Review | Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park 2019

Review | Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park 2019

My boys were really excited when we told them we were going to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park in London last weekend. We got there for 10am when it opened and entered via the Red Gate, (the nearest tube is Marble Arch), which is perfect for families as it takes you straight to Santa Land and the Circus Megadome. There are a variety of shows on in the Circus Megadome including a daily performance of the Mr Men and Little Miss puppet show at 11am. It was critically acclaimed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year and we all really enjoyed seeing the characters from Happyland brought to life. My 5 year old especially loved it and is still talking about it days later! There are also several performances of Zippo’s Christmas Circus on in the Megadome throughout the day – we went to the 1pm showing which was absolutely breathtaking! I’m still not sure who was the most impressive act, the man skipping on a unicycle, the acrobats or the incredible tightrope walkers. Not far away from the Megadome is Santa Land which is packed full of festive stalls, rides and games for young children. My boys, (who are […]

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Best Christmas Markets and Fairs in London

Best Christmas Markets and Fairs in London

The Most Popular Christmas Markets in London The lights are up and the scent of mulled wine is wafting through the streets of London, and with that come the inevitable Christmas Markets. Here are some of our favourites. London Bridge Christmas Market – Now until 5th January 2020 Incredibly, Christmas by the River was voted the…

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Fancy a Pint? Ten of London’s Most Beautiful Pubs

Fancy a Pint? Ten of London’s Most Beautiful Pubs

When it comes to a good pub, the ale is the thing you’re looking for most, then the food, and then the atmosphere.  Of course, the appearance of any pub is an important part of the experience, and whether you’re looking for your new local or visiting from out of town, you want to be in a place that meets your expectations.  Plenty of London’s pubs are beautiful places inside and out with plants, wood, and even stained glass helping to make them truly memorable places to have a drink.  We’ve identified ten of the best-looking pubs in the city below, and you can let us know your favorites in the comments.

The Dove, Hammersmith

Starting with one of London’s most historic pubs, The Dove in Hammersmith is a Grade II listed pub that dates from the 18th Century.  The outside is rather unassuming, but with a quaint charm, and the inside is everything you would expect a pub to be.  It has wood floors, old pictures adorning all the walls, brick fireplaces, and the bar itself is a black wooden affair that screens tradition.

Ye Old Mitre

From one Grade II listed pub to another, Ye Olde Mitre is also one of the oldest pubs in the city with the original pub on this site serving ale since 1546.  The exterior is certainly one of the charms, especially when you go down the alleyway to find its wood and glass exterior greeting you like a diamond in London’s ruff.  The interior is cozy and features wood panel walls, charmingly garish carpeting, and plenty of wooden chairs and benches that give it a classy feel.

Crown & Anchor

The Crown & Anchor is in a beautiful three-story building in Covent Garden with the first floor as a traditional pub and the second featuring a bar and restaurant.  Plants hang outside the windows on every level and the large windows not only look splendid, but they really let the light in to highlight the wooden columns and the green-painted walls.

Mr. Fogg’s Tavern

Form something wonderfully eclectic; you can visit Mr. Fogg’s Tavern in Covent Garden is one of many drinking establishments in the city patterned after the protagonist of Around the World in 80 Days.  The pub’s story is that Phileas Fogg’s aunt left this traditional Victorian pub to her housekeeper who covered the insides with memorabilia in keeping with the surrounding theaters.  This gives it a much different look to other pubs since it has a literary theme

Prospect of Whitby

Sitting on the banks of the Thames, the Prospect of Whitby has a particularly interesting history in that it was once home to plenty ruffians and thugs.  It has since cleaned up its image and has a clean appearance to go with it.  The pub has one of the most impressive wooden bars in the city that vaguely resembles a ship’s hull and stretches the length of the ground floor.  The pub’s many areas give rooms that will suit any taste from the classy dining room to the secret garden.

The Black Friar

Certainly one of the most visually stunning interiors on this list, The Black Friar can be found appropriately enough in Blackfriars and is Grade II listed.  Since it was built on top of a former medieval Dominican friary, the interior (remodeled in 1905) abounds with religious imagery from depicting the friars who once lived on this site to archways that resemble those in a church.  It even features paintings that resemble illuminated manuscripts and a stained-glass window.

The George Inn

The George Inn is the only surviving galleried inn in London that dates back to at least the 16th Century when the first map of Southwark was drawn.  Owned by the National Trust, the galleries are not only a defining feature of the pub, but they’re absolutely gorgeous.  The interior is similarly attractive, but you may want to stay outside at one of the picnic tables and admire the building itself.

The Spaniards Inn

The Spaniards Inn may be one of the most literary pubs in London, getting references in both The Pickwick Papers and Dracula.  Outside, the white-painted brick contrasts beautifully with the black shutters, doors, and window trim.  Inside, you’ll find largely bare-bones wood walls and floors that one can imagine was the same as when Keats wrote Ode to a Nightingale in the gardens and Bram Stoker overheard a ghost story that he turned into his classic horror tales.

Jerusalem Tavern

Inside and out, the Jerusalem Tavern has a simple, classic look to it, full of wood and painted green walls.  This mixes well with stone and old tile designs and belies the nature of the ales you’ll find inside.  In addition to the usual ales and lagers, Jerusalem also serves several different fruit ales from St. Peter’s Brewery.

Churchill Arms

Last but certainly not least on this list is the Churchill Arms, which is unquestionably the best-looking pub in all of London.  The exterior is absolutely adorned with plants that change appropriately with the seasons and sometimes let you have a look at the wood, brick, and windows underneath.  Like Mr. Fogg’s, the interior is festooned with all manner of odds and ends that makes it an absolutely wonderful place for a pint.

Fancy a Pint? Ten of London’s Most Beautiful PubsLondontopia – The Website for People Who Love London

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Willow’s Activity Farm Santa Spectacular 2019

Willow’s Activity Farm Santa Spectacular 2019

We kicked off the festive season indulgently early, with our annual trip to Willow’s Activity Farm’s Santa Spectacular. This the third year we have been to the Santa Spectacular and our three daughters, now aged 9, 7 and 4, enjoy it more and more each year. We thought perhaps our eldest daughter, being nearly ten and growing up rapidly, would decline the invitation this year, but she jumped at the opportunity. We visited Willows Activity Farm on the opening weekend of the Santa Spectacular and it was delightfully quiet, with no queuing at all. We arrived mid afternoon and headed straight to see Santa stopping off for a quick fairground ride on the way. We weaved our way through beautiful Christmas displays and glittering paths, until we were greeted by a super friendly elf. We were led into a warm cosy room where we met Santa Claus. The children had a lovely chat with Santa, discussing their favourite gifts and planning what they would leave out for Santa and his Reindeers on Christmas Eve. Santa presented the girls with a golden key each, and after we said our goodbyes, they were shown to Santas toy shop where they could use […]

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Printworks just dropped their line-ups for Spring and Summer next year

Printworks just dropped their line-ups for Spring and Summer next year

Club cloakrooms may be filling up with cosy clobber, but Printworks is looking into the future. With Spring in their sights, the mega venue has announced the first acts of their SS20 line-up. A Printworks line-up drop is always exciting news: in just a few short years, the cavernous Canada Water club has become one of the definitive destinations in London for anyone after a dance.

It’s no surprise, then, that the former newspaper factory has scooped some headline names. Following a bass-heavy night from Holy Goof on 31 January, it’s kicking off in style with a night featuring Maribou State, Quantic, DJ Seinfeld, Lil Silva, O’Flynn and Donna Leake, a line-up as eclectic as it is electric. This basis of savvily selected selectors sets a theme throughout the season. Take 21 February, for example; you’ve got legendary minimal house and YouTube algorithm faves DJ Koze and Matthew Herbert, but also DJ and singer-songwriter Nabihah Iqbal. Basically the fresh-off-the-press, hot take here is that Printwork’s SS20 line-up is big news. Just a few months of wearing that winter coat out first, mind…

Printworks Spring/Summer listings so far:

Friday 31st January
Holy Goof
Holy Goof, Turno b2b Hendex. 

Saturday 1st February 
Printworks Presents
Maribou State (DJ), (A-Z) DJ Seinfeld, Donna Leake/Folamour, Lil Silva, O’Flynn, Quantic (Solo Live), SG Lewis (DJ). 

Friday 7th February
GoldFish, guests TBA. 

Friday 21st February 
Printworks Presents DJ Koze
DJ Koze, (A-Z) Floating Points (DJ), Matthew Herbert (DJ), Max Cooper (Live), Nabihah Iqbal, special guest TBA. 

Saturday 22nd February 
DJ Hype, Problem Central, Watch the Ride, Very Special Guest: Darkzy feat Window Kid, (A-Z) Bassboy, Ben Snow b2b AC13, Bou, Born on Road (Kelvin 373 b2b Selecta J-Man)/ Dismantle, DJ Die, DJ Hazard, Eskman, Evil B, Flowdan, Hatcha b2b Slimzee, Indika, Kaz b2b Stompz, Logan D, Majistrate, Northbase, Prima, Randall, Royal T b2b Champion, Taxman b2b Limited, Sub Zero b2b, Original Sin present G-Dub, Visages, MCs: MC AD, Crazy D, Daddy Earl, Eksman, Evil B, IC3, Phantom. 

Saturday 29th February 
Andrea Oliva, Erick Morillo, Francisco Allendes, Lauren Lane, Matthias Tanzmann b2b Davide Squillace, Richy Ahmed. 

Saturday 7th March
Lineup TBA

Saturday 14th March
AVA London – Club
Orbital (Live), Many more TBA. 

Saturday 21st March
Major Toms Presents Rudimental and Friends
Rudimental (DJ), David Rodigan, (A-Z) DJ Q, Flava D, Paul Woolford, Redlight, Sherelle, Jamie 3:26, Cousn, Klose One, Emerald, M.A.X. 

Saturday 28th March
Green Velvet Presents La La Land
Green Velvet, Latmun, Eli Brown, Layton Giordani, special guest TBA. 

Friday 24th April
Sub Focus 
Sub Focus, guests TBA. 

Thursday 7th May
Lane 8 Live
Lane 8, JERRO. 

Read more about Printworks here

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