Guide to what’s on in London in November 2014

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

It’s your last chance to see Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red before it closes

With October and Halloween out of the way, it can be hard to enjoy November without the looming thought of Christmas hanging over your head. The dropping temperatures also make us more reluctant to go out and about during your free time because the sofa and TV can be so appealing. However, there is plenty of fun things on in the capital to lure you away from your home – many free and also in the warm indoors.

For a guide to Halloween parties and activities in London, click here.

Check back later in November for a guide to Christmas markets and open-air ice rinks.

  • 1 November : Nightmare on Camden High Street

One day festival in Camden, featuring live music and parties at venues across town including Brewdog, Dingwalls, Electric Ballroom, Jazz Café, Hawley Arms, The Barfly and Our Black Heart. Acts include King Charles, Blood Red Shoes, Inme, Howling Bells, Night Engine and dozens more. Tickets £20 for a wristband which allows you access to various events, capacity depending. Nearest tube/train: Camden Town, Chalk Farm and Camden Road. For more information and listings, visit the Nightmare Festival website.

  • 1- 2 November : Regent Street Motorshow and London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

On 1 November, 300 cars from 125 years of motoring will be on display for the Regent Street Motorshow from 10.30am-4pm. On 2 November the Veteran Car Run will set off from Hyde Park Corner between 7 and 8.30am, spectators can line the 64-mile route all the way from the capital to Brighton to watch 500 classic cars show off their prowess and vintage style. Entrance rules stipulate cars must be built before 1905 and will be either of the three or four-wheel variety. Expect many drivers and passengers to be suitably dressed in costume and vintage clothing for the spectacle. Free to spectate or visit the motorshow. Visit the Veteran Car Run website or Regent Street Motorshow website for more information.

  • Now until 2 November : Day Of The Dead Festival

Embassy of Mexico has teamed up with tequila brand Jose Cuervo and Arte Mexico to bring the 3000 year old Mexican celebration, Dia de los Muertos to London’s Southbank. Featuring Day Of The Dead art displays, Jose Cuervo masterclasses, children’s art and crafts workshops, and a screening of Under the Volcano. Free, but workshops require registering in advance.11am-6pm. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH. Nearest tube/train: Waterloo or Blackfriars. For more information and registration, visit the Oxo Tower website.

  • 1 – 15 November : Crystal Palace International Film Festival

Screenings, premieres and Q&As during this two week long festival in South East London at various venues including Stanley Halls, St John’s Church and the Sparrowhawk. Nearest rail/overground: Crystal Palace. Check the CPIFF website for full listings and tickets.

  • Now until 2 November : London International Animation Festival

Showcase of animation from around the world featuring gala premieres, retrospectives, filmmakers Q&As, workshops, audience voting and screenings. Tickets start from £10.50 (Barbican session tickets) to £95 for full pass. Venues include the Barbican, Rio Cinema (Dalston) and Horse Hospital (Bloomsbury). For more information and tickets, visit the LIAF website.

  • 2 – 29 November : Richmond Literature Festival

A festivals of books and words at various locations across the borough, including Marble Hill House and Strawberry Hill House. Featuring talks and Q&As from authors, including Paddy Ashdown, Emma Bridgewater, Irving Finkel, Peter Snow, Sheila Hancock, Liam Fox, Jacqueline Wilson and Simon Barnes. For more information, visit the Richmond Literature Festival website.

  • 4 – 9 November : Spirit Of Christmas Fair

For the super organised, get ready for Christmas early with this fair, where you can stock up on gifts, design and food all ready for the festive season. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Opening times vary. Tickets: £18.50 (in advance) £21 on the door. Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest tube/Overground: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website.

  • 7 – 26 November : World Press Photo Exhibition

The shortlisted entries for the annual World Press Photo completion go on display on Level 2 of the Royal Festival Hall. Free. Open 10am-11pm. Royal Festival Hall, Upper Ground, Southbank, SE1 9PX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the World Press Photo website.

  • 8 November : Lord Mayor’s Show

The spectacle is known as the oldest and largest civic procession in the world. The three-mile procession includes floats, music and animals and a fly-past and normally starts at Mansion House at 11am with spectators free to line the route. In the evening, a spectacular fireworks show takes place between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges. Visit the Lord Mayor’s Show website for more information.

  • 8 – 16 November : Modern Panic V

Modern Panic returns to London to showcase a collection of 40 surreal, controversial and unique artists and live art practitioners, exploring the depths of the psyche and human archetypes. Works from artists including HR Giger, Iain MacArthur, Lucy Sparrow and Sequin Kay. Admission: £3. Open 11am-7pm daily. Apiary Studios, 458 Hackney Road, Hackney, E2 9EG. Nearest station: Cambridge Heath. For more information, visit the Guerrilla Zoo website.

  • Now until 11 November : Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

Check out Paul Cummins’ art installation featuring 888,246 ceramic poppies in the moat surrounding the Tower Of London. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during WWI. Tower of London moat, Tower Hill, EC3N 4AB. Nearest tube: Tower Hill. To find out how to buy a poppy, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website. For Metro Girl’s photos of her visit to the installation, click here.

  • 13 November : Carnaby Shopping Party

Special shopping event on Carnaby Street in Soho with over 100 stores, restaurants, bars and cafes giving ticketholders 20% off. There will also be exclusive trend talks, live music, complimentary food and drink, in store parties and money can’t buy experiences. 5-9pm. Shoppers can register online for a free ticket now. Carnaby Street, Soho, W1. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby Street website.

  • 13 – 15 November : Greenwich International Early Music Festival

The world’s largest early music festival, jointly promoted by The Early Music Shop, the Greenwich Foundation and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Concerts include  I Fagiolini directed by Robert Hollingworth, Brecon Baroque directed by Rachel Podger Fretwork, Emma Murphy with Ibi Aziz, Philomel, Anne-Suse Enßle (Moeck/SRP Solo Recorder Competition Winners Recital), Trinity Laban Soloists and Baroque Orchestra. At various locations around Greenwich. For more information and tickets, visit the Early Shop website.

  • 14 – 16 November : BBC Good Food Show

The travelling foodies fest comes to London’s Olympia for three days. Featuring appearances from Jamie Oliver, Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, James Martin, John Torode, Theo Randall and Michel Roux Jnr. Tickets start from £26.50, cheaper in advance than on the door. Kensington Olympia, Hammersmith Road, W14 8UX. Nearest tube: Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the BBC Good Food Show website.

  • 14 – 23 November : London Jazz Festival

This 10 day festival sees international jazz stars coming together at venues all over the capital, including Southbank Centre, Barbican, Jazz Cafe, Ronnie Scotts, Pizza Express Jazz Club and many others. Gigs range from free to ticketed. For more information, visit the London Jazz Festival website.

  • 14 November – 1 February 2015 : Hogwarts at Christmas

A must for all Harry Potter fans. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter has been given a festive makeover with props and decorations from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Featuring Christmas-themed gifts and costumes from the film franchise. Tickets: Adults £31.00, Children £23.50. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. For more information, visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Winter Wonderland returns to Hyde Park in November

  • 20 – 23 November : Taste Of London Winter

Sister event to the hugely popular Taste Of London event which celebrates food. Four day festival at Tobacco Dock in Wapping offers tastings, demonstrations, masterclasses and food theatre with Michel Roux Jnr, Mark Hix, Jason Atherton, Daniel Doherty, Raymond Blanc and Theo Randall among those giving their tips. Prices start from £19. Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest tube: Wapping (Overground). For more information, visit the Taste of London Winter website.

  • 21 November : Late London – Sherlock’s City

After hours entry to see the Sherlock Holmes exhibition including a Memory Maze installation, Bartitsu self-defence demos, Sherlock improve, life drawing and performances. 7-10pm. Tickets £12. Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest tube: Barbican or St Paul’s. For more information and tickets visit the Museum Of London website.

  • 21 November – 7 December : Enchanted Woodland

Syon Park in South West London is open after hours, with an illuminated trail through the gardens and arboretum. Exciting lighting effects will transform the trees, plants and lake into a magical place. Hot food and drinks also available. Open 5-9pm Friday to Sunday only, last entry 8pm. Tickets: Adults £7, Children £3. Syon Park, London Rd, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest train station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the Enchanted Woodland website.

  • 21 November – 4 January 2014 : Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland does exactly what is say on the tin – the south east corner of the park is transformed into a Christmas fair with rides, food and lots of mulled wine, as well as Christmas gifts. It’s free to enter, but of course the aforementioned will cost. There is also an open air ice rink for those who fancy a twirl and Zippos Cirque Berserk – an alternative circus show. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website. Read about Metro Girl’s previous visit to Winter Wonderland.

  • 23 November : Hampstead Christmas Festival

As well as stalls serving gifts, food and drink, there will also be a fairground, Santa’s Grotto, reindeer, face-painting, circus acts and performances from Babs Savage, Charlie Manning, Mad Dog Bites, The Runner Brothers and Rock Choir. A mystery celebrity will be turning on the Christmas lights. Free. 12-5pm. High Street, Hampstead, NW3. Nearest tube: Hampstead. For more information, visit the Hampstead Christmas Festival’s website.

  • 26 November – 7 December : Nordic Film Festival

A celebration of the best films to come out of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden at various locations across London, including Arthouse Crouch End, Hackney Picturehouse, Institute of Contemporary Arts and The Proud Archivist. For more information, visit the Nordic Film Festival website.

  • 26 November – 3 January 2015 : Christmas At Kew

A new evening experience for 2014, featuring a one mile glittering trail which weaves its way through Kew Gardens with stunning sights lit up upon the way. There will also be vintage rides, festive food and Santa’s Snowflake Grotto. 5-10pm. Tickets – Adults: £15 in advance £17 on the day, Children: £10 in advance, £12 on the day. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Tube: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.

  • 27 November : Churchill’s Birthday – Lates at Churchill War Rooms

An after-hours opening of the Churchill War Rooms featuring music, dancing and more. 7-10pm. Tickets: £17.50 (£14 concessions). Churchill War Rooms, Clive Steps, King Charles Street, Whitehall, SW1A 2AQ. Nearest tube: Westminster. For more information, visit the Imperial War Museum website.

© Nathan Sawaya

Art Of The Brick runs at the Old Truman Brewery until January 2015
© Nathan Sawaya

  • 27 – 30 November : Brick 2014

A festival of Lego, featuring games, construction zones and displays. Featuring models and a huge store selling Lego. Tickets: £15 (in advance), £30 (on the door). ExCel, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest tube: Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the Brick website.

  • 28 – 30 November : Heathrow Beer Festival

Run with support of the West Middlesex CAMRA, the festival will feature over 35 seasonal Real Ales and Ciders. Admission: £3 for BA Clubs / CAMRA / NUS, £4 for Public Entry. Concorde Club, Crane Lodge Road, Cranford, Heathrow, Middlesex, TW5 9PQ. Free bus shuttle from Hatton Cross tube. For more information, visit the BA Clubs website.

  • Now until December : Bond In Motion

An exhibition of over 50 James Bond vehicles, including the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me and Aston Martin DB5 from Goldeneye. Tickets – Adults: £14.50, Children: £9.50. Booking in advance highly recommended. 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.

  • Now until 4 January 2015 : The Art Of The Brick

Nathan Sawaya’s Art Of The Brick exhibition features a range of sculptures made from millions of Lego building blocks, from recreations of iconic artwork to new contemporary pieces. Tickets – Adults: £14.50-£16.50, Children under 12: £8-£9.50. Open daily, hours vary. Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Aldgate or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit The Art Of The Brick website.

  • Now until April 2015 : Sherlock Holmes exhibition @ Museum Of London

An exhibition of the world’s favourite fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, featuring historic artefacts from Victorian London and author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Tickets: £12 adults, £10 concession. Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest tube: Barbican or St Paul’s. For more information and tickets, visit Museum Of London website.

  • Now until 30 August 2015 : Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2014 @ Natural History Museum

An exhibition of the annual Wildlife Photographer Of The Year – the 50th year of the competition. Although entrance to the museum is free, this exhibition is ticketed. Adults: £12.60, Children & Concessions: £6.30. Open 10am-5.50pm daily. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the NHM website.

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Having a gas: The last Webb Patent Sewer lamp in London

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The Webb Patent Sewer Gas Lamp is located on Carting Lane

Once a mainstay of Victorian streets, gas lamps have gradually been replaced by electric lighting and are a very rare occurrence today. However down one quiet London street, there is what is believed to be the capital’s only remaining sewer gas lamp.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The lamp burns 24 hours a day

Halfway down Carting Lane at the back of The Savoy hotel, is an example of a Webb Patent Sewer Gas Lamp. The design was patented by Joseph Edmund Webb of Birmingham in the late 19th century in a bid to safely remove sewer gases from the sewers below. These gases, when built up, were hazardous and smelt dreadful. These lamps were mainly placed on slopes and hills – where sewer gases were more likely to collect. Carting Lane is a slope leading down towards the Thames from The Strand, with the sewers taking waste from The Savoy. With this in mind, it’s no surprise to hear the road has been nicknamed ‘Farting Lane’. However, while the lamps removed sewer gases, they weren’t actually powered by them. The flame is lit by traditional town gas, while drawing up sewer gases from below and burning off any impurities along with the mains gas.

Unfortunately the lamp was damaged by a lorry in more recent years, but has been fully restored by British Gas engineers and can now be seen running 24 hours a day.

  • The old lamppost can be found on Carting Lane (leading from The Strand to Savoy Place), Westminster, WC2R. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Embankment or Temple.

For the history of the ‘Dolphin’ street lamps by the Thames, click here.

To find out about the monument to composer Arthur Sullivan in Embankment Gardens behind the hotel and his ties to The Savoy, click here.

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

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The cosiest and friendliest pop-up in town: The Little Yellow Door comes to Notting Hill

© The Little Yellow Door 2014

Plonk yourself on the sofa at the ‘flat’ and enjoy a cocktail at The Little Yellow Door in Notting Hill
© The Little Yellow Door 2014

The popularity of pop-ups is fortunately continuing, but how many of these hot new venues make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? This is where The Little Yellow Door comes in. A new pop-up in Notting Hill Gate, this new nightspot feels like a mate’s home you’ve just swung by for a few drinks or a laidback meal.

This new pop-up is based on a fictional flatshare where five mismatched flatmates come together and throw parties every week. Open Thursdays to Saturdays, the venue will host dinner and drinks parties and will be the first hospitality venue to take bookings by WhatsApp. The menus will be handwritten on magazines lying around the flat, while drinks will be served in jars, teapots, blenders or even eggcups – whatever the flatmates can get their hands on. The cocktails are influenced by the flatmates’ favourite TV shows, such as My Name Is Earl, an Earl Grey infused gin, citrus, egg white and sugar short drink served in a tea cup and saucer with biscuits on the side, and sprinkled with earl grey leaves, or Suits, a Manhattan on ice with a dash of absinthe.

On Fridays, The Wandering Chef will be stopping by to create culinary delights for the flatmates’ visitors and will be influenced by the nationality of the latest flatmate to move in. On Thursdays and Saturdays, it will be more of a party focus with bar snacks available to accompany your drinks.

Regulars will receive a key to the ‘flat’ so they can come and go whenever they fancy and if they BYOB, they’ll be rewarded with a personalised mug which will be filled up with free punch every time they visit. TLYD is from the same team behind ROXX, Press Play and The Wandering Chef so you can expect a good time.

  • The Little Yellow Door will be open Thursdays 5-11pm, Fridays 6pm-1am and Saturdays 7pm-1am. The Little Yellow Door is located at 68 Notting Hill Gate, Notting Hill, W11 3HT. Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate. For more information, visit the Little Yellow Door website.

For Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

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

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Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill review: A huge menu and a friendly cat in Art Deco surroundings

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Isle of Skye half-lobster

© Memoirs Of A Met 2014ro Girl

The centrepiece of Kaspar’s is the ornate bar with icicle-style decorations

The Savoy is one of London’s most iconic hotels, synonymous with luxury and style. Having previously visiting the stunning Beaufort Bar in the hotel, I have long been eager to sample some food in one of the restaurants. Fortunately, for my recent birthday, my sister booked a table at Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill in the hotel as a surprise.

The name of the restaurant stems back to the hotel’s iconic cat Kaspar. The cat’s origins started during a fateful meal back in 1898, when South African diamond magnate Woolf Joel hosted a meal for 14 people at The Savoy. After one guest dropped out at the last minute, another diner declared it was unlucky to eat at a table for 13 and death would fall upon the first person to leave. Joel wasn’t superstitious and dismissed the notion and was the first to leave, only to be shot dead weeks later in Johannesburg. In the following years, any time there was a table of 13 at The Savoy, an extra guest was arranged by management to make up the numbers to 14. With members of staff often joining diners at the table, this often proved unpopular so in 1926, architect Basil Ionides created an art deco sculpture of a cat named Kaspar. Since then, Kaspar has joined many a group of 13 diners at The Savoy, wearing a napkin around his neck. In 2013, The Savoy’s River Room restaurant was re-imagined as Kaspar’s Seafood Bar and Grill.

My party of four dined at Kaspar’s on a Saturday evening in August. Unfortunately we were far from the river view, but had a nice table and booth situated in the north west corner so had an expansive view across the restaurant. Kaspar’s was decked out in stunning Art Deco interiors, with icicle-style sculptures surrounding the ornate bar, which has high stools should you prefer some informal dining. However, we were definitely being formal on this occasion.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Green pea soup with seafood dumping

One thing on the wine list which thrilled me was to see they had half-bottles and carafes alongside the typical glasses or bottles. I order carafes all the time when I go abroad, but I think London restaurants seriously need to step up and offer more carafes on their menus. We were a party of four, but we were split into two camps when it came to what wine we preferred. I wasn’t in the mood for drinking much so my sister and I shared a carafe of Anjou Rosé, Domaine des Cedres for £16.00, which was light and fruity and just what we needed.

The Savoy

Kaspar’s is located at the iconic Savoy Hotel

The food menu was pretty extensive and our patient waiter did have to return a few times as we took so long to decide. Eventually I plumped for the Green Pea Soup with Seafood Dumpling (£9) which was a lovely consistency. The dumpling was an unusual flavour combination with the soup, which worked well. My mother, rather controversially, opted for the Chicken Liver and Foie Gras Parfait served with Grilled Sourdough Bread and Cumberland sauce (£15), but said she loved it.

For my main, I was pretty torn for choice but finally settled on the Isle Of Sky Lobster, with the option to buy half or whole. I went for the former (£22), which was served with garlic butter and lemon so you will need to order sides, such as Buttered Spinach or Cornish New Potatoes. The lobster was soft and easy to get into and tasted gorgeous with lashings of melted butter on. I also tried my sister’s Seafood Linguine, a simple, but tasty dish which is apparently quite popular for Kaspar’s diners.

Tragically, we were all pretty full and didn’t have room for dessert but had a little sugar fix with complimentary raspberry and dark chocolate lollipops. Overall, the food and drink were brilliant – there was a wide range of dishes to appease all taste. The venue was sophisticated and the service was incredibly friendly and attentive. Can recommend as a nice venue to treat yourself, or perhaps a pre-theatre meal as its located right next to The Savoy Theatre.

  • Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill is located in The Savoy, Strand, WC2R 0EU. Nearest tube: Embankment, Charing Cross or Temple. For more information, visit the Kaspar’s website.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Sweet treat: We just about found room for the chocolate and raspberry lollipops

For Metro Girl’s review of the Beaufort Bar in The Savoy, click here.

To find out about the monument to composer Arthur Sullivan in Embankment Gardens behind the hotel and his ties to The Savoy, click here.

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

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Take My Lightning But Don’t Steal My Thunder in Covent Garden

Step to it: The Duke of Wellington’s mounting stone

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The Duke of Wellington’s horse mount on Waterloo Place

© Internet Archive Book Images 2014

Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke Of Wellington, was a regular at the Athenaeum
© Internet Archive Book Images 2014

The 1st Duke Of Wellington is one of the country’s most famous soldiers and statesmen, having defeated Napoleon at the Battle Of Waterloo and serving as Prime Minister twice. Although there has been seven subsequent Duke Of Wellingtons since his death, it is Arthur Wellesley most of us think of when we hear the title.

Around London there are many monuments to the late, great Duke Of Wellington (1769 – 1852), such as the Wellington Arch in Hyde Park Corner, his sarcophagus in St Paul’s Cathedral and an equestrian statue of him outside the Royal Exchange in the City of London to name but a few. There are also many buildings connected to the Duke, such as Apsley House on Hyde Park Corner and Walmer Castle in Kent, where he died at the age of 83.

While Wellington’s belongings can be seen in museums and stately homes, one piece of memorabilia remains on a busy London street, with thousands passing it each day unaware of the significance. Sitting on the pavement outside the Athenaeum Club, on Waterloo Place near the junction with Pall Mall is a pair of unassuming granite stones. To those walking by, they may not even be noticed at all or simply dismissed as a plain old piece of London street furniture.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The pair of unassuming granite stones remain outside the Athenaeum Club

However, to those who take a closer look, these stones are in fact a mounting step to get on and off a horse. During the Duke’s tenure as Prime Minister (January 1828 – November 1830), he was a regular at the Athenaeum Club, of which the original building still stands today. Designed by architect Decimus Burton (1800 – 1881), it is one of the country’s most famous gentlemen’s clubs, with Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Joseph Conrad, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy among its prestigious alumni of past members. As the transport of choice for many in the 1800s, the Duke used to arrive at the club on horseback. In 1830 – six years after the club was founded – Prime Minister Wellesley suggested the club should erect some mounting stones to assist in getting on and off horses. Then in his 60s, the Duke would not have been as amble as he once was so the stones would have encouraged a more graceful dismount.

Over 180 years later, the stones remain on the kerb, although these days unused. On the inward facing side, a rusty plaque reads: ‘This horseblock was erected by desire of the Duke Of Wellington 1830.’

  • The mounting stones are on Waterloo Place, just south of Pall Mall and outside the Athenaeum Club, 107 Pall Mall, St James, SW1Y 5ER. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus or Green Park.

For a post on the Wellington Arch in Hyde Park Corner, read A monument to victory, grand park entrance and an upset Duke: History behind the Wellington Arch.

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

photo credit: Internet Archive Book Images via photopin cc

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Vapiano Soho review: Watch your dinner being cooked in this relaxed Italian eating experience

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Laidback dining: Order your food and grab a table wherever you want at Vapiano

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Death By Chocolate is one of the delicious ‘Dolci’ on offer

There’s a new style of dining standing out amongst the chain restaurants, posh eateries and greasy spoons in Soho. Having already won over many fans in mainland Europe, Vapiano has set up shop in Wardour Street providing a relaxed and speedy dining experience. Italian is one of my favourite foods and is responsible for my genuine love of carbs. However, when it comes to eating the cuisine, I find many venues can be overpriced so was pleased to discover Vapiano is serving good quality Italian fare at reasonable prices.

Vapiano is an expansive venue covering two levels with different open kitchens lining the back wall. While it doesn’t take reservations, the high turnover of diners just looking to eat and go means there won’t be a long wait at peak times. Upon arrival, you are given an electronic card which you swipe Oyster-style at the various counters when you order your dishes or the waiters use when serving drinks at your table. You then present the card at the exit to settle your bill. I found this system easy and convenient and makes splitting the bill with your friends simple.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Verdure pizza (Roasted vegetables, mushrooms, tomato sauce, mozzarella)

The venue is light and airy with contemporary furnishings and artworks. The street-art style design above the different pasta, pizza and salad counters certainly caught the eye. After one of the hostesses on the door explained the concept to us, we headed to a table to check over the menu before deciding what to order. Although you essentially carry your own food to the table, there are also waiters taking orders for drinks. One thing that immediately struck my friend and I was the wide range of wines, beers and cocktails for sale and what good value they were. I ended up treating myself to a Strawberry Bellini for only £5.

The open kitchens feature different sections for pasta, pizza and salad so you can order directly from the chef cooking it and specify exactly what you want and how you like it. While my friend opted for pizza, I headed to the pasta kitchen and chatted to the friendly and speedy chef as he made my dish. The freshness of the ingredients before me were clear to see and I was impressed with my choice of 11 types of fresh pasta. It only took a few minutes before my dish Scampi E Spinaci (King prawns, basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, spinach, light cream sauce on fusilli) was ready and needless to say, it wasn’t long before I had eaten it. The pasta was cooked to perfection and the rich flavour of the ingredients really came through. I’m hungry for another one just now writing about it! Meanwhile, my friend opted for the Verdure pizza (Roasted vegetables, mushrooms, tomato sauce, mozzarella) which she praised as one of the best pizzas she’d had in a long time. She also accompanied her meal with a salad with the choice to design your own if you want to go off menu. The open dialogue directly with the chefs mean you have the option to go off piste from the typical salad recipes.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Scampi E Spinaci (King prawns, basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, spinach, light cream sauce on fusilli)

Finally, we just about had room for dessert. These are pre-prepared and very good value with most around £2.25 to £4. I opted for a small Panna Cotta (Blend of vanilla and cream topped with strawberry sauce) which was delicious and a perfect size after stuffing myself with carbs, while my companion opted for the very naughty Death By Chocolate cake, which was creamy, but not too rich.

While the concept may sound like a food court, it certainly doesn’t feel like one. The low lighting, contemporary interiors and friendly staff make for a relaxing environment. I loved the idea of being so involved in the preparation of your meal. Every dish we had was tasty, fresh and rich in flavour, while the brilliant value of drinks were an added appeal. Whether you need a quick lunch or catch up with friends over dinner, I would highly recommend Vapiano. I think this place will be my new Soho hotspot.

  • Vapiano Soho, 84 Wardour Street, Soho, W1F 0TQ. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus or Tottenham Court Road. There are two further branches in Great Portland Street and Bankside. For more information, visit the Vapiano website.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

How do you like your pasta? Talk directly to the chefs about your requests while your food is prepared

For more of Metro Girl’s restaurant and bar reviews, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London for Halloween 2014

© Ram Yoga on Flickr

Halloween pumpkins
© Ram Yoga on Flickr

With the onset of October, people inevitably start thinking about the fast approaching winter and Christmas festivities. But first we’ve got Hallowe’en to mark first. Every year, the scarefest seems to be getting bigger and bigger and 2014 will be no exception. If you’re a fan of the spooky holiday, there’s plenty going on in the capital for both adults and children alike. Parents looking for some half-term ideas to keep their children occupied will also find some inspiration. I strongly advise booking in advance to many events as those who just turn up without a ticket may be disappointed.

For a guide to what else is on in London in October/November, click here.

  • 28 – 29 October : Little Shwop of Horrors

To get prepared for the Hallowe’en festivities, why not head down to M&S and Oxfam’s pop-up which will sell fancy dress and items donated by the likes of Jessie J, Nadine Coyle, Simon Pegg and Naomie Harris. Shoppers are encouraged to bring their own items to ‘shwop’, with proceeds from sales going to fight poverty worldwide. Open 8am-9pm. Marks & Spencer Marble Arch, 458 Oxford Street, W1C 1AP. Nearest tube: Marble Arch. To find out more about shwopping, visit the M&S website.

Daytime jitters

  • 1 October – 2 November : Halloween at the London Dungeon

Of course, one of the city’s scariest places is the London Dungeon, who are making the most of All Hallows Eve with a month of frightful goings-on.  As well as the usual features, the Hallowe’en festivities will also include the new character The Master Of Tricks and his Wheel Of Misfortune and some other special surprises. London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Dungeon, click here.

  • 1 October – 3 November : Halloween Show @ The London Bridge Experience

The experience will be running its usual adventure with a Hallowe’en twist. Open 10.30am-5pm Sun-Fri, 10am-6pm Sat. Tickets: Adults £20, Children 5-15 yrs £16, Students over 17 £18. London Bridge Experience, 2-4 Tooley Street, SE1 2SY. Nearest tube/rail: London Bridge. For more information and booking, visit the London Bridge Experience website.

  • 25 October – 1 November : Witch Academy on the London Eye

Imagine you’re on a broomstick and can soar into the sky over London… then open your eyes and realise you’re on the London Eye as part of the Witch Academy. As well as a 30 minute ride on the big attraction, an academy experience also includes a Hallowe’en character host, storytelling for four to nine-year olds and a free goody bag. Tickets: Children – online in advance £17.93 or £19.92 on the day, Adults £24.25 online in advance or £26.94 on the day. London Eye, near Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest tube: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Eye website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Eye, click here.

  • 25 October – 2 November : Glamoween @ Madame Tussauds

Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars (well, their waxwork doppelgangers at least…) will gather at a Halloween party at Madame Tussauds. Children dressed in Hallowe’en costume will get in free with a paying adult (£24 in advance online, £55.80 on the day). Madame Tussauds, Marylebone Road, NW1 5LR. Nearest tube/train: Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Madame Tussauds website.

  • 28 October : Family Day Hallowe’en @ Benjamin Franklin House

Walk along the creaky floorboards of this 18th century house before a spooky storytelling by Benjamin Franklin’s friend Polly Hewson and other ghoulish goings on. 4-5pm. Tickets £5 for children, free for adults. Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, London, WC2N 5NG. Nearest tube: Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the Benjamin Franklin House website.

  • 30 October – 1 November : Eat Your Heart Out pop-up cake shop

Food art curator Miss Cakehead is celebrating Halloween with the most gruesome looking cakes you’ve ever seen, such as three slaughtered little pigs or giant spiders. A three day pop up will be open at the Hoxton Hotel which is free to visit. Hoxton Hotel, 81 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3HU. Nearest tube/Overground: Old Street or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit the Miss Cakehead website.

  • 30 October – 2 November : Day Of The Dead Festival

Embassy of Mexico has teamed up with tequila brand Jose Cuervo and Arte Mexico to bring the 3000 year old Mexican celebration, Dia de los Muertos to London’s Southbank. Featuring Day Of The Dead art displays, Jose Cuervo masterclasses, children’s art and crafts workshops, and a screening of Under the Volcano. Free, but workshops require registering in advance.11am-6pm. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH. Nearest tube/train: Waterloo or Blackfriars. For more information and registration, visit the Oxo Tower website.

  • 31 October : Halloween Family Fun Day @ Queen’s House

Visit the stunning 17th century Queen’s House with the family for a spooky day out featuring ghostly activities, spooky entertainment and storytelling. Fancy dress encouraged with prizes for the best costumes. Free entry. 11am-4pm. Queen’s House, Romney Road, Greenwich, SE10 9NF. Nearest train/DLR: Cutty Sark or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.

  • 31 October : Spooky Ships @ Cutty Sark

Family fun day out at the Cutty Sark featuring the usual displays as well as spooky shadow puppet shows and a special Hallowe’en souvenir to take home. Tickets: Children £7, Adults £13.50, family tickets £24-£35. Spooky Ships takes place at 11.30am-1.30pm and 2-4pm, although the Cutty Sark is open normal hours 10am-5pm. Cutty Sark Clipper Ship, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9HT. Nearest train/DLR: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.

Things that go bump in the night

  • 13 – 31 October : London Horror Festival

The Etcetera Theatre hosts ghoulish and creepy theatre, comedy, performance and spoken word in the run-up to Hallowe’en, including Frankenstein: Unbolted, Scream Queens Anonymous, Shakespeare In Hell and Darker The Night. Ticket prices vary, but many around £8-£10. Most events take place at the Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High Street, Camden, NW1 7BU. Nearest tube/train: Camden Town or Camden Road. For more information, visit the London Horror Festival website.

  • 16-18, 23-25 and 30 October – 1 November : 2.8 Hours Later: Survival

Night-time street game 2.8 Hours Later comes to the capital, giving you the chance to experience what it would be like if London was overrun with zombies. If you manage to escape them, then you can dance the night away at the Zombie Disco. Tickets: £40-£60. For more information and tickets, visit 2.8 Hours Later website.

  • 25 October : Dark Circus Party Halloween Special

Kick off the festivities a week early, Dark Circus brings their weird and wonderful world to Bloomsbury, featuring macabre thrills, costumes, death-defying circus acts and cocktails. Tickets: £25. 9pm-3am. Bloomsbury Ballroom, Bloomsbury Square, WC1B 4DA. Nearest tube/train: Euston or Russell Square. For more information, visit the Dark Circus Party website.

  • 25 October – 1 November : PhoboPhobia at the London Bridge Experience

Hallowe’en spectacular at the London Bridge Experience and Tombs, featuring a ‘shocking and unnerving show’ alongside the usual horror maze and mind-bending experiences. Tickets: £24. Time slots available between 6-10pm. London Bridge Experience, 2-4 Tooley Street, SE1 2SY. Nearest tube/rail: London Bridge. For more information and booking, visit the London Bridge Experience website.

  • 27 October – 2 November : Hot Tub Cinema Halloween

Watch your favourite horror film while swilling a beer or bubbly in a hot tub in the old Shoreditch Underground station. Films include Beetlejuice, The Craft, The Lost Boys, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shaun Of The Dead, 28 Days Later and Scream. Tickets £35pp or £190 for a private tub for up to six people. Former Shoreditch Underground station, Pedley Street, Shoreditch, E1 6SE. Nearest tube/train: Bethnal Green, Shoreditch High Street or Whitechapel. For booking, visit the Hot Tub Cinema website.

  • 30 October : Musical Bingo Halloween Ball

Musical bingo is very similar to regular bingo – except they play music instead of shout numbers. Guests are encouraged to dress up for a night of bingo, music and ghoulish fun. There will also be prizes for the best dressed. Tickets: £10. Event starts at 7pm. Concrete, 56 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ. Nearest Overground: Shoreditch High Street. For more information and booking, visit the Billetto website.

© Nomad Cinema

The Lookout will host Nomad Cinema’s spooky screenings in Hyde Park
© Nomad Cinema 2014

  • 30 – 31 October : The Nomad Cinema’s Spooky Screenings

Pop-up cinema company Nomad Cinema comes to Hyde Park with a selection of horror films, including Ghostbusters, The Wicker Man, Little Shop Of Horrors or The Blair Witch Project. There will be Hallowe’en themed drinks such as ‘Singapore Slime’ and a horror photobooth where you can dress up and pose. Tickets £25 include screening, a glass of bubbles, a delicious hot wrap from Souvlaki Street Food, hair-raising Halloween themed activities and a fire-pit for toasting marshmallows. Proceeds from sales go to charity. The Lookout, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch. For more information and booking, visit The Nomad website.

  • 30 – 31 October : Halloween Ghostly Tours & Ghoulish Supper @ Old Royal Naval College

The Old Royal Naval College will be hosting a spooky evening of events for adults including a lantern lit tour of the building where you can find out about the dark history and ghostly happenings, before dinner and drinks in the Painted Hall. 6.30-10.30pm. Tickets: £35. Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest train/DLR: Greenwich, Maze Hill or Cutty Sark. For more information and booking, visit the ORNC website.

  • 30 – 31 October : Barts’ Annual Yelloween Party

Exclusive Chelsea bar Barts hosted their annual spooky celebration in association with Veuve Cliquot. Fancy dress encouraged, but there will be a dressing up box and face painting for those unprepared. 6pm until late. Barts, Chelsea Cloisters, 87 Sloane Ave, Chelsea, SW3 3DW. Nearest tube: Sloane Square or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Barts website.

  • 30 October – 2 November : Pop Up Screens Halloween Weekender

Open-air cinema company Pop Up Screens will be hosting screenings of classic scary films at the 20th Century Cinema in Notting Hill including Friday The 13th, Poltergeist, Nightmare On Elm Street, Ghostbusters, Pet Sematary, Evil Dead II, Dark Crystal and Candyman. Will also be a bar and popcorn stand. Tickets £20. 20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, W11 2QA. Nearest tube: Westbourne Grove or Notting Hill Gate. For more information and booking, visit the Pop Up Screens website. For Metro Girl’s review of a Pop Up Screens event, click here.

  • 30 October – 2 November : Butcher’s Basement

The Four Quarters arcade bar in Peckham will be opening its basement (in an old butcher’s, hence the creepy butchers’ tables and band-saws) for a four day horror extravaganza with two surprise screenings nightly. Tickets: £10 advance or £15 for both screenings. ‘Movie A’ starts @ 6.30pm and ‘Movie B’ @ 8.30pm. Four Quarters, 187 Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4TP. Nearest Overground/train: Peckham Rye. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

  • 31 October : An Evening Of Fear And Wonder @ The Shard

Late-night opening of View From The Shard with a Halloween party in partnership with the BFI and supported by Crystal Head Vodka. Entertainment at 800ft includes BFI screenings of iconic scenes from classic horror films, DJs and a live performance from the star of Wicked. 10pm-2am. Tickets: £39 include a complimentary cocktail and treats from Krispy Kreme and Cadbury’s. The View From The Shard, Joiner Street, SE1 9SP. Nearest tube/train: London Bridge. For more information, visit The View From The Shard website. For Metro Girl’s review of a party at View From The Shard, click here.

  • 31 October : Halloween Festival Twisted Circus

Spooky club night featuring circus acts, face paint, cupcakes and glow sticks, with music from Colin Francis, Maze and Masters, Moses Midas and Maestro. 9pm until late. Tickets from £15. IndigO2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich, SE10 0DX. Nearest tube: North Greenwich. For more information and booking, visit The O2 website.

  • 31 October : LATE at the Library – The Sorting

Late night opening at the British Library, with award-winning theatre company Les Enfants Terribles creating a funeral inspired experience featuring macabre performances, live music, DJs, bar and a late night opening of the exhibition. 7.30-10.30pm. Tickets: £15. British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Nearest tube/train: Euston or King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information and booking, visit the British Library website.

  • 31 October : West End Film Club presents The Rocky Horror Picture Show

West End Film Club hosts two screenings of the cult 1975 film at the Century Club in Soho. As well as suitably themed drinks and snacks, guests will also receive a ‘Partici-pation Pack’ featuring props for an immersive experience. Following the film, there will be a party on the roof until 2am with music from The Roustabouts. Screenings at 8pm and 10.45pm. Tickets: £8.50-£10 (not including booking fee). Century Club, 61-63 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho, W1D 6LQ. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the West End Film Club website.

  • 31 October : Discopath @ Disco

Celebrate Halloween ’70s-style at Disco in Soho. After checking in Pan-Am style, where you receive your boarding pass and your coat is whisked off down a conveyor belt, head into the 1970s Manhattan-style house of Disco. During an interactive spooky film screening, the Retro Discopathe menu will be served courtesy of Stax Diner, along with an abundance of alcoholic ‘Hard Milkshakes’. There will be dancing until late in the night, roller-skating table service, best dressed competitions and a dance off. Doors open 7.30pm, film starts 8.30pm, club night starts 10pm. Tickets £20 earlybird, £25 on the door. Disco, 13 Kingly Court, Soho, W1B 5PW. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Disco website.

  • 31 October : Ghost Tour @ Museum Of London Docklands

After being greeted with a hot drink, you’ll visit the haunted locations on the quayside before an intimate and exclusive after hours tour of the museum. 6.30-8.30pm. Tickets: £25. Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, E14 4AL. Nearest tube: West India Quay (DLR). For more information and booking, visit the Museum Of London Docklands website.

  • 31 October : Pirates Of The River Thames Boat Party

Pirates Of The Caribbean-themed boat party down the River Thames. On a three level, 400 capacity boat with licensed bar and DJs playing old and new school, as well as the odd horror track. Tickets: £15 (and includes access to after-party at Shaka Zulu, Camden). Booking must be done in advance. Leaves Tower Hill Millennium Pier @ 7.15pm. Nearest tube: Tower Hill. For more information, visit the Xclusive Touch website.

  • 31 October : Chills In The Chapel – Alfred Hitchcock

Screening of Psycho accompanied by Bernard Hermann’s integral score bought to life by the Live Film Orchestra. Tickets: £22.50 or £15 for members. (NB: Tickets for the Bates Motel Ball after party has sold out). Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, N1 2UN. Nearest tube: Highbury & Islington. For more information, visit the Union Chapel website.

© Mansion Production ltd

Get your ghoulish rags on for The Mansion London’s Halloween Ball in a secret location on 1 November
© Mansion Production ltd

  • 31 October : 80s Slasher Mash-Up @ Maggie’s

Eighties-themed Chelsea nightclub Maggie’s will celebrate the best of the decade’s slasher movies in a recreated film set and a mash-up of DVD screenings. There will also be drinking, dancing and a prize for the best dressed. Fancy dress required. 10.30pm until late. Tickets: £20. Maggie’s, 329 Fulham Road, Chelsea, SW10 9QL. Nearest tube/Overground: South Kensington or West Brompton. For more information, visit the Maggie’s website.

  • 31 October : Halloween at The Grant and Gentleman Of Horror at The Petrie

After hours opening of the Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL, featuring Halloween-themed display and drinks. No need to book, just pay £5 on the door (adults only). 6.30-9pm. Grant Museum of Zoology, Rockefeller Building, University College London, University Street, WC1E 6DE. Alternatively, nearby there is a London Horror Festival (see above) performance of Gentleman Of Horror at UCL’s Petrie Museum Of Egyptian Archaeology. 6pm. Tickets: £10. Petrie Museum Of Egyptian Archaeology, Malet Place, Camden, WC1E 6BT. Nearest tube: Russell Square, Euston Square, Goodge Street or Euston. For more information, visit the UCL website.

  • 31 October : Halloween – Subterranean Scream @ London Transport Museum

The London Transport Museum’s Lates night has a scary twist, featuring a gruesome makeover stand, tarot reading, 2-4-1 ghoulish cocktails, story-telling ghosts wandering the galleries and talks from Scott Wood, author of London Urban Legends: The Corpse on the Tube and Other Stories. Tickets: £10, £8 concession. London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB. Nearest tube: Covent Garden, Charing Cross or Embankment. For information and tickets, visit the LTM website.

  • 31 October – 1 November : Halloween Weekend Of Horrors @ Bunga Bunga and Cocobananas

The Italian and Brazilian bars of Battersea are teaming up for a thrilling weekend of horror. There will be drinking, dancing and fancy dress on the Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm-2.30am. Free entry to Bunga Bunga (over 21s only), and free before 11pm at Cocobananas, then £10 after. There will also be a Halloween Brunch at Bunga Bunga on Saturday 1 November from 12-5.30pm. Serving a four course meal and lots of prosecco with entertainment from DJ John ‘dragoween’ Sizzle. £38-£48 per head. Bunga Bunga, 37 Battersea Bridge Road, SW11 3BA and Cocobananas, 101 Howie Street, SW11 3BA. Nearest train station: Clapham Junction, Queenstown Road Battersea or Battersea Park. For more information visit the Cocobananas or Bunga Bunga websites.

  • 31 October – 1 November : Candlelight Club’s Halloween Spooktacular

Celebrate All Hallows Eve 1920s-style at pop-up vintage nightspot Candlelight Club. Featuring entertainment from Top Shelf Band and DJ Auntie Maureen, tarot readings, dining and spooky cocktails. Tickets: £20. In a secret London location. For more information, visit The Candlelight Club website. For Metro Girl’s review of the Candlelight Club, click here.

  • 31 October – 1 November : Four Quarters Halloween Weekender

Peckham’s arcade bar Four Quarters are hosting two days of spooky revelry featuring the best Northern Soul, Garage, Disco and House Collectives. Horror classics will be screened on the projector while there will be horror-themed video games to play in the chill out room. Special late license until 4am. Slasher creep fancy dress. Free entry before 10pm, £5 after. Four Quarters, 187 Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4TP. Nearest Overground/train: Peckham Rye. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

  • 31 October – 2 November : Halloween Movie Mash Up Weekend

Three day pop-up cinema event featuring Hallowe’en themed food and drink, sing and dance-a-longs, dressing up boxes, pumpkin carving, apple bobbing and trick or treating. Screenings include The Lost Boys, The Shining and Little Shop Of Horrors. Tickets: £5.50 (including booking fee). Portobello Pop Up Cinema, 3 Acklam Road, W10 5TY. Nearest tube: Westbourne Park. For more information, visit Tees and Cees website.

  • 31 October – 5 November : Backyard Cinema presents Apocalypse

An immersive cinema experience from the Backyard Cinema crew, featuring screenings of Evil Dead, 28 Days Later, Zombieland, Shaun Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead, Planet Terror and Cockneys Vs Zombies. Taking place in a secret East London location, stock on food and drink before entering the Secret Zombie Testing Facility. Includes fully-licensed bar, live actors, street food and an end of the world party. Tickets £30 (over 18s only). For more information and tickets, visit the Backyard Cinema website.

  • 1 November : The Mansion London Presents The Halloween Ball

Exclusive themed party hosts The Mansion mark Halloween with a spine-chilling ball hosted by Baron Vrykolakas. With electro from Fabrizia Corsi and DJ Femi Fem playing funk, groove, disco and soul in the second room, accompanied by Sam Baws’ African Bongo. There will also be singing and sax from the talented Glacomo Smith and dancing female vampires suspended above the dancefloor. Psychic Laura Boyle will be telling your fortune, while face and body painter Miss Anna will be transforming revellers. Fancy dress mandatory. Tickets: £16.50. 9pm – 3am in a secret London location. For more information, visit The Mansion London website.

  • 1 November : Nightmare on Camden High Street

One day festival in Camden, featuring live music and parties at venues across town including Brewdog, Dingwalls, Electric Ballroom, Jazz Café, Hawley Arms, The Barfly and Our Black Heart. Acts include King Charles, Blood Red Shoes, Inme, Howling Bells, Night Engine and dozens more. Tickets £20 for a wristband which allows you access to various events, capacity depending. Nearest tube/train: Camden Town, Chalk Farm and Camden Road. For more information and listings, visit the Nightmare Festival website.

  • 1 November : Bourne & Hollingsworth Presents: A Grimm Halloween

Halloween extraordinaire featuring ‘macabre thrills’, live perofrmances, themed rooms, B&H cocktails, dancing and a bar hosted by A Curious Invitation. The hall will be decked out in overgrown creepers giving an enchanted forest feel. Tickets: £25. The Grand Hall St Pancras, Euston Road, WC1H 9JE. Nearest tube: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, check out the B&H website.

  • 1 November : Zombie Pirate Ship Party

Boat party cruise down the Thames and then after-party action to follow on dry land. DJs include D.Ramirez, Momentum, Dean Griffiths,  Triggerfunk, Fabio Nunes, Donna Love btb Ashley Knights, London Sound Factory, J n R, Van George, Tribal Infector and Ves. Boat departs Tower Pier @ 8pm, returning at midnight, before moving on to a secret location. Fancy dress optional. Tickets start from £30. Nearest tube: Tower Hill. For more information and tickets, visit the Resident Advisor website.

  • 1 November : The End Is Nigh – Winterwell Halloween 2014

The team behind boutique festival Winterwell are hosting a farewell shindig in West London. In an old brick warehouse overlooking the St Mary’s Cemetery in Kensal Green, the party will feature DJs, pervasive and interactive games and theatre and live performances in three different rooms from acts including London Afrobeat, Sink The Pink and Count Sizzle. 9pm-4am. Tickets: Early bird £20, regular £25. The Loft Studios, 77-81 Scrubs Lane, Kensal Green, NW10 6QW. Nearest tube/train: Kensal Green or Willesden Junction. For more information, visit the Winterwell website.

  • Nightly : London Ghost Bus Tours

Although they take place all year round, the Ghost Bus Tours are particularly fun during Hallowe’en. Departing from 8 Northumberland Avenue (near Trafalgar Square) at 7.30 and 9pm every night, they take in the darker side of London with on-board horror theatre. Tickets: £22 adults, £16 concessions. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Embankment or Westminster. For more information, visit the London Ghost Bus tours website.

photo credit: ramyo via photopin cc

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Watch your favourite heart-throb on the big screen at Silent Swoon film festival

© St Martin's Courtyard

Silent Swoon at St Martin’s Courtyard runs from 14-16 October 2014
© St Martin’s Courtyard

With most of the summer cinema pop-ups having closed up shop for the year, many film fans may be pining for an alfresco cinematic experience. Fortunately, the team at St Martin’s Courtyard in the heart of the West End are hosting a three day pop-up cinema this October.

Silent Swoon, a three day film festival, brings an open air cinema to central London. However, what makes this event different from many other similar pop-ups, is the audio is transmitted via wireless headphones. This year’s Silent Cinema festival is a celebration of Hollywood heart-throbs past and present. Starting with The Talented Mr Ripley on Tuesday 14 October with Jude Law and Matt Damon; Crazy, Stupid, Love with Ryan Gosling on Wednesday 15 October and Rebel Without A Cause starring the late, great James Dean on Thursday 16 October.

While watching your choice of film, there will be gourmet popcorn and posh sweets to nibble on, washed down with a bottle of fizz. Being October, there will also be blankets available should you start to feel the chill.

There will 120 free tickets available per screening, which are allocated through an online prize draw. Visit St Martin’s Courtyard website to enter. Winners will be contacted one week prior to the screening.

Alternatively, you can add a dinner to the experience and book a table in advance at one of the restaurants in the courtyard (Suda, Bill’s, Dalla Terra and Jamie’s Italian), which will have wireless headsets available for diners.

  • Silent Swoon takes place from 14-16 October 2014 in St Martin’s Courtyard, off Long Acre, WC2. Nearest tube: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For a chance to get hold of a pair of tickets, visit the St Martin’s Courtyard website and enter your details. There will also be a small amount of tickets available on the night. For live updates and further ticket giveaways, follow St Martin’s Courtyard on Twitter @smccoventgarden.

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

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Spend a penny as Urinetown: The Musical comes to the Apollo Theatre

© Urinetown: The Musical

Urinetown: The Musical has just opened at the Apollo Theatre
© Urinetown: The Musical

Following a sell-out three-month run at the St James Theatre this spring, hit show Urinetown: The Musical has just opened at the Apollo Theatre. With such a title, there’s no surprise to learn this isn’t your typical fluffy, hearts and rainbows type of show. An original and witty production, Urinetown originally opened on Broadway in 2001 and won three Tony Awards during its near three year-run.

Set in a Dystopian future, residents of a city are living through a long drought, which has led to strict water rationing so spending a penny… well, costs a lot more than a penny. It appears the basic right of relieving yourself has become something for the elite and those who attempt to do it for free are punished by being sent to ‘Urinetown’.

The run at St James Theatre has already wowed critics, with the Daily Telegraph labelling the show: ‘Sharp, smart, funny and disturbing,’ while The Guardian wrote: ‘It’s impossible to deny the originality of this crowd-pleaser.’

Directed by Jamie Lloyd (Richard III, The Commitments), the production stars Simon Paisley Day (Caldwell B Cladwell), Matthew Seadon Young (Bobby Strong), Jenna Russell (Penelope Pennywise), Rosanna Hyland (Hope Cladwell), Karis Jack (Little Sally), Nathan Amzi (Officer Barrel), Jonathan Slinger (Officer Lockstock) and Marc Elliott (Mr McQueen). The show, written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, runs at the beautifully refurbished Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.

  • Urinetown: The Musical is on at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, from 29 September 2014. Tickets start from £21.50. For tickets and more information, visit the official Urinetown website. There is also a special gala performance of the show on 20 October 2014, with ticket proceeds going to, which helps those in developing countries gain access to clean drinking water and proper toilet facilities.

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

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