It’s that time of year again. When London goes tennis mad for a fortnight and it feels like you hear the words ‘Murray’ and ‘Djokovic’ on a hourly basis. With the fight for tickets set to be as tough as usual, many tennis fans will have to settle for watching the action on TV rather than in the flesh. So if you can’t reach the heady heights of Centre Court, why not see the likes of Murray in action with some atmosphere. A host of parks, spaces and bars are hosting Wimbledon screenings on the big screen – many alfresco – so you can enjoy the match while sipping Pimm’s and nibbling strawberries and cream.
- 3 – 16 July : St Kats Big Screen presents Wimbledon
Sit back and relax on a deckchair or beanbag on a floating pontoon as you check out the latest action from SW19. Pimm’s and strawberries will be served during the semi-finals and finals (13-16 July), but otherwise you’re welcome to bring your own drinks and snacks. Times vary. Free. St Katharine Docks, 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Tower Gateway. For more information, visit the St Kats website.
- 3 – 16 July : Wimbledon @ Merchant Square
Watch the action while chilling on deckchairs in the city oasis of the Paddington Basin. Open daily until 10pm. Free. The Lawn, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.
- 3 – 16 July : Wimbledon @ London Bridge City Summer Festival
Check out the latest games on the big screen just metres from the River Thames and City Hall. The London Riviera will also be open serving food and cocktails. Times vary. Free. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website. Read the rest of this entry
We’re not all the athletic types so winning may not be a frequent word in our vocabulary. However, if that sounds like you, then the Chap Olympiad could be right up your street. Returning for the 13th year is a day of old-fashioned fun taking place in one of Bloomsbury’s leafy Georgian squares.
On Saturday 15 July 2017, Britain’s most eccentric sporting event takes over Bedford Square Gardens with live music, food, cocktails and frolics. The Chap Olympiad ‘rewards panache rather than sporting prowess’ with the focus on effort and enthusiasm rather than talent.
The games for the 2017 tournament are:
Not Playing Tennis: Players seated in armchairs, play a game of tennis without getting up. The tennis ball is suspended on a wire strung between two hat stands.
Tea Pursuit: Contestants in pairs chase each other on bicycles, one with a teacup, and one with a teapot. The tea must be poured into the cup and the fullest cup of tea wins overall.
Well Dressage: Two contestants, each mounted on a hobbyhorse, make a display of elegance and panache around the track in a freestyle manner. They are awarded points by lady judges with number cards.
Umbrella Jousting: Two contestants, armed only with brollies and briefcases, must go at one another on bicycles and attempt to knock each other off.
Guests are invited to dress in their finest dapper, vintage style. For those who don’t fancy taking part in the games, you’re welcome to grab a deckchair and sip a G’n’T while being entertained by the sporting ineptitude. The Chap Olympiad is produced by bars and events group Bourne & Hollingsworth (The Blitz Party, Dark Circus and Cocktails In The City), with the games organised by The Chap Magazine.
- The Chap Olympiad takes place on Saturday 15 July 2017 from 12pm until dusk. At Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, WC1B. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road or Goodge Street. Tickets: £25. Visit the Bourne and Hollingsworth website or call 0203 174 1156.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the opening of Dulwich Picture Gallery, the oldest public art gallery in the UK. To mark the occasion, the Gallery hosted a competition to rising architects to design a temporary summer pavilion for the grounds. If_Do won the competition with their airy wood and mesh creation, which will remain outside the Gallery all summer. Throughout June and July, the gallery are hosting late night openings every Friday, featuring special themed events both in and outside the gallery.
Earlier this month, I visited the Gallery for their late night opening, entitled ‘Baroque Mash Up’. The DPG is renowned for its collection of French, Spanish and Italian Baroque paintings, so the night took inspiration from this particular genre of art. Entering the gallery grounds, our eyes were immediately drawn to the main attraction – the Pavilion. Within the structure was a pop-up bar from the Camberwell Arms serving cocktails, wine and snacks, so our first priority was to order a drink and soak up the atmosphere. There was plenty of seating both around the Pavilion and the manicured lawns so a lovely space to relax on a warm summer evening. The gallery’s café is also open late serving food if you’re in the mood for something more substantial. While sipping our cocktails, we were entertained by musicians Benjamin Tassie and Liam Byrne playing their original, experimental music, which really complemented the history of the gallery and the social setting. Also in the Pavilion were guests taking part in a cross-stitch workshop, using patterns from some of the Gallery’s works.
During Pavilion Lates, there is free access to the Gallery, which normally costs to enter. We joined one of the hourly tours of the gallery, billed as an ‘alternative tour’. Our guide showed us some popular paintings in the gallery and gave us a list of facts about the subject or the painter – but added an untrue ‘fact’ which we had to guess. As well as injecting a bit of fun into a typically straight-laced activity, it also showcased some surprising facts about artists and the art world I had never heard before. Following the tour, you were free to explore the collection or take part in the collage making workshop.
Overall, it was a lovely, interesting evening – particularly when the weather is good so you can really make the most of the Pavilion and its setting. I’ll definitely be returning to another Pavilion Lates this summer.
- Pavilion Lates take place every Friday in June and July (except 7 July) 2017 from 6-10pm. In the grounds of Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, SE21 7AD. Nearest station: West Dulwich or North Dulwich. Tickets: Free, but you must register for a ticket on the Dulwich Picture Gallery website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in June, click here.
Lawn bowling has long been associated with the older members of our society. However, a new form of bowling is attracting a younger audience. This month, Festibowl is taking over Finsbury Square for three days for its inaugural festival.
Festibowl features a quicker form of lawn bowls in a relaxed atmosphere with not a white shirt and matching trousers in sight. In between a game, there will be plenty to do with DJs, street food and cocktails. During the festival there will also be a battle between three-time Commonwealth gold medallist Ellen Falkner and four-time Commonwealth Gold Medalist Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall MBE for the first Golden Bowl Award on 29 June.
CEO & Founder of Festibowl, William Goy said: “Barefoot bowling is the perfect way to bring people together to enjoy the English summer. I’ve been passionate about bringing this lively version of the sport to the UK over the last three years and I’m delighted to be launching Festibowl, the first festival of its kind, in London this year. Traditional Lawn Bowls clubs are struggling for members and we hope that Festibowl is a reminder of how we should cherish this great British sport and stop its decline. We’ve had a great response from bowls clubs up and down the country, and we’re delighted to play a role in helping to bring bowls into the 21st Century.”
- Festibowl will take place on 28-30 June 2017. At Finsbury Square, City of London, EC2A. Nearest stations: Moorgate, Liverpool Street or Old Street. Tickets from £25. The Exhibition match on 29 June at 12.30pm is open to the public and free to attend. On 28 and 30 June, people are welcome to turn up and bowl for £5 between 12.30pm-1.30pm. For tickets and more information, visit the Festibowl website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in June, click here.
Thanks to a backpacking trip around Europe after graduating, I’ve seen quite a lot of Italy. However, until a trip to the beautiful island of Ischia in 2012, I hadn’t seen much of the country’s islands (Venice doesn’t really count as an island destination!). So when a friend and I decided to enjoy a summer holiday somewhere in the Mediterranean, it didn’t take long before Sardinia was both mentioned. As the second largest island in the Mediterranean, Sardinia has three international airports which are well served by budget airlines. Before even booking our flights, we ended up having to research the island a lot more than we usually would at this stage in the trip so we made sure we booked the right airport. Although I am a driver and like to drive on holiday, I didn’t want to spend the whole trip behind a wheel so we were keen to find a resort with good public transport and amenities in walking distance. Eventually we plumped for Alghero, which turned out to have the cheapest flight prices from London, as well as a wide choice of accommodation, restaurants, nightlife and beaches. Over the centuries, Sardinia has gone back and forward between Italian and Spanish control, with Catalan widely spoken. Today, you will find both Italian and Catalan written and spoken in Sardinia.
Alghero is a Medieval town in north-western Sardinia, with the airport located an easy 10 kilometre drive from the old centre. Most tourists usually stay in the Old Town – full of cobbled streets and surrounded by Medieval ramparts – or the beaches stretching to the north of town. We stayed in the latter, renting a two-bedroom apartment through Booking.com located just a few blocks from the town beach or about a 30 minute walk from the Old Town. The apartment was clean, contemporary and affordable, with outdoor space, and literally a 30 second walk from the bus stop to the airport so an easy location.
In terms of beaches, the town’s main offering is nice enough, but you really have to travel further north to experience those travel brochure worthy beauty spots. A short walk from our apartment was the lovely Spiaggia di Maria Pia, with its white sand and azure waters. There’s plenty of shade from the surrounding woodland, but it was easy to rent an umbrella and loungers from the various beach clubs along the seafront. However, the area’s most famous beach is Spiaggia della Pelosa, right on the northern western tip of the island. With its pure white sands and turquoise water, it looks like something out of the Caribbean. However, we had been warned beforehand that it’s incredibly popular. We stopped by on a late afternoon and there was nowhere left to park. Needless to say, the beach was absolutely rammed full of people. Personally, no matter how beautiful a beach is, if I’m fighting for a spot on the sand with other holidaymakers, I’d rather be elsewhere. En route from Alghero, I recommend stopping at the seaside town of Stintino. We had a lovely alfresco lunch in the cool shade of the Di Bolina restaurant. There’s also a host of other beaches leading from Alghero stretching toward Capo Caccia – a dramatic clifftop viewpoint. Some of the beaches, such as Cala Dragunara, along here involving parking on the coast road and hiking down a steep incline to the beach below. Read the rest of this entry
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Vauxhall’s main streets and stations is a little summer oasis. Returning for a fourth year is the Vauxhall Street Food Garden, an open-air garden full of food, drinks and entertainment. Open every weekday and selected weekends, the Garden is a great spot for lunches or summer evening socialising.
Situated just moments from the train and tube station, the Garden is a free-to-enter urban space featuring street food stalls with food and drink from around the world. Foodies will be spoilt for choice with offerings from City Burger, Win & Lily, Beefcake London, Big Mama Food, Feast UK, Macstreetboys, Opa Opa, The Wrap Game, Malobi’s Joint, Bulgarian Grill, CARIB Catering, Laurel Foods UK, Dogers, Fratelli Diteglia UK, Kerbside Kitchen, Mackie Jerk Stop, Sfornat, Smokings Barbecue, Texas BBQ, Wandercrust, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, Bam Boo, Biff’s Kitchen, Food Gangnam Style, Magic Churros, The Lo Food, Frakes Malay, Cubano, Don Donburi, Eat Well, Jam Rocks, Kuzinaki, Sweet Nothing Bakehouse, Crazy For Pasta, Arostape Italian Skewers, Yaay Yaay, and more.
Meanwhile, visitors looking for some alfresco drinking can check out the The Smirnoff Bar and the Red Bull Lodge. There will be a wide choice of soft and hard drinks, with Love Taste making fresh fruit smoothies daily. As well as serving seasonal cocktails and mocktails, the Red Bull Lodge will be hosting the daily entertainment programme. Among the fun events on offer will be Monday Movie Nights; monthly Tuesday events with London Gaymers; Wednesday Quiz Nights; Thursday dance classes; charity events; and wine tastings (11 July, 8 August, 12 September). Meanwhile, the selected weekend openings will have more entertainment, including DJs and the full line-up of food and drink stalls. For those looking to make a party of it, there are beach huts available for hire and a massage service.
- Vauxhall Street Food Garden is open from now until September 2017. Open Mon-Fri: 11.30am–10pm. Open weekends: 1-2 July, 5-6 August, 9-10 September. Free entry. Located at 6A South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, SW8 1RT. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall Street Food Garden website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in June, click here.
Shopaholics rejoice! There’s a new festival where you can get your summer wardrobe sorted while indulging your appetite and your passion for Prosecco.
This Saturday 10 June, over 100 shops, bars and restaurants will be taking part in a free shopping and food event. Fashion Feast in Seven Dials will feature a host of events, freebies, entertainment, workshops and exclusive offers.
The streets of Seven Dials will be closed to road traffic with an urban garden popping up around the central dial monument. London steak specialists Hawksmoor and Fords Gin will be serving free gin and tonics on the lush summer lawn dotted with deckchairs. There will also be free taco tasting from Monmouth Kitchen. Meanwhile, there will be free ice cream from the Benefit van on Shorts Gardens, where Japanese tea specialists My Cup of Tea will also be offering free iced teas.
Foodies will be able to pick up some cooking tips from the ‘In The Kitchen With…’ stage hosted by Jamie Oliver’s social protégé vlogger Katie Pix. Chefs from the area’s restaurants, including Native, Hawksmoor, Chick ‘n’ Sours, Monmouth Kitchen and Talli Joe, will be showing visitors how to make their signature dishes.
Diners at some of Seven Dials independent eateries, Cure & Cut, Canela and 26 Grains, will be able to enjoy their dishes outside for an afternoon of alfresco dining. While chowing down, visitors will be entertained with live music from Entrée and London 5-piece band Version.
For those in the mood for a pamper, there will be a Sassoon styling station for quick up dos and haircare advice; skincare experts Fresh and Neal’s Yard Remedies giving beauty tips and demos; Murdock London providing outdoor barbering and Another Space fitness experts putting on spin performances. Fashion fans can head to the pop-up style hub on Neal Street to check out the brands from Seven Dials and enter a competition to win a £1,000 shopping spree. There will also be a photobooth to capture your fashion moment.
If you’re in the mood to shop, brands across Seven Dials will be offering up to 25% discount. Register for a free ticket to obtain discounts at over 30 fabulous names, including Caudalie, Ron Dorff, Larsson & Jennings, Coco de Mer, Frame Set and Match, The Cambridge Satchel Company, Ollie Quin, Office and Offspring.
- Seven Dials Fashion Feast takes place on 10 June 2017. From 12-5pm. Free entry. Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For more information and to register for your discount, visit the Seven Dials website.
For a guide to what else is on in June, click here.
I love the concept of supper clubs, although I haven’t been to as many as I should due to the advance planning required for many of them. However, as a lover of quirky and unusual London events, when I heard about Basement Galley’s Underground Supper Club, I was eager to experience it.
Basement Galley originally started in a Brixton flat run by two friends Tom Fothergill and chef Alex Cooper in 2011. However, it is now an established catering company who host supper clubs on a decommissioned 1969 London Underground carriage in Walthamstow… which, obviously, belonged to the Victoria line. The carriage is now on street level and sits in the grounds of the Walthamstow Pump House Museum. Having huge success with their evening supper clubs on the tube, they recently expanded to offering brunch – one of the most popular weekend activities for many Londoners.
I visited recently for a Saturday brunch with my boyfriend. When booking, you have several options depending on how intimate you want your experience or size of your party. In the traditional Supper Club spirit, we were happy to join a communal table so we were seated in a typical row of tube seating with a table in the standing area for £39pp. However, there are also two and four people seating options if your party wants more privacy. Arriving at the yard, we were greeted with a welcome shot of Bloody Caesars with Smoked Vodka, which certainly woke us up. We entered the tube through the driver’s carriage which was fascinating getting to see the old signage and various controls.
Admittedly, we were initially rather distracted by the details of the vintage carriage to look at the menu. As someone who has grown up with Brixton as my closest tube station, I have a particular affection for the Victoria line and had ridden this particular tube stock for most of my life until they were decommissioned in 2011.
The set menu changes seasonally and includes three courses with bottomless tea or coffee, with options to order Prosecco or G ‘n’ Ts. To start with, we snacked on picked crudités and sipped orange juice and tea/coffee while getting acquainted with our fellow table guests, a friendly and jovial mix of mostly professional 20-30 somethings. Our first course were Cauliflower Fritters with an Avocado Dip. I really enjoyed the contrast of the crispy fritters with the smooth dip and it didn’t spend long on my plate. For mains, was an Irish treat of Colcannon Mash, Poached Egg and Pancetta Crisp, which was really delicious, but not so photogenic as the other courses (hence the lack of image in this piece!). Admittedly, I felt rather full afterwards, but just about managed to find room for the very naughty Caramelised Banana Brioche and Peanut Ice Cream, which was tasty, but very sweet.
Overall, it was a great brunch experience. The food was brilliant, the service was attentive and friendly and the setting which was pretty special. I highly recommend for any Londoners looking to spice up their usual weekend brunch routine with something a little different.
- The Basement Galley Supper Club takes place at the Walthamstow Pump House Museum, 10 S Access Road, Walthamstow, E17 8AX. Nearest station: St James Street. For booking, visit the Basement Galley website.
For Metro Girl’s other restaurant reviews, click here.
Summer is here at last so London is in full celebration mode as it embraces the long days and the hot-ish weather. The festival calendar is in full swing with a host of alfresco fun on around town. The first few days of June are half-term holidays, so expect to see lots of family-friendly events on around town.
For London’s pop-up and open-air cinemas this summer, click here.
- 1 – 4 June : Sundance Film Festival – London
The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, comes to London to showcase the best of independent movies, featuring UK and International feature film premieres, 15 shorts and special events. Individual tickets from £16 (£12 Picturehouse members) or festival passes for £150. Picturehouse Central, corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Great Windmill Street, Piccadilly, W1D 7DH. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information and tickets, visit the Picturehouse website.
- 1 – 30 June : London Festival Of Architecture
A month long celebration of architecture, with this year’s theme being ‘memory’. Featuring talks, installations, tours, exhibitions, open studios, film screenings, debates and conferences. At various venues around town. For more information, visit the London Festival of Architecture website.
- 1 – 30 June : London Food Month
The Evening Standard presents the UK’s biggest food festival, featuring hundreds of events across the capital. Among the highlight includes a pop-up Night Market (7 – 18 June) in Perks Field in Kensington Gardens featuring food and drink stalls and live entertainment. For more information, visit the London Food Month website.
- 2 – 3 June : Mindful Living
Learn about the art of mindfulness and meditation and how it can help you in your life. Featuring keynote speakers Ruby Wax, Sharon Salzberg, Ed Halliwell, Katie Warriner and Etienne Scott MBE. Tickets: £32-£72. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the show website.
- 2 – 4 June : Stoke Newington Literary Festival
A festival featuring readings, workshops and performances at venues across the suburb. Speakers include Tom Overton, Michael Rosen, Janet Ellis, Bee Wilson, Fernando Sdrigotti, Zoe Adjonyoh, Lopè Ariyo, Alex Bellos, AL Kennedy, Kate Pankhurst, Michael Goldfarb, and many more. Tickets range from free to £10. Venues include Clissold Park, Abney Public Hall, Stoke Newington Town Hall, St Paul’s Church Hall, Unitarian Chapel, Abney Park Cemetery and William Patten School. For more information and tickets, visit the Stoke Newington Literary Festival website.
- 2 – 10 June : Brockley Street Art Festival
One week long celebration of street art, featuring local, national and international talent. Featuring activities for adults and children alike, including colouring competition, mural painting, live DJs and talks. Various venues around Brockley, SE4. Nearest station: Honor Oak Park, Crofton Park or Brockley. For more information, visit the Brockley Street Art Festival website.
- 2 – 10 June : Brockley Max
Nine-day community arts festival featuring live music, dance, craft markets, poetry, art installations, film screenings, workshops, talks, interactive games and more. At venues across Brockley, Ladywell, Crofton Park and Honor Oak. For more information, visit the Brockley Max website.
- 2 – 14 July : Zoo Nights
London Zoo are hosting late summer evening openings for adults-only on Fridays through June. As well as getting to see the animals without the presence of screaming children, you’ll also get to enjoy the zoo lit up in neon, take part in Zooniversity Challenge or follow a forensics trail. There will also be entertainment and a world food market. 6-10pm. Tickets: £17.50. London Zoo, Outer Circle (Regent’s Park), NW1 4RY. Nearest stations: Camden Town or Regent’s Park. For more information and booking, visit the Zoological Society London website.
- 2 June – 28 July : Pavilion Lates @ Dulwich Picture Gallery
A series of late night Friday events at the 200-year-old gallery and its temporary summer pavilion. 6pm-10pm every Friday except 7 July. Free entry, but you must reserve a place in advance. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, SE21 7AD. Nearest station: West Dulwich or North Dulwich. To find out more, visit the DPG website. For Metro Girl’s review of a Pavilion Late event, click here.
- 2 June – 2 July : East End Film Festival
For its 16th year, the East End Film Festival has been spread out to five weekends. Featuring screenings, Q&As, a Twin Peaks-themed ball and more. At venues across East London, including a Masonic temple. For more information, visit the East End Film Festival website.
- 3 June : Carnaby Street Eat Food Festival
Food and drink festival in Carnaby, with the area’s restaurants and bars serving signature and on-trend dishes and cocktails. Featuring offerings from Island Poké, Le Bab, Dishoom, Jinjuu, Cahoots, Ugly Dumpling and Darjeeling Express. 12pm-6pm. Free entry. Carnaby Street, Soho, W1. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website.
- 3 June : Blitz Party
Step back in time to the 1940s for a themed night of patriotic revelry, featuring swing dancing, big band music, cocktails, performers, dance classes and vintage makeovers. Dress code: 1940s glam, home front utility clothing and allied uniform. 8pm until late. Tickets from £30. In a secret East London bunker, with location revealed near the time. For more information, visit The Blitz Party website.
Mexico’s best fighters are returning to London this summer for The Greatest Spectacle of Lucha Libre. For two days in June, spectators will gather in York Hall to see masked superheroes battle it out in the ring. A host of wrestling legends and new Lucha stars will take part in exciting live confrontations of Good vs. Evil. Expect to see flamboyant costumes, acrobatic moves and high-flying fun.
For those who don’t know, Lucha Libre – which translates as ‘free fighting’ – is a Mexican style of wrestling where the participants perform acrobatic moves and high jumps while dressed in flamboyant outfits and masks. Fighters generally fall into two groups: Rudos (the bad guys) who break the rules and use underhand tactics and Técnicos (the good guys), who follow the rules and wow the crowd with more complex moves.
This year marks 100 years since the birth of one of Mexico’s greatest Luchadores, El Santo. His son and one of Mexico’s top Luchadores El Hijo del Santo and his grandson, Santo Jr, will be taking to the ring. Other Luchadores flying in for the big fights include Nacho Libre star Silver King, the Liberace of Lucha Libre Cassandro, the highflying luchador Laredo Kid, WWE mini wrestler Mascarita Dorada and the original Octagoncito.
Meanwhile, during the two-day extravaganza, there will be authentic Mexican food and cocktails so you can really immerse yourself in Central American culture.
- The Greatest Spectacle of Lucha Libre takes place on 23 – 24 June 2017 at York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PJ. Nearest station: Bethnal Green. Doors open 7pm. Tickets: From £20. For more information or tickets, visit Lucha Libre World website.
For a guide to what’s on in London in June, click here.