Category Archives: Activities

Get involved – things to do as well as see

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

Mrs and Mr Bateman: Explore fashion, design and more at this creative new pop-up concept

Mrs and Mr Bateman is a new pop-up concept coming to Soho

Soho is known for being the home to London’s creative, fashionable and flamboyant. So the area is the perfect location for a new pop-up concept. Setting up camp for four days this April will be Mrs And Mr Bateman, an art, fashion and interiors installation. Taking over the Victorian-fronted premises of 15 Bateman Street, The Batemans will transform the space into their ‘home’ for inspiration, discussions and shopping.

Mrs and Mr Bateman (note the Mrs appears first!) is a new project from three talented women – artist Selena Beaudry, vintage fashion dealer Clemmie Myers, and interior designer Natalie Tredgett. They have created the home of the fictitious Mrs and Mr Bateman, which is open to the public.

Throughout the four-day long house-warming, there will be plenty of creative opportunities for learning and inspiration. Events such as a panel discussion on creatives and their different processes, how social media and technology can be a good or bad thing for creativity, and how other art informs their work. There will also be an immersive creative writing evening (27 April, 6.30pm-8.30pm). Parents will be able to watch their children learn new skills (28 April, 11am-2pm), including hat-making classes with milliner Jess Collett, while Clemmie will be creating a fancy dress box for fantastical fun.

Art fans will have plenty to gaze upon, with Selena creating a wall installation specially for the show. Meanwhile, artists and makers from Europe and the US will be featured, including Barrie Benson, Jess Collett, Frederike von Cranach, Phil Goss, Iva Gueorguieva, Daniel Hernandez, Marie Jacotey, John-Paul Pietrus, James Shaw, Margit Wittig, Ian Vail and Bari Ziperstein.

Fashionistas will be able to check out Clemmie’s curation of vintage clothing throughout the home. She has also customised several pieces for the installation, as well as setting up a boudoir for guests to try on the Bateman wardrobe. Throughout the home will be the striking decoration by Natalie, featuring vignettes that celebrate objects as art. She will demonstrate her signature use of colour, pattern play and an amalgamation of old and new to fit the vibe of the Batemans.

The installation will kick of with an opening party on 25 April 2018 (6.30pm-8.30pm), with a multi-sensory experience from DJ Henri.

  • Mrs and Mr Bateman is open from 25 – 28 April 2018. Open to the general public: 10am-6pm. Mrs and Mr Bateman, 15 Bateman Street, Soho, W1D 3AQ. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road. Check out the Mrs and Mr Bateman website.

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

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Go wild in Neverland for NTV Spring Break

Do you remember the wild and debauched MTV Spring Break footage in the late ’90s? This Spring, you will have the option to throw caution to the wind and party like it’s 1998 in an immersive adult playground inspired by JM Barrie’s Neverland. Over 19-21 April 2018, Park Village Studios in Regents Park will be transformed for NTV Spring Park, a multi-layered event combining food, drink and partying. Expect to see a reimagining of Peter Pan’s lost land, including hipster Lost Boys, geezer Pirates, a trustafarian Tiger Lily, a tattooed Tinkerbell and a gangsta rapping Croc.

Guests are invited to start their journey in the relative calm of the Darlings’ home, where they will be offered a drink by George and Mary Darling – parents of Wendy, John and Michael. It isn’t long, before revellers move into Neverland, where they have an array of options to choose from. For those feeling a bit peckish, the Lost Boys are hosting their street food collective, featuring a range of world foods, including fish tacos, hot’n’sour wings, brioche three-cheese toasties, dulce de leche churros, among many other treats.

If you’re ready for it, head to Tinkerbell’s Bar, an Austin-style dive bar with rockabilly memorabilia, neon signs, and thrash metal, serving Fukk’n Intense Dark’n’Stormies cocktails. Nearby is Crock’s Territory, home to hip-hop legend Croc, the unofficial king of Neverland. Check him out as he films his latest music video with his dancers and b-boys sipping malt liquor. When you want to take things up a notch, head to Neverland Camp, where zenned out Tiger Lily and her new age pals Sebastian, Ziggy et al hang out by the campfire. This chill out zone offers arts and crafts workshops, massages, guru sessions and Jarr Kombucha cocktails. Meanwhile, Jimmy ‘Ook and his pirates are hiding out in a hidden East London gangster den, where they will challenge guests to a game of red/black/high/low in the hope of winning some perks.

Finally, the night climaxes with the NTV Dance Off, where the gangs come face-to-face and show off their moves. Once the winner is crowned, guests are welcome to party to the sounds of DJ Seldom Cinq and his hype man Ya Boi JC. The event is the long-awaited return from Shuttlecock Inc, famous for their previous immersive productions Mile High, Rumble at the Deli and The Blue Lotus Opium Den.

  • Shuttlecock Inc Presents NTV Spring Break is on from 19-21 April 2018. At Park Village Studios, Park Village East, Regents Park, NW1 7PX. Nearest station: Mornington Crescent. Tickets: Standard £40pp (early bird £35pp), includes entry, 1x cocktail, 2x street food tokens and all the entertainment. VIP £65pp, includes access all areas pass, min. 4x cocktails, 4x street food tokens and all the entertainment. For tickets, visit the Shuttlecock website.
NTV Spring Break

The Lost Boys will be serving up some street food

To find out what else is on in April in London, click here.

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Talks, philantropy and more as Seven Dials marks International Women’s Day

© Seven Dials

Gemma Cairney will be hosting a live panel with Charlie Craggs, Dinny Hall, Jenny Scott, Olivia Wollenberg as part of Seven Dials’ International Women’s Day celebrations

Following the recent #MeToo movement, this year’s International Women’s Day is predicted to be the biggest ever. Although it’s still not a public holiday like in Cambodia and the Ukraine (we can dream…), there are a host of events on around the capital to celebrate woman power.

This year, Seven Dials will be hosting a week of events, launches and promotions focused on females. One of the highlights will be an ‘In Conversation With’ talk on International Women’s Day itself on 8 March. Presenter Gemma Cairney will be a hosting a free discussion with a varied panel of influential and progressive women to discuss IWD’s theme of ‘Press for Progress’. Taking place at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel, the panel will feature Trans activist and author Charlie Craggs; British jeweller Dinny Hall; Founder of Mothers Meeting Jenny Scott and Founder of Livia’s Kitchen, Olivia Wollenberg.

Throughout the rest of the week, the area’s boutiques, cafes and bars will be taking part with various activities and promotions. Rossopomodoro will be serving a special chocolate pannacotta with marmalade from CasaLorena, an Italian organisation who help women affected by domestic violence or sexual harassment. Neal’s Yard Remedies will be hosting create-your-own massage oil workshops and offering free hand and arm massages, superfood tasting and in-store discounts. Illustrator Morgan Seaford will be talking about her designs at Duke and Dexter, while jeweller Dinny Hall will be launching a Suffragette-inspired edit at the boutique. Meanwhile, steak restaurant and bar Hawksmoor Seven Dials have created a £6 ‘Sister Suffragette’ cocktail (Appleton Rum, Cocchi Rosa Vermouth, Lavender Bitters and Triple Sec). Throughout the week, Seven Dials have partnered with Hey Girls, who are campaigning to end period poverty in the UK.

  • National Women’s Day celebrations are taking place from 1 – 8 March 2018. At venues and stores around Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. The panel discussion takes place on 8 March at 7pm at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel. To claim your free ticket to the talk, enter the ballot on the Seven Dials website before 2 March at 6pm. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website.

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

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Mail Rail review: Travel under London on the Royal Mail’s underground railway

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The Mail Rail is a ride on the Royal Mail’s former underground railway

We all know about the Victorian origins of the London Underground, which has been transporting commuters since 1863. However, did you know it’s not the capital’s only underground railway in existence? For eight decades, the Post Office ran their own subterranean train system to transport letters and parcels under the city’s streets. Affectionately known as the ‘Mail Rail’, it closed for good in 2003. However, in September 2017, the railway was brought back to life and adapted for human passengers as part of a new experience at the Postal Museum.

Road traffic has been a problem in London for centuries, stemming back to the days of horses and carts. For owners of the Post Office, the impact on their deliveries arriving late was not good for business so something had to be done. In 1909, a committee was set up to devise a traffic-proof delivery system, and by 1911 had settled on the idea of driverless electric trains. Construction began in 1914 with a trial tunnel in Plumstead Marshes, south-east London, with the main 6 1/2 miles of tunnels completed by 1917. By this time, World War I was in full swing so lack of labour and materials meant the project was put on hold. However, the tunnels did find some use during WWI as the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate stored some of their artworks in them for safe-keeping. Following the end of the Great War, costs of materials had risen so much, it wasn’t until 1923 that work could finally resume. Finally, on 5 December 1927, parcels were transported underground between Mount Pleasant and Paddington for the first time.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

One of the former stations, where busy Royal Mail workers would be hauling carts of post to and from trains

The trains run in a single 9ft tunnel featuring a double 2ft gauge track. Approaching each station, the tunnel would split into two 7ft tunnels with a single track each. The railway’s deepest point was 70ft, although the stations tended to be slightly closer to street level. By 1930, the original rolling stock were knackered so they were replaced with new trains. These new ones featured a 27ft single car train with each container having a capacity for 15 bags of letters or six bags of parcels. These were used until they were replaced in 1980 by a new fleet. Over the decades, some of the stations came and went, including the Western Parcels Office and Western District Office, with the latter name being reused at a new station at Rathbone Place, which opened in 1965. In 1987, the train system was renamed ‘Mail Rail’ to mark its 60th anniversary. In 1993, the whole system was computerised so the trains could be controlled from a single point. By the end of the 1990s, only the stations at Paddington, Western Delivery Office, Mount Pleasant, and the East District Office were being used, carrying over 6 million bags of mail annually. However, as the system aged, Royal Mail decided it was becoming too costly to run the railway, claiming road transport was cheaper and its death warrant was signed. On 31 May 2003, the Mail Rail was closed for good.  Read the rest of this entry

Lumiere London 2018: The capital becomes a gallery of neon

Happy Christmas to my readers (and a few tips if you’re staying put in the capital)

Wishing all Memoirs Of A Metro Girl readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Wishing readers of Memoirs Of A Metro Girl a Happy Christmas

Wow, what a year! Here we are again, it’s Christmas Eve and we’re all ready for some down time to relax. If you are working over Christmas, I feel your pain, I’ve worked Christmas Day before and it’s tough working while getting major FOMO.

It’s that time of year when London gets the quietest it can. A mass exodus leaves the capital’s population dramatically shrunken with many bars, restaurants and shops closing up for days. I was out having Christmas drinks with some friends last night and was loving how quiet it was and easy to get a seat everywhere we went.

Wishing all my readers a merry Christmas and hope you’re having a good one wherever you are. I’ll be having another London Christmas as usual, still no white one is sight.

If you’re staying in the capital over the festive period, here’s a few things on around town if you do venture out:

  • Try a spot of ice-skating on one of the capital’s pop-up ice rinks, including one on a rooftop with a view of London’s skyline, Skylight.
  • Get merry this Christmas with a festive cocktail from one of these London bars.
  • For a general guide to what’s on in December, check out this post.
  • Party with Santa’s naughty elves with live music, winter warmers, street food and more at the South Pole Saloon.
  • Start planning your New Year’s Eve with my Metro Girl’s guide to the best parties in town.

See you in 2018 for more exploring the capital!

Metro Girl

Sculpture In The City 2017/2018: Contemporary art comes to the Square Mile

Guide to what’s on in London in December 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Wishing my readers a Merry Christmas

It’s all very festive in the capital. If you haven’t been forced into the Christmas spirit already with the sheer volume of red, green and glitter around the capital, it won’t take long before it hits you. There is a host of events on around the capital for both adults and families. Foodies will be particularly well catered for with seasonal markets and shows on. Across town, there’s plenty of festive pop-ups, with many listed below. Of course, there are many open-air ice skating rinks for those with a good sense of balance.

For a guide to London’s New Year’s Eve events, click here.

For a guide to London’s ice rinks, click here.

To find out which bars are serving special Christmas cocktails and Winter Warmers here.

  • 1 December : Dreamworks Animation in Concert

Listen to songs from your favourite Dreamworks animated films performed live by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. From 6pm. Tickets start from £28.32. Wembley SSE Arena, Arena Square, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0AA. Nearest station: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For tickets, visit the Dreamworks SeeTickets website. For more information, visit Metro Girl’s blog post on the concert.

  • 1 – 2 DecemberThe Spirit Show

Fans of gin, vodka and the like will enjoy this boozy festival, featuring masterclasses, tastings, street food, interactive lounge, VIP speakeasy and more. Open Fri 1-9pm, Sat 12-5pm. Tickets from £25 (standard tickets inc unlimited tastings, showguide and 6 bottle jute). Business Design Centre, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit The Spirit Show website.

  • 1 – 3 DecemberLondon Illustration Fair

Three-day event celebrating illustration, featuring artist-led stands, talks, workshops, music, DJs, live signings. Entry: £8 advance, Under 12s free. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bankside, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars or Waterloo . For more information, visit the London Illustration Fair website.

  • 1 – 10 December : London International Animation Festival

Showcase of animation from around the world featuring gala premieres, retrospectives, filmmakers Q&As, workshops, audience voting and screenings. Tickets start from £12 (Barbican standard tickets) to £95 for full pass. At the Barbican, The Horse Hospital, Close-Up Cinema and The Whitechapel Gallery. For more information and tickets, visit the LIAF website.

  • 1 – 17 December : Ferrero Rocher – Behind The Layers

Ferrero Rocher are creating an immersive sensory tasting experience for chocolate fans. Open 1pm-10.30pm (last experience 9.30pm). Tickets: £25 (45 minute experience, includes a glass of Prosecco or non-alcoholic beverage). Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 7GF. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush, Shepherd’s Bush Market or Wood Lane. For booking, visit BehindTheLayers.co.uk. Read Metro Girl’s blog post to find out more.

  • 1 – 19 December : Art For Love festival

A Christmas extravaganza in the historic surrounds of Devonshire Square, featuring live music, carol singing, ballet, ice skating performances and more. Times vary. Free. Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post on the festival.

  • 1 – 31 December : Greenwich Winter Time

The royal borough of Greenwich are hosting a winter festival, featuring open-air ice skating outside the Old Naval College, festive market, food and drink, entertainment on the mirrored stage and Father Christmas’ launch pad. Entry tickets (morning, afternoon or evening sessions): Adults £15-£18, Children £8. Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9LS. Nearest station: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the Greenwich Winter Time website.

  • 2 DecemberThe Great Christmas Pudding Race

Watch or take part in the annual Great Christmas Pudding Race in Covent Garden, which sees participants dressing up and raising money for Cancer Research UK. From 11am. Free for spectators. Covent Garden Piazza, WC1. Nearest station: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information and details on entering, visit the Great Christmas Pudding Race website.

  • 2 DecemberBeautycon

Social media influencers and celebrities will come together to talk beauty, fashion and style. Featuring Olivia Buckland, Jordyn Woods, Patricia Bright, Montana Brown, Grace Victory, Jayde Pierce and many more. 12-6pm. Tickets start from £30. Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Beautycon website.

  • 2 – 3 December : Santa and his huskies come to the London Wetland Centre

Special Christmas weekend event at the London Wetland Centre, where families can visit Santa’s Grotto, enjoy a sleigh ride with the huskies or a donkey ride or make decorations in the elves’ workshop. Normal admission prices to LWC apply: Adults £13.49, Children £7.42. Santa visit £8 per child (includes gift). London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT. Nearest station: Barnes. For more information, visit the WWT London Wetland Centre website.

  • 2 – 10 December : Spitalfields Music Festival

Spitalfields Music return with their winter festival. Acts include Mark Titchner, Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Musical Rumpus, Max Richter and André de Ridder among others. At various venues in the Spitalfields area including Shoreditch Church, Rich Mix and the Huguenot Houses of Spitalfields. For booking, visit the Spitalfields Music website. For this year’s highlights, read Metro Girl’s blog post.

  • 2 – 23 December : Santa’s Grotto @ Museum Of London

Meet Santa in a Victorian Santa’s Grotto. Professional photographer available to capture the moment. £10 per child (includes gift, book in advance). Museum of London, 150 London Wall, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest station: Barbican or Moorgate. For more information, visit the Museum Of London website.

  • 5 DecemberHome Front – Immersive Time Travel

One-off evening of an immersive time travel experience set in London during World War II. Featuring performances, escape rooms, live music, five bars and more. From 5.15pm-10.30pm. Tickets start from £25. At a secret east London location. For booking, visit DesignMyNight. For more information, read Metro Girl’s blog post.

  • 5 – 8 December : Vauxhall One’s Christmas Music Week

Every night, a different choir will perform in front of Vauxhall One’s Christmas tree. Choirs include West End Musical Choir, Sunday Assembly Choir, House Gospel Choir and Real Voices. 5.30pm-6.30pm. Free to spectate. Vauxhall One (outside Vauxhall station), SW8. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall One website.

  • 5 – 9 DecemberPigs Ear Beer And Cider Festival

Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA, featuring over 230 real ales plus ciders, perries and bottled beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Opening hours TBC. Entry: £3 (members), £5 (non-members). Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, Hackney, E5 0PU. Nearest station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. For more information, visit the Pig’s Ear website

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