Visit London Blog » Music http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:26:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Brazil in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/brazil-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/brazil-in-london/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 08:34:00 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38923 The Fontanas. Courtesy of Rich Mix

In case you missed the news (where on earth have you been?) the 2014 FIFA World Cup is being held in Brazil. But you don’t need to jet around the world to get into the spirit, there are plenty of amazing places and ways to enjoy Brazilian culture right here in London.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started – from dancing up a storm to sipping delicious rum cocktails.

Brazilian cocktails in London

Made in Brasil cocktail and snacks

The caipirinha is the most popular of Brazil’s cocktails – a refreshing kick of cachaça (sugar cane rum), sugar and lime. Enjoy a classic caipirinha – or one of the many spin-offs, made with fresh fruit – at the newly opened pop-up Barzinho in Soho, Guanabara in Covent Garden or Floripa in Old Street.

Brazilian restaurants in London

Brazil is famous for its barbeques (or churrascaria) – and Brazilians know a thing or two about grilling meat to perfection. Find out for yourself at London chain Rodizio Rico, which has branches in The O2, Islington and Notting Hill. Other dining options include Raizes in Hackney, Barraco in Kilburn or the Japanese-flavoured Sushisamba in the City. While other favourite dishes to look out for include Brazil’s national dish, feijoada (a hearty bean and pork stew), moqueca (a tasty fish stew made with coconut milk) and the deliciously sweet pudim (a caramel-like flan made with condensed milk).

Brazilian music in London

Made in Brasil

The Brazilian music scene is big in London – and growing all the time. To hear live music, you need to head to places like Vauxhall restaurant/bar Tia Maria, glitzy Covent Garden bar Guanabara and Camden restaurant/bar Made in Brasil. As well as samba you’ll find choro, bossa nova, forro, MPB… the list goes on. Many non-Brazilian venues also hold regular Brazilian music nights too, such as Ronnie’s Bar (above famous Soho jazz club Ronnie Scott’s) and Primo near Westminster. And don’t forget to look out for samba, samba reggae and maracatu bands and dancers parading at the Notting Hill Carnival in August.

Brazilian dance in London

Brasil Brasileiro. Courtesy: Sadler's Wells

Like with music, there are many different forms of Brazilian dance – and you find many of them in London. Learn how to shimmy to samba at the London School of Samba itself, partner up for forro dancing (Forro London lists all the different forro nights in London), discover empowering maracatu and samba reggae dance with Gandaia Arts in Brixton, cross continents with Irineu Nogueira’s fierce Afro-Brazilian dance sessions… you could dance every night of the week! If you prefer to watch rather than participate, why not check out Brasil Brasileiro, coming to top dance venue Sadler’s Wells on 8 July.

Brazilian martial arts in London

If you prefer your dance with bite, seek out Brazil’s famous martial arts/dance form: capoeira. You can learn to ‘ginga’ (and the rest) at the many capoeira schools across London. Another popular Brazilian martial art is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – a self-defence sport focused on grappling and ground fighting. Just make sure you don’t get the two mixed up!

Brazilian events in London

Joga Bola! at Rich Mix

If you want to find out what Brazilian events are happening in your area or right now, pay a visit to Culturart.co.uk, a great online resource of Brazilian happenings and culture – with a handy monthly newsletter. Other top sites to visit include Brazilian/Latin American magazine Jungle Drums and the website of London’s Brazilian Embassy. Just three upcoming events not to miss include: the World Cup kickoff party Brazil Day at Trafalgar Square on 12 June, musical feast Joga Bola! at Rich Mix (from 12 June to 13 July) – with The Fontanas (pictured top) and many more, and Radical Geometry: Modern Art of South America at the Royal Academy of Arts (5 Jul-28 Sep).

Find out where to watch the World Cup in London.

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Five Highlights Of The City of London Festival http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/five-highlights-of-the-city-of-london-festival/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/five-highlights-of-the-city-of-london-festival/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 08:08:05 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38900 Guest blog by City of London Festival Director Paul Gudgin

The City of London Festival brings more than 250 events to the amazing buildings and spaces of the City of London from 22 June.  It is one of the biggest and broadest programmes in the festival’s 52-year history with music, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret and even a Korean production of Hamlet to whet the appetite.

FLOWN_PiratesOfTheCarabina_ Bowler Hat

The centrepiece this year will be the Bowler Hat; the iconic piece of City headwear has been turned into a large inflatable 200-seat theatre just beside St Paul’s Cathedral in Paternoster Square.

With so many events to choose from, here are a few festival highlights:

1. Immerse yourself in one of our 9th Symphony epics at St Paul’s Cathedral with the London Symphony Orchestra – Bruckner’s 9th Symphony (3 July) and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (15 July). Seeing a massive orchestral concert under the dome of St Paul’s is an experience everyone should try, and tickets start at just £5.

St Paul's Cathedral

2. Soak up outstanding City views and great jazz with our ‘Jazz with a View’ series. Choose from Clare Teal at Unilever House (6 Jun), Kit Downes at The Gherkin (29 Jun) and Roberto Pla on the Roof Terrace of One New Change (8 Jul). This idea was inspired by Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center in New York… we think our views are easily as good as their Manhattan skyline!

3. Enjoy music and beer in the Guildhall Yard with our City Beerfest (3 Jul). Sample a selection of beers from over a dozen of Britain’s most popular breweries while listening to live American bluegrass, folk and Old Appalachian music, overlooking the City’s ancient HQ.

Beerfest
4. See breathtaking circus performed in a giant Bowler Hat with exceptional contemporary circus companies PSiRC, Silver Lining and Pirates of the Carabina.

5. Have a good laugh with our comedy programme in the Bowler Hat – Doc Brown, Adam Kay, Russell Kane, Katherine Ryan, Andy Zaltzman, Richard Herring and many more well-known and up-and-coming comics.

Book events for The City of London Festival

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Spotlight On: Greenwich http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-things-to-do-in-the-london-borough-of-greenwich/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-things-to-do-in-the-london-borough-of-greenwich/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:00:11 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38541 Mercedes tall ship. Photo credit: Royal Borough of Greenwich

You’ve probably heard of Greenwich for its rich maritime history, World Heritage status and great time-keeping (this is the home of Greenwich Mean Time, no less). But there’s plenty more to discover across this Royal Borough, from sky-high cable cars to an Art Deco mansion. Here are just five things to do while you’re staying in the area:

1. See Tall Ships and Nelson’s Uniform

Nelson's Trafalgar Uniform. © National Maritime Museum

If you’re visiting London this September, don’t miss the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta. Over five days (from 5 to 9 September), some 50 majestic tall ships will be arriving from the coast of Cornwall. But don’t worry if you miss out, one ship that’s not going anywhere is Cutty Sark – the last surviving tea clipper and the fastest and greatest of its time – now permanently docked in Greenwich. Don’t forget to pop into the nearby National Maritime Museum too to hear more fantastic sea tales – and see the coat Admiral Nelson wore at the Battle of Trafalgar (complete with bullet hole).
While you’re there… Eat lunch at The Trafalgar Tavern, a historic 19th century pub overlooking the River Thames.

2. See Time and Space at the Royal Observatory and Planetarium

Royal Observatory. Courtesy of Visit Greenwich

Sitting high above Greenwich town centre is the Royal Observatory, home of not only Greenwich Mean Time, but also the Prime Meridian of the world (the zero point of longitude), London’s only planetarium and the UK’s largest refracting telescope. Take in a show at the planetarium, marvel at Harrison’s timekeepers and stand astride the Prime Meridian line – with one foot in the east, the other in the west. Look out for new exhibitions too, such as Longitude Punk’d – featuring modern-day versions of the weird, wonderful and somewhat wacky inventions submitted during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
While you’re there… Go on a ramble around Greenwich Park. This rolling green space is popular with locals and tourists alike for picnics, team games, strolls, boating-lake rides and squirrel spotting.

3. Soak up the view from a cable car or on top of The O2

Emirates Air Line

Get a bird’s eye view of Greenwich and across London from on top of The O2. How do you get up there? You climb of course. It’s all part of the Up At The O2 experience, a 90-minute journey to a 360-degree viewing platform atop the famous domed venue. Alternatively head to the nearby south terminal of the Emirates Air Line and take a cable car across the river to the north stop, Emirates Royal Docks. Or if you prefer to have your head in the clouds but your feet firmly on the ground, don’t miss the new Emirates Aviation Experience, where you can get a feel for life in the skies with the help of flight simulators and interactive aviation displays.
While you’re there… Experience another unusual form of London transport and travel back to Central London by boat with City Cruises or Thames Clippers.

4. Visit A Royal Residence

Queen's House. Courtesy of Visit Greenwich

Picturesquely located along the river, Queen’s House has ironically not housed many queens. Queen Anne (wife of James I) died before the building she commissioned was completed, and Henrietta Maria (wife of Charles I) spent little time there before the Civil War forced her to exile to France. It’s since fared better as an orphanage and then fine-art gallery – which it remains today. For something more off the beaten track, jump on the train to Eltham and visit the childhood home of Henry VIII, Eltham Palace – and the 1930s Art Deco mansion built next to the remains of this medieval royal palace.
While you’re there… Sample one of the homegrown, limited-edition beers at The Old Brewery, a working brewery with a restaurant/cafe and bar on the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College.

5.  Browse Greenwich Market

Greenwich Market stall

You don’t need to leave Greenwich to find great treasures, like maritime explorers of past, there are plenty of gems to uncover at Greenwich Market. Here, artists and craftspeople from the local area and beyond gather to sell their creations – from fashion to gifts, homemade candles and jewellery. There’s also a food section that’s always packed full of stalls selling street snacks from around the world. Head down on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for antiques and collectibles, and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and weekends for arts and crafts.

While you’re there… If it’s the weekend (or a bank holiday) don’t forget to pay a visit to Greenwich’s other market, the Greenwich Clocktower Market, where you’ll find quirky antique and vintage pieces.

See the Visit Greenwich website for more things to do in Greenwich.

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Top 5 Summer Festivals in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-summer-festivals-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-summer-festivals-in-london/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 12:32:50 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38517 Summer festivals in London

This season is set to be a summer of fun with these scorching hot festivals. Whether you’re after serious rock in Hyde Park or prefer picnicking at Kew Gardens with Elvis Costello, throwing it about during the dance-off at LoveBox, krooning with Kanye, or dining with the stars of MasterChef at Taste of London, there’s a festival for you this summer in London.  

Lovebox
WHEN: 18-19 July, Victoria Park
WHAT: One of London’s favourite festivals, Lovebox returns to Victoria Park this summer with a fantastic selection of live music, top DJs and fun activities. Headliners M.I.A., Nas, Chase and Status and A$AP Rocky set the tone for gritty, cutting-edge rap and electro.  Catch some hot moves from Breakin’ Convention, Continental Drift’s Circus Re-mix and East London Dance. Get in with a range of experiences on offer:  sparkly makeovers at The Parlour or Miss Lippy Beauty, yoga classes and the legendary Dance-Off.
THE VIBE: Let the good times roll.

Taste of London

Taste of London
WHEN: 19-22 June, Regent’s Park
WHAT: The annual Taste of London festival is a foodie haven with four days of fabulous summer eating, drinking and more. As well as sampling the dishes and meeting the chefs from your favourite London restaurants including Michel Roux Jr and Monica Galleti from MasterChef, avant garde cupcake queen Lili Vanilli and Tom Kerridge from the Hand & Flowers, the festival serves up cooking demos, wine tastings, and innovative cookery how-tos such as sushi making and Champagne appreciation.
THE VIBE: Very tasty indeed.

Black Sabbath

Barclaycard British Summer Time
WHEN: 4-13 July, Hyde Park
WHAT: British Summer Time takes over Hyde Park in Central London for a big week of R.O.C.K. with something for everyone, depending on your taste. Catch metal gods Black Sabbath with Soundgarden and Faith No More on 4 July; The Libertines with the Pogues on 5 July; Neil Young and Crazy Horse on 12 July; and king of crooners Tom Jones with Boyzone and Little Mix on the 13th. Festival faves McBusted also take to the stage this year with the Backstreet Boys on 6 July.
THE VIBE: It’s all about the music.

Wireless Festival. Picture by Andrew Whitton

Wireless
WHEN: 4-6 July, Finsbury Park
WHAT: This year, the popular Wireless Festival has a new home. Taking up residence in North London’s Finsbury Park, Wireless promises a cool lineup including Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Drake, Rudimental, Bruno Mars and Outkast. With excellent transport links from Finsbury Park station and gates open from midday, Wireless promises three days of smooth tunes for your aural pleasure.
THE VIBE: Kool Kanye comes to North London.

Kew the Music

Kew The Music
WHEN: 16-20 July, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
WHAT: Kew the Music offers up a summer bonanza of music and performance against the beautiful backdrop of Kew Gardens. This year you can catch a coveted solo performance from Elvis Costello, enjoy feel-good favourites Bjorn Again, crowd pleaser Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, 80s megastars Simple Minds and the musical comic stylings of Bill Bailey.
THE VIBE: Laid-back listening in stunning surrounds.

What’s your pick of this summer’s festivals in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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London Video of the Week: BBC Proms Season 2014 Launches http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/london-video-of-the-week-bbc-proms-season-2014-launches/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/london-video-of-the-week-bbc-proms-season-2014-launches/#comments Fri, 25 Apr 2014 14:38:24 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38510

Get a flavour for the greatest classical music festival on earth by watching this launch film for the BBC Proms Season 2014, which is returning to London’s Royal Albert Hall. This spellbinding music series features two months of concerts, including the famous Last Night performances, world premieres of contemporary works and shows by a wide range of artists. This year marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War with a focus on the works of wartime composers, as well as the musical legacy of the conflict. 18 Jul-13 Sep

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Museums at Night 2014 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/museums-at-night-2014/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/museums-at-night-2014/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 11:59:00 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38216

Museums at Night, the annual night-time festival of arts, heritage and culture, will take place between Thursday 15 May and Saturday 17 May this year.

The packed programme sees the UK’s best museums, galleries and public spaces putting on cultural events over the three-day festival. Here’s what to look forward to in London:

Over two nights (15-16 May) the 13 museums along the length of Museum Mile, stretching from Aldwych to Kings Cross, will be opening their doors from 6 to 9pm for pre-booked walking tours run by In Midtown, giving an unprecedented insight into the connections between the various iconic museums.

Following previous years’ success Somerset House will open its doors late for Museums at Night visitors to enjoy exhibitions and displays, including interactive workshops, tours and screenings, all accompanied by live music in the Seamen’s Hall.

The Horniman Museum & Gardens is extending its new family-friendly exhibition Extremes into the night, showing how artists react to extreme environments, with hot music from Zimbabwe, extremely high acrobatics, storytelling by candlelight and film screenings depicting submarine life.

The London Transport Museum is opening late on the Friday for its new exhibition Goodbye Piccadilly – from home front to Western front. Go along to find out the role London buses and bus drivers played during the First World War and how the city prepared for war. There will also be a perfume workshop by Odette Toilette and the opportunity to craft a feathered fascinator with Lulu O’Neil of Slightly Scarlett.

The RAF Museum, Hendon is hosting London-based musical duo Public Service Broadcasting for three exclusive gigs during Museums at Night. Each gig will be hosted in a secret location at the museum, perfect for artists that weave samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material around their electronic set.  Also on the night visitors can help knit a life-sized plane, or dance to the Silent Disco in the shadow of an RAF Lancaster Bomber.

The Royal Artillery Museum is hosting a guided Ghosts of the Royal Arsenal tour. Find out why even battle-hardened soldiers refuse to enter the Academy Building or lock-up the Firepower display alone. There’ll also be bangers and mash and hot cups of tea and coffee to fight off the chill.

The National Portrait Gallery is hosting a special dance performance on 16 May from the English National Ballet, inspired by David Jones’ seminal World War I poem In Parenthesis.

Pandemonium Theatre will stage the macabre Theatre of Blood, Dance of Death, Drink of Life, a reinterpretation of Hecuba and Titus Andronicus, in the underground chamber at the Brunel Museum, where six men died and Brunel nearly drowned. There will also be tango and dance workshops and cocktails at the roof top pop-up Midnight Apothecary bar.

Head over to the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology for an evening of intrigue and subterfuge as visitors must solve clues across the museum to crack the UCL Museum murder mystery. As well as a prize for the team who solves the case, there are prizes for the best dressed detectives, with a drinks reception in The Grant Museum.

You can also create your own political slogan under the expert guidance of Kelvyn Smith, aka Mr Smith, at the William Morris Gallery. Or lift a genuine gold bar weighing 13kg during a rare opportunity to visit the Bank of England Museum after hours.

If all of that just sounds exhausting then join in The Big Power Nap on Friday 16 May at the Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre. The Undercroft gallery – ruins of London’s Roman Amphitheatre – will be converted into a 2000 year old chill-out zone with ambient sounds and a roving masseuse on hand to provide a relaxing break from London life.

Other nap-spaces include the popular Dino Snores at the Natural History Museum, where you can bed in for a mix of music, art, science and cinema, and Kensington Palace is opening its doors late for a Museums at Night sleepover for children aged 7 to 11.

The Museums at Night event programme is always being updated, so to keep on top of all the amazing things going on visit www.museumsatnight.org.uk or follow @MuseumsatNight and #MatN2014 on Twitter. The BBC will also be covering the event in various capacities across the three days.

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I’m With the Band: Top 10 London Attractions for Musicians http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/im-with-the-band-top-10-london-attractions-for-musicians/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/im-with-the-band-top-10-london-attractions-for-musicians/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 09:00:36 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=34272

London has long been a magnet for the world’s most famous singers and bands – and it’s produced a fair few itself, from Queen to Amy Winehouse. So the city is full of great attractions where musicians and lovers of music can learn about their idols, buy classic records and even record a tune. Here are 10 of the best:

Abbey Road
The iconic Beatles album cover picturing the famous four walking over a zebra crossing on London’s Abbey Road has inspired endless copies and parodies. The nearby Abbey Road Studios are not open to the public (unless you’ve booked a recording session), but they do have a live web cam online so why tell your friends back home to look out for you doing the famous walk?

Jersey Boys
Even if you’re not familiar with the name Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, you’ll know their songs: Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye), Big Girls Don’t Cry, Beggin’, December 1963 (better known as Oh What A Night)… the list goes on. So Jersey Boys, the Olivier Award-winning musical about the band, is a must for all music fans – even if you think you’re not into musicals! Other great musicals to check out include Thriller – Live (Michael Jackson) and We Will Rock You (Queen).

British Music Experience
Roll back the years at the British Music Experience (located inside The O2) and explore amazing outfits, instruments, videos, photos and other memorabilia from the past and present of British popular music. Look out for John Lennon’s glasses, Ziggy Stardust’s 1970s number outfit and ‘Ginger Spice’ Geri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress. Plus you can show your best moves in the Dance The Decades booth, record a track in the Gibson Interactive Studio and transport yourself to some of the biggest concerts of the past 60 years in The Finale.

Open Mic Night at The Spice of Life
Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Jamie Cullum have all performed at The Spice of Life in Soho. And you can too if you pop along to its Open Mic Night, held every Monday. Make use of the in-house piano and PA, or bring along your own instrument. The music kicks off at 7pm, but performers should sign up at 6.30pm to be sure of getting a spot.

Denmark Street
Denmark Street, near Leicester Square, is known as London’s Tin Pan Alley. Both sides of the small street are lined with music shops, including Wunjo Guitars (selling new, used and vintage guitars), Vintage & Rare Guitars and Sax.co.uk. Stick around into the evening to enjoy live music at the intimate 12 Bar Club or Alleycat Bar Club, located below Regent Sounds Studio – where the Rolling Stones recorded their first album.

Rock and Roll London Walk
If you love to be regaled by tales of rockstar exploits, book a spot on the fascinating, two-hour-long Rock and Roll London Walk. You’ll visit the famous Marquee Club, pop into the pub where Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton once jammed, discover the location of the Sex Pistols’ world debut, and much more. No need to book, just turn up at Tottenham Court Road station (Exit 3) any Friday at 2pm.

Honest Jon’s Records
Arguably the most legendary of London’s independent record stores, Honest Jon’s is the retail arm of the acclaimed record label of the same name. Specialising in reggae, jazz and soul, Honest Jon’s has enjoyed a colourful, rollercoaster existence since its birth in 1974 and is still considered to be one of London’s best record shops by those in the know.

Wembley Arena
Every musician dreams of shouting “Hello Wembley!” to a sea of screaming fans – and many have done it, including Madonna, David Bowie and Prince. Check out Visit London’s music section for listings of gigs taking place every night across London at venues including Wembley Arena.

Music Gallery at Horniman Museum
See, hear and play instruments from around the world at Horniman Museum – from a 3,500-year-old pair of Egyptian bone clappers to a retro synth. Make time to visit ongoing exhibition The Art of Harmony, exploring Western classical music traditions, as well as the Hands-On Base, where you can give the instruments a go. Other London music museums to check out are The Royal Academy of Music Museum and The Royal College of Music’s Museum of Instruments.

Hard Rock Cafe
Today there are Hard Rock Cafes all around the world, but the London branch is where it all began in 1971. The walls of the restaurant – and the vault below – are lined with memorabilia, including the first piece donated to the cafe: Eric Clapton’s Lead II Fender. You may even spot the odd rock star popping in for a burger, according to the cafe – or witness one of the occasional jamming sessions. And if you don’t, you’ll still get a great meal out of it.

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Where to See Live Music for Free in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/where-to-see-live-music-for-free-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/where-to-see-live-music-for-free-in-london/#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2014 10:00:27 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37599 Ain't Nothing But... blues bar

In most cities, the only free music you’ll find is the odd busker. In London, you can find free gigs and concerts taking place every night across the capital – at prestigious arts centres, happening bars and even galleries.

The venues we’ve picked below offer everything from jazz and soul to classical and world music – some of their events are ticketed, but many are totally free. Check times and listings for full info.

Southbank Centre

The Southbank Centre is a fantastic community arts centre, so it’s fitting that it holds regular free musical performances in the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall. February highlights include Argentian duo Sigamos (28 Feb).

St Martin-in-the-fields concert

St Martin-in-the-Fields

St Martin-in-the-Fields, located bang opposite Trafalgar Square, is known for its candlelit concerts. But this striking church also hosts regular free lunchtime concerts. Future participants include the NLSO Flute Trio (25 Feb).

The Forge

The Forge

A few minutes walk from Camden Town Station, The Forge is a bar/music venue, with an unusual central stage. Classical, jazz, world and folk music is on the bill here, with free jazz concerts every Monday night.

Royal College of Music performance. Photo credit: Chris Christodoulou

Royal College Of Music

Musicians studying at the Royal College of Music perform free lunchtime concerts at St Mary Abbots every Friday (1.05pm) and free ‘rush-hour’ concerts every Friday at the National Gallery (6pm) and V&A (6.30pm). Visit the RCM website for full listings of future events and participating venues.

Hip hop at Hootananny Brixton

Hootananny Brixton

About 10 minutes’ walk from the centre of bustling Brixton, Hootananny is the place to go for ska, roots, reggae and folk rhythms. Upcoming free gigs feature the likes of The Fontanas + Barking Bateria + New Street Adventure (22 Feb) and Rollo Markee & The Tail Shakers (26 Feb). Check the listings before you go, as some events are ticketed and others are only free until 10pm (or earlier).

Union Chapel

Union Chapel

A working church and community centre, Union Chapel is a wonderfully atmospheric venue for live music. As well as its popular concert series, the chapel puts on free music performances in its Daylight Music series. This month’s guests include Chris T-T & The Hoodrats + The Capybaras + Laura Cannell (22 Feb).

Katie Bradley and Chris Corcoran

Ain’t Nothing But…

This excellently named blues bar, tucked away just off Regent Street, is a real find. Every night at Ain’t Nothing But… there’s live music, and entry is free Sunday to Thursday – and before 8.30pm on Friday and Saturday. Singing (or playing) the blues this month is the Dust Me Down Blues Band (26 Feb).

Charlie Wright's

Charlie Wright’s

With the name and relaxed feel of an underground jazz club of yesteryear, Charlie Wright’s is an intimate music lounge/restaurant located close to Old Street Station. The venue has been serving up live music (and, somewhat randomly, delicious Thai food) since 1992. Today, entry is free on Mondays, when Charlie’s Comedy Club is followed by a late jazz jam session hosted by the Nikki Mackenzie Quartet, and also on Tuesdays, when drummer Shane Forbes hosts Charlie’s Jazz Jam.

Primo Bar

Primo Bar at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London Hotel

A short walk from the London Eye, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge is a design-led hotel with a surprisingly packed live music calendar. Every night in the hotel’s glossy Primo Bar you’ll find free performances, from ‘Brazilian Vibe’ Wednesdays to ‘Chilled Jazz’ Sunday with the Spitz Collective. With views out onto Big Ben and a lengthy cocktail menu, it could become a new favourite.

Check out our listings for more live music bars in London

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International Women’s Day Events in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/international-womens-day-events-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/international-womens-day-events-in-london/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:02:17 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37778 (Detail from) Cover of the book titled 'Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole', 1857. Artist/Photographer/Maker: James Blackwood. Courtesy of the Museum of London

From brave suffragettes to record-breaking graffiti artists, International Women’s Day is a chance to recognise, celebrate and further the amazing achievements of women today and throughout history.

As well as the Million Women Rise march, set to take over the streets of London on 8 March – International Women’s Day itself – London has all sorts of exciting and fascinating events taking place throughout the month. So if you don’t know your Mary Wollstonecraft from your Malala Yousafzai, or if you just want to enjoy great art, music and debate created by women, check some of these events out…

Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre

WOW, the Southbank Centre’s annual festival of talks, debates, performance and activism celebrating women and girls is back. There’s something for everyone, with politics, science, sex, fashion, war and power on the discussion menu. Highlights include comedy from Sandi Toksvig, inspiring words from Malala Yousafzai and music from Ronnie Spector. 5-9 Mar

Meet Mary Seacole at the Museum of London Docklands

As part of the International Women’s Day celebrations at the Museum of London Docklands you can Meet Mary Seacole (pictured above), the unsung hero of nursing who was known to the troops as Mother Seacole. Other activities include the Wonderful Women interactive tour and The Meeting of Two Queens, the true story of the encounter between Grace O’Malley, the Irish Pirate Queen, and Queen Elizabeth I. 8 Mar

Femme Fierce Leake Street Takeover

See 100 female graffiti artists and painters break a new world record as they paint the 300-metre-long Leake Street Tunnel in Lambeth, South London, in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness. Femme Fierce Leake Street Takeover is organised by Street Art Agency in partnership with Cre8 Gallery, Paint my Panda and GOT (Girls on Top). Watch the action live or even get involved yourself (after purchasing your ticket, email streetartagency@gmail.com for more info). 8 Mar

In the Booth, In the Gallery: Votes for Women at The Jewish Museum London

Learn about the part Jewish women played in the campaign for votes for women – and their fight for equal rights for synagogue membership – in this fascinating talk at the Jewish Museum London. Led by tour guide and author Rachel Kolsky, the event commemorates 100 years since the National Gallery’s ‘Rokeby Venus’ painting was slashed by the suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914. 9 Mar

Women of the Great War at The New Cavendish Club

Did one of your female relatives serve in World War I as a nurse, in the Voluntary Aid Detachment or in the Ambulance corps? Then Age Exchange want to hear from you! The charity is working on a project entitled Children of the Great War and are inviting people to come down and share their stories with an interviewer. Women of The Great War takes place at The New Cavendish Club, and is free but booking is required. Don’t forget to being your letters, photographs and other treasures to be photographed. 8 Mar

Women’s History Month in East London

Forget one day, events celebrating the achievements of women are taking place throughout the month of March in East London. Just a few of the many exciting events taking place include: Women at the National Gallery (National Gallery, 8 and 22 Mar), Muhammad Ali And Me (Rich Mix, 9 Mar) and The Real World: Art, Gender and the Media Discussion (Whitechapel Gallery, 6 Mar). For the full programme visit the Alternative Arts website.

The Sistren at Fairfield Halls

History is brought to life at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls, as the true stories of three inspiring women who fought for equal rights are adapted for the stage in The Sistren. The women are: writer Mary Wollstonecraft, the founder of modern feminism; Claudia Jones, founder of the first Black British weekly newspaper and the Notting Hill Carnival; and suffragette Emma Lloyd Sproson, Wolverhampton’s first female councillor.

Birds Eye View Film Festival

The Birds Eye View film festival, celebrating female filmmakers, doesn’t properly start until 8 April but the organisers are hosting a special launch event on International Women’s Day, with a screening of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines. The documentary traces the story of the Wonder Woman figure and introduces real-life superheroines. 8 Mar

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Free events in London in January http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/free-events-in-london-in-january/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/free-events-in-london-in-january/#comments Tue, 31 Dec 2013 11:30:53 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37068 London’s New Year's Day Parade 2014

If your pockets are considerably lighter after Christmas, you don’t have to stay indoors this January to avoid spending money.

All the events we’ve picked out below are free, so pack your flask and sandwiches and enjoy a day out – without your wallet.

London’s New Year’s Day Parade 2014 (1 Jan)

London has held a New Year’s Day Parade on the first day of every year since 1987. Get 2014 off to a great start by joining thousands of spectators along the parade route to watch some 8,500 performers from around the world. Participants this year include All The Queen’s Horses, Merrydowners Morris and London’s Pearly Kings and Queens.

Farewell To Christmas at Geffrye Museum

Farewell To Christmas at Geffrye Museum (5 Jan)

Wrap up warm and join the Geffrye Museum as it marks the end of Christmas with the old tradition of burning holly and ivy. Taking place in the garden, Farewell to Christmas also features carol singing, mulled wine, Twelfth Night cake and stories about Epiphany. If you arrive early, pop inside to check out the (also free) Christmas Past exhibition, exploring 400 years of seasonal traditions in English homes.

London Ice Sculpting Festival

London Ice Sculpting Festival at Canary Wharf (10-12 Jan)

See a block of ice transformed into a work of art at the London Ice Sculpting Festival. Teams of talented sculptors will gather at the event in Canary Wharf and compete to win the top title in each of the main categories: Single Block (theme: River Life), Freestyle and Big Block (theme: Fabulous Fashion). Give it a go yourself at one of the Masterclass sessions.

Peacebeats at Rich Mix (29 Jan)

One for the young people out there, Peacebeats is a special one-day festival to promote peace and positivity. Taking place at East London arts centre Rich Mix, the event features spoken word, music, performance and film.

Royal College of Music

Free Music in January

London is a vibrant hub for musicians, so it’s no wonder there are concerts every night of the week all over the capital. Here are just a few of the free gigs taking place in London this January:

Free Exhibitions in January

L1162 Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)  Sunflowers, 1889-01 Arles Oil on canvas 95 x 73 cm Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation) s31V/1962  F458  © Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)There are many ongoing exhibitions still available to catch in January, but what’s new? Here are a few free exhibitions opening this month:

Don’t forget to check out our listings of Free London Attractions too.

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