One of the best components about London is that the whole family can have a compelling, exciting and fun day out without spending a penny. Yes you did read correctly.
London might have a reputation as being one of the most expensive cities in the world but because the city is made up of so many fascinating and incredible buildings and sites, you can spend whole days just meandering round London gazing in awe at its truly unmatchable landscape.
If spending a day casually snaking round the British capital getting all the best sites ‘ticked off’ sounds appealing, be sure to include a visit to St. John’s Gate in Clerkenwell. Built in 1504 by the Prior Thomas Docwra as the south entrance to the inner precinct of the Priory of the Knights of Saint John, St. John’s Gate is one of the few physical remains retained from Clerkenwell’s monastic past.
It all began in the 12th century when the Knights of the Order of St. John took it upon themselves to build a hospital, no doubt to nurse the wounded crusaders who were returning home from their “Holy War” abroad, battered and bleeding. A priory was soon added to the hospital which covered a vast four acres.
More than 300 years later the splendid gate was built as a magnificent entrance to the priory. The Knights of the Order of St. John did marvellous charity work in helping the sick, wounded and infirm. Today the St. John’s ambulance brigade is active in the building and owes its origins to the very Knights who initiated the idea more than 900 years ago.
Vibrant, sexy, happy and buzzing, Soho has all of the attributes for a memorable night out. The name Soho is famous throughout the world and stands right up there with La Pigalle in Paris and the Reeperbahn in Hamburg.
Despite its reputation as a haven for risqué and erotic entertainment, there are many attractions of Soho besides peep shows, sex shops and female nudity, all of which add to the flavour of Soho and make it a contender for best night out in London.
Music in Soho
Soho is home to many great and legendary music venues. Much of Soho’s lively music scene has been long-established, such as the Marquee club on Wardour Street where the Rolling Stones played their first gig. There is Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club on Frith street, which has been running since 1959 and the Borderline on Manette Street, which is widely regarded as a Soho musical institution. This 21-year-old venue is best known for its focus on folk, country and blues. In fact with so many globally renowned clubs, bars and live music venues, if you want to see a famous face from the music industry then walking down a Soho street would be a pretty good place to start!
Then there’s the restaurants
As you can imagine, as numerable, pulsating and quality that is Soho’s music circuit, so is its restaurant scene. Being such a ‘cultural melting pot’, Soho has a fantastically diverse range of restaurants to satisfy any culinary taste.
Jewellery has fascinated and enthralled civilisations for centuries and possesses a timeless longevity other items rarely own. While in ancient cultures jewellery was as much an adornment as men as women, in modern society jewels are considered to be more of a woman’s pleasure.
Focusing on jewellery which decorates the bodies of men rather than women is the Tomfoolery Exhibition, a black and white photography display at the Museum of London and is part of the museum’s jewellery season.
The exhibition includes numerable portraits evidential of the long standing relationship between men and jewellery, including photographs of the contemporary man and his love affair with jewellery by the acclaimed photographer, Ross Trevail.. Men wearing gold chains and signet rings take pride position at the exhibition, as do men with severe body piercing type jewellery.
The centrepiece of this unique exhibition is the ‘Cheapside Hoard’, extraordinary and priceless treasures of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The hoard gained its name as it was found buried in a cellar on Cheapside in the City of London in 1912. Workmen levered up part of a cellar floor revealing a box containing 400 pieces of magnificent jewellery.
With a museum, a café and extensive walled gardens, there’s plenty to do in Fulham for all the family in one convenient location. If you’re looking for things to do to alleviate boredom at the weekends or on school holidays then look no further than Fulham Palace.
Botanical gardens of sheer beauty
Fulham Palace was the summer home of the bishops of London from 704 until 1975. This grand and imposing house has been improved and extending down the centuries, alterations which are reflected in the multiple period styles of the building’s architecture. A superb botanical garden which was begun in the 17th century remains one of palace’s most enticing features. The popular garden walks take visitors past a multitude of trees and shrubs collected from abroad, particularly America. During WWII space was set aside for allotments as part of the “grow yourself to victory” ideology. To this day the people of Fulham still grow food on these allotments.
The gardens of Fulham Palace had a set back in the early 1600s when the residing bishop took to hacking away at the trees. Not everyone was impressed by this act with Sir Francis Bacon, a notable gardener of the time, referred to the bishop as a “Good expounder of dark places”. Even in the Middle Ages there were people who cared deeply about conservation and nature.
Fancy a bit of live comedy in London this March? Then look no further than the controversial comic Russell Brand, who will appear at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane on March 2, 2014. Intriguingly titled ‘The Messiah Complex’, Brand’s tongue-in-cheek show is about people who suffer from a psychological disorder in which they think they are God.
Did Jesus of Nazareth suffer from the Messiah complex? What about Adolf Hitler or Gandhi? What made the well-known figures of history tick for better or for worse?
Russell Brand takes an amusing look at the people who he thinks may well be suffering or have suffered from the Messiah Complex. As is usual with Brand, a fair portion of the show dedicated to sex.
Like many controversial television personalities, you either seem to love Russell Brand or loathe him (the former category comprising mostly of women). Despite having some negative press, Brand’s Messiah Complex has had good reviews. In its review of the show at the Hammersmith Apollo in October last year, Timeout described the performance as being: “As thought provoking as it is entertaining.”