Visit London Blog » Attractions http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Spotlight On: Haringey http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/09/haringey-north-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/09/haringey-north-london/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:00:38 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39155 The view from Alexandra Palace

The view from Alexandra Palace

Guest post by Jacki Davenport

Haringey is a North London borough of history and contrasts. It’s well worth the 20-minute trip by train, tube or bus. Here are five reasons to visit:

Green Space
More than 25 per cent of Haringey is green space and of all London’s 32 boroughs it has the largest number of parks awarded Green Flag status.

Spend an afternoon rambling in Highgate Wood, then follow the disused-railway-turned-public-space of Parkland Walk down to Finsbury Park; one of the first great London parks laid out in Victorian times and home to a boating lake, playing fields, cafe and extensive children’s adventure playground. Or perhaps try a walk on the wild side and follow the River Lee and explore Tottenham Marshes.

Parkland Walk

Parkland Walk

History
One of the highest points in Haringey is Alexandra Palace. This birthplace of the BBC has impressive views to the City and is where the world’s first regular high-definition public TV broadcast took place on 2 November 1936. If you don’t like heights, visit one of the lowest lying areas in the east to find out how Markfield Pumping Station solved London’s sanitation problems in 1886.

History buffs will also love Bruce Castle Museum, the earliest mention of which is a visit by Henry VIII in 1516. Nowadays it houses the local history archives, art exhibitions and, if you believe the rumours, a ghost!

Brunch at Haberdashery

Brunch at Haberdashery

Eating and drinking
Try something new in Haringey. The best Turkish food in London is in Green Lanes. Popular choices include Devran, Antepliler and Gokyuzu, which was Trip Advisor’s #2 restaurant in all of London at one point in 2013. If you’d rather grab and go then Yasar Halim has amazing sweet and savoury Turkish pastries.

Around Turnpike Lane you can sample the world on a plate – Polish (Autograf), Mauritian (Le Chamarel), Indian (Jashan) and Japanese in unlikely looking local pub The Fountain.

There’s also loads of cafes dotted along streets and in parks. Downhills Park cafe rates a mention for its superb coffee and homemade brownies, as does Blend. Further west, Crouch End highlights include Haberdashery and Hot Pepper Jelly where you can sample the famous grilled peanut butter, bacon and hot pepper jelly sandwich!

If you’d like a drink with your meal, The Salisbury on Green Lanes offers a gastropub menu and splendid Victorian interiors. On a sunny afternoon try the Ferry Boat Inn or the Beehive. For live entertainment, there’s Jam in a Jar and The Step.

Soup Dragon

Soup Dragon

Shopping
Shopping malls, high street chains, local boutiques and villagey shopping streets can all be found in Haringey. A few highlights include:

The independent Big Green Bookshop, a hidden gem that offers a small but select range of books, great customer service and activities.

Crouch End has many clothing and gift shops for all ages. We recommend Soup Dragon for a lovely range of traditional wooden toys and colourful kids clothing.

Foodies will have a field day with the Haringey farmers’ markets, but don’t despair if you miss market day! There’s a great selection of local food shops, many still family-owned and run including: Praan (Indian confectionery), Dunn’s (bakery), Walter Purkis (fish and meat), W Martyn (tea and coffee) and particular favourite Cheeses.

Did you know…
The Percys were an aristocratic family who owned large amounts of land in the Tottenham area. The 14th century’s Sir Henry Percy is immortalised in William Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 as “Harry Hotspur” and he’s also recognised in the name of the local football team – Tottenham Hotspur.

Are you a resident or have you visited Haringey recently? What are your highlights? Tell us in the comments below…

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Things To Do During London Fashion Week http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/09/london-fashion-week-events-you-can-go-to-2/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/09/london-fashion-week-events-you-can-go-to-2/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:00:37 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39197 Guest post by Fashion City Insider

Muriel Maxwell, American Vogue Cover, 1 July 1939. Copyright: Conde Nast/ Horst Estate.

Muriel Maxwell, American Vogue Cover, 1 July 1939. Copyright: Conde Nast/ Horst Estate. Part of the Horst: Photographer of Style exhibition.

London Fashion Week, the biggest event in London’s annual fashion calendar, is taking place from 12 to 16 September. For those without access to the much-coveted affair, here’s a round-up of the top fashion-related happenings that you can enjoy:

Sleeveless, side buttoned heather grey knitted ensemble, US Vogue Feb 1947 by Horst P. Horst. Copyright: Conde Nast Archive/ Corbis

Sleeveless, side buttoned heather grey knitted ensemble, US Vogue Feb 1947 by Horst P. Horst. Copyright: Conde Nast Archive/ Corbis

Knitwear Chanel to Westwood Exhibition 

Make amends for missing out on the front row by strutting your stuff at the major fashion exhibitions currently on in the city. The Fashion and Textile Museum’s Knitwear Chanel to Westwood exhibition (19 Sep-18 Jan 2015), features knitwear pieces from some of the fashion world’s finest designers and explores the effects of punk and deconstruction on 20th century fashion design. If charting fashion evolution tickles your fancy, Wedding Dresses 1775–2014 is also running until March 2015 at the V&A. Here you’ll see more of Westwood’s work, as well as showstopping creations from the likes of Vera Wang and John Galliano.

Impossible Catwalk Shows

For a unique take on the Fashion Week phenomena, visit the Fashion Space Gallery at the London College of Fashion and see Simon Costin’s Impossible Catwalk Shows. Opening on the first day of London Fashion Week, exchange the real catwalk experience for Costin’s own bizarre interpretations where the possibilities are endless. Until 13 Dec

When Art Meets Fashion

From 6 September visit the V&A’s latest blockbuster exhibition Horst: Photographer of Style with prints, drawings and notebooks from the legendary fashion photographer. Gallery 8 is also exploring fashion in a different medium with their Drawing On Style exhibition. Here you can view fashion illustrations commissioned for the likes of Vogue and L’Oreal – and you will even get the chance to buy original designs from Dior and Biba! 11-16 Sep

Drawing On Style

Drawing On Style

Inside Coco Chanel’s Apartment

Take a unique chance to explore Coco Chanel’s apartment in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s photographic exhibition for the Saatchi Gallery, that allows visitors to see inside the home of one of fashion’s most iconic figures for the first time. 12-22 Sep

"Second floor" The Private Apartment of Mademoiselle Chanel. Image: Sam Taylor-Johnson

“Second floor” The Private Apartment of Mademoiselle Chanel. Image: Sam Taylor-Johnson

Vintage Fashion Fairs

Over the weekend, take a break from the catwalk and galleries, and shop some iconic vintage wear, proving that it’s not all about new designs, but historic staples too! Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair returns on 14 September from 11am to 5pm. Alexandra Palace also has a Pop Up Vintage Fair happening on the same date from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Designer Cocktails

After a packed day of activities, an evening during London Fashion Week wouldn’t be complete without a cocktail or two. The Metropolitan Hotel on Old Park Lane is serving up an array of designer inspired cocktails at their Met bar from 16–20 September, with muses including Tom Ford, Paul Smith and Matthew Williamson.

Fashion City Insider is a fashion travel guide. Visit its London pages for more inspiration and tweet them @fashion_cities

 

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Top Five River Thames Experiences http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/08/top-five-river-thames-experiences/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/08/top-five-river-thames-experiences/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:00:41 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39178 A guest post by Totally Thames Festival Director Adrian Evans

Throughout September, Totally Thames festival celebrates the River Thames with a 30-day programme of river-inspired events, including colourful regattas, river rallies and community festivals. Totally Thames Festival director Adrian Evans shares his top five must-do River Thames experiences:

1. Walk the towpath between the lush riverside villages of Kew and Richmond.

The Thames path at Richmond

The Thames path at Richmond

2. Soak up the view of the Thames Barrier, which spans 520 metres across the Thames at Woolwich Reach. Then take a stroll around the picture-pretty Thames Barrier Park.

Thames Barrier

Thames Barrier

3. Take a ride over the River Thames on the Emirates air line, London’s cable car. During the 10-minute journey, you’ll be treated to eye-popping views of East London as you travel between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.

Emirates Air Line

Emirates Air Line

4. Stroll amongst the wilderness at the RSPB Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve.

Rainham Marshes

Rainham Marshes

5. Ride the Thames Clipper from Westminster Pier to Woolwich.

Thames Clipper

Thames Clipper

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Spotlight On: Lambeth http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/08/spotlight-on-lambeth/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/08/spotlight-on-lambeth/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:00:37 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38763 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.

BFI IMAX

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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Five Of The Best: Historic London Landmarks http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/five-of-the-best-historical-london-landmarks/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/five-of-the-best-historical-london-landmarks/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:00:07 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39101 A Guest Post by London Pass

London is a historical hub and a centre of culture so when visitors arrive in the city they expect the cobbled streets to whisper the secrets and scandals of centuries gone by. Sightseeing city card company London Pass has delved into London’s unique history and picked out five of the best attractions in and around the capital.

Tower of London

Tower of London
Arguably one of London’s most popular attractions, the Tower of London goes all the way back to the days of William the Conqueror and Richard the Lionheart. Passing through the hands of many rulers and sovereigns, it’s no surprise that the building’s purpose and influence over the city has radically changed over time, from a stronghold, to a zoo – and more memorably, a prison…

Learn about the gory history from those who lost their heads in execution, to the most notorious prisoners. It’s not all about blood and brutality though, the Tower of London is most famous for housing the priceless Crown Jewels, the most monarchic symbol in the UK.

Visit the exhibitions and events over the summer and learn about the history of the Royal Mint and the Line of Kings – the world’s longest-running exhibition.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge
Not to be confused with London Bridge, Tower Bridge is a feat of London’s industrial ingenuity with its hydraulic bascules (drawbridges) and 11,000 tonne steel framework.

Over 128 years old, Tower Bridge was built as a solution to ease East End congestion with both roads and foot passages. As a landmark of architectural glory, it was given a facelift in celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, from brown to blue, white and red. Much more patriotic!

Now you can explore the high level walkways and admire the views over the River Thames, as well as gain an interesting insight into the history of the bridge through an exhibition and photo gallery.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey
As one of London’s most impressive buildings, Westminster Abbey is not only a stunning Gothic church, but a UNESCO World Heritage Site with hundreds of years of history. As one of the most important churches in the city, it has played host to numerous national events, royal weddings and influential ceremonies.

Westminster Abbey celebrated over 1,000 years of worship – and some believe it might even date as far back as 785 with some evidence of an abbey on an islet in the Thames. Now, the Abbey is the resting place of some of Britain’s most prominent figureheads from royals and poets, to scientists and politicians. Explore the graves of Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Dickens, even Sir Isaac Newton.

Most recently it was the church in which Kate and Wills, the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge, got married. And what a splendid affair that was!

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle
Slightly outside London lies the Queen’s preferred weekend residence: Windsor Castle. As the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, it’s a must-see for any visitor to London – and definitely worth the trip. Handed down through a line of Kings and Queens, the castle has undergone years of restoration following a destructive fire and, let’s be honest, clashes in personal ‘decorative’ taste!

The State Apartments are testament to the extravagance of the royals and you can see priceless paintings and portraits of the monarchs who made Windsor Castle their home.

Hampton Court Palace maze

Hampton Court Palace
When you think of King Henry VIII, you think of Hampton Court Palace – or you should. With an infamous reputation that proceeds him, this King was one of the most memorable of the monarchy. With die-hard habits and a ruthless character, he helped transform Hampton Court into what we see today.

One of the most impressive features of Hampton Court Palace – and certainly one of the most ridiculous – is the huge kitchen! Known for his huge appetite, Henry’s kitchen was equipped to cook for up to 600 guests, at least twice a day, so you can imagine the size. You can still explore this kitchen today, as well as the hedgerow maze and 60 acres of manicured gardens, including a vineyard.

Make the most of your sightseeing experience with a London Pass and you can enjoy all of these London landmarks for free. 

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Visiting The Past: Buckingham Palace http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/39000/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/39000/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 09:00:56 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39000 As Buckingham Palace is due to open its doors to the public on 26 July for its yearly Summer Opening, the Museum of London‘s Senior Curator of Fashion Beatrice Behlen explores the history of the world-famous royal residence.

Buckingham Palace in 1913, captured by photographer Christina Broom.

It is unlikely that John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby (1648-1721) expected his name still to be associated with the main residence of the English monarch almost 300 years after his death. The original Buckingham House was built for the Duke in 1703 and still forms the core of the building that first became a royal home when King George III acquired it for his wife, Queen Charlotte in 1761.

Over the years several architects were involved in enlarging the building, most notably John Nash – also responsible for Regent Street – who was hired in 1826 but fired in 1829 for being too extravagant in his designs. Nash’s successor Edward Blore finished the work in time for Queen Victoria to move in on her accession in 1837.

Even before the addition of the east wing, now providing the main façade of the palace, the enormity of the building was noted. One German critic, a certain Dr. Gustav Waagen, thought that the palace looked ‘as if some wicked magician had suddenly transformed some capricious stage-scenery into solid reality’.

In 1843, a contributor to Charles Knight’s book on London admired the ingenuity involved in ‘preventing a pile of such large dimensions from appearing large’.  The palace was made even larger, 108 metres wide and 120 metres deep to be precise, once the wing facing The Mall was added in 1847. The creation of the forecourt including gates and railings in 1911, and the addition of white Portland stone to the façade in 1913 made the palace into what Londoners and visitors to the capital can now gaze at in wonderment.

Buckingham Palace 1913, by Christina Broom

If you are interested in facts and figures, have a look at this helpful list provided by the royal household, where some of the contents of the palace are mentioned, including a tennis court, doctor’s surgery, cinema and, most intriguingly, a swimming pool. This was added in 1938 when the north-west pavilion, originally designed as a conservatory and changed in 1911-13 into a rackets court, was converted. It is said that the Princesses Margaret and Diana were keen swimmers and today royal household staff are allowed to use the facility as long as they leave once a member of the royal family appears, unless invited to stay.

Each year, large numbers of guests gain access to the palace and its large grounds during garden parties, receptions, audiences and banquets. Since 2009 the palace is also open to the public during the summer, with changing temporary exhibitions arranged in some of the principal rooms. This year, unsurprisingly, the focus will be on royal childhood. Despite the fact that Prince Philip is said to have taught his children swimming there, the pool, for now at least, will not be part of the public route.

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My Favourite Places To Go In London This Summer By Ezra, Age Eight And a Third http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/favourite-places-to-go-in-london-this-summer-by-ezra-age-eight-and-a-third/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/favourite-places-to-go-in-london-this-summer-by-ezra-age-eight-and-a-third/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:05:07 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39064 Guest blog by Ezra from Babes About Town

Ezra

1. Granary Square, King’s Cross

I like Granary Square because there are fountains that change shape. At night it’s even better because the fountains go a bit higher and they turn loads of bright colours. It’s a really big space where you can jump and run around.

Sometimes there are food stalls, and there are other nice places to eat, plus there’s a space round the back where they have different activities. There’s table tennis, and last summer they had a roller skating rink. My friend had a party there and it was my first time ever roller skating. I did pretty well.

Sometimes we get to Granary Square by walking along the canal and you can sit by the water on these great big steps like long green sofas covered in grass. I once saw a guy doing a handstand on there. You can also do forward rolls although I wouldn’t do forward rolls down the stairs because it would hurt a lot and also you could fall into the canal! You can actually take a boat ride through a tunnel from there too.

Granary Square Fountains

Hyde Park

I like Hyde Park because it’s like a country of green lands. It’s like a giant, giant park that’s probably bigger than two buildings stacked on top of each other. It’s a good place for running around as there’s loads of space to play. It’s a great place to have a picnic. We love playing football there — sometimes we find two trees and another two trees next to each other so it makes a great goal.

At Hyde Park there are always people playing sports and loads of people rollerskating down the pathway, skateboarding, doing back flips and tricks. There’s a very long lake (it has to be long because Hyde Park is giant!). You can sit by the lake on a deckchair and sometimes the ducks fly out so you can feed them.

Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park

Southbank Centre

I love the South Bank because not only is it really big, there’s a food market at the bottom where you can get loads of stuff to eat. There’s a really cool skate park; I like watching them skate and do bike tricks. There’s space to run around, you can see the River Thames.

You can get a river cruise or a sightseeing tour and one time we went on a super-fast speed boat ride! From the Southbank Centre you can see all the famous buildings like Big Ben and the EDF Energy London Eye. When you walk along, you can see buskers who do stunts like flipping off their bicycle or these amazing African acrobats. We’ve seen lots of shows there, like Slava’s Snowshow in winter which is a very funny show.

Skateboarder on the South Bank

Science Museum

I like the Science Museum because there’s a place called the Launchpad where you can test things out and do the actual experiment yourself. You can fire a water bottle rocket by pressing two buttons, it’s really cool. There are different sections where you can find out about science, outer space and how the world was created, or how people lived in the olden days. The space section is cool because it tells you about the galaxy and stuff which hasn’t even been discovered yet.

Science Museum

Street Food Fairs and Markets

My dad does street food and we love going to street food fairs and markets. There’s Kerb, there’s Street Feast, there’s Feast, loads of different ones. I’ve tried different types of food from all different countries, even vegetarian Indian! I usually eat quite a few things because it all looks so nice. One time at an event I made some meatballs and we had them in a sauce and it was yummy. I had two helpings! Most of the time, the food doesn’t cost as much as restaurants and you can just walk around outdoors eating. It’s pretty cool.

South Bank Market

Ezra is one of the babes at Babes about Town, a blog that celebrates the best activities and coolest finds for families in London and beyond.www.babesabouttown.com

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Free Day Out For Families in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/free-day-out-for-families/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/free-day-out-for-families/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 09:00:34 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39045 Family outside Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Guest post by Laura Porter

The South Bank is always a great destination for families. It’s traffic-free, has wide pavements, fantastic views of iconic London landmarks, and there’s always lots going on that costs nothing. Here’s a plan for a free day out with your family.

Start by the EDF Energy London Eye where you can look across to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The nearest tube station is Waterloo.

Once you’ve taken some snaps let the kids play in Jubilee Gardens. As well as the green open space to run around safely there is also a playground for under 11s. (Be aware that bikes and scooters are not permitted at Jubilee Gardens.)

 Jubilee Gardens

Between The London Eye and Southbank Centre you’ll find lots of street performers vying for your attention. My daughter likes to take some coins to give to her favourites.

I know there’s a carousel here but we normally finds something more interesting at Southbank Centre, whether it’s a free event in the Royal Festival Hall (where there’s also a cafe and toilets), the summer garden on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall or a free festival alongside the river. There’s also the singing elevator (JCB Glass Lift) in the Royal Festival Hall and the skateboarders under the building to watch so you’ll always find something to entertain.

Carry on walking along the South Bank and you’ll soon reach Gabriel’s Wharf where there are often sand sculptures on the beach to admire. Head into Gabriel’s Wharf and there are some well-priced cafes (and more toilets).

Ten minutes further along the riverside walk and you’ll reach Tate Modern. There are many floors of modern artworks to admire and you only need to buy a ticket for special exhibitions. The river level cafe is incredibly family-friendly with a buggy park at the back, plenty of high chairs and a kid’s menu (and kids eat free when an adult buys a meal). Paper placemats and crayons are brought to the table for families too.

If you’d prefer a view from higher up go to Level 3 and from the balcony you can look across to St. Paul’s Cathedral and The City. There’s another small cafe on this level too, and, of course, more toilets. (Hey, anyone who’s travelled with children will appreciate this advice!).

Many people choose to continue along the South Bank past Shakespeare’s Globe and, maybe, onwards to Borough Market but my best tip is to cross over the Millennium Bridge (pedestrian only) and go into The City. You can walk from Tate Modern to St Paul’s in just ten minutes so it really is closer than you think.

Tip for kids: As you cross the bridge see if you can spot any love locks (small padlocks) attached to the sides.

If you check the tide tables in advance, under The City of London side of the Millennium Bridge is a great spot for mudlarking. There are steps to reach the river foreshore and it’s rarely muddy on this side so you can check the surface for old clay pipes and bits of pottery.

Afterwards, walk towards St Paul’s and on your left you’ll find the City Information Centre where you can pick up free trails, including one specifically for children which includes stickers. It has a few routes to try so let the kids choose the one that interests them.

Or, if it raining and you don’t want to wander far, the Museum of London is five minutes away from the other side of St Paul’s. This free museum is great for families and has two floors of exhibits to explore.

Museum of London

Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as AboutLondonLaura.

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10 Things For Families To Do In The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/10-things-for-families-to-do-in-the-queen-elizabeth-olympic-park/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/10-things-for-families-to-do-in-the-queen-elizabeth-olympic-park/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 09:00:12 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39007 Guest blog by Laura Porter

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has undergone further transformation since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and is now an amazing location for families to enjoy. Here are a few of our favourite family attractions:

1. Cycling
The whole park is fantastic for cycling so bring your bikes or hire from View Tube. You can also book to ride inside the Lee Valley VeloPark or outside on the BMX Track.

2. Wandering
There are lots of free park trails to follow, including a Children’s Trail. You can pick up the leaflets at the Information Point (opposite the Aquatics Centre) or print one out at home.

 Aquatics Centre

3. Water Fun
The Aquatics Centre is home to the best swimming pool in the world – really! – and is now open to everyone. Try and book an ‘Aqua Splash’ session and you’ll get to play on an assault course of inflatables. Or go early and you may just see British Olympic bronze medal winning diver Tom Daley in the diving pool as he trains here regularly. I loved my first time in the Olympic pool and now the extra seating has been removed, there are glass sides so you can see Britain’s tallest structure The ArcelorMittal Orbit from the middle of the pool.

ArcelorMittal Orbit

4. Climb Britain’s Tallest Structure
The 114.5m-tall ArcelorMittal Orbit is worth visiting if you like high views. I’d recommend taking a map of London up with you as it’s not the same view as from the EDF Energy London Eye so you may need some guidance finding the landmarks. Adult tickets are £15.

 Helter Skelter

5. Not So High
My eight-year-old daughter loves the helter skelter that you can see near the Orbit. There is a charge but she was talking about it all day so I’d say it’s good fun.

Fountains

6. More Water Fun
Before you reach The Orbit there is the snaking line of fountains which causes squeals of delight from both children and adults of all ages. Many come just to play here and it is worth bringing extra dry clothes as it’s easy to get caught out. I’d recommend playing in the fountains and then visiting the Aquatics Centre so you can swim and have fun before changing into dry clothes.

Tumbling Bay Playground

7. Playground Adventures
The Tumbling Bay Playground is a child’s dream with its mix of rock pools, sand pits, tall treehouses and wobbly bridges. Alongside the playground is the attractive Timber Lodge Cafe which serves up fresh, home-cooked food.

8. Grass Space
If you do walk beyond the Orbit there’s a large grass space that’s great for running and playing in. There are also some toilets here too.

9. Cafe Tip
If you’d like a decent cup of tea and a homemade cake, exit the Park at this point and pop over to The View Tube which is the lime-green container building you can see just off the park site.

Climbing Wall

10. Climb
Walk back past the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the fountains and take the canal path and you’ll find the climbing wall. This is an activity for the bigger kids (and adults) where they can challenge themselves to climb the two stages of the wall. My eight-year-old daughter can do it so it’s not too tough but there are ladders if you get left behind.

Sometimes it’s just good to visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and not worry about making plans. It really is incredible to remember the amazing events that happened here in the summer of 2012.

Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as AboutLondonLaura.

 

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London Video of the Week: Top 10 London Attractions http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/london-video-of-the-week-top-10-london-attractions/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/london-video-of-the-week-top-10-london-attractions/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 09:44:02 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38983

From the British Museum to the EDF Energy London Eye, Tate Modern to the Natural History Museum, watch this video to discover London’s top 10 most popular tourist attractions, based on visitor numbers.

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