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Guide to what’s on in London in December 2019

Find out what beer and cocktail festivals, art exhibitions and Christmas events are on in London this December.
Christmas © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

It’s December! When it comes to events on around town, you can be guaranteed most of them will have a festive feel. At this time of year, a host of venues are hosting festivals and activities for both children and adults to enjoy as a family. Fans of Friends, Stranger Things or The Wolf Of Wall Street will also have a chance to live for real with special immersive experiences. Of course, there will be plenty of Christmas themed fun on around town.

For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.

To find out where London’s Christmas pantomimes, ballets and shows are on, click here.

Discover London’s winter terraces, and Christmas cocktails menus.

  • Now until 1 December : London Illustration Fair

Three-day event celebrating illustration, featuring artist-led stands, talks, workshops, music, DJs, live signings. Fri-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Entry: £10 in advance, £12.50 on the door, Children under 12 free. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bankside, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars or Waterloo. For more information, visit the London Illustration Fair website.

  • Now until 1 December : William Blake’s ‘Ancient of Days’ projection

William Blake’s ambition of having his art exhibited on churches is realised as his masterpiece ‘Ancient of Days’ is projected on the dome of St Paul’s to mark his 262nd birthday. 4.30pm-9pm. Free. St Paul’s Cathedral, St. Paul’s Churchyard, City of London, EC4M 8AD (best vantage point from the Millennium Bridge). Nearest station: St Paul’s or Mansion House. See Metro Girl’s blog post for photos and video.

  • Now until 1 December : Architecture of London

Exhibition of 400 years of London architecture. Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-4pm. Tickets: Adults £10, concs £7. Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest station: St Paul’s, Bank or Moorgate. For more information, visit the City of London.gov website.

  • Now until 1 December : Enchanted Woodland

Follow an illuminated trail through the gardens and arboretum of Syon Park. Lighting will transform the trees, plants and lake. Hot food and drinks available for sale. Open Fri-Sun, entry times every 20 minutes from 5pm-7.40pm. Tickets: Adults £10 (Fri), £12 (Sat-Sun), Children £5. Syon Park, London Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the Enchanted Woodland website.

  • 1 December – 25 January 2020 : Big Screen on the Ice

Watch your favourite movie on ice while cosying up with blankets and hot toddies. Screening on Saturday and Sunday evenings at 5pm (family films)or 8pm (adults films). Tickets: Ice skating + film (no seats) – Adults £12, Children £11. Ice skating + film (with seating) – Adults from £16, Children from £13. Skate hire £2.50. QUEENS, 17 Queensway, W2 4PQ. Nearest stations: Queensway or Bayswater. For tickets, visit the Big Screen on the Ice website. or the QUEENS website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post for more information.

  • Now until 3 December : Antony Gormley @ RA

One of the Britain’s most famous living artists displays a series of large-scale artworks in this interactive exhibition. Open daily 10am-6pm, late opening on Fri until 8pm. Tickets: £18-£22. Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Royal Academy of Arts website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the exhibition.

  • 3 – 7 December : Pig’s Ear Beer And Cider Festival

Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA, featuring over 230 real ales plus ciders, perries and bottled beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Opening hours TBC. Tickets: (check the website). Round Chapel, Glenarm Road, Hackney, E5 0LY. Nearest station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. For more information, visit the Pig’s Ear website.

  • 4 December : Christmas Lights Walk @ Baker Street Quarter

Explore the light installations of the Baker Street Quarter, telling the story of famous people and places from the district. 6pm. Free. Meet at 55 Baker Street, Marylebone, W1U 7DA. Nearest station: Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Baker Street Quarter website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on this year’s lights.

  • 5 December : Marylebone Lane Christmas Shopping Evening

A festive evening of live music, activities, workshop, a free cocktail at the 108 Brasserie and exclusive discounts at the area’s retailers. 5pm-8pm. Free. Marylebone Lane, Marylebone, NW1. Nearest station: Bond Street. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website.

  • 5 December : Tower Bridge & the Thames on Film

Late-night opening of Tower Bridge, featuring an illustrated talk by British Film Institute curator Simon McCallum presenting clips from the BFI National Archive’s collection of footage about London, with a particular focus the Thames. Arrive at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Tickets: £20pp (includes a welcome drink and a return ticket to visit Tower Bridge within 12 months). Tower Bridge Learning Space, Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road, SE1 2UP. Nearest stations: Tower Hill, Tower Gateway or London Bridge. For booking, visit the Tower Bridge website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the 125th anniversary of Tower Bridge.

  • 5 December : Imperial Lates – Winter Wonderlab

Evening of science and engineering, with live demos, workshops, interactive experiments and inspiring talks. Accompanied with drinks from the bar and liquid nitrogen ice cream. 6pm-9pm. Free. Imperial College London (Main Entrance), Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2AZ. Nearest station: South Kensington. For tickets, visit Eventbrite. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London during Easter 2019 for both adults and families

Find out what’s on in London over the Easter weekend and school holidays, including family events and activities, Easter egg hunts and even adults-only fun.

Easter bunny and chocolate eggs © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

This year, the Easter weekend takes place in the middle of April with Good Friday on 19th and the Easter Bank Holiday on 22nd. As ever, this religious holiday coincides with at least two weeks of school holidays, so there will be plenty of parents looking for ways to occupy their children. To many people, Easter is associated with chocolate, so expect to see the mighty cocoa bean dominating menus and events over the period. Fortunately, Easter isn’t just for kids, there’s an adults-only guide to offers and events at the bottom.

Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to what’s on in London over the Easter period.

  • 30 March – 29 April : George Irvin’s Funfairs

Travelling funfairs will be setting up camp at Crystal Palace Park (30 Mar – 14 Apr), Clapham Common (5 – 28 Apr), Hampton Court (19 – 23 Apr) and Shepherd’s Bush Green (5 – 22 Apr) over the Easter break. Rides include Big Apple Coaster, Dodgems, Bungee Trampolines, Tea Cups, Waltzer, Inflatable Slide and Carousel, among many others. For more information, visit the Irvin Leisure website.

  • 6 – 22 April : Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt @ Hampton Court Palace

Hunt for the Lindt gold chocolate bunny in the house and gardens at Hampton Court. Other family activities include a digital adventure around the palace, the magic garden and maze and workshops. Tickets (events inc with general admission): Adults from £21.30, Children from £10.70. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). For more information, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website.

  • 6 – 22 April : Easter @ Battersea Park Zoo

Take part in a host of Easter-themed activities, including an Easter Egg hunt, hedgehog day, honey bee day, cocoa fun day and a host of other events. Open 10am-4.30pm. Visitors can purchase a £1.50 (including prize) quiz sheet upon entry and follow the trail. General admission: Adults £9.95, Children 2-15 yrs £7.95. Battersea Park Zoo, Battersea Park, Chelsea Embankment, Battersea, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station: Battersea Park. For more information, visit the Battersea Park Zoo website.

  • 6 – 22 April : Easter @ WWT London Wetland Centre

Take part in Dusty’s Giant Easter Duck Hunt, enjoy a spot of pond dipping, a Wild Play session and Animal Track Detectives. 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults from £11.70, Children 4-16 yrs from £7.93. London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT. Nearest station: Barnes or Barnes Bridge. For more information, visit the London Wetland Centre website.

  • 6 – 22 April : Easter @ Kew

Check out the beautiful gardens and attractions of Kew, as well as other activities. Including the Tower of Colour, Sunday Stories, Log Trail, Woodland Walk and Giant Badger Sett. Free to take part with normal admission. Tickets: Adults from £16.50/£18, Children 4-16yrs from £4.50/£6, Under 4s free. Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information and tickets, visit the Kew Gardens website.

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

The beauty of spring at Kew Garden

  • 8 – 22 April : Easter @ National Army Museum

Over the Easter holidays, the museum will offer a variety of family activities, including make your own cap badge, tiny troopers (posters), digital poster design and poster printing. 10am-5.30pm. Free. National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, SW3 4HT. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For more information, visit the National Army Museum website.

  • 10 – 17 April : Hotel Chocolat Easter Eggs-travaganza @ London Eye

Enjoy an Easter experience on the London Eye with Hotel Chocolat. Including fast track entry, Hotel Chocolat tasting guide and Q&A session, 30 minute rotation, soft drink and Hotel Chocolat Easter goodie bag. Tickets: Adults £35, Children £28. London Eye, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Lambeth North. For booking, visit the London Eye website.

Read the rest of this entry

The Savoy launches The Tiger Who Came To Tea afternoon tea for families

The Tiger Who Came to Tea at The Savoy

The Tiger Who Came to Tea afternoon tea for children is launching at The Savoy

Launching this October is a rather special afternoon tea for families. Judith Kerr’s beloved children’s book The Tiger Who Came To Tea has been charming readers since 1968. Like many, I owned the book as a children and loved my parents reading it to me.

From this week, The Savoy hotel has teamed up with publishers HarperCollins to create a unique children’s afternoon tea inspired by the classic book as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. This food and drink extravaganza will be the five-star hotel’s first dedicated children’s afternoon tea offering in its 129 year history. The variety of treats are drawn from the tea that Sophie and her mum shared with the visiting tiger. The Savoy’s pastry team have dreamed up an enchanting menu served on bespoke chinaware inspired by the book. The stunning china will also be available to buy from Savoy Tea.

The menu is as follows:

  • Sophie’s Sandwiches

Peanut Butter & Jam Bites; Red Leicester Cheese Whirl; and Honey Roast Ham Finger Sandwiches.

  • Tiger Scones

Freshly-baked stripy scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

  • Treats with the Tiger

Sophie’s Tights (Blue and pink Battenberg), The Milkman Special (Vanilla yoghurt, raspberry compote), Mummy’s Cookie Crumbs (Dark chocolate cookie dipped in chocolate); Tiger Food (Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting); and Owp! (Handmade marzipan tiger).

  • Drinks

Accompanying the food will be a choice of hot or cold drink, including Vanilla Black Tea; Blackcurrant & Hibiscus Tea; Tiger Hot Chocolate (Served with cream and tiger stripes) or Orange juice.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea menu will be available for children at the first two sittings of Afternoon Tea in The Savoy’s iconic Thames Foyer. Adults may prefer the Traditional Afternoon Tea, Champagne Afternoon Tea and High Tea, which will continue to be offered.

  • The Savoy’s special edition The Tiger Who Came to Tea at The Savoy, Strand, Westminster, WC2R 0EZ. Nearest station: Embankment, Charing Cross or Temple. Available Mon-Fri afternoons for the first two sittings from 8 October 2018. Price: £40 per child (aged 5-12years). Dress code: Smart casual. For more information booking, visit The Savoy’s website.

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

This post is taking part in #CulturedKids, sharing cultural blog posts aimed at children. Thanks to Catherine at Cultured Wednesdays for getting me involved.

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Thames Rockets review: See iconic London sights at 35mph on a thrilling boat trip

Tower Bridge and Shard Thames Rockets © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

A view of Tower Bridge and The Shard from a Thames Rocket boat

Thames Rockets boat © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

One of the Thames Rockets departs London Eye Pier

I’ve long recommended a boat trip down the River Thames as a ‘must do’ to friends and family visiting London from abroad. It’s a great place to get an overview of the capital and some of its most iconic landmarks. such as the Tower of London, the London Eye and Cleopatra’s Needle. Personally, I’ve been down the river many times over the years on the Thames Clippers, party boats or the tourist cruises. However, the one Thames experience missing from my personal history was a speedboat ride… until now.

I had occasionally seen Thames Rockets on the Thames over the years as a pedestrian on dry land. Finally, last week, I got the chance to experience a trip on a Rocket myself. The company, which launched in 2006, offers six different experiences, ranging from a 15 minute ‘Thames Taster’ to the 80 minute Thames Barrier Explorers Voyage. I was on the Ultimate London Adventure, which aims to provide a “fun-filled adrenaline-fuelled 50 minute” journey. Ahead of my trip, I was intrigued how they would combine a sight-seeing tour and speed.

Arriving 15 minutes before departure, I was greeted by the friendly Thames Rockets team, who fitted my lifejacket at the pier just by the London Eye. Next, we were given a safety briefing before climbing in. The Thames Rockets boats are speedboats with seats for about 12 people, each with a driver and guide abroad during your journey. I managed to get a coveted spot at the front of the boat, which was perfect for me as I was planning to photograph and video a lot of the journey. We were introduced to our driver Doug and our guide Bill and prepared to set off.

Tate Modern © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The Tate Modern and Millennium Bridge

The first part of our journey was a musical trip past some of London’s most famous sights, such as Shakespeare’s Globe, Waterloo Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral. We slowed down a bit just before Tower Bridge so we could get some good photos. Soon after we passed under Tower Bridge and passed the River Police Station at Wapping, it was time to crank things up a gear. With this eastern passage of the Thames being wider and less busy than central London, Doug was free to increase the speed. Soon enough, we were holding on tight to the railings as we twisted, turned, and jumped over the waves at speeds of up to 30 knots (35mph). There was plenty of whooping and screaming as the group reacted to the various stunts. Sitting by the port side of the boat, I did get a little wet from the spray, but I was well prepared in a raincoat and it was all part of the fun. As we raced towards Canary Wharf, there were times I couldn’t even see the skyscrapers as the bow rode up in front of us as we leaped over the waves. The side turns were particularly hair-raising and certainly showed our skipper’s impressive skills at the wheel.  Read the rest of this entry

Backyard Cinema: Mission To Mars review: An intergalatic treat for sci-fi fans

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Prepare for blast off! Snuggle into your bean bag to watch your favourite sci-fi movie at Backyard Cinema: Mission To Mars

Sci-fi is one of the most popular film genres today, with the huge success of the Star Wars franchise and Avatar as prime examples. While many people buy downloads or DVDs of their favourite films, nothing compares to seeing those sweeping space vistas on the big screen.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Will you pass security?

This spring, Backyard Cinema have created an immersive cinematic experience to watch your favourite sci-fi movie. Known for their themed screenings of both new and classic movies, their latest offering, Mission To Mars is their most ambitious yet. Following on from previous themes such as their most recent Snow Kingdom, as well as Miami Beach and The Lost World, this experience takes film fans literally out of this world.

Backyard Cinema is located in the corner of foodie haven Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle. After a quick dinner of spaghetti al vongole, we headed to BC’s box office to grab our tickets before preparing for Phase One of our intergalactic experience. The entrance has been suitably decked out as a mission control or a space centre, which reminded me of film sets from many classic space movies. Your journey starts with being security scanned, before proceeding through a metallic corridor to board the shuttle to the spacecraft launch pad. The shuttle is similar to ones you ride at the airport, with vibrating special effects creating the feeling of moving fast and a video featuring a space stewardess advising you on what to expect. The whole entrance process really builds up the spacey atmosphere and adds a sense of excitement to what would usually be a fairly normal entertainment experience.

Finally, you arrive at the ‘spacecraft’ itself, full of bean bag seating, the flight deck screen and the space station bar. We headed to the latter to purchase some of the brilliantly branded drinks and snacks, such as the ‘Martian Mai-Tai’ and space invader sweets. Not only did the cocktails fit the theme perfectly, the pouch serving was so handy and practical for a dark cinema as I have been known to spill a few drinks in the past.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Fancy a Cosmos-politan or a Stargarita?

After settling down into our beanbags, we had some pre-flight entertainment as an astronaut actor hauled an audience member to the flight deck to help prepare for launch. The space safety demonstration, followed by ‘take-off’, made sure anyone who wasn’t already in the sci-fi mood by now, certainly soon would be. While the adults surrounding me were certainly enjoying the introductions, I think children will particularly love the drama of it all. Finally, it was time for the movie, with the one in question being 1996 classic Independence Day. I’ve seen the film a few times over the years, more recently on TV, and it’s so much better on the big screen. The horror of watching international landmarks like the Empire State Building being blown to smithereens by aliens is fully realised in wide-screen. The US President’s patriotic ‘our Independence Day’ speech and the British Army’s ridiculous ‘oh blimey, tally ho’ accents had us all in stitches, two comedy moments I don’t think the director had in mind.

Backyard Cinema has certainly delivered with their most ambitious theme yet. Children and adults alike will enjoy this immersive build-up to watching a sci-fi film. There’s plenty of classics and new releases coming up in the next few months, with matinees available during the Easter holidays and weekends so I certainly recommend booking soon, as they’re likely to sell out.

  • Backyard Cinema: Mission To Mars is on from now until 6 September 2018. Backyard Cinema, Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle or Borough. Tickets: Adults from £17.50, Children (under 12) from £9.50. Date night package for two: £75 (includes snacks, bottle of Prosecco and blankets). For booking and listings, visit the Backyard Cinema website.

This post is taking part in #CulturedKids, sharing cultural blog posts aimed at children. Thanks to Diary Of A Londoness for getting me involved.

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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 London’s urban beaches in summer 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Enjoy one of the capital’s urban beaches, such as this one on the South Bank

London may be 40 miles from the nearest seaside resort, but in the summer a surprising amount of sandy spots seem to crop up around the capital. During the warmer months, a host of bars, hotels, parks and outdoor spaces are hosting their own mini beaches with plenty of opportunity for fun and frolics for both young and old.

  • 1 June – 24 September : Beach Bar @ The Montague Hotel

Pop-up beach bar returns to the gardens of The Montague Hotel. Featuring real sand, beach hut, tropical cocktails, palm trees and BBQ. Open Mon-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-10pm. The Montague Hotel, 15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BJ. Nearest station: Russell Square or Holborn. For more information, visit The Montague Hotel website.

  • 23 June – 10 September : The Beach @ Brent Cross

A pop-up beach featuring entertainment, rides and street vendors, including 2,500 square metres of imported sandy beach. Open Mon-Fri: 12-10pm. Sat-Sun: 11am-10pm. Entry: £3. Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Hendon, NW4 3FP. Nearest station: Hendon Central or Brent Cross. For more information, visit The Beach Brent Cross website.

  • 2 July – 3 September : Hampstead Beach

The Jewish Community Centre is hosting a two month long pop-up beach, featuring lots of sand, cocktails, food and special events. Open Sun-Thu 9am-10.30pm, Fri 9am-5pm. Sat closed. Free entry. JW3, 341-351 Finchley Road, Hampstead, NW3 6ET. Nearest station: Finchley Road and Frognal or West Hampstead. To book, visit the JW3 website.

  • 15 July – 28 August : Big Screen On The Beach

Camden’s Roundhouse is hosting alfresco film screenings on its summer beach pop-up. Films include The Goonies, Mean Girls, Moana, Frozen, Titanic, Beauty And The Beast and many more. Times vary. Tickets: Adults £13.50, Children £5. Camden Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1 8EH. Nearest station: Chalk Farm. For booking, visit The Roundhouse website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London this Halloween 2016

© The Mansion

Scare yourself silly at The Mansion’s Halloween Ball
© The Mansion

The onset of autumn can be a bit depressing for many of us as the nights get darker and the temperatures get colder. So perhaps that’s why so many of us are getting more excited about Halloween than we used to – a bit of fun to lift us out of our pre-winter blues. Now it’s not only the Americans that go crazy for the annual scarefest with a host of daytime and nighttime events for both children and adult on in London. As it coincides with half-term, there’s plenty of Halloween-themed fun for kids throughout the week 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.

For a guide to what non-Halloween activities and festivals are on in London in October, click here.

Daytime jitters

  • 1 – 31 OctoberThe Witch Hunter at the London Dungeon

The London Dungeon are hosting a Halloween twist on their usual attractions, as you join Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins on his 17th century witch hunt. Tickets start from children £17.50, adults from £21.50. London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Dungeon, click here.

  • 22 – 30 October : Boo At The Zoo

A week of fiendish fun at London Zoo including Halloween-themed activities, pumpkin carving, animal demonstrations and crafts. Open 10am-5pm. Activities are free with entry to zoo. Entrance tickets: Adults £24.25, Child £17.60. London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website.

  • 22 – 31 OctoberA Slice of Pumpkin Eye at the London Eye

Special Halloween experiences for families with a fun activity pack. Tickets: Children from £16.95, Adults from £21.20. London Eye, near Westminster Bridge Road, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Eye website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Eye, click here.

  • 22 – 31 October : Spookfest @ 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: £11.25 adults, £4.95 children. 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.

  • 24 – 28 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 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Tickets: Adults £13.60, Children £8.10. 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.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Halloween fun for families on the Cutty Sark in Greenwich

  • 24 – 28 October : She Tells Sea Tales

Step on-board the Cutty Sark to be entertained with artists, musicians and storytellers. 11am-3.45pm. Tickets: Adults £12.15, Children £6.30. Cutty Sark Clipper Ship, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9HT. Nearest stations: Cutty Sark (DLR), Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.

  • 24 – 29 October : Things That Go Splash In The Night @ Maritime Museum

Children can make their own shipwrecked musical instruments and listen to scary tales and watch puppet shows. Free admission. Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9NF. Nearest stations: Cutty Sark (DLR), Maze Hill or Greenwich. For more information and booking, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.

  • 25 October : Halloween @ Benjamin Franklin House

A spooky family day with spooky 18th century stories told by Polly Hewson and ghastly games. 4-5pm. Free, but advanced booking recommend. Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, WC2N 5NG. Nearest stations: Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the Benjamin Franklin House website. Read the rest of this entry

Get wet and wild as water extravaganza Splash Fest comes to London for one day only

© RNLI

Splash Fest is one day water extravaganza in Battersea Park
© RNLI

This summer, Battersea Park is being transformed into a water extravaganza for one day only. The riverside park will play host to Splash Fest, a family-friendly aqua obstacle course, on Sunday 7 August.

Splash Fest will feature five zones of water-themed challenges and games spread over a 2.5km trail. Organised by lifesaving charity Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the event will be a great family day out for family with children aged 7-12.

Among the zones includes ‘Crazy Canyon’, with a series of pools to cross using floating devices and a giant inflatable water slide. ‘Splash ‘n’ Shoot’ will see guests navigating a giant boat before aiming at floating targets on the lake. Meanwhile, you’ll get the chance to dodge geyser-spouting waters at ‘Wild Wild Waters’. Next, the ‘Slip-Slide Stream’ features a toboggan-style water slides from sedate and slippy to fast and foamy. Finally, the ‘Bubbly Brook’, features giant bubbles, a maze, music and bandstand hidden amongst a sea of foam.

In addition to the splash-tastic fun, there will be entertainment, food, drink and a drying-off area in the Splash Out Zone, where you can find out all about the lifesaving work done by the RNLI.

  • Splash Fest takes place on Sunday 7 August 2016. 9am-7pm, but start times are staggered. Advance tickets: Adults £22, Children £10, Under 3s free. On the day tickets: Adults £25, Children £12.50. Battersea Park, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road. For more information and tickets, visit the Splash Fest website.
© RNLI

Splash Fest will feature five zones of water fun
© RNLI


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

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Roll up, roll up to the Spiegeltent: Comedy, music, acrobatics and more come to Canary Wharf

Ready Steady Colour

Ready Steady Colour, an interactive theatre experience for families, is among the entertainment at the Spiegeltent in Canary Wharf this September

With its skyscraper offices and busy professionals, Canary Wharf is usually associated with work. However, this September, the area is getting a huge injection of fun in the form of a 11 day festival in The Spiegeltent. Pitching up at Canary Square Park, The Spiegeltent will host comedy, music, dance, cabaret, acrobatics, theatre for both adults and families.

Opening the festival is award-winning Las Vegas veteran Peggy Sued with a variety night, featuring Pete Firman, Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer, Rod Laver, Felipe Reyes and burlesque bombshell Sophia St Villier. There’ll be the unique blend of circus swing and burlesque folk of Gabby Young + Other Animals plus the Nest Collective House Ceilidh Band.

Boudoir Circus 2

Aircraft Circus presents Boudoir Circus, a sexy mix of acrobatics and dance
© Dimitris Amvrazis

One of the Spiegeltent’s biggest acts will be Scotland’s internationally acclaimed and award-winning ‘half-man-half-Xbox’ Daniel Sloss, brining his Edinburgh Festival hit show Dark.

On 15 September, Alex Horne and The Horne Section will be getting the crowd laughing with their new barnstorming mix of stand-up and music. Turning circus on its head will be the Aircraft Circus presenting Boudoir Circus, a dark and sexy soiree with acrobatics and dance.

As well as performances, there will be workshops too so you can acquire new skills and entertain the children. Learn to dance with the London Academy Of Dance, create your own scrapbook with Shimelle and ice gingerbreads to perfection with Serena Montesissa. The kids will be able to burn off some energy at the Big Fish Little Fish and their Family Rave. Or get the children into comedy early at Comedy Club 4 Kids, with stand-up and sketch from Luke Toulson, Bec Hill and Howard Read. Other family entertainment includes musical workshops by Boppin Bunnies, Bach to Baby and Theatre of Widdershins performing their musical puppetry show The Elves and The Shoemaker.

Other acts performing over the festival include improvisation comedy champions BattleActs!, psychic siblings Twins Macabre, BBC Folk Club winners The Nest Collective, Nepalese band Night and impressionist, art-folk ensemble Firefly Burning.

During the festival, there will a bar providing refreshments while the many restaurants and bars of Canary Wharf will be moments away should you wish to eat.

  • The Spiegeltent will run at Canary Wharf from 10-20 September 2015. The tent will be pitched at Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14 5AH. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. Ticket prices range from free to £16 depending on event. For most tickets, visit SeeTickets, or for Daniel Sloss tickets, visit LiveNation.

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

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