Sunday, 27 December 2009

35 Things to do in London in 2010

35 things to do in London in 2010 (Hotel Rafayel's selection from Time Out's 101:

1.Find peace in Battersea Park
Japanese Peace Pagoda, Battersea Park, SW11 (020 8871 7532/ Battersea Park rail.

2. Horse around in Hyde Park
Few people know there are stables and a riding school here. Lessons are £55-£95 an hour.
Hyde Park & Kensington Stables, 63 Bathurst Mews, W2 (020 7723 2813/ Lancaster Gate tube.

3. Get classical in a crypt
Listen to classical music by candlelight at St Martin-in-the-Fields (Thursdays to Saturdays, and alternate Tuesdays, 7.30pm). The evening performances are worth the entry fee; lunchtime recitals are free.
St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, WC2 (020 7766 1100/ Charing Cross tube/rail.

4. Visit the beautiful Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park. The bridge at the foot of a waterfall is one of the city’s most peaceful spots.
Holland Park tube

5. Make a call from London's first red phone box
Take two steps off Piccadilly into the imposing courtyard arch of the Royal Academy and swing open the doors of telephonic history. This sheltered red kiosk is a Grade-II listed building – not just the first ever vermillion red telephone box in the whole world, but its wooden prototype. Dial H for history!
Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, London, W1J (OBD 020 7300 8000/ Piccadilly Circus/Green Park tube.

6.Go night fishing
Anyone can dangle their rod in the pond on Clapham Common, but check in advance to make sure there are no competitions taking place.
Clapham Common tube

7.Catch the Bard on grass
The open-air theatre in Regent’s Park is perfect for summery Shakespeare romps. They tend to be popular so book well in advance.
Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, NW1 ( Baker St tube.

8.Be a groundling at the Globe
Stay on your feet and catch a historically authentic performance in the reconstructed theatre; the original burned down in 1613. Plays take place from May until September.
Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, SE1 (020 7401 9919/ London Bridge tube/rail.

9. Watch the Great River Race
This annual race takes place in September on the Thames along a 22-mile course from Ham House in Richmond to Greenwich, and features more than 260 ‘traditional’ boats, from Chinese dragon boats to Viking longboats. Less po-faced than the Oxbridge race – and much more colourful.

10.Hear angels sing
Westminster Cathedral has some of the best choristers in the world, who sing daily at mass from 7am until 5.30pm.
Westminster Cathedral, Victoria St, SW1 (020 7798 9055/ Victoria tube/rail.

11.Chuckle at cartoons
At the Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury, visitors can’t help but laugh out loud at works by artists from Hogarth and Gillray to Thelwell, Steadman and Matt.
Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell St, WC1 (020 7580 8155/ Tottenham Court Rd tube.

12.Scratch your head at Sir John Soane’s
An eclectic and fascinating collection of sculptures, paintings, antiquities, jewellery and other bits and pieces collected by the architect.
Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2 (020 7405 2107/ Holborn tube.

13.Eye up the walrus
Sneak down to Forest Hill for what might be (whisper it) London’s best museum – the Horniman. Skeletons, pickled animals, model insects and Egyptian mummies, and the star attraction – an enormous (over-) stuffed walrus. Don’t miss the mesmerising jellyfish in the new aquarium or the Apostles clock chiming at 4pm.
Horniman Museum, 100 London Rd, SE23 (020 8699 1872/ Forest Hill rail.

14.Take the Duck Tour
London Duck tours (020 7928 3132/

15. Get a full head of steam
London’s only steam railway; Sundays at Kew Bridge Steam Museum (Mar-Nov).
Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, Middx (020 8568 4757/ Gunnersbury tube/rail or Kew Bridge rail.

16.Discover the glorious Chelsea Physic Garden
A true secret garden in the city; public opening hours are restricted.
Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Rd, SW3 (0207376 3910/ Sloane Square tube.

17.Make your MP show you the Houses of Parliament
They have to say yes. Don’t miss Westminster Hall, one of Europe’s finest medieval buildings.
Houses of Parliament, Parliament Square, SW1 (0870 906 3773/ Westminster tube.

18.Witness the drama of a big case at the Old Bailey
The public is welcome to visit; a notice by the front door gives details of forthcoming trials.
Central Criminal Court, Corner of Newgate St & Old Bailey, EC4 (020 7248 3277/ St Paul’s tube.

19. Make a Royal Guard laugh
Find out what happened when Time Out donned a glasses-nose-'tache combo and tried to crack the Queen's guards!

20.Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown
Lion and dragon teams perform traditional dances and there are, of course, fireworks displays (at lunchtime and 5pm). It all takes place in late January/early February.
Gerrard St, W1. Leicester Square tube

21.Get up early for Billingsgate Market
Buy cheap fish, or just enjoy the foul language. Open Tue-Sat 5-8.30am.
Billingsgate Market, Trafalgar Way, E14 (020 7987 1118/ Poplar DLR.

22.Laugh at old toys in Pollock’s Toy Museum
Take in tin toys, teddy bears and more.
Pollock’s Toy Museum, 1 Scala St (entrance Whitfield St), W1 (020 7636 3452/ Goodge St tube.

23. Survive a royal gun salute
This deafening British display of pageantry happens on a handful of dates every year, when the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery makes a mounted charge through Hyde Park, sets up guns and fires a 41-gun salute. It occurs at noon on Accession Day, the Queen’s two birthdays, Remembrance Sunday and other special days.

24.Yelp at scary Victorian medical instruments
Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret, 9a St Thomas St, SE1 (020 7188 2679/ London Bridge tube/rail.

25.Watch the penguins being fed
At London Zoo, daily 2.30-3pm.
London Zoo, Regent’s Park, NW1 (020 7722 3333/ Camden Town tube or C2, 274 bus.

26.Watch a puppet show at the Little Angel Theatre
Founded by John Wright in 1961, this is the only permanent theatre of its kind in London.
Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage, off Cross St, N1 (020 7226 1787/ Angel tube.

27.Browse the National Archives
There’s a thousand years of official government records here. See if they’ve got anything on you. Saturday tours are free.
National Archives, Ruskin Avenue, Richmond, Surrey (020 8876

28.Go up the wall
Not the actual London Wall, but one of those at the capital’s fantastic climbing centres.
Castle Climbing Centre, Green Lanes, N4 (020 8211 7000/ Manor House tube.
Mile End Climbing Centre, Haverfield Rd, E3 (020 8980 0289/ Mile End tube.
Westway Climbing Wall, Westway Sports Centre, 1 Crowthorne Rd, W10 (020 8969 0992/ Latimer Rd or White City tube.

29.Launch a campaign at Speaker's Corner
Or just go and hear what other people have got a bee in their bonnet about. Or a bat in their belfry in some cases.
Marble Arch tube.

30. Do the Monopoly pub crawl
That’s 26 pubs, in order. Don’t expect to collect £200 if you pass Go.

31.Watch contemporary dance
At the stunning Laban centre. Or just stand and admire this incredible Herzog & de Meuron-designed building from the outside.
Laban, Creekside, SE8 (020 8691 8600/ Deptford rail/Deptford Bridge DLR.

32.Smash up cars
No, we’re not talking about descending on the car park with a set of keys and a baseball bat. On Sundays, Wimbledon Stadium offers the chance to race bangers around its track. If you’re not keen on actually doing the driving, then you can just sit back and relax while the experts smash their vehicles to pieces.
Wimbledon Stadium, Plough Lane, SW17 0BL, 01252 322 920/ Tooting Broadway tube/Earlsfield rail/44, 270, 272 bus.

33. Discover London’s city farms
London has a whopping 17 city farms overseen by the Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens. Visit Bella the saddleback pig at Hackney or the riotous goats down on the Surrey Docks Farm.

34.Get a walk-in backrub
For a quick stress-busting session, drop-in on one of the quick-stop massage stations run by Walk-In-Backrub ( The convenience factor is high: you don’t even need to take your clothes off or lie down, as the treatments take place on ergonomic leather chairs. You’ll find branches wherever serious shopping goes on such as Covent Garden (14 Neal’s Yard, WC2H 9DP, 020 7836 9111) off Carnaby Street (second floor, Kingly Court, W1B 5PW, 020 7287 9326), and in Selfridges (fourth floor, 400 Oxford Street, W1 A 1AB, 0870 837 7377).

35. Get up early for Dawn Chorus Day
The first public Dawn Chorus Day was held in the UK in Birmingham in 1984, but London bird lovers have taken the celebration up keenly over the past two decades. If you know your tweet from your twitter, go it alone in your local park or back garden, then feed your findings back via the official website ( Otherwise set the alarm early on the designated Sunday in early May (see the website for exact dates) and head for one of the organised London events. The London Wetland Centre is a prime location – and the gathering here normally includes a group breakfast. In the past, events have also taken place at Tower Hamlets Cemetery and Roundshaw Downs Local Nature Reserve. So grab your binoculars and head for the birds in the bushes – you can always go back to bed afterwards.

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