The Candlelight Club review: Go back to the roaring ’20s at a pop-up vintage nightspot

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The Bee Knees dancers at The Candlelight Club

Vintage has never been bigger and with the release of The Great Gatsby movie last year, it appears the roaring ’20s have been… well roaring again. There is now a host of Art Deco and Speakeasy-themed bars in London as entrepreneurs catch on to the soaring popularity of drinkers wishing they were in another time.

Taking the 1920s theme a step further is The Candlelight Club, a touring pop-up nightclub featuring live music, cocktails, dancing and overall ambiance from yesteryear. I had wanted to get tickets for some time, but finally got round to booking them when I was tasked with organising a hen party recently. The Candlelight Club takes place on sporadic dates in various secret London locations – with them only being revealed a few days before the event, so you need to keep an eye on the website for dates.

A group of nine of us booked our £20 tickets quite far in advance and were able to take advantage of the early bird deal. In addition to your entry, there are options to dine or have a table for an extra cost. As expected the dress code was 1920s so lots of fringing, pleats, spaghetti straps, feather boas, long pearls and Mary Jane shoes. Although hen parties – such as our group – are welcome, try to blend in with the theme so no bright pink sashes or inflatable genitalia! We bought our bride a ‘bride to be’ rosette badge which was the same colour as her dress which was a subtle and simple. The venues of The Candlelight Club tend to be different and all the time, and on the night in question we attended, was a stunning building built in the 1920s in West London lit by candlelight.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Secret location: The Candlelight Club takes place in different locations every time

In addition to the Twenties theme, The Candlelight Club also has a further theme each night – ours was the Excelsior club, a grander version of the usual club with sweeping staircases, waiters in full suits and a grand venue. Leading the entertainment was Champagne Charlie and his Bubbly Boys with dancing by the Bee Knees. We arrived about an hour after opening and missed out on any unreserved tables, but managed to get a few chairs for our group. It was rather quieter than expected at first before the live music started and with many people eating, which left guests soaking in the atmosphere, having costume envy and sampling the vintage-themed cocktails or bubbly. I particularly liked the bubbly being served in coupé champagne glasses, which nestle in your hand a lot easier than regular champagne flutes.

The atmosphere really changed once Champagne Charlie came on stage with his band. His mix of cheeky humour and singing soon got the crowd going. He also came over to our group and teased the bride with some risqué jokes. We were also treated to several performances by the very glamorous Bee Knees dancers. When the band weren’t performing, there was a vintage DJ spinning tracks so you could attempt the Charleston. In between shimmying, we could be found at the bar which was staffed by very dapper and friendly mixologists and barmen.

I can highly recommend Candlelight Club for a unique night out. The entertainment was brilliant and the venue was totally stunning. It was a refreshing change to my usual weekends to step back into the 1920s for the evening.

  • The Candlelight Club takes place on various dates in various secret locations. Tickets highly recommended to be booked in advance. Check out the Candlelight Club website for dates and tickets.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Very old school! Champagne Charlie and the Bubbly Boys helepd the audience transport back to the Twenties


 For a guide to other 1920s bars and venues in London, click here.

Or if you fancy a trip to the 1950s instead, check out Metro Girl’s review of the Jive Party at the Rivoli Ballroom.

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Let The Right One In review: A compelling love story with stunning staging

© The National Theatre of Scotland

Martin Quinn as Oskar and Rebecca Benson as Eli in Let The Right One In
© The National Theatre of Scotland

Let The Right One In – Apollo Theatre

Rating: ★★★★★

Approaching the end of its run at the Apollo Theatre is John Tiffany’s acclaimed production of Let The Right One In. Having already won over audiences and critics at the Dundee Rep Theatre and the Royal Court, it opened at the refurbished Apollo Theatre in the West End in March. After hearing great things about the production, I finally went to see the play in its last few weeks.

The first thing that strikes you is the stunning stage design – the original setting of Sweden from the 2004 novel (by John Ajvide Lindqvist) and cult film adaptation has been moved to a wintry Scotland in the 1980s. The play takes place in a forest full of silver birch trees which looks magical under the moonlight and a spooky street lamp. The plotline grips the audience from the start as a man is killed like a pig strung up on a tree with his blood drained – the first sign this is not a traditional love story. A serial killer is on the loose, which isn’t appearing to ruffle lonely teenager Oskar (Martin Quinn), who continues to hang around in the woods. The son of divorced parents, of which neither is quite up to the job, Oskar finds no support in school either, where he is brutally bullied by Jonny (Graeme Dalling) and his cronies.

It is in the eerie forest where Oskar meets Eli (Rebecca Benson), a pale girl who ‘smells funny’, who immediately informs him they ‘can’t be friends’. Despite her odd behaviour, Oskar is drawn to her and it isn’t long before the two form a friendship, eventually turning to romance. It soon transpires she’s a lot odder than Oskar ever anticipated – she’s a centuries old vampire and the man who appears to be her father, her ‘protector’ Hakan (Clive Mendus) has been responsible for the murders in a bid to feed her blood.

The dysfunctional dynamics between Oskar and his alcoholic mother and absent father and Eli with possessive Hakan brings up many issues aside from the love story. The play explores loneliness in its many forms, no doubt stirring many memories in the audience who would have all felt that emotion at some point in life. Despite being a ‘monster’, Eli appears more human and compassionate than the violent bullies who torment Oskar at school.

Assisted by Ólafur Arnalds’ score and beautifully choreographed movement sequences, the play has moments of horror, humour and tenderness. Quinn’s brilliant performance as awkward Oskar stirs both sympathy and laughter, while Benson is stunning as she shows both Eli’s vulnerability and horrific power simmering within. Let The Right One In brings a moving combination of plot layers, actors, stage design and music, all working together to create a striking piece of theatre. Although the production is about to end its West End run imminently, I am certain we will see this compelling show again, whether it’ll be elsewhere in the UK or New York.

  • The National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Let the Right One is on the Apollo Theatre until 30 August 2014. To book, call 0844 412 4658 (no booking fee) or online at, Right One or (no booking fee).

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

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A pop-up with a view: The Garden Gate @ Oxo 2

The Garden Gate @ The Oxo 2 brings the outside in. © The Garden Gate

The Garden Gate @ The Oxo 2 brings the outside in.
© The Garden Gate

Admittedly I’m a bit late to the party, but for those who love eating or drinking with a view, check out The Garden Gate pop-up restaurant and bar in its last week of opening.

With the summer weather unfortunately cooling down at the moment compared to recent weeks, The Garden Gate is a great place to retreat to for a drink or bite. Located in the Oxo 2 venue on the Southbank, the pop-up offers a casual dining menu at their kitchen and bar with views over the Thames, the City of London skyline and St Paul’s Cathedral.

The venue is full of outdoor paraphernalia – such as AstroTurf and deckchairs – so you can imagine you’re outside, but without the wind from the Thames. Customers who bring a garden gnome will receive a free drink.

Who cares if the weather's bad? Enjoy the 'outdoors'... indoors © The Garden Gate

Who cares if the weather’s bad? Enjoy the ‘outdoors’… indoors
© The Garden Gate

On the menu is a host of garden-themed cocktails, such as  Orchard Mojito, Flower Show and Cucumber Fresh, with watering cans replacing pitchers for groups to share.

Among the entertainment on offer includes table tennis, Jenga and coits, or the chance to win a free ice cream by hooking a duck from the pond.

  • The Garden Gate is open from now until Sunday 24th August 2014. Opening times: Mon Wed 5pm11pm, Thur Sat 12-11.30pm, Sun 1210.30pm. The bar closes 30 minutes before. Located in the Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Waterloo or Blackfriars. For more information, visit the Oxo2 website.

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

For a review of the Oxo Tower bar upstairs, click here.

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Duck & Waffle review: A pretty fabulous brunch on the 40th floor

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Signature dish: Crispy Leg Confit served on a Waffle, topped with Fried Duck Egg and Mustard Maple Syrup

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Hotspot: Since opening in summer 2012, Duck & Waffle has been a popular eating venue

Since opening in summer 2012, Duck & Waffle has been one of the hottest dining spots in town. Standing out with its 40th floor views of the city and its signature synonymous dish, the restaurant has backed up its unique selling points with a stellar menu. I have wanted to go for some time, but unsurprisingly, with a long waiting list, I hadn’t quite got round to booking a table. Earlier this year, when I heard one of my best friends was visiting from South Korea, we decided to treat ourselves to a Saturday brunch at the venue and booked our table two months in advance.

I had already dined at D&W’s sister restaurant SushiSamba downstairs five months earlier, so was well aware of the stunning views of the City of London and beyond. However, views aside, D&W would be providing a totally different culinary experience. Overseen by award-winning Executive Chef Daniel Doherty (who is quite the avid Tweeter and tweeted me after my meal), the menu is inspired by British and European cuisine and including breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Going Colombian: Organic Eggs with Avocado served on Toast, with Smoked Salmon

Despite having been to SushiSamba, for some reason the high-speed lift was faster than I remembered as it whizzed up to the 40th floor. After checking in with the hostess, I was thrilled to see our table for two was in the corner of the dining room so we had windows to the left and back of my seat. As I had already dined in the building before, I decided to let my friend have the 180° view while I had by back to the window.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Lofty: A view of The Gherkin from the entrance of Duck & Waffle

Although lunch options were available at the time of our seating, my friend and I were determined on brunching. While the food menu had too many delicious things to decide on quickly, we started our session with mimosas. My friend – a carnivore – decided it would be wrong to not order the signature dish – Crispy Leg Confit served on a Waffle, topped with Fried Duck Egg and Mustard Maple Syrup. As I am a pescatarian, I decided on a twist on an old favourite – Organic Colombian Eggs with Avocado served on Toast, paying a supplement to add Smoked Salmon. The added herbs and vegetables gave a refreshing twist to the usual eggs on toast. The eggs were perfectly fluffy and light and the bread not too over-toasted (a pet hate of mine, so many brunch places love to make their toast rock hard to cut!). My friend absolutely loved the Duck and Waffle and said the fusion of savoury and sweet worked really well.

Although my friend was stuffed after her evidently more filling dish, I knew I had to find some room in my stomach for the absolutely divine dessert menu. I ordered the Bananas Brûlée Belgian Waffle served with Homemade Nutella, Vanilla Ice Cream and Peanut Crunch. It was absolutely heavenly, I’m a huge fan of waffles, Nutella, ice cream and peanuts in general, so the combination of them all was dessert heaven for me. Admittedly after having just eating eggs and toast, it was a bit of a challenge to finish, but fortunately my friend gallantly offered to help me out.

Overall, all of our dishes were absolutely delicious. The service was fast, friendly and informative and I was grateful they had given us such prime seating. At around £76 for our whole meal, including service, is perhaps a bit steeper than I would usually spend on brunch, but the experience made it worth while. I noticed a lot of couples, friends and families were there for special occasions, such as birthdays and engagements, so is a nice venue to treat yourself. I will be back… am particularly curious about visiting at 3am as the restaurant is open 24 hours a day!

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Sweet tooth: Bananas Brûlée Belgian Waffle served with Homemade Nutella, Vanilla Ice Cream and Peanut Crunch

  • Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY. Nearest tube: Liverpool Street. For more information and booking, visit the Duck & Waffle website.

For Metro Girl’s review of Duck & Waffle’s sister restaurant downstairs, SushiSamba, click here.

To read more of Metro Girl’s restaurant reviews, click here.

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Eat your way around the world as The Big Feast comes to Battersea Park

Foodies Festival

The world’s a culinary stage at The Big Feast in Battersea Park
© Foodies Festival

With London fast becoming one of the biggest foodie destinations in the world, it’s no surprise that there is a growing demand for food festivals in the capital. Known for our wide and varied palate, Londoners are open to trying a range of cuisines from around the world on their doorstep.

After already fulfilling appetites across the country in Brighton, Bristol and Edinburgh over the summer, this weekend sees the team behind the Foodies Festival come to London for The Big Feast at Battersea Park.

Held over this weekend, a host of celebrity chefs and popular food and drink brands will be converging on SW11 for this new festival. Among those showcasing their skills and delicious dishes are Matt Robinson (Bluebird), Ben Tish (Salt Yard), Matt Pickop (Maze), the Michelin-starred Robert Ortiz (Lima), 2013 MasterChef winner Natalie Coleman and legendary Tuscan chef Giancarlo Caldesi. As well as chef theatres, masterclasses and tastings, there will also be Street Food Avenue, where visitors can sample street and artisan food.

As well as food, there are plenty of opportunities to drink, including a Tequila Beach (a pop-up tequila beach bar serving cocktails) and Grand Marnier’s Hidden Charm Bar which will feature ‘flamboyant characters, tempting tipples, great music and a few unexpected surprises’. Other attractions include the Ibiza Chill Out Cocktail Bar, Vintage Tea Tent, Bar on a Bike, children’s cookery theatre and live music.

  • The Big Feast takes place at Battersea Park, SW11, from 15-17 August 2014. Fri & Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-8pm. Tickets: One day adult – £15, Friday ticket and concessions – £12, Three day ticket – £25 (£18 concession). Nearest train station: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road.  Tickets are available from or by calling 0844 995 1111.

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

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Africa Live Festival @ The Elephant and The Nun 2014

Africa LiveThis weekend sees the return of the Elephant & Nun, a quirky arts festival in Southwark involving local artists and the community. A host of different areas will be taking over Burgess Park in Camberwell, south London, including the Global Local Stage, The Village Hall Experience, The Aylesbury Live, Plug In To Perform, Kinetika Bloco parade, Rumble in the Jumble, Irvin’s Funfair and Burgess BMX.

However, one such area is a festival within a festival – Africa Live have moved to the Elephant & Nun to create one big super festival following their run in East Dulwich last year.

The one day, free event celebrates the best of African culture, including music, performances, fashion, crafts, therapies and cuisine. Africa Live will be located by the world music stage, the National Theatre’s pop-up performances and the cabaret tent.

  • The Africa Live Festival takes place on Saturday 16th August from 12-8pm. The Elephant & The Nun, Burgess Park, Southwark, SE5. Nearest tube/train: Elephant & Castle or Peckham Rye. For more information, visit the Africa Live website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.

For a guide to music festivals in and around London this summer, click here.

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Travel through the Tunnel of Love at the Southbank’s Festival Of Love

Secret Cinema presents Back To The Future review: Great Scott, I’ve gone back to 1955!

© Al Overdrive for Secret Cinema

Audience members dressed in 1950s costume gather in Courthouse Square in Secret Hill Valley for the screening of Back To The Future
© Al Overdrive for Secret Cinema

Secret Cinema events usually stays off-radar, fulfilling the ‘secret’ element to the title. Since it was first started 10 years ago by founder Fabien Riggall, it has hosted immersive experiences and screenings of classic films such as Shawshank Redemption, Grease and Casablanca. However, with the announcement two months ago that Secret Cinema were going to host the biggest live cinema event in the UK, it brought the company to a whole new level of publicity. I have long wanted to go to SC event, but have been waiting for the right film. When I found out they were presenting my favourite film Back To The Future, I knew I had to go. Admittedly, SC did experience some negative press in the run-up, with ticket problems and having cancelled the initial week of screenings, Thursday’s launch in East London easily proved the doubters wrong.

© Laura Little for Secret Cinema

The event was open to all members of the family
© Laura Little for Secret Cinema

In the run up to Secret Cinema’s launch of ‘Secret Hill Valley’, my friends and I were each assigned our own characters. I was a student at Hill Valley High School, where the movie’s characters of Marty, Lorraine, George and Biff all went to school in the either ’50s or ’80s. We were given a list of props to bring to round out our character, such as sunglasses, a family photo and homework. Although SC’s BTTF screenings had been in the national press, the premise is to keep as many details secret as possible so not to ruin the experience for subsequent visitors. In my review, I’ll only give away what has been covered in the national press and the photos included so I don’t ruin the many surprises of the evening.

The dress code is 1955, so my friends and I all gathered at an East London train station dressed in petticoats, crisp white shirts with high ponytails and gelled back hairstyles armed with cushions (to sit on during the screening) and our various props. At the entrance, we handed in our cameras and phones to try to preserve the secrecy of Hill Valley. Although my friends and I kept reaching for our phones when spotting great photo opportunities, we soon got used to not having them, which gave us the freedom to truly immerse ourselves in the experience. Anyway, no one had mobile phones in 1955, so that would have spoiled the look.

© Al Overdrive for Secret Cinema

Some audience members got to cruise around town with some of the cast in vintage cars
© Al Overdrive for Secret Cinema

Just like our hero Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) did in the movie, we walked through the country lanes approaching the town of Hill Valley, past the houses of some of the famous residents, such as the Baines, McFly and Tannen families. SC has recreated Courthouse Square with great detail, full of the familiar shops and businesses from the movie, such as Lou’s Café, Roy’s Records and the Hill Valley Telegraph. The town was also full of residents (played by actors), many familiar from the film, such as bully Biff Tannen cruising the square looking for trouble with his gang of cronies. Admittedly there were a lot of queues for the eating establishments, but with a couple of thousand people in attendance, this was inevitable. Visitors had 3 hours to enjoy the sights and sounds of Secret Hill Valley before the main event – the film’s screening – took place. This is where is helps to bring a cushion or blanket so you can park yourself on the grassy square of Hill Valley and watch the action on the big screen of the Courthouse – complete with its clock frozen in time at 10.04pm when it was struck by lightning. Following the screening, there is a chance to rock your socks off at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance in the High School, where George and Lorraine finally kissed for the first time in the movie, ensuring Marty’s existence ahead in 1985.

Tickets for the event are £53 which does sound steep – but this is more than a film screening. When you enter the life-sized town that SC have created and the large cast helping to transport you back to 1955, you soon realise why the pricing is such. However, all five people in my group of friends who attended and myself all agreed we would happily pay to return – it was such a brilliant experience.

  • Secret Cinema Presents Back to the Future runs until 31 August 2014 and tickets are available for dates from 14-31 August via Secret Cinema’s official site.
© Laura Little for Secret Cinema

Hill Valley was hosting its town’s fair, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy the funfair
© Laura Little for Secret Cinema

For Metro Girl’s guide to open-air cinemas in London this summer, click here.

For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in August 2014

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Take a ride on the Starflyer at London Wonderground

Can you believe it’s August already? Well, as usual the summer is flying by, but I can’t complain as the weather – on the whole – has been pretty damn glorious. The World Cup and Wimbledon bought an extra sense of excitement to July, but with the Commonwealth Games in full swing and the children off school, the choice of things to do in London has gone way up! Here’s a guide to what’s on in the capital this month.

For a guide to pop-up cinemas in London this summer, click here.

For listings of music festivals in and around London this summer, click here.

  • 30 July – 3 August : Shuffle Festival

Film and arts festival curated by Danny Boyle. Featuring live music, food and drink and film screenings. Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Southern Grove, E3 4PX. Nearest tube: Mile End, Bow Road or Devons Road. For more information and tickets, visit the Shuffle Festival website.

  • 1 – 3 August : Hackney WickED Festival

Three day festival championing creativity and local culture, featuring galleries, open studios, temporary exhibitions, pop up spaces, site-specific installations and events in the Hackney Wick area. Nearest tube: Hackney Wick (Overground). For more information, visit the Hackney WickEd website.

  • 1 – 31 August : The Cornershop

Artist Lucy Sparrow is opening the world’s first pop-up cornershop selling handmade lifesize sweets (made from felt). Open daily, 10am-7pm. The Cornershop, 19 Wellington Row, Bethnal Green, E2 7BB. Nearest station: Hoxton. For more information visit the Cornershop blog.

  • 2 August : Africa Centre Summer Festival

Weekend of African music, fashion, dance, food, performances and film in and around Covent Garden Piazza. Free. 12-10pm. Nearest tube: Covent Garden, Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the Africa Centre website.

  • 2 August : Eid Festival

To celebrate Eid, Trafalgar Square will play host to a one-day festival, featuring a food market, live music and performances, and children activities, featuring face-painting, henna, calligraphy and sports. Noon until 6pm. Free. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Embankment or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the website.

  • 3 August : Brixton Splash
© Lucy Sparrow

The Cornershop – a pop-up sweetshop comes to Bethnal Green this month
© Lucy Sparrow

Free community street festival taking over various streets in Brixton, featuring live music, poetry, art exhibitions, street theatre, crafts, children’s activities, food and sound systems. Free. Nearest tube/train: Brixton. For more information, visit the Brixton Splash website.

  • 6 – 31 August : Free Theatre @ The Scoop

Free theatre performances every night Wednesday through to Sunday in The Scoop near Potters’ Field Park, including The Rhine Gold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods. 6-10.15pmWed-Sun. Free. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest tube: London Bridge. For more information and listings, visit the More London website.

  • 9 August : RideLondon FreeCycle

Festival of cycling including an 10 mile traffic-free route through the capital and Grand Prix route. Free to register. For more information, road closures and routes, visit the Prudential RideLondon website.

  • 10 – 11 August : Chingford Weekender

Disco legends Sister Sledge, Alexander O’Neal and Rose Royce star Gwen Dickey are headlining this two day festival in Chingford. Also features an arts and craft marquee, international food festival, fun fair and children’s activities. Free entry. Sat: 2-7pm, Sun 1-6pm. Ridgeway Park, off Peel Close, Chingford, E4 6XU. Nearest station: Chingford. For more information, visit the Chingford Weekender website.

  •  12 – 16 August : Great British Beer Festival

Up to 800 real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers with be available to try, while there will also be plenty of entertainment and food. Tickets start from £8 (CAMRA members), £10 (non-CAMRA members). Kensington Olympia, Hammersmith Road, W14 8UX. Nearest tube: Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Great British Beer Festival website.

  • 14 – 17 August : London Craft Beer Festival

Twenty four breweries from London, the UK , Europe and USA will be showing off over 100 bees. Also including food stalls, live music and DJs. Tickets: £35. Oval Space, 29-32 The Oval, Hackney, E2 9DY. Nearest tube: Bethnal Green. For more information, visit the London Craft Beer Festival.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Celebrate Eid in Trafalgar Square

  • 15 – 17 August : Feast @ Battersea Park

London’s foodies are invited to join ‘an exclusive picnic extravaganza featuring the UK’s largest selection of restaurant, street and artisan food’ in Battersea Park. Featuring pop-up restaurants, vintage tea tent, real ale and cider tent and more. Entertainment from a mix of Jazz, Folk, Motown/Soul, Acoustic artists and bands. 11am-9pm. Tickets £12-£15. Nearest train: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea. For more information and tickets, visit the Foodies Festival website.

  • 15 – 17 August : Canary Wharf Jazz Festival

The annual jazz festival returns to Canada Square Park again, featuring performances from Riot Jazz Brass Band, Hidden Orchestra with special guest Phil Cardwell, Ciyo Brown’s The Motown Sound featuring Gwyn Jay Allen and special guest James Morton, Yiddish Twist Orchestra and Andy Sheppard Quartet and more. Free. Nearest tube: Canary Wharf. For more information and set times, visit the Canary Wharf website.

  • 16 August : The Elephant And The Nun Festival

One day festival in Burgess Park, featuring world music, performances by the National Theatre, cabaret, Africa Live festival, funfair and more. 12-8pm. Free. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle or Peckham Rye. (Check out Metro Girl’s post on Africa Live here). For more information, visit the Southwark website.

  • 16 August : Spotlight Festival @ Seven Dials

    © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

    Enter the Tunnel Of Love at the Royal Festival Hall for the Festival of Love

One day festival at Seven Dials near Covent Garden will see the area go traffic free. Presented by Rick Edwards, the event will feature a range of entertainment, including theatre, dance, comedy and music. Grab a deckchair on the pop-up lawn surrounding the dial or pose for a photo in the Airstream photobooth. There will be a range of food and drinks on offer and the chance to enjoy discounts and special treats at the nearby shops. Noon until 7pm. Free. Seven Dials, WC2. Nearest tube: Covent Garden, Holborn or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website.

  • 16 – 17 August : Bounce

Weekend-long festival for children. It’s mainly designed for 4-12 year olds. Tickets: Age 5 and over: £18, family ticket: £60. Old Deer Park, 187 Kew Road, Richmond, TW9 2AZ. Nearest station: North Sheen, Richmond or Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Bounce festival website.

  • Now until 17 August : The Fashion World Of Jean Paul Gaultier

Exhibition of work by the acclaimed designer, including his iconic conical brassiere worn by Madonna, costumes for Kylie Minogue’s tour and from Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element. Tickets: £14.50, highly recommended to book in advance. Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican or Moorgate. For more information, visit the Barbican website.

  • Now until 23 August : Camden Beach

The ‘beach’ returns to Camden again this year, with 150 tonnes of sand, deckchairs, ping pong, BBQ and live music. Located in the grounds of the Roundhouse. Free. Open 12-11pm every day. Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH. Nearest tube: Chalk Farm. For more information, visit the Roundhouse website.

  • 1 – 24 August : The Garden Gate Pop-Up

Pop-up restaurant and bar in the Oxo2 space in the Oxo Wharf on the Southbank which brings the outdoors in. Featuring entertainment, food and drinks – including cocktails – with a view of the Thames. Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Waterloo or Blackfriars. Read Metro Girl’s blog post for more information and opening times.

  • 23 – 25 August : BBC Good Food Festival

Food festival in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. Featuring celebrity chefs and cooks, such as Gennaro Contaldo, Cathryn Dresser, Lisa Faulkner, Steve Groves, Shelina Permalloo, John Torode, Gregg Wallace, Valentine Warner and the Chiappa Sisters, among others. Tickets to the palace include free entry to the festival – Adults £16.50 on the door, £15.50 online. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Tube: Richmond. For more information, visit the BBC Good Food Festival website.

  • 25 August : Paw Pageant

A doggy fashion show at Old Spitalfields Market in the City of London. Featuring cute dogs and stylish owners also modelling the latest fashions. 1-3.30pm. Battersea Dogs Home will be on site to offer free micro-chipping and there will also be raffle, with proceeds going to the charity. Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, Spitalfields, E1 6EW. Nearest tube: Liverpool Street or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit the Old Spitalfields website.

  • Now until 25 August : Camden Fringe

The Camden Fringe returns for its eighth year, bringing over 180 productions to 17 venues across the borough of Camden, including Camden People’s Theatre, Canal Café Theatre (read Metro Girl’s review on the adjoining pub The Bridge House) and the London Jewish Cultural Centre. For more information and tickets, visit the Camden Fringe website.

  • 25 – 26 August : Notting Hill Carnival

Long-running institution returns to the streets of West London. Plenty of soundstages will be dotted around featuring a wide range of music. Then of course there’s the carnival itself. Free. Sunday is more geared towards children, while Monday is the adults’ day. Check TFL website for transport information because many stations nearby will be closed. For more information, check out the Notting Hill Carnival website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Check out the pop-up cinema and food festival at Battersea Power Station

  • 28 August – 14 September : Portobello Film Festival

Two and half week festival returns to Notting Hill with screenings and events at the KPH, Pop Up Cinema in Acklam Road and Westbourne Studios. Free. Nearest stations: Ladbroke Grove or Westbourne Park. For more information, visit the Portobello Film Festival website.

  • 29 August – 7 September : Animals In The Wall exhibition

A unique collection of late American artist William S Burrough’s works, including some never before seen, alongside other contributing artists. 11am-7pm daily. Free. Londonewcastle Project Space, 28 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, E2 7DP. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit the Guerrilla Zoo website.

  • 30 August : The Original Oatly BREAK-FEST

A one-day boutique festival that brings a bit of Sweden to Brockwell Park in South London. Featuring music from electro pop sensation Kyla La Grange and support acts Urban Cone and Marigold. The chance for festivalgoers to take part in the  Kaninhop (aka rabbit showjumping), Kubb (aka Viking Chess) or power your smoothies by bike. There is also a banqueting suite and a Lie-In Lounge. 10am-4.30pm. Free entry, but register online. Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, SE24 0PA. Nearest tube/train: Herne Hill or Brixton. For more information and to apply for your free ticket, click here.

  • 30 August : National Paralympic Day featuring Liberty Festival

The Liberty Festival returns to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which showcases talents of disabled and deaf artists. Includes live music, street theatre, dance and children’s activities. Paralympic GB stars will also be partaking in Boccia, Goalball, Swimming and Wheelchair Basketball in the Copper Box or London Aquatics Centre. The festival is free, but sport spectators will need to buy tickets, starting from £5. Queen Elizabeth Park, Stratford, E20 2ST. Nearest tube: Stratford. For more information, visit the website.

  • 31 August : Mela

Festival celebrating South Asian culture, featuring nine zones, five stages, outdoor arts, DJs,  world food market and more. 1-9pm. Free. Gunnersbury Park, Popes Lane, W3 8LQ. Nearest tubes: Gunnersbury, South Ealing or Acton Town. For more information, visit the Mela website.

  • Now until 31 August : The Power Of Summer

Seven weeks of pop-up events in the grounds of Battersea Power Station. Featuring Street Feast food festival, screenings of films (Pulp Fiction, Drive, Jungle Book and more) and the World Cup final. Park open from noon daily. Tickets: free entry before 5.30pm on weekdays, general admission weekends and evenings: £5.50, screening tickets: £16.50. Battersea Power Station, 188 Kirtling Street, SW8 5BN. Nearest train station: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea. For more information, visit the Everyman Cinemas website.

  • Now until 31 August : Secret Cinema presents Back To The Future

Immersive film company Secret Cinema have recreated a life-sized version of Hill Valley from the 1985 film classic Back To The Future. In a secret East London location, film fans will have the chance to dress up and experience good ol’ 1955 America before watching the movie. Tickets £53. (For Metro Girl’s review of the event, click here). For booking, visit Secret Cinema’s official website.

  • Now until 31 August : Festival Of Love

The Southbank Centre celebrates love in all its forms with their annual summer festival, with the theme this year as love. Returning are the dancing fountains and Southbank beach, with new events, installations and activities popping up around such as Heartbreak Hotel, the Museum of Broken Relationships and the Tunnel Of Love. Opening times vary. Most things are free entry. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment. (For Metro Girl’s post on the Tunnel Of Love, click here). For more information visit the Festival Of Love micro-site or the Tunnel Of Love information page.

  • Now until 14 September : Digital Revolution

An immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music and video games exploring the future of the arts through digital. 11am-8pm. Tickets: £12.50. Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican or Moorgate. For more information, visit the Barbican website.

  • Now until 28 September : London Wonderground

The London Wonderground Festival returns to the Southbank for a third year – an entertainment extravaganza in Jubilee Gardens, near the foot of the London Eye and by the Southbank Centre. It includes cabaret, children’s show, comedy, burlesque, funfair (NB: which returns after Udderbelly ends) and alfresco drinking. (For Metro Girl’s blog post on last year’s Wonderground, click here). Open all day until 11pm every night. Free to get in, but entry fee for shows. Nearest tube or train: Waterloo, Embankment or Westminster. For more information, visit the Wonderground website.

  • Now until December : Bond In Motion

An exhibition of James Bond vehicles. Tickets – Adults: £14.50, Children: £9.50. Booking in advance highly recommend. London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Temple. For more information, visit the London Film Museum website.

For a review of the play Let The Right One In, which closes on 30 August, click here.

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A king’s country escape… in the middle of Rotherhithe: Manor House of Edward III

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The foundations of King Edward III’s manor house still stands today in Rotherhithe, over 600 years later

There are many royal London residences past and present visited by tourists today, such as Buckingham Palace and Hampton Court Palace. However, not all monarchy’s abodes have survived the test of time. The remains of one such royal residence can still be seen today, and in an area somewhat off the usual tourist trail.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The house was once surrounded by a moat, but has rather drier enclaves these days

The foundations of King Edward III’s (1312 – 1377) manor house stands near the River Thames in Rotherhithe. With the grass surrounding the ruins dipped low, you could easily imagine where the former moat used to flow around it. The house was built as a country escape outside the City of London by the King in 1353. At the time, the land upon which the foundations were laid was a low-lying island surrounded by marshland. The original manor house comprised of several stone buildings around a court. Water flowed around three sides of the complex so the king could arrive by boat along the Thames. On site included a gatehouse, hall with grand fireplace, kitchens and the king’s private chambers.

Although many royal residences were established as bases for hunting, Rotherhithe had no royal park so this function was ruled out. However, King Edward III was known as a keen falconer, with some historians believing he used the manor house as a base for falconry over the river or surrounding marshland.

Following Edward’s death, the waterline changed in the decades that followed, so by the late 16th century, the south bank of the river had reclaimed some of the Thames, pushing the waterline north so a road ran alongside it. However, the moat remained and eventually surrounded the manor house on all four sides. The Crown sold the property to private owners and it was known as ‘the moted place’. In the 17th century, there was a pottery on the site, followed by warehouses during the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1907, the façade of the north wall of the house had actually been incorporated into a warehouse building. The warehouses were eventually demolished in the 1980s as part of a redevelopment plan, giving archaeologists at the Museum Of London the chance to excavate and restore the site in 1985. Fortunately, the remains weren’t rebuilt over and are visible to the public today to visit.

Metro Girl likes: While you’re in the area, check out the nearby Angel pub, with an outdoor terrace overlooking the Thames.

  • Bermondsey Wall East, Rotherhithe, SE16. Nearest station: Bermondsey or Rotherhithe.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The north wall of the manor house was reused in subsequent buildings, including warehouses in the early 20th century


For more Metro Girl’s history posts, click here.

To read about Metro Girl’s visit to the Thames Tunnel built by Brunel, click here.

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