Category Archives: families

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

Advertisements

Guide to what’s on in London in February 2018

China Town London

Celebrate Chinese New Year in Chinatown
© Chinatown London

Wow, January flew by and 2018 is really getting moving. The days are getting longer, although the weather may not necessarily be getting better. St Valentine’s Day is bang in the middle of the month to give us a warm, fuzzy glow… or perhaps reaching for the nearest sick bag if you’re not one for romance! There is also the half-term holidays so parents will be looking for ways to entertain the kids.

For a guide to Valentine’s events in the capital for both couples and singles, click here.

  • 1 – 4 FebruaryDestinations – The Holiday & Travel Show

Presented by The Times, the Holiday and Travel show is full of inspiration for your next adventure or holiday. As well as lots of travel companies, there are photography masterclasses, health advice and meet the experts. Open 10am-5.30pm. Tickets: £11 in advance. Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Destinations – Holiday & Travel Show website.

  • 1 February until 24 March : Winterland

Pop-up winter experience returns to West London, featuring winter lodges,  riverside igloos, curling, mini golf, karaoke booth, Prosecco pong, Jimmy Garcia’s fondue, hot toddies, wood-fired pizzas, two bars, heated pergola and more. Open Thur-Fri: 6pm-11pm, Sat: 2pm-11pm. Entry from £5. Winterland, 364 Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham, SW6 2TY. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town. For more information, visit the Winterland website.

  • Now until 1 February : Food Film Festival 2018

The British Food Museum launches a new film festival that recognises the part that food and drink play on-screen. Produced by Bompas & Parr, the festival features screenings, themed culinary talks, workshops and events. 6pm-11pm. Tickets: £14. The Curzon, Mondrian Hotel, Upper Ground, SE1 9PD. Nearest station: Blackfriars. For more information and tickets, visit the Bompas & Parr website.

  • 2 – 3 FebruaryLondon Remixed Festival

A two-day celebration of emerging talents from the worlds of Latin Grooves, Afro beats, Tropical Bass, Vintage-Remix, Desert Remix Balkan Beats, Urban Roots, Acoustic Soundclash and Brass Band Remix and more. Open: Fri 8pm-1am, Sat 8pm-4am. Tickets: £7-£15. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street. For tickets, visit the London Remixed Festival website. Find out more on Metro Girl’s blog post on this year’s festival.

  • 2 – 3 February : Hip Hop Karaoke & DJ Rob Pursey Payday Party @ Tate Modern

Late-night event at the Tate Modern, inviting guests to show off their rapping skills and enjoy the craft beer from the Brooklyn Brewery. 6.30pm-11pm. Tickets: £9.50. Level 1 Bar, Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest station: Blackfriars. For booking, visit the Tate Modern website.

  • Now until 3 February : London International Mime Festival

Festival at various events across London including performances of physical theatre, dance, circus, puppetry and live art. Workshops also available. Tickets range from £9-29. Venues include the Barbican, Jacksons Lane, Platform Theatre, The Little Angel Theatre, Soho Theatre, Shoreditch Town Hall and The Peacock. For more information, visit the London International Mime Festival website.

  • 4 February : Jasmine Hemsley’s East By West Brunch

Jasmine Hemsley will be marking the launch of her new book by curating a soulful brunch alongside Aster’s Executive Chef Helena Puolakka. Feast on a four-course brunch while listening to an exclusive talk by Jasmine and a signed copy of her book East By West to take home. 11am-3pm. Tickets: £35. Aster, 150 Victoria Street, Westminster, SW1E 5LB. Nearest station: Victoria. For booking, visit D&D London.

  • Now until 4 February : Take A View exhibition

Exhibition of the winning and shortlisted images from this year’s Landscape Photographer Of The Year are on display on the balcony at Waterloo station. Open during station hours. Free. Mezzanine level, Waterloo Station, SE1 8SW. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Take A View website.

  • 7 – 11 February : Ealing Music and Film Festival

Five day festival in Ealing featuring musical performances, film screenings and walks. Events take place at various venues, including St Mary’s Church in South Ealing, University Of West London, Ealing Club Red Room, St Barnabas Church. Tickets range from free to £20. Nearest stations: Ealing Broadway or South Ealing. For booking, visit the Ealing Music & Film website.

  • 7 – 18 FebruaryImagine Children’s Festival

Two week children’s festival at the Southbank Centre, including art, theatre, books, music, performances and workshops. Including Jacqueline Wilson, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, Greg James, Chris Smith, Ben Shires, Fun DMC, Bedtime Stories and more. 10.30am-4pm daily. Many activities and events are free, but some go up to £12. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information and booking visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • 9 February : Late At The Library – Potter After Hours

Harry Potter fans will love this late night opening of the British Library. Featuring the chance to see the Harry Potter exhibition and Potter-themed activities. 7.30pm-10.30pm. Tickets: £25, Under 18s £21. British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Nearest stations: Kings Cross St Pancras or Euston. For booking, visit the British Library website.

  • 10 – 11 February : Vegan Life Live

Two day festival celebrating and exploring the vegan lifestyle, featuring clothing, cosmetics and food stands, talks, live music, cookery demonstrations, workshops and Q&A sessions. Open Sat 10 10am-6pm, Open Sun 11 10am-5pm. Tickets start from £12 (under 16s free). The West Hall, Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Nearest station: Alexandra Palace. For more information, visit the Vegan Life Live website.

© Alejandro Tamagno

London Remixed Festival returns to Rich Mix
© Alejandro Tamagno

  • 10 February – 11 MarchOrchid Festival

An orchid display is coming to the Princess of Wales Conservatory for four weeks, with this year being inspired by Thailand. General entrance tickets to Kew Gardens includes orchid exhibition: Adults £16-£19, Children (4-16yr) £4-£5. Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.

  • 10 February – 28 April : Paint Pigment Photography exhibition

Exhibition inspired by the Hindu festival of Holi featuring Rob and Nick Carter’s stunning images of coloured powder captured at 1/8000th of a second. Open Tues-Sat 10am-6pm. Free entry. RN at 5a, 5A Bathurst Street, Connaught Village, W2 2SD. Nearest station: Paddington or Lancaster Gate. For more information, visit the Rob and Nick Carter website. Read the rest of this entry

Music from your favourite films performed live on the Dreamworks Animation in Concert UK tour 

Over the years, Dreamworks have entertained millions of families with their animated movies. This December, fans will have the chance to listen some of the songs from the films performed live as the Dreamworks Animation in Concert UK tour comes to the capital.

Coming to London for one night only, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra will be accompanying some of the favourite moments from Dreamworks’ most popular films. Families will be entertained with 20 years of animation and music scores by Hans Zimmer, Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell, Alexandre Desplat, Alan Silvestri, Danny Elfman and many others. Scenes from Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon will be projected on the big screen in HD as they are accompanied by live music. Children and adults alike will be enthralled as the music is played in full live splendour.

Carol Nygren, Vice President, Worldwide Live Entertainment, Universal Brand Development, said: “We are excited to bring the stunning music of DreamWorks Animation composers to life on stage to be showcased in this great and fun event for music and movie fans of all ages.”

  • Dreamworks Animation in Concert UK tour comes to London on 1 December 2017. 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 the latest what’s on in London guide, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Guide to London’s open-air and pop-up ice rinks this winter 2017/2018

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Break the ice on a rink (and hopefully no bones!)

It’s that time of year again. With the temperatures dropping and the lights a twinkling, it’s no surprise many people want to take to the ice. As usual, there are a host of pop-up, open air rinks on around town. Many are accompanied by other wintry activities and festive food and drink offerings. Here’s a guide to open-air and pop-up ice skating in London this winter season.

 

  • 26 October – 7 January 2018Natural History Museum Ice Rink

A 1,000 square metre rink in the gardens of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Opening hours vary. Session times last 1 hour. Adults from £12.65, Children 12 and under from £8.80. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.

  • 2 November – 14 January 2018 : Skylight London

London’s highest ice rink surface on top of Tobacco Dock’s car park. Features alfresco and covered bars, fondue and ice hockey slap shot. Under 18s allowed until 6pm. Free entry to Skylight. Skating tickets: £10 (45 minutes). Skylight, Tobacco Quay, Pennington Street entrance, Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For booking, visit the Skylight London website. For Metro Girl’s review, click here.

  • 4 November – 24 February 2018 : Ice Rink Canary Wharf

Skate over ice in the middle of the soaring skyscrapers of Canary Wharf. Non-skaters can watch the action from the bar or street food stalls. Session times last 1 hour. Opening times vary. Adults £9.95-£16.95, Children £9.95-£10.95. Canada Square Park, E14 5AB. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. To book, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.

  • 15 November – 14 January 2018Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason

One of the original pop-up ice rinks located in the courtyard of Somerset House. As well as general skating, they also host club nights on ice and skate lessons. Session times last 1 hour and are from 10am until 10.30pm (later for club nights and New Year’s Eve). Tickets start from £8.90. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. To book, visit the Somerset House website.  Read the rest of this entry

Backyard Cinema Snow Kingdom review: Travel through an ice cave to a fantastical festive film screening

© Backyard Cinema

Travel through an ice cave to reach Backyard Cinema’s Snow Kingdom

Now November is here and the clocks have gone back, it’s all getting a bit festive. The nights are drawing in and it’s getting a bit cold and gloomy outside, so no wonder we have a need to brighten up our evenings. The appeal of cosying up in front of your favourite movie seems that bit more appealing. This winter, roaming cinema club Backyard Cinema’s new Snow Kingdom theme is bringing a bit of fairy tale magic to your favourite festive film.

To those uninitiated, Backyard Cinema create immersive cinematic experiences in various unique venues. I’ve previously watched their Romeo + Juliet screening accompanied by a live choir in a church and their ‘Lost World’ and ‘Miami Beach’ themes in their current home at Mercato Metropolitano. The premise of their latest theme is a ‘hidden ice kingdom buried in London’.

Backyard Cinema is located in the street food haven of Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle. There’s a host of Italian and other international food and drink stalls, so you could easily make a night of it and come for dinner before watching a movie. The entrance to Backyard Cinema is certainly intriguing with a small tunnel beckoning you in. An attendant outside offers you a lamp to guide you on your journey through to the Snow Kingdom, which certainly adds a touch of magic to proceedings and provides good Instagram fodder. The entrance and the subsequent ice cave are fabulous, you’ve really got to applaud BC for their great set design. We carefully edged our way over the moving drawbridge through the ice cave, before arriving at the warm enclaves of the screening room.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Cosy up on a beanbag and watch a classic festive film in the grand surroundings

Before heading to our seats, we popped to the bar serving a choice of winter warmers, craft beer, bubbly, snacks and other refreshments. As it was still quite warm in the capital on the night of my visit, I wasn’t quite ready for a hot toddy so opted for my usual g&t with a packet of sweets and gourmet popcorn to share. The screening room itself was decked out like a ballroom in a grand castle, with chandeliers, tapestries and a throne. On the night in question, we were there to seeing the new live action Beauty And The Beast. We grabbed a pair of bean bags loungers near the front and settled down to watch Emma Watson and co. The surroundings of the Snow Kingdom could easily be the film’s setting of the Beast’s castle so they complemented each other well.

Through a combination of the setting and the film itself, we were certainly transported to a magical kingdom for the evening, so I would definitely recommend to everyone for a festive and fun night out. Children in particular will love the journey through the ice cave, while Instagrammers have a lot of posing potential with the throne and the drawbridge. Over the season, BC will be screening a selection of festive and family classic to new releases, such as the Princess Bride, E.T., Labyrinth, Harry Potter, Baby Driver, La La Land, so there’s something for everyone. A lot of screenings running up until Christmas are sold out already so I’d advise booking asap if you’re interested.

  • Backyard Cinema: Snow Kingdom is on from now until early 2018. Backyard Cinema, Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. Tickets from £17. For booking and listings, visit the Backyard Cinema website.

For the latest what‘s on guide, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Guide to what’s on in London this Halloween 2017

© Sašo Tušar via Unsplash

© Sašo Tušar via Unsplash

It’s the spookiest time of the year. It’s not only the Americans that go crazy for the annual scarefest with a host of daytime and nighttime events on for both children and adult on in London. With Halloween falling on a Tuesday this year, we can expect to see ghoulish events kicking off a bit earlier. As half-term holidays are the week before, there’s plenty of Halloween-themed fun for kids in the lead up to the 31 October. Meanwhile, for party animals, there’s plenty of late-night revelry, or for a calmer alternative, there’s special meals and film screenings.

Daytime jitters

  • 1 October – 6 November : The Death Express @ The London Dungeon

Step aboard the Death Express, an old railway transporting the dead. Explore the history of London’s most gruesome residents and crimes. Tickets from £21 (timed entry). London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon websiteFor Metro Girl’s review of the London Dungeon, click here.

  • 17 – 31 OctoberThe Quarter of Curiosity Shop

Newburgh Quarter will be hosting a fortnight of Halloween fun, including a Halloween florist selling posies and bouquets in spooky shades. Also including series of free workshops, including Halloween Headdress making, potion cocktail making, pumpkin planters and a Halloween make-up masterclasses. The Quarter of Curiosity Shop, 2 Newburgh Street, Soho, W1F 7RD. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby website.

  • 21 – 31 OctoberBoo At The Zoo

A week of fiendish fun at London Zoo including Halloween-themed activities, pumpkin carving, crafts and animal demonstrations. Open 10am-5pm. Activities are free with entry to zoo. Entrance tickets: Adults £24.50, Child £18.00 (cheaper online). London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website.

  • 21 – 28 OctoberSpookfest @ London Museum of Water & Steam

Learn the secret history of the engine houses, enjoy a ride on the ghost train, a trip through the creepy wood and Halloween craft activities. 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.

  • 23 – 27 October : Half-Term Horrors @ Eltham Palace

Creepy family fun at the Medieval and Art Deco Eltham Palace. Including costume competitions and pumpkin carving. Book a time slot at 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Tickets: Adults £14.40, Children £8.60. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, SE9 5QE. Nearest station: Eltham or Mottingham. For more information, visit English Heritage website. For Metro Girl’s review of Eltham Palace, click here.

  • 24 OctoberFamily Day: Hallowe’en @ Benjamin Franklin House

A spooky family day with spooky 18th century stories told by Polly Hewson and gruesome games for 5-11 year olds. 4-5pm. 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.

  • 25 – 29 October : Four Legged Phantoms @ Sutton House

Halloween fun and games in a Tudor manor, including a ghost hunt and spooky stories. Fancy dress encouraged. Halloween activities are free with normal entry. Tickets: Adults £6, Children £3. Sutton House, 2-4 Homerton High Street, Hackney, E9 6JQ. Nearest station: Homerton. For more information, visit the National Trust website.

  • 26 October : Crafty Pumpkin Fun @ Chiswick House

Children can enjoy pumpkin carving in the kitchen garden of Chiswick House. For 4-11 year olds. 10am-4pm. Tickets: £7 per child with accompanying adult (booking in advance recommended). Chiswick House, Chiswick, W4. Nearest station: Chiswick or Chiswick Park. For booking, visit the Chiswick House website.

  • 26 – 29 October : Trick Or Treat Afternoon Tea

Foodies will love this afternoon tea with a spooky twist. Featuring black iced ghoul cupcakes, brownie coffins, blood orange tart and pumpkin sponge rolls. There will also be pumpkin carving classes in the café on Hallows Eve. Afternoon tea: £21.50pp (includes pot of tea or coffee). Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest stations: Fulham Broadway, South Kensington or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Bluebird website.

  • 28 October : Trick Or Treat Run

A Halloween-themed charity run of either 2km, 5km or 10km around a closed park course. For adults and children, fancy dress encouraged. Prizes for the best costumes. Runs at 1.30pm and 5.30pm. Entrance fees start from £12 (adults) and £6 (children) depending on mileage. Richmond Park, Richmond, TW10 5HS. Nearest station: North Sheen, Richmond or Hampton Wick. For more information and to register, visit the Human Race websiteRead the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in October 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The leaves are falling, the temperatures are dropping… autumn is here

Autumn is closing in and the days are getting cooler so many of the capital’s events and festivals are retreating indoors. However, October is jam-packed with festivals and tons of family-friendly events for the half-term holidays. This month, there’s plenty of treats for foodies and booze fans, with the London Restaurant Festival and London Cocktail Week amongst the fab events on around town. Not forgetting Halloween near the end of month, with spooky events going on.

For a guide to London’s Halloween activities and parties, click here.

  • 1 October : Cheese Street N1

Huge cheese festival comes to North London, featuring tastings, cheese pairings, workshops, street food, butter making, cheese angels, live music and more. 10am-3pm. Free entry. Chapel Market, Islington, N1 9PZ. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the London Farmers Market website.

  • 1 October : Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival

London’s famous Pearly Kings and Queens celebrate their Harvest Festival with Morris dancing, maypole dancing, marching bands, drummers and lots of colourful characters. Free admission. St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N 4JJ. Nearest station: Charing Cross. For more information, visit the St Martin-in-the-Fields website.

  • 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 Champagne Gourmet Odysseys, American Express menus, restaurant hopping tours, Desert Island Dishes, Eat Film and more. For more information, visit the London Restaurant Festival website.

  • Now until 1 October : Lambeth Heritage Festival

A month long festival celebrating the heritage and people of Lambeth – stretching from the South Bank all the way to Streatham and Norwood. Featuring talks, film, music, theatre, exhibitions, walks and workshops. At venues across the borough including Migration Museum, Brixton Windmill, Lambeth Palace, Lambeth Archives, the Cinema Museum, London Fire Brigade Museum, the Chocolate Museum, Brockwell Lido and more. For more information, visit the Lambeth.gov.uk website.

  • Now until 1 October : Raindance Film Festival

UK’s largest independent film festival returns to the capital. Featuring over 100 movies and 150 short films screened in the Piccadilly Circus area. Festival pass from £49-£149. For more information and tickets, visit the Raindance website.

  • Now until 1 October : New Scientist Live

A festival of ideas and discovery from New Scientist magazine. Featuring four immersive zones: Brain & Body, Technology, Earth and Cosmos. Tickets: £26 (advance). ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent. For more information, visit the New Scientist Live website.

  • Now until 1 October : The World Of Anna Sui

Exhibition featuring over 100 looks from the American fashion designer’s archives dating back to 1991. Open Tues-Sat: 11am-6pm (or 8pm on Thurs), Sun 11am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £9.90, Concessions £7.70. Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, Bermondsey, SE1 3XF. Nearest station: London Bridge. For booking, visit the Fashion and Textile Museum’s website.

  • 1 October and 5- 8 October : London Oktoberfest

Celebrate the German beer fest in Docklands, featuring a host of beer, food and entertainment. Opening hours vary. General admission starts from free to £10 (depending on day). Millwall Park, Manchester Road, Isle of Dogs, Canary Wharf, E14 3AY. Nearest station: Island Gardens or Mudchute. For booking, visit the London Oktoberfest website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Cocktails galore at London Cocktail Week

  • 2 – 8 October : London Cocktail Week

Bars, restaurants and other surprising venues are celebrating London Cocktail Week with a variety of offers and events around the capital. To get the most out of it, buy a £10 digital pass so you can enjoy cocktails at over 250 venues for as little as £6. For more information, visit the London Cocktail Week website.

  • 3 – 21 October : The People’s Revolt @ The Tower Of London

Enjoy an immersive, interactive experience from theatre company differencEngine in the grounds of the Tower. Over 18s only. Shows @ 6pm, 6.30pm, 7pm, 7,25pm and 7.50pm. Tickets: £23-£25.50. Tower Of London, Tower Hill, EC3N 4AB. Nearest station: Tower Hill, Tower Gateway (DLR) or Fenchurch Street. For more information and booking, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website.

  • 3 – 31 October : Hammer House of Horror Live

Legendary Hammer Film bring their first immersive theatre show to Hoxton Hall. Over 18s only. Tickets: £48.50 (Tues, Wed, Sun), £52.50 (Thur, Fri, Sat). Hoxton Hall, 130 Hoxton Street, Hoxton, N1 6SH. Nearest station: Hoxton or Old Street. For tickets, visit Hoxton Hall’s website.

  • 4 – 15 October : BFI London Film Festival

Film buffs rejoice for the biggest event in the British film calendar – next to the Baftas of course – but this is the one we can all experience. Eleven days of screenings, premieres, exhibitions, masterclasses and Q&As will be taking place across the capital, at 15 venues including Odeon Leicester Square, Hackney Picturehouse, Ritzy Cinema and Curzon Mayfair and Cine Lumiere. For more information, visit the BFI website.

  • 5 – 8 October : Frieze Art Fair

Contemporary art event in Regent’s Park, featuring over 150 galleries from around the world. Opening hours vary. Tickets start from £27.95. 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.

  • 5 – 8 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 start from £5. Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Aldgate or Shoreditch High Street. For tickets, visit The Other Art Fair websiteRead the rest of this entry

Open House Junior 2017: Inspire little Londoners at the capital’s architecture festival

© Open City

Get your kids into architecture at Open House Junior

Open House London is a great opportunity for Londoners to have a look inside buildings normally off-limits to the public. While many parents will be looking forward to exploring the capital’s history and architecture, they may be wondering how to occupy the kids too during the weekend. Thankfully, Open City are making architecture accessible for young as well with the Open House Junior programme, which runs alongside Open House London.

From 16 – 17 September 2017, a selection of free activities and trails will help to inspire a generation of little Londoners. Open House venues, including City Hall, Paddington Central and The Leadenhall Building will be hosting activities, where you can drop in with your children.

Among the events and activities include:

  • City of a Thousand Architects @ City Hall
    Become an architect for the day! Plan, design and build a future London skyline from the heights of City Hall.
    City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, SE1 2AA. Nearest station: London Bridge.
  • Build a View Shaper @ The Leadenhall Building
    As part of the City of London’s Sculpture in the City programme, children can create a framed view of the city, inspired by the sculptures around The Leadenhall Building.
    Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall St, City of London, EC3V 4AB. Nearest station: Aldgate, Liverpool Street or Bank.
  • Junior Activity Hub @ Paddington Central
    Paddington Central is joining the Open House Junior programme and inviting families to explore, design and create.
    Paddington Central Canalside (by the Westway), Paddington, W2 6PY. Nearest station: Paddington.
  • On your marks, Get Set, Lego! @ Kingdom Square
    Join this quick-paced race to build the biggest and best LEGO structure. Enter your creation into the competition and be in for chance to win exciting prizes.
    Paddington Central, Kingdom Square (outside 4 Kingdom Street), W2 6BD. Nearest station: Paddington.
  • City of Bridges @ Paddington Central
    Be inspired by Paddington’s many bridges, and using an engineering toolkit, come along and add to the gigantic city of bridges in the striking Paddington Central amphitheatre.
    Paddington Canalside (outside Beany Green), W2. Nearest station: Paddington.
  • Playmake @ Sheldon Square
    Play. Make. Create! Paper forests, tinsel towers, and luminous lava fields. The Archivate Collective crew – a team of architects and designers – will be helping children make their city.
    Sheldon Square, Paddington, W2 6PY. Nearest station: Paddington.

Speaking about the event, Open City director Rory Olcayto said: “The more of us who participate in debating, shaping and mending the cities we live in, the better they will be, and the more reflective of our communities they will be too.”

  • Open House Junior takes place during Open House London on 16 – 17 September 2017 from 11am-4pm (some times and age suitability may vary). Events are free. For children aged 5-11 and their families. For more information, visit the Open House London website.

For Metro Girl’s tips and highlights of this year’s Open House London, click here.

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

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Classic Boat Festival 2017: Vintage vessels, entertainment and more nautical fun

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The Classic Boat Festival returns to St Katharine Docks

This weekend sees the return of the Classic Boat Festival to St Katharine Docks. Over 40 vintage boats will be docking at central London’s only marina for the three-day event as part of the month-long Totally Thames Festival.

Visitors will be given the chance to get up close with boats from a bygone era by chatting to the owners and even stepping on board. Among the boats will be 14 of the Little Dunkirk ships, the Queen’s royal barge Gloriana and the former London Fire Brigade fireboat the Massey Shaw.

As well as the nautical action, there will be plenty of waterside entertainment, activities and food and drink including street food stalls, free Paddle Boarding and canoe taster sessions and children’s activities, including Explorer Treasure Quest, Pirate Sword Decorating and Flag Decorating. Meanwhile, there will be live music from National Youth Jazz Orchestra and Barnet Hill Life Boat Crew sea shanty singers.

Totally Thames is a month-long river-related events taking place on the 42-mile stretch of the River Thames. Among the activities taking place are The Great River Race, Tower Bridge Bascule concerts, walks, archaeological explorations, live music and many more activities.

  • The Classic Boat Festival is on from 8 – 10 September 2017 from 12pm-6pm. St Katharine Docks, 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Tower Gateway. For more information, visit the St Kats website.

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

To find out the history of St Katharine Docks, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Guide to what’s on in London in August 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Fancy zorbing at St Katharine Docks?

Summer is in full swing… Schools are closed, there’s weddings and festivals up and down the country. However for those staying in the capital, there’s plenty of alfresco – and indoor – fun to be had around town. Of course, the final Bank Holiday weekend of the year takes place from 26 – 28 August so London will be buzzing.

  • 31 July – 27 August : Camden Fringe

The Camden Fringe returns for its 12th year, bringing over 270 productions of theatre, comedy and fringe fun to 22 venues across the borough of Camden, including Camden People’s Theatre, Camden Comedy Club, Canal Café Theatre and the Hen And Chickens. For more information and tickets, visit the Camden Fringe website.

  • 3 August : Zorbing @ St Katharine Docks

Try your hand at Zorbing with Hubbub. Time TBC. St Katharine Docks, 50 St. Katharine’s Way, Tower Bridge, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Tower Gateway (DLR). For more information visit the St Kats website.

  • 3 August : Summer Fete @ Paddington Basin

A lunchtime fete featuring stalls, games, photo fun, music and more. 12pm-2pm. Free. The Lawn, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Edgware Road or Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.

  • Now until 3 August : Future Forest @ Westfield Stratford City

Food and drink wizards Bompas & Parr are creating an immersive forest experience for both adults and child. For children, the Forest Zorb Lagoon provides the chance to walk, tumble and jump on water, while both young and old can walk through the Fruit Cloud – a walk-in fruit-flavoured mist. Opening hours vary. Free to enter. Future Forest, Westfield Stratford City, Olympic Park, Montfichet Road, Stratford, E20 1EJ. Nearest station: Stratford. For more information, visit the Westfield website.

  • 4 August : The Fakery

Learn how to pass off store-bought bakes into looking homemade with a masterclass from ‘star faker’ Juliet Sear. The Food Network are hosting a pop-up ahead of their new show Bakers Vs Fakers where you can learn how to glam up your cake so it looks like you made it yourself. Classes at 11am-1pm, 2pm-4pm and 5.30pm-7pm. Free, but register for a place. Food at 52, 96 Central Street, EC1V 8AJ. Nearest station: Old Street. For a free ticket, visit Eventbrite.

  • 4 – 6 AugustLondon Craft Beer Festival

Forty-five breweries from London, the UK , Europe and USA will be showing off 100s of beers. Also including food stalls, live music and DJs from Hot Chip and Foals. Times vary. Tickets: £35-£42.50 (includes free glass and unlimited small pours). Shoreditch Electric Light Station, Hoxton Square, Shoreditch, N1 6HD. Nearest station: Old Street. For more information, visit the London Craft Beer Festival.

  • 4 – 6 August : Summer In The City

The UK’s largest online video and YouTube event featuring Jack Maynard, Oli White, Emma Blackery, The Gabbie Show, Dodie, Nathan Zed and more. 11am-9pm. Tickets from £28. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For tickets, visit the Summer In The City website.

  • 6 August : King’s Cross Sports Day

Get sporty with a range of activities, including yoga, bootcamp training, rock-climbing, tightrope walking, sack racing, or egg and spoon. 11am-4pm. Free. Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4AA. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the King’s Cross website.

  • 8 August : Summer Evening with the London Philharmonic Orchestra

A free concert by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, including Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. 7pm onwards. Free. Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14 5AH. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website.

  • 8 – 12 AugustGreat British Beer Festival

Up to hundreds of real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers with be available to try, while there will also be plenty of entertainment and food. Tickets start from £11. Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Great British Beer Festival website.

  • 9 August – 3 September : London Bridge City Summer Festival Theatre – The Odyssey

Watch God and Monster’s epic production of The Odyssey in three parts at this open-air free theatre. Wed-Sun 6pm-10pm (Pt 1 6pm, Pt 2 7.30pm and Pt 3 9pm). Free. The Scoop, Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.

  • 10 August : Dance Off

Different styles of dances will battle it out to be crowned the crowd’s favourite. 12pm-2pm. Free entry. Fountains at the Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.

  • 10 – 12 August : Mr Black Espresso Martini Fest

Fans of the Espresso Martini will love this three-day festival, from Drink Up London (London Cocktail Week, London Beer Week, London Wine Week). Over 50 bars across London will be offering £5 Espresso Martinis and other Mr Black cocktails. Wristbands: £10. For more information, visit the DrinkUpLondon website.

  • 12 August : River Rat Race

Watch the wettest obstacle race in the UK as participants swim, crawl, jump and slide through 35 obstacles over 10km. Money raised goes to Children with Cancer UK. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For more information, visit the Rat Race website.

  • Now until 13 August : Cubitt Sessions

A series of free concerts in King’s Cross, spanning music, immersive theatre, surreal comedy, movement, street culture, experimental jazz and improvised opera. Times vary. Free to watch. Lewis Cubitt Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4AA. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For listings, visit the King’s Cross website. Read the rest of this entry