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Aperol Spritz and alfresco summer fun at Spritz & Giggles pop-up

© Spritz & Giggles

The Spritz & Giggles pop-up will be open in Broadgate until mid August

Aperol Spritz has grown rapidly in popularity in recent years and it’s certainly become my favourite tipple on a hot summer evening. With the weather nicely heating up, it’s perfect timing for the launch of an Aperol Spritz pop-up.

Throughout the summer, Londoners can relax with their favourite apéritif or cocktail at Spritz & Giggles. Open until early August, the bar is located in Broadgate Circle, near Liverpool Street, with indoor and alfresco seating. As well as plenty of drinking opportunities, there will also be entertainment and sports (including World Cup) screenings. The venue is full of colourful décor with lots of summery foliage with fun stations such as table tennis and foosball tables.

Leading the menu is the iconic Aperol Spritz, as well as the Ambra Spritz (Peroni Ambra, Aperol, Peach Syrup and Cinzano Prosecco) and Negroni. There will also be frozen cocktails for those extra hot days, including Pina Colada (Appleton Estate Signature Blend Rum, Koko Kanu Rum, Pineapple Juice and Coconut Cream) or Strawberry Daiquiri. If cocktails aren’t your thing, there is also a selection of beers, ciders, wine, Prosecco and Champagne on offer.

  • Spritz & Giggles, 37 Broadgate Circle, City of London, EC2M 2QS. Nearest station: Liverpool Street or Moorgate. Open now until early August 2018. Open Mon-Tues 4pm-11pm, Wed-Sat 1pm-12am, Sun closed. For more information, visit the website, tel: 0207 590 5257 or email: info@spritzandgiggles.co.uk.
Aperol Spritz © Spritz & Giggles

The pop-up features indoor and alfresco seating for whatever the weather

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

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HOP review: Fast and healthy Vietnamese food for those on the go

HOP © Charlie Richards

A range of Vietnamese street food at HOP, including noodle soups and Bánh mì
© Charlie Richards

Vietnamese cuisine has steadily been growing in popularity in recent years in London. While Dalston has long been the destination for Viet food lovers, it’s about time the rest of London had some venues offering authentic and tasty Vietnamese cuisine. Last month, a new venue offering Vietnamese street food for breakfast and lunch opened in Broadgate and, this week, I went to check it out. Located in Finsbury Avenue Square, just off Broadgate Circle, Hop is the latest addition to the circle’s revitalised dining hub, which is becoming a huge draw for City workers on their breaks.

Hop is a light and airy venue with some seating should you wish to stay in. I particularly liked the fact the food was well spread out into different sections, not crammed in as you often get in takeaway venues which can make for tricky scenes in the busy lunch rush. Having visited Vietnam myself last year, I can attest the cuisine is incredibly varied depending on what part of the country you’re in. The Hop menu features various dishes from across the country, including noodle soups, protein salads, bun noodle dishes and summer rolls. Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon, is famous for its Bánh Mì- a dish influenced by Vietnam’s former colonists France – which consists of a baguette stuffed with cold cuts, herbs and mayonnaise. When I was in Vietnam, I struggled to find any Bánh Mì suitable for vegetarians or pescatarians so was pleased to see Hop had a spring onion omelette one.

However, on this particular visit, I was feeling in need of a healthy boost so opted for one of the protein salads – eventually plumping for the Prawn and Mango (£4.50). Salads are rarely my first choice of food when eating out, but the ingredients used and the addition of fruit (I’ve always thought more salads should include fruit), swayed me. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed and really enjoyed my dish. The shredded vegetables, prawn and mango were well complemented with the aromatic herbs and Nouc Cham dressing.

Aside from the food, there is also a wide choice of drinks including the famous Vietnamese coffee – which should be particularly handy for busy City workers. Overall, the HOP experience was fast and friendly. The staff were informative and helpful. I found myself initially torn between dishes as they looked so appetising so I will definitely have to go back to try more. If you’re looking for healthy and tasty food on the go, then hop into Hop!

  • HOP, 2 Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate, City of London, EC2M 2PA. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. Open from 7-11am for breakfast, 11am-4pm for lunch. For more information, visit the HOP website.

Disclaimer: Metro Girl was a guest of Hop for this review.

For more of Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.

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Guide to open air ice rinks in London this winter 2013

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Get your skates on!

Open-air ice skating has fast become a tradition for many Londoners around Christmas time. This year sees some temporary venues open earlier than ever, with many open for over two months. The activity is incredibly popular so it’s highly recommended that you book tickets in advance. Session lengths and times vary between venues. Of course, all are closed on Christmas Day, with most finishing early on Christmas Eve. Some – such as Somerset House – have club nights so you can try your hand at ice dancing.

  • 31 October – 5 January 2014 : Natural 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 £11.50/£13.50, Children 12 and under £8/£9. Nearest tube: South Kensington. To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.

  • 4 November – 27 February 2014 : Broadgate Ice

Temporary ice rink at Broadgate Circle in the City of London is open for nearly four months. Open 10am-10pm. Session times last 1 hour. Adults £12.50, Children £8.50. Broadgate Circle, EC2M 2QS. Nearest tube: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit Broadgate’s website.

  • 11 November – 5 January 2014 : Bluebird Skating Rink

The courtyard of the Bluebird in the King’s Road will play host to an ice rink this festive season for the first time. Tickets available on the day at £10. Open 1-9pm daily. 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest tube: South Kensington or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Bluebird website.

  • 14 November – 5 January 2014 : Skate at Somerset House

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 9.15pm (later for club nights and New Year’s Eve). Adults £10.00/£16.00, Children £7.50. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple. To book, visit the Somerset House website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl

Gliding: Take to the ice at the Winter Wonderland’s ice rink

  • 16 November – 5 January 2014 : Tower Of London Ice Rink

Skate in the moat of one of the most iconic and historic buildings in the capital. Session times last 1 hour. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £11.50/£13.50, Children £9/£8.50. Tower Of London (off Lower Thames Street or Tower Hill), EC3N 4AB. Nearest tube Tower Hill. To book, visit the Tower of London Ice Rink website.

  • 21 November – 5 January 2014 : Westfield Ice Rink

    © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

    Whole lotta history: Skate in the dry moat of the Tower Of London

In between shopping, enjoy a spot of skating at Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush. Will host also host DJ evenings, family days, date nights and student events. Mon-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-6pm. Adults: £7-£11.50 (online), £8.50-£13 (walk up). Children: £5-£6.50 (online), £6.50-£8.50 (walk up). Westfield shopping centre, Ariel Way, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 7GF. Nearest tube: Wood Lane or Shepherd’s Bush. To book, visit the Westfield website.

  • 22 November – 5 January 2014 : Ice Rink @ Winter Wonderland

A pop-up ice rink at the annual Winter Wonderland in the south east corner of Hyde Park. Session times last 1 hour. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £10.50/£14.50, Children £8.50/£9.50. Hyde Park, W2 2UH. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch or Knightsbridge. To book, visit the Winter Wonderland website. For a sneak peek, check out MOAMG blog posting on last year’s Winter Wonderland.

  • 26 October – 16 February 2014 : Ice Rink Canary Wharf

In the middle of the soaring skyscrapers on Canary Wharf and surrounded by shops is another pop-up rink. Session times last 1 hour. First session times vary from 9.45am/10.45am ending at 11pm most nights. Adults £13.50, Children £9. Canada Square, E14 5AB. Nearest tube Canary Wharf. To book, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.

  • 27 November – 9 January 2014 : Eyeskate @ London Eye

A newer addition to the open air ice rinks is the raised rink in the park shadowed by the London Eye. Open daily from 10am until 9pm. Session times last 45 minutes . Adults £10.50 (£9.45 online), Children £7.50 (£6.75 online). London Eye, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment. To book, visit the Eyeskate website.

  • 30 November – 12 January 2014 : Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink

Skate in front of King Henry VIII’s favourite London residence. Session times last 1 hour. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £11.50/£13, Children £9/£9.50. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest train Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). To book, visit the Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink website.

  • 8 December – 12 January 2014 : JW3

Pop-up ice rink at the Piazza at JW3, the Jewish Community Centre London. Also including café serving mulled wine, hot drinks, etc. Tickets: Adults £10, Children £6 (includes skate hire). JW3, 341-351 Finchley Road, NW3 6ET. Nearest station: Finchley Road and Frognal. To book, visit the JW3 website.

And if you fancy ice skating any other times of the year, these rinks are open all year round…

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

In the courtyard: Skate at Somerset House on The Strand


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Get your skates on: Guide to ice rinks in London for Christmas 2012

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Get your skates on!

Open air ice rinks have been rising in popularity over the past 10 years. In December, I can’t think of many activities more festive than going ice-skating with friends, family or a date, before warming up afterwards with a hot chocolate or mulled wine. While there’s a handful of permanent ice rinks open all year round, from late November until early January, a host of iconic venues host pop-up ice rinks. Here’s a guide to some of the rinks open this season. Although walks up may be possible, I recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment, especially at weekends and Christmas holidays. (NB: Most ice rinks will be closed on Christmas Day and early closing on Christmas Eve).

For the updated 2014 guide, click here.

  • Natural History Museum Ice Rink

A 950 square metre rink in the gardens of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Open from 2 November until 6 January 2013. Mon-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-11pm, Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 9am-10pm. Adults £11.50/£13.50, Children 12 and under £8/£9. Nearest tube: South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly line). To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.

  • Skate at Somerset House

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. Open from 16 November until 6 January 2013. Session times last an hour and are bookable from 10am until 9.15pm (later for club nights and New Year’s Eve). Adults £12.50/£15.00, Children £7.50. Nearest tube: Temple (Circle and District line). To book, visit the Somerset House website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

In the courtyard: Skate at Somerset House on The Strand

  • Eyeskate

A newer addition to the open air ice rinks is the raised rink in the park shadowed by the London Eye. Open from 17th November until 6 January 2013. Open daily from 10am until 9pm. Session times last 45 minutes . Adults £10.50 (£9.45 online), Children £7.50 (£6.75 online). Nearest tube: Waterloo (Overland, Jubilee or Bakerloo line) or Embankment (Circle, District or Northern Line). To book, visit the Eyeskate website.

  • Ice Rink Canary Wharf

In the middle of the soaring skyscrapers on Canary Wharf and surrounded by shops is another pop-up rink. Open from 3rd November until 13 January 2013. Session times last 1 hour. First session times vary from 9.45am/10.45am ending at 11pm most nights. Adults £12.50, Children £8.50. Nearest tube Canary Wharf (Jubilee line). To book, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Whole lotta history: Skate in the dry moat of the Tower Of London

  • Tower Of London Ice Rink

Skate in the moat of one of the most iconic and historic buildings in the capital. Open from 17th November until 6th January 2013. Session times last 1 hour. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £11/£13, Children £8.50/£9. Nearest tube Tower Hill (Circle or District Line). To book, visit the Tower of London Ice Rink website.

  • Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink

Skate in front of King Henry VIII’s favourite London residence. Session times last 1 hour. Open from 1st December until 13th January 2013. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £11/£12.50, Children £8.50/£9. Nearest train Hampton Court (overland from Waterloo). To book, visit the Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink website.

  • Ice Age 4 Ice Rink @ Winter Wonderland

A pop-up ice rink at the annual Winter Wonderland in the south east corner of Hyde Park. Session times last 1 hour. Open from 23rd November until 6th January 2013. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £10.50/£13.50, Children £8.50/£9.50. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line). To book, visit the Winter Wonderland website. For a sneak peek, check out MOAMG blog posting on Winter Wonderland.

  • Broadgate Ice

Temporary ice rink at Broadgate Circle in the City of London where you can actually turn up and skate without a need to book. Open from 9 November until 24th February 2013. Weekday sessions 12.15-9pm, weekends 9.30am-9pm. Adults £9, Children £7, Skate Hire £2. Nearest tube: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit Broadgate’s website.


For more fun things to do around London this January and February, read my blog post Guide to what’s on in London in January and February 2013.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl

Gliding: Take to the ice at the Winter Wonderland’s Ice Age 4 ice rink