WELCOME TO THE APRIL 2017 LIST
Welcome to my list of recommendations of things that you can do in London during the coming weeks or, in some cases, months.
It would appear that we are enjoying a well-earned spell of good weather, so fingers crossed that it will last!
Being a glass half full sort of person I thought I'd venture out of doors a bit with this month's suggestions.
Several unique things will be happening over the Easter weekend so I've featured a few of these as well.
All in all, this month's offerings demonstrate what a fantastic place London is, and just how much you can enjoy it without having to spend a penny, so to speak!
The Inns of Court Walk is now up and running (or walking) for 2017 and for this one I'm even providing a full summary of the walk for those who join me. Click here for full details.
On Sunday 23rd April 2017, my Hampstead Walk, will take place and will operate on selected Sundays throughout the rest of the year.
THE SHAKESPEARE BIRTHDAY WALK
On Saturday 22nd April, 2017, I'll be conducting a special walk to celebrate William Shakespeare's 453rd birthday, not to mention the anniversary of his death on 23rd April. Click here for all the details.
So, all in all, there are some great locations to get out and about to in London and, as per usual, they're all free, so enjoy.
REGULAR FACEBOOK UPDATES
Just to remind you that I also post updates and additional venues on our Facebook page, so you might like to join us and like us (as in Facebook likes!) to ensure you're kept fully up to date on what's happening in London during the weeks ahead.
As ever, if something changes in the weeks ahead I will put the update on the Facebook Page, in order not to bombard you with emails.
So, without further ado, here is my April list of ten things to do in London.
10 THINGS TO DO IN LONDON APRIL 2017
ATTEND THE WIDOW's DOLE
HOT CROSS BUNS AND QUIRK
St Bartholomew The Great
14th April 2017 at 11.30am
The Nearest Underground Stations are Barbican, Farringdon or St Paul's
Those of you who have joined me for the Secret London tour might recall the grave at the end of the tour around which the partaking of the hot cross buns takes place on Good Friday each year.
Well, believe it or not, another year has gone past and the widow, whose mortal remains are reputed to lie beneath said tombstone, is due to have her eternal rest disturbed by the annual distribution of the Widow's Dole.
It's one of those wonderfully quirky ceremonies that London excels at, and anyone who wishes to can attend.
Although it takes place at 11.30am, I would suggest arriving for 11.15am just to be on the safe side as, if you miss it that's it for another year, which might make you hot and cross!
WITNESS THE PASSION OF JESUS
AN ANNUAL EVENT
14th April 2017 at 12 Noon and 3.15pm
The Nearest Underground Stations are Charing Cross, Leicester Square and Embankment.
On Good Friday, the huge Wintershall cast and animals come to the heart of London to re-enact their annual, moving Passion and resurrection play of Jesus last days.
Some 20,000 people are expected to attend and, given the nature of the performance the organisers are at pains to point out that it "...contains a realistic interpretation of the crucifixion - parental guidance is advised."
That said, it is truly moving to witness. As Boris Johnson, the former Mayor of London, put it:-
"As Londoners across the capital and beyond celebrate Easter I am delighted that The Passion of Jesus is returning to Trafalgar Square. It is a wonderful event that brings to life the Christian message and attracts people of all faiths right in the heart of our great city."
SIT TIGHT AND RISE HIGH
THE EASTER CHAIR LIFT AT GREENWICH
Easter Monday, 17th April 2017,
The Nearest Station is Cutty Sark DLR.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. WHOAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!
I don't know about you, but I love Greenwich. It's so London, but, at the same time, so unlike London as to be another place altogether - if that last line actually makes any sense at all.
On Monday 17th April 2017, "in the afternoon", to quote the wonderfully specific website, the Blackheath Morris Men will arrive in Greenwich to perform their annual chair lift, in the course of which an unsuspecting, female, will be sat in a flower draped chair, to be hoisted heavenwards - well above the heads of the Morris Men - as bemused visitors gaze on in wonder.
Oh, did I mention the fact she then has to kiss her tormentors?
The dancing and lifting begins around noon and continues throughout the afternoon outside pubs throughout Greenwich (with a few breaks for refreshment of course!). My only hope is that the lifting is done before too many pubs have been visited!
HAMPSTEAD'S SECRET GARDEN
off North End Way
The Nearest Underground Station is Hampstead (Edgware Branch)
The Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden, to give this place it's official name, is one of the most hauntingly beautiful gardens you will ever encounter and is, without doubt, one of London's hidden treasures.
It's origins go back to 1904 when Lord Leverhulme purchased the adjoining grand house and, in 1905, set about creating a landscaped garden which he added to and expanded over succeeding years to create his glorious Pergola as a setting for extravagant Edwardian Garden Parties.
This place, overlooking the wild expanse of Hampstead Heath, is a glorious place at any time of the year, but in the autumn it is particularly lovely.
You can get there by taking the underground to either Hampstead Station, or Golders Green Station and then getting a bus. Ask the driver to put you off at the Old Bull and Bush Pub ta dah dah dah dah (yes that one(!)) on North End Road.
With your back to the pub cross over the road, turn left and keep walking until you arrive at a large red brick house on the right. The track to its right takes you to the Pergola.
After your visit you might want to walk back to the Bull and Bush to enjoy a meal and/or a drink, or if you're feeling really energetic, walk across the heath to the Spaniard's Inn.
EXPERIENCE LONDON's MAGICAL CANAL
Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Saturday 29th April 10:00am - 6:00pm
Sunday 30th April 10:00am - 6:00pm and 9:00pm - 10:30pm for the procession of illuminated boats
Monday 1st May 10:00am - 5:00pm
Paddington (Hammersmith & City line) station leads directly on to the towpath and Paddington (Bakerloo or Circle line) and Warwick Avenue (Bakerloo line) - both approximately 5 minutes walk.
At the risk of repeating myself, this sounds wonderful. You can see just how wonderful by watching the above video showing the 2014 Canalvalcade, add a year, and it sounds even more wonderful.
If you've never been to Little Venice, you've missed out on one of London's most enchanting enclaves.
And, if that has made you want to jump on a narrow boat and drift aimlessly as the rush of the City hurries by, then what better time to do it than on a Bank Holiday weekend when the Cavalcade is in town?
As to what to expect? Well I'll let the organisers tell you:-
"View the spectacle of the decorated boats in the pool, or watch a Punch and Judy show in Rembrandt Gardens. As well as boating competitions and parades, there will be lots of activities to keep the children amused.
Visit the tasty selection of food stalls, see what's on offer at the real-ale bar, or peruse the stalls selling the weird and the wonderful.
There really is something for everyone at this special event.
IWA Canalway Cavalcade is a unique waterway boat gathering organised by IWA volunteers, that has been taking place at Little Venice since 1983."
At the risk of repeating myself, this sounds wonderful.
GO WILD IN PERIVALE
PERIVALE WOOD NATURE RESERVE
Entrance is between 36 and 38 Sunley Gardens, Perivale (UB6 7PF)
Sunday 30th April 2017 10am to 4.30pm
The Nearest Underground Station is Perivale
This idyllic Nature reserve is kept locked in order to protect the abundance of wildlife harboured within. But, once a year it opens to the public and, in 2017, that open day is on Sunday 30th April from 10am to 4pm.
Perivale Wood is a 27 acre (11 hectare) area of ancient oak woodland in west London. It is bounded to the north by the Grand Union canal, to the south by a railway embankment and houses, to the west by industrial units and to the east by houses and recreational open space.
WATCH HENRY V111 DRIFT BY
THE TUDOR PULL
Hampton Court to the Tower of London
Sunday 23rd April 2017 from 9.45 am approx. at Hampton Court to approx. 4.30 at the Tower
The Tudor Pull is a ceremonial event for Thames Watermen's Cutters which is organised each year by the Thames Traditional Rowing Association (TTRA).
The cutters escort the Thames Royal Shallop 'Jubilant' rowed by members of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, from Hampton Court Palace to the Tower of London to deliver a 'Stela' (a piece of wooden water pipe in a special glass case) to the Governor of the Tower for safekeeping.
The 'Stela' is handed over to the custody of her Majesty's Bargemasters at King Henry's Royal Palace at Hampton Court and carried by river to the Tower of London accompanied by His Gracious Majesty King Henry VIII and his Queen (although I'm not sure which one) on board the royal barge, Gloriana, in the vanguard of a procession of Thames cutters.
SET SAIL FOR GREEENWICH
SEE THE TALL SHIPS
Various Greenwich Locations
Thursday 13th April 2017 to Sunday 16th April 2017
Head For Cutty Sark For Maritime Greenwich on the DLR
Over the Easter weekend, Maritime Greenwich and Woolwich will host the start of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta.
Visitors will be able to get on board the nearly 30 Tall Ships that will be visiting, and there'll be plenty of street shows and stage performances to keep you entertained.
It's going to be a great weekend
Now, all we need is the sun!
EXPLORE SOMERSET HOUSE
Upstairs, Downstairs and Lots of Stairs!
Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
Collect your free tickets from the Information Desk in the Seamen's Hall, South Building. Tickets available from 10.30am. Be sure to come early to avoid disappointment as the tours are extremely popular
The Nearest Underground Station is Temple
Think you know Somerset House? Think again. There's a lot more to this wonderful building than immediately meets the eye and now you can go behind the scenes, so to speak, and reach the parts that the casual visitor never gets to see.
The tour, which lasts round about an hour, will take you from the shady world of Tudor politics and intrigue to the illuminating world of Georgian Enlightenment.
You'll see grand, and impressive staircases, and you'll even get to go beneath this magnificent place and explore the subterranean depths that have been featured in numerous movies and television dramas from Sherlock Holmes to serialisations of the works of Charles Dickens. Speaking of Dickens, the tour also provides a rare opportunity to go inside the old "Roman" Bath on Strand Lane, which features in David Copperfield.
I hope you find the April list useful and that you get to enjoy at least some of the things that I have suggested.
If you require further directions to any of the places suggested could you ask it via the Facebook page as that then enables me to answer quickly and, should it be something that everybody wants to know, it becomes useful to everyone.
All the best. Richard