Category Archives: Entertainment

What’s on in London this Halloween and Day of the Dead 2019

Find out what museum events, fairs, club nights, film screenings and other Halloween activities are on this October and November.

Pumpkins Halloween © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019Get ready for the scariest season of the year! As well as Halloween, there has been a rise in popularity of Day of the Dead festivities from Mexico.

This year, Halloween comes after the half-term holidays, so plenty of London attractions are kick-starting their spooky events early. If you’re a parent, there’s plenty of Halloween events on during the daytime and early evening.

Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to the best daytime and nighttime – for both children or adults – Halloween and Day of the Dead activities on in the capital this October and early November.

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

Daytime jitters

  • 27 September – 10 November : Dark Arts @ Warner Bros Studio Tour

Dark Arts returns to the Harry Potter experience for the Halloween season. The Great Hall is full of 100 floating pumpkins, while the table features a Halloween feast on red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops. Watch a live duel between the Death Eaters. Tickets: Adults £45, Children £37. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. Nearest station: Watford (then a shuttle bus to studios). For more information, visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour website.

  • 1 – 31 October : The Home of Halloween @ London Dungeon

One of London’s most ghoulish destinations offers a Halloween experience. Meet some of London’s most notorious characters such as Jack the Ripper, Sweeney Todd, The Plague Doctor and The Torturer, watch an exclusive Halloween show and enjoy the rides. Tickets: Adults £30, Children £24. London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon website.

  • 19 – 27 October : Halloween @ London Zoo

A week of fiendish fun at London Zoo, featuring Grim Keeper tours, creepy crafts, spooky animals and more. Open 10am-5pm. Activities are free with entry to zoo. Entrance tickets: Adults £27.00, Child £17.55 (cheaper online). London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website.

  • 19 – 27 October : Spooky Cats @ the London Museum of Water & Steam

Listen to a cat story every weekday at 11am, make your own cat craft, explore our Splash Cat trail, find the Museum’s hidden cats. Children in cat costumes enter for free. Tickets: Adults £12.50, Children £5.50. London Museum of Water & Steam, Kew Bridge Road, Brentford, TW8 0EF. Nearest station: Kew Bridge. For more information, visit the London Museum of Water & Steam website.

  • 19 – 27 October : Halloween @ Battersea Power Station

A host of Halloween family activities are taking place over the half-term holidays, including Halloween scavenger hunt, eerie ear-making workship, pumpkin carving, Wicked Witches and Wizard Worshop. Dates and times vary for each activity. Free. Battersea Power Station, 188 Kirtling Street, Nine Elms, SW8 5BN. Nearest station: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea. For more information, visit the Battersea Power Station website.

  • 19 October – 3 November : Ascarium @ London Aquarium

A Halloween experience at Sea Life London with the Sea Witch asking visitors to help unlock her treasure chest. Tickets start from £21 (online), £26 (on the day). Sea Life London Aquarium, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Sea Life website.

  • 19 – 23 October : Pumpkin Carving @ Morden Hall Park

Carve your own pumpkin at the National Trust grounds and property of Morden Hall Park. Children must be supervised by an adult. 11am-4pm. Small pumpkin £4, medium pumpkin £5. Stableyard, Morden Hall Park, Morden Hall Road, Morden, SM4 5JD. Nearest station: Morden or Phipps Bridge (Tramlink). For more information and opening times, visit the National Trust website.

  • 22 October : Family Day: Halloween @ Benjamin Franklin House

A spooky family day with spooky 18th century stories told by Polly Hewson and gruesome games and crafts for 5-11 year olds. 4pm-5.30pm. Free, but advanced booking recommend. Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, Westminster, WC2N 5NG. Nearest stations: Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the Benjamin Franklin House website.

  • 23 – 31 October : Spooky Storytime @ London Eye

Families will love the Halloween experience on the London Eye. Enjoy fast-track entry and step into a capsule for a 30-minute rotation while listening to spooky stories and leave with a Hotel Chocolat goodie bag. Tickets: £35 (adult and child combi). London Eye, Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For tickets, visit the London Eye website.

  • 24 October – 1 November : Spooktacular Kids Tour

Let your children see the sights of a capital with a 45 minute bus tour of the capital with live guided commentary for chidren. Departs at 4pm. Tickets: Adults £15, Children (5-15) £8. For more information and departure points, visit the Original Tour website.

  • 26 – 27 October : Horniman Halloween Fair

A Halloween fair for the whole family, featuring creepy crawlies, Halloween trail, spooky storytelling, arts and crafts stalls, and food stalls. 10.30am-4.30pm. Free. Horniman Museum & Gardens, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ. Nearest station: Forest Hill. For more information, visit the Horniman Museum website.

  • 26 October – 3 November : Halloween @ Ham House

Scare yourself silly on a family ghost tour of the 17th century house, which is said to have 15 different ghosts. Ages 7+. Tours from 6pm. Tickets: Adults £15, Children £15. Ham House & Gardens, Ham Street, Ham, TW10 7RS. Nearest station: Richmond Station. For more information, visit the National Trust website.

  • 28 October – 3 November : Halloween @ Backyard Cinema

Travel through the Winter Night Garden to watch one of your favourite Halloween films at Backyard Cinema’s new permanent home in Wandsworth. Films include Beetlejuice, Scream, Shaun of the Dead, Hocus Pocus, Casper, The Witches and more. Matinees and evening screenings. Full bar and street food stalls available. Tickets: Adults £18.99, Children £9.50. Capital Studios, 13 Wandsworth Plain, Wandsworth, SW18 1ET. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town. For booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website.


Things that go bump in the night

  • 26 September – 10 November : Journey to the Underworld

An immersive, theatrical dining experience on a luxury train carriage on a journey to the Underworld. Featuring a four-course meal and interactions with characters. Time slots vary. Tickets: £57-£60. Pedley Street Station, Arch 63, Pedley Street, Bethnal Green, E1 5BW. Nearest station: Bethnal Green. For more information and tickets, visit the Funincular Productions website.

Switch up your Halloween routine and mark Day of the Dead

  • 8 October – 2 November : London Horror Festival

Festival of live horror performance including cabaret, film screenings, Zombie weekends, midnight performances and a short horror play competition. Ticket prices vary. Most events take place at the Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, Islington, EC1V 4NJ. Nearest station: Angel; or Pleasance, Carpenters Mews, North Road, Islington, N7 9EF. Nearest station: Caledonian Road. For more information, visit the London Horror Festival website.

  • 18 October : Halloween Late @ London Dungeon

After-hours fun for adults-only, featuring a darker experience and drinks. Over 18s only. Arrival from 7pm-9pm. Tickets: £29. London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Dungeon, click here.

  • 19 October : Festival of the Dead

Mexican-style festival comes to Limehouse. Expect full pageantry, giant skull processions, acrobats, dancers, decorative art, amazing costumes, confetti, CO2, light shows, live music and DJs. 9pm-2am. Tickets: £29.59. Troxy, 490 Commercial Road, Limehouse, E1 0HX. Nearest station: Limehouse. For more information, visit the Troxy website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in October 2019

Autumn is here! half-term, Halloween etc, plenty of drinking festivals and art fairs

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Autumn is in full swing

Autumn is in full swing. October is jam-packed with events, including plenty of art fairs, and drinking events, including London Cocktail Week. As well as half-term holidays for the children, there is also Halloween at the end of the month with plenty of activities and parties for both adults and children on around the capital.

For a guide to London’s Halloween and Day of the Dead events this month, click here

  • 1 – 31 October : London Restaurant Festival

Restaurants all over the capital are taking place in this festival, offering special menus, discounts and events celebrating the capital’s culinary culture. Highlights include gourmet odysseys, tasting menus, restaurant-hopping walking tours, film club and more. For more information, visit the London Restaurant Festival website.

  • 1 October – 15 January 2020 : Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders

Darling & Edge return to The Vaults with an immersive, adult pantomime, dining experience. Doors open 6.30pm, Show starts 7.30pm. Tickets from £30. The Vaults (entrance via Leake Street tunnel), Launcelot Street, Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For tickets, visit The Vaults website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of Darling & Edge’s 2017 production Beauty And The Feast.

  • 2 – 6 October : Moniker Art Fair

Contemporary art fair celebrating urban art and culture. Open Thu 3pm-10pm, Fri 1pm-9pm, Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Tickets: £13.52–£27.54. The Chelsea Sorting Office, 90-100 Sydney Street, SW3 6NJ. Nearest station: Sloane Square or South Kensington. For more information and tickets, visit the Moniker Art Fair website.

  • 2 – 13 October : BFI London Film Festival 2019

The biggest event in the capital’s film calendar brings a host of big names for premieres, screenings, Q&As and more. Venues include BFI Southbank, Vue West End, Cineworld Leicester Square, Curzon Soho, Picturehouse Central, Prince Charles Cinema and more. For more information, visit the BFI website.

  • 3 – 6 October : Frieze Art Fair

Contemporary art event in Regent’s Park, featuring over 160 galleries from around the world. Opening hours vary. Tickets start from £38.70. Regents Park (Art Fair near the Outer Circle in SE corner of the park). Nearest stations: Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street, Baker Street or Camden Town. For more information and tickets, visit the Frieze London website.

  • 3 – 6 October : Roy’s Art Fair

This fair aims to make art more affordable and accessible. Meet and buy direct from the artists, take part in workshops and check out installations. Open Thu 5pm-9.30pm, Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Register on the website for free tickets. Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the Roy’s Art Fair website.

  • 3 – 6 October : The Other Art Fair

The bi-annual fair is a great place to buy art from 130 emerging and undiscovered artists. There will also be guest artists, immersive theatre, live music, bar and restaurant. Opening times vary. Tickets: £9-£25. Victoria House, Southampton Row, Holborn, WC1A 2QP. Nearest station: Holborn. For tickets, visit The Other Art Fair website.

  • 3 – 6 and 10 – 13 October : Oktoberfest London @ Canary Wharf

Celebrate the German beer fest in Docklands, featuring a host of beer, food and entertainment. Opening hours vary. General admission starts from free to £60 (depending on day and package). Millwall Park, Manchester Road, Isle of Dogs, E14 3AY. Nearest station: Island Gardens or Mudchute. For booking, visit the London Oktoberfest website.

  • 3 – 13 October : Wimbledon Bookfest

Festival featuring readings, children’s events, storytelling, comedy, courses, screenings, walks and interviews from a wide range of authors, including Sir Trevor McDonald, Joanne Harris, Sir Alastair Cook, Harry Hill, James O’Brien, Tracy Chevalier, Mariella Frostup, Patricia Cornwall, Emily Maitlis, Alexander McCall Smith, Jacqueline Wilson, Sir Max Hastings, Johnny Ball, Konnie Huq, Charles Moore, Robert Elms and many more. Tickets prices vary. A majority of events take place in tents on Wimbledon Common, but also other venues nearby. Nearest station: Wimbledon. For more information and tickets, visit the BookFest website.

  • 4 – 6 October : The Cake And Bake Show

Event celebrating all things baking and decorating, featuring celebrity experts, stalls selling baking equipment, cake competitions and more. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: £14. ExCel, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House. For tickets, visit the Cake And Bake Show website.

  • 4 – 13 October : London Cocktail Week

This year’s LCW is extended to 10 days to marks its 10th anniversary. Enjoy £6 cocktails in over 300 bars, visit pop-ups, cocktail parties and workshops, or visit the Cocktail Hub on Brick Lane. Visit the website to buy a LCW festival pass for £10 to enjoy the £6 cocktails. For more information, visit the DrinkUpLondon website. Check out Metro Girl’s guide to London Cocktail Week.

Brockwell Park Clock Tower © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Herne Hill Music Festival returns

  • 4 – 13 October : Herne Hill Music Festival

Music festival in Herne Hill, south London at various venues across SE24 and neighbouring areas including The Half Moon, Off The Cuff, St Faith’s Church, Brockwell Hall and St Saviour’s Hall. Tickets range from free to £20. Nearest station: Herne Hill. For more information, visit the Herne Hill Music Festival website.

  • Now until 6 October : Serpentine Pavilion

Visit the temporary structure in the grounds of the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. This year’s Pavilion is designed by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami. Free to visit, but also contains a pop-up café inside. Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA. Nearest stations: Lancaster Gate, Knightsbridge or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Serpentine Gallery website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of this year’s pavilion.

  • Now until 6 October : Frieze Sculpture 2019

Open-air sculpture exhibition in the English Gardens. Featuring pieces are 23 international artists, including Tracey Emin, Vik Muniz, Zak Ove, Leiko Ikemura and more. Open during park hours. Free. Regent’s Park (English Gardens in south-east corner of the park), Marylebone, NW1 4LL. Nearest stations: Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street or Baker Street. For more information, visit the Frieze website. See Metro Girl’s photos of this year’s exhibition.

  • 8 – 27 October : Dance Umbrella

A festival bringing new dance to the capital and a wider audience who may not usually access the art form. Various events at locations across the capital, including Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Southbank Centre, The Yard Theatre, Fairfield Halls, The Place, Shoreditch Town Hall, and Barbican. Tickets prices vary. For more information and tickets, visit the Dance Umbrella website. Read the rest of this entry

Emerge Festival 2019: What to see at the inaugural night-time, arts spectacular

Jungle will perform a DJ set at the Natural History Museum during the Emerge Festival

Coming to London this weekend is a brand new festival which brings contemporary and classic culture together. A host of museums and heritage spaces around the capital will be hosting an innovative new ‘Lates’ spectacular – the Emerge Festival.

The inaugural 2019 festival will see London experience a hybrid of arts and nightlife during the Friday 27 – Saturday 28 September weekend. Some of the UK’s rising new talent will be performing at some iconic venues. Artists include Jungle (DJ set), Ady Suleiman, Bryony Gordon, Lost Lectures, The Vagina Museum and young people’s laureate Theresa Lola.

The Emerge Festival will feature a wide range of events, including live music, DJ sets, talks, workshops, performances, poetry, live art installations, theatre and immersive experiences. There will even be a pop-up gin bar on the roof of the Wellington Arch.

Highlights of the new festival include rising soul stars Ady Suleiman and Poppy Ajudha at The Horniman Museum; author and journalist Bryony Gordon celebrating body positivism and mental health awareness at Dulwich Picture Gallery; UK rapper Flohio curating an evening of entertainment at the stunning 17th century Banqueting House; and a special Lost Lectures collaboration with the Natural History Museum. Also at the NHM will be the collective Jungle, who will be DJing underneath Hope the Whale and Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon installation in the striking Hintze Hall.

To immerse yourself in the Emerge Festival experience, all you need is one ticket to give you access to dozens of events at over 40 venues. Participating spaces include the Design Museum, The Old Operating Theatre, The Jewish Museum, Tower Bridge, The Monument, The London Canal Museum, and many more.

  • Emerge Festival runs from 27-28 September 2019. Tickets: For 18–30s, NHS workers and benefits recipients – Day £15, Weekend £30. For over 30s – Day £25, Weekend £40. Concs available. For tickets, visit the Emerge Festival website or search Emerge on the DICE app.

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

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Japan Matsuri 2019: The best of Japanese food, arts and culture at a one-day spectacular in London

Head to Trafalgar Square for the Japan Matsuri festival

Japanese cultural festival Japan Matsuri is returning to the capital this September. The annual one-day spectacular offers Londoners the chance to experience the best of Japanese food, music, dance and more. Designed for the whole family, the 10-hour festival is free to attend and takes place in the city’s iconic Trafalgar Square.

Kicking off at 10am, Japan Matsuri will host two stages featuring an exciting programme of traditional and modern theatre, dance, martial arts and music. Acts include Iwami Kagura; ICHI; Joji Hirota & the London Taiko Drummers; Hasiken; Okinawa Sanshinkai / Kenjinkai and Sonda Seinenkai Eisa Group; Hibiki Ichikawa & Akari Mochizuki; Yosakoi London – Temuzu; Hiroko Tanaka Nihon Buyo Group; O-HA-YA-SHI Couple“Reiwa” Group; and Naomi Suzuki. There will also be a family activity tent when visitors can enjoy free workshops in manga, calligraphy and origami, as well as the chance to dress up in Kimonos.

Watch traditional Japanese martial arts displays

Foodies will be in for a treat with a wide variety of food stalls offering classic Japanese street snacks, including takoyaki octopus balls, yakisoba noodles and okonomiyaki pancakes. Or if you fancy something larger, you can choose from wagyu burgers, ramen, bento boxes, donburi rice bowls and sushi. For those with a sweet tooth, there will be plenty of dessert such as red-bean jam dorayaki pancakes to mochi rice cakes.

If you’re feeling inspired to visit the country, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) will also be on-site offering travel inspiration and information. The JNTO are also one of the event sponsors.

  • Japan Matsuri takes place on Sunday 29 September 2019. From 10am-8pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N 5DN. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Embankment, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Japan Matsuri website.

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

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Guide to what’s on in London in September 2019

Find out what festivals, exhibitions, fairs and more are taking place in the capital this September.

Dulwich Pavilion Colour Palace © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

The Dulwich Pavilion

Summer is starting to wind down and autumn is creeping ever closer. September seems to be a hybrid month between the two, where we could have warm summer nights, but there’s always the risk of windy, wet weather. September is a more manageable city to spend time in as the main tourist throngs have died down and the children are back in school.

  • 31 August – 1 September : Zee London Mela

Family festival inspired by the rich culture and flavours of South Asia, featuring live Bollywood, traditional and urban music, performers, food, drink, fashion, sports, kids area, funfair, fireworks finale and more. Open Sat 31 1pm-8pm and Sun 1 1pm-9pm. Tickets: £2. Under 16s Free. Southall Park, Uxbridge Road, Southall, UB1 3BT. Nearest station: Southall. For more information, visit the London Mela website.

  • 1 September : Angel Canal Festival

One day festival in the City Road Lock, Basin and Regents Canal towpath. Featuring over 80 stalls, children’s fun fair, Punch & Judy, story-teller, boat trips and canoeing, art projects and galleries, live music and street theatre. 11am-5pm. Free. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the Angel Canal Festival website.

  • 1 – 30 September : Totally Thames

Totally Thames is a month-long celebration of our city’s main waterway. Among the many activities taking place are the St Katharine Docks Classic Boat Festival (6-8 Sept), The Great River Race (14 Sept), Regatta London (29 Sep), walks, mudlarking, art installations (such as the Ship of Tolerance), live music, theatre, dinners, river relay, film screenings and many more activities. Many events are free. For more information, visit the Totally Thames website.

  • 1 – 30 September :Carnaby Eats

The restaurants, cafes and bars of Carnaby are taking part in a month-long foodie festival. Featuring special menus, masterclasses, cookbook launches and more. At the streets in and around the Carnaby district of Soho. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website. For more information, read Metro Girl’s blog post.

  • Now until 1 September : Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams @ V&A

Exhibition of Christian Dior designs, from 1947 to the present day. Featuring over 200 garments and hundreds of accessories, photographs, videos, sketches and more. Exhibition hours opening vary (timed entry). Tickets: £20-£24. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information, visit the V&A website. Read Metro Girl’s review of the exhibition.

  • Now until 1 September : Meatopia

Weekend of meat, drink, music and fire. Featuring chefs from Smokestak, B’s Cracklin Atlanta, Gunpowder, Cabrito, Blacklock, Sausage Commitment, Brigade, Hangfire, Belzan, Hawksmoor and many more. Music from Olugbenga (Metronomy), Das Brass, Huey Morgan, Izo Fitzroy, King Brasstards and more. Open Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-10pm, Sun 12pm-7pm. Tickets: £23-94 (depending on admission day and package). Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest station: Wapping or Shadwell. For information and booking, visit the Meatopia website.

  • Now until 2 September : Summer By The River – Outdoor Theatre

Watch a live outdoor performance of The Sea Queen or Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by the Thames. Performances from Wed-Sat at 6pm, Sun at 4pm. Free entry. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, London Bridge, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.

  • 3 – 28 September : RIFT present Midsummer Night’s Dream @ Ally Pally

An immersive theatrical performance of the Shakespeare classic in the newly-opened basements of Alexandra Palace. Age 12 and over only. 7.30pm-10pm. Tickets: £28.50. Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Nearest stations: Alexandra Palace or Wood Green. For more information, visit the Alexandra Palace website.

  • 4 – 7 September : Santo pop-up @ The Little Yellow Door

Notting Hill’s foodie favourite Santo will be hosting a pop-up with the flatmates, featuring Mexican food, drink and music. From 6pm. The Little Yellow Door, 6-8 All Saints Road, Notting Hill, W11 1HH. Nearest station: Westbourne Park or Ladbroke Grove. For more information, visit The Little Yellow Door website or the event’s Facebook page. For more information about TLYD, read Metro Girl’s blog post.

  • 5 – 15 September : Peckham & Nunhead Free Film Festival

Ten day festival featuring free screenings in the Peckham and Nunhead area at various locations, including Nunhead Cemetery, Peckham Palms, The Ivy House, The Old Waiting Room and more. Films include The Lady Vanishes, Harold & Maude, Widows, Albatross, The River and The Wall and more. Free. Nearest stations: Peckham Rye, Queen’s Road Peckham and Nunhead. For more information and listings, visit the PNFFF website.

  • 5 September – 19 January 2020 : The Immersive Wolf Of Wall Street

Enjoy a taste of ’90s high-flying Wall Street hedonism with an immersive theatre production, adapted from the hit film. Expect a restaurant, bars, supercars and more. Over 18s only. Dress code: 90s American Office attire. Times vary. Tickets: £58-£100. 5-15 Sun Street, City of London, EC2M 2PT. Nearest station: Moorgate or Liverpool Street. For more information, visit the Immersive Wolf website.

Classic Boat Festival St Katharine Docks © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The Classic Boat Festival returns to St Katharine Docks

  • 6 – 8 September : Classic Boat Festival 2019

As part of the Totally Thames celebration (see above), St Katharine Docks are hosting a weekend festival, featuring a display of 40 vintage sail and power vessels, alongside live music, street food, workshops, talks and children’s activities. 12pm-6pm. Free. St Katharine Docks, 50 St. Katharine’s Way, Tower Bridge, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill, Fenchurch Street or Tower Gateway (DLR). For more information, visit the St Katharine Docks website.

  • 6 – 14 September : Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival

Eight day film festival offers free screenings in Charlton and Woolwich. In various locations including Severndroog Castle, Charlton House, The White Swan, St George’s Garrison Church, The Reach, The Thames-Side Studios and more. Nearest stations: Charlton or Woolwich. For more information and listings, visit the CWFFF website. Read the rest of this entry

Backyard Cinema – LA Nights review: Frozen cocktails and palm trees as you watch your favourite movie at the beach

See you at the beach! Backyard Cinema – LA Nights is running in Camden for a short time only

After returning from my holiday to Italy last month and being well and truly back in the daily grind of work and commuting, a little bit of beach action would be lovely right now. I was especially tempted by Backyard Cinema’s latest immersive film experience so went along to check it out this week. Having launched at the Camden Roundhouse last month, Backyard Cinema’s LA Nights is running for a limited time only.

Backyard Cinema LA Nights © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

Bright colours and palm trees galore as you follow the trail to the beach

If you’re unaware, Backyard Cinema is a themed, pop-up cinema company which hosts immersive screenings at special locations around London. They have given film fans the chance to roam the Lost World, get lost in a Labyrinth, be roused by a live choir in a church and fly with the Snowman, among their many other creative themes. For five weeks only, the BC posse have transformed the roof of iconic north London venue Roundhouse into a slice of sunny Venice Beach.

Guests enter through the Roundhouse itself and climb the stairs to the roof. It isn’t long before you are taken on a trail, with lots of neon, weatherboard beach signs, fairy lights and a pair of Instagrammable angel wings to pose against. The screening room is ‘the beach’, with golden sand, palm trees and plenty of comfortable beanbags. The space is fortunately covered over so you don’t need to worry about the temperamental British summer.

Backyard Cinema LA Nights © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

A Passion Fruit Martini was the perfect beachy drink

After selecting our seats, my sister and I headed straight to the bar to sort out our refreshments. A special drinks menu has been curated to complement the theme, with adults-only Slush Puppie cocktails, tropical cocktails and its own beer created by the Gipsy Hill Brewing Company. We were particularly drawn to the palm tree glasses so started with some Passion Fruit Martini, which were very fruity, but a little boozy. After collecting our drinks and snacks (there is a vegan ice cream stand, which proved popular), we were suitably put in the retro mood with lots of classic Californian and retro tracks keeping us entertained before the movie kicked off. Read the rest of this entry

Celebrate female talent at Devonshire Square’s International Women in Arts Festival

The International Women in Arts Festival at Devonshire Square
© Patrizia Ilaria Sechi

A month-long festival celebrating female talent has kicked off in the capital this month. Running until 26 July, the International Women in Arts Festival is taking place in Devonshire Square. Hosted by WeWork and with donations going to The Pink Ribbon Foundation, the four-week programme will offer Londoners and visitors free entertainment.

Throughout the month there will all-female bands performing a range of musical genres, including jazz, swing, classical and pop. Meanwhile, an array of professional dancers and students from top dance schools and creative companies will be showcasing their dance skills.

Highlights included dance shows choreographed by Artistic Director, former English National Ballet soloist Jenna Lee; performances by Oriental dancer and school founder Fleur Estelle; and award-winning Samba sensation Gladys Cavalcante. Also performing will be professional Javanese and Balinese dancers Andrea Rutkowski accompanied by Artistic Director Ni Made’ Pujawati, who will perform sacred Rejang Sari and traditional Legong Kuntul dances. Gymnasts from Team GB will showcase their ribbon choreography, followed by a high-energy set from an all-female acrobatic trio.

During the festival, WeWork’s Devonshire Square community with be fundraising for the Pink Ribbon Foundation, or guests can donate online. Located in the City of London, just a short walk from Liverpool Street or Spitalfields Market, Devonshire Square is a historic business, dining and entertainment quarter, dating back to the 18th century.

  • The International Women in Arts Festival takes place from 5 – 26 July 2019. Most performances start at 1pm. Free. At Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

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

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Gigi’s Hoxton review: Summer cocktails and delicious bites at a versatile new dining, drinking and music venue

Hoxton Square is one of my favourite areas in Shoreditch because it offers what appeals to me about the area (e.g. nightlife), but also avoids the traffic and pollution that venues in Old Street, Great Eastern Street, etc, have to put up with. I’ve been socialising in Hoxton Square since the late ’90s (showing my age here!) and always thought of the area as a little nightlife enclave with great bars and a nice atmosphere.

Gigis Espresso Martini Aperol Spritz © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

An Espresso Martini and an Aperol Spritz

A new addition to the East End foodie and entertainment scene is Gigi’s Hoxton. The versatile venue is an all-day restaurant, bar and music venue with an alfresco terrace and a basement sister space Hoxton Underbelly hosting comedy, live music, DJs and club nights. Taking over the former Zigfrid von Underbelly, Gigi’s Hoxton is the latest venture from Giovanna Hussain, the woman behind some of East London’s favourite venues, including The Corner Shop and The Grapevine in Shoreditch, and The Rocksteady in Dalston. I went along with a friend last week to check it out.

As a previous customer of Zigfrid (although my last visit was some years ago), I couldn’t believe how different the venue looked. The bar had been moved from its original location and the vibrant murals by Kate Philipson had really brightened up the place. The finished look is a mix of industrial and vintage-esque chic, with colourful chairs, zinc tables, a green stone bar and neon lights.

Upon arrival, we headed straight for the bar and mulled over the cocktail list. Being a balmy day, my natural choice was an Aperol Spritz, while my friend couldn’t resist the Espresso Martini (on tap!). As a seasoned Aperol Spritz fan, I’m pleased to say Gigi’s got it spot on with the right mix of bitter and sweetness. I’ve found quite a few bars/pubs don’t get the balance right, so it’s always good to see a venue getting it right.

Mini tomato, basil and garlic bruschetta

The ground floor is essentially a L shape so we headed to the narrower section at the back to grab a table and two leather chairs. Gigi’s menus have been created by Head Chef Antonio Mollo and are influenced by his Italian heritage, as well as classic British dishes. We tried a selection of canapes, derived from the main menu, and were impressed by the creativity and flavour. One particular stand-out was the bruschetta. Although I’ve eaten the dish often over the years, I must praise this one for being so fresh and rich in taste. Other highlights were the crispy polenta, mushroom and taleggio fondue and the tortilla taco with homemade guacamole. I’ve got to mention the pea soup, Grey Goose le citron vodka sour cream shot which was a pretty unique taste for me, but I quite liked it.

Aside from the drinking and food, one of Gigi’s USPs is its music scene. After initially being treated to some soulful house and classic R&B tracks from the DJ, we were entertained with some great live music from the Blue Lion Band.

Overall, I think Gigi’s Hoxton is a great addition to east London’s nightlife. The food and drinks were equally good. The venue had a great ambiance and the DJs and live music really completed the evening. I’ll be back.

  • Gigi’s Hoxton, 11 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU. Nearest stations: Hoxton or Old Street. Open Mon–Thu: 12pm–1am, Fri: 12pm–3am, Sat: 10am–3am, Sun: 10am–12am. For more information, visit the Gigi’s Hoxton website.

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Portman Square Garden Party: Step inside one of London’s most exclusive squares

The Portman Square Garden Party takes place on 19 June

Portman Square is one of the capital’s most exclusive squares. Located a short walk from Oxford Street, the green space was established in Marylebone in the 18th century. Usually closed to the public, the gates will be open for one day only for the Portman Square Garden Party on 19 June 2019.

The special event will be a modern-day village fete with money raised going to the Greenhouse Sports Charity. Your entry ticket includes unlimited five-star food and drink, live music and entertainment and the chance to play classic games. Throughout the evening, there will a fundraising raffle with fabulous prizes donated by local businesses. All visitors will leave the Garden Party with a goodie bag full of treats.

Among the food and drink on offer includes the Home House Bar (welcome Prosecco, red and white wine and soft drinks); Marylebone Gin Bar (gin and tonics); and the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill (eight food stations including afternoon tea, British cheese and biscuits, and fish and chips).

This year’s bash aims to raise funds for Greenhouse Sports, a charity providing sports coaching and mentoring to young people from disadvantaged communities. Last year’s event raised nearly £20,000.

  • Portman Square Garden Party takes place on Wednesday 19 June 2019. 6pm-9pm. Tickets: £45.00 pp. At Portman Square, Marylebone, W1H 6LW. Nearest station: Marble Arch. For more information and tickets, visit the Portman Square Garden Party website.

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Soho Music Month 2019: Alfresco gigs, in-store DJs, panel talks and more

Highlights of this year’s Soho Music Month.

Soho Music Month © Carnaby London

Soho Music Months returns to the West End in June

Soho is the capital of London’s nightlife, dating back to the 1950s and beyond. So where better to celebrate the district’s rich musical heritage with a month long series of events and gigs. Soho Music Month 2019 runs throughtout June, bringing a mix of established and rising artists to various venues across W1.

Throughout the month, visitors will be entertained by a range of musical genres, as well as collections, promotions and exclusive activations in shops and restaurants. There will be live sets by indie king Baxter Dury at Moscot eyewear; Lilllördag music evenings at Swedish café Söderberg; and DJ Trey Rodriguez hitting the decks at menswear brand Oi Polloi. Underground drinking destination Cahoots will be taking guests back in time with Auntie Maureen and her 1930s gramophone, theatrical DJ duo The Roustabouts and Tom Carradine’s Cockney sing-along. There will also be live music at stores such as Paul Smith (Beak Street), Dr Martens (Carnaby Street) and Levi’s Vintage Clothing and Laurel Wreath by Fred Perry (Newburgh Street).

On Saturday 8 June (12pm-6pm), ocean conservation organisation Project 0 will co-host a joint celebration of World Oceans’ Day. Pull up a bean bag on the pop-up lawn on Ganton Street and listen to the sounds of world music collective Lokkhi Terra, Delilah Holliday, St Martiins and Ese & The Vooduu People, Vista Kicks and Allthingsmata.

During Soho Music Month, there will be a Platform LDN hub and exhibition space at 3 Carnaby Street, run by the Creative Media Network. Music aficionados can enjoy DJ residencies, live music broadcasts, creative workshops and panel talks. The space will play host to hip-hop duo Run The Jewels with their first ever UK gallery exhibition, RTJ UK, to showcase UK artists and creatives. Panellists appearing at the hub include Not For The Radio presenter Duane Jones (AA Vis) and actor and filmmaker Femi Oyeniran. There will also be curated events hosted by Beats 1 radio presenter Julie Adenuga, TV and radio personality Maya Jama and DIY Generation presenter Jamz Supernova.

Meanwhile, Londoners will be able to delve deeper in Soho’s music history with free music-themed walking tours, visiting sites linked to Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Kanye West and Mos Def. The tours takes place at 6.15pm on 4, 6, 11 and 13 June and start at Cahoots for a complimentary cocktail. Register here for a place on one of the tours.

  • Soho Music Month takes place from 1 – 30 June 2019. Nearest stations: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit Carnaby website.

To find out what else is on in London in June 2019, click here.

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