Category Archives: Activities

Get involved – things to do as well as see

Sculpture in the City 2022/2023 | Art trail returns to the Square Mile

London hosts thought-provoking sculpture trails for The World Reimagined

A series of globes on four trails across the capital aim to educate about the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade.

The Road to Freedom, Hidden in Plain Sight by Asiko Okelarin

This autumn, a new sculpture trail has popped up in several districts of London. Entitled ‘The World ReImagined’, a series of individually designed globes aim to educate and provoke conversation about the history and legacy of transatlantic trade of enslaved Africans.

As well as in other cities across the UK, four trails have been laid in the capital, in the City of London; Camden to Westminster; Southwark to Lambeth; and Hackney to Newham. In total nationwide, 103 globes have been each decorated by an artist, speaking to one of nine themes of the journey of discovery, including Mother Africa; the Reality of being Enslaved; Stolen Legacy – the Rebirth of a Nation; Abolition and Emancipation; a Complex Triangle; Echoes in the Present; Still We Rise; Expanding Soul; and Reimagine the Future. Each globe is perched on a stand with a QR code so visitors can scan to find out more.

  • The Camden-Westminster trail starts by Mornington Crescent station and ends at Cardinal Place.
  • The City of London trail starts by the Royal Exchange and ends at Aldgate Square.
  • The Southwark-Lambeth trail starts by Peckham Library and ends at Windrush Square in Brixton.
  • The Hackney-Newham trail starts at Dalston Curve Garden and ends at Stratford International.

Meanwhile, there will be a series of related events across the capital, including history tours, art and poetry exhibitions, evening courses, talks and more, for the duration of the exhibition.

Yet Still We Arise by Winston Branch in the City (left) and Speak Up Speak Out by Richard Mensah in Brixton (right)

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Take a walk on the arty side as Sculpture in the City launches free tours to mark Sculpture Week London

City of London Guides will be taking art lovers on free guided tours of this year’s SITC artworks.

Summer Moon by Ugo Rondinone is among the artworks on the Sculpture in the City walk
© Nick Turpin

Sculpture in the City is launching a series of free guided walking tours of its latest edition to coincide with Sculpture Week London 2022.

The inaugural Sculpture Week takes place from 12-18 September 2022 and celebrates London’s wide collection of public sculpture. The week-long event is a collaboration between Frieze Sculpture, the Fourth Plinth programme in Trafalgar Square and Sculpture in the City. During the celebration, the latest Fourth Plinth commission will be unveiled, as well as the opening of this year’s Freize Sculpture in Regent’s Park.

Sculpture in the City is an annual public art exhibition, which sees contemporary sculptures erected at various sites across the City of London. Currently in its 11th edition, the 2022/23 collection launched in June, with pieces in situ until spring next year. The 11th edition of SITC features 20 artworks from internationally acclaimed and emerging artists, as well as six sculptures from the previous year.

During Sculpture Week London, Sculpture in the City has teamed up with City of London Guides to host free guided walking tours of the 11th edition artworks, displayed against a backdrop of some of the Square Mile’s most iconic architecture.

  • Sculpture in the City tours for Sculpture Week London 2022 take place from 13-18 September 2022. Tues-Fri 6pm-7.30pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-1pm and 6pm-7.30pm. Meeting point: Undershaft, City of London, EC3A 8AH. Nearest station: Aldgate, Bank or Liverpool Street. For more information and to register for a free place, visit the Sculpture in the City website

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Where to watch Wimbledon 2022 on the big screen in London

Where to watch the live action from SW19 with some atmosphere if you’ve missed out tickets to the real thing

Pile of tennis balls © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019After two summers of pared back events, big screens are back with a bang across the capital. Over this year’s Wimbledon tennis championships (27 June – 10 July 2022), a host of London’s spaces will be hosting pop-up, alfresco screening spaces. Most are free and feature nearby hospitality so you can drink and eat as you watch the live action from SW19. Be prepared to turn up early for a good spot, particularly in the last few days when the suspense amps up during the semis and finals.

Here’s a guide to London’s big screens for the Wimbledon tennis championships 🎾 this summer:

  • 1 June – 27 August 2022 : Summer Screens @ Canary Wharf

Along with the tennis, there will also be screenings of F1, cricket, and films throughout the summer. Free. Canada Square Park and Union Square, Canary Wharf, E14. Nearest stations: Canary Wharf or Heron Quays. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website.

  • 27 June – 10 July 2022 : Merchant Square

Watch the latest from Wimbledon by the Paddington Canal. Grab a deckchair or bring your own blanket. There will also be a bar serving cocktails. Times vary. Free. Merchant Square, Paddington, W2. Nearest station: Edgware Road or Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.

  • 27 June – 10 July 2022 : Wimbledon @ Hammersmith BID Summer Festival

All the action from SW19 and the Tour de France on the big screen in Lyric Square. From 12pm. Free. Lyric Square, Hammersmith, W6 0NB. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For more information, visit the HammersmithLondon website.

  • 27 June – 10 July 2022 : Wimbledon in the Gardens

Enjoy free screenings of the tennis in Mayfair, alongside food and drink from Stripes. 11am-8pm. Free. Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair, W1K 6TD. Nearest station: Bond Street or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Mayfair London website.

  • 27 June – 10 July 2022 : Wimbledon @ Flat Iron Square

Head to Southwark’s street food hub to watch the matches on a big screen in the garden. Free entry. Flat Iron Square, 68 Union Street, Bankside, SE1 1TD. Nearest station: Borough, London Bridge or Southwark. For more information, visit the Flat Iron Square website. Read the rest of this entry

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 27 February 2022.

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 – 27 February 2022. 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

Tusk Lion Trail: Prowl around London with a big cat sculpture trail

Leadenhall Market celebrates 700 years with a series of free events

Enjoy live music, art exhibitions and guided history tours at the City of London’s iconic market hall.

Leadenhall Market will celebrate 700 years of history with a series of events
© Leadenhall Market

With so many of London’s original market halls no longer serving their original purpose, it’s a notable feat to still be trading centuries later. This summer, Leadenhall Market will market 700 years of selling with a series of events.

The City of London market was established in 1321 on the heart of what was Roman London, meaning people have been trading on the spot for nearly two millennia. The site is still owned by the City of London Corporation, who were gifted it by former Lord Mayor Richard ‘Dick’ Whittington back in 1411. When the current Sir Horace Jones-designed building was erected in the Victorian era, Leadenhall was known for being a meat, poultry and game market. Today, it is now a destination for diners and drinkers, as well as boutique shopping.

This July and August, there will be a series of free events exploring the market’s vast history. From live music to exhibitions, to organised tours and self-guided walks, there will be plenty of activities on offer.

  • Leadenhall Market guided tour (Wednesdays 6.30pm-7.45pm, 7 July – 4 August)

Discover the secrets of the Victorian arcades of Leadenhall Market on a guided walking tour. They are free to join, but limited spaces require booking.

  • Lunchtime Lives (Thursday and Friday lunchtimes, 15 July – 6 August)

Enjoy live music from across the decades, from Victorian music hall to ’50s jazz and street bands.

  • Legends of Leadenhall self-guided tour

Discover the characters of Leadenhall’s past and its fascinating tales with an interactive audio guided tour. Find the QR code on posters within the market to download the app and play at your leisure.

  • Electric City exhibition (open daily until midnight, now until 31 July)

The team behind God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow have curated an exhibition of stunning neon art, from film sets of the past 40 years. Free to visit. An information hub is open 11.30am-7pm Wed-Sat.

  • UAL Graduate Showcase (Open daily until late August)

Check out the designs of final year students from the University of the Arts London. One of the market’s shop windows will be displaying costumes for theatre productions, animal models, set design maquettes and creative boards.

  • Leadenhall Market are celebrating 700 years during July and August 2021. At Leadenhall Market (access from Gracechurch Street, Lime Street and Whittington Avenue), City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website.

Find out what else is on in London this August.

Read more on the history of Leadenhall Market.

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Old Royal Naval College to reopen with workshops, history tours and foodie treats

Enjoy the grounds and retail offerings as the Greenwich landmark partially re-opens after lockdown, along with illustration workshops and guided tours.

greenwich Old Royal Naval College

Greenwich is reopening to the public following lockdown

It’s been a long, dull winter in lockdown so no doubt Londoners are crying out for their favourite spaces in the capital to reopen. Fortunately, one of the capital’s riverside gems, the Old Royal Naval College will be opening their gates again from 12 April 2021. Although indoor access will have to wait, there will be outdoor events and online experiences at the Greenwich destination, as well as reopening of the gift shops and café.

Ahead of the opening of illustrator Nick Ellwood’s physical exhibition ‘Mischief and Misadventure’ in May (or when guidelines allow), he will be hosting online drawing workshops for children and adults from April. Participants will be guided through assignments to hone their children’s book illustration skills, following by masterclass workshops in May for those who want to elevate their drawing to the next level.

Meanwhile, the iconic Old Royal Naval College will open its grounds to the public, who will be able to explore the history and the sights with guided and self-guided tours. The knowledgeable volunteers will be showing off the gorgeous features of the grounds and details of Sir Christopher Wren’s amazing architecture on small, socially-distanced guided tours (four dailt). Alternatively, families can download one of the free, self-guided tours from the Smartify app and enjoy a treasure trail around the outdoor space, while educating their children about the area’s history on the ‘Building Detectives’ tour. Or history buffs can learn more about the buildings with the Architecture tour.

While most of the indoor spaces of the ORNC are off-limits for a little while longer, the gift shops in the Visitor Centre and King William Undercroft will be open, while the Old Brewery will be serving outdoors from 12 April. Every weekend, the King William Lawn will host pop-up stalls serving hot and cold foods, drinks, afternoon teas and picnics for visitors to enjoy outside. Deckchairs and picnic blankets will be available for rent so you can have an alfresco feast while enjoying the views.

  • Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest station: Greenwich or Cutty Sark. For more information, visit the ORNC website.
  • Nick Ellwood workshops are taking place on 1, 8 and 15 April and 13, 20 and 27 May 2021. Tickets: £50. For tickets to the workshop and other events, visit the ORNC online booking tool. Ellwood’s ‘Mischief and Misadventure’ exhibition with run from 17 May – 6 September 2021 at the Old Royal Naval College.

Find out what’s on in London in May 2021 here.

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Winterfest returns to Wembley | Light installations bring joy for the festive season

Wembley Park are hosting a collection of light installations from November 2020.

Wembley Park – Winterfest 2020

Winterfest returns to Wembley Park this autumn

UPDATE: Winterfest and the ‘Reflections of the Future’ installation has been postponed until November 2021 due to the latest Covid-19 lockdown. However, the LED Christmas tree and other illuminations and digital artworks will still be on display.

As the pandemic continues to change our lives, it will undoubtedly be a different winter this year. With indoor and large activities restricted, we are looking to the great outdoors for our entertainment. One such alfresco event set to light up the dark wintry nights is Winterfest 2020.

Following the inaugural event in 2019, the free, immersive light festival is returning to Wembley Park on 26 November 2020. The theme for this year is ‘United in Light’ and hopes to bring joy to the local community and visitors over the festive period.

Among the pieces on show will be the new ‘Reflections of the Future’, a 100 metre long corridor of lights and mirrors, which alters perception of distance and space. The tallest LED Christmas tree in London returns following last year, adorned with a new digital art commission. The walk-through tree stands tall at 25 metres and features 100,000 LED light display. Along with other light installations, there will also be an outdoor photography exhibition in Arena Square during December.

  • Winterfest runs from 26 November 2020 – 17 January 2021. At Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. Installations will be on from 12pm-10pm daily. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website.

Find out what’s on in London in November 2020 here.

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