A colourful flag display designed by artist Rana Begum RA has been unveiled in Piccadilly today.
The artwork, titled ‘No.1273 Flag’, is made up of mosaic-patterned flags in bold pinks, blues, greens and oranges. The geometric patterns are apparently inspired by Islamic art and architecture.
You’ll be able to spot the eye-catching display hanging in central London from May 30 until August 20. The vibrant flags have been designed to celebrate Art of London’s 2023 summer season, called ‘The Art of Entertainment’, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Arts.
Rana Begum said: ‘It’s a privilege to work on this project and bring the colour and vibrancy of art out of galleries and into Piccadilly. The theme “Art of Entertainment” suggests energy and dynamism, celebrating dance, music and theatre.
‘I wanted to use colour and geometry to capture this movement in my designs. As you move through the space the composition and colours shift to create a successive rhythm of tone and form. There’s a unifying melody that runs through the work, using repetition to suggest the possibility of the infinite.’
Mark Williams, director of Art of London, said: ‘Every year we look forward to bringing new and exciting public art to the streets of the West End for all to enjoy. We’re thrilled to kick start this in 2023 with such bright and beautiful flags designed by Rana Begum RA, to reflect the cultures and diversity of the world below in the heart of Piccadilly.’
Hackney, Shoreditch, Dalston—East London is one of London’s most diverse and interesting areas. While so much of London has this cultural diversity, because of East London’s history as a hotbed for immigrants and cultural diversity, the typical foods you find here are ethnically diverse.
There are a lot of great ways to experience East London. From unique tours to historic sites, trendy bars to hipster underground clubs; there’s plenty of cool things to do. And plenty of great restaurants, too!
London has seen a culinary resurgence over the past few years, and it’s now one of the world’s top foodie destinations. But here in East London, where I’m hanging out for the next week, some of the best foods are the traditional ones.
Not traditionally “English” but rather, the foods specific to this neighborhood. These are the five food gems for East London foodies…
What to Eat in East London
An East End restaurant classic, The Beigel Bake has been open for years and it never really matter what time of day you visit. Open 24 hours a day, they make over 7,000 bagels (which they spell “beigels”) every day.
London’s oldest bagel shop, their Jewish-style bagels are perfect for hangovers, late-night snacks or fast lunches. The reason to visit is without question their signature salt beef bagel. And be sure to get the mustard with it! I always make a point to come by here each and every visit to London.
A British food staple, the bacon butty is really just a bacon sandwich. Served warm and with little more than bacon on bread, it’s another popular hangover cure or just a delicious (if not greasy) breakfast. St John’s in Spitalfields serves bacon sandwiches daily on fresh, homemade bread. Note that the bacon in the UK is different than in the United States.
Curry on Brick Lane
Thanks to numerous pop culture references, Brick Lane is arguably one of London’s most famous streets. Throughout history, the street has been home to everything from brick manufacturers to beer breweries.
While East London has been the point of arrival for many immigrant groups since the Middle Ages, the 20th century saw an influx of Bangladeshi immigrants, and it’s because of this influx of immigrants that you’ll find countless curry restaurants on Brick Lane. Just walking down the street, it’s hard not to resist the smells of South Asian spices, curries and fruits & vegetables.
For one of London’s best curry houses, visit Aladin Restaurant. They’re consistently at the top of the ratings for Indian curries. Just be careful if you order the vindaloo—it may very well burn your tongue!
Fish & Chips
Across the UK it’s said that there are more than 10,000 fish & chips shops. England’s most famous food, it’d be tough for me to visit and not try what’s arguably the country’s national dish. While you can find fish & chips available on most pub menus and in countless corner shops, Poppies Fish & Chips in Spitalfields is worth a trip on its own. The small restaurant is decked out in 1950s design with a funky interior.
Beer or Cider
If there’s anything as authentically British as fish and chips, it must also be beer and cider. Truman’s Brewery, located right on Brick Lane, was famous for its porters and was once the largest brewery in the world; it’s been on the same site since the 1600s. Today you can sample more recent brews by Truman’s at local pubs. The Pride of Spitalfield is one of Shoreditch’s more popular pubs with locals—with its own pub cat (Lenny) and a cozy interior.
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Looking to stay in East London during a holiday? It’s got a vibrant street art scene, cool hotels, art galleries and plenty of things to see and do. I discovered these restaurants during the East London Food Tour, a 4-hour tour through Shoreditch with multiple food & drink tastings. For accommodation in Shoreditch, both the Ace Hotel and Boundary Hotel are located right in the heart of all the action.
Despite hanging around Clapham Junction quite frequently I did not know about The Four Thieves until my boyfriend invited me there for our first date! I have to admit it was quite a smart move from his side!
At the ground level, The Four Thieves looks just like what you’d expect from a good pub – a quirky interior, cosy seating areas, and a great selection of drinks and food of course! If you go upstairs though you’ll discover a Victorian-style Music Hall which has been converted into a huge games area with retro arcades, race games, and a VR room.
And the surprises don’t stop here – down in the basement there’s a karaoke room if you want to unleash your inner musician! On Wednesdays, there’s a comedy night and if that’s not enough they often hold quiz and bingo nights. So whatever floats your boat there’s a chance The Four Thieves will cater for it!
I can see now why my boyfriend picked it as a first date spot! Thankfully he only took me to the games room and not the karaoke as we probably wouldn’t be together if he’d done so!
What’s better than a party in a nightclub? A party on a boat, obviously. A huge new floating venue – set to be London’s biggest – is opening soon. Oceandiva, a £25 million carbon neutral ‘party boat’, will be live and kicking from July.
And it’s not opening without a serious glow-up. Oceandiva is currently docked at King George V Dock in East London, where its set to undergo a £1.8 million makeover. The venue will be run by events company Smart Group.
Set over three decks, the mahoosive boat has 2,625 square metres and can accommodate up to 1,500 people. That makes the ship equivalent to seven double-decker buses, and 15 metres longer than a Boeing 737 airliner.
Oceandiva is likely to be mainly used by companies to host corporate events such as awards ceremonies, conferences, film premieres and charity dos. It will be able to be used while moored and sailing.
However, some local residents are concerned about the new party venue, calling it an ‘eyesore’. The council received a record 1,000 complaints from locals who are worried Oceandiva could disrupt their sleep and cause noise pollution.
Kathleen Ehrlich, chair of Shad Thames Residents Association, said: ‘This will be an eyesore of a vessel impacting on the world famous views along the Thames. It will bring a huge disruption and disturbance to riverside communities.’
Ralph Hardwick, of the River Residents Group, added: ‘It looks like a floating prisoner of war camp. Is this what we want for the Thames?’
Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrats at the Greater London Assembly, told The Times it ‘could be the most controversial licensing application London has ever faced’, adding: ‘There’s a basic right to be able to get a decent sleep.’
Chloe Jackson, managing director of Smart Group, said consulting with the community was a ‘top priority’. ‘We are excited to work together to create a project that benefits London and everyone in the community,’ she added. ‘Consultation with riverside communities, local groups and responsible authorities is critical to our approach. Our ambition is to create a project that delivers real benefits to the communities in which we operate and that we can all be proud of.’
What would you like to see happen to the Oceandiva? We heard Printworks was looking for a new venue…