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Sinking a Few Holes at The Junkyard Golf Club on Brick Lane

Looking for something quirky and fun to do for your mid-week treat? Perhaps maybe an end-of-week night out? Maybe you’re looking for something to do for a team putting? Or maybe it’s a date night? Well, look on further than The Junkyard Golf Club at The Old Truman on edgy Brick Lane.

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (02)

By now, most Londoners will have heard of The Junkyard Golf Club as it’s been a capital for a while. Starting out in Manchester back in 2007, the guys has expanded to the Capital where it has stayed since. IInitiallya pop-up,  now it’s here stay and had recently been given a facelift, breathing new life into the old golf courses.

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (05)

Kept underground underneath the Old Brewery, it’s a pretty big place with four courses to impress on. I  unleashed my inner Rory McIllory on three courses that were open that night.

Every course and hole are very inventive and each with their own themes: Jungle Circus Freaks, Scrapyard Challenge and Old School Movie Mash-Up.  Each course has 9 holes which mean if you were to complete every course, you’d have done 36 holes!

My personal favourite course was the jungle course where I recall, with varying degree of success, putting through a volcanoe and an aztec temple. 

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (06)

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (07)

Naturally, what I loved most about the Junkyard Golf Club is the inventive golf course, and the equally wacky names of every hole.

I had to hack my way through the jungle with ‘Pablo’, embrace all things carnival (albeit spooky) with ‘Bozo’ the spooky clown, and navigate my way through the scrapyard in ‘Tyre-some Fury’ and the mind-altering UV garage section.

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (08)

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (09)

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (11)

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (12)

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (13)

Bars are dotted around the course which mean holes weren’t the only thing I was sinking on the night! There’s a selection of delicious craft beers to enjoy (the Pistonhead was very good) and if you have a sweet tooth like I do, sweet saccharine cocktails will satiate any sweet tooth. Of course, every cocktail comes with its own wacky and quirky names from ‘Fairway to Heaven’ and ‘Who’s Your Caddy’. Excellent.

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (21)

As for the food, the hot dog was not brilliant, but it will provide keep the hunger at bay for now. If I were you, I’d go for the nachos in all its gooey cheesy deliciousness providing better sustenance to take on the course.

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (14)

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (03)

If you think the night is over after the last hole had been sunk, think again. Right next door, The Golden Pineapple, a retro looking cocktail bar, serves inventive and original cocktails right up till 11pm

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (18)

I was pretty tempted to go for the ‘Bronson Flip’ which included a raw egg in the cocktail mix, but  I played it safe and went for the Rye Port Cobbler.

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (17)

It’s a pretty large big cocktail bar with a  lounge area to sink into and leather banquettes at the other end of the bar to soak up the atmosphere and contemplate how good of a crazy golf player you are (or where it all went wrong), or dish out some of the banter on your mates.

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (15)

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (20)

It’s bigger and a far cry from the homogenous chain of crazy golf courses I’ve seen in recent times.It’s a wacky, quirky place for a competitive fun night out with your mates or in a team bonding sesh to see who in your office/ among your mates, is the king/queen of Crazy Golf. However you get on, you’re guaranteed heaps of fun in the East End.

If you’re still lukcy enough to be a student, you can get 50% off to have a go. DO IT!

Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane (22)

To see more images, follow me on Instagram, or just following my musings on Twitter.

More things to do in London: Inside the Lost World of The Backyard Cinema; Top Hidden Gems in London Part 1; Inside the Quirkiest Museum in London.

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My first England game at Twickenham!

I don’t plan on posting many posts about sports on my blog here. But last Sunday I got the incredible opportunity to see England vs. Italy in the rugby Six Nations on Matchday 3!

Twickenham Rugby Stadium (01)

Sunday was going to be another day in at home as I always plan on Sunday. But by some sheer luck, a friend was able to offer me a spare ticket for free to watch the game close pitchside. Cue mega-excitement!

Twickenham Rugby Stadium (02)

Taking place at the home of Rugby Twickenham stadium, in quaint and rather cute Richmond, England and Italian rugby fans descended upon this charming neighbourhood in South-West as the game approached kick-off. The excitement and anticipation was palpable as pubs were filled with supporters sinking a few pre-match pints.

Twickenham Rugby Stadium (04)

England was on a roll having gone undefeated in 2016 winning 16 games on the bounce and needing three more victories to overtake New Zealand as the team with the most win in consecutive games at 18. England were clearly heavy favourites and many, including myself, expected the team to take Italy to the cleaners especially at home in front of an expectant crowd.

Twickenham Rugby Stadium (03)

But thanks to some clever, albeit controversial Italian tactics, the game was much tighter than many had anticipated, and Italy led 5-10 going into half-time. It wasn’t until the 60th minute that the Twickenham crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief as England pulled through to secure victory (and a bonus point) to win 36-15 and move a step closer of beating New Zealand’s world record of 18 consecutive wins.

Twickenham Rugby Stadium (08)

Twickenham Rugby Stadium (07)

Twickenham Rugby Stadium (13)

One of the many things I noticed at the game were the fans. Respect and sportsmanship is one of the key pillars of rugby and that was on show in abundance as Italian and England happily mingled with each other prior to kick-off.

It’s a stark contrast to Football where fans of opposing sides are kept well apart before, during, and after. At a rugby game, you could England and Italian I could see England and Italy fan next to one another. It’s a very different kind of clientele and I like it.

Twickenham Rugby Stadium (11)

Much to my surprise Rugby is one of the most watched sport in the world.  The Rugby World Cup in 2015 in England was declared the biggest and best tournaments with an estimated 120 million viewers watching the final where New Zealand were crowned champions. Here, the crowd at Twickenham reached just over 81,000.

Twickenham Rugby Stadium (12)

It may be the only time I get to see my country play at the home of Rugby in an international tournament as grand as the Six Nations. I’m glad this is one thingI can now tick off y list of things I’ve always wanted to do? The only donwside? When I was accidentally splashed with beer at the end and had to enure a 1 hour and 20 minutes train journey home!

 

Twickenham Rugby Stadium (10)

Top Hidden Gems in London Part 3

In part three of my hidden gem London series, I uncover a neon art gallery with enough lights to rival Las Vegas, a peaceful Parish Church in the City, a slice of Japan in Holland Park, the quirkiest museum in London, and a flower market charming enough to melt even the toughest of hearts. Enjoy!

1) God’s Own Junkyard

If you think Piccadilly Circus is the  only place in London to dazzle visitors and Londoners alike with its bright city lights, think again.

God's Own Junkyard (06)

God's Own Junkyard (11)

Okay, so admittedly unlike Piccadilly Circus, God’s Own Junkyard is situated in the not so glamourous setting Walthamstow, North-East London  in a pretty grim looking salvage yard, but it’s no less impressive.

Open only at the weekends, God’s Own Junkyard showcases the dazzling collection and works of the late neon artist, Chris Bracey. It has the largest stock of neon vintage signs in Europe and is the oldest signmaker in London,  showcasing everything from seedy neon sex shop signs of Soho of the 60’s, to neon art that was once used on set in movies.

God's Own Junkyard (06)

Being in the not-so-glamourous setting of a Walthamstow scarp yeard, you’ll wonder what gem could possibly exist there. Even I was at a lost as to what gem could possibly exist here. But press on and you really do discover something well worth your time.

God's Own Junkyard (01)

Completely free to enter, it’s even got a ‘Rolling Stone cafe’ that serves cream teas and a selection of freshly baked cakes.

God's Own Junkyard (07)

You’ll be amazed that such a gem could exist in such a place. In fact, it’s so hidden from everyone that no matter the time of day you visit, it can sometimes feel like you have the whole place to yourself. It’s well worth getting out of zone 1 to see this.

God's Own Junkyard (03)

2) Viktor Wynd Museum

You might want to leave the kids home with this one. This creepy but utterly fascinating basement museum in Bethnal Green deserves its place on this list for its quirky nature.

Viktor Wynd Museum (11)

I’m going to say it now: it’s the quirkiest museum in London. Within its tiny space, The Viktor Wynd Museum is crammed from floor to ceiling with the collection of the most bizarre objects ever from possessed Victorian dolls to David Bowie’s lock a copy of the seedy ‘Naught Nun’.

Apparently, its aim is to present an incoherent vision of the world. Once you’ve paid your £5 entrance fee and descend down the narrowest of spiral staircases, it’s a bit like walking into a horror film.

Viktor Wynd Museum (04)

Viktor Wynd Museum (03)

It’s literally tiny and you can cover the museum in under a 1 minute. But you’ll want to spend time looking closely at everything inside and that will take a good hour of your time like ti did for me.

I challenge anyone to find another museum more quirky than this place. The £5 entrance also includes a nice of cup of tea to soothe your fractured nerves once you’ve emerged out from the museum.

Viktor Wynd Museum (06)

Viktor Wynd Museum (05)

This one is for adults only. For anyone’s who’s nerves might not be up for the macabre sights in the basement, the ground floor of the venue is also a quirky cocktail bar complete with very reasonably priced cocktails and a stuffed lionesses.There’s an another incentive to check this weird and wonderful place out.

Viktor Wynd Museum (07)

Viktor Wynd Museum (09)

3) St Dunstan in the East

St Dunstan (04)

The City of London is an impressive but busy place, and we all need to get away from it all from time to time. Luckily, there is a haven hidden among the soaring skyscrapers.

Only a few minutes walk away from Monument, this hidden pocket of zen is a bombed out English parish church built around 1100. Throughout its long history, it suffered in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and largely damaged in the London bombings during the Second World War. Any plans to rebuild it was scrapped following the bombings.

St Dunstan (01)

However, its remains have since been turned into a public garden and granted Grade II status. St Dunstan building features a churchyard with remains of its walls and memorials. Secluded from the bustle of the City just around the corner, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you were right next to the Walkie-Talkie building.

St Dunstan (03)

St Dunstan (02)

4) Kyoto Garden

Carrying on the theme of the zen gardens, the Kyoto Garden is a small Japanese Garden situated in the centre of Holland Park in Kensington.

Kyoto Garden (03)

It was designed by a Japanese artist and planted with colourful, plants, shrubs and water features. It construction donated by the chamber of commerce of Kyoto in 1991  and presented as a gift to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to celebrate the friendship long-lasting friendship between Japan and Great Britain. How lovely!

Kyoto Garden (01)

What I loved most about the garden was how the garden and woodland animals co-exist peacefully in the garden. Peacocks just going out their business without fear from us humans and squirrels get up close and personal too. It’s the perfect place for peace and contemplation.

Kyoto Garden (06)

Kyoto Garden (05)

5) Columbia Flower Market

Columbia Flower isn’t as hidden as some of the attractions on here but I feel it’s not talked or mentioned as perhaps it deserves than other markets in London. It’s a Sunday-only street market located on Columbia Road selling, you guessed it, flowers.

Columbia Flower Market (06)

It’s proper charming: Columbia Road itself is lined with boutique stores with a Victorian facade selling all kinds of goods from homeware to perfumes. If you’re looking for a unique gift, you can find it here. Vendors contest for your attention and with their cockney/East-End accents, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to haggle and negotiate on prices here such is the wheeling-and-dealing nature of East-End traders.

Columbia Flower Market (05)

Only about 15 minutes from Bethnal Green station on the Central Line, Columbia Market is free to wonder around. It doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit, you will see flowers in bloom from roses to lilies.

Columbia Flower Market (08)

Columbia Flower Market (04)

The street market isn’t very long, but that’s ok, you can happily spend an hour or two wandering around the cute boutique shops and cafes, and admiring the flowers.

Columbia Flower Market (01)

Columbia Flower Market (09)

Officially one of my favourite places in London, I’ll be heading over again just to have another wander around. It’s a great place to go with your significant other.

Columbia Flower Market (10)

Have you visited any of these hidden gems? What do you think? Have I missed any? What hidden gems are there that I should visit? Let me know in the comments below!

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my Hidden Gems series if you haven’t already 🙂

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Top Hidden Gems in London Part 2

Carrying on from where I left off, here are my next five hidden gems waiting to be discovered in London.

Eltham Palace, Eltham

This has one helluva history but cutting the long story short, Eltham Palace started life as a royal medieval manor before being saved by the glamorous Coulthard family and converted into a stylish art deco home of the 1930’s.

Despite the renovations done over the years, many of its medieval pasts have been preserved. In fact, it has one of the best preserved medieval halls in England going back as far as the 15th century. There’s even a moat around the palace too.

Eltham Palace (08)

The moment you enter the building you’re transported back in time (just in time for cocktails in fact). The art deco reflects the cutting-edge design of the 1930’s and the artistic and intellectual interests of its owners, Stephen and Virginia Courtauld. It’s remained that way now and you get a feel for the glamorous lifestyle the 1930’s. You have a handy audio guide in different languages that talk you through the history of the building. It’s an impressive home with so many rooms to explore and secret passageways to discover.

Eltham Palace (18)

Eltham Palace (12)

Eltham Palace is huge, inside and outside, and even has an ornamental garden,  a picnic and play area. It even has a bunker to protect the owners from the London bombing during the great world war.

Eltham Palace (14)

Eltham Palace (26)

Eltham Palace (24)

It is a ticketed attraction which at the time of writing is £13.60 (without gift aid) but it is worth every penny and beautiful to visit in the summer. It may be far out in Eltham but with Severndroog Castle nearby, there’s enough in Eltham to justify a visit.

The Bowling Alley at Royal Naval College

I’ve visited the Old Royal Naval College a million times. It’s one of my favourites places in London. But when I was first told of this bowling in Greenwich I was a little perplexed. Where is this bowling alley you speak of?! How could I have missed it?! It just goes to show just how secret this place is.

Skittle Alley Greenwich (02)

The Skittle Alley is an underground Victorian Bowling Alley. Once an old infirmary, it was then converted into a bowling alley to relieve the boredom of naval pensioners in the times when the royal naval college was in active use by the navy.

Skittle Alley Greenwich (04)

Hidden beneath the grand building of the Old Royal Naval College, under St Peter and St Paul chapel opposite the Painted Halls, you can see and even impress your mates (or date) your game with the wooden cannonballs. It’s a proper challenge. Not only are they heavy but there are no holes likes you’d find at every bowling alley to hold and release the ball with your fingers. Man up – you’re going to have to bowl it under-arm!

Skittle Alley Greenwich (06)

It’s free to enter but sadly, opening times to the public is very limited, open only at certain hours. If I were you, I’d keep an eye on their website to find out when it does.

Skittle Alley Greenwich (03)

Dennis Severs House

By now, you can probably tell I’m a huge fan of history. In fact, it was my favourite subject at school. Carrying on with the history theme, Dennis Severs House is a time-capsule attraction in Spitalfields which I enjoyed  immensely. The moment you step through the threshold, you’ve warped back in time to the 17th and 18th century England.

Denis Severs (01)

I was amazed and still am as to how very immersive and how very real it felt, right down to the last detail from the creaking floorboards, the haphazardly arranged items, the hissing teapots, crackling fireplace, the unmade beds and the half-eaten food. It’s like the family who lived here and had just left a few moments ago.

Only a few minutes walk away from Liverpool Street station, there are five floors to explore from the basement all the way to the top to the master bedroom.

The only source of light is from candle lights which all casts dancing shadows along the walls everywhere you go, and the entire is conducted in deathly silence. It is a bit creepy inside and feels a little haunted. I found myself all alone in the attic at one point. I’m not on to scare easily, but I was then.

Denis Severs (03)

It’s an intimate portrait of an English family and life in Spitalfields going back more than 300 years. I noticed that even the facade of this street around Dennis Severs still looks out of place in these modern times.

Denis Severs (02)

Sadly, no photography is permitted inside. But it’s unlike any other place in London you’ll ever find and it’s the most immersive experience I’ve ever been through. The best days to visit are on Monday lunch time and all-day Sunday when entrance fees are at it’s cheapest at £10 and they only accept cash. There’s a small queue but on a Sunday, but I waited for no more than 15 minutes.

Denis Severs (04)

Thai Temple

Wat Buddhapadipa (let’s just call it the Thai Temple, eh?) is a traditional Thai Buddhist temple in Wimbledon South East London. Not far from the famous Wimbledon Tennis Association, it’s a home for the monks and nuns but welcomes everyone of every faith. It’s also the first of such temples to be built in the UK apparently. It’

There’s a zen flower garden and the Uposotha that houses the golden statue of Buddha. You’d think you are actually in Thailand. The best time to go is in the Thai new of Songkran which takes place over 2 days between 13-15 April. It will be busy but this truly is a slice of Thailand and London will feel a long way away.

Thai Temple in Wimbledon (01)

Barbican Conservatory

Not many people know, but behind the monolithic facade of the Barbican is an exotic oasis on the 3rd floor of the Barbican Centre.

Barbican Conservatory (01)

Covered by a glass roof, the Barbican Conservatory is one of the biggest in London and a home to tropical plants, trees and even marine life. There’s even a greenhouse humid climates are recreated and where plants typically found in the dessert grow including cactuses.

Barbican Conservatory (03)

Opened only on Sunday, you can even book yourself a luxurious afternoon tea inside this leafy sanctuary. There’s no better way for a Sunday stroll than in this hidden gem.

Barbican Conservatory (02)

Tell me, have you visited any of these hidden gems? How did you find it? Have I missed any? Let me know!

Follow me and my musings on my instagram and Twitter. I’m a lot more interesting on Instagram 😉

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Top Hidden Gems in London Part 1

Think you’ve seen all there is to see in London? Think again. Beyond the touristy guidebooks is another side of London laden with more hidden gems that even a genie might struggle to conjure up that many. So hidden, in fact, that even many Londoners won’t have heard some of them.

There are hundreds of them. Some quirky, some unique. But all amazing and all waiting to be discovered by you. I’ve been lucky to have stumbled across many and as someone who enjoys sharing awesome stuff with you all as much as Donald Trump likes to spit out complete and utter rubbish, here are my top hidden gems in London which you must absolutely see and explore. I’ll be revealing five at a time!

1) 2 Temple Place in Temple/Embankment

A tour around London’s legal establishment is a surprisingly fascinating trip in its own right with all the traditions and historical buildings. Perhaps I am bit biased in saying so given my legal background 😂 But did you know that right next door to the right honourable society of Middle Temple Inns of Court lies a hidden architectural gem that is 2 Temple Place?

Two Temple Place (05)

A bastion for culture and philanthropy, 2 Temple Place showcases publicly owned galleries and collection from around the UK, as well as hosting numerous events and exhibitions. Mere minutes walk away from Temple/Embankment station, this amazing neo-gothic mansion has all the grandeur of a state house but has the feel and intimacy of a private house party. The interior decor is just as amazing as the exhibition they hold with dark wood everywhere, intricate carvings and a fireplace. I was extremely lucky to be invited to an after-hours Egyptian event to back in 2015. It’s basically a mini British Museum without the massive crowds. Sadly, it’s only open to the public for only 4 months of the year between January – April. But it is free.

2) Severndroog Castle in Eltham

Way back in the early days of my blog, I said Severndroog Castle as one of London’s best-kept secret. More of a tower than a castle if truth be told, the best part is the top of the castle which offers an incredible 360-degree view of London. I am told that you can see as many as seven counties from this viewpoint. SEVEN?! Landmarks such as the majestic arches of Wembley Stadium 16 miles away are also visible. You can explore the rest of the castle which is spread over three floors where you’ll learn all there is know about the castle and how it got its strange name. It may not free but it’s a measly £3 entrance to see inside. There’s also a nice little coffee area with outdoor seating to freshen up.

3) The Masonic Room in the Andaz Hotel in Liverpool Street station, City of London

Perhaps one of London’s best-kept secrets, The Masonic Temple in the depths of the Andaz Hotel is an opulent room of Italian marbles. It’s like you’ve stumbled into an Illuminati hideout. The temple is mere seconds away from Liverpool Street station in the City of London. How I’ve not known about this till now is incredible! Nowadays, The Masonic Temple plays the perfect host to all kinds of events from cinema screening to weddings. I discovered it for the very first time after I was invited along to watch a screening of ‘Guillermo del Toro’s dark fantasy film ‘Pan’s Labrinth’. To see this hidden gem yourself, check their website to see what events are being held and book a ticket. It’s unlike any venue you’ve visited before.

Masonic Temple (03)

4) Point Hill in Greenwich

By now everyone will have heard of and seen the incredible views from the top of Greenwich Park. But not many will have heard of little known Point Hill nearby.

The tranquillity and lack of human presence is a clue as to how well the locals has kept this gem away from the crowd! In fact, it’s so secret that there is still a sign that shows you how London’s skyline looked from that viewpoint in 1983! The journey to the top may feel steeper than Everest, but for those who succeed, the view you’ll  be greeted with and the calm of it all makes it worthwhile. I had the entire place t myself from which I can admire the view without muscling around people for the best spot.

Alas, I can’t find my images from my visit but if you are ever in Greenwich and have time to kill, I suggest you visit this peaceful (and hidden!) gem to discover a new vantage point of London. It’s not far from Greenwich Park at all.

Point Hill (01)

5) BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu Temple in Neasden

Also known as Neasden Temple, BAPS was built entirely using traditional methods and material as prescribed from the ancient Vedic manuscript. Take a moment to admire the intricate carvings and gleaming marble walls and stairs when you’re inside. Neasden Temple is said to be first Hindu temple in Britain and one of the largest Hindu temples in the world outside of India. As a place of religious worship, photography is not permitted inside, sadly. Also expect to pass through airport security style checks before you enter. Bags are not allowed inside either but luckily there is a storage room nearby guarded by the temple’s keepers. Neasden may not be the most attractive side of London, but this temple is worth visiting. General admission is free. However, if you wish to find out more about the Hinduism, there is an exhibition with an entrance fee inside. It’s cheap, though 🙂

Neasden Temple (02)

Neasden Temple (01)

Have you visited any of these hidden gems? Which is your favourite? Which would you like to visit the most if you’ve not been? I’d love to see your pictures too! Where would you recommend next?

Next week, I’ll reveal five more hidden gems to see in London 🙂

Follow me on social media on Instagram @kritt_stagram and on twitter @krittstweets. I may even give you a clue which hidden gems will be covered next!

 

 

I Was Nominated for the Liebster Award!

Last week, I was nominated for the Liebster Award! This lovely award was created to welcome, recognise and discover new bloggers to the blogosphere 👍 I was nominated by the very lovely Soph in the City who, along with some pretty sweet photos, shares her experience about life in London. Head over to Sophie’s blog and give her a follow to discover awesome things to do and places to explore!

So, I was asked these five fine questions:

What inspired you to start this blog?

I count my lucky stars that I live in one of the greatest city on earth. I get out and about a lot of the time in London and I wanted a personal space on the internet to share my experiences with you, to record my experiences and connect with cool, like-minded people like you 🙂

I also take a shed load of images, many of which never see the light of day because I only pick the one out of the thousand to share on Instagram. I want to find a home for all my images and so I created a gallery right here where they can all live.

Have you visited London, and if so where is your favourite place within this city? If not, what would you like to see in London?

As a Londoner, I’m lucky that I have the chance to see London whenever I want. But my favourite place in London is Cutty Sark and Maritime Greenwich.

It’s steeped in history, easy to travel to via the DLR (my favourite of the tube!) and Thames Clipper on river Thames. It has phenomenal museums most of them free to enter , a weekend market selling an array of mouth-watering cuisines and quirky items from around the world, home to London’s only planetarium and the Prime Meridian Line, the Royal Naval College and more. I can go on all day. It’s like a tiny little village with everything you need and so easy to reach from the city. Greenwich is little under-appreciated in my opinion so it’s the first place I recommend visitors see when in London. Plus, it’s a great way to see more London beyond zone 1.

I also have a weird fascination with ships which, of course, Cutty Sark is renowned for with it’s naval history. To this day, I still have not worked out where this fascination came from and the biggest irony of it all is I’m terrified of the ocean. Hmmm.

Which destination would you return to no matter how many times you have visited?

After completing my final exams at a year, I embarked a European trip that took me from London to Barcelona, to Brussels, to Amsterdam and then to Paris. Looking back, it pobably wasn’t the best idea given how fast the deadline for my dissertation was approaching. But of all the lovely destinations I visited around Europe, my favourite leg of the trip was the Isle of Skye in Scotland. I’m a city boy at heart and would prefer to base myself in a busling city like London. But from time to time, I like to think myself as a bit of an explorer, an adventurer. A bit like Bear Grylls but with better culinary taste. I was swept away by the sweeping vistas of the Scottish highlands, the tranquillity surrounding the mountains, the folklore and legends that echoed around the valleys. It’s good to get out of the city once in a while and if there’s one retreat perfect from escaping it all, it’s the Isle of Skye.

Are you planning on doing any travelling abroad this year?

Yes! Part of my New Year’s Resolution, is to travel more around the UK and beyond. Top of my list: New York City. Like I said, I’ve always been a city boy at heart and I’d love to see how NYC and London compares, being so similar but also different at the same time, if that makes any sense. We see a lot of America on TV so I’d love to actually experience it for real. It might be a solo trip, unless anyone would like to stage along? Other destinations I’d love to visit are Tokyo, New Zealand and Shanghai.

 

New York City by Jospeh Yates
Image by Jospeh Yates. Insta @josephyates_

 

What’s the biggest mistake/silliest thing you’ve done abroad?

Fortunately, I can’t recall many, probably because I’ve done such a good job at erasing them from my memory 😂 I do like a good drink, though, and having one far too many in humid Bangkok, on the other side of town from where I was staying, was probably not my finest hour. I still don’t know how I made it back. Probably a good idea I don’t find out…

For this award, I am nominating

The questions are:

  1. Have you visited London? If so, what do you like most about London? If not, what would do in London if you were a visitor for a day or two?
  2. If money was no object, what would you do all day?
  3. What does your perfect day look like?
  4. Where do you most want to travel but have never been?
  5. Whats the wackiest/strangest/quirkiest experience you’ve ever had?

Have fun blogging!

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Beat Away the January Blues! Events in London to Look Forward January 2017

I’m still counting my lucky that stars that I live in one of the best cities in the world. It’s full of new things to see, discover, and experience every month. To beat away the January blues, I’ve cherry picked the events that excite me the most and will visit later this month. Without further ado, here are the best things to do in London this month to beat away the January blues.

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf 2017

Remember Lumiere London last year? If you love that, then you’re going to love this.  Winter Lights Canary Wharf showcases the work of artists from four different continents. Every art work incorporates light into their work using different light technologies. It’s smaller than Lumiere but no less spectacular as 30 lights installation illuminate Canary Wharf’s skyline. Perfect against the cold winter night skies. I went last year and enjoyed it just as much as Lumiere. Just look at my images from last year. There are great restaurants around Canary Wharf, it’s free, and appeals to adults, kids, young and old. It’s best seen from 4pm to 9pm and this year’s light art exhibition takes place between Monday 16th – Friday 27 January.

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Magical Lantern Festival 2017

Perhaps the East-End is a bit too far ? Fear not this year the West-End is again playing host to The Magical lantern Festival in Chiswick House and Gardens to celebrate the fast approaching Chinese New Year. Returning for the 2nd year, the festival is a stunning outdoor event showcasing art, heritage and culture. Expect, VR experiences and performances alongside the visually gorgeous light 50 art installations. I visited last year and I can tell you, it’s worth visiting wherever you’re travelling from.  This year is the year of the rooster in the Chinese zodiac. Expect something special. Book your tickets via their website here.

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Chinese New Year Festival

London has a diverse population with a huge Chinese community. As an open city, London is hosting a massive party for Chinese New Year in central London and everyone is invited. Extending far beyond, Chinatown, expect incredible food, and phenomenal performances. It’s going to be extremely busy so arrive early before everyone else does to capture the best photos. The actual new year’s day falls on Saturday 28 January but the celebrations in London will take place on Sunday 29. Discover more on the Mayor of London website.

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Emma Hamilton: Seduction & Celebrity Exhibition at the National Maritime Museum

This promises to be a fascinating look into one of the history’s extraordinary woman. Briefly put, the exhibition is a look at how Emma Hamilton rose through the ranks of society, becoming Lord nelson, one of Britain’s greatest admiral before crashing back down again. You can book tickets through the National Maritime Museum. Even better, if you’re called Emma, you can gain free entrance to the exhibition for free! (Just bring proof of ID). I love history, especially Maritime History so I can’t wait to see this.

Bedlam: The Asylum

Another exhibition that’s been open for a while, Bedlam: The Asylum at the Wellcome Collection in Bloomsbury is in its last week before in closes on 15 January. This eye-opening exhibition explores the rise and fall of one of Britain famous and London’s original mental asylum, Bethlam,  and how it has shaped the complex mental landscape. It’s free so you’d be mad to miss it.

The NHM Wildlife Photography Exhibition

The Natural History Museum may have lost Dippy but it still continues to host world-class exhibition like this one every year. The annual Wildlife Photography Exhibition at the Natural History Museum returns for the 52nd time bringing together award-winning images together and showcasing the talent and vision of the best wildlife photographers. Definitely one the best exhibition I’ve ever seen. You can purchase tickets from the website. You don’t have to be a photographer to appreciate the pictures within. You’re guaranteed to be amazed. It’s a very long running event and you have until 10 September 2017 to see it.

God’s Own Junkyard: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

This annual neon exhibition showcases the glorious work of the late Chris Bracey who also founded God’s Own Junkyard.

It’s unlike any exhibition I’ve seen it and located centrally so no excuses not to visit. It will be open until 14 January.

 If you can’t make it down in time, fear not. There’s a permanent exhibition albeit in the less glamourous surroundings of Walthamstow at God Own Junkyard. A trek it may be some, but well worth the visit to North-East London. It’s free too

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These are the events and exhibitions I look forward to the most this month. What are you most looking forward to this month, or even the year?

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Top Things to do this Christmas in London 2016

Christmas is a magical time of the year and if you’re lucky to be in London over Christmas, you’ll find yourself easily caught up in the festive spirit. You can’t escape the merry vibe. But why would you want to?

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought I’d share my top things to do over this most magical time of the year. In no particular order…

Visit a Christmas market: Christmas markets are popping up everywhere in London. It’s the perfect place to sip your mulled wine, wander the many gift stalls, and tuck into a mouth-watering bratwurst hot dog. This year I visited the market on Southbank, More London and Tate Modern along The Thames. Go at night when the fairy lights and stalls add a warm Christmassy glow to your evening.

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Run wild at Winter Wonderland: It’s been coming back for the last 10 years now and fair to say, Winter Wonderland is now a firm festive favourite among Londoners. Based in Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland is essentially one enormous amusement for the entire family to enjoy. It has everything from food to ice rinks. Best of all, its free to enter. Plan our visit for an evening on a weekday to get the best out the park. Did you know that for 2016, they’ve erected the world biggest portable rollercoaster?

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Treat yourself to some Christmas shopping under the lights: For most Londoners, Oxford Circus and Bond Street can be quite a challenging place to be. But the lights over Christmas is worth the challenge and capturing an image is guaranteed to wow your friends and folks back home. I’ll just let the pictures below do the talking.

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Admire the Christmas lights in Central London: Every year, London illuminates its streets with festive lights to get shoppers and visitors into the Christmas spirit. It’s so highly anticipated that for some, it signifies the start of the festive season. Each year, a celebrity gets the honour of flicking on the switch. This year, pop artist Craig David had the honours. This year, Regent Street opted for Christmas Angels whilst nearby Carnaby Street went for a more retro swinging 60’s feel. Covent Garden had a disco feel with giant baubles. I think Regent’s Street has really outdone itself this year. So good I unapologetically Instagrammed it twice! Which is your favourite?

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Skate with a London landmark in the background: Come Christmas time, London is not short on ice rinks. Natural History Musem? Yep. Tower of London? Yep Somerset House? Yep. There’s more too including Canary Wharf.

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Find a cosy spot and sip mulled cider at a pop-up ski lodge: What could be cosier than warming up to an open fire with great company and a glass of mulled cider and prosecco? I visited  Greenwich Peninsula Christmas market right by the 02 Arena which was the perfect place to indulge in mulled wine and fantastic food from the inviting food vendors outside. there are pop-up apres ski lodges everywhere in London. Seriously, there’s nothing quite like cosying up to an open fire while the elements blows around you 🙂

 

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I  would love to have seen more of Christmas in London. It’s just a shame there’s so so much to see with very little time!

What’s your favourite festive thing to do over Christmas? Let me know in the comments below and have a merry Christmas 🎄

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Inside the Quirkiest Museum in London: The Viktor Wynd Museum

I challenge you to find another museum more quirky than the Viktor Wynd Museum. Good luck with that.

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Hands down the quirkiest museum I’ve visited, The Viktor Wynd Museum is a tiny, basement museum not too far from Cambridge Heath station and a short walking distance from Bethnal Green Underground station.

From the outside, it looks a bit dodgy, like a magic store in Soho with its dark, gothic facade.

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But be brave. Go through the door, pay your £5 entrance fee and descend down the narrowest spiral staircase to the basement where you’ll be instantly surrounded with the most bizarre collection of exhibits you’ve ever set eyes on.

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From the tiniest of pocket guide books to gentlemanly etiquette to a cut-off lock of David Bowie’s mullet, the museum has everything. There are Victorian dolls to evoke nightmares with Annabelle and a couple of naughty erotic books that’s enough to make you think if this really is a seedy shop in mischievous Soho.

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I cannot lie, I felt like I’ve walked right into a horror film. I was alone, surrounded by these dark and bizarre collections which could conceivably  jump back at me. At one point, I froze in my tracks when I noticed a lifeless effigy hung on a noose. Very unsettling.

When I said the museum is tiny, I really mean it. It’s absolutely tiny and you could literally “do” the museum in a matter of minutes. But every inch of the museum is packed with stuff and it’s worth spending a minute or two looking at them all. Trust me, you’ll want to.

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The museum isn’t free as mentioned above. But £5 isn’t really much, is it? And you get a free guide book and a cup of tea to sooth your fractured nerves when you emerge from your little sojourn with your demons downstairs.

If you think all this is a bit too much for you, then fret not. The ground floor of the museum actually doubles up as an equally quirky cocktail bar and judging by the quirky decor and price, a pretty good cocktail bar at that. So even if the museum is not for you, the bar will.

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It’s not for the faint hearted and probably not one to take the kids. The Viktor Wynd Museum of curiosities is quirky, it’s dark, it’s macabre, it’s erotic but a truly unique experience and I loved it. A visit to the Viktor Wynd museum is definitely worth checking out for most intrepid and quirky Londoner.