Festive Hangouts You Might Not Have Heard Off in London This Christmas 2019

Don’t you just love Christmas? The lights, the decorations, the markets, the food. Nowhere else does Christmas quite like London.

Sure you know about Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and the ice rink at Somerset House, but have you heard of the winter carnival above Oxford Street or the winter lawn at the Tower Hotel? There are so many cool things you’ve not heard of, so here’s my guide to some of the cool winter hangout in London this Christmas 2019.

Christmas at Brixton Market

Does Brixton Market need any introduction? This diverse and vibrant market has been at the heart of the community for years and they’ve gotten into the Christmas spirit with an awesome lineup of food, drinks, and events. Expect festive performances, a New Orleans themed evening, and foodie pop-up the incredible Street Food Union and so much more. Easy to reach from Brixton tube station, check out how they do Christmas in this hip side of London.

📍 Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8PS

Rooftop Brew Stop in Big Chill

Big Chill’s in King’s Cross is ringing in the festive season with their “Rooftop Brew Stop” that transports you to an alpine lodge. Indulge in gooey raclette burgers and plenty of festive cocktails and refreshing Camden Town Brewery beers to keep the festivities merry and bright. Casual and festive, “Rooftop Brew Stop” is the great spot to hang out with mates.

📍 Big Chill, King’s Cross, 257-259 Pentonville Road, London N1 9NL

Tower Hotel Winter Lawn

There aren’t many festive venues that can boast majestic views to their winter hangout, but that’s exactly what you get at The Tower Hotel Winner Lawn, and more. Mulled wine, festive cocktails, heartwarming wintry dishes from the Christmas menu with Tower Bridge in the backdrop will keep your festive evening going into the night. A little secret that not many Londoners know about.

📍 St Katharine’s Way, St Katharine’s & Wapping, London E1W 1LD

The Gun Gingerbread Chalet

To celebrate Christmas, The Gun has launched its very own winter interiors and menu in the form of a giant gingerbread house. Expect a delightful selection of festive drinks and food (the burger is a must) but makes this chalet it has resigned walls. Yep, really! You can take a piece of gingerbread of the walls and indulge. It’s cosy, festive and perfect for a private part.

The Lock Tavern

Nothing quite beats a roaring fire pit to warm you up. The Lock Tavern has opened up the Lock Lodge to celebrate and it’s bringing with it, a festive menu and plenty of mulled wine. The sweet roasted pork belly is one of the best finger food I tried and this being Camden, there’s plenty of the good stuff to keep things merry. There’s plenty of seating and if you find yourself unable to get close to the fire pit, the heated green seatings will keep you warm. Another secret hangout secreted in a pub to discover.

John Lewis & Partners: Rooftop Winter Carnival

I don’t know about you, but I love a venue that’s based around a theme, and one of London’s largest rooftop has been given an Americana makeover. Set high above the bustling streets of Oxford Circus, the John Lewis Winter Carnival rooftop, in collaboration with Phillips Hue and tech giants Google is brimming with things to do. Expect perfect Insta-moments from fairground horses to waltzer panels and bumper cars to pose in, to brightly-coloured smart lights powered by Philips Hue, plus Popcorn Shrimp, Loaded Fries, Corn Dogs, Turkey Drummers, Oreo Cheesecake Bites, Hot Toffee Apples and more to keep those bellies warm and full.

📍 John Lewis Rooftop, Oxford Street, Marylebone, London W1C 1DX

Aviary Igloo

There’s aren’t many igloo venues that can boast views across London’s skyline like City-based restaurant and bar, Aviary. In partnership with award-winning spirit distillery, Talisker, Aviary has recreated the winter wonderland of the Isle of Skye, inspired by its Scottish partner’s homeland. You can expect a bespoke cocktail menu featuring Talisker (obvs), and a specially curated menu to enjoy under the stars. As good as it gets for a fancy festive do.

📍 Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX

Know any festive hangouts this Christmas that should be in this list? Let me know in the comments below or hit me on social media: Facebook or Twitter.

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Top 5 things to do in London this March 2019

To my mind, March signals the end of winter and marks the start of warmer climes. I’m already starting to leave my jacket behind! With agreeable weather, it’s even easier to venture outside and explore all that London has to offer. Read below to see the 5 things to do in London according to me.

St Patrick’s Day in Trafalgar Square [FREE]

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Photo credit: london.gov.uk

We all have a bit of Irish blood in us, so it seems. Celebrate the patron saint of Ireland on Friday 15-16 March with yor fellow Irishman at London’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Trafalgar Square.  Now in its 7th year, it’s your chance to celebrate Irish music, dance, culture, food and more. If you can’t be arsed with the crowd, then why neck a few Guinness in London’s many Irish pubs? Waxy O’Connor and The Porterhouse rank as my favourites.

Pancake Day [FREE]

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Photo credit: http://www.greenwichmarket.london

5th of March is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. It’s the perfect excuse to treat yourself to pancakes all day at London’s best pancake house. If you fancy showing off your flipping prowess, head down to Greenwich Market and take part in the annual pancake race. Pans are provided, you’ll get a free pancake and a medal for your efforts plus any money raised goes to the Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice. Win-win. Register to enter for free here.

Kew’s Orchid Festival [Adult £16.50]

Kew Garden’s orchid festival has been on for quite some time now. But March is your last opportunity to admire these colourful botanical species. Snap an Instagrammable pic before it goes on 10 March.

International Women’s Day at the Southbank

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Photo credit: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Friday, March 8, 2019, is International Women’s Day and to celebrate every good and going in the world of women, the Southbank Centre are hosting a 2-day festival. Expect a killer programme of debates, dicussions, performances and activism celebrating female achievement and highlighting the obstacles getting in the way of female success. Visit the WOW website to see the full programme and to book.

Mothering Sunday

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Photo by Randy Rooibaatjie on Unsplash

Sunday 31 March is that day to show mum how much you love her. Surprise her with exotic flowers at Columbia Flower market, treat her to a special meal at Florentine, Aqua Shard or Bokan. London is chock full of ideas. Whatever you do, make sure these superheroes feel special.

What are you looking forward to the most this March? Let me know below!

The charming host is the fox in Frantics PlayStation 4 game

Frantics at MEATMission

For those who know me well, they will tell you how much I like to get round the Big Smoke especially if involves good burgers and drinks.

My recent escapades in London took me to MEATMission in Shoreditch. I’m sure MEATMission needs no introduction. Well-known purveyors of mouth-watering upmarket burgers, these guys have chains all across London from MEATMarket in Covent Garden to MeatLiquour in Bond Street.

This one in Shoreditch is particularly striking for its quirky decor and its done a grand job in including many of the features of this former mission building from stained glass and salvaged-wood tables.

The interiors of MEATMission in Shoreditch with people inside and stained windows.

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But it wasn’t just for the upmarket burgers and hot-dogs I was here for. I was here see the launch of Frantics, a brand new game for PlayStation 4.

As a kid, I loved computer games and I still am a huge PlayStation fan. I don’t usually get these invites so, when I saw an invitation from the lovely peeps at We Are Romans and PlayStation, I jumped at the chance. To be honest, I was already sold when the night promised beers, burgers and games.

Exclusive to PlayStation, Frantics is about controlling your rascally character and fighting your way to glory against your mates or family over 15 wacky mini-games.

Fellow gamers playing Frantics on the PlayStation 4 at MEATMIssion.

These mini-games can be anything from frenetic action arena brawls to strategic turned based games to wacky races. If I could, I would invite all my mates for an all-nighter. Alas, we don’t live in an ideal world, but I still got to play these fun little mini-games:

  • Dough Knights – I had to collect as many doughnuts as we can within a time limit in a jousting arena where others can jab and ram each other out of the way.
  • Bomb slingers  – I avoid falling bombs in an action turned arena – preferably by throwing them at your opponent.
  • Friendless Runner – be the first to cross the finish line through a track full of random and fiendish obstacles set up by the dastard fox.

Throughout, the fox is your host. But he’s not just the face of the game He’s there to stir trouble up using bribery and cryptic messages sent directly to your phone (and just you) and give you the upper hand. You’re encouraged to sabotage and backstab your way to glory with his helping.  Just remember he’s probably doing the exact same thing for your rivals.

Games are always better when you play with your mates. With Frantics, up four players can fight, sabotage and brawl their way to bragging rights as king of PlayStation.

We’ve all been there before when there aren’t enough controllers for everyone to join in the fun. But this is 2018, and with Frantics, you can use your smartphone or tablet to control the rascals onscreen to swipe, tilt, swing, shake, flick, snap your way to victory. using the genius PlayLink system.

PlayLink games are all about games that everyone can enjoy. So, I reckon even my parents, who can barely work out how to turn a computer on can play (probably).

Gameplay from Frantics, the game on the Playstation 4.
📷by PlayStation

I’ve been out of the game for a long time, but I quickly learned that Frantics is a game for everyone. But with Frantics, it’s a level playing field so, even the casual gamer like me knows what he’s doing. So if you’re organising a party with the chums on a weekend, this game is ideal. It can be competitive but in the best and fun possible way and super easy to play. It’s refreshing to see Playstation to mix it up a bit and produce a title aimed at groups and family rather than the hardcore gamers.

To my readers, have you played the game? Give me a shout and tell me what you think.

 

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Winter Lights in Canary Wharf – Top 5 Light Installations

Sad that Lumiere London is done and dusted for another year? Fear not, there’s a lesser-known light festival taking place a little further east of London – the Winter Lights in Canary Wharf.

Just as dazzling, the Winter Lights in Canary Wharf is an annual light festival showcasing sculptures, structures and installations from innovative artists and designers from around the world. it’s quite a spectacle – the bright installations presenting light in different forms using different light technology. Some installations are interactive and some can simply be admired from afar.

With more than 30 installations to see all around Canary Wharf so, there’s plenty to see. So, here are my top 5 favourite installations:

Dazzling Dodecahedron at Wren Landing

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Step inside this beautiful, jewel-like structure and bathe in the glow of amazing purples, golds, pinks, blues, green and bronze from the 12 pentagon panels made of iridescent acrylic. During the day the installation twinkles with a kaleidoscope of colour created by natural sunlight. At night, the lights go on and the Dazzling Dodecahedron comes to life as a giant disco ball.

Sonic Light Bubble at Jubilee Plaza

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This amazing six-metre wide living, breathing installation pulsates with light and sound when you approach or touch it, emitting a warm glow through 236 programmed LEDs as it constantly generates new visual patterns to a unique soundtrack. It’s super fun.

Abstract Collectif in Montgomery Square

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Apparently inspired by the concept of time and relativity. Abstract is a pixel matrix in which every pixel can move over its vertical axis between the ground and a height of five metres. Movement, sound and light all interweave to create a stunning performance piece repeating on a loop. Time can be perceived as a vertical dimension in which the pixels travel. This movement represents the freezing of time while the audience keeps their feet firmly on the ground.

On Your Wavelength at level -3 Crossrail Place

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Probably my favourite and most impressive in my eyes. This interactive light sculpture and music composition is controlled by your mind, via a headset. As your thought patterns change, the electrical data from your brain is used to control the music and create intricate light patterns. These illuminate a large-scale light installation fitted with over 30,000 LEDs. Kinda cool. Thank God it doesn’t display what’s in your head!

Halo at Cabot Square

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See Cabot Square in a new light as a giant Halo seems to levitate above the fountain creating a powerful light experience. Halos are an optical phenomenon produced by light interacting with crystals in the atmosphere recreated here to delight and uplift. In this piece the Halo refers to the sun as our greatest source of light and warmth, shaping the conditions for life on our planet.

Lumiere London may be bigger, but the Winter Lights is just as exciting to see. I would go as far to say that I actually prefer the Winter Lights.  The installations are just as mesmerising, there will be fewer people (much, much less!), and the installations are all within walking distance to each other. In fact, you can see all 30+ installations in one night like I did.

Some installations are indoors which mean you won’t be freezing all night too.

What I also noticed at this year’s Lumiere London festival is thatsome of the installations there were first showcased in Canary Wharf in previous years! You never know, some of the installations you see in Canary Wharf this January may actually appear in the next edition of Lumiere London.

You can plan your visit by downloading and reading about the Winter Lights on the Canary Wharf website. And unlike Lumiere London, the Winter Lights is lighting up Canary Wharf around for 2 weeks (until 27 January in fact), so take your time and enjoy the lights whenever time suits you.

Have you seen the Winter Lights in Canary Wharf? Which was your favourite installation?

Or are you planning on going to see the Winter Lights (you should!)? Which installation are you most excited to see?

To see more of my images from the Winter Lights, check out Winter Lights in Canary Wharf – In Pictures.Winter Lights 2018 in Canary Wharf – in pictures.

#WinterLights

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Winterville is back!

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Winterville is back for 2017 and it’s the same as I’ve always known it to be: it’s friggin awesome.

Now located on Clapham Common after swapping locations with Victoria Park in the East-End, Winterville is much smaller than its Winter Wonderland brethren. But that’s not a negative thing: it’s still packed with things to do and I didn’t feel overwhelmed or worried that I’d be unable to see everything.

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Free to enter and a few minutes walk away from Clapham Common tube station, Winterville, is ram packed with uber fun things to do: you can claim bragging rights against your mates at Plonk Crazy Golf, show off your ice skating / rollerblading moves to your hot-date, and even get your heart-pumping with one of the many exhilarating rides including the ominously-sounding “Oblivion”. There’s more and I’m only just scratching the surface!

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If a more mellow evening is in order then snuggle in with mulled wine in hand inside one of the many warm bar tents around Winterville with comfy sofas covered in faux-fur. Then catch Christmassy entertainment inside the Spiegeltent, or browse the quirky indoor Christmas market tent where you’ll find unique gifts, and gorge on some of the finest street food all under one roof with Street Feast (the very same purveyor of fine street food who brought us Dinerama and Hawker House) featuring Mother Clucker, Babek Kebab, and White Men Can’t Jerk.

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Winterville, Clapham, Nov 2017 20

You can even catch a movie in the surroundings of an enchanted forest with backyard cinema. Hint: what’s behind that wardrobe… 😉

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I have to admit, when I arrived on a cold Thursday night after work on press night, I was in a bit of a foul mood but I left with a full stomach and a massive grin on my face. I could go on “Oblivion”, “Over the Falls” and “Air Raid” all day long!

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If you ask me whether I’d recommend visiting Winterville, it’s a big YASSS from me. Unlike Winter Wonderland, Winterville is a bit more for grown-ups and away from the mass crowd of Central London. it’s packed with things to do, things to see, things to win, and delicious food to devour/Instagram the shit out of. It’s a bit of trek if you live in the East like I do, but it’s so worth the journey. GO!

 

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The sight, smell and sound of Camden (to be continued…)

It’s often the case on a Saturday morning that I wonder “what shall I do this weekend?”. It’s not that I’m too lazy to plan ahead, I’m simply too busy during the week to think of anything else.

Like most working full-time in Central London, I wanted to avoid Central and so my search focussed on somewhere ‘hip’, ‘cool’, ‘happening’, ‘quirky’ and foodie’. The snap decision to spend the afternoon in Camden was made. Owing much to my procrastination, it was already pretty late in the afternoon so I wouldn’t have much time left. Sod it, I needed to make good use of the slither of leisure time I had.

I didn’t have to walk very far from Camden Town station before being swept up by the vibrant energy of Camden where explorers, punks, locals, street artists and vendors all mingle harmoniously to create the atmosphere Camden is so famous for.

Sketchy or Cool? Weird or trendy? Places like Camden can divide opinions. For me, Camden has always felt like home. It’s certainly rough around the edges. But it’s similar to the part of London that I grew up living in the East End. I loved it.

Shopping was not on my agenda but no-one could ignore the market. Stopping by to read some of the tongue-in-cheek slogans on these knock-off shirts does provide some amusement.

I naturally made my way to Camden Lock where it was all happening. Over 200 stalls jostled for my attention and my fellow wanderers around the market. It never ceases to amaze me the plethora of stuff you can buy in Camden Market from handmade jewellery, vintage antiques, and even ice cream made from liquid nitrogen. If unique, quirky items are what you’re after, this is where it’s at. I think I know where I’ll be doing my Christmas shopping this year.

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I wasn’t even hungry but the enticing smell of the mouth-watering street food nearby drew me in. How can it not? In Thailand, some of the best food in the city are the ones that you find from the street vendors. Perhaps the same can be true in London? You’ll find pasta oozing with cheese, dainty dumplings from Tibet, and sweet crepes. London’s diverse foodie scene offering reflects it’s diverse population.

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I continued to wander around the 15,000 square feet labyrinth of Camden Market until it was closing time (6pm). I cursed myself for arriving so late in the day. It meant I was only able to see a fraction of what Camden has to offer but I consoled myself with the knowledge that at least it gives me a reason to come back again soon. In true Arnie fashion, ‘I’ll be back.’‘I’ll be back.’

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Conquering Snowdon

OK, so Snowdon isn’t exactly in London, but for all you adventurers out there, I think you’ll be interested.

In July 2017, I finally realised a personal ambition and finally climbed Mount Snowdon. I’m a bit of a sucker for adventures and views so climbing Snowdon had been something I’d been wanting to do for quite a while.

Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, at an elevation of 1,085 metres above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles south of the Scottish Highlands. It is located in Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd.

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Along with 2 other friends from uni, we set off from London Euston train station for Llanberis, a small village at the foot of Snowdon where we would start our ascent to the top. There are many paths up Snowdon, but careful research shows that  Llanberis Path is the easiest way up even though it does not offer the best views compared to the other paths.

I normally would elect for a tougher route for the challenge and better views, but given my lack of fitness and training, I thought best not to get ahead of myself.

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The climb to the summit via the Llanberis route is easy but it’s not all plain sailing though. The hike gets pretty steep and requires care just like all the others paths. There are steep drops and I was scared to stary too close to the edge. There are 9 in total, each varying levels of difficulty).

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Once we arrived at the summit, it was windy and sadly the views were shrouded in a thick mist. We were in fact among the clouds, that’s how high up we were. Nevertheless, we made it to the very top and took the obligatory selfie before heading to the warmth of the summit cafe for some much-needed rest.  It was packed so we weren’t exactly able to put our feet up for a bit but hey ho.

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As we emerged again to begin our descent back down,  the clouds had passed and we were finally treated to this breathtaking view. Fair to say, the 3-hour climb to the top was worth it and  I don’t think any pictures could do it justice. You just have to be there to really take in the majesty of it all.

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Can you see the path? I can’t recall what this one was called but it wasn’t the Llanberis Path.

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Back down the Miner’s Path we go

Rather than take the same Llanberis route, we decided on taking the Miner’s Path back down. While it offered some of the best views than the other paths, it was definitely a lot trickier and quite dangerous to climb down unless you’re careful. The Miner’s Path is one of those paths that might be suited for more experienced / confident climbers. I must have been feeling courageous at the time or up for a challenge.

I found it tough going and I don’t think I’m alone when I say climbing down is more dangerous and difficult than climbing up. I’m still counting my lucky stars that on the day of my climb, the weather remained dry – it could have been so much more difficult. At one point we accidentally strayed off the path and ended up having to climb back up a waterfall we just cleared!

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Nevertheless, we made it back down in one piece and taken some great pics for keep sake. Although it was hairy at times going back down, in hindsight I’m glad I did it. The views were that good. Would I do it again? Hell yeah!

For you adventurers out there, you must climb Snowdon. The views are breathtaking and the challenges are real.

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Don’t fear if you want to climb but worried about your lack of mountaineering experience. I had literally no training but still managed it but I’d advised to start on the Llanberis Path.

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I’d recommend going in the summer to really see Snowdon in all its glory and when the elements are at its kindest. Definitely right there in terms of my best achievements.

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Pleased to meet you, Hope

The Natural History Museum has a new poster girl and her name is Hope 🙂

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I got to meet Hope, the Blue Whale for the first time last week and she’s a beauty. Awe-inspiring and majestic, Hope hangs above the main atrium of the Hintze Hall where Dippy once proudly stood.

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If you enter the museum through the main entrance, you’ll be impressed with the way Hope appears to be swooping towards you with her mouth wide open and her flippers spread out reveal the full extent of her sheer size.

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Although we’ll miss Dippy the Diplodocus, Hope is a very impressive and fitting replacement for this famous museum. Remember, it’s free to visit and worth visiting the Natural History Museum just to see Hope.

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Roof East, Stratford is Back!

Roof East is back, and judging from my visit recently, is bigger and better than last year.

Based on the top of a disused car park in Stratford, Roof East is East London’s rooftop bar, cinema and urban space, much like the Bussey Building Rootop Bar and Cinema Club in Peckham.

I’m a sucker for views (who isn’t?) and at Roof East, you can lap the great view of Stratford and the East End:

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Looking out towards Westfield Shopping Centre and The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the distance

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Last year’s activities was rather sparse. But this year, Roof East has upped its game bringing in the help of The Social Find and Games Club to help out the activities. This year you can try hand at London’s first urban lawn bowls, whizz around in the Rooftop Roller Disco or hit a home run in London’s only batting cages experience. You definitely don’t see many of those around London.

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London’s only batting cages experience.

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London’s first urban lawn bowls

But Roof East isn’t done there. Roof East 2017 also welcomes back the ever popular rooftop cinema club, Roof East Bar and Birdies Crazy Golf.

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Summer vibes radiate across the venue. The only thing missing is the enticing of smell of a barbeque. But that’s only the tiniest of gripes.

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The Adam Richman’s and Randy Santel’s are well catered for.  There’s food stalls around with burgers, pizzas and hot dogs on the menu. If cocktails and beer are more your thing, you’re covered. I counted three bars with a selection of craft beers on tap.

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Free to enter, and open every day except for Mondays and open till 11pm, it’s place to easily spend hours without realising. Perfect for after work drinks or a weekend escape.

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Roof East is a fantastic summer destination and thankfully out from zone 1. With so many things to do, food to devour and summer vibes to saok up, it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the company of friends. After all, who doesn’t like a rooftop space?

Know any other summer destinations in London that’s begging to be discovered? Let me know down in the comments 👍

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Things to Do in London for One Day On a Budget

Are you someone who can’t resist the urge to see as many things as possible in a short space of time?

Whenever I am in a new place, I yearn to see and visit as many places as I can for as little money as possible. After all, I don’t know if I’ll ever get the opportunity again.

Traveling can be expensive and London is no exception. But if you look in the right places, you’ll discover a side of London filled with cheap, and sometimes free, things to do.

If you’re anything like me, and visiting London for a short on a budget, then this guide will hopefully help.

Let’s do this!

1) Wander through Borough Market

To kick-start the day, I’d head to Borough Market. Open 10am – 5pm Monday – Saturday, Borough Market is London’s oldest market, dating back to 1014. With more than 100 stalls, this is the place to find artisanal produce from meats to cakes. You can try free samples before you buy. Look out for the truffle stall which is my favourite! You don’t have to buy anything, of course. But wandering around and soaking up the bustling atmosphere is a real London experience. It won’t cost you a penny to visit, and if you’re feeling peckish, there are hundreds of gourmet food stalls to satisfy your appetite.

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2) More London, Tower Bridge & Towers of London

From Borough Market, take a short walk to More London where you can admire the iconic Tower Bridge and City Hall, the egg shaped Mayor’s office.

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More London with City Hall & Tower Bridge up ahead

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City Hall & Tower Bridge

Often mistaken as London Bridge because of its majestic design, Tower Bridge finished construction in 1894 and gets its name from nearby Tower of London. Take it all in and Instagram it before crossing the river via the bridge where you’ll see the Tower of London, once a fortress/prison/armoury and now home to the Crown Jewels.

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The Tower of London:

Of course, you can pay to enter both the Tower of London and Tower Bridge and find out more about both landmarks. However, the price can be steep and is a whole day trip in itself. For this guide, we’ll leave it but for now. But that’s 2 major landamarks you can say you’ve seen in the space of 30 minutes.

2. Cruise along The Thames with to Central

Our next destination is in Central London. But rather than taking the Tube, we’re taking a boat. Yes, we’re going on the Thames! Once you’re done uploading your Instagram your selfie with #TowerBridge, walk the extremely short distance to Tower Millenium Pier and purchase a ticket to board a City Cruise boat to Westminster Pier.

Cruising along the Thames is a great way to sightsee a large part of London in a short space of time not to mention a relaxing way to travel around the city and really get to feel the curve of the city. Along the way, you can cross off London landmarks such as HMS Belfast, The Walkie-Talkie (real name 20 Fenchurch Street), The Millenium Bridge, St Pauls’ Cathedral and much more off your  ‘to see’ list. There’s also an onboard guide who’ll point out key attractions to you and talk you through its history.

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HMS Belfast

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The Walkie-Talkie: That weird looking building to the left

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The Millenium Bridge

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St Paul’s Cathedral

3) The Southbank

Alight at Westminster pier, cross Westminster Bridge, and prepare to take in the sights and sound from London’s Southbank. From here, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament stands proudly before you, and the London Eye towers majestically over you.

By this point, you’re probably thinking about lunch and luckily The Southbank is a hive of activity, brimming with cafes, bars and restaurants, ready to refuel you for the afternoon ahead. If you’re lucky to be here in the summer when the Southbank is at it’s best, you’ll find street performers and buskers out in their numbers to entertain you while firm favourite popups, The Underbelly and Wonderground is a bastion of fun and entertainment.

Southbank (01)

Southbank (02)

Southbank (07)Southbank (06)

Southbank (04)Southbank (05)

4) Museums in South Kensington

Hop on the tube and make your way to well-heeled South Kensington where 3 of London’s best (and free museums) live. Come face to face to dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, admire the intricate decorative collection of art at the inside The V&A Museum, the world’s largest decorative and design museum, or satisfy your curious mind at the Science Museum.

Science Museum (01)
The Science Museum

V&A Museum (01)
The V&A Museum

There is so much to explore around inside these enormous world-class museums and you could easily spend the rest of your afternoon there. Big kudos if you manage to visit all three museums in one afternoon! It’s incredible that they are completely free. My personal favourite is the Natural History Museum. I’ve been a visitor ever since I was a child and it never ceases to amaze me with its vast collections and exhibits.

5) Theatreland and Chinatown

By now, the day is coming to a close and you’re probably thinking about calling it a day. But if you still have energy left in the tank, then you won’t regret spending the last part of your day in London’s theatreland and Chinatown.

From South Kensington tube station, hop back on the Tube and back to Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square and prepare for a feast of mouth-watering authentic Chinese dinner in London’s lively Chinatown. There are so many restaurants to choose from, and you can’t leave without trying the famous aromatic duck. I hear “4 Seasons” are quite the specialists.

Finally, what better way to end the day than a show in one of London’s famous West-End? I realise this might not come cheap, but with careful planning, it is still possible to find tickets at discounted prices. I use TodayTix for the best deals and to book ahead of time. But if you’re going on a whim, the best place to try your lucky for relatively cheap, last minute tickets is at TKTS in Leicester Square. Tickets sold here will be discounted as theatres try to sell the last few remaining tickets before. An American Paris is one of favourite as is The Lion King.

Chinatown (01)
Chinatown

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London is a massive place with so many things to do, to see, to experience, to eat. I’ve hardly mentioned the restaurants, the parks or the shopping! But this personal guide will hopefully help you cross off many must-see landmarks and areas in London without spending a fortune.

Have I missed anything? Would you change/add anything, or am I talking complete rubbish? Let me know in the comments below. And let me know you if you found this useful, and would like more guides!

Other reads: St George’s Day in Trafalgar Square; Swinger’s” A Tale of Fun and Tragedy; Top Hidden Gems in London.