Guide to London’s urban beaches (yes, beaches!) this summer 2016

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Enjoy one of the capital’s urban beaches, such as this one on the South Bank

So London is famously an inland city… around 40 miles away from the nearest seaside resort. However, did you know there’s many urban beaches that pop-up around the capital over the summer? If you can’t manage to get fly to more exotic climes or can’t face the traffic on the motorway, a few hours on one of London’s sandy retreats may just help you imagine you’re elsewhere.

Here’s a guide to London’s urban beaches:

  • 27 May – 28 August : Brixton Beach Boulevard

Be transported to 1980s Miami beach with food, drinks, music and a live outdoor screen screening sporting events. Open Thur 6-11pm, Fri 6pm-12am, Sat 1pm-12am and Sun 1-10pm. Entry price varies depending on event. Popes Road, Brixton, SW9 8JH. Nearest station: Brixton. For more information, visit the Brixton Beach Boulevard website.

  • 4 June – TBCBeach 338

Beach club at the Studio 338 venue, featuring 180-tons of imported sand, wooden decking, cabanas, 2 beach bars, BBQs, sunbathing decks and hammocks. Hours vary. Beach 338 @ Studio 338, 338 Boord Street, Greenwich, SE10 0PF. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information, visit the Studio 338 website.

  • 6 June – 30 September : CopaCabana Beach @ South Bank

Pop-up beach returns to the South Bank for daytime frolics with the children and night-time fun for the adults. Right by the sand is a pop-up bar serving Brazilian-inspired food and drink, such as Spicy Malagueta Chicken, Sweet Potato Fries and Caipirinha cocktails. 11am-late Free. South Bank (near the skateboard park), SE1 8XX . Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Copacabana Beach website.

  • 1 July – 4 September : The Beach @ Brent Cross

A pop-up beach featuring entertainment, rides and street vendors, including 2,500 square metres of imported sandy beach. Open Mon-Fri: 12-10pm. Sat-Sun: 11am-10pm. Entry: £3. Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Hendon, NW4 3FP. Nearest station: Hendon Central or Brent Cross. For more information, visit The Beach Brent Cross website.

  • 11 July – TBC : Urban London Beach @ Royal Docks

Temporary beach with sands feature views of the City and of the Emirates Cable Car crossing the Thames. Open 10am-8pm. Free entry. 1 Siemens Brothers Way, E1 1GB. Nearest station: Royal Victoria (DLR). For more information, visit the Royal Docks website.

  • 23 July – 4 September : BeachEast @ Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The UK’s largest urban beach opens this summer in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Featuring a sandy ‘beach’, huge kid’s paddling pool, funfair rides, two beach bars and a host of sporting events and activities, such as volleyball, cricket, football, boccia and  fitness classes. Open daily from 10am. Free entry. BeachEast, Stratford Waterfront (near former Olympic Stadium & Pool), Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, E15 2DU. Nearest stations: Stratford and Hackney Wick. For more information, visit the BeachEast website.

  • 29 July – 29 August : Camden Beach

The ‘beach’ returns to Camden again this year, with 150 tonnes of sand, deckchairs, ping pong, bars and restaurants. You can also book VIP beach huts. Located in the grounds of the Roundhouse. Open Mon 5-11pm, Tues-Sun 12-11pm. Free. Camden Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1 8EH. Nearest station: Chalk Farm. For more information, visit the Roundhouse website.

  • 30 July – 29 August : The Beach @ Watford

The pop-up beach will also feature plenty of sand, family activities, movie and Olympics screenings and more. 10am-10pm daily. Free entry. The Parade, High Street, Watford, WD17. Nearest station: Watford Junction. For more information, visit the website.

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

To find out about London’s pop-up cinemas this summer, click here.

Or for all that latest summer music festivals in London, click here.

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Cocktails In The City – Summer Edition: London’s best bars come together for a weekend of alfresco drinking

© Bourne & Hollingsworth

Cocktails In The City: Summer Edition sees London’s best bars in one space
© Bourne & Hollingsworth

Returning this summer is London’s best bar crawl… where the capital’s best drinking venues come to you. Following the sell out Cocktails In The City event in March, a special Summer Edition is coming to a Bloomsbury this month. Taking place on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 July, cocktail aficionados will have the opportunity to sample drinks from London’s best bars.

Produced by the Bourne & Hollingsworth Group (famous for their bars and restaurants, The Blitz Party, the Prohibition Party and The Chap Olympiad), the extravaganza is like a bar crawl without the hassle of moving from venue to venue. Cocktail aficionados will be able to try anything from classics like Bellinis and Mojitos to unique mixes using rare ingredients created by mixologists.

An eclectic mix of bars will be setting up pop-up venues in a leafy Georgian square in Bloomsbury. Popular London hotspots from Soho’s boutique basement bars to Dalston’s dirty tequila joints to Mayfair’s elegant 5 star hotels and Shoreditch’s award-winning institutions will all be represented. Speakeasies such as Cahoots and Reverend JW Simpson will be popping up, with new drinking venues, such as First Aid Box setting up shop.

As well as plenty of opportunities to drink at your leisure, Bourne & Hollingsworth will be hosting a series of Spirited Sermons, featuring interactive spirit masterclasses from ambassadors and master distillers. The bars will also be offering unique cocktail tastings, interactive demonstrations, games and entertainment.

For those who want to line their stomachs, guests will be able to feast on tasty delights by chefs from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant. Meanwhile, wandering jazz processions and vinyl DJs will be providing the soundtrack to the festival of mixology.

  • Cocktails In The City: Summer Edition takes place on 29 and 30 July 2016. Open Fri 29 4-9.30pm, Sat 12-9.30pm (two sessions 12-4pm and 5-9.30pm). Tickets: £15 (include 1 cocktail, multiple complimentary experiences and cocktail booklet). Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, WC1B. Nearest stations: Goodge Street or Tottenham Court Road. For tickets, visit the Cocktails In The City website.

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

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Photo Friday: Have an ‘appointment with the PM’ at 10 Adam Street

10 Adam Street

Visit ‘No.10 Downing Street’ lookalike No.10 Adam Street

Now I don’t like to make assumptions about my readers, but I reckon I could make a fairly good guess that most of you haven’t visited No.10 Downing Street. Located behind iron gates and a wall of police, it’s one of the most heavily guarded addresses in the United Kingdom. It’s pretty unlikely that many of us will get close to the iconic address.

However, during a quiet side street off The Strand is a building that is a bit of a doppelgänger to the Prime Minister’s residence. Walking past No.10 Adam Street you could be forgiven for looking twice. The entrance to the Georgian building features a familiar black door. Both have the fan window above the door, white stucco frame and a brass door knob. While Downing Street has a black lion door knocker, Adam Street has a simple brass one.

No.10 Adam Street was designed by architect Robert Adam (1728-1792) – part of the Adam dynasty. The surrounding area is known as Adelphi – named after the former Adelphi Terrace which was built between 1768-1792 and designed by Robert, James and William Adam. The Adelphi was London’s first neoclassical building and featured 11 large houses and a vaulted terrace with fine views over the Thames.

Although the Adelphi Terrace was demolished in the 1930s, the name lives on with the nearby Adelphi Theatre and the new Adelphi building, a striking Art Deco creation. The surrounding roads – Adam Street, John Adam Street and Robert Street – are named after the architects.

  • 10 Adam Street, Westminster, WC2N 6AA. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Embankment or Temple.

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

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The Restaurant at Sanderson review: Fine dining at Fitzrovia’s boutique hotel

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Roasted Salmon with white Bean and Chorizo Cassoulet at The Restaurant at Sanderson

The Sanderson has long been one of the coolest hotels in London. Situated in Fitzrovia, the boutique hotel is situated in a 1950s building and features one restaurant and two bars. I had previously visited their lovely courtyard for alfresco cocktails and really liked the place. However, recently, I finally got round to booking a table in their restaurant for a girlie dinner.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The signature Sanderson cocktail (Beefeater Gin, Lychee Juice, Melon Liquer, Lime and Aperol)

On the night in question, all four of our party ended up arriving unusually late due to dreadful transport issues due a large outdoors event going on in the West End. However, the staff were incredibly patient and friendly. We were shown to a well-placed table on the higher level of the dining room, with views out to the courtyard, which was full of twinkling lights.

On the night in question we opted for a set menu, starting with a signature Sanderson cocktail (Beefeater Gin, Lychee Juice, Melon Liquer, Lime and Aperol) to welcome us. I was initially unsure as I’m not mad about melon or lychee, but the gin and lime flavours came through enough and I found it refreshing and light. Being situated right next to the hotel’s Long Bar, their mixologists were close by for whatever you fancied during the meal.

The menu contains a mix of British cuisine with a European influence and is seasonal. To start with, I opted for the Spiced Parsnip Soup. The flavour was subtle and is a good gentle start to the three-courses.

For my mains, I accidentally ordered a dish in a rush, not realising there was meat included and they happily switched it for another one (I’m a pescatarian). I had opted for the Roasted Salmon with white Bean and Chorizo Cassoulet.

Finally to finish, I decided on the Dandelion and Burdock Popping Candy Ice Cream – a rather more creative and fun dessert than I am used to seeing on the menu. It was quite an unusual combination, with the flavour more subtle than I expected, but I liked it. I also tried my friend’s Coconut and Mango Posset with Lime Zest Crisp, which was fruity and refreshing.

Overall, the meal was good. I would like to go back when there are different set menu options. The best part of the evening was probably the staff, they were incredibly friendly, attentive and accommodating – particularly given my order mistake and our tardiness.

  • The Restaurant at Sanderson, Sanderson London, 50 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 3NG. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road, ?. For more information, visit the Sanderson London website.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Coconut and Mango Posset with Lime Zest Crisp

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

The Restaurant - Sanderson Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Leis, seafood and fruity cocktails as ‘Under The Sea Supperclub’ comes to Maggie’s

The Under The Sea Supperclub is coming to 80s club Maggie's on Friday 8 July 2016

The Under The Sea Supperclub is coming to 80s club Maggie’s on Friday 8 July 2016

Seafood fans are in for a treat this weekend with a special Supperclub at Eighties-inspired bar Maggie’s. In partnership with foodie experts Très Chic, the Under The Sea Supperclub will feature an evening of fabulous seafood, bubbly, music and cocktails.

Feeling fruity? Get your tropical vibe on with a Pina Colada

Feeling fruity? Get your tropical vibe on with a Pina Colada

The plush retro-themed bar will be transformed into an island paradise with palm trees, starfish, coral and kelp. Guests will be greeted with a glass of Moët & Chandon champagne and a leis. Maggie’s will be bringing the beach to Fulham Road with staff in tropical uniforms and the summer sounds of Calypso and Reggae music. Fruity Belvedere cocktails will also be on offer, served up in coconuts and pineapples.

When it comes to food, Tres Chic head chefs Nick Hudson and Sebastian Cooke have created a variety of sweet and savoury canapés to delight your taste buds. Among the dishes, include Foie Gras Lollipops, Spinach and Goat Cheese Crostini with truffle honey, exotic Mushroom Vol au Vents, Black Forest Gateaux and Macaroons. Meanwhile, talented Sushi master, Chef Taka has whipped up some Oriental European fusion menus, such as Tuna Nigiri with chili and truffle, Salmon with lime purée and Sea Bass Aburi with Ponzu.

Following dinner, a live Caribbean steel band will really get the party started with the bar staff serving up Pina Coladas, Long Island Ice Teas and Sex on the Fulham Beach cocktails so you can dance and drink until the early hours.

  • Under The Sea Supper Club with Tres Chic takes place on Friday 8 July 2016 from 7-10pm. At Maggie’s, 329 Fulham Road, SW10 9QL. Nearest station: South Kensington, Gloucester Road or Fulham Broadway. Tickets: £40 (includes bottomless food, a glass of Moet et Chandon and three Belvedere cocktails). For booking, visit Design My Night.

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

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Trade Union review: London’s most versatile day and night destination opens in Wapping

Trade Union Slide

London’s new multi-faceted day and night destination features a bar, restaurant, coffee shop and even a slide

Trade Union cocktail

The cocktail menu features a combination of old classics and their own mixes

In late June 2016, a new venue opened on the fringes of the City of London. Located just behind St Katharine Docks is Trade Union, a versatile dining, drinking and lifestyle destination. Situated in Thomas More Square, the vast space clearly isn’t your average bar or restaurant. Open daily until late, Trade Union is one-stop shop for eating, drinking and ticking off a few errands… thanks to an on-site barbers and florist.

I went along to the launch last month and absolutely loved the concept. Located on the ground floor, surrounded by modern blocks, Trade Union features outdoor terraces. Inside, the vast space is split into different areas – depending on what you’re looking for. With exposed concrete, cosy orange booths and even a slide from the mezzanine floor, the venue has a cool, industrial theme, very much in keeping with its modern surroundings.

For daytime and early morning visitors, specialty coffee makers Vagabond have a café in the corner serving up a caffeine fix. Next door, is Drakes of London barbershop so you can givw your beard or hairline a quick trim in between coffees. Meanwhile, Maua London will be selling fresh flowers. I picked up some absolutely stunning roses.

Trade Union pizza

The Bushwick Pizza Co is on site selling sourdough pizza

On the night in question I visited, I was mainly focused on trying the bar and restaurant. The kitchen includes a choice of sourdough pizzas from the Bushwick Pizza Co, as well as a seasonally changing menu with European classics and signature dishes. My friend and I tried the delicious pizza, which went down a treat, as well as Veal and Pork Meatballs and Cornish Crab Cobb Salad. I particularly enjoyed the crab and pizza and needed no encouragement when subsequent portions were offered to us. In terms of drinks, I sampled several different cocktails from their substantial drinks menu, with beers, wine and sparkling also on offer. The friendly bar staff made a good Mojito, which was a perfect mix of boozy and mint.

Located in Wapping and near St Katharine Docks, there was a mix of locals and workers. What I really liked about the venue is its versatility. You could easily come here for a work meeting over coffee, then stay on until the evening to unwind with some cocktails and dinner. The concept of having so many different businesses under one space is refreshing and I hope Londoners embrace it. The slide was particularly alluring and I can imagine would be quite entertaining after a few drinks. Unfortunately during my first visit, I was wearing a skirt, so had no intention of getting on a slide! I’ll definitely be checking out Trade Union again in the near future.

  • Trade Union, Thomas More Square, Wapping, E1 1YZ. Nearest station: Tower Hill, Fenchurch Street or Tower Gateway (DLR). Open 7am-2pm. For more information, visit the Trade Union website.

For a blog post on the neighbouring St Katharine Docks, click here.

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

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Trade Union Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Guide to what’s on in London in July 2016

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Live music at the Lambeth Country Show in Brockwell Park

Summer is in full swing. Of course Wimbledon and UEFA Euro 2016 is easing us into the month with plenty of free screenings on around town if you haven’t been lucky enough to get a ticket. With the school holidays kicking off at the end of the month, you can expect even more festivals and activities for parents desperate to keep the kids entertained.

For a guide to the capital’s pop-up cinemas this summer, click here.

  • 1 July – 31 August : The Rose Bar @ The Bingham

A pop-up bar dedicated to rose wine in the stunning surrounds of The Bingham bar, terrace and rose garden. Also serving Rose Afternoon Tea. The Bingham, 61-63 Petersham Road, Richmond upon Thames, Surrey, TW10 6UT. Nearest station: Richmond. For more information, visit The Bingham website. For Metro Girl’s blog post on the Rose Bar, click here.

  • 1 July – 4 September : The Beach @ Brent Cross

A pop-up beach featuring entertainment, rides and street vendors, including 2,500 square metres of imported sandy beach. Open Mon-Fri: 12-10pm. Sat-Sun: 11am-10pm. Entry: £3. Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Hendon, NW4 3FP. Nearest station: Hendon Central or Brent Cross. For more information, visit The Beach Brent Cross website.

  • 2 July : Bermondsey Festival

This year’s Bermondsey Festival is headlined by Paul Young. Featuring reggae group Indika, Motown trio The Aim, and Kinetika Bloco on the carnival parade. Featuring music, dance, children’s activities and more. 12-8pm. Free. Southwark Park, Gomm Road, Bermondsey, SE16 2EH. Nearest station: Bermondsey. For more information, visit the website.

  • Now until 2 July : LIFT Festival

Lift festival returns to the capital, brining ‘pioneering new theatre, spectacular performances and moments of magic’. Over 30 events at locations across London featuring work from 14 countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Canada, Japan, Australia, the USA, Lebanon and Syria. For more information, visit the LIFT Festival website. For Metro Girl’s blog on the LIFT Festival, click here.

  • Now until 2 July : Greenwich and Docklands International Festival

Nine day celebration of free outdoor performing arts, including theatre, dance, and street arts. At various venues across Greenwich and Docklands. For more information, visit the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival website.

  • 2 – 9 July : The Streatham Festival

Eight day festival in Streatham with this year’s theme of ‘celebrating Streatham’. Featuring dance, comedy, music, workshops, arts and crafts, writing, film and talks. At various venues across Streatham. For more information, visit the Streatham Festival website.

  • Now until 3 July : Hampstead Summer Festival

The festival takes place in and around Hampstead, including the Big Fair on Heath Street (3 July), open art competitions, poetry, art and literacy events, pub quizzes and more. Many activities are free. For more information, visit the Hampstead Summer Festival website.

  • Now until 3 July : Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: Somme 100

Outdoor exhibition features images of the present-day battlefields alongside archive pictures of the trenches during the Great War. Free. Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2V. Nearest station: St Paul’s. For more information, visit the City Of London website.

  • Now until 3 July : East End Film Festival

Diverse film festival including premieres, industry masterclasses, Q&As, screenings and immersive live events at venues across the East End. For more information, visit the East End Film Festival website. Read the rest of this entry

Serpentine Pavilion 2016: A pyramid of bulging bricks by Bjarke Ingels

St Magnus The Martyr Church: The history of the old gateway to the City of London

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

St Magnus The Martyr Church stands on Lower Thames Street in the City of London

Dwarfed by the modern architecture surrounding it, St Magnus The Martyr church in the City of London is not such a prominent building as it used to be. However, for hundreds of years, this very church stood at the head of London Bridge, with its frontage as an unofficial ‘gate to London’. For visitors crossing into the City from Southwark, it was the first building that would greet them after they stepped off London Bridge. With the capital’s oldest bridge being relocated further west in 1830, the grand entrance to the church is now hidden away in a small courtyard.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The church tower was inspired by St Carolus Borromeus in Antwerp

St Magnus The Martyr is named after Magnus Erlendsson, Earl Of Orkney (1080-1116 or 1118AD), who was executed following a power struggle with his cousin. He was canonised in 1135 and was remembered for his piety and gentleness. It is believed the church was established in the early 12th century, after the previously marshland area of the riverbank was developed and one of the many London Bridges to stand on the site was rebuilt. Thames Street – the road on which the church stands – was built in the second half of the 11th century just north of the Roman river wall. One of the pilings from the Roman wall dating back to 65AD was discovered in 1931 and is now encased in the base of the church tower at the entrance.

It is believed the first St Magnus The Martyr Church was built by 1128-33. During the building’s early years, there were a series of wooden London Bridges, which never seemed to last long. Finally in 1209, the Old Medieval London Bridge was opened. Made of stone, it took 33 years to build. The new bridge was aligned with Fish Street Hill so all pedestrians walking into London from the bridge would walk directly in front of St Magnus. The bridge included a chapel dedicated to St Thomas à Becket, where pilgrims would stop on their journey to visit his tomb at Canterbury Cathedral. The chapel and two 3rds of London Bridge were part of St Magnus’s parish. Read the rest of this entry

Life is rosé! Raise a glass at London’s first ever Rosé bar

Rose Afternoon Tea @ The Bingham

Rose Afternoon Tea @ The Bingham

The capital has seen a variety of themed pop-up bars over the years, with gin and rum especially well represented. So it’s high time London provided a dedicated drinking environment for fans of rosé wine.

Opening this summer is the capital’s first ever Rosé Bar. Richmond’s riverside restaurant, bar and boutique hotel The Bingham will be launching a pop-up celebrating the pink vino. The Rosé Bar will take over the Georgian hotel’s lounge bar, terrace and private rose garden so guests can soak up the stunning views of the garden against the backdrop of Thames. The wild garden theme will continue inside, with roses a design feature of the bar.

On the menu will be a range of rose-infused cocktails, including Rose Aperol, the Rose Mule and the Rose Fantasia. Of if you’re more traditional, there will be rosé champagne and wine, including French and Portuguese varieties. The bar will include a choice of 15 different rosé champagnes for those who prefer their bubbly pink.

The Bingham will also be offering a special rosé slant on their Afternoon Tea. The menu will include homemade rose cream éclairs, rose and pistachio cake and a white chocolate mousse, pomegranate and sugared rose petals.

  • The Rose Bar is open from 1 July – 31 August 2016. The Bingham, 61-63 Petersham Road, Richmond upon Thames, Surrey, TW10 6UT. Nearest station: Richmond. The Rose Afternoon Tea is available Mon-Sat 3.30-5.30pm and Sun 4-7pm. £25pp or £38pp including a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé. For more information, visit The Bingham website.

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

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

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