It’s no secret that London is on the cutting-edge of the art scene in the world, often housing some of the most influential and sought-after exhibitions in the world. There are plenty of art institutions, as well as small independent galleries all across the city. Here are 10 we highly recommend visiting.
The Barbican is a serious destination for art lovers. Whether it’s a rainstorm that doesn’t get you wet, or an in-depth look at the work and life of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Barbican’s curation team always exceeds excpecations.
What’s more, the Barbican is an amazing piece of Brutalist architecture, so is well worth the visit for the building!
The Hayward Gallery located on the Southbank was closed for 2 years due to refurbishment, but reopened in 2018. The refurbishment wait was well worth it, with natural light flooding into the space and programming back and better than ever. They have amazing exhibitions, such as the retrospective of Bridget Riley, and Reverb – a multisensory exhibition.
The National Gallery
Home to some amazing classic paintings, such as Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Rubens, and more, the National Gallery is a wonderful place to seek inspiration and culture. This amazing, open building is great – and alongside their permanent collection they often hold amazing temporary exhibitions by artists, such as Caravaggio and Michelangelo. What’s more – the permanent exhibitions are free.
Whitechapel Gallery has been a curatorial heartbeat for London for over a century. It helped introduce Londoners to amazing artists, such as Jackson Pollock and Frida Kahlo. Years later, it’s still curating some of the best exhibitions in the city.
The Tate Modern is a wonderful building worth visiting in its own right, but what’s more is the magnitude of art this gallery holds. It has a wonderfully eclectic selection of modern and contemporary artworks that few can beat.
Newport Street Gallery
The Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall was built specifically to put on shows of Hirst’s art collection. You’ll find artworks from Jeff Koons and John Hoyland amongst his collection. What’s more, it gives you a little peek into the life of Hirst.
The Lisson Gallery is one of the UK’s oldest galleries, and is still going strong. It is known for having introduced the world to artists such as Anish Kapoor, Julian Opie, and Douglas Gordon.
Project Native Informant
This art gallery, hidden within an intimidating office block, focuses on art that questions and undermines gender and identity norms. It will be moving soon to their new location in Bethnal Green.
A London outpost of this major German gallery in Mayfair, it hosts many exhibitions, spanning classic minimalism and contemporary art. It has held exhibitions from the likes of Cindy Sherman and Donald Judd.
White Cube Bermondsey
This gallery is definitely one that deserves this list. The White Cube brought us Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, and plenty of other amazing British artists. Having moved to its new space in Bermondsey, the White Cube is a museum-quality art gallery.
Sometimes we are all in the mood for a Martini, whether it’s classic or dirty, with Gin or Vodka, or – as our nation’s favourite agent – shaken, not stirred. Well, we decided to take a quick tour around the city and find our favourite spots to get delicious, and creative Martinis. Let us know your favourite.
Marmalade Breakfast Martini – The Anchor & Hope
This gastropub has a great selection of Martinis, whether you’re after the frosty dirty martini, or something smooth and classic. However, if you’re feeling a little adventurous you should consider trying their Breakfast Martini. This cocktail includes marmalade ad lemon juice, which is sweet and tangy and a delicious variation on this cocktail staple.
You can find The Anchor & Hope, and their breakfast martini, at 36 The Cut, SE1
The Coastal Martini – Anthracite
This bar specialises in Martinis, and does it well. Rather than browsing the menu and choosing, I definitely recommend releasing some control and getting a recommendation. They have a large range of Martinis with various mixes of Gin, Vodka, Vermouth and Garnish. Their Coastal Martini is infused with samphire, and a vermouth infused with cured lemon, and garnished with a seaweed flake. Whilst it may sound like a complicated drink, the flavours blend well to remind you of the sea – especially that chilly breeze of the British seaside.
You can find Anthracite at the Great Northern Hotel, N1C
The Espresso Martini – The Martini Bar
The name of this bar sets a high expectation from the get go. You’re expecting great martinis. Well, I can say that this Barbican Martini Bar has taken the delicious mixture of bitter espresso, small-batch vodka, and a wonderful environment to make not only a delicious cocktail, but a delicious experience. Whether you’re visiting to see a local exhibition or play, make sure you take a break and grab one of these Espresso Martinis to reset.
You can find The Martini Bar at the Barbican Centre, EC2Y
The Turkish Coffee Martini – Dar
Sticking with the caffeinated theme, this is a Mediterranean twist on the espresso martini. For those who find the traditional cocktail a little too sweet, this tiny restaurant on Tooting Broadway will serve you a coffee martini the way you’d like it. It has the traditional grainy residue and fierce punch of Turkish Coffee, and the warm kick of alcohol. Try not to drink these too late, or you’ll be up all night.
You can find Dar at 29 Tooting High Street, SW17
Vegetarianism and veganism have been a rising lifestyle change globally, and London is no exception. London plays host to some of the finest and most exciting vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the world, and here are a selection of some of our favourites.
Established for over 30 years, Mildreds has been providing vegetarian food in Soho for a long time. The food they offer is entirely meat-free, and they offer an interesting mix of pies, a rotating burger of the day, and some amazing global salads. Be warned that you may have to queue, but they also have a second establishment in Camden which is a little quieter.
45 Lexington Street, W1F
Another one that has been on the vegetarian scene for a long time, The Gate is self-described as Indo-Iraqi Jewish food with French and Italian influences. Whatever that means, it’s delicious. They offer a selection of mezze, miso aubergine, mozzarella and… well you just have to go try it.
51 Queen Caroline Street, W6
Indian food is one of those cuisines which truly integrates vegetarianism into it, and the Michelin starred Benares is no exception. It also offers meat dishes, but the head chef Atul Kochar loves the pairing of complex subtle flavours with vegetables, meaning you will be spoilt for choice.
12a Berkeley Square House, W1J
Wild Food Cafe
The Wild Food Cafe is a ‘plant-based eatery and wellbeing oasis’. They offer hippy vibes, open-armed cosy interior and service. The food is raw, organic, foraged and totally nutritious. If you’re looking to be a little adventurous and learn more about food, this is well worth a visit.
14 Neals Yard, WC2H
Markets have always been a key part of trade in London. Whether you’re looking for food, clothes, gadgets or whatever, there’s always a place to haggle and enjoy the bustle of a marketplace. However, if you’re looking for a real steal, then the flea market is the place to go. Here’s a list of our favourites around London, for whatever you are looking for.
This is one of the lesser considered markets in London. It’s a mash-mash of sprawling market stalls and bustling people. However, this is really all part of the fun. Hunting through the half eaten chocolate bars to find treasure makes it more worthwhile, but the stall owners here aren’t fans of the haggle.
Deptford Market is on every Wednesday and Friday, 7.30-5.30, and Saturday, 9-5.30.
Hackney Flea Market
In the true spirit of the flea market, this market in Hackney takes place on Stoke Newington’s Church Street. Here you can find jewellery, vintage fabrics, furniture, maps and kitchen accessories. Alongside that, you’ll find some homemade treats to enjoy, and a few DJs keeping the energy levels up.
This market isn’t on such a standard timetable but you can find more information here.
Old Spitalfields Market
A very common market in London, though not everyone is a big fan, is the redeveloped Spitalfields market. This market in East London is a renovated 1887 marketplace with a modern shopping precint next to it. However, this whole area of London has some very interesting independent stores as well. Within this market you can find lots of interesting clothes, up-and-coming designers, crafts and more. If you get peckish, they have plenty amazing food as well. If you’re a vinyl fan as well, this is definitely a place to visit.
Open everyday, 10-5, and until 6pm on Saturdays.
Whilst this market is a little out of the city, it is well worth the day trip. If you’re looking to buy props for a film, or just spruce up your house with some vintage furniture, taking a trip to the Sandown Park Racecourse will put you in the centre of a furniture bazaar.
Whilst not a regular fixture, to see when the next market is click here.
Brick Lane Market
Whilst there are plenty of markets in Brick Lane, the biggest one and the must-attend is the Sunday UpMarket in the Old Truman Brewery. You’ll find a crowd of art students looking for quirky steals, bona fide locals and crazy stalls filled with all sorts of eclectic things.
The market takes place every Sunday.
London is beautiful; it looks more beautiful in some seasons than the others. One of the best times to be in London is the winter season. During winter, London looks beautiful, not minding the cold weather, the festive period still lights up the place.
The city is decorated for Christmas
London is beautiful during winter, because of the festive periods coming up. There is no doubt about it. During winter, places like were Carnaby, Regent Street and Oxford Street are decorated in celebration of Christmas
Seeing a city like London decorated for Christmas is an unforgettable experience.
Ice skating is one of the best pastime in London be it outdoor or indoor. During the winter, skating rinks pops up all over the place. Whether or not you are good at skating, you will have a fun filled winter. London has more skating rinks than other places in Europe. You can visit some of the iconic locations, such as Hampton Court Palace, Westfield London or the Natural History Museum.
The festive decorations around the city would always give you the urge to go for Christmas shopping. During winter, places like the Oxford Street, Regent Street, Knightsbridge and Notting Hill offers discount for goods bought. You won’t want to miss out on discounts like these!
London Christmas market
This is also one of the many that makes London what it is during the winter. Places are opened to celebration of the festive period. You have to visit some of London’s Christmas markets where you can immerse in the festive period such as the Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, Leicester Square, The London Bridge Wintertime Festival, or the Greenwich.
Unlike other places, London is more enjoyable during winter. There is no place worth spending your winter break than London.
In a new interactive exhibition at the Museum of London, this is a question at the centre of it all. Originally created by the Cité des Sciences et de L’Industrie in Paris, this exhibition explores the challenges of urbanisation and how cities around the world have sought to challenge them.
Britain is known for its pubs, and there are over 7000 pubs in London alone. However, these public houses have a wide history, and they are museums in their own right. Here are 5 examples of some of the most amazing stories behind London’s pubs.
The Lamb & Flag
This pub is tucked away on the backstreets in Covent Garden, and its location attracted a slightly rougher than usual crowd, and it used to host bare-knuckle prize fights. Also, earlier in 1679, poet John Dryden took a beating by thugs hired by a rival poet John Wilmot down this back alley. That’s one way to resolve your issues.
The Prospect of Whitby
The Prospect of Whitby in Wapping is a pub that was often frequented by sailors (and pirates!). There is a replica gallows hanging outside the front, a reference to the revolution-suppressing ‘Hanging’ Judge Jeffreys who was a patron to this place. Unfortunately, the only thing that’s the same from when it was originally built is the flagstone floor inside.
The Spaniards Inn
One of the oldest pubs in London is The Spaniards Inn on a hilltop by Hampstead Heath. Having been there since 1585, it has a wide visitor’s list including Byron, Keats, and Dickens. It is even mentioned in Bram Stoker’s version of Dracula
The Ten Bells
The Ten Bells is a regular pit stop on a Jack The Ripper tour, as this pub was a regular haunt for Victorian prostitutes which became the victims of Jack the Riper. The faded interior and candlelit lighting adds to the ambience of the pub.
The French House
The French as it is often referred to is located in the bohemian area of London’s Soho. Lucian Freud, Sylvia Plath, and Dylan Thomas are just a few names of previous patrons of this pub. During World War 2, Charles De Gaulle used to use this pub as their base, and an interesting fact: they only serve half pints in this pub!
Image sourced from TimeOut London.
There are constantly being renovations in London to help develop and improve, and the latest is the development of Central Cross – a 48,000 square foot retail and food development planning to be launched later this spring.
The Central Cross will feature seven new restaurants keeping with the theme of the area, serving new Chinese and East Asian cuisine. They will also have outdoor seating, and there are plans to pedestrianise Newport Place.
We’ll keep you updated with more information as we find out.
Image sourced from TimeOut London
With the coming of Spring, people take to the outdoors, and that in turn means that there are more and more events in London! These are some of our favourite events that are coming up in London this spring that we wanted to share with you.
WOW: Women of the World Festival
In the 2017 edition of this festival there will be great discussions and debates about female achievements and obstacles, with great performances celebrating women of the world. Famous women such as Gillian Anderson, Angela Davis, Sandi Toksvig will be present for the show to take place in the discussions and presentations.
Visit the WOW mini-site to see the full programme of events and for tickets.
Outdoor Theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe
With the improvement in weather, Shakespeare’s Globe’s outdoor theatre once again begins its display of outdoor theatre. One of the hot shows for this spring will be Romeo and Juliet, and with a new boss at the head of the theatre, there is plenty of high energy and excitement ready for this year.
The American Dream: Pop to the Present
This show is a dedication to the work of 1960s ‘pop’ stars who took hold of printmaking as a medium of great excitement. This show tells the story of America’s post-war boom and the evolution of it until the present day. Prepare for bombardment of colour, strong visuals, and lots of prints!
The exhibition will be held at the British Museum until June 18.
The London Marathon is an annual event of great feat. Covering 26.2 miles, the run takes over the city for a weekend in April, and is well celebrated and accepted by the local community. This year the marathon takes place on April 23.
Futuro House Tour
Want to see one of these crazy spaceship houses from the late 60s? These houses were a big craze and can be found all across the world. If you would like to take a tour inside this house, you can book a tour with Central St Martins.
London is home to a selection of cafés and restaurants, with plenty of new independent chains opening up every day. In this guide we wanted to highlight some of the lesser known cafés, which are perfect for a romantic brunch, lunch, or even first date!
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