Category Archives: Activities

Get involved – things to do as well as see

Soundtrack takes over Seven Dials for a free festival of music, food and fun

© Seven Dials

Soundtrack is a new festival for Seven Dials
© Seven Dials

Coming to the West End this month is a brand new festival from the team behind Citadel. Seven Dials will be taken over by Soundtrack, a free one-day music festival. Revellers young and old will find plenty to entertain, including music, comedy, theatre and debates. All seven of the interconnecting streets will be closed to vehicle traffic for the day with a pop-up lawn surrounding the iconic dial. The free event is taking place to coincide with the Mayor of London’s ‘Sounds Like London’ campaign, which aims to celebrate the capital’s rich music heritage and talent.

Throughout the day, the open-air main stage in the centre of Seven Dials will host a variety of music acts, including London singer-songwriter Rukhsana Merrise, The Voice finalists Into The Ark, indie group Pumarosa and vintage-inspired rocker Ten Tonnes. Broadcaster and author Gemma Cairney will be hosting the action from 12pm-6pm. Meanwhile, funky choir Some Voices will be putting on flash mob performances around the area, while there will also be a free silent disco.

You can get into the festival spirit with The Gypsy Shrine on Monmouth Street, who will be offering free, eco-friendly glitter face painting all day. People can try their luck in an attempt to win festival tickets and more at the music-themed tombola, which raises money for charity partner Covent Garden Dragon Hall Trust. When you’re feeling hungry, you can head to the many street food and alfresco dining options, including independent café BOKI, pop-up pizza and prosecco bar from the Escapologist and Portuguese eaterie Canela. Many of the area’s establishments and shops, such as Rosa’s Thai, Rossopomodoero, Duke & Dexter and Club Monaco will be offering 20% off all day. There will also be a pop-up superfood smoothie bar from Neals Yard Remedies and a pop-up cocktail bar from Monmouth Kitchen.

While the festival is free to attend, its recommended you register for your festival map and ticket at Seven Dials’ website. As a ticket holder, you can pick up a free Mint Julep cocktail from the Hawksmoor Seven Dials x Evan Williams pop up bar on Earlham Street.

  • Soundtrack takes place on 23 June 2018 from 12pm-6pm. At Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For more information and to register, visit the Seven Dials website.

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

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London’s first human football zorbing on ice launches for the World Cup


If watching the FIFA World Cup action from Russia leaves you feeling competitive, there’s a fun new activity coming to the capital that could be right up your street. This summer, QUEENS is launching London’s first human football zorbing on ice. This special World Cup edition sees players getting to climb into 12ft tall inflatable footballs and compete against each other on the ice. Players will be challenged to battle each other out to be crowned the winner’s of the QUEENS’ World Cup. People can play in two teams of three players with ‘normal’ football rules applying.

Once you’ve bounced and steered your way around the ice rink, you can head to the on site MEATliquor bar for a refreshing post-match glass of Prosecco or beer. Each player ticket includes gaming sessions and one free beverage. While you’re there, you can also take advantage of some of QUEENS’ other attractions, including bowling alley, curling, arcades or dining at MEATliquor.

  • Queens, 17 Queensway, W2 4PQ. Nearest stations: Queensway or Bayswater. Zorbing on Ice is available on 22 June, 6 July and 13 July 2018. Booking slots from 4pm-11.20pm. Tickets: £29.99 per person. For more information, visit the Queens website.

For a guide to what’s on in London in June, click here.

For a guide on where to watch the World Cup on the big screen in London, click here.

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Game on! Where to watch the World Cup and Wimbledon in London this summer

Wimbledon at St Katharine's Docks

Watch the action from Wimbledon on a floating pontoon in St Katharine’s Docks

It’s that time of year again. The football World Cup takes place from 14 June until 15 July, while Wimbledon is on from 2 – 15 July. They’re not the only sports on this summer, with the Tour de France, British Grand Prix and Royal Ascot also taking place. Around the capital, venues and parks are transforming into spectator villages with big screens broadcasting all the action live. Here’s a guide to some of London’s alfresco sports screenings this summer.

  • 14 June – 15 July : World Cup @ Skylight London

Watch the World Cup on the big screen against the backdrop of the London skyline. Skylight features three bars, street food, law games and DJs. Undercover areas too in case of bad weather. Open Thu-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-11pm. Free entry, but table bookings recommended during the games. Skylight, Tobacco Quay (Pennington Street entrance), Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For more information, visit the Skylight London website. Read Metro Girl’s review of Skylight.

  • 14 June – 15 July : World Cup @ Merchant Square

Watch the action beamed live from Russia by the waterside on comfortable seating. There will be food and drink available from the on-site bar, street food stalls and nearby restaurants. Free. The Lawn, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.

  • 18 June – 22 July : Summer Screens @ Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf will be hosting open-air screenings of many sporting events over the summer, including Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club, Royal Ascot, Tour de France, Wimbledon and the British F1 Grand Prix. Times vary. Free. Cabot Square and Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website.

  • 14 June – 14 July : World Cup @ Flat Iron Square

Head to Southwark’s street food hub to watch the matches on a 100in 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.

Skylight London 2018 © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Watch the World Cup while enjoying skyline views at Skylight

  • 19 – 23 June : Royal Ascot @ Bluebird

Watch the horse-racing on the big screen in the courtyard of the Bluebird. The café will also be serving cream teas and champagne. Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest stations: Fulham Broadway, South Kensington or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Bluebird website.
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The Wild Wild West comes to West London at the Moonshine Saloon

Moonshine Saloon © Matt Martin photography

Moonshine Saloon is an immersive new pop-up bar coming to the King’s Road
© Matt Martin photography

Launching just in time for summer is an exciting new drinking concept. Moonshine Saloon will bring an immersive Wild West experience to the streets of West London. The pop-up BYOB bar comes from the same team behind the hugely popular Alcotraz. Launching on 31 May, Moonshine Saloon are pitching their waggons on the King’s Road for a limited three-month run.

Moonshine Saloon © Matt Martin photography

Guests will be invited to dress like a cowboy
© Matt Martin photography

The pop-up will let wannabe cowboys step into the Wild West’s undercover world of moonshine. Arriving at the entrance with their own booze in hand, apprentice moonshiners will head down a street that looks straight out of the dusty old west. They’ll stop with a tailor to get measured up for cowboy gear and Stetson hats so they blend in and don’t attract the Sheriff’s attention.

Once, they are suited and Stetson-ed up, guests will be given exclusive access into the shadiest spirit making business as they are welcomed in by the King of the Moonshiners. Heading downstairs to the Saloon itself, apprentice Moonshiners can try their hand at card and dice games, share their wildest stories of life in the West and enjoy their personalised moonshine cocktails. The Saloon’s talented moonshine pros – aka the mixologists – will be creating your own special cocktail with your choice of liquor. Those who successfully manage to evade the long arm of the law, can also stop for a refreshment in the General Store before heading back to their ranch.

Founder Sam Shearman explained: “With Alcotraz we created London’s first immersive cocktail bar, which placed guests at the centre of the action and allowed for theatre to take place around them whilst delicious cocktails were enjoyed. Moonshine Saloon will take this to a completely new scale, creating a new world as opposed to simply a new bar!”

  • Moonshine Saloon is open from 31 May – 25 August 2018. At 535 Kings Road, Fulham, SW10 0SZ. Nearest station: Fulham Broadway. 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). Bookings can be made on the Moonshine Saloon website or DesignMyNight.

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

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Somnai review: A surreal night in an immersive and virtual reality experience

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Somnai is an immersive virtual reality experience

Anyone who read my blog often or follows my Instagram account has probably worked out I’m a fan of immersive theatre and experiences. The word has become somewhat of a buzzword in the events industry in recent years and I’ve had a range of brilliant to mediocre ‘immersive’ experiences. However, the recent resurgence in popularity of virtual reality (VR) technology, means this type of production can utilise another platform to expand their scope. Recently, a group of friends and I went along to Somnai, which has been described by its makers dotdotdot as a ‘live, multi-sensory experience with immersive technologies’.

Somnai © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Each ‘patient’ is given an ID bracelet

Checking out the website ahead of its March launch, there were little clues on what a Somnai session would be like. The event is marketed as a type of sleep clinic, with the chilling warning ‘may cause acute death’. Now, of course, this warning cannot be taken literally, but speaking in past tense, it certainly gets your heart racing at points. Somnai is located in a large, unassuming warehouse in Clerkenwell. You are advised to avoid alcohol beforehand so my five sober friends and I arrived in the clinical white reception, slightly apprehensive about what lay ahead. We were ‘checked in’ to the clinic, as we handed in our bags and coats and were given a Fitbit, a dressing gown and padded sleep socks. One by one, we were taken into a small room, where silent assistants scanned our faces with 3D mapping, which all felt rather Black Mirror.

We started our experience in our group of six, meeting our sleep guide, an ethereal and spiritual woman who eased us into the experience with a few probing questions about our dreams (e.g. if you could fly anywhere, where would you go? What motivates you?). We start by winding down and relaxing with a bedtime story as we lie on a giant teddy bear, before zooming through the galaxy under a planetarium-style sky.

The main phase of Somnai is putting on our ‘sleep masks’ – our virtual reality masks – and beginning our VR journey. I haven’t tried virtual reality since its infancy in the 1990s and it’s certainly come on since then (and I would hope so too!). We moved through various surreal landscapes, from underwater kingdoms to grand canyons. Despite a part of my brain not knowing this was real, I found it quite unsettling to step off the side of a cliff or ledge, which was the process to changing ‘worlds’ or ‘zones’. In addition to what we were seeing, we could use our senses by touching, such as feeling the wooden plank ‘drawbridge’ we were crossing under my feet, or stroking the furry plant life in the ocean world. The whole VR experience was amazing and disorienting at the same time. Discussing it afterwards, I realised I had been quite fearful during it and had perhaps become too immersed in these bizarre environments we thought we were in.

Somnai © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Ready to sleep? The experience has been styled as a visit to a sleep clinic

Following the VR walkabout, our group was separated and two of us ended up in a very strange and spooky set of rooms. Without giving too much away, we were given a choice, ultimately made the wrong one, and ended our Somnai journey with a particularly scary 2nd session with the VR cameras. For this, our friends and I were reunited in a white hospital ward with masked attendants guiding us to lie in bed and putting on our ‘sleep masks’. I felt like we were in an asylum in a horror film. For the two of us who made the wrong choice, what we saw in the VR was rather unsettling and sent our heart rates up.

Finally, we all ended up in the digital bar, which is constantly evolving with different phases, each with a matching cocktail menu. If you download their app, your cocktail should do strange things when you scan it. With the app, we were able to check our heart rate throughout the process and see a quite horrifying (in my case!) 3D scan of my head. Overall, it was interestingly weird and enjoyable. The plot wasn’t quite coherent, but the mix of senses, VR sights and the cast provided a new and thought-provoking experience. Our group had much to discuss in the cocktail bar afterwards as we discussed our different experiences and interpreted meaning from the various surreal levels. If you’re intrigued about virtual reality, I recommend checking it out while it’s still on.

  • Somnai, 2 Pear Tree Street, Clerkenwell, EC1V 3SB. Nearest station: Farringdon or Old Street. Tickets: From £35 (discount for groups of six). On now until 30 June 2018. For booking, visit the Somnai website.

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

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Where to watch Meghan and Harry’s Royal Wedding in London

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry in Windsor on 19 May

The countdown is on to Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle on 19 May 2018. The big day itself may be taking place of in Windsor, but plenty of Londoners will be taking to pubs and street parties to celebrate. With the special event taking part on a Saturday, that means many of us will be free to join in the revelry. It’ll be an early start with the ceremony itself kicking off at 12pm. Here’s a list of just some of the celebrations in the capital, with all taking place on 19 May unless otherwise stipulated. Fingers crossed for some good weather!

  • Royal Wedding Brunch Party @ Bluebird

King’s Road destination Bluebird will be hosting a brunch party in their sunny courtyard. Watch the wedding on the big screen surrounded by bunting, balloons and bubbly. Guests can enjoy a champagne toast to the happy couple before a BBQ-style brunch by Executive Chef Simon Gregory. A DJ will be on the decks until darkness, while mixologists have created a special wedding cocktail menu. Brunch: £25pp. Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest stations: Fulham Broadway, South Kensington or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Bluebird website.

  • Royal Wedding 21st Century Tea Dance Party! @ Southbank Centre

The traditional tea dance is turned on its head in a special event hosted by Christopher Green and his alter ego Ida Barr. Expect a multimedia treat of live music, video, theatre, performance, storytelling, singing, dancing and the screening of the Royal Wedding. From 11am. Free. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information and tickets, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • The Official Royal Wedding Party

Two set of festivities depending on if you’re a day or night owl in the stunning Grade II listed church. The day event will feature live streaming of the wedding, bouquet and corsage making, wedding cake decorating, Bloody Mary cocktail class, traditional British games, a hog roast and lots of champagne. There will be live big bands, first dance classes and a ‘Have I Got News For You’ style comedy panel. The evening event will feature dance classes, catch-the-bouquet, American food in honour of the bride, live tribute acts, a string quartet and wedding cake. Day event 11am-5pm, tickets £25. Night event 7pm-2am, tickets £30. One Marylebone, 1 Marylebone Road, Marylebone, NW1 4AQ. Nearest station: Great Portland Street or Regents Park. For tickets, visit the Official Royal Wedding Party website.

  • The Royal Wedding @ National Maritime Museum

Watch the happy couple tie the knot on the big screen in the lawn in front of the National Maritime Museum. Royal fancy dress encouraged. 10am-3pm. Free entry. National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9NF. Nearest station: Maze Hill, Cutty Sark or Greenwich. For more information, visit the RMG website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Celebrate: There will be plenty of street parties to mark the Royal Wedding

  • Royal Brunch Party @ Aster

Celebrate Harry and Meghan tying the knot just a short distance from Buckingham Palace at Victoria dining destination Aster. Watch the ceremony on the big screen while feasting on a traditional brunch menu inspired by the couple and bottomless Prosecco. Also in the week running up to the royal wedding (14-19 May), Aster will be serving a special Royal Cocktail collection inspired by the pair, including The Jolly Ginger, the Botswana Sunrise, The Lost Bachelor and the Markle Sparkle. 12pm-4pm. Aster, 150 Victoria Street, Westminster, SW1E 5LB. Nearest station: Victoria. For more information, visit the Aster websiteRead the rest of this entry

Racing, food, music and more at the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 2018

© London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

Watch competing teams take to the water for the London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
© London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

This summer, a celebration of Chinese culture and a good old-fashioned sporting competition is returning to the capital. The 23rd London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival comes to the Docklands on Sunday 3 June for a free day out for all ages.

The main focus is the dragon boat race itself, with 40 competing club, corporate and amateur teams taking part. Spectators can watch the spectacle as the paddlers fight to take home one of the six cups. The history of the dragon boat races dates back to ancient China on the banks of the Yangtze River, around 2,500 years ago. Today, the sport remains a popular water sport in its country of origin and around the world.

Meanwhile, on dry land, stalls will be selling a range of culinary offerings from China and South East Asia. There will be plenty of entertainment, including live music, martial arts displays, dance performances, Tai Chi and traditional Chinese lion dancing.

The festival is organised by the London Chinatown Lions Club, which raises money for its nominated charities. The event is supported by Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office, The Hong Kong Executives Club and The London Chinatown Chinese Community Centre.

  • The London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival takes place on 3 June 2018 from 10am-6pm. Free entry. London Regatta Centre, Dockside Road, Docklands, E16 2QT. Nearest station: Royal Albert (DLR). For more information, visit the Dragon Boat Festival.

The London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival takes place in Docklands in June
© London Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

For a guide to what’s on in London in June, click here.

This post is taking part in #CulturedKids, sharing cultural blog posts aimed at children. Thanks to Diary Of A Londoness for getting me involved.

CulturedKids

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Fashion, discounts, workshops, cocktails and more at the Carnaby Style Weekender

© Stefan Jakubowski

Expand your skills at one of the workshops at the Carnaby Style Weekender
© Stefan Jakubowski

It’s time to kick off the new festival season and you don’t even have to worry about leaving London. This May, Carnaby are hosting a free, four-day festival celebrating fashion, lifestyle, food, drink and grooming. The Carnaby Style Weekender takes place on 10 – 13 May 2018, featuring a host of workshops, panel discussions and special events. There will be the chance to enjoy exclusive discounts and promotions in over 50 boutiques, bars and restaurants across the district’s 14 streets.

Model Jack McGuinness kicks off the Weekender on Thursday 10 May (6pm-8pm) with an exclusive fashion panel, featuring sartorial tips and where to find the best buys. Aspiring fashionistas can find how to get started in the industry in a talk hosted by independent Carnaby business owners James Scroggs of M.C. Overalls and Dane Butler of FINLAY London on Friday 11 May (6pm-7pm).

© Carnaby London

Sign up to a cocktail masterclass with Breddos Tacos

There will plenty of opportunities to update your look, including complimentary men’s haircuts from Pankhurst London. Ben Sherman and New Era hats will be offering complimentary monogramming and embroidery. You can also personalise a pair of the new Onitsuka Tiger trainers. Meanwhile, Nixon have created two limited-edition custom watches with only 20 available for sale. During the event, there will be exclusive discounts across the Carnaby brands, including Jack Wills, Pretty Green, Dr. Martens, OFFICE, Shinola, TOMS, Lazy Oaf and Skinnydip.

Ladies can head for a pamper with Urban Decay and Pixi offering free consultations and makeovers. Those who book in for a Detox Pedi at Cowshed can receive a complimentary Neville Travel Set, while Johnny’s Chop Shop will be marking their second birthday with live music and drinks on 10 May.

Throughout the Weekender, head to the Carnaby hub daily to try the free afternoon and evening workshops. Watch a carving demonstration in a Jamon Iberico masterclass at Charcuterie and tapas bar Dehesa. Make a collage with London’s unique souvenir store We Built This City and Collage Club London. Meanwhile, tequila lovers can learn how to make the perfect Margarita in a cocktail masterclass at Breddos Tacos’ bar. Pastaio are offering free Prosecco slushies with food orders after 9pm, while Senor Ceviche will be offering Peruvian Old Fashioneds for just £5. Wright Brothers Soho will be selling oysters for £1 each from 12pm-6pm.

  • The Carnaby Style Weekender takes place from 10 – 13 May 2018. In the Carnaby Quarter on and surrounding Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. To find out more about the weekender, visit the Carnaby London website or to book a spot on the workshops or talks, click here.

For a guide to what’s on in London in May, click here.

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Food, fun and frolics at the Feast of St George at Borough Market

© Borough Market

Celebrate all things English at Borough Market’s St George’s Day festivities

The capital is a hub for world cultures, but how often do Londoners celebrate home-grown food and traditions? This month, why not head to London’s oldest food market to mark St George’s Day. Taking place a day earlier on Sunday 22 April 2018, Borough Market are hosting a celebration for the Feast of Saint George. Borough Market will be exploring the English and international heritage of St George through an afternoon of food, music, stories and theatre.

Foodies will be spoiled for choice with the market’s traders offering delicious St George’s day food to sample or take home. Choose from the best of English produce, from Colchester oysters and Tamworth pork to Melton Mowbray pies and Cheddar cheese. As St George is also the patron saint of other countries such as Georgia, Ethiopia, Greece, Turkey and Catalonia, expect to see traditional food delicacies from around the world. As St George is the patron saint of butchers and shepherds, chef Luke Mackay and Northfield Farm will be giving free butchery and cooking demonstrations to help you get the most from your meat.

Throughout the day, there will be plenty of family friendly entertainment. Children and adults can enjoy an interactive performance of St George and the Dragon by local theatre group The Lion’s Part. Of course, no St George’s Day celebrations would be complete without maypole dancing. Folk Dance Remixed will be performing a musical merger of traditional steps with hip-hop moves. Visitors will be invited to create ‘wraps ‘n ripples’ and ‘waves ‘n breaks’ around a bespoke 12ft maypole. The Castellers of London will be practising a Catalan tradition of constructing a human tower. Meanwhile, 4-9 year olds can learn about food provenance and the process of farming through games, interactive learning and activities with the National Farmers Union in the Discovery Barn.

As well as the St George’s Day festival, there will also be other foodie events for April’s St George’s Residency in the Borough Market Demo Kitchen. Leonardo Rivera Ruiz, group head chef of Brindisa Kitchens, will be hosting a Catalan cooking demonstration on 12 April. A week later, Alissa Tomoshkina, founder of KinoVino, will be exploring Georgian and Russian cuisine on 19 April.

  • The Feast of St George takes place on 22 April 2018 from 12pm-4pm. At Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, Borough, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website.
© Borough Market

There will be plenty of English and international cuisine available to sample or take home

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

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Harmonics in Space by Fred Butler: Lift your spirits at this multi-layered, sensory experience