Visit London Blog » Lettice Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:29:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Spotlight On: Lambeth Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:00:37 +0000 South Bank

The London Borough of Lambeth is an area of London which encompasses the central areas of South Bank and Waterloo, as well as Brixton, Crystal Palace and Streatham Common. The childhood home of Charlie Chaplin, Lambeth is now home to the The Old Vic theatre and the basketball team the Brixton Topcats. There’s no shortage of things to see and places to go. Here are a few of our favourites:

EDF Energy London Eye

1. Top London Attractions
Lambeth is home to some of London’s top attractions, including the EDF Energy London Eye which offers spectacular views across the city; arts hub The Southbank Centre; the London Aquarium and the London Dungeon.

If you have a passion for intelligent theatre, visit the National Theatre which attracts well-known, highly regarded actors. Tickets often sell out so try to book in advance.

Lambeth Palace

2. Hidden Gems
If you love historic buildings, there are regular guided tours of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s London residence Lambeth Palace which was built in 1490. West Norwood Cemetery is one of London’s most magnificent Victorian cemeteries with 69 listed monuments. Regular guided tours are held on the first Sunday of the month.

Brixton Windmill was built in 1816 and has recently been restored. Open regularly for guided tours, the sails will be turning when you visit if you’re lucky! Other fascinating places to visit in Lambeth include the Garden Museum, Vauxhall City Farm and the Florence Nightingale Museum.

Brixton Village Market: The Granville Arcade

3. Shops and Markets
There are loads of cool places to shop in Lambeth. Pick up a perfect gift at the Southbank Centre Shop, or head to Lower Marsh Street for street markets and independent and vintage shops like What the Butler Wore, iKnit and Radio Days. You’ll also find some interesting shopping in Crystal Palace, including Bookseller Crow on the Hill and Crystal Palace Antiques Emporium.

Brixton Market’s trendy revival has seen some arty boutiques arriving in the former Granville Arcade. The market is also a great place for foodies. Stock up your cupboards or join the queue for an amazing Franco Manca pizza. Don’t miss the mouth-watering tapas at Seven or the tasty delights at Rosie’s Deli.

Brockwell Lido

4. Sporty Lambeth
Swim outside in the sunshine at Brockwell Lido, or get your skates on at Streatham Ice Rink. Show off your skateboarding tricks at the Kennington Bowl, House of Vans or Stockwell Sands. If that sounds too energetic, go for a stroll around the Rookery in Streatham Common or slap on some suncream and sit back and watch international cricket at The Oval.


5. Cinema
Lambeth is a paradise for cinephiles who should head to the BFI Southbank, a multi-screen cinema and movie archive beside the river. You’ll find a huge programme of classic, foreign language and independent movies, as well film festivals and themed events.

Fans of very big screens can enjoy the latest blockbusters and 3D specials at the BFI IMAX. There are also two other great alternative arthouse cinemas in Lambeth, the Brixton Ritzy and the Clapham Picturehouse.

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Sewing in London: A Guide to Sewing Classes, Shops and Museums Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:48:45 +0000 Are you a fan of the BBC TV series The Great British Sewing Bee? Here are some ideas for sewing themed fun in London:

Geffrye Museum

The first series of The Great British Sewing Bee was filmed in Dalston; you can plan your next sewing project with tea and cake at The Other Café and Gallery where the contestants had lunch. From there it’s easy to hop on a bus down to the Geffrye Museum to see the vintage interiors, and then visit the area around Spitalfields market, where you’ll find a hive of independent designers/makers selling beautiful things.

Don’t miss the Sunday Upmarket near Brick Lane, which homes 140 stalls selling crafts, interiors and accessories. Cavernous fabric shop Crescent Trading in Shoreditch also merits exploration.

London Sewing Machine Museum

One episode of the second series included a short film made at the London Sewing Machine Museum. The Tooting-based museum is open on the first Sunday of the month and includes three rooms of gorgeous antique sewing machines and sewing memorabilia. It’s sited above a huge sewing machine shop where you can get your machine repaired or buy a reconditioned one. You’ll also find a big craft shop next door selling fabric, patterns and haberdashery.

One of the finest collection of fashion and textiles in the world can be found at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. As well as the fashion galleries, there are regular fashion exhibitions and you’ll discover beautiful textile items displayed throughout the museum.

If you were inspired by the patternless draping in the second series semi-finals, the V&A has some Vionnet dresses in its collection, but none are currently on display. If you want to see them, you might want to consider a visit to the Clothworkers Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles where you can make an appointment to study items from the national collection of textiles and fashion.

London’s amazing Fashion and Textile Museum has also been featured on the show and has a full schedule of classes and exhibitions devoted to sewing, design and creativity.

Savile Row

Find out more about London’s history of traditional tailoring at Savile Row. Dishy Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant is the creative director of Norton & Sons (established 1821) at Number 16 Savile Row.

You’ll find many sewing classes in London. Some of the best places to take a class include Liberty, Fabrications, Ray Stitch, Sew Over It and The Thrifty Stitcher (where you can take masterclasses run by the Great British Sewing Bee’s sewing producer!).

A shop in Southall

If the modification challenge is more your thing, head to Sew Good in Kilburn. Run by the charity Traid, you can learn to mend and upcycle your valued clothes. If vintage techniques inspire you, check out the classes at The School of Historical Dress. If you’re looking for amazing embroidered trims, have a hunt around the shops in Southall.

Learn how to decorate your projects with goldwork embroidery with a weekend class at Hand & Lock or The Royal School of Embroidery at Hampton Court Palace.

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James Capper at the Kirkaldy Testing Museum in London Wed, 16 Oct 2013 07:58:15 +0000 Kirkaldy Testing Museum (7)

For the next two weeks, artist James Capper will be in residence at the Kirkaldy Testing Museum in London, creating his latest work using the museum’s Victorian equipment.

In 1865, engineer David Kirkaldy set up his business in Southwark and began to test materials for strength and behaviour. The results would allow designers and builders to know if iron, steel or any another material was strong enough to build large structures. Kirkaldy’s Testing and Experimenting Works moved to its present location in Southwark in 1874, where the business ran until 1965. In 1971 the building was listed Grade 2, and in 1983 it opened as a museum.

At the centre of the museum is the huge Victorian Kirkaldy Machine, an elegant green water hydraulic powered structure, which is capable of crushing, stretching and bending metal. The museum is normally only open on the first Sunday of every month, so this is a special chance to visit.

James Capper is known for his work creating mechanical sculptures with industrial engineering aesthetic. He worked with the museum’s experts to develop the designs for the metal which will be manipulated in the machine during his residence at the museum. Each experiment will be treated as a performance and the work will be on display.

This might all sound geeky, but I visited the museum to see the first piece being created and it was fascinating to see the machine effortlessly pulling the metal apart. Both artists and scientists will find plenty to enjoy. Music fans should check out this video of a previous residence where the machines were used to create a piece of improvised music, Music at Breaking Point.

This event is part of the Merge Festival, a month of arts, culture and history in the Bankside area of London.

James Capper and the Kirkaldy Testing Museum: Open until 20 October 2013. Open Wednesday – Sunday 12:00 – 19:00
Performance: Saturday 19 October at 14:00

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Doctor Who: The Who Shop and Museum in London Wed, 19 Sep 2012 13:00:57 +0000

Upton Park in East London has been invaded by aliens from space. But don’t panic, they’re all safely contained in The Who Shop, London’s only permanent Doctor Who shop and museum.

As well as an extensive range of Doctor Who merchandise for sale, the fun really begins when you step into the TARDIS and visit the treasures in the small museum at the back of the shop.

The room is packed with props and costumes from the TV show. You’ll find yourself face to face with a Cyberman, a Cybermat, K9 and two scary Daleks as well as a host of other characters and objects.

When I visited The Who Shop, the friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic owner talked us through the collection and even let me try on a Dalek Trooper helmet (not showing you a picture and if you ask I’ll exterminate you.)

If you’re not a Whovian you might be a little mystified, but if you like or love the show, The Who Shop is exciting. It’s the perfect place to visit with your brainy friends, your kids and your Ood butler.

The Who Shop host book signings with Doctor Who stars, welcome fans from round the world and provides a joyful haven of geekery that you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting London.

Read more about exploring the history of Doctor Who in London.

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Piccadilly Circus Circus Sat, 08 Sep 2012 08:00:17 +0000

No, not snow, but a burst of feathers falling from the sky at last weekend’s Piccadilly Circus Circus. London is always entertaining!

If you see fun things happening in London, don’t forget to add your photos to the Visit London Flickr group.

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London Photo of the Week: Jubilee Gardens Sun, 26 Aug 2012 08:00:05 +0000

This summer in the city photo by just1snap is just lovely. Traditional holiday pleasures like fairground rides and relaxing in the park can be found right in the centre of London.

If you’re having fun in London over the long weekend, don’t forget to share your photos with the Visit London Flickr group.

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London Photo of the Week: Showtime by the river at Richmond Sat, 11 Aug 2012 08:00:54 +0000

This week’s photo features Les Grooms, a fabulous French musical performance group putting on an impromptu performance beside the Thames at Richmond as part of the 2012 Festival.

The closing ceremony of the London 2012 games is tomorrow but the fun in London continues all summer long and there are plenty more entertaining treats still to pop up in London.

Don’t forget to share your pictures of all the amazing things you’re seeing in London this summer with the Visit London Flickr group.

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Laura Trott and Boris Johnson Launch RideLondon Fri, 10 Aug 2012 13:30:22 +0000

Team GB Olympian Laura Trott and London Mayor Boris Johnson took to their bikes today to launch the 2013 London cycling festival RideLondon.

RideLondon is London’s new cycling festival which includes traffic-free cycling past major London attractions for families and amateurs, as well as the opportunity to spectate while some of the world’s best athletes race through the capital’s streets.

Cycling in London is one of the best ways to travel, on a hire bike, with a cycle tour, or on your own bike. RideLondon will be an entire weekend devoted to getting out and about on your bike.

Gold medalist Laura said, “It’s great to think we may have inspired people to get on their bikes and RideLondon is a great opportunity for the public to get out and join us on the roads. Cycling has always been a huge part of my family’s life and I hope that having watched the Games lots more people will be encouraged to have a go.”

RideLondon takes place between 3 and 4 August 2013. Visit for more information.

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London Photo of the Week: Emirates Air Line Sat, 04 Aug 2012 08:00:03 +0000

Tom Weightman got a stunning view of London from the Emirates Air Line. The Emirates Air Line is one of London’s most exciting new attractions. You can also climb the new walkway on top of the O2 arena, Up At The O2.

Have you taken any beautiful photos in London this week? There’s so much to see in London this summer! Add your photos to the Visit London Flickr group.

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Usain Bolts into Madame Tussauds in London Thu, 02 Aug 2012 17:03:40 +0000

A brand new wax figure of top Jamaican runner Usain Bolt has just joined the sports zone in Madame Tussauds in London.

The world is waiting to see if the three-times gold medallist Usain can take home more gold during the London 2012 games. This week is the perfect time to visit Madame Tussauds to see the sporting hero striking his famous “to di world” pose.

As well as finding out how you measure up against speedy Bolt, you can also meet wax figures of other great sporting legends including David Beckham, Rafael Nadal, Jessie Owens, Mohammed Ali and Team GB favourites, diver Tom Daley and heptathlete Jessica Ennis.

Have you been to Madame Tussauds recently? Which figure do you think it the most lifelike?

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