WELCOME TO THE MAY LIST
Well the list of things to do in May 2015 has now been completed and there are some really intriguing things on it that will, hopefully, give you plenty to do in the coming months.
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 please enjoy them at your leisure.
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 May list of ten things to do in London.
10 THINGS TO DO IN LONDON MAY 2015
WALK THE LINE
AN OUTDOOR ART TRAIL
North Greenwich to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park.
Launches Saturday 23rd May 2015 then open daily 24 hours.
The Nearest Underground Stations are Stratford High Street or North Greenwich
This new trail, that runs (or should that be walks?) between Stratford's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the O2 - or between the O2 and Stratford's Olympic Park, depending on which direction you approach it from - is a great opportunity to get out in the fresh air and enjoy some cutting edge artwork from the likes of Damien Hirst, Martin Creed and Gary Hume.
It stretches along three miles of waterways and each sculpture will even be illuminated after dark, although, if I's being perfectly honest, I would be wary of wandering some of the route after dark.
My own preference would be to head to North Greenwich and then walk from the O2 to the Olympic Park, as, this way, you can then end your journey by reminiscing about the dim and distant days in 2012 when the World flocked to the East End of London. But, since nothing is set in stone (apart from possibly some of the pieces being displayed) you really can walk the line as and how you see fit.
BECOME A VICTORIAN TOURIST
19TH CENTURY LONDON IN PHOTOGRAPHS
London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HB
Closest Underground Stations: Angel or Farringdon
Until the 8th October 2015
Monday 9.30am - 4.45pm (closed bank holidays)
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9.30am - 7.30pm
Closed on Fridays
Limited Saturday Opening (Check Website)
In 1839, one Monsieur de St Croix arrived in London armed with a new fangled device that would give birth to a new pastime, that of showing off holiday snaps to friends and relatives, whom you've managed to lure round on the pretense of a little social chit chat.
Unbeknown to Monsieur de St Croix, the lumping great device that he lugged around London to record landmarks and street life would, 176 years later, morph into the ultimate status symbol of a fully evolved society - selfie stick.
However, the 19th century Frenchman was a little less self-obsessed than his 21st century counterparts and was more concerned with capturing the sights he encountered, as opposed to photo bombing himself into those sights. Consequently, his images provide us with the very first snaps of the capital in existence and provide the eerie opportunity to, quite literally, look back on a long ago era and see London through the eyes of a 19th century visitor.
As other intrepid visitors began arriving on the Capital's streets, armed with this mysteriously invisible artist in a box, more records of everyday London life were captured for posterity, and many of them have found their way into the extensive collections kept at the London Metropolitan Archives.
Between May and October 2015 those photographs will be on public display and will provide visitors with an unrivalled opportunity to glimpse bygone London and see streets that they might well walk along on a daily basis as they were in the days of Queen Victoria.
TALK TO THE FLOWERS
THIS TIME THEY'LL TALK BACK!
Friday May 22nd to Monday May 25th. Open dawn to dusk.
The Nearest Underground Station is Leicester Square
Would I make a special journey to talk to the tulips? Probably not.
But, if you're anywhere near Leicester Square over the Bank Holiday weekend, then this enchanting pop-up might be worth a slight detour.
A total of 1,000 motion-triggered imitation tulips, installed in the gardens at the centre of Leicester Square, will greet visitors in seven different languages and will natter on about the history of the area and offer tips about London.
So, if you fancy discoursing with a tulip, you know where to go.
LIFE INSIDE A DOLLS HOUSE
Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA,
Daily 10am to 5.45pm
The Nearest Underground Station is Bethnal Green
I've always found Bethnal Green's Museum of Childhood to be both fascinating and depressing.
Fascinating, because it gives me the opportunity to relive childhood memories by seeing again some of the toys that I got for Christmas or birthday in, ever more distant, days of yore. Depressing, because my childhood toys are now considered museum pieces.
But, seriously, it is a great place to visit and, until September 6th 2015, there is even an opportunity to take a peek at everyday life in a dolls' house.
Now, I must confess, I've never really given much thought to what it must be like to live in such an abode. But, apparently, the tapestry of life found on the inside would put Dowton Abbey to shame
GET QUIZZICAL ON THE STREETS OF LONDON
ENJOY A CITY QUIZ WALK
Begin Outside the cathedral Exit of St Paul's Underground Station
The Nearest Underground Station is St Paul's
Those of you who follow the Facebook page may recall that, a few weeks ago, I mentioned I was putting together a City of London quiz walk.
Well, for better or worse, I've now done just that and have created a DIY quiz walk that you can do on your mobile phone.
The idea of the quiz walk is that you follow the directions around the streets and, as you go, you have to look out for the answers to questions that will be on the buildings, plaques or information boards that you pass.
This is a new venture and I've been out and tested it several times (I even managed to get two questions wrong!) on my own mobile phone, and it seems to work well. Obviously, as with any new idea there might be some teething problems so please let me know of any that you encounter.
Other than that, the Quiz Walk should take between two and three hours to complete. There are lots of places to stop and rest as you go round, and you'll even get a certificate with your score on it once you've completed the route! Indeed, you could even get several friends together, make a competition of it and then compare certificates when you reach the end venue!
TURN OVER A NEW LEAF
CELEBRATE LONDON TREE WEEK
23rd to 30th May 2015
Various Locations Around London.
One thing's for certain. We're blessed with a huge amount of greenery in London and, during the last week in May, you will have the opportunity to do plenty of field work and really get to appreciate the sylvan delights of the Capital.
Although you're going to be spoiled for choice, one event that leapt out at me was the wonderfully named "Tree or False," operated by the even more wonderfully named Museum of Walking, which promises to bust a few myths about certain tree species and which will encourage you to "make up a few stories of your own."
Should be fun, and I might even branch out into tree walks!
VISIT 19 PRINCELET STREET
A SECRET LONDON TREASURE
19 Princelet Street, E1 6QH
Sundays 14th and 21st June 2015 noon till 4.30pm
Free. but donations "encouraged".
This really will be popualr and queues are likely, so I suggest arriving nice and early.
The Nearest Underground Stations are Aldgate East and Liverpool Street
This one actually belongs on the June list, but I wanted to give you as much notice as possible as, the opening of 19 Princelet Street to the general public is such a rare event, you'll need to put the dates in your diary and plan accordingly.
Located in a wonderful warren of 18th century streets in Spitalfields, 19 Princelet Street is one of London's smallest and most beautiful historic buildings.
What can you expect? Well to be honest the following quote from their website really does say it all.
"Its shabby front doors are rarely open to the public: beyond are secrets and suitcases, poems and potatoes, threads of history linking to today's debates over migration, minorities and multiculturalism."
I can only add that you won't be disapointed if you earmark the time to pay it a visit.
KNOCK YOURSELF OUT IN PORTLAND PLACE
ANAESTHESIA ON SHOW
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
Now, I want you to start counting backwards from 10. Ready? 10, 9 8 zzzzzzzzzzzzz
The Anaesthesia Museum provides an insight into the history of anaesthesia, resuscitation and pain relief. The earliest object in the collection is a resuscitation set that dates from 1774, but you can also admire modern anaesthetic machines and appliances that are still in use today.
They are currently hosting an exhibition "A Silver Lining Through the Dark Clouds Shining: The Development of Anaesthesia During the First World War."
EXPERIENCE BYGONE COUNTRY LIVING
VALENTINES MANSION AND GARDENS
Emerson Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4XA,UK
Tuesdays 11am-3pm, Sundays 11am-3pm
The Nearest Underground Station is Gants Hill
Built in the 1690's, Valentines Mansion offers the taste of bygone country life almost right on London's doorstep.
There's lots of history to enthrall you; a lovely Victorian Rose Garden to delight you and one or two ghosts to spook you.
All in all, a great day out.
ENJOY A MEDIATHEQUE EXPERIENCE
TURN UP AND TURN ON
BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XT
Tuesday to Saturday Noon till 8pm. Sunday 12.30pm to 8pm.
The Nearest Underground Stations are Waterloo and Embankment
Want to watch the 1908 London Olympics (well 12 minutes of them at least)? Fancy strolling through Peckham in 1913? How about about a visit to the "Club For Fighting Men" in 1916?
Well, all these opportunities, and many more besides, are available at the BFI South Bank's Mediatheque (I know, I'd never heard of such a thing either!).
An extensive range of film and television archives is available for viewing and you can even browse the catalogue before you set out.
To watch your selected footage you simply have to turn up, check in, settle into a viewing station and then turn on and - that's it. Simples.
I hope you find the May 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