone sticking with good old-fashioned tradition.

The newly-launched afternoon tea at The Green Room — located within the Curtain Hotel — promises traditional afternoon tea with all of the trimmings, including plain & fruit scones with jam and clotted cream, a selection of fine tea cakes, smoked salmon bagel, gin & tonic cucumber sandwich and devilled eggs.

Even better, the venue has partnered with local social enterprise Hackney Herbal to curate a bespoke blend of teas and infusions to accompany all that nosh.

Afternoon tea at The Green Room. £30 per person/£40 with champagne.

Available: 1pm-4pm, Friday-Sunday

Crosstown Doughnut afternoon tea at Bluebird Chelsea

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Doughnuts? Did someone say doughnuts? Crosstown Doughnuts teams up with Bluebird Chelsea for a floral afternoon tea, tying in with the Chelsea Flower Show. The three-tier afternoon tea is piled with Crosstown doughnut bites, cakes, scones and sandwiches, including red velvet and rose petal cupcakes and neroli blossom and strawberry macaroons. Centre stage is Crosstown’s bespoke vegan orange blossom dough bite.

Choose from tea, coffee or champagne to wash it down.

Bluebird in Bloom afternoon tea at Bluebird Chelsea. £29.50 per person.

Available: 21-25 May 2019.

Sweet Pink Afternoon Tea at Maitre Choux Chelsea

Usually, afternoon tea is only served at the Soho branch of choux pastry bakery Maitre Choux — but to coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show, it’s coming to the Flower Room of the King’s Road branch.

They’ve certainly stuck to a theme, with Spanish raspberry pink éclairs, pink champagne, and a whole wall of pastel pink flowers — definitely one to book if you’re as interested in photographing your food as you are eating it.

Sweet Pink Afternoon Tea at Maitre Choux, Chelsea. £22-£36 per person.

Available: 21-25 May 2019

Quintessentially British Afternoon Tea at Roast

Borough Market restaurant Roast launches an afternoon tea focusing on traditional British ingredients. The menu is subject to change due to its reliance on fresh, seasonal produce, but a sample includes coronation chicken and cucumber, cream cheese & mint sandwiches, scones with strawberry preserve, and Victoria sponge cake. Tuck in inside that gorgeous conservatory-like dining room overlooking the market.

British Afternoon Tea at Roast, Borough Market. £25 per person, or £0 per person with champagne.

Available: Monday-Saturday, 12pm-6pm

Afternoon Tea Academy at Plate, Old Street

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Don’t be misled by the name — you won’t be making your own meal at the Afternoon Tea Academy. Instead, the team at the upmarket restaurant have worked with tea company P.M. David Silva & Sons to pair each tier of the traditional stand with a tea, and an expert is on hand throughout to talk through the pairings.

The food menu errs on the fancy side of traditional, with roast chicken, beetroot hummus and peppered beef pastrami sandwich fillings, buttermilk scones, and handmade pastries including rhubarb and custard mille-feuille.

Afternoon Tea Academy at Plate. £39-£49 per person.

Available: Selected dates from 11 May.

And finally…

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It’s not brand new, but the Filipino Afternoon Tea at Romulo Cafe has only just come to our attention. It launched in March, designed for two people to share, and blends traditional English tea with Filipino twists — think Filipino style light brown, crumb-speckled buns, served with Cornish clotted cream and purple yam jam. The sweet section of the menu includes traditional Filipino dessert made with dulce de leche buttercream, cashews, chewy and sweet meringue, and a mango float.

#london, #londonist, #uk

Things To Do Today In London: Monday 13 May 2019

Siobhan Miller performs live in Clerkenwell

Things to do

LAST CHANCE: It’s the final week of National Portrait Gallery’s Elizabethan Treasures exhibition, which brings together miniature paintings from the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. See the works of Nicholas Hilliard and his pupil Isaac Oliver, who created impressively detailed miniature portraits of high society and royalty. National Portrait Gallery, £10, book aheaduntil 19 May

LONDON WINE WEEK: Good news vino lovers — London Wine Week begins today. Register for a free digital pass to take advantage of the special offers running all week at venues all over the capital, including £6 flights of tastings of three wines, and food and wine pairings in certain restaurants. See all venues taking part. Various locations (hub at Flat Iron Square), digital pass is free, book ahead13-19 May

Time’s running out to see the Elizabethan Treasures exhibition

LIFE BEGINS AT 40: Midlife crises are the topic at the Royal Society tonight. Professor Mark Jackson looks at what causes a midlife crisis, and why societal changes have caused them to become more common in recent years, including deepening anxieties about economic decline, political instability. The Royal Society (St James’s), free, just turn up, 6.30pm-7.30pm

THE RED SHOES: 1948 drama film The Red Shoes is screened at Dulwich Picture Gallery. It’s the tale of a rising ballerina who is forced to choose between her art and love, knowing the decision will have consequences. Dulwich Picture Gallery, £10/£8, book ahead7pm

LAB RATS: Dan Lyons, author of Lab Rats: Why Modern Work Makes People Miserable, discusses how the hypocrisy of the working environment in Silicon Valley has spread out worldwide. It’s increasingly common for even low-grade employees to be expected to view their jobs with a cult-like fervour, despite diminishing prospects of promotion — and Lyons asks what can be done to reverse this change. The Water Rats (King’s Cross), £7/£5, book ahead7pm

LEARN TO ROLLER SKATE: Get your skates on — quite literally — and learn how to roller skate at this beginners’ class for adults. Learn the basics, and combine skating with fitness in the low-impact, high-intensity workshop. Skate hire and protection pads included. Balham (location provided on booking), £13, book ahead7pm-8pm (sponsor)

MEN’S MENTAL HEALTH: Rotimi Akinsete — author of new tome This Book Could Help — wrote it in collaboration with charity Mind, and aims to offer advice on how to achieve balanced mental health and defeat the outdated ideas that can stop men from looking after themselves. Tonight, he speaks about why men should make mental health a priority, and why we should all be talking about mental health more. Foyles Charing Cross Road, make a donation to Mind on the door, book ahead7pm-8pm

BOUQUET MAKING: Ever fancied your chances as a florist? Join professionals from Moyses Stevens for a hand-tied bouquet making workshop, and create a masterpiece of spring blooms to take home. Canapes and drinks from bar No 11 Pimlico Road are included. 11 Pimlico Road, £50, book ahead,7pm-8.30pm

Enjoy drinks while you try bouquet making

CHARITY COMEDY: Josh Widdicombe, Kerry Godliman and John Robins are among the impressive line-up at Cracking Comedy in aid of Women And Children First. Money raised goes to the charity which helps support women, children, mothers and babies in the world’s poorest communities. Leicester Square Theatre, £22, book ahead, 7.30pm

NEON LIFE DRAWING: It’s life drawing, but not as you know it. The models are covered in reactive paints which glow under UV lights, and you’re provided with neon pastels to recreate what you see. The session begins with quick drawing exercises to get you warmed up, before you’re given free rein to be as creative as you like — the less traditional, the better. Queen of Hoxton, £14, book ahead7.30pm-9.30pm

LIVE MUSIC: Traditional Scottish singer Siobhan Miller performs an intimate gig, showing off her soulful voice and self-penned lyrics. She’s won several folk music awards, and performed in venues as diverse as the  National Theatre of Scotland, Broadway in New York, and Cambridge Folk Festival. The Slaughtered Lamb (Clerkenwell), £14, book ahead8.15pm

Tube ponderings with Barry Heck

Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.

The first London Underground line opened in January 1863, with the section from Paddington to Farringdon. That much is well known. But do you know where spade first hit dirt in the construction of that first line? It seems to be outside Euston station, according to this newspaper article from January 1860. Seymour Street is modern Eversholt Street, so I think the first dig took place as shown on the map below.

Follow Barry Heck on Twitter @HeckTube.

Good cause of the day

Comedians Pierre Novellie, Harriet Kemsley, Bobby Mair and Kate Barron come together for a fundraising night of comedy in Hackney tonight, in aid of mental health charity Mind. Find out more and book tickets.

#london, #londonist, #uk

London Protests – Extinction Rebellion

I take a lot of photos of #London. As well as photos for the blog, I also take photos of buildings, street scenes, the river, views from the top of buildings, protests and demonstrations, and indeed as many events as I can fit in with work and other commitments. Probably far too many photos, however I have realised a number of things whilst working through my father’s photos.

I wish he had taken far more, there are so many other places that I would love to have seen how they looked after the war and in the following decades. The constraints of photographic film limited the number of photos that it was affordable to take.

It is also the ordinary scene that I find interesting. Not the carefully crafted photo, but photos which show normal, day to day events, street scenes, buildings etc.

Last Sunday’s post was an example. I started photographing London in the late 1970s and the photos of the South Bank in 1980 were just ordinary photos of an ordinary London day – however for me, they tell part of the story of how London continues to develop and change. Both physically, but also in the way London is used by people. I also wish I had taken more photos, but until the arrival of digital photography I was also limited by the cost of film and developing (and time).

On the same day as my walk along the South Bank, the Extinction Rebellion protests were underway, and as usual, I photographed the event, as I have with many other different protests and demonstrations over the years.

Whenever I photograph London, I try to take an impartial view. Whether a protest, or new buildings – it is the ongoing life and development of London that I find fascinating.

My father’s first photos of protests were taken in 1953, when the Association of Engineering and Shipbuilding Draughtsman marched through Oxford Circus:

London Protests

London is obviously a magnet for protests and demonstrations. The capital of the country, seat of government, assured media visibility for anything that happens in London, these and many other factors play a role in why many of these take place in London.

I have photographed many over the years, and to start, here is a view of the Extinction Rebellion protests in London, photographed on Saturday 20th April 2019.

Waterloo Bridge

Waterloo Bridge was blocked and had been closed off to traffic for a number of days:

London Protests

London Protests

The camps of people across the bridge included large numbers of plants.

London Protests


London Protests

Lorry used as a performance stage:

London Protests

On top of the lorry:

London Protests

London Protests


London Protests

Slogans on the side of the bridge:

London Protests


London Protests

London Protests

London Protests

On the Saturday the protest was lightly policed, this would soon change when the bridge was cleared.

London Protests

London Protests

London Protests

Compelling slogans:

London Protests

London Protests

Parliament Square

Up until recently the area around the Houses of Parliament were the scenes of pro and anti Brexit demonstrations with the world’s media occupying College Green. With the delay to October the media and demonstrators have left – almost certainly to return at some point later this year. For now, Parliament Square was also closed to traffic, with the Extinction Rebellion protesters occupying many parts of the square. It is perhaps not a surprise how much better the streets of London are without traffic.

London Protests

David Attenborough was a feature of the Parliament Square protests:

London Protests

As with Waterloo Bridge, the roads around Parliament Square were covered in chalked slogans and campaigning:

London Protests

London Protests

London Protests

Very relaxed scenes across the square:

London Protests

The People’s Podium:

London Protests

London Protests

In Broad Sanctuary, alongside Westminster Abbey:

London Protests

London Protests

Between Parliament Street and Square:

London Protests

There were other protests at Marble Arch and Oxford Circus – I ran out of time to get to these as I was also exploring some locations in the City for a future blog post.

Whether or not you agree with the method, the message was important, and as ever, London takes on the role of providing a stage for these events.

London Marathon exchanges plastic bottles for edible seaweed pouches

At the #London Marathon on Sunday, runners weren’t just handed plastic water bottles to quench their thirst — they also had the chance to try a new, edible pouch made from seaweed extracts filled with a sports drink.

Organizers wanted to do something about the amount of plastic that is left at the end of the marathon, and decided to try the Ooho capsules, created by the London-based startup Skipping Rocks Lab. Their edible capsules are made from the “building blocks of seaweed,” co-founder Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez told CNN. “We remove all the green stuff and the smelly stuff.” The resulting pouch is tasteless, and can hold a variety of liquids.

The casing is edible, but also biodegradable; while it takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to decompose, it only take six weeks for the Ooho pods. More than 41,000 people ran in the London Marathon, and organizers said they were able to reduce the number of plastic bottles from 920,000 last year to 704,000 this year. The Ooho capsules are cheaper to produce than plastic bottles, and Garcia Gonzalez said he hopes the marathon is proof that the seaweed pouches “can be used at scale in the future.”