Category Archives: London Wanderings

London Hikes Inspiration

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.

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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

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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

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Getting a Green Thumb with The Conservation Volunteers

Lavender Pond TCV

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

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Climbing and Facing a Fear of Heights


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.

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If You Do One Thing in London This Month…visit Kew Gardens.


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.


























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If You Do One Thing in London This Month….


……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.

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If You Do One Thing in London This Month….


….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.


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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.

Photo credits: europanostra / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

leighton house living room

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If You Do One Thing in London this Month…

…….take a trip down to Little Venice.

While the name evokes visions of Italian villas, gondolas and expansive squares teeming with pigeons, London’s own tongue-in-cheek nickname of its waterways possesses a more quaint atmosphere. Lining either side of the Regent’s Canal and Grand Union waters are barges that simultaneously exist as people’s homes as well as restaurants, coffee shops, book stores, a puppet show theatre and more. The area evokes a bohemian, ‘rough and ready’ atmosphere with the jumble of bicycles, grand pianos, potted plants and other paraphernalia that sit in a big jumble on the deck of the barges, that gives the area its own unique identity outside of Paddington’s well-to-do, corporate office landscape.

Head to Little Venice for a leisurely weekend stroll to work off a hangover or enjoy a sunny day at a slow pace; make sure you stop for a reviving cup of coffee at one of the area’s numerous watering holes.

Photo credit: uncoolbob / Foter / CC BY-NC

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If You Do One Thing in London This Month…


….visit the Barbican Conservatory


The best way to describe the Barbican is a labyrinth; an 80s maze of Brutalist architecture where hidden around corners and wrong turns is art and displays that, although you might not have expected them, will be a welcome and enjoyable surprise.

The Barbican Conservatory is just one of these surprises, albeit a rather large and more permanent one. As the second largest conservatory in London, the Conservatory is home to more than 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees, along with a myriad of birds, amphibians and fish.


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The harsh architecture is softened by the overgrowth of flowering vines and tree branches reaching up towards the sunlight, giving the place an air of abandonment and quietude that is scarce elsewhere in London.

Wherever you look however, oversized, exotic flowers bursting in full bloom can be seen; it is almost enough to make you forget you are in London, and instead wandering through a tropical forest on an island, before the pitter patter of rain brings you back to reality.


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One of the highlights of the collection include the Conservatory’s cacti garden, which houses a mixture of the usual household fauna combined with the more frankly bizarre types covered in dense cobwebs or erratically shaped , like these:

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At the end, pay a visit to the aviary where you can easily while away half an hour watching the finches flitter back and forth and the Japanese quails burrow little holes.


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The Conservatory is only open on select dates with free entry, so make sure you check ahead of time on their website here to avoid disappointment.

If the Conservatory isn’t enough for you, pay a quick visit outside to look at the expansive fountains located out the back of the Barbican. You might get a few looks yourself:

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