This is hands-down one of the prettiest London day hikes I’ve organised. Quaint Tudor villages, historic churches, forests and castles combine with a gentle ambling pace that offers a slice of quintessential English countryside.
Ever wandered past an abandoned underground station, and wondered what it would be like inside? Or seen a station you didn’t recognise in a film, and wondered where they shot it? With Hidden London, you need not wonder anymore. Each year, this group organises select dates where urban explorers can wander and learn about the history of some of London’s abandoned underground stations and historical buildings.
This year marked the opening of a new tour, around the old abandoned Highgate station. Once a vital stop on the Great Northern Road and later tipped to be an important commuter interchange station, a series of unfortunate events led to it being abandoned and reclaimed by nature. But now, Hidden London are letting people view this urban wilderness for the first time in years.
As any outdoor-loving Londoner knows, it can be hard to escape into the outdoors from the city, particularly when you’re reliant on public transport.
So when I found a website with loads of day hikes, all within easy reach of a London train station, I knew I had to share the joy.
A couple of months ago in the last fading rays of summer light, I made a resolution to maintain my summer cardio fitness levels year-round. No more excuses of evenings getting dark too soon, or Christmas festivities getting in the way, this year I was going to make sure I stayed at peak, all-round fitness 365 days a year. And in that spirit, I signed up for the Osteoporosis Society’s 10k run around Hyde Park on Saturday. Continue reading
Anniversaries aren’t usually spent covered in chalk and sweating up a boulder, but with sunny skies such a rare occurrence in London these days, you take every opportunity you get to enjoy the outdoors. Continue reading
One of the perks of my job is that once a year I get to take a day off work for volunteering. This time I was particularly lucky to take the opportunity to volunteer at the Lavender Pond Nature Park with The Conservation Volunteers.
I used to live quite close to this area, and for years I would gaze with intrigue into its gates, wondering what lay behind the old pumphouse and how to access those bridges on the pond. So when the opportunity to finally quell my curiosity arose, I pulled on my boots, tied up the hair and pulled on a pair of garden gloves, ready to get stuck in. Continue reading
Recently, my good friend Kathryn paid us a visit over the weekend, and along with the usual London pastimes of concerts, museums and theatre excursions, she had a special request.
Kathryn’s traveled and worked all over the world and gone on so many hair-raising adventures in her short years than many people do in a lifetime. However, she’s always had a slight fear of heights and decided that the only way to defeat it was to challenge herself to complete three different high-altitude activities, such as sky-diving, paragliding, etc. When she asked us to help her complete the last challenge, we knew exactly where to go: our old haunt, Swiss Cottage climbing wall.
For Londoners, Kew Gardens is what Stonehenge is to the rest of England – an iconic site representative of the area that all residents should visit at some point, but just the right distance away that it is practically the definition of the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Every Summer Solstice (or in Kew’s case, Christmas) everyone is reminded of their self-made promise to visit sometime along with some minor investigations of prices and travel, before it is pushed right back to its old place on the ‘Things to Do When I have Spare Time’ list, between cleaning out your wardrobe and updating your driver’s license address.
This is all a great shame, as Kew Gardens is a treasure trove of follies, interactive learning and exciting diversions that caters to even the most biophobic of visitors, and the arrival of spring in March can only improve things.
……visit Richard Mosse’s The Enclave.
Struck by the complete lack of evidence of the ongoing civil war in Congo on the country landscape, Richard Mosse went about capturing unique footage of rebel enclaves and sites of human rights violation in a way that highlights the human realism of the situation without losing any of Congo’s natural beauty. The result is a combination of photographs and a multi-channel video installation that is both haunting and beautiful.
Shot using an extinct type of 16mm film once used by the military to identify camouflaged installations from the air, the pink hue in the images gives the media a beautiful yet chilling mood. The videos were shot on Steadicam in one long continuous take, and echoing surround sound, which forces the viewer to look at the ongoing conflict as though they were actually there.
The exhibition is only showing from April 4-26, 2014, at the Vinyl Factory Space at the Brewer Street Car Park. Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday, 11:30am – 5:30pm.
For more information and a preview of the exhibition, please click here.
….visit Leighton House
East meets west London in the most unlikely of places – an English aristocrat’s home.
Compared to other English aristocratic homes, decorated with portraits of the owners forefathers or art relics from the Classical world, a quick look around Lord Leighton’s and it is fair to say he was a bit of an eccentric in his day. An artist by profession, Lord Francis Leighton held a fascination with the Middle East and its artwork. So much so in fact, that he had the hall in the ground floor of his studio house converted into an opulent Arab Hall, reminiscent of the mosques and grand houses he visited on his travels. All of the materials used for the construction of the Arab Hall were sourced from the Middle East or made by the top masters of that particular craft in Leighton’s day.
Of course, the rest of the house deserves a long look around as well; each room has been painstakingly restored to its’s original state as Lord Leighton left it. Featuring a mixture of his own work and friends including William Morris and Millais, the layout offers an insight into the mind and artistic talent of Lord Leighton.
For more information about Leighton House, please follow this link here.