Visit London Blog » cecil sharp house Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:10:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Five Fun Ways To Get Active in London Sun, 12 Jan 2014 11:00:30 +0000 Jogging in London

Overdone it during the festive break? Work off the Christmas flab and have fun with these five action-packed experiences in London.

Join a Free Parkrun

If the thought of going to the gym makes you shudder, take your exercise outdoors on a Parkrun. These 5km timed runs take place weekly across London – in fact across the world – and best of all it’s free to join in. Search the Events List on the Parkrun UK website to find your nearest run. Just a sample of the locations include Alexander Palace (‘Ally Pally’), Finsbury Park, Greenwich, Hackney Marshes, Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common.
One hour running (at 8mph) burns: 877.5 kcals*

Lee Valley White Water Rafting

Try white-water rafting in Lee Valley

For something that will really get your adrenalin pumping, go hurtling down the Olympic rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre. All you have to do is book a seat on the raft or charter your own, then the centre’s staff will organise everything else – from equipment and clothing to training and safety instructions. But once you’re on the course, it’s down to you and your team!
One hour of white-water rafting burns: 325 kcals*

Cycling along the South Bank

Follow the Thames Cultural Cycling Tour

Get off the beaten track, and explore London with the help of the Thames Cultural Cycling Tour. This 27km (16.8 mile) route starts at the South Bank and follows the River Thames to Greenwich before heading north to Canary Wharf and Limehouse before heading back to the South Bank. The map even includes interesting facts about notable spots en route. More about cycling in London.
One hour of cycling (under 10mph) burns: 260 kcals*

Skating in Hyde Park

Go rollerblading in Hyde Park

Pick up your blades and head down to Hyde Park to show off some moves. Just remember to stick to the (nice and smooth) roads and cycle tracks. If you fancy some company, join the London Friday Night Skate or – if you prefer a slower pace – the Sunday Stroll. These weekly, marshalled events are free and all about, they say, the pure joy of skating.
One hour of skateboarding (well it’s almost the same) burns: 325 kcals

English Country Dancing at Cecil Sharp House. Photo credit: Fabian Acker

Learn English Country Dancing at Cecil Sharp House

Learn the basic steps of an English country dance at the London home of English folk, Cecil Sharp House (near Regent’s Park). The drop-in classes take place every Thursday evening and will whisk you through moves used in ceilidh dances, barn dances, American Contra dances and English country dances. More London dance classes.
One hour of dancing burns: 422.5 kcals*

*We worked out how much you’ll burn in one hour (based on a person weighing 65kg) thanks to a little help from the Bupa calories counter.

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Shopping News: & Other Stories, Selfridges Shoe Carnival, Vintage Fashion Fair, Boxpark, The Vogue Festival 2013, Affordable Art Fair Wed, 06 Mar 2013 15:55:34 +0000

Swedish retailer Hennes & Mauritz’s latest venture & Other Stories is opening its doors on Friday (8 March) on Regent Street. The much-anticipated new launch is a one-stop shop with lingerie, shoes, bags, jewellery, skincare products and make-up as well as clothes. There are four different clothing collections, from feminine and glamorous styles to tailored looks. This is the world’s first-ever & Other Stories store, showing that London is leading the way in the fashion stakes once again.

Put your best foot forward at Selfridges this month. The store is paying homage to fabulous footwear by hosting a Shoe Carnival. Shoppers can expect an in-store installation of a yellow brick road, as well as a slew of exclusive designs by Charlotte Olympia, Nicholas Kirkwood and Rupert Sanderson. Also on display will be the entire archive of shoe designer extraordinaire Salvatore Ferragamo. The luxury department store shifts a staggering 10,000 pairs of shoes a week.

Rummage for retro at the Vintage Fashion Fair, which will take place from 11am-5pm on 17 March at Cecil Sharp House in Primrose Hill. Load up on unusual and stylish clothes for Spring, including affordable pretty dresses and skirts, unusual vintage scarves and jewellery. For those with cash to splash, the fair is also a treasure trove of stunning designer pieces, including Ossie Clark, Chanel, Dior and more.

In-the-know fashion blogger Nhuc Tran is opening a pop-up boutique for three months in East London’s hip Boxpark, the world’s first pop-up mall. China Doll Boutique will stock delicate dresses in chic prints and pastel shades. Set within stripped and refitted shipping containers, Boxpark is a small mall housing 40 retailers, restaurants and galleries.

Rub shoulders with the fash pack by snapping up a ticket for The Vogue Festival 2013 which takes place at the Southbank Centre from 27-28 April. Guests can enjoy cover-shoots, makeovers and workshops. The festival boasts a glittering array of A-list speakers including pop-star turned award-winning fashion designer Victoria Beckham, model and presenter Alexa Chung, model du jour Cara Delevingne and photographer Mario Testino. Tickets cost from £30 for each individual talk.

Finally, if you’re itching to flex your credit card this weekend, snap up a piece of art at the Affordable Art Fair at Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park (7-10 Mar, 11am-6pm). Priced from £40 to £4,000, there are paintings, prints and sculpture to suit every budget.

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Cyprus in London: The Philhellenes Dancing Group and the Yasar Halim Bakery Tue, 21 Feb 2012 12:30:54 +0000

Journalist Marina Soteriou is a long-term London resident. Writing as part of our World in London series, Marina adds her experiences of Cypriot culture in the capital.

Every Thursday evening at a church hall in Waterloo, a group meet to perform dances which have been danced for centuries. They are the Philhellenes Dancing Group.

I joined nearly three years ago as I wanted to feel closer to my family on the other side of Europe, in Cyprus. The only thing I can remember from my dancing class at primary school in Nicosia was somebody finding a centipede in their shoe, but last October I performed seven Pontic dances at the annual Dance Around the World Festival at Cecil Sharp House in Regents Park.

The group has been running for 21 years, and has performed in Cyprus, Athens, Lesvos and Andros. In London, they’ve danced at the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican and the British Museum.

Cypriots love a debate and since the so-called “Cyprus problem” has remained unsolved since 1974 – as a result of a Turkish invasion which followed a coup by the junta ruling Greece at the time – we are never short of a topic. Following the division, thousands of Cypriots came to live in London, when the Greek Cypriots fled to safety in the south and the Turkish Cypriots went north.

My grandfather, Andreas Soteriou, was from the beautiful village of Agios Epiktitos in the Kyrenia district in the North, perched high with breathtaking views of the coast. But being born in 1982, these lands were not known to me. The Cyprus I knew stopped abruptly where the rusty barbed wire and UN soldier was. The bullet holes in the Nicosia church we went to every Sunday morning were testament to the violence which was followed by decades of stalemate.

It was not until 2003 when the border crossings opened that the link with my ancestors could be restored and I could visit the house where my grandfather was raised, see his father’s grave and share gifts and stories with the Turkish Cypriot neighbours.

There is something restorative in folk dancing, knowing these intricate steps, double steps and jumps have been replayed for thousands of years and that now is just another dot on the timeline. Although we do not know what the future holds for Cyprus, we know these dances will survive.

Whenever I go back to Nicosia, one of the first things I like to do is go to Ledra Street in the city centre and buy a Papaphilippou ice cream and do as the locals do and promenade.

On one such visit, the first thing I saw was a group of Pontics in traditional costume performing their dances in the public square, the very same dances I have performed with my Bulgarian, Greek, English and Cypriot friends in the church hall in Waterloo on a rainy Thursday night.

For another slice of Cyprus, you can choose one of the many Cypriot restaurants all over London, but I prefer the hive of activity at the Yasar Halim Bakery in Haringey. The bakery was opened by a Turkish Cypriot in 1981 and has everything you can imagine, from the sweet Tahini tachinopites, to the Cypriot doughnuts dipped in syrup, “loukoumades”, which are eaten with the semolina-filled shiamishi at fairs.

To join the class or attend a Greek folk dancing workshop visit or email The next Dance Around the World folk dancing festival, which has performances and workshops, takes place on 20 and 21 October. Visit to find out more.

Do you know any other instances where you can sample Cypriot culture in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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