Where to celebrate Burns’ Night 2019 in London

A guide to London’s best Burns’ Night events

© The Little Blue Door

Celebrate Burns’ Night with Mac & Wild haggis pops at The Little Blue Door

A cold January night is the perfect time to tuck into some hearty Scottish fare and a dram or two of whisky. January 25 is an annual festivity to mark the birthday of Scottish poet Robert ‘Robbie’ Burns, who died in 1796. Traditionally, people feast on soup, haggis, tatties and neeps, washed down with lots of whisky to celebrate his life and poetry. With a host of Scots living in London, there are tons of Burns’ Night celebrations.

  • Burns’ Dinner and Music @ Boisdale Mayfair (22 – 26 January)

Scottish restaurant chain Boisdale will be hosting a series of Burns evenings, featuring four-course meals and matching wines and whisky with live bagpiper. Menus £74.50pp.

– Boisdale, 12 North Row, Mayfair, W1K 7DF. Nearest station: Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Boisdale website.

  • Week Of Burns @ Mac & Wild (22 – 28 January)

Scottish eaterie Mac & Wild will be celebrating with a whole week of Burns inspired menu and events at their two London locations. Including a Silent Ceilidh (25 Jan), Haggis Making Masterclasses and Burns’ Night tasting menu. Foods on offer include the Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Burger and Deep-Fried Mars Bars.

– Mac & Wild Fitzrovia: 65 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PS (Nearest station: Oxford Circus) or Mac & Wild City: 9A Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M 4YN (Nearest station: Liverpool Street). For booking and more information, visit the Mac & Wild website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of Mac & Wild.

  • Burns’ Night Supper @ Cub (25 January)

Progressive Hebridean Distillers (PHD) will be showcasing their Port Charlotte Whisky and The Botanist Gin at Cub. Guests will enjoy a Burns-inspired 10 course set menu of 5 dishes and 5 drinks. Tickets: £75pp.

– Cub, 153 Hoxton Street, Hoxton, N1 6PJ. Nearest stations: Old Street or Hoxton. For more information, visit LyanCub.com.

  • Bobby Burns Party @ The Little Blue Door (25 January)

The flatmates from The Little Blue Door are teaming up with Scottish foodies Mac & Wild, Islay legends Port Charlotte Whisky and The Botanist Gin are hosting a Robbie Burns’ party. Featuring complimentary drinks and Haggis Pops. Dress code: Tart or tartan. From 7pm-1am.

– The Little Blue Door, 871-873 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW6 5HP. Nearest station: Parsons Green. For more information, visit The Little Blue Door Facebook page. Check out Metro Girl’s review of The Little Blue DoorRead the rest of this entry

Did you know there’s a piece of the Berlin Wall in London?

Berlin Wall London © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

A piece of the Berlin Wall stands in Lambeth

This year marks 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. From 1961 to 1989, a guarded concrete barrier divided West and East Berlin. During its 28 year life span, over 80 people died trying to cross the wall. Finally, on 9 November 1989 the wall started to come down and was destroyed by Berliners, uniting the city once again. I was at primary school when the wall fell and remember my impassioned teacher telling us about this historic moment during assembly, which I was a bit too young to understand.

Various pieces of the Berlin Wall survive today. In the gardens of the Imperial War Museum in London, there is a piece of the wall complete with original street art. It features the words ‘Change Your Life’ in a giant mouth by graffiti artist Indiana (Jurgen Grosse). The 3.64 metre high section comes from near the Leuschnerdamm in the Kreuzberg district and was acquired by the Imperial War Museum in 1991. It is believed the slogan ‘Change Your Life’ may be from the German poem Archaischer Torso Apollos (Torso of an Archaic Apollo).

  • Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, Lambeth, SE1 6HZ. Nearest station: Lambeth North.

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A reminder of Fleet Street’s tabloid past… and a rather creepy address

Sunday Post Fleet Street © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The DC Thomsom building at 186 Fleet Street

Fleet Street is synonymous with Britain’s journalism industry, with most of the country’s newspapers having offices or headquarters in the area in the first half of the 20th century. While most of the papers have moved on to less central areas, such as Canary Wharf, Southwark and Kensington, there still lies some signs of their EC4 past in the heart of the City.

Standing at 186 Fleet Street is an old remainder of Fleet Street‘s tabloid heyday. No.186, along with 184 and 185 belong to DC Thomson – a Scottish publishing house and TV company. The Thomson family originally started out in shipping before branching out in publishing by buying the Dundee Courier and The Daily Argus in 1886. David Coupar Thomsom (1861-1954) established DC Thomson in 1905 as the family’s publishing assets expanded.

Sunday Post Fleet Street © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

The Sunday Post and People’s Friend is still in publication

Although DC Thomson were headquartered in Scotland, they established a London base to cover relevant stories. Prior to the current building, the site featured the street’s last early 17th century timber-framed buildings before they were demolished.

No.186 was built around 1913 by Meakin, Archer and Stoneham. The architecture practice had an office in Nicholas Lane near Monument and also designed The Strand Cinema Theatre in 1910 (it closed in 1953 and although the façade remains at No.428 The Strand, the auditorium has been demolished). The practice changed in 1916 with Edgar Percy Archer and Frederic Martyn Stoneham remaining in partnership together after Meakin left.

The façade of the building features glazed red bricks with stone dressings. Five of DC Thomson’s titles were written across the building in mosaic bands as a form of advertising. Four of the five titles are still in publication, with The People’s Journal having folded in 1986 after a 128 history. The remaining publications are Dundee Courier (founded 1801); Dundee Evening Telegraph (founded 1877); Sunday Post (founded 1914) and People’s Friend (founded 1869).

In 2014, DC Thomson extensively renovated their London and Dundee offices. However, just two years later, DC Thomson took the decision to close their editorial office, which meant the last journalists to work on Fleet Street were leaving. DC Thomson continues to own the building, with advertising staff remaining on site.

As well being the home to the last Fleet Street journalists, 186 Fleet Street is also where fictional murderer Sweeney Todd’s infamous barber shop was located. The Victorian villain was known to dispatch his victims into the cellar from his barber’s chair and slit their throats with his razor. His sidekick Mrs Lovett then baked their remains in meat pies.

  • 186 Fleet Street, City of London, EC4A 2HS. Nearest station: Chancery Lane.

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PsychoBarn at the Royal Academy: A slice of Hollywood horror on Piccadilly

PsychoBarn © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

PsychoBarn in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts

Standing in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts this winter is a piece of Hollywood horror. Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) is an architectural installation by English artist Cornelia Parker. The 30ft high structure is inspired by the Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho. The house in the movie, where Norman Bates lived with his mother Norma, was modelled on Edward Hopper’s 1925 painting, the House By The Railroad.

Parker’s scaled-down structure was first exhibited on the roof of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2016. It was erected in London in September 2018 and will remain in situ until March 2019. Transitional Object is not a real building, but a façade. While it looks like a traditional, all-American red barn, the dark windows, distressed paintwork and little signs of ‘life’ give it a creepy vibe – much like the house in the film.

  • Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), The Annenberg Courtyard, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, 49-50 Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 9ER. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. Will remain in place until March 2019. Open Sat-Thu 10am–6pm, Fri 10am–10pm. Free to view. For more information, visit the Royal Academy Of Arts website.

To find out what’s on in London in January 2019, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in January 2019

All the best events and festivals in London in January 2019.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The Winter Lights Festival lights up Canary Wharf

Happy new year! 2019 is here and we’ve got a whole 12 months to have fun in the capital. With many of us feeling a little light in our purses this month after the excesses of Christmas and New Year.

This January sees a host of arts and entertainment festivals, light shows and more, with many events free. Here’s Metro Girl’s round-up of the best events in the capital this January 2019.

For a guide to London’s Burns’ Nights events, click here.

  • 1 January : New Year’s Day Parade

Hundreds of thousands of spectators will line the streets of London to watch 10,000 performers from around the world. Starts from Piccadilly’s Berkeley Street at 12pm, ending at Parliament Square at 3.30pm. Free. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus, Westminster or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Parade website.

  • Now until 5 January : Alice In Winterland

A new lantern festival sees the characters of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland brought to life with over 160 giant lanterns and immersive experiences, such as sliding down the rabbit hole and tea cup rides. There’s also a Santa’s Grotto on-site. Tickets: Adults £15, Children 4-16yrs £9. Southwark Park (Paradise Gate entrance), Jamaica Road, SE16 4RS. Nearest stations: Canada Water or Rotherhithe. For more information, visit the Alice In Winterland website.

  • Now until 5 January : Christmas at Kew

A one mile glittering trail which weaves its way through Kew Gardens with stunning sights lit up upon the way. There will also be Santa at the North Pole Village, a Tunnel of Light, vintage rides, festive food and drinks. 5-10pm. Tickets (advance): Adults £19.50, Children £12, Under 4 free. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.

  • Now until 5 January : Christmas In Leicester Square

The West End’s famous square will feature a Christmas market and Santa’s Grotto. A Spiegeltent will play host shows including Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, Briefs: Close Encounters and Club Briefs. Free entry to Leicester Square, but tickets required for Santa’s Grotto and the Spiegeltent. Leicester Square, WC2H. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Christmas In Leicester Square website.

  • Now until 5 January : Moonshine Saloon

A new immersive cocktail experience from the same team behind Alcotraz. Bring your own liquor to the Wild West and learn about the dark world of moonshining. Dress in cowboy gear and Stetsons and let experienced mixologists whip up some cocktails using your spirit of choice. Open Wed-Fri 6.15pm-10.15pm, Sat 12.15pm-11pm. Booking fee: £33.99 (includes 4 cocktails from brought drink of choice and 1hr 45m inside the saloon). 535 Kings Road, Fulham, SW10 0SZ. Nearest station: Fulham Broadway. Bookings can be made on the Moonshine Saloon website or DesignMyNight. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the pop-up.

  • 6 January : Twelfth Night Celebration

Theatre company the Lions Part host their annual celebration of the new year, ‘mixing ancient seasonal customs with contemporary festivity’ in the Bankside area of London. From 2pm. Free. Outside Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside, SE1 9DT. Nearest stations: Blackfriars, London Bridge or Southwark. For more information, visit the Lions Part website.

  • Now until 6 January : Winter Wonderland

The south east corner of Hyde Park is transformed into a Christmas fair with rides, food and drink stalls, ice rink, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, The Sooty Christmas Show, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Backyard Cinema‘s Snowman Experience. and more. Open 10am-10pm daily. Free to enter. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Victoria, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the Snowman Experience

  • Now until 6 January : Disney On Ice – Dream Big

Some of your favourite Disney characters take to the ice for a show for all the family. Show times vary. Tickets: £32.25-£91.50. The O2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich, SE10 0DX. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information, visit the Disney UK website.

  • Now until 6 January : Backyard Cinema Presents: The Snowman™ Experience

A cinematic walk-through experience to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Snowman. The classic book and short film is brought to life in an immersive experience. Times vary. Tickets (vary between standard, off-peak, and peak): Adults/teen £9.95-£14.95, Children £6.96-£12.95. Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, W2. Nearest stations: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch. For booking, visit the Winter Wonderland website. Read Metro Girl’s review on the Snowman Experience.

  • 9 January – 3 February : London International Mime Festival

Festival at various events across London including performances of physical theatre, dance, circus, puppetry and live art. Workshops also available. Tickets range from £12.50-£30. Venues include the Barbican, Jacksons Lane, Platform Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Shoreditch Town Hall and Southbank Centre. For more information, visit the Mime London websiteRead the rest of this entry

Happy New Year! A look back on blogging in 2018

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Memoirs Of A Metro Girl’s #2018bestnine on Instagram

Happy New Year! In the last few days of 2018, many of us have been taking stock of what has happened in the past 12 months. I’m definitely ready for a new year to begin, although with some trepidation with how Brexit will change the UK and our economy.

I’ve been able to devote a lot more time to my blog this year so have enjoyed delving into some history of some lesser known London buildings. Going forward with my blog in 2019, expect to see more restaurant and bar reviews, history pieces, what’s on guide and more exploring of my hometown.

Taking my what’s on guides out of the equation, here are Metro Girl’s most popular blog posts of 2018.

  1. Is this London’s skinniest house? The story behind 5 Thurloe Square
  2. Explore the swinging sixties with the My Generation exhibition at Carnaby
  3. William Blake finally honoured with a gravestone at his final resting place
  4. Holland House: A pioneering office block in the City of London
  5. Long Acre’s horsey history and the story behind the Carriage Manufactory

Wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year and see you in 2019 for more London adventures.

Metro Girl

P.S. If you still haven’t sorted your New Year’s Eve plans, check out my guide on where to see in 2019.

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The river runs through it: Have you spotted the river in Sloane Square tube station?

One of London’s hidden rivers is flowing through one of the capital’s busy tube stations.

Sloane Sq river © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

A 19th century iron pipe (the green) carries a river above Sloane Square station

London is home to many ‘hidden’ rivers. Many of these became subterranean in the 19th century as the capital’s population boomed. A host of tributaries of the River Thames and River Lea have been forced underground and now exist in pipes. While most of the secret rivers aren’t visible to most Londoners today, there is one river you can see (sort of).

Sloane Sq river © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Many commuters have no idea there’s a river running through the station

The River Westbourne was originally named Kilburn – originating from ‘Cye Bourne’, which means ‘royal stream’. It rises in the Whitestone Pond in Hampstead and flows south through Kilburn, Bayswater, Hyde Park and Chelsea, before discharging in the River Thames near Chelsea Bridge. One of the crossings over the Westbourne was the Knights’ Bridge, a name dating back to at least the 11th century. Although the bridge is long gone, its name lives on in the district of Knightsbridge. There was another bridge crossing the Westbourne in the Sloane Square area named Blandel Bridge, later being renamed as Grosvenor Bridge.

The Serpentine lake in Hyde Park was formed in 1730 when King George II’s wife Queen Caroline (1683-1737) ordered the damning of the Westbourne. The river continued to supply the Serpentine until 1834, when it was deemed too polluted, so Thames water was used instead.

London’s population boom in the 19th century prompted widespread development. Increased residential dwellings popping up in the areas surrounding the Westbourne in Paddington, Chelsea and Belgravia, led to the decision to drive the Westbourne underground. The water was directed into pipes in the early part of the 19th century.

Today, commuters who use Sloane Square tube station can see the River Westbourne crossing the platform and tracks in a pipe. A large iron pipe suspended from girders carries the Westbourne through Sloane Square station, which was opened in December 1868. The pipe is the original one from the 19th century and managed to escape damage when the station was bombed during World War II in November 1940.

Sloane Sq river © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The Westbourne was forced underground in the early 1800s

  • Sloane Square tube station, Chelsea, SW1W 8BB. Nearest station: Sloane Square (obviously!).

For more London history posts, click here.

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Merry Christmas to MOAMG readers and some tips if you’re staying in London

Christmas Holly bush © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018Wishing all Memoirs Of A Metro Girl readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I would just like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas wherever you will be. As usual, it will be another traditional Christmas with my family in my hometown of London.

For those who are staying in the capital over the festive period, here’s a few ideas of things to do:

– Bring the family – or relive your childhood – at The Snowman Experience at Winter Wonderland.

– Sip on a Christmas cocktail from one of these London bars and festive pop-ups.

– Or if you fancy a spot of ice-skating at one of London’s many pop-up rinks, check out where to go here.

– For a guide to what’s on in London this Christmas, click here.

– Why not check out some of the capital’s Christmas lights and decorations.

– Or if you need some ideas of how to see in the New Year, click here.

See you in 2019 for more London fun and frolics!

Metro Girl

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Guide to New Year’s Eve 2018 parties and events in London

Find out what’s on in London this New Year’s Eve 2018. Including the top parties and events in central, north, south, east and west London.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Toast the arrival of 2019 at one of London’s many events or parties

What a year 2018 has been! While some of you may have enjoy the year, there’s some others that can’t wait to put it behind them. However, 2019 is sure to be a year of uncertainty and change for Londoners as the UK leaves the EU. But whatever the new year holds, why not make the start of it a good one.

This New Year’s Eve, there will be a wide range of entertainment and activities to suit all tastes. From clubbing to themed parties to posh dinners to concerts. Many of these events will set out in advance, so make sure you get your tickets as soon as possible.

Most events are over 18s, unless otherwise stipulated.

Don’t forget, TFL will be providing free public transport from 11.45pm on New Year’s Eve until 4.30am on New Year’s Day.

Central London

  • New Year’s Eve firework display over the River Thames

Thousands expected to take to the north and south of the River to watch the fireworks display near the London Eye. Tickets went on sale in November so tend to sell out well in advance. There will be a lot of congestion or potential closures of some tube stations around the Embankments so check with TFL before you travel. Tickets: £10. For more information of where you can and can’t access without a ticket, visit the London.gov.uk website.

  • New Year’s Eve @ View From The Shard

Watch the fireworks from the highest party in London, featuring DJs, complimentary champagne toast and 360 degree view of the capital. 10pm-2am. Tickets from £199. View From The Shard, Floor 72, Joiner Street, London Bridge, SE1 9QU. Nearest station: London Bridge. For booking, visit View From The Shard.

  • A Vintage New Year’s Eve @ Cahoots

Vintage lovers will enjoy this post-war shenangians in an old underground war shelter, featuring a Moet & Chandon champagne reception, Bottomless cocktails, live entertainment by the Hotsie Totsies, New Year’s Eve toast and DJ set by The Roustabouts. Dress code: Post-war chic. 8pm-3am. Tickets: £150pp (includes a table for the evening, Moët & Chandon champagne reception, Bottomless cocktails all night and food rations & canapés). Cahoots, 13 Kingly Court, Soho, W1B 5PW. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For booking, visit the Cahoots website. For Metro Girl’s review of Cahoots, click here.

  • New Year’s Eve Snow Ball @ Tropicana Beach Club

Tropical themed night club has a wintry makeover, featuring live entertainment, DJs playing R’n’B, party anthems, and Latin beats under a snowball installation. 6pm-4am. Tickets £30-£70. Tropicana Beach Club, New London Theatre, Parker Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5PW. Nearest station: Covent Garden. For more information, visit the Tropicana Beach Club website.

  • Studio 54 New Year’s Eve @ Sky Garden

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the top of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ in the bars and restaurants of the Sky Garden with views over London. Relive the glamour of Studio 54 with food, drink, nine-piece live party band and DJs. 6pm-2am. Tickets range from £110-£395 depending on bar or dining package. Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, City of London, EC3M 3BY. Nearest station: Fenchurch Street or Monument. For booking, visit the Sky Garden website. For Metro Girl’s review of the Sky Garden, click here.

  • Mr Fogg’s Victorian Masquerade Ball

This fabulous masquerade ball kicks off with a Moët & Chandon Champagne and canapé reception. Expect entertainment and bottomless Bombay Sapphire and Star of Bombay libations, opera singers, a silhouette artist, Victorian games and DJs playing electro swing. 8pm-3am. Table tickets: £145pp, Bar tickets: £90pp. Mr. Fogg’s Residence, 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, WIJ 6JD. Nearest station: Bond Street or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Mr Fogg’s website.

  • New Year’s Eve Stand Up Show @ Comedy Store

See in the new year laughing your socks off with Tom Lucy, Shappi Khorsandi, Larry Dean, Rhys James, London Hughes, Mark Simmons, MC Laura Lexx, Zoe Lyons, Christian Reilly, Nigel Ng and Larry Dean. There are two shows – an early one if you’ve got plans for midnight or the later one, with a DJ spinning tracks for the after-party. Two shows at 6pm and 9.30pm. Finishes at 2am. Tickets start from £25 (early show) or £50 (late show and after party). The Comedy Store, 1a Oxendon Street, SW1Y 4EE. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Comedy Store website.

© Maya Jancar (B&H Group)

Shake a tail feather at the Prohibition Party(B&H Group)

  • The Prohibition Party

Welcome the new year, 1920s style at this prohibition-themed party from Bourne & Hollingsworth, featuring live music, gramophone DJs, gambling, dancers and cocktails. Dress code: 1920s. 9pm-3am. Tickets from £55. In a secret London location to be revealed two weeks before. For more information, visit the Prohibition Party websiteRead the rest of this entry

Walking in a Christmas wonderland: Photos of London’s 2018 festive lights and decorations