Welcome to the 100 Great Things About London!! A celebration off all that is great about our lovely city.
The part which makes this list so Great, is not just the attractions and nights mentioned, but the people who contribute. This is a list compiled by Londoners for Londoners, a bunch who know what their talking about and give it their own personal spin…
BROWSE Come take a butchers at the articles using the ‘Fun For…’ or ‘Most Popular’ menus on the side. Also feel free to add your own thoughts/feelings/inklings beneath the posts!
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1. Ice Skating with Ravens
It’s that time of year – Winter arrives, sites all over London put up ice rinks in their back gardens, and Londoners suddenly become convinced that they too can glide gracefully around on thin slithers of metal whilst retaining perfect balance and poise…
But with so many venues now sporting rinks, the real difficulty can be deciding where to go. This year I had heard that the Ice Rink at the Tower of London was worth checking out. I was initially skeptical – despite having lived in London all my life, I had only ever been to the Tower once before, and all I could recall were endless queues of tourists and some nonsense about ravens. But we booked, managed to drag ourselves out of bed on a Saturday morning… And were very well rewarded.
2. Night at the Museum… without Stiller
So you think you’ve been to the Science Museum? Not like this you haven’t. Keen to get more young adults into science, the museum, alongside others in London, has been throwing their doors open after hours for special Lates events.
Open access, exclusive demonstrations and yes, “refreshments”, combine to make one of the most educational and fun nights you’ll have out in town this year. To get the most out of these events the key is to arrive early and know what you want to see. We went to the Science Museum, V&A and British Library and all were quite busy with queues starting early and demos packed out. However once you get in the door the experience is pretty surreal and quite cool.
3. London’s Prestige: A night @ the Magic Circle
So you’ve taken in a couple of shows, checked out the latest exhibits, but have you visited the premier magical society in the fascinating world of mystery and illusion?
Well…neither had I. That was until I went the Magic Circle’s headquarters for one of their public show. Forget Darren Brown, forget David Blaine, this promises to be an evening full of magic, comedy, ventriloquism and a guy pulling audience members’ names out of sausages?!? It’s really just the best bits of the Royal Variety Performance (asides from the sausage bit).
Tucked away behind Euston Road. the building’s unassuming front opens up to a very unique interior. Brimming full of character, the joint is certainly worth taking a nosey around. Magician memorabilia decks the halls amidst a bright colour scheme (slightly reminiscent of P&O passenger ferry) and beside the theatre and bar, there’s even a Magic Museum downstairs!
4. London in Bloom; Columbia Road Flower Market
Every Londoner should visit this fantastic market in Shoreditch. It’s one of the few excellent London markets open on Sunday and worth a visit any time of the year. This unassuming road is filled with market stalls of flowers and plants, barrow boys, food stalls and craft shops.
5. A date with a view!
On a glorious summer evening I went for a cocktail at Searcy’s at The Gherkin – a Private Members Bar with one of the best views in London.
On the 48th floor, the bar has a 360 degree view of all of London and it is simply breath taking! I was with a date but rather than try and impress each other with sophisticated chat, our excited giddiness took over and we started playing i-spy, capering from corner to corner, cocktail in hand, pointing out landmarks and sights from around London. It was one of the best evenings I have ever had in London and a must for anyone trying to impress!
6. Zoo Lates; See the animals in a whole new way!
Going to the zoo doesn’t just have to be for toddlers and hassled parents trying to keep tabs on their over excited children, there is in fact a whole animal kingdom out there waiting for the rest of us; Zoo Lates at London Zoo.
As the last of the lunch boxes and school coaches roll out of the gates, the green picnic spaces make way for pop up bars, food stands (from Ostrich burgers to Spanish Tapas), live music, a circus tent and the piece de las resistance, a silent disco – get there early to avoid disappointment, this attraction is almost as popular as the animals!
7. London’s Heart; A touching memorial
London is a reflection of the people who live in it. Our lust can be found in the narrow alleys of Soho, our need for knowledge is reflected in London’s libraries and bookshops. Our gluttony and our multi-culturalism can be seen in restaurants providing food from all over the globe. Our capacity for violence can be found in the need for police stations and our neglect for those less fortunate can be found in our homeless shelters. Every facet of our humanity, pleasant or not, is represented somewhere in London.
That’s why my favourite place has to be the Watt’s Memorial in Postman’s Park. It’s small and secluded just off the main thoroughfare near Holborn Circus, a little island of tranquillity only a moment’s walk away from the rush of cars and stampede of commuters who pass its gates every day.
8. The One and Only…National Theatre
A theatre? What is so good about a theatre? I hear you say, apart from the obvious enjoyment of the evening and perhaps matinee performances. Well the National Theatre, I believe, is unlike any other theatre for the enormous variety not only in the productions being shown but all the other things that this building has to offer!
Situated on the Southbank which is considered to be one of the great cultural hotspots of London, the National Theatre gave their first ever performance in 1963 and since then has produced over 600 plays.
9. Exercise and Indulgence: Richmond Park
This is the ultimate day trip if you have time, energy and feel like you just need to just get out of the city but you don’t have a car. All you have to do is hop on the underground and go to Richmond Station and head to Richmond Park
Out the station turn left and weave your way through yummy mummies, city-boy-dads, prams and posh poodles. Stop off at Paul’s on the way and grab yourself a coffee to wake your sensors – with the views ahead you’re going to need it.