Category Archives: Tourist Attractions

Tourist attractions of London

What’s on in London this Halloween 2021

Find out what fairs, club nights, film screenings, family fun and other Halloween activities are on this October.

After a rather lacklustre Halloween in 2020 due to the pandemic, fans of the spooky season will be in for rather more choice with ways to celebrate it this year.

Halloween itself falls on a weekend at the end of the autumn half-term break, so there’s plenty of ghostly events for families during daytime and evenings.

Find out what exhibitions, boat trips, film screenings, story-telling, installations, club nights, ghost tours, supper clubs and beer fests this Halloween. While most day-time events are for families, there are some evening events open to children.

Be aware, some events or locations may have Covid-19 requirements for entry, such as vaccination proof, negative rest results or other protocols.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

Daytime Halloween events

  • 23 September – 7 November 2021 : Dark Arts @ Warner Bros. Studios

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. Watch a procession of the Death Eaters. Tickets: Adults £47, Children £38. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. Nearest station: Watford (then a shuttle bus to studios). For booking, visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour website. 🐻

  • 9 – 31 October 2021 : The Surgeon @ London Dungeon

A special Halloween show explores the horrors of Victorian surgery. Step into an old operating theatre as things turn gory. Times vary. Show included with general entry. Tickets: Adults from £20, adult entry & ‘Bloody Bellini’ cocktail £38, Children from £24. The London Dungeon, The Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For booking, visit the London Dungeon website. 🐻

  • 16 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween @ Battersea Power Station

Two weeks of family-friendly activities will be taking place around the Power Station, including Halloween Hunt & Competition, Spooky Maze, Halloween-themed food at Queen of the Crepes, Spooky Story Telling & Thriller Dance Sessions and performances. Times and prices vary.  Battersea Power Station, Battersea, SW8 5BN. Nearest station: Battersea Power Station. For more information, visit the Battersea Power Station website. 🐻

  • 19 October – 13 November 2021 : Halloween @ Backyard Cinema

Spooky screenings at Backyard Cinema’s two winter experiences – the Winter Night Garden or the Snow Kingdom. Full bar and street food stalls available. Matinees and evening screenings. Tickets: £10.50-£29.99. Capital Studios, 13 Wandsworth Plain, Wandsworth, SW18 1ET. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town. For booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website. 🐻

  • 22 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween @ The London Bridge Experience

Get scared silly at one of two shows at the London Bridge Experience, with the Family Halloween Show taking place during the day. Children can take a spooky stroll through the dark past of London Bridge, before visiting the tombs, while counting the pumpkins along the way. Open 11am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £25, Children 5-15yrs £19. London Bridge Experience, 2-4 Tooley Street, Borough, SE1 2SY. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information and booking, visit the London Bridge Experience website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : Ghost Raiders @ Tower of London

Help a team of ghost raiders investigate spooky occurrences in the Tower and track down the evil spirit trying to take over. Suitable for 8-14yrs. 10am-4pm. Tickets: (event included in tower admission) Adults £29.90, Children £14.90. Tower of London, City of London, EC3N 4AB. Nearest stations: Tower Hill, Tower Gateway or Fenchurch Street. For booking, visit the Tower of London website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween at KidZania

Join a ghost tour through the world of KidZania, visiting haunted spots and listening to terrifying tales. Aspiring fashion designers can make creepy-crawly costumes or perform a spooky soundtrack. Open 10am-7pm. Tickets: Adults from £16, Children from £26. KidZania, Westfield London, Ariel Way, W12 7GA. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush or Wood Lane. For more information, visit the KidZania website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : London Eye River Cruise presents Halloween Spooky Sailing

Enjoy a 40-minute circular boat tour as you learn about the spooky history of the River Thames. Boat departure: 6pm. Tickets: Adults from £20 (in 1 Beefeater Gin mulled drink), Children from £15. Departs from the London Eye Pier, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Embankment or Westminster. For more information and booking, visit the London Eye website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : Pumpkin Quiz Trail @ Battersea Park Zoo

Find out which animals are hording pumpkins on a family-friendly trail around the zoo. Open 10am-4.30pm. Quiz trail £1.50 entry (includes prize at the end). General entry tickets: Adults £10.95, Children £8.95. Battersea Park Zoo, Battersea Park, Chelsea Embankment, Battersea, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station: Battersea Park. For more information, visit the Battersea Park Zoo website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : The Wizards of Once Halloween Quest @ Eltham Palace

Follow an adventure trail inspired by Cressida Cowell’s Wizards of Once series. Search for the ingredients for the Spell and find the Cup of Second Chances. Fancy dress competition. Open 10am-5pm. Event included with general admission. Tickets: Adults £17.30, Children 5-17yrs £10.40. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, SE9 5QE. Nearest station: Eltham or Mottingham. For booking, visit the English Heritage website. 🐻

  • 26 October 2021 : 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. 11am-12.30pm. Free, but advanced booking recommended. Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, Westminster, WC2N 5NG. Nearest stations: Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the Benjamin Franklin House website. 🐻

  • 26 – 27 October 2021 : Ghosts, Gargoyles, and Goodies @ Charlton House

South-east London’s Jacobean mansion is a hosting a variety of Halloween sessions, including ghost stories, make-your-own-gargoyle workshop, treasure hunt and spider trail in the gardens. Fancy dress welcome. Suitable for children 5-12yrs, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Sessions @ 10am, 11.30am and 2pm. Tickets: £5 per child, free for accompanying adult. Charlton House, Charlton Road, Charlton, SE7 8RE. Nearest station: Charlton. For more information, visit the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust website. 🐻

  • 26 – 29 October 2021 : Halloween @ King’s Cross

A series of children’s activities are taking place during half-term across the King’s Cross site. Including Spooky Drawing Workshop, ‘Pimp your Pumpkin’ digital art class, Spooky Costume Swap Shop, scary storytelling, and more. Times and dates for each activity varies. Free, but advanced booking recommended. At various locations across King’s Cross, N1C. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the King’s Cross website. 🐻

  • 27 October – 1 November 2021 : Halloween @ Merchant Square

Enjoy a host of Halloween activities for the family, including pumpkin carving, photo competitions, pirate treasure hunts and a free film screening of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Times vary. Merchant Square, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website. 🐻

Greenwich Domes in fog

Enjoy a spooky evening at the Old Royal Naval College for Halloween

  • 29 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween @ Old Royal Naval College

Celebrate with the spooky season with a series of Halloween-themed events for children or adults at the Old Royal Naval College. Children can listen to Icy Mystery: Halloween Voyage Into The Unknown, story-telling session (29-30 Oct, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm); or adults can enjoy late-night visits, with Ghoulish Ghost Tours accompanied by either a Spooky Supper (29-30 Oct, 7pm) or Chilling Cocktails (29-31 Oct, 7pm). Tickets vary depending on event. Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest stations: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the ORNC website. 🐻

  • 31 October 2021 : Kids’ Halloween Party @ Beckenham Place

Head to a Georgian mansion for a children’s party, featuring interactive games, funky dancing, monster hat making and treasure hunt. For ages 4-7yrs. Fancy dress encouraged. Session 1: 2pm-3.15pm, Session 2: 4pm-5.15pm. Tickets: £15 (1 adult and 1 child). Beckenham Place Mansion, Beckenham Hill Road, Beckenham, BR3 1SY. Nearest station: Beckenham Hill. For more information, visit the Beckenham Place website. 🐻

Evening and late-night Halloween events

  • 6 – 21 October 2021 : Burials, Bombs and Fantastic Beasts’ walking tours @ Leadenhall Market

Every Wednesday in October, explore the dark side of Leadenhall Market on a guided tour. Discover the history of the site, dating back to Roman times, featuring witchcraft, murder and death. 6.30pm-8pm. Tickets: £8.14. Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street, City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Bank. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in July 2021

There’s a host of events on, including Taste of London, RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, Cocktails in the City and London Wonderground.

Taste of London © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

Taste of London returns to Regent’s Park

Lockdown appears to be largely relaxing this month so London’s seasonal events are starting to return. A host of festivals, exhibitions and more are bringing life back to the capital. With the school holidays kicking off later this month, expect lots of attractions for families. Many events will be offering limited numbers compared to previous years to provide social distancing, so are likely to sell out fast.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 July : Meet Me in Marylebone Shopping and Dining Day

One-day shopping event in Marylebone Village, featuring local shops and restaurants offering activations, promotions, offers, freebies and special menus. Event takes place all day. Marylebone Village is a short walk from Marble Arch and Oxford Street. Nearest stations: Baker Street, Regent’s Park and Great Portland Street. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website.

  • 1 July – 31 August 2021 : Louis Roederer pop-up @ The Savoy

Champagne house Louis Roederer is hosting a chic pop-up at London’s iconic Savoy this summer. Along with a boutique selling Louis Roederer champagnes, including rare vintages, there will also be a Suite Dining Experience, offering a three-course private dinner accompanied by Champagne in a riverview suite. Find out more on The Savoy website.

  • 1 July – 26 September 2021 : London in the Sky

Take the phrase ‘dine with a view’ to a whole new level as you are suspended 100ft in the air while dining. Enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea or cocktails while safely strapped to a hovering platform above the O2 in Greenwich. Diners must be at 1.4metres tall. Times vary. Tickets: £89-£199. The O2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0DX. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information and booking, visit the London in the Sky website.

  • 5 – 11 July 2021 : London Cocktail Week Warm-Up Festival

A one-off reopening celebration to support our favourite bars returning to their glory after a difficult time, ahead of the official LCW in October. Thirty bars across the capital will be offering special £7 signature cocktails to those with a participating wristband. Tickets £15. At participating bars only. For more information, visit the LCW website.

  • 6 – 11 July 2021 : RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2021

The world’s largest garden show returns to the grounds of the historical Hampton Court. Attractions include show gardens, floral marquee, plant village, shopping, Festival of Roses, and celebrity talks, demonstrations and workshops. Open Tues-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets: £28.75-£43.75 (cheaper for RHS members). Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court. For tickets, visit the RHS website.

  • 7 – 11 and 14 – 18 July 2021 : Taste of London

Following a hiatus due to the pandemic, Taste of London is back with a bang, taking place over two consecutive weekends so Londoners can get reacquainted with London’s restaurant scene after a challenging time for the industry. Expect pop-ups, tasting menus, workshops, demos, talks and plenty of opportunities to eat and drink to your heart’s content. Tickets start from £23 (choose a timeslot). Regent’s Park, NW1 4NR. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Great Portland Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Taste Of London website.

  • 7 July – late August 2021 : The Summer of 1321 @ Leadenhall Market

The City of London market celebrates 700 years of history with a series of free events. From live music to art exhibitions to guided and self-guided history tours. Leadenhall Market (access from Gracechurch Street, Lime Street and Whittington Avenue), City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website.

  • 13 July 2021 : The Comedy Store @ Skylight Rooftop

Rooftop destination Skylight are teaming up with The Comedy Store for a night of alfresco laughs. Acts include Jarred Christmas (MC), Dane Baptiste and Jo Caulfield, among others. Doors: 5.30pm, First act: 7.30pm. Tickets: £15. Skylight, Tobacco Quay, Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For more information or tickets, visit Design My Night.

  • 13 – 31 July 2021 : Sommergäste: Jean Dubuffet exhibition

A new summer series of single work spotlight exhibitions launches at the BASTIAN gallery. For three weeks in July, it will showcase French artist Jean Dubuffet’s Site avec 5 personnages (Site with 5 characters). Open Tues-Sat 10am-6pm. Free entry. BASTIAN, 8 Davies Street, Mayfair, W1K 3DW. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. For more information, visit the BASTIAN website.

  • 14 – 17 July 2021 : Vauxhall Pride

Celebrate Pride with four days of entertainment at Vauxhall Food & Beer Garden. Including bingo, live music, drag and cabaret performances and a closing party. Times and ticket prices vary. Vauxhall Food & Beer Garden, 6A South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, SW8 1SP. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Be In Vauxhall website.

  • 15 July – 22 August 2021 : Dodge @ Somerset House

The iconic courtyard of Somerset House is transformed into an open-air fun palace, featuring dodgems, art installations and drinking and dining options, as well as late-night DJ events. Times vary. Dodgem tickets: £5pp. Somerset House, Strand, Aldwych, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information and booking, visit the Somerset House website.

  • 15 July – 25 September 2021 : London Wonderground

Summer culture extravaganza has moved from the South Bank to Earls Court. Expect the best in comedy, circus, music and family entertainment in the big top and upside cow Udderbelly. As well as performances, there will also be outdoor bars, street food, musical bandstand performances, vintage fairground rides, family activities and a ‘beach’. Tickets: free entry to site, but shows are ticketed. London Wonderground, Empress Place, Earls Court, SW6 1TT. Nearest station: West Brompton. For more information and tickets, visit the London Wonderground website. 🐻

  • 17 July 2021 : Crouch End Festival Chorus

Enjoy some big band jazz and works for an unaccompanied choir at the concert hall of Ally Pally. Doors 6pm, Curtains: 7.30pm. Tickets: £10-£20. Alexandra Palace Theatre, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Nearest stations: Alexandra Palace or Wood Green. For more information, visit the Alexandra Palace website.

  • 17 July 2021 : Nocturnal Creatures

A late-night art festival, featuring new installations, films, live performances, music and food experiences. 6pm-11pm. Free. Aldgate Square, Aldgate High Street, Aldgate, EC3N 1AF. Nearest station: Aldgate or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the Whitechapel Art Gallery website.

  • 17 July – 30 August 2021 : Summer Showtime on The Coaling Jetty

Enjoy open-air theatre and cinema against the backdrop of the River Thames and the iconic Battersea Power Station. The theatre will features many family-friendly productions. Times vary. Cinema tickets: Two seats £35, Four seats £60. Theatre tickets vary. The Coaling Jetty, Battersea Power Station Pier, SW8 4NR. Nearest stations: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea. For more information, visit the Battersea Power Station website. 🐻

  • 18 July 2021 : Independent Label Market

As part of Soho Music Month, a one-day vinyl market comes to Carnaby Street. Expect to see a host of independent labels for sale across many stalls. 12pm-6pm. Free entry. Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F. Nearest stations: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby website.

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Guide to what’s on in London in June 2021

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018Summer is here! It’s been a long, tough winter and spring thanks to lockdown and the dismal weather of May! But thankfully, London is starting to open up a bit more and everyone is feeling more positive. While, some big events will be missing from the usual London summer calendar, there’s no chance of getting bored with plenty of culture and fun on around town. Of course, half-term has kicked off already so parents will no doubt be looking for ways to entertain the children after spending way more time at home recently than anyone wanted!

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 30 June 2021 : London Festival of Architecture

After the year we’ve had, it’s no surprise to see this year’s festival theme is ‘care’. Expect a host of virtual and physical events across town, including exhibitions, walks, talks, workshops, conferences and many more. For more information, visit the London Festival of Architecture website.

  • 4 June – 26 September 2021 : Van Gogh Alive UK

An immersive, multi-sensory experience inspired by the art and life of Vincent Van Gogh. Open: Sun–Thur 10am–8pm, Fri–Sat 10am–9pm. Tickets: Adults £24. Kensington Gardens (East Albert Lawn), Kensington, SW7 2AP. Nearest stations: Gloucester Road, Knightsbridge or High Street Kensington. For more information, visit the Van Gogh Alive website.

  • 4 June – September 2021 : Summer of Play @ Wembley Park

A whole season of free events are taking place in and around Wembley Park, including live music, outdoor cinema screenings, public art trail and sporting activities. Free. At various locations in Wembley Park. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the exhibition. 🐻

  • Now until 10 June 2021 : Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) 2020 exhibition

Check out 160 travel photographs of landscapes and people from around the world during a crazy year. Alfresco exhibition allows social-distancing and safe perusal of the imagery. Open 24/7. Free. Coal Drops Yard, Stable Street, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the TPOTY website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the exhibition.

  • 11 June – 17 October 2021 : Serpentine Pavilion 2021

After a 2020 hiatus, the latest temporary pavilion by the Serpentine Gallery has been unveiled. This year’s Serpentine Pavilion is designed by Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace, directed by Sumayya Vally. Open 10am-6pm. Free. Serpentine Pavilion, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA. Nearest stations: Lancaster Gate, Knightsbridge or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Serpentine Gallery website.

  • 12 – 14 June 2021 : London Fashion Week

The latest season of fashion week is dedicated to gender-neutral fashion. Expect a mix of virtual and physical events showcasing what we’ll be wearing next season. For more information, visit the London Fashion Week website.

  • 18 – 19 June 2021 : Cocktails in The City Summers Series

This season, the London summer series of  the popular cocktail festival with take place over three weekend monthly. Kicking off the first one in June, with London’s top bars setting up their own pop-ups, as well as live music, street food, tastings and demonstrations. Open 12pm-4pm and 5pm-10pm. Tickets: £20 (daytime or evening slots). Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, WC1B. Nearest stations: Goodge Street or Tottenham Court Road. For tickets, visit the Cocktails In The City website.

  • 25 – 27 June 2021 : London Classic Car Show 2021

Petrolheads with a penchant for the old school motors should head to Syon Park for a COVID-safe, outdoor car show. Expect vehicles dating back over the past 135 years, with opportunities to view and even purchase. Open Fri 10am–6pm, Sat 10am–7pm, Sun 10am–6pm. Tickets start from £26.62. Syon Park, Brent Lea, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the London Classic Car Show website.

  • Now until 27 June 2021 : Sonia Delaunay: Rhythm and Colour

An exhibition of abstraction art pioneer Sonia Delaunay’s works from her Rythmes-Coleurs series. Open Tues-Sat 10am-6pm. Free entry. BASTIAN, 8 Davies Street, Mayfair, W1K 3DW. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. For more information, visit the Bastian Gallery website.

  • Now until 1 July 2021: Gaia at the Painted Hall

Luke Jerram’s striking Earth installation is suspended in the recently-restored Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College for one month only. Late night openings on Fridays 5.30pm-10pm. Tickets: £13.50. Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest stations: Greenwich, Cutty Sark or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the ORNC website.  Check out Metro Girl’s post for details. 
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Top London podcasts to inform and inspire

Discover these seven audio series dedicated to exploring the capital’s history and culture.

During lockdown, many of us have been kept entertained and informed by some of the tens of thousands of podcasts out there. Whatever your interests, there is guaranteed to be umpteen episodes on offers to whet your appetite.

If you’re interested in London history, trivia or culture, then check out some of these audio discoveries, along with some handy links to get listening straight-away:

Ladies Who London Podcast

Blue Badge tour guides Alex Lacey and Emily Dell started their London history podcast at the beginning of lockdown. Every week they choose a different area of the capital or Londoner. They often highlight lesser-known Londoners, particularly women or people of colour, who have been usually been under-represented by the history books. The Ladies Who London podcast is not all serious though and expect plenty of banter in between the facts.

Open City Podcast

The Open City team – who are famous for organising Open House London – started a radio show platforming conversations about the capital in summer 2020. Exploring everything from its people to buildings to its organisations, from past, present and future. Recent episodes include the Guildhall, Old Kent Road and rethinking London’s green spaces.

Macabre London Podcast

Whether you love Halloween… or are just intrigued by the more sinister side of the capital all-year round, the Macabre London podcast is for you. Host and writer Nikki Druce tells gruesome stories from London’s past so expect murder, mystery, and perhaps the odd ghost or two. Recent episodes include the Central Line, an Edwardian cold case set in Battersea and London’s killer weather.

Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in May 2021

Find out what physical and virtual exhibitions, events and festivals, are taking place this month.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Get outdoors!

Lockdown is easing, more of us are getting vaccinated and the prospect of normal life returning is getting that bit closer. After months of closure of our favourite London’s culture spots; galleries, museums and other attractions are starting to open their doors. Many establishments have taken creative approaches to showcasing their features in a safe new way. This month, we have two bank holidays to take advantage of, while parents will be looking for ways to occupy their kids during half-term. As the pandemic is still ongoing, we strongly recommend your check the event’s website/social media before arriving as opening times could be subject to changes. Booking in advance is also recommended where possible to avoid disappointment.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

Look out for the computer symbol 💻 for online events.

  • 1 May – late summer TBA 2021 : The Drive In

Head to a drive-in cinema offering film screenings and live experiences (e.g. musical performances, theatre, etc) in Enfield. With refreshments available, social distancing guidelines and the audio beamed in through your car stereo. Tickets: One car £35. The Drive In, Troubadour Meridian Water, Harbet Road, Enfield, N18 3QQ. For tickets and more information, visit The Drive In website. 🐻

  • 1 May – late summer TBA 2021 : Rooftop Film Club

Rooftop Film Club are offering both drive-in and rooftop cinematic experiences this spring and summer. Watch your favourite classics or newer releases in the comfort of your car… or a cosy deckchair with a cool vista. Times vary. Tickets: Drive-ins £29.50/£31/50 per car; Rooftop seating £15.95-£21.95. Venues include Roof East (Stratford), Bussey Building (Peckham), Brent Cross (🚗), Alexandra Palace (🚗) and Sandown Park (🚗). For more information, visit the Rooftop Film Club website. 🐻

  • 1 May – 19 September 2021 : Secret World of Plants @ Kew Gardens

Enjoy unique art installations dotted amongst the plants of Kew. Entrance included with normal ticket. Opening hours vary, but you must book an entry time slot. Tickets: Adults £15/£16, Children £5. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website. 🐻

  • 7 – 16 May 2021 : Virtual Dulwich Festival

Arts and culture festival returns to the south London district… albeit virtually this year! Featuring art, performances, talks, recordings, flash fiction, podcasts, interviews and more. For more information and listings, visit the Dulwich Festival website. 💻

  • 12 May – 10 June 2021 : Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) 2020 exhibition

Check out 160 travel photographs of landscapes and people from around the world during a crazy year. Alfresco exhibition allows social-distancing and safe perusal of the imagery. Open 24/7. Free. Coal Drops Yard, Stable Street, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the TPOTY website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the exhibition.

  • 17 May – 1 August 2021 : Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Witness the beauty and diversity of the natural world in this annual photography exhibition. Open Wed-Sun 11am-5.50pm (closed Mon-Tues). Tickets: Adults £14.95, Children £8.95. Natural History Museum, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the NHM museum website. 🐻

Kew Gardens Palm House daffodils © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

The beauty of spring at Kew Gardens

  • 17 May – 5 September 2021 : Dub London – Bassline of a City

A new exhibition explores dub reggae and its influence on the capital. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-3.30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm. Free entry, but book a time slot in advance. Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, Barbican, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest stations: Moorgate or Barbican. For more information, visit the Museum of London website.

  • 18 May – 27 June 2021 : Sonia Delaunay: Rhythm and Colour

An exhibition of abstraction art pioneer Sonia Delaunay’s works from her Rythmes-Coleurs series. Open Tues-Sat 10am-6pm. Free entry. BASTIAN, 8 Davies Street, Mayfair, W1K 3DW. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. For more information, visit the Bastian Gallery website. Read the rest of this entry

Appetise your wanderlust at the Travel Photographer of the Year awards 2020 exhibition

Winning images are going on show in London’s Coal Drops Yard from 12 May 2021.

Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) 2020 © Paul Samsome/www.tpoty.com

The Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) 2020 exhibition is going on display at Coal Drops Yard
(© Paul Samsome/www.tpoty.com)

Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, cases of wanderlust are certainly strong amongst many of us as we continue to live and work in smaller environments. If you’re one of those gagging to put your passport to use again, why not treat yourself to some inspirational travel imagery in the meanwhile? On show in London this spring will be the winning images from the international Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) Awards 2020.

A free exhibition in Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross will display 160 photographs from 12 May – 10 June 2021. The exhibition will be open 24 hours a day and easy to enjoy in the safety of the open-air. The collection will showcase a huge range of subjects, from landscapes to people, from architecture to the natural world, taken by both professional and amateur photographers. The COVID-19 pandemic hugely impacted the 2020 awards, with any entries taken by stranded travellers spending longer at their destination than planned, or by those closer to home as their travel was restricted.

After checking out the stunning imagery, visitors can vote for their favourite photographs online, with the additional chance to be entered into a prize draw, with a one-day private photography lesson from TPOTY founder Chris Coe among the prizes. Meanwhile, the TPOTY team will be hosting a series of Fujifilm-supported tutored photography walks around Coal Drops Yard and the King’s Cross/Regents Canal area during the latter period of the exhibition, when the pandemic restrictions allow.

  • The Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) 2020 exhibition is on display from 12 May – 10 June 2021. Free. Coal Drops Yard, Stable Street, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the TPOTY website.

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

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The giant Earth sculpture ‘Gaia’ is returning to the Painted Hall

Luke Jerram’s installation returns to the Old Royal Naval College in May 2021.

Gaia installation at Old Royal Naval College

Luke Jerram’s art installation Gaia returns to the Old Royal Naval College in the summer
© Colin B Mackenzie

The summer will kick off in Greenwich with the return of Luke Jerram’s stunning art installation ‘Gaia’. The recreation of Planet Earth will be suspended at the Old Royal Naval College from 30 May 2021 for one month. The exact scale replica of our planet is internally lit and created using 120dpi NASA imagery. Measuring seven metres in diameter, making it 1.8million times smaller than Earth, the sculpture will be on show in the Painted Hall.

Visitors will be able to stand back and gaze at the slowly rotating piece while listening to a surround-sound composition by composer Dan Jones. Jerram aims to give us an idea of astronauts’ vista of the Earth when travelling through Space.

During the month-long display, there will be a series of late night openings every Friday. Visitors will also be able to enjoy food and drink, as well as check out the Baroque and contemporary art at the hall.

  • Gaia is on display from 30 May – 1 July 2021. At the Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest stations: Greenwich, Cutty Sark or Maze Hill. Late night openings on Fridays 5.30pm-10pm. For more information, visit the ORNC website. For late night opening tickets, visit this link.
  • This article was originally published in December 2020, but updated in April 2021 to reflect the new dates following the cancellation of the original January 2021 launch due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

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

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

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

greenwich Old Royal Naval College

Greenwich is reopening to the public following lockdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guide to what’s on in London in December 2020

Find out what’s on in London over the Christmas period.

Christmas © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018Well, 2020 is nearly over, and I’m sure most of the country is glad to see the back of a very difficult year. While Christmas will undoubtedly be different to what we’re used to, plenty of London’s hospitality and entertainment businesses will be pulling out all the stops to offer a safe and entertaining social event. Expect social distancing, frequent cleaning and masks may be required so you can feel protected while enjoying the festivities. Among the events taking place are foodie fayres, film screenings, pantomimes and art exhibitions.

For December, London will be Tier 2, which means no mixing indoors with people outside your household or support bubble. Up to six people can meet outdoors in parks, private gardens and pub’s outdoor spaces.

20 Dec update: London is now in Tier 4 so a majority of events and attractions are likely to be cancelled or postponed. Please check the event website for further up-to-date information.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

Look out for the computer symbol 💻 for online events.

  • 2 – 24 December : Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen

Enjoy cookalongs, masterclasses and talks from foodie experts and chefs streamed live from a special kitchen in the historic London market. Events take place Wed-Fri online. All live content will be streamed on the market’s Facebook page. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the event. 💻 

  • 2 December – 27 February 2021 : Connected by Light

Although the Winter Lights festival has been postponed, Canary Wharf’s contemporary streets have been lit by a series of light installations. Dusk until 10pm. Free. Installations dotted throughout Canary Wharf estate, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website. 🐻

  • 3 – 7 December : The Parking Lot Social @ Syon Park

A line-up of drive-in festive events, including Cinderella pantomime, film nights, car-a-oke, silent disco and festive food market, all from the safety of your car. Times vary. Tickets: £38.78 per car. Syon Park, Park Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. For tickets, visit the Parking Lot Social website. 🐻

  • 3 – 20 December : Cinema in the Snow

Enjoy a festive cinematic experience. Enter through a magical wardrobe and walk through a winter wonderland to the screening room. Watch a mix of classic and recent favourites. Covid-19 safety precautions being taken, including cleaning and socially-distanced seats. Tickets from £19.50. Unit 8, Copeland Park, Peckham, SE15 3SN. Nearest station: Peckham Rye. For more information, visit the Pop up Screens website. 🐻

  • 4 December – 31 January 2021 : Dante’s In-Furlough

Step into the Underworld to see The Devil getting married. An immersive, theatrical show with dining options. Social distancing and mandatory face coverings. Thur-Sat: Entry times from 5.30pm-8.30pm, Sun: Entry times from 4.30pm-7.30pm. Tickets: From £25, Dining from £55. The Vaults, Launcelot Street (off Lower Marsh), Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo, Lambeth North or Waterloo East. For more information, visit The Vaults website.

  • 11 – 13 December : Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre

A celebration of festive food in the grounds of historic Hampton Court Palace. Featuring street food, pop-up bars, artisanal producers, live music, and more. 10am-5pm. Tickets (inc entry to courtyard and gardens): Adults £24.50, Children 5-15yr £12.20, Under 5s free. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the HRP Food Festivals website.

  • 11 – 13 and 18 – 21 December : Christmas @ Old Royal Naval College

A host of Christmas festivities are taking place at the Old Royal Naval College. Including the illuminated Christmas tree, festive market (12, 13, 18, 19 & 20 December), carol services, winter dining at the Painted Hall and a production of The Little Match Girl. Event timings and dates vary. Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10. Nearest station: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the Old Royal Naval College website. 🐻

  • 13 – 19 December : We’re All Human exhibition @ Pi Artworks

Dutch artist Jade van der Mark presents an exhibition of her large-scale paintings on city life. Open 11am-6pm. Pi Artworks, 55 Eastcastle Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 8EG. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit the artist’s website or the Pi Artworks website.

  • 17 – 20 December : Love Actually in Concert

Watch the iconic film’s soundtrack performed live by an orchestra accompanying the screening. Socially distanced seating. Times: Matinee 2pm, Evening 6.30pm (staggered entry times). Tickets: £65-£81. Eventim Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, W6 9QH. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For more information and booking, visit the Eventim Apollo website.

London’s largest LED Christmas tree @ Wembley Park
© Chris Winter

  • Now until 31 December : The Drive In

Drive-in cinema offers film screenings and live experiences (e.g. musical performances, theatre, etc) in Enfield. With refreshments available, social distancing guidelines and the audio beamed in through your car stereo. Tickets: One car £35. The Drive In, Troubadour Meridian Water, Harbet Road, Enfield, N18 3QQ. For tickets and more information, visit The Drive In website. 🐻

  • Now until 3 January 2021 : United in Light @ Wembley Park

Wembley Park has unveiled a selection of light installations for the festive period, including London’s tallest LED Christmas tree, festive selfie spots and ‘United in Light’, a new Instagram artwork on the Spanish steps. Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website.

  • Now until 3 January 2021 : Summer Winter exhibition @ Royal Academy of Arts

The summer exhibition is now winter as it was delayed due to Covid-19. Check out new art from a mix of established and emerging artists and architects, including Tracey Emin, Rebecca Horn, Anselm Kiefer, Julian Schnabel, Gillian Wearing and Ai Weiwei. Open daily 10am-6pm. Tickets: £20-£22. Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the RA website.

  • Now until 3 January 2021 : Christmas at Kew

A glittering trail which weaves its way through Kew Gardens with stunning sights lit up upon the way. 4pm-10pm. Tickets (advance): Adults £19.50/£24.50, Children £14.50, Under 4 free. Select your entrance gate when booking. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website. 🐻

  • Now until 3 January 2021: The Magic of Christmas @ London Zoo

London Zoo are hosting a series of festive events alongside the usual animal enclosures. You can meet Santa, enjoy VIP Santa Breakfasts and Animal Gift Giving sessions. Open 10am-4pm. Ticket prices vary depending on activities. London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website. 🐻 Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in October 2020

St Augustine church tower autumn © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2020

Although lockdown rules are constantly in flux and subject to change, London’s attractions, exhibitions and festivals have been gradually returning (albeit adapted to be Covid-19 safe as the pandemic continues). While physical events are continuing in adapted ways and for smaller attendees, many festivals are going online this year so you can experience the fun from the safety of your home. This month, there is Black History Month and Halloween, so expect to see many events inspired by these annual celebrations. October has plenty of boozy events on, including a month-long London Cocktail Week, Oktoberfest, Rum Week and The Whisky Show. Half-term is taking place towards the end of the month, so no doubt parents will be looking for some safe activities to entertain the kids.

Events, dates and rules are subject to change or last-minute cancellations, so always make sure you keep up to date with the relevant websites to avoid disappointment. Many events require or suggest booking in advance as they have reduced and limited availability.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

Look out for the computer symbol 💻 for online events.

  • 30 September – 8 October : London Craft Week

Week long event celebrating British and international designers, makers, brands and galleries. Various events (physical and virtual) on around town, including art tours, talks, fairs, installations, walking tours, demonstrations, open studios, craft trails, wine flights and more. For more information, visit the London Craft Week website. 💻

  • 1 – 11 October : Kensington & Chelsea Art Week

A celebration of culture in the exclusive Zone 1 neighbourhoods, including exhibitions, workshops, talks, public art displays and more. At various venues in the district, including The Muse Gallery, Museum of Brands, Goldfinger Factory, Serena Morton Gallery. Find out more on the Art Week website.

  • 1 – 31 October : London Cocktail Week

This year’s ‘week’ is extended to a whole month to give London’s bar scene a much-needed boost. Hundreds of bars across the capital will be taking part, offering £6 special LCW cocktail week concoctions for those with a wristband. There will also be self-guided bar crawls, masterclasses, bar takeovers, pop-ups and cocktail dinners. Sadly, the cocktail village won’t be open this year due to the pandemic. Tickets: £15 (valid for entire month). For more information, visit the London Cocktail Week website.

  • 1 – 31 October : London Restaurant Festival

Support London’s amazing restaurant industry by sitting down to a fine meal or foodie experience. Enjoy small-scale in-restaurant experiences, Chef’s tables, feasts-at-home, drinks masterclasses, tasting menus and foodie masterclasses. For more information, visit the London Restaurant Festival website. 💻

  • 1 – 31 October : Mayfair Sculpture Trail

Existing Mayfair artworks will be joined by new installations for one month only. Walk along the iconic streets of Mayfair and spot creations by Lawrence Holofcener, Henry Moore, Antony Gormley, Patrick O’Reilly and Manolo Valder, among others. You can also download accompany audio commentary on Smartify. Free. For more information, visit the Mayfair Art Weekend website. 🐻

  • 2 – 9 October : Whisky Show – Virtual Show

This year’s whisky event is going online, bringing together whisky connoisseurs with the distillers of their favourite and yet-to-be-discovered brands. You can order tasting packs in advance to taste with the virtual tasting sessions, as well as attend workshops, demos, talks and meet the brands. Tickets: £20. For more information, visit the Whisky Show website. 💻

  • 2 October – 31 January 2021 : Dub London – Bassline of a City

A new exhibition explores dub reggae and its influence on the capital. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-3.30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm. Free entry, but book a time slot in advance. Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, Barbican, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest stations: Moorgate or Barbican. For more information, visit the Museum of London website.

  • 2 October – 31 January 2021 : The Murder Express

Enjoy an immersive fine dining experience on board a 19th century train carriage. Enjoy a four-course meal cooked by a Masterchef finalist, while sipping on cocktails and watching a murder mystery unfold. Times vary. Tickets: From £60. Located at 63 Pedley Street, E1 5FB. Nearest stations: Bethnal Green, Shoreditch High Street or Whitechapel. For more information, visit Funicular Productions. Check out Metro Girl’s post for details.

  • 3 – 4 October : Fun Palaces Weekend

Fun for the family through online and in-person experiences, artworks and workshops exploring arts, science, craft, technology, heritage and sports. At libraries and other venues. For more information, visit the Fun Palaces Weekend website. 🐻💻

  • 3, 10, 17 and 24 October : The Official Camden Oktoberfest

Celebrate Oktoberfest in a socially-distanced festival of beers on Saturdays in October. Featuring live music, DJs, German meat and plenty of beer. Entry in timed sessions (12pm-4.30pm or 5.30pm-10pm). Tickets: From £20.00. Electric Ballroom, 184 Camden High Street, NW1 8BP. Nearest station: Camden Town. For more information, visit the Camden Oktoberfest website. Read the rest of this entry