Try your hand at curling as ‘Club Curling’ pops up at King’s Cross

Synthetic curling rinks will be appearing at Coal Drops Yard until 30 December 2021.

Club Curling comes to Coal Drops Yard this festive season

Ever watched the Winter Olympics and found yourself getting curious about curling? Well, this winter, you’ll have the chance to try the sport with the launch of Club Curling at King’s Cross.

Popping up at Coal Drops Yard from 11 November 2021, friends, families and couples will be able to aim for the targets on the six synthetic ice rinks. Club Curling will be running through the festive season against the backdrop of the Victorian arches and yards of Coal Drops Yard, a shopping and entertainment destination.

As well as trying out your curling skills on the rinks, you can also enjoy a Christmas cocktail at the adjacent Club Curling Cocktail Bar. Visitors are advised to pre-book, but Club Curling is also open to walk-ups subject to availability.

  • Club Curling runs from 11 November – 30 December 2021. At Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. Open daily 11am-9pm. Tickets (45 minute sessions): Adults £5, Children under 12 free. For more information and booking, visit the King’s Cross website.

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Guide to London’s open-air ice rinks this winter 2021/2022

Find out prices, opening times and transport details for the capital’s alfresco, pop-up ice rinks this Christmas and winter season.

Natural History Museum ice rink © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The Natural History Museum ice rink is returning

After an absence last year due to the pandemic, London’s alfresco ice rinks are back again for the 2021 festive season. Some of the capital’s most iconic buildings are transforming their courtyards and outdoor spaces into winter sports venues. Along with pop-up ice rinks, many are accompanied by heated bars and stalls, selling festive food and drink to warm you up after a spot of ice skating.

This 2021/2022 season will be the last year ever for the Natural History Museum’s outdoor rink as the space is being transformed into an urban wildlife hub, while a bit further east, the Tower of London’s rink is also taking a hiatus until next year.

Most rinks are open daily during their seasonal sessions, including Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, but are closed on Christmas Day.

Here’s a guide to London ice rinks – both outdoor and permanent – open this winter season.

London’s outdoor temporary rinks

  • 22 October 2021 – 16 January 2022 : Natural History Museum Ice Rink

One of the capital’s favourite open-air ice rink returns for the winter season for its final time. There is also a rink side café bar serving hot and cold drinks and meals. There is also a Penguin Skate Club, offering lessons for children aged 4-8yrs. Open 11am-10pm. Tickets: Adults from £12.65, Children from £8.80. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.

  • 23 October 2021 – 26 February 2022 : Ice Rink Canary Wharf

London’s longest open-air winter ice rink returns to Docklands after last year’s absence. There will also be the heated, Off Piste bar from Pravha serving drinks. Open daily 10am-10pm. Tickets (45 min sessions inc. skate hire): Adults and teens 13-18yrs £17.95, Children 4-12yrs £11.95. Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For booking, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.

  • 11 November 2021 – TBC January 2022 : Skylight London (Tobacco Dock)

Skate on London’s rooftops with views of the City of London’s skyscrapers. Features alfresco and covered bars, igloos, and street food. Open Thu-Sun only. Free entry to Skylight. Skating tickets: TBC (45 minutes inc. skate hire). Skylight (Pennington Street entrance), Tobacco Quay, WappingE1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For booking and more information, visit the Skylight London website.

Somerset House ice rink © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Skate in the historic Georgian courtyard of Somerset House

  • 17 November 2021 – 16 January 2022 : Skate @ Somerset House

Take to the ice in the courtyard of the historic Somerset House. As well as general skating, they are also club nights on ice and skating lessons. Also in the courtyard will be gourmet dining at Chalet Barragiste with Jimmy Garcia and hot and cold drinks at the Skate Lounge by Moët & Chandon. Session times last 45 minutes. Tickets: Adults from £11, children from £8.50. Somerset House, Strand, Westminster, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information and booking, visit the Somerset House website. Read the rest of this entry

Middle Temple Gatehouse | Step through a 17th century gateway to London’s legal heartland

The story behind the neo-classical grand entrance to Middle Temple, which has prompted debate over the identity of its architect.

Middle Temple Gatehouse stands on Fleet Street

Fleet Street is one of London’s most famous streets – after all it has coveted spot on Monopoly board! However, it is also home to some of the capital’s most varied architecture; from the Neo-Gothic splendour of St Dunstan-in-the-West to the Art Deco temple of Peterborough Court. One of these interesting buildings is the Middle Temple Gatehouse, a grand 17th century entrance to the district of Middle Temple. Located across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice, it stands at the western end of Fleet Street.

Today, the Middle Temple is home to one of London’s legal districts. The name Temple comes from the Medieval group, the Knights Templar, who based their headquarters in the area from the 1160s until they were dissolved in 1312. Temple became synonymous with legal industry later in the 14th century, establishing accommodation and offices for lawyers and students.

The current building you see today is the second gatehouse on the site. The original was erected in the early 16th century by English official and soldier, Sir Amias Paulet (d.1538), who served as treasurer for Middle Temple. Although it’s not clear if it was damaged during the Middle Temple fire of 1678, it was certainly in bad condition by this stage and needed to be replaced.

The emblem of Middle Temple – a lamb holding a St George’s flag

When it comes to the architect of the current building, there has been much debate about who was responsible. Historic England, British Listed Buildings and architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983) all state it was designed by Roger North (1653-1734). However, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Museum of London have cited the gatehouse as the work of Sir Christopher Wren. North was a lawyer who trained at Middle Temple and an amateur architect, as well as a friend of Wren. While it’s unlikely we’ll never know for sure, who knows… perhaps both men dreamt up the design over an ale or two in the pub?

The current red brick and Portland stone structure was built in 1684 and Grade I listed in 1950. The ground floor features a central carriageway sandwiched between two arched footways, all featuring black gates. Above the carriageway is the Agnus Dei symbol of the ‘lamb of God’, holding a flag of St George. The symbol can be spotted throughout the district and is part of the Middle Temple’s arms. As a gatehouse to London’s prestigious legal district, it is given an air of superiority with the classical details of four Ionic pilasters, with the top storey crowned by an entablature and pediment. The first floor features two full-length windows which open out to iron balconies, situated underneath a narrow stone band depicting the Latin phrase: ‘SVRREXIT . IMPENS . SOC . M . TEMPLI . MDCLXXXIV.’

  • Middle Temple Gatehouse, Middle Temple Lane, Temple, EC4Y 9BB. Nearest station: Temple.

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Winterfest returns to Wembley Park for 2021 with ‘Reunited in Light’

Head to Wembley this winter to check out the festive light show, on until early January 2022.

London’s largest LED Christmas tree returns to Wembley Park
© Chris Winter

This winter, Wembley Park’s festive light festival is returning to bring some neon and colour to the dark nights. Following the success of the inaugural Winterfest two years ago, the collection of installations is returning to the streets of HA9 for six weeks. Launching on 25 November 2021, the open-air light trail, themed ‘Reunited in Light’, will be open to the public seven days a week.

The launch of Winterfest will coincide of the switch-on ceremony of London’s largest LED Christmas tree on Wembley Park Boulevard. The 25-metre high, electronic conifer has been decorated with new digital artwork by local Brent artist Yoni Alter, including 100,000 kinetic lights which pulse to different rhythms.

Meanwhile, bespoke light installations will be peppered throughout the entertainment district, through trees, digital totems, lampposts and light banners. ‘Reunion’, a new light installation from Kumquat Lab, will have its world exclusive unveiling in Market Square. The structure features a series of light arches which visitors are invited to walk through and meet under. Joining the collection on 9 December 2021, will be the light installation ‘Reflections of the Future’, offering guests the chance to explore a multi-sensory journey walkway.

Along with the light show, Wembley Park’s new permanent outdoor gallery will launch on Olympic Way with the ‘Reunited in Light’ photography exhibition (25 November 2021 – 27 February 2022). The collection features work from 12 UK-based photographers, including Tami Aftab and Sophie Harris-Taylor.

  • Winterfest runs from 24 November 2021 – 9 January 2022. Free admission. Open 10am-10pm (but best viewed after dark!). At Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website.

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What’s on in London this Halloween 2021

Find out what fairs, club nights, film screenings, family fun and other Halloween activities are on this October.

After a rather lacklustre Halloween in 2020 due to the pandemic, fans of the spooky season will be in for rather more choice with ways to celebrate it this year.

Halloween itself falls on a weekend at the end of the autumn half-term break, so there’s plenty of ghostly events for families during daytime and evenings.

Find out what exhibitions, boat trips, film screenings, story-telling, installations, club nights, ghost tours, supper clubs and beer fests this Halloween. While most day-time events are for families, there are some evening events open to children.

Be aware, some events or locations may have Covid-19 requirements for entry, such as vaccination proof, negative rest results or other protocols.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

Daytime Halloween events

  • 23 September – 7 November 2021 : Dark Arts @ Warner Bros. Studios

Dark Arts returns to the Harry Potter experience for the Halloween season. The Great Hall is full of 100 floating pumpkins, while the table features a Halloween feast. Watch a procession of the Death Eaters. Tickets: Adults £47, Children £38. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. Nearest station: Watford (then a shuttle bus to studios). For booking, visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour website. 🐻

  • 9 – 31 October 2021 : The Surgeon @ London Dungeon

A special Halloween show explores the horrors of Victorian surgery. Step into an old operating theatre as things turn gory. Times vary. Show included with general entry. Tickets: Adults from £20, adult entry & ‘Bloody Bellini’ cocktail £38, Children from £24. The London Dungeon, The Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For booking, visit the London Dungeon website. 🐻

  • 16 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween @ Battersea Power Station

Two weeks of family-friendly activities will be taking place around the Power Station, including Halloween Hunt & Competition, Spooky Maze, Halloween-themed food at Queen of the Crepes, Spooky Story Telling & Thriller Dance Sessions and performances. Times and prices vary.  Battersea Power Station, Battersea, SW8 5BN. Nearest station: Battersea Power Station. For more information, visit the Battersea Power Station website. 🐻

  • 19 October – 13 November 2021 : Halloween @ Backyard Cinema

Spooky screenings at Backyard Cinema’s two winter experiences – the Winter Night Garden or the Snow Kingdom. Full bar and street food stalls available. Matinees and evening screenings. Tickets: £10.50-£29.99. Capital Studios, 13 Wandsworth Plain, Wandsworth, SW18 1ET. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town. For booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website. 🐻

  • 22 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween @ The London Bridge Experience

Get scared silly at one of two shows at the London Bridge Experience, with the Family Halloween Show taking place during the day. Children can take a spooky stroll through the dark past of London Bridge, before visiting the tombs, while counting the pumpkins along the way. Open 11am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £25, Children 5-15yrs £19. London Bridge Experience, 2-4 Tooley Street, Borough, SE1 2SY. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information and booking, visit the London Bridge Experience website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : Ghost Raiders @ Tower of London

Help a team of ghost raiders investigate spooky occurrences in the Tower and track down the evil spirit trying to take over. Suitable for 8-14yrs. 10am-4pm. Tickets: (event included in tower admission) Adults £29.90, Children £14.90. Tower of London, City of London, EC3N 4AB. Nearest stations: Tower Hill, Tower Gateway or Fenchurch Street. For booking, visit the Tower of London website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween at KidZania

Join a ghost tour through the world of KidZania, visiting haunted spots and listening to terrifying tales. Aspiring fashion designers can make creepy-crawly costumes or perform a spooky soundtrack. Open 10am-7pm. Tickets: Adults from £16, Children from £26. KidZania, Westfield London, Ariel Way, W12 7GA. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush or Wood Lane. For more information, visit the KidZania website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : London Eye River Cruise presents Halloween Spooky Sailing

Enjoy a 40-minute circular boat tour as you learn about the spooky history of the River Thames. Boat departure: 6pm. Tickets: Adults from £20 (in 1 Beefeater Gin mulled drink), Children from £15. Departs from the London Eye Pier, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Embankment or Westminster. For more information and booking, visit the London Eye website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : Pumpkin Quiz Trail @ Battersea Park Zoo

Find out which animals are hording pumpkins on a family-friendly trail around the zoo. Open 10am-4.30pm. Quiz trail £1.50 entry (includes prize at the end). General entry tickets: Adults £10.95, Children £8.95. Battersea Park Zoo, Battersea Park, Chelsea Embankment, Battersea, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station: Battersea Park. For more information, visit the Battersea Park Zoo website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : The Wizards of Once Halloween Quest @ Eltham Palace

Follow an adventure trail inspired by Cressida Cowell’s Wizards of Once series. Search for the ingredients for the Spell and find the Cup of Second Chances. Fancy dress competition. Open 10am-5pm. Event included with general admission. Tickets: Adults £17.30, Children 5-17yrs £10.40. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, SE9 5QE. Nearest station: Eltham or Mottingham. For booking, visit the English Heritage website. 🐻

  • 26 October 2021 : Family Day: Halloween @ Benjamin Franklin House

A spooky family day with spooky 18th century stories told by Polly Hewson and gruesome games and crafts for 5-11 year olds. 11am-12.30pm. Free, but advanced booking recommended. Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, Westminster, WC2N 5NG. Nearest stations: Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the Benjamin Franklin House website. 🐻

  • 26 – 27 October 2021 : Ghosts, Gargoyles, and Goodies @ Charlton House

South-east London’s Jacobean mansion is a hosting a variety of Halloween sessions, including ghost stories, make-your-own-gargoyle workshop, treasure hunt and spider trail in the gardens. Fancy dress welcome. Suitable for children 5-12yrs, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Sessions @ 10am, 11.30am and 2pm. Tickets: £5 per child, free for accompanying adult. Charlton House, Charlton Road, Charlton, SE7 8RE. Nearest station: Charlton. For more information, visit the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust website. 🐻

  • 26 – 29 October 2021 : Halloween @ King’s Cross

A series of children’s activities are taking place during half-term across the King’s Cross site. Including Spooky Drawing Workshop, ‘Pimp your Pumpkin’ digital art class, Spooky Costume Swap Shop, scary storytelling, and more. Times and dates for each activity varies. Free, but advanced booking recommended. At various locations across King’s Cross, N1C. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the King’s Cross website. 🐻

  • 27 October – 1 November 2021 : Halloween @ Merchant Square

Enjoy a host of Halloween activities for the family, including pumpkin carving, photo competitions, pirate treasure hunts and a free film screening of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Times vary. Merchant Square, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website. 🐻

Greenwich Domes in fog

Enjoy a spooky evening at the Old Royal Naval College for Halloween

  • 29 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween @ Old Royal Naval College

Celebrate with the spooky season with a series of Halloween-themed events for children or adults at the Old Royal Naval College. Children can listen to Icy Mystery: Halloween Voyage Into The Unknown, story-telling session (29-30 Oct, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm); or adults can enjoy late-night visits, with Ghoulish Ghost Tours accompanied by either a Spooky Supper (29-30 Oct, 7pm) or Chilling Cocktails (29-31 Oct, 7pm). Tickets vary depending on event. Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest stations: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the ORNC website. 🐻

  • 31 October 2021 : Kids’ Halloween Party @ Beckenham Place

Head to a Georgian mansion for a children’s party, featuring interactive games, funky dancing, monster hat making and treasure hunt. For ages 4-7yrs. Fancy dress encouraged. Session 1: 2pm-3.15pm, Session 2: 4pm-5.15pm. Tickets: £15 (1 adult and 1 child). Beckenham Place Mansion, Beckenham Hill Road, Beckenham, BR3 1SY. Nearest station: Beckenham Hill. For more information, visit the Beckenham Place website. 🐻

Evening and late-night Halloween events

  • 6 – 21 October 2021 : Burials, Bombs and Fantastic Beasts’ walking tours @ Leadenhall Market

Every Wednesday in October, explore the dark side of Leadenhall Market on a guided tour. Discover the history of the site, dating back to Roman times, featuring witchcraft, murder and death. 6.30pm-8pm. Tickets: £8.14. Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street, City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Bank. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website. Read the rest of this entry

The Panyer Boy of St Paul’s | What is the story behind this 17th century relic?

Just a few feet from an entrance to St Paul’s tube station stands an old relic of London.

Panyer Boy is an ancient plaque erected by St Paul’s tube station

Aside from St Paul’s Cathedral, there isn’t much left in the City of London from the 16th and 17th century. Wars, fires and redevelopment have dramatically changed the architecture and even road layouts of the original Square Mile. With large-scale buildings being completely wiped from existence over the years, it’s impressive when a small piece of London’s heritage manages to survive.

The Panyer Boy is an ancient plaque in Panyer Alley, near the entrance to St Paul’s tube station. It depicts a naked child – likely a baker boy – sitting on a bread basket. Underneath the cherubic boy, are the words: “When ye have sought the City Round. Yet still this is the highest ground. August 27th 1688.” The quote is by English historian John Stow (1524/5-1605) and dates from 1598 – nearly a century earlier than the date below on the plaque. “This is the higher ground” refers to the long-held belief that Ludgate Hill was the highest hill in the City of London, however it’s actually Cornhill, which currently stands at 58ft (17.7metres) above sea level.

Panyer Boy plaque

The inscription is dated 1688

Despite the date stamp of the late 17th century, the mystery of the origins and original location of the Panyer Boy still continues. This stone effigy has been remounted from building to building as the surrounding environment has changed around him. Panyer Alley has existed for centuries and takes its name from ‘pannier’ – the basket or box from which the young baker boys would sell bread. Pannier is an Old English term deriving from the old French word ‘panier’. Some historians have speculated Panyer Alley was named after The Panyer inn, which stood nearby on Paternoster Row until it was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

The carving of the child has somewhat eroded over time, making it even harder to work out what’s actually going on in the carving. Is the child holding a bunch of grapes or a loaf of bread? Stow certainly believed he was holding the fruit as he wrote in his Survey of London: “…a boy fitting upon it, with a bunch of grapes as it seems to be, held between his naked foot and hand, perhaps of Plenty…” This part of the City of London was known for its bakers, with nearby Bread Street the location of the capital’s bread market from Medieval times. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in October 2021

Find out what events are on in London in October, including London Cocktail Week, the Marathon, and lots of art fairs.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Support the runners at the London Marathon

Autumn is here and one of London’s busiest festival months is back! As well as the half-term break for schools, there’s also Halloween. The capital is bustling with events this month, including art fairs, cocktail week, MCM Comic Con and the London Restaurant Festival, and the long-awaited return of the London Marathon.

Find out what’s on in London for Halloween.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 3 October 2021 : The Cake and Bake Show

Three-days of all things baking, including demo theatre, celebrity bakers and experts, sugar craft, market stands, shopping, free-from exhibitors, doughnut masterclass, and champagne and nail bar. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £15, Children 7-15yrs £9.50. ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For tickets, visit the Cake and Bake Show website. 🐻

  • 1 – 3 October 2021 : Whisky Show

Whisky Show returns to London for a physical event following last year’s online offering. Featuring masterclasses, tastings, whisky experts, food pairings, demonstrations and more. Tickets vary. Old Billingsgate, 1 Old Billingsgate Walk, City of London, EC3R 6DX. Nearest station: Monument. For more information, visit The Whisky Show website.

  • 1 – 31 October 2021 : London Cocktail Week Month

This year’s ‘week’ is extended to a whole month to give London’s bar scene a much-needed boost. Hundreds of bars across the capital will be taking part, offering £7 special LCW cocktail week concoctions for those with a wristband. There will also be self-guided bar crawls, masterclasses, bar takeovers, pop-ups and cocktail dinners. Tickets: £15 (valid for entire month). For more information, visit the London Cocktail Week website.

  • 1 – 31 October 2021 : London Restaurant Festival

Celebrate London’s spectacular restaurant scene by sitting down to a fine meal or foodie experience. Enjoy small-scale in-restaurant experiences, Chef’s tables, feasts-at-home, drinks masterclasses, tasting menus and foodie masterclasses. For more information, visit the London Restaurant Festival website.

  • Now until 2 October 2021 : Crystal Palace International Film Festival

Independent film festival returns to south London, featuring screenings and premieres of full-length, short films and documentaries, culminating in an awards night presented by Johnny Vegas. Tickets: £9-£25. At various locations in SE19, SE27 and SE25. Nearest stations: Crystal Palace, West Norwood or South Norwood. For more information, visit the festival website.

  • Now until 2 October 2021 : Openaire Float-In Cinema

Watch your favourite film while sitting on a boat floating in the Paddington Basin. Hire a boat and enjoy a ride around Little Venice before mooring by the big screen. Times vary. Tickets: Boat for up to 8 people £248.40. Deckchair £19.25. Merchant Square, Paddington, W2. Nearest stations: Paddington or Edgware Road. For more information and booking, visit the Openaire website. 🐻

  • 3 October 2021 : Virgin London Marathon

The delayed London Marathon is taking place in the autumn this year. Cheer on 100,000 runners raising money for plenty of good causes and pushing their bodies to the limit. The 26 mile marathon starts in Greenwich/Blackheath and ends in The Mall. Free for spectators. For more information and spectator maps, visit the London Marathon website. 🐻

  • Now until 3 October 2021 : Luna Cinema

Roaming alfresco cinema pops up at various locations across the capital (and the UK). Expect old classics and new favourites. Times vary. Tickets: Adults from £16, Children from £11. Venues include Brompton Cemetery, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Regent’s Park Open-Air Cinema, Chiswick House, Kensington Palace, Dulwich Park, Victoria Tower Gardens, Wandsworth Park, Westminster Abbey, Wimbledon Park, Clapham Common, Kenwood House, Hampton Court Palace, Marble Hill and Old Royal Naval College. For more information and tickets, visit the Luna Cinema website. 🐻

  • 4 – 10 October 2021 : London Craft Week

A celebration of British and international crafters, featuring over 250 makers, designers, brands and galleries. At various locations across London. For more information, visit the London Craft Week website.

  • 6 – 17 October 2021 : BFI London Film Festival

International film festival returns to the capital, featuring premieres, screenings, Q&As, special presentations, shorts, talks and more. Ticket prices vary between £10-£40, festival passes £21-£60. At various cinemas in London. For more information, visit the BFI website.

  • 6 – 21 October 2021 : Burials, Bombs and Fantastic Beasts’ walking tours @ Leadenhall Market

Every Wednesday in October, explore the dark side of Leadenhall Market on a guided tour. Discover the history of the site, dating back to Roman times, featuring witchcraft, murder and death. 6.30pm-8pm. Tickets: £8.14. Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street, City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Bank. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website.

  • 7 October 2021 – 23 January 2022 : Mulan Rouge

An immersive, foodie, theatrical mash-up of Disney’s Mulan and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! Overs 18s only. Dress Code: ‘A hot Paris night in the Mulan Rouge’. Times vary. Tickets: £45-£60. The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Lambeth North or Waterloo East. For more information, visit The Vaults website.

  • 8 – 17 October 2021 : Streatham Festival

Explore the culture of this vibrant south London neighbourhood. Including talks, dance and music classes for kids, comedy shows, music and dance performances, art exhibitions, drag shows and much more. Various venues in SW16 and SW2. Nearest stations: Streatham Hill, Streatham Common and Streatham. For more information, visit the Streatham Festival website. 🐻

  • 8 – 17 October 2021 : Vauxtoberfest

Two week beer festival comes to the pubs and bars of Vauxhall. Featuring opportunities to try new brews and prizes. Venues include Mother Kellys, the Black Dog, Jolly Gardeners, Tamesis Dock, Casa Madeira, Above the Stag, Pico Bar & Grill, and Vauxhall Street Food Garden. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the BeInVauxhall website.

  • Now until 9 October 2021 : Dogstagram @ Leadenhall Market

Dog lovers should head to Leadenhall Market for the UK’s first pop-up photo station for dogs. There are four photo stations featuring different backdrops and props to jazz up your pet. Open Wed, Thur and Sat 12pm-8pm. Free to use. 13-15 Leadenhall Market, City of London, EC3V 1LR. Nearest stations: Bank, Monument, or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website. 🐻

  • 9 – 10 October 2021 : Classic Car Boot Sale

Vintage lovers can shop pre-loved and upcycled goods, including fashion, homewares, fashion and more as this retro festival returns. 10am-6pm. Tickets: £5, free entry for under 12s. Granary Square, Lewis Cubitt Square and Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Classic Car Boot Sale website.

  • Now until 10 October 2021 : Chila Burman installation @ Covent Garden

British artist Chila Burman has created a large-scale, neon art installation in Covent Garden’s iconic market hall. Main installation on daily, 7am-12am; the James Street tiger 7am-11pm. Free. Covent Garden Market, Covent Garden, WC2E 8BU. Nearest stations: Covent Garden, Leicester Square or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Covent Garden website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the installation. 🐻

Chila Burman’s installation in Covent Garden market hall

  • 12 October – 4 December 2021 : Jeff Koons & Cy Twombly: Primal Gestures @ BASTIAN

Artists Jeff Koons and Cy Twombly’s striking work is brought together in an unusual exhibition. Open Tues-Sat 10am-6pm. Free entry. BASTIAN, 8 Davies Street, Mayfair, W1K 3DW. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. For more information, visit the Bastian website.

  • 13 – 17 October 2021 : Frieze London

London contemporary art fair returns to Regents’ Park, focusing on living artists. Expect over 160 galleries, performance-based work, talks and more. Covid-19 vaccination or test requirements apply. Tickets: £46-£145 (depending on day and entry time). Regents’ Park (south side), off Park Square West, NW1 4LL. Nearest station: Regent’s Park, Baker Street and Great Portland Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Frieze website.

  • 14 – 17 October 2021 : The Other Art Fair

Over 140 emerging artists will be displaying their art at this independent fair. Open Thu 3pm-10pm, Fri 1pm-9pm, Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £11 (advance), £14 (on the door). Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6QR. Nearest stations: Aldgate, Liverpool Street or Shoreditch High Street. For tickets, visit the Other Art Fair website.

  • 14 – 31 October 2021 : Royal Docks Originals Festival

Two week festival of creativity and culture in the Docklands. Including theatre, music, artworks, installations (such as the Royal Docks Rainbow from Bompas & Parr), family activities and workshops. At various locations in the Royal Docks and online. Nearest stations: Cyprus, King George V, Custom House, Prince Regent or London City Airport. For more information, visit the Royal Docks website. 🐻

  • 14 October – 14 November 2021 : Wes Anderson – The French Dispatch

A new exhibition of original sets, props, costumes, and artwork from film-maker Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch. Open Tues & Sun 11am-7pm, Wed 10am-7pm, Thur-Sat 10am-9pm. Tickets: £10, under 12s free. 180 The Strand, Temple, WC2R 1EA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information and booking, visit the 180 The Strand website.

  • 15 – 24 October 2021 : Bloomsbury Festival

Popular central London neighbourhood festival returns, with this year’s theme being ‘Shining Light’. Check out exhibitions, children’s activities, talks, performances, and more. At various locations in and around Bloomsbury. Nearest stations: Russell Square, Euston or Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit the Bloomsbury Festival website. 🐻

  • 15 October 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition

Explore the Vatican’s majestic chapel in an immersive experience, featuring the iconic ceiling paintings, which have been reproduced with HD photography. Open Wed-Sun 10am-6pm. Tickets: Adults from £11, Children from £8. Cannon Factory. Ashley Road, Tottenham, N17 9LH. Nearest station: Tottenham Hale. For tickets, visit the exhibition website.

  • 16 October 2021 : Rumfest

Festival for rum lovers, featuring over 400 rums on offer. Enjoy tastings, makers, seminars, cocktail masterclasses, food and live Caribbean music and dancing. Over 18s only. Open: Afternoon Session 12pm–4pm, Evening Session 5pm–9pm. Tickets: £25. ILEC Conference Centre, 47 Lillie Road, West Brompton, SW6 1UD. Nearest station: West Brompton. For more information, visit the Rumfest website. Read the rest of this entry

Sculpture in the City 2021/2022 | Alfresco art exhibition is back in the Square Mile

The free contemporary art exhibition has returned to the City of London for its 10th edition, running until spring 2022.

Bloom Paradise by Jun T Lai is one of the artworks taking part in Sculpture In The City

The annual, outdoor exhibition of contemporary art is back in the City of London. Launched in June 2021, the 10th edition of Sculpture in the City runs until spring 2022. The exhibition sees the streets of the Square Mile turned into an alfresco gallery space for a variety of different sculptures.

Among the artists taking part in the 2021/2022 display include Alice Channer, Ruth Ewan, Isabella Martin, Mike Ballard, Oliver Bragg, Mark Handforth, Eva Rothschild, Laura Arminda Kingsley, Tatiana Wolska, Guillaume Vandame, Bram Ellens, Jake Elwes, Jun T Lai, Regitze Engelsborg Karlsen, Almuth Tebbenhoff, Rosanne Robertson, Laure Prouvost and Elisa Artesero. The sculptures and installations have been erected at various points around the City, such as Leadenhall Market and the ‘Cheesegrater’.

  • The 10th edition of Sculpture In The City is on from now until Spring 2022. At various sites around the Square Mile. Nearest stations: Fenchurch Street, Monument or Liverpool Street. For more information and a map of the artworks, visit the Sculpture In The City website.

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Find out what else is on in London in October 2021 here.

Read more on London’s art exhibitions and installations here.

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Chila Burman’s neon installation lights up Covent Garden

Skylight Peckham review: Creative cocktails and sharing plates at London’s newest rooftop destination

The sister bar to Skylight @ Tobacco Dock has opened in south London, boasting fine views, cocktails, food and a new remote working destination.

Skylight Peckham offers views over the capital’s skyline and south London
© Skylight Peckham

With its position directly south of Tower Bridge and the City of London, Peckham is a great location for a rooftop bar. Having steadily become one of south London’s best nightlife destinations in recent years, Peckham has acquired a new drinking and dining spot with a view. The team behind the popular Skylight at Tobacco Dock have opened a second branch on top of the Mountview Academy of Arts. While the original Skylight is known for its outdoor games and multi-level spaces, the Peckham branch offers a more sophisticated lounge setting across one floor, open to Londoners looking to socialise with pals or work remotely.

Clarified Bees Knees cocktail

As a born and bred south Londoner living just a few miles away, I didn’t hesitate when I was invited to the recent launch of Skylight Peckham. Located a short walk from Peckham Rye station, it doesn’t take long before you are whizzed up from Peckham Square to the top floor. Having visited the original in Wapping many times, I was struck by how different the new branch was. Exiting the lift, you are greeted by an expansive, zinc bar overlooking a varied selection of tables, with a mix of comfortable benches, armchairs and chairs. The wide indoor space means Skylight Peckham will be an all-year round destination when alfresco terrace sessions aren’t so tempting in the winter weather. With the room flooded with natural light, the interior looks like it would be a great daytime spot for remote working, which has become so common in the past 18 months thanks to a pandemic I shall not name!

On the night of my visit, my friend and I grabbed a table on the corner of the L-shaped terrace, providing us the opportunity to enjoy views both north and east of the roof. The north-facing view of the capital’s skyline was fabulous, with The Shard, London Eye and the skyscrapers of the Square Mile all clearly visible. I recommend getting there in time to watch the sunset and the lights start to twinkle on as the sky goes dark. The mix of benches, booths and individual seats mean all parties, from large groups to couples are easily catered for. I could definitely imagine returning with a group of girl friends for a boozy weekend brunch on a sunny summer day. Read the rest of this entry