Visit London Blog » free Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:06:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What’s On This Weekend: 13-15 September 2013 Mon, 09 Sep 2013 09:00:58 +0000

This weekend features some fun free outdoor events, plus a great opportunity to learn more about baking delicious cakes!

Triathlon Square on Trafalgar Square

As the PruHealth World Triathlon Grand Final takes place this weekend, why not experience the excitement at this free Triathlon Square event in Trafalgar Square. The festival features lots of triathlon-related activities for the whole family to enjoy, as well as live BBC coverage of the elite races, an exhibition and lots of photo opportunities. 11-15 Sep

London Design Festival

The London Design Festival is one of the world’s most important annual design events. Over 300 events and exhibitions take place over the course of the festival, and you’ll be able to see some fantastic works of design placed throughout the capital. Many of the London Design Festival activities are free, see the website for the full programme. 14-22 Sep

The Cake and Bake Show at Earl’s Court

Inspired by the Great British Bake Off? The Cake and Bake Show is a great chance to learn about baking and stock your cupboards. Highlights include baking demonstrations by the likes of Eric Lanlard, cake competitions, classes, workshops and the chance to purchase top baking equipment and ingredients. Adult tickets start at £14.50. 13-15 Sep 

Feast 1st Birthday
Celebrating a year of serving up street food with a side of festival atmosphere, Feast is throwing a 1st birthday bash in Guy’s quadrangle. The event gives you the opportunity to enjoy food from a variety of renowned street food providers, such as Big Apple Hotdogs and Patty and Bun, as well as a selection of carefully selected drinks.Tickets are £9. 13-15 Sep

1513: A Ships’ Opera by Richard Wilson and Zatorski + Zatorski

As part of the last weekend of the Thames Festival, a spectacular and innovative opera will take place on the River Thames. 1513: A Ships’ Opera features an armada of historic vessels from the age of sail, steam and diesel, performing a work of music with their steam whistles, bells, horns, hooters, sirens and cannon. The opera is also dynamic: starting at the mouth of the Thames Estuary the floating orchestra will proceed up the Thames in a series of acts, culminating in the main performance which takes place in the company of HMS Belfast by Tower Bridge. See the website for timings and an idea of the best spectator spots. 14 Sep

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What’s On This Weekend: 9-11 August 2013 Mon, 05 Aug 2013 09:31:07 +0000

There are lots of fun activities on this weekend for both children and adults – why not learn about science, make your own ice cream or see some stunning press photography?

Icy Activity Day at the London Canal Museum

Cool down with this fun day of children’s activities at the London Canal Museum, which brings the story of the Victorian ice trade to life. Between 10am and 4pm kids can learn how ice forms, help create an ice-based artwork, and make – and sample! – authentic ice-cream with the help of Victorian cook Agnes Marshall. Entry to the museum is £4 for adults or £2 for children. 10 Aug

Treasures from a Hidden Garden at the Chelsea Physic Garden

In the 18th century, celebrated botanical artists such as Georg Dionysius Ehret worked in the Chelsea Physic Garden to study, sketch and paint the plants within. This tradition is still alive today, and members of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society meet every month. This exhibition provides a rare chance to see their wonderful paintings and drawings – don’t miss out! Entry is £9 for adults. Until 30 Aug

Free Theatre Performances at The Scoop, More London

Part of the More London Free Festival, these back-to-back theatrical perfomances provide a perfect evening of free entertainment by the Thames. Every Wednesday to Saturday in August you can see a family performances of The Prince of Thebes at 6pm, followed by Oedipus and Antigone for older audiences from 8pm to 10pm. To see these two great Thebes-based plays, simply turn up and bag a seat; you’re also welcome to bring your own food and drink, as long as it’s not in glass containers. Until 1 Sep

Day of the Mind Fete, Mile End

The Shuffle Film Festival, curated by Danny Boyle, runs between 8 and 18 August and features the London Olympic opening ceremony director’s films as well as local shorts, dance and music. One of its highlights will be the Day of the Mind fete, run in conjunction with the Wellcome Collection. The free event takes place from 11am to 11pm on Sunday and includes talks, workshops and science-based fun for both children and adults. 11 Aug

The Press Photographer’s Year Exhibition at the National Theatre

Relive the events of 2012 at this consistently stunning exhibition, which showcases the best press photographs used in the UK media. More than 12,000 photographs were entered for consideration, and the competition’s judges have selected the best 150 for recognition and public display. You’ll see incredible shots in categories such as news, royalty, entertainment and the Olympics, which can’t fail to inspire you to make the most of your own camera. Entry to the exhibition is free. Until 30 Aug

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What’s On This Weekend. 26-28 July 2013 Mon, 22 Jul 2013 13:11:47 +0000

Remember this time last year when London hosted the 2012 Olympic Games? Well, the city is no less spectacular one year later – read on to find out why.

Open East Festival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Marking the one-year anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic Games, this festival of street food, local brewing, international music, theatre and family fun is sure to get you back in the party spirit. Foodies can not only browse stands from local food producers and watch top chefs demonstrate their skills in the Real Food Chef Theatre, but also enjoy a locally brewed beer at the Ten Mile Beer Festival, which features ales from Battersea, Hackney and Greenwich. Meanwhile the music stages will feature a huge range of international acts, while leading artists, circus performers, BMX riders and theatrical performers will astound audiences with performances all over the park. Don’t miss Sacrilege, the life-sized bouncy castle version of Stonehenge by Jeremy Deller! Tickets are £9.50 for adults. 27-28 Jul

Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games at the Olympic Park

Celebrate the first anniversary of the London 2012 Games with three days of world-class althletics. The first two days will see Olympic champions, including Usain Bolt, return to the stadium for the British Athletics Grand Prix, while Sunday is reserved for 2012’s Paralympic stars. Tickets start from £43. 26-28 Jul

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening

What better year to visit the iconic Buckingham Palace than 2013, the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s coronation? You’ll see The Queen’s Coronation 1953 exhibition, as well as priceless historic items from the Royal Collection, including clothing, jewellery, art, sculpture and furniture. Tickets are £19 for adults. Until 29 Sep

The New Fourth Plinth Sculpture, Trafalgar Square

Unveiled this Thursday, the Hahn / Cock sculpture by artist Katharina Fritsch will be an unmistakeable addition to Trafalgar Square. The renowned German artist’s 15ft high blue chicken will replace the current sculpture of a boy on a rocking horse, which has been in place on the fourth plinth for a year. Commissioned by the Mayor of London as part of the UK’s most high profile contemporary art prize, the sculpture will remain in place for 18 months – check it out and let us know what you think in the comments!

Grey Goose Edible Art Class

From lickable life drawing to edible painting-by-numbers, this expert class will guide you through an introduction to art and edible expression using all the senses. Master the art of chocolate model-making or try your hand at edible life drawing, and indulge your creative side in a night of sensory fun with specially created Grey Goose cocktails. Visit the website for ticket prices and more details. 27 Jul

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Five Things Americans Should Try in London Tue, 25 Jun 2013 11:36:48 +0000 By Libby Zay

There’s no shortage of tourist staples in London, and while any visitor can revel in staring up at Big Ben or walking through Westminster Abbey, there are a few exploits Americans in particular will find novel when visiting London (and I don’t just mean watching cars drive by on the opposite side of the road). Here are a few British experiences that simply can’t be had in the United States.

Indulge in Afternoon Tea — Especially Clotted Cream

The Athenaeum Royal Summer - Afternoon Tea at Buckingham Palace with Helena and Ian

Nothing is more quintessentially British than afternoon tea. Many Americans, however, don’t realize that along with a hot pot of tea (no Lipton here, folks!) comes an assortment of delightful snacks, including scones smothered with rich, sweet clotted cream. Why, oh why, does this stuff not exist in the U.S.? It seems the thick cream, which would actually be classified as butter back home, isn’t exported because of its short shelf life. But it’s oh-so-delicious, and although clotted cream has an almost shamefully high fat content, it’s okay to indulge every once in awhile (especially while we’re on vacation, right?).

Walk in Jack the Ripper’s Footsteps

Although Jack the Ripper’s legacy has influenced countless American horror films, comics, and other pieces of popular culture, it’s only possible to chart his path in London’s East End. Professional guides give graphic murder-by-murder tours of Whitechapel, the neighborhood where the world’s first — and perhaps most famous — serial killer brutally murdered several prostitutes. Follow along and see if you can put together your own theory on who the real killer was; London Walks hosts eerie tours every night (except Dec. 24 & 25) starting at 7.30 p.m. from the Tower Hill Tube station.

Get Your Picture Inside a Red Phone Booth

When was the last time you saw a payphone in the U.S.? As cellular technology becomes more and more accessible, public telephones are becoming relics of the past. The same is true in London, and unfortunately, it means those iconic red telephone boxes are now not only novel because of their colour. Although they can still be found throughout the city — especially in places tourists frequent — you’d be wise to stop by one and snap a photo when you’re across the pond. And while you’re scoping out London icons, try to snag a front seat in the top of a double-decker bus.

Wander In and Out of Free Museums

Unless you’re in Washington, D.C., you’ll be hard pressed to find world-class museums sans admission prices in the U.S. In London, however, some of the best things in life are free — including internationally-recognized museums like the British Museum, Tate Modern, and the National Gallery, to name a few. As you zigzag up and down the Thames and throughout the rest of central London, be thankful that you can pop in and out of most museums at no charge.

Take Time for a Pint in an Authentic Pub

There’s plenty of British pub copycats in the U.S., and for good reason: there’s something special about grabbing a pint at these age-old drinking holes. For an authentic experience, stop in for a Sunday roast, a British comfort food meal of juicy meat served with accompaniments such as Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, or stuffing. Or better yet, time your pub crawl around an English football match — hopefully you’ll find yourself raising a pint to celebrate a scored goal.

Like many other Americans, Libby Zay made her first trip overseas to London. She’s since explored many cities across the globe as a writer for various travel guides and publications, but something about London keeps reeling her back in. Learn more about Libby at, or follow her on Twitter @libbyzay.

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London Video of the Week: London for Free by Rob Eagle Wed, 30 Jan 2013 10:00:17 +0000

Rob Eagle’s video highlights some of the brilliant free things to do in London, from the British Museum to the Hunterian Museum.

The film won the Raindance Film Festival award in UCL’s London for Free competition.

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London Shopping News: Christmas Lights, Superga, Lucy in Disguise and Carl Warner at Westfield Wed, 07 Nov 2012 10:18:15 +0000 Christmas comes to town this week; plus there’s a new shoe shop in Carnaby, a pop-up in Seven Dials, and a free exhibition of food art at Westfield Stratford City.

London Turns On Its Christmas Lights
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Central London! This is the big week for London’s Christmas lights. Following Harrods’ Christmas Parade last week, look out for festive twinkles coming to Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby, Covent Garden, Westfield, and Greenwich Market to name but a few. From now until Christmas, shopping in London after dark will be a real treat as all the main shopping areas show off their finest festive trimmings. Enjoy!

Superga Opens in Carnaby
Italian shoe brand Superga has opened its second London store. Superga’s trademark vulcanized rubber soles can now be browsed and bought at 13 Newburgh Street in Carnaby. The brand was born back in 1911 Turin under the stewardship of Walter Martiny. After the war Superga reopened with a new mission to bring high-quality footwear to the people of Italy. Look out for the 2750, the so-called “People’s Shoe of Italy”. British Superstar Rita Ora is the face of their Spring/Summer 2013 campaign; if you can’t wait til then, pop into the new Carnaby store for fantastic shoes galore.

Lucy in Disguise Launches The Drama Parlour
On Thursday there’s a new hair studio opening inside Lucy in Disguise in Lexington Street. Billed as a one-stop shop and salon, tucked away in the eclectic comfort of the vintage boutique, you can have your hair tamed, teased and whipped into shape by Victoria Saunders, with her individual, one-to-one service. Working alongside her will be Sarah Hill, a fantastic hairdresser, if you are bored with your barnet or frustrated with your fringe, the Hair Mistress and team are here to revamp and revitalize your look! There will also be a “Menu of Make-up looks” inspired by styles from the 1920s to the 1960s for you to choose from, created by make-up artist Holy Silius. Click here to find out more.

Keith Brymer Jones in Seven Dials
Another week; another fab Seven Dials pop-up shop. This time, British ceramicist Keith Brymer Jones is showcasing his full collection of beautiful, useable and practical objects at 15 Shorts Gardens. I really like his Word Collection: classic typewriter font stamped objects, with honest descriptors like “coffee” or “bowl”, and more quirky statements like “don’t panic” and “overworked and underpaid”. Look out, too, for the Punk range, where famous rock quotes are cleverly re-worded (“Sex, Mugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll”), and printed on safety-pin pierced mugs. As well as plates and mugs, the pop-up stocks baby gifts, pet bowls, kitchen items like aprons and jugs. There’s also the first home fragrance collection from the brand including soaps, scent diffusers and candles. Keith Brymer Jones is in Seven Dials until 27 November.

Carl Warner at Westfield Stratford City
If you’re shopping at Westfield Stratford this weekend, don’t miss your chance to check out some free food art while you’re there. Food artist and photographer Carl Warner will be at Westfield Stratford City from today until Sunday 11 November. Carl will also be making an appearance, showing how he puts his work together in a series of demonstrations from Friday to Sunday, between 1pm-5pm each day in the Great Eastern Market on the Lower Ground Floor.

 Click here for more images and info.

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London Shopping News: New Stores for Muji and Michael Kors, Storytelling at Selfridges, and Foodie Fun for Kids at Westfield Stratford Tue, 23 Oct 2012 16:39:23 +0000 This week’s top shopping news stories:

Michael Kors Opens in Covent Garden, 25 Oct
Award-winning American designer Michael Kors is opening a shop on James Street in Covent Garden on Thursday this week. The store will stock a mix of accessories, jewellery, eyewear, watches, and fragrances from the MICHAEL Michael Kors brand, as well as some of his ready-to-wear collection. This is the sixth Michael Kors shop in the UK, including one on Regent Street and one in Westfield London.

Muji Reopens in Carnaby Street, 25 Oct
Everyone’s favourite Japanese lifestyle store, Muji is reopening on Carnaby Street on Thursday. The new shop offers a range of furniture, fashion, stationery and homewares and accessories with emphasis on simple, functional design. If you’re into minimalism, you’ll love this place. Thursday also sees the launch of their Christmas gift range. Show up on Thursday between 6 and 9pm to help them celebrate the opening and you can enjoy a free Kirin Ichiban beer and 20% discount on all items. Just email for your free ticket.

Story-telling with UGG Australia at Selfridges, 27 Oct-17 Nov
To celebrate the launch of UGG Australia’s new children’s storybooks, the brand is hosting Story Time sessions with a costumed storyteller in Selfridges this Saturday. Look out for the enchanting story-telling sessions in the new footwear area on the fourth floor. UGG Australia are running the free story-telling afternoons between 2 and 4pm on 27 October and 3, 10, and 17 November.

Foodie Fun for Kids at Westfield Stratford City, 27 Oct-4 Nov
This half-term, kids can indulge in some spooky foody fun at Westfield Stratford City. From Saturday 27 October until Sunday 4 November, between 11am and 4pm (Mon-Sat) and 12 til 5pm, kids can make a range of scary snacks including coffin cookies, creepy cupcakes and Frankenstein potato heads. Taking part is free, but you need to join the Westfield Kids Club to participate. Simply join at the Concierge desk on the first floor, near John Lewis. Kids even get a free goodie bag when they join.

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Malaysia Night in London 2012 Mon, 08 Oct 2012 09:15:49 +0000 dragon Ladies on a bench Dignitaries opening the night by cutting the ribbon Musicians with traditional Malaysian instruments Preparing delicious Malaysian food Dancers on stage Traditional curries and noodle dishes Yummy! A couple in ceremonial dress

Last Friday, London was treated to a tantalising glimpse of the exotic at the third annual Malaysia Night in Trafalgar Square. The event, which attracted thousands of people despite the rain, demonstrated the huge variety of Malaysia’s culture and provided a spectacular start to London’s 2012 Malaysia Week.

The event was officially opened by a group of Malaysian luminaries, including Dr Wong Lai Sum, Dr Syed Kamal and renowned shoe designer Jimmy Choo. Speaking at the event, member of the London Assembly James Cleverly pointed out that ‘Malaysia has a huge affinity with London’, explaining that the city’s diversity is an important factor in the close links between the two locations.

After the dignitaries cut the huge ribbon on stage, London was treated to spectacular entertainment that included colourfully-attired dancers, a spellbinding fashion show and haunting melodies from musicians using traditional Malaysian instruments. Around the square, stalls representing London’s best Malaysian restaurants sizzled with freshly cooked delights that ranged from traditional curries to sumptuously plump Malaysian pancakes.

Fortunately for those now hooked on Malaysia’s many delights, the South Bank is hosting Malaysia Week from now until 10 October. Here you’ll  find cultural exhibitions, traditional board games and, of course, the country’s delicious cuisine. As those who attended Malaysia Night will attest, the wealth of what’s on offer will even make you forget it’s raining!

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Mayor’s Thames Festival Sun, 09 Sep 2012 11:14:58 +0000

London is enjoying superb weather for this weekend’s annual Mayor’s Thames Festival as you can see from this photo. It was taken yesterday in The Scoop and you can see Tower Bridge in the background. And it’s not over! I’ll be heading down to the river later to enjoy today’s festivities and the spectacular parade and fireworks this evening. The event coincides with the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony.

Have you ever been to the Mayor’s Thames Festival? What was your highlight?

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Fashion’s Night Out in London: 6 September Thu, 30 Aug 2012 10:30:50 +0000

London’s best stores and shopping districts are taking part in Fashion’s Night Out on Thursday 6 September: a celebration of shopping that runs all over the world. If you’re into shopping, you don’t want to miss this! Here are some of London’s highlights:

Seven Dials
Seven Dials will be celebrating Fashion’s Night Out with complimentary drinks, makeovers and special offers across many of Seven Dials’ beauty salons, fashion and lifestyle stores and restaurants. Seven Dials is a really lovely area for shopping in London, so make sure you take advantage of the freebies on offer.

John Lewis Oxford Street
Top London department store John Lewis Oxford Street is also joining in with Fashion’s Night Out. John Lewis is displaying the exclusive new Somerset by Alice Temperley collection in a live catwalk show between 6 and 9pm. There’ll be a DJ in store creating the perfect fashion party atmosphere, while you can enjoy delicious Charbonnel & Walker chocolates and a complimentary drink. And the John Lewis Beauty hall will be full to the brim with this season’s key products, ready to create wonderful new looks. I can’t think of a better excuse for an early evening make-over before heading out into London’s West End!

At Liberty, you’ll have the chance to meet Jonathan Saunders who’ll be in store running a photobooth where you can get involved in #showusyoursaunders: pose in your finest Jonathan Saunders wares for a photo with the man himself. In addition, Roksanda Ilincic will be signing exclusive hand-drawn sketches of her AW collection for you, and working with her muse and model Jade Parfitt. Jade will be on hand to model Roksanda’s designs and advise you on your purchases. Head up to the Shoe Lounge on the first floor where there’ll be a Victorian Fun Fare-styled photobooth where you can pose for photos in funky masks and accessories. If you’re a scarf fan, don’t miss the Liberty scarf styling team on the ground floor, who’ll be demonstrating a myriad of ways to wear your finest Liberty scarves. On the same floor, you can visit hair colourist Josh Wood and his team, who’ll be taking over the Liberty beauty hall. Finally, Cointreau has created a special cocktail menu to celebrate FNO, exclusively for Liberty shoppers, which you can sample in the Cointreau satellite cocktail bar on the first floor.

UGG Australia Piccadilly
Take a trip to NYC via the UGG store on Piccadilly on Fashion’s Night Out. For one night only, UGG will channel Manhattan with NYC-inspired treats for customers on the night. All shoppers on the night will receive an exclusive UGG Australia shopper with any purchase to carry their goodies home, while a DJ will spin iconic New York-themed songs to get shoppers in the Empire State of Mind; and the apple-flavoured cocktails will also give you a real “taste” of the Big Apple! Finally, there’ll be a classic yellow New York cab parked outside the store, where shoppers can enter hourly competitions to win all of the UGG goodies stowed in its “trunk”. Simply pick a car key from the basket in-store and if your key fits the lock, then the “booty” is yours!

Watch this space for more info on Fashion’s Night Out. Or you can follow them on facebook or on twitter with the #FNO hashtag

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