WELCOME TO THE MARCH 2017 LIST
Well it's March 2017 and we're already past the two month mark into the year.
So, for this month's list, I thought I'd take a few short and tentative steps out of doors.
The big one this month, and a venue I've been really excited about ever since I heard it was going to be opening, is The Charterhouse. Its museum is now open and I would urge you to get on over there and enjoy it, you won't be disappointed, and that's a promise!
The lovely Church of St Andrew By The Wardrobe is hosting a John Newton exhibition until the end of March and, on the 30th of March they are having a John Newton Day, to honour the church's associations with the man who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace."
There's a great exhibition at the Metropolitan Archives at the moment, and the superlative Gresham College is offering some truly special events, one of which had made it onto this month's list.
Other events and venues that have found their way onto this month's list include the London Silver Vaults, the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, and the blooming marvelous conservatory at the Barbican Centre.
And, if all that leaves you panting for a cup of tea, then worry not, because I've also included Twinings Tea Shop and Museum.
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.
My walks programme gets underway from early March.
Tuesday 7th March sees the return of the Inns of Court Walk. Click here for full details.
On the day the clocks change (Sunday 26th March 2017), my Hampstead Walk, makes its return 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 2017 is panning out to be a rather busy year!
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 March list of ten things to do in London.
10 THINGS TO DO IN LONDON MARCH 2017
VISIT THE NEW MUSEUM AT THE CHARTERHOUSE
A TRUE GEM
11am Tuesday to Sunday, with last admission at 4.45pm
The Nearest Underground Stations are Barbican, Farringdon
I first ventured into this wonderful old manor when I first arrived in London in 1979, as a fresh-faced cough, cough-year-old; and I've delighted in returning to it whenever time has allowed.
It is such a magical venue which, in the past, was only open to the public on a limited basis.
But this year - and for the first time since its foundation in 1348 - they've thrown open the doors, so to speak, and you can now visit their new museum - as well as pop into their delightful chapel, and discover for yourself the history of one of London's most secret, and surprising locations.
The origins of the building date back to the Black Death of 1348, so there is plenty of history here to keep you engrossed.
Since 1611 it has been an hospital, and, for a time, it was home to the renowned Charterhouse School.
Although the museum and the chapel are both a delight, it is also worth booking on to one of their guided tours in order to discover the rest of the building.
You, honestly, won't be disappointed.
EXPLORE THE WORLD OF JOHN NEWTON
St Ann's Chapel
St Andrew By The Wardrobe
St Andrew Hill
Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm
There is a special John Newton Day on Thursday 30th March starting at 12.30pm
The Nearest Underground Stations are Blackfriars and St Paul's
The curiously named church of St Andrew by the Wardrobe has links with John Newton (1725 - 1807), the man responsible for the lyrics to the hymn Amazing Grace.
They are currently hosting an exhibition that celebrates those links in the church's St Anne's chapel.
The month will culminate with John Newton Day, which will take place on 30th March 2017.
The day will begin with Eucharist at 12.30pm, followed by the opportunity to visit the adjoining St Andrew's rectory.
Then, at 6pm, Jonathan Aitken will introduce The English Chamber Choir who will treat attendees to Choral Evensong. This will be followed by performances of the four eeriest known tunes to which Amazing Grace was sung during Newton's lifetime
All in all it sounds like an amazing day.
GET TROPICAL IN THE CENTRE OF LONDON
A WORLD AWAY FROM THE CITY
Silk Street London
Open Sundays 5th, 12th and 19th and 26th March 2017 12 noon to 5pm, last admission 4.30pm
The Nearest Underground Stations are Barbican or Moorgate
There's something almost post-apocalyptic about this place. It is, after all, slap bang in the centre of London, yet it is an oasis of greenery - and tropical greenery at that. It appears to have sprouted, triffid-like, just a stone's throw from St Paul's Cathedral.
It perches on top of the Barbican Arts Centre and has the distinction of being London's second-largest heated conservatory, which on a cold Sunday in March makes it a perfect place in which to banish those winter blues that you might be noticing on the end of your finger tips!
With over 2,000 species of tropical plants and trees, plus exotic fish, it makes for a great place to visit and, if I've not mentioned this already, it's warm!
GO UP ON THE ROOF
A STUNNING ROOFTOP EXPEREINCE
The Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA). Access is via Derry Street, just off Kensington High Street.
To check what days the gardens are open on you will need to call 0207 937 7994
The Nearest Underground Station is High Street Kensington
The Roof Gardens gardens are absolutely stunning and, and best of all, you can visit them for free, subject to the venue not being booked out by a wedding or other private function.
You reach them by turning right out of High Street Kensington Station and just walking until you reach Derry Street on the right, where you will find the entrance a little way along on the right.
You zoom up in the elevator, head through the restaurant and, WOW! It really is a true surprise.
The Roof Gardens date back to 1936 when Trevor Bowen, the vice president of the store John Barker and Co. commissioned landscape architect Ralph Hancock to design and plant a garden on the roof of the department store.
Two years, and £25,000, later the finished gardens were opened to the public and a shilling's entrance fee was charged, the money raised going to local charities. The fact that they are now free makes them one of the only, if not the only London attractions that is cheaper today than it was in 1938!
Owned by Sir Richard Branson since 1981 the Roof Gardens make for a truly delightful visit.
However, since the venue as a whole can be booked out for weddings and private parties it is essential that you phone the above number to ensure that the Gardens will be open on the day of your visit.
COME FACE TO FACE WITH BYGONE LONDON
Portraits of a Working City, c.1447 to 1980
London Metropolitan Archives
40 Northampton Road
Closest Underground Stations: Angel or Farringdon
UNTIL THE 5TH JULY 2017
Please permit me to quote, verbatim, from their website:-
"Hundreds of thousands of faces - images of born Londoners and more transient visitors - are preserved forever in our archive collections.
From Lord Mayors to chimney sweeps, waitresses to wrestlers, London has increasingly been a magnet for those looking for work.
Some jobs appear strangely familiar, miraculously little changed across more than five centuries, while others are more or less a mystery to all except their practitioners.
Images of working Londoners capture the strangeness and the familiarity, the toil, flair and sheer vitality of work in London. Winners, losers, the famous or the forgotten, countless Londoners have been recorded as they went about their daily work in the capital.
From fifteenth century drawings to colour photographs, the archive brings them all together and presents them as the history of our capital city."
HEAR ABOUT BACH's LITTLE ORGAN BOOK
St Margaret's Church
Wednesday 22nd March 2017 6pm to 7pm
No reservations are required for this lecture. It will be run on a 'first come, first served' basis. Doors will open 30 minutes before the start of the lecture.
Closest Underground Stations: Bank or Moorgate
The Orgelbuchlein is the jewel in Bach's organ music - a collection of magnificent miniatures which encompass all the musical emotions and which allow the organist to show all the colours and sonorities of the instrument at his disposal.
The organ at St. Margaret Lothbury is rich in those sounds which Bach had in mind when he composed these wonderful preludes.
Bach's title page to the Orgelbuchlein reads: "Little organ book in which guidance is given to an inquiring organist in how to accomplish a chorale [prelude] in all kinds of ways, and at the same time to become practised in the study of pedalling... for the highest God alone Honour..."
The lecture will be given by Richard Townend, the resident recitalist at St Margaret's Lothbury, who has presented over 1000 programmes on the renowned 1801 George Pike England organ at the church, which was once played by Mendelssohn.
DISCOVER THE PRICE OF A MILE
DOCTOR'S AT THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME
The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, 21 Portland Place, W1B 1PY
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10am-4pm. It is recommended that visitors make an appointment.
The Nearest Underground Stations Oxford Circus and Great Portland Street
The museum at The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland is one of London's fantastic free museums.
As well as their regular exhibits, which basically deal with what its says on the tin, they also host some special one off exhibitions.
The current exhibition The Price of A Mile honours the work of doctors who gave anaesthesia and pain relief to the wounded during the Battle of The Somme (1 Jul 1916 - 18 Nov 1916).
The stark facts make for disturbing reading.
By the end of the first day 58,000 soldiers lay dead or wounded, 30,000 of them falling in the first hour alone.
Many of the wounded were taken to casualty clearing stations, medical units close to the front lines staffed by dedicated doctors and nurses, where ether and chloroform would be administered as general anaesthetic and were required in such huge quantities that the manufacturers were granted special facilities to enable them to meet the demand.
A truly fascinating, though extremely poignant exhibition.
TAKE TIME FOR TEA
A WELL EARNED CUPPA
Twinings Tea Shop and Museum, 216 Strand, WC2R 1AP
Open Monday To Friday 9.30am-7.30pmpm; Saturday 10am to 5pm; Sunday 10.30am to 4.30pm
The Nearest Underground Station is Temple
Tea pots, tea and an aroma to die for the moment you enter this delightful little shop, which happens to be Westminster's oldest shop and is situated directly opposite the Royal Courts of Justice.
The little museum is interesting, but of a particular interest is the "Loose Tea Bar" at which you can "pick up the tea, smell it, taste it, throw it on the floor if you like."
They also have a new "Sampling Counter" so that that you can enjoy a taster of a mysterious " little something."
ENJOY A GLITTERING DESCENT
THE LONDON SILVER VAULTS
Chancery Lane, WC2A 1QS
Admission is free.
Opening Hours Monday to Friday: 9am - 5.30pm, Saturday: 9am - 1pm
The Nearest Underground Station is Chancery Lane.
Imagine an Aladdin's cave crammed full of more silver than most of us could focus on in a lifetime.
Well, to be honest, you don't even have to imagine it as you can experience it in these wonderful subterranean vaults beneath Chancery Lane.
From the massive, and well fortified, safe door you pass through to enter, to the shops themselves, where your eyes are dazzled by the array of glitter that greets them, you really will find yourself entranced by this underground treasure house.
You can, if the mood takes you, buy quality antique English silver at competitive prices and you might even encounter the odd rock star and, even odder, Hollywood actor, shopping for that elusive something - to add to their other elusive somethings - from the 30 specialist shops found within in its glittering depths.
I hope you find the March 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