Sunny Day in Richmond!


I’ve used the brilliant weather these days as an opportunity to explore a part of London that I haven’t visited much before, the picturesque town of Richmond in the southwest of London. Summer is the perfect time for a stroll around Richmond and to explore the cute little shops and cafes in town. You can then walk along the river to Richmond Hill and the famous park.

 

 

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If you get hungry along the way then there’s numerous pubs and restaurants right by the river that let you enjoy a nice little nosh and an ice cold beer overlooking the Thames. I went for Stein’s pub, a German beer garden with a nice selection of Bavarian beers and traditional German food.

 

 

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Since it gets incredibly busy on the weekends and moreover there’s a chance of trains and whole tube lines being cancelled, I would highly recommend making your way to Richmond during the week.

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10 FREE Summer Activities in London!


London can be a daunting experience for our credit cards and most of us only survive life in this city by desperately trying not to spend more money than absolutely necessary. And of course, there are lots of cool activities that don’t cost a thing – visiting the various free museums alone could keep you busy for weeks! But with summer on our doorstep we have compiled a list of 10 summery activities that let you enjoy the warm weather without having to sacrifice your last valuables or skip dinner for the next few months!

  1. Check out the world’s oldest dinosaur sculptures at Crystal Palace Park.

  2. Relax in one of the picturesque parks where you’ll find ponds, nature trails and cute cottages. On Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath you’ll have one of the best views of the city!

  3. Go deer-spotting in Richmond Park! Richmond by itself is a beautiful little town and well worth a tour on a sunny day.

  4. See real farm animals at one of the various city farms, for example at Mudchute or Vauxhall.

  5. Scroll along Southbank and take in the street artists and performers.

  6. Visit Buckingham Palace and watch the Changing a Guard ceremony.

  7. Wander about Camden Market and the Stables Market and breathe in the atmosphere.

  8. Spend a lazy afternoon with live music and coffee & tea at Daylight Music at the Union Chapel.

  9. Head up to the Sky Garden for panoramic views of the city!

  10. Take a spooky walk along the monuments of Highgate Cemetery.

 

The National Pet Show @ London Excel


The sun’s out, the weekend is near and for all those animal lovers out there this is a big weekend – The National Pet Show is coming to London!

The next two days at the Excel Exhibition Centre in the Docklands will be filled with furry friends and lots of fun activities for young and old. If you’re popping by to find the perfect pet for you or do your pet-related shopping or simply to have a great day out with the whole family, the Pet Show is definitely worth a visit! Tickets are £18 per person with concessions for students, seniors and families. You can buy your tickets here

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Vaisakhi Festival in London


On 29th April 2017, the traditional Sikh festival of Vaisakhi is celebrated in Central London. Expect fun activities, such as turban tying, dance performances and music sessions, as well as lots of food stalls and activities for kids. More than 20 million people all over the world are celebrating Vaisakhi. So if you have nothing planned for this beautiful spring Saturday then join the festivities today from noon onwards in Trafalgar Square in London!

 

 

 

How To Visit London The Right Way (Part One)


Not trying to sound too presumptuous, only talking plainly from personal experience… Tourists, visiting parents or friends, looking to use the opportunity of a free place to crash and tick the box ‘Got smashed in London’, have their own little plan in mind.

  1. Oxford Street (mainly Primark)
  2. Piccadilly Circus (with no basic understanding why… oh, the big screen. Well, it’s off at the moment)
  3. Leicester Square (cinemas…?)
  4. Covent Garden (I read the book once, about the homeless and his cat and I think it was based here…)
  5. Big Ben (to take THE picture)
  6. London Eye (with an adorably optimistic hope to actually get on it. As it ever happens)
  7. One of the clubs that celebrities go to. (No comments)

Little do they know… Living here for four years now, let me present you the ultimate one-day London tour, improved and approved by us & ClubCat.

First stop – Greenwich.

Being a little bit more remote from the center, it is the perfect place to start your tour. Getting off at the Cutty Start and Maritime Museum station and heading down to the river-path, there is your first surprise. You will see…
Going further down, you reach the historical University of Greenwich. Breathtaking. Make sure you visit the painted hall where Jonny Depp was dancing on the table in the fourth part of Pirates of Caribbean. Also, pop into the magnificent chapel (which is a part of the actual university!)
Not to mention that there are at least a few great maritime museums around, saving the precious time of the best day of your life, not strolling down to the Greenwich Market would be a significant loss.
Pancakes, pumpkins, and lasagna; Jamaican, Vietnamese and Italian – you name it, it’s there. Old stuff – new stuff and creative stuff. Little treasure box. Don’t get too lost and spend all day there!
Pick up a calzone and some mini pancakes with Nutella and head straight to the bIMG_0384eautiful Greenwich Park. Why is it better than the famous Hyde Park?

Where do I start… Despite the breathtaking scenery, it has so much more to offer. Rose gardens, tennis courts, and even deers! The highlight is the Greenwich observatory. Testing your endurance by claiming up the hill, you can reach the famous Greenwich Meridian timeline. (Yes, you can feel the time stops there… Technically, it does.) The view that opens up is something indescribable. The panorama view stretching all the way from London Eye to the O2 Arena.
Enjoy.
Greenwich Park is the last stop before your next destination…

ClubCat Tip: Oliver’s Jazz Bar is the hidden gem you MUST visit when you in Greenwich the next time. In the evening. Trust the ClubCat. It knows best.

Stay tuned!

The Bull & Last, Kentish Town


I’ve been living in Kentish Town for 4 years now and go for a stroll in Hampstead Heath almost every day. Yet to the present day I have never managed to check out the Bull & Last. This gastropub, located conveniently just opposite the Parliament Hill entrance to the Heath, has one of the best reputations in the area for its seasonal menu, drink selection and fantastic service. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that you have to wait a couple of weeks to book a table at the weekend…

We were lucky enough to get a table this weekend and after a night out partying we made our way there for a well deserved, hangover curing Saturday lunch. Breaking news first? The lunch did in fact cure my hangover.

The Bull & Last is a lovely venue with a real pub feeling to it.The bar is well stocked with a good selection of ales and ciders from small, independent breweries, the walls are decorated with stuffed animals and tankards and the whole place has a lively and welcoming atmosphere. Although we arrived early at 12pm most tables were already taken and the place was buzzing with families and children, dog walkers, couples and groups of friends.

We started off the meal with a Bloody Mary and this Bloody Mary was, I kid you not, the best drink I’ve had in a long time. An aromatic, spicy drink, neither too strong nor too bland, garnished with some pepper and celery. We went on to try some of the ales and cider to go along with the food. We went for a pretty standard choice, beef burger and fries and fish and chips. The vegetarian choices are limited, especially if you don’t like fish. The food was tasty and the service was super quick. Our waitress was absolutely lovely, very attentive and knowledgeable of the menu but at the same time super easygoing and joking away with us as if we had known each other for a long time.

To sum this up, we had a lovely lunch and felt well looked after at the Bull & Last. I was more impressed by the laid-back atmosphere and the outstanding service than the quality of the food but I’d definitely be willing to give the grub another try. The food is quite pricey with mains ranging from £15-£30 but the portions were huge and they only use fresh ingredients, which you can definitely taste. Altogether, I can definitely recommend this place and if it’s only for a quiet pint after a long walk at the Heath.

 

Bull&Last Pub

The Museum of London: An Easter Visit


London is a fun filled fast moving city full always of exciting things to check out. The Easter half term upon us and family visiting, I question my choice to visit The Museum of London but am pleasantly surprised by the lack of chaos we find there. Our entourage comprises of three adults (all with a favour for sarcasm and a loathing for overly enthusiastic children’s entertainers) and three children, aged 7 8 and 9 (also with an aversion to overly enthusiastic entertainers). Fortunately, being based in Belgravia, right next to Victoria train station it’s an easy (but long!) bus ride on the number 11 straight to the museum. We pass a few tourist hot spots, riding through parliament square, Big Ben and past St. Paul’s Cathedral (although we did get off a stop late so probably shouldn’t have gotten quite as far as the cathedral, but hey it was worth it). We were sure to point out the National Gallery to the kids, remaining them it’s where “A night at the museum” took place. Naturally, they spent most of the journey imagining and describing to each other what it would be like if they got trapped inside and so they absolutely didn’t mind the extra walking (if you’ve never seen a night at the museum, basically kids get trapped inside over night and everything comes to life. Cool concept but it’s got Ben Stiller in it who I find hugely irritating- sorry Ben!). From the bus stop it takes us about 7 minutes to leisurely walk to the museum. None of us are particularly great with directions (my fellow two adults are from NY and I haven’t ventured to this area since being a child myself) but it was perfectly easy to find and we soon were inside buying tickets.

I’d say it’s worth booking online since tickets are a little cheaper, but we paid about £13.50 per adult and £9.50 per child on the door. Concessions are of course available for groups/schools/elderly. Either way, I thought this was a pretty good price. We arrive at 1pm (all well fed of course, otherwise it literally would have been hell.. we all suffer hugely from hanger!) and go straight into the “Fire Fire!” exhibition which I have to say is pretty great. Despite being a fully grown adult, my attention span is limited, so trying to find something which will interest both adults and children with short attention spans is quite a feat- alas, this exhibition does exactly that. The history of the great Fire of London is presented with inter active games, authentic models and excerpts and an area for dressing up and taking photos (my favourite part). More an immersive art show (without performance) than a boring display, I decide it’s well worth paying for (can you tell I’m a huge fan of NOT spending money on days out!?). It takes about 45 minutes to mosey through and none of us lose interest at any point- hurrah! Afterward, we make our way to the “pleasure garden” (which doesn’t take a millennium to walk to like it does in some museums- namely the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert!) around the corner to join in a “detective” activity. Being well acquainted with the “backpack” activities at the British Museum, we expect the detective activity to be something similar- each child receives an activity pack of some sort and is set on their way to complete these activities. Upon entry to the Pleasure Garden, we quickly realise we are very wrong; the room (wonderfully decorated with artistic 18th century models) is a circular shape and set up with a focus on its centre “stage”- an area of laminate flooring surrounded by Greek style white pillars and a lighted “roof” decorated internally with a blue sky and white clouds. In the centre of this stage stands a woman donning a huge fake smile and a number of props. Oh. No! Exactly the sort of thing we all deteste!! There are seats in the form of round brightly coloured cushions which are on the floor around the stage for the children and three benches (nowhere near enough) further back for us adults. The kids assume their places, unsure of the whole thing and we adults all take a seat on the floor (since the benches are already full- obviously). We pass a look which communicates the consideration to leave immediately, but we decide to give it a chance and the adults throw the kids a reassuring smile (or is it a “please try to like it” smile? Who knows but it works). The woman on the stage soon comes alive with exactly the overly enthusiastic attitude we were hoping to avoid and the adults exchange a “well we tried” glance. We wait for a discreet moment to leave whilst the entertainer prances around making strange sounds and the children watch with faces as if to say “what on earth is this and why have you brought us here?” (Though toddlers would love it, I’m sure) when something suddenly changes: the entertainer becomes much more theatrical, much less kids party person and begins to tell the story of the great fire from first as a detective character and then, in turn, assuming several other brilliant and entertaining characters. She gets the children involved by asking them to spin an arrow on a board pointing to different “suspects” and becomes each character as it is landed on via this spinning board. The children listen to each characters version of events and at the end, have to make various decisions about what they do and do not believe. Needless to say, they absolutely love it! Everyone gets a turn to be involved in some way, through a wheel spin or a high five or a “you there, what do you think?”. We’re all glad we gave it a proper chance and impressed that we could drop in, free of charge- no booking necessary! (I think this runs every hour daily but best to double check the website!) After this, we head to the cafe, which is more or less right outside, for cake and drinks (they have sandwiches too, but that’s about it.. there’s a cafe with more choice by the entrance which isn’t too far if you fancy more) then stop by the toilets next door. It’s all very convenient. We wrap the afternoon up by taking a walk through a very cool replica 18th century street, called “Victorian Walk” and checking out a replica prison cell with original etchings on the wood dating back centuries. All in all, a very interesting, EASY and fun day!

So if you’re looking for something to do in London over Easter (whether it’s with kids or not) and especially if you have people coming to visit from out of town, I would recommend passing by the Museum of London! For some reason it’s one of those places that seems to fall second place to the likes of the British museum, National Art Gallery and V&A, but if you give it a chance (including the drop in storytelling) it’s actually pretty fab!