WELCOME TO THE NOVEMBER LIST
I find it unbelievable that another year has, quite literally flown by and we'll soon be wishing each other a very merry Christmas once again.
But, Christmas is almost upon us and, to that end, I've included one Christmas Fayre in this month's list.
First off, might I apologise for the lateness of the November 2015 list of things to do in London.
I was approached in early November to write the forward for the programme that will be sold at Jim Broadbent's portrayal of Scrooge at the Noel Coward Theatre and it took a little longer than I anticipated!
Speaking of A Christmas Carol, I've now launched the walks for Christmas 2015 and will be doing a selection of Dickens and ghost walks in the period between Christmas and New Year. You can get full details via this link.
Anyway, the list is now completed and below you will find a rich mix of things that are worth getting out and about to do, even in the bleak mid winter.
There's a chance to see Henry V''s sceptre; the opportunity to partake in the annual Boar's head ceremony; a suggestion for a bit of poetic refreshment in the heart of Covent Garden; and I haven't even got round to mentioning the wonderful Faraday Museum in this introduction - oh, sorry I just did!
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.
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 November list of ten things to do in London.
10 THINGS TO DO IN LONDON NOVEMBER 2015
FOLLOW THAT BOAR
The Boar's Head Ceremony
Pewterers Hall, Oat Lane, London, EC2V 7DE
Wednesday, 2nd December 2015 at 2.45pm
The Nearest Underground Stations are St Paul's or Barbican
For centuries now, the Worshipful Company of Butchers have paraded through the streets of London en route to the Mansion House to present a Boar's Head to the Lord Mayor who, in 1343, agreed to lease them a parcel of land on the banks of the River Fleet, in which to wash the entrails of their beasts.
It's a long time since anyone has washed anything in the River Fleet, but a contract is a contract and, in consequence, the Butchers make their annual jaunt through the streets of the City carrying aloft a bright pink papier maché model of a boar's head - 'ealth and safety concerns forbid the carrying of the real thing - much to the bemusement of those tourists and office workers who are not in the know.
It's a chance to witness a City of London tradition at it's whimsical best and is a must do to lift the mood in the run up to Christmas.
VIEW HENRY V'S CRYSTAL SCEPTRE
ONE OF THE CITY'S MOST ICONIC TREASURES
Guildhall Art Gallery, London EC2V 5A
Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Sunday, 12 noon to 4pm.
Until 3rd December 2015
The Nearest Underground Stations are Bank, St Paul's or Mansion House
Over the centuries the City of London has amassed many treasures, amongst them this magnificent sceptre which, according to recent research, was a gift to the City from King Henry V as a thank you for providing the necessary funds for him to fight, and win, the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
Consisting of two shafts of spiral fluted and gold inlaid rock-crystal, with a jewel- and pearl-encrusted crown bearing the monarch's coat of arms on parchment, the 43cm-long Crystal Sceptre, has only been seen by a handful of people, so the fact it is being displayed for a such a short period of time makes viewing it a must.
EXPLORE 200 YEARS OF HISTORY MAKING SCIENCE
THE FARADAY MUSEUM
The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS
Monday to Friday 9.00am to 6.00pm (excluding public holidays)
The Nearest Underground Station is Green Park
The proud claim of this terrific place is that, wherever you go in the building, you'll be confronted with the people and instruments that have "made science work over the last 200 years" and, to be honest, that's exactly what you get, with displays spread across three floors, the stuff of science is woven throughout the Ri building. In fact, wherever you go, you'll discover the instruments and people that have made science work for the last two hundred years.
From the odds and ends that became the first electrical transformer to the tube that told us why the sky is blue, you'll have an unrivalled opportunity to view the actual objects that Ri scientists built and used in some of the world's most famous experiments.
The highlight of the exhibition is Michael Faraday's magnetic laboratory, displayed exactly as it appeared in the 1850s opposite a current state-of-the-art nanotechnology lab.
As the great scientist John Travolta put it, "it's electrifying!"
VISIT CROSSBONES GARDEN
The Outcast Dead
Redcross Way, London SE1 1TA
11am to 2pm Monday to Friday
FREE BUT A DONATION IS REQUESTED
The Nearest Underground Station is London Bridge
Those of you who have joined me on the Dickens London walk in Southwark might well remember the Crossbones Graveyard that has been under construction for most of the year.
From the middle ages onwards, some 15,000 people - mostly paupers and prostitutes - were laid to rest here and, as their website so eloquently puts it, "Their lives as individuals are long forgotten, but collectively they are remembered."
There's still a lot of work to be done on the memorial garden to them, but they've now opened it to the public and it is a truly intriguing, not to say poignant place to visit.
GO UP ON THE ROOF
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.
DISCOVER AN OASIS IN A WORLD GONE CRAZY
Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HH
Until 8th January 2016
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9.30am to 5pm. Wednesday: 9.30am to 7.30pm Saturday: 9.30am to 5pm on selected Saturdays only. The library is closed on bank holidays
The Nearest Underground Stations are Bank, St Paul's, Mansion House and Barbican.
In 1915 army chaplain Philip 'Tubby' Clayton established the Everyman's Club at Talbot House in the small town of Poperinge, only a few miles from the front line in Ypres.
In this house rank was irrelevant, orders were prohibited, and all soldiers were encouraged to forget about the war.
This exhibition at Guildhall Library tracks the story of Tubby and this 'oasis' for soldiers during the First World War.
It includes items from Talbot House, the memoirs of Tubby and the actual hut in which he wrote them after fleeing the Germans.
MEET THE CHELSEA PENSIONERS
ROYAL HOSPITAL CHELSEA
Royal Hospital Rd, London SW3 4SR
The best time to visit the Great Hall and Chapel is on weekdays between 2pm and 4pm. But do check the website to ensure it will be open, or call for confirmation (020 7881 5516).
Admission is Free, although donations are always welcome.
Tours, led by the Chelsea Pensioners themselves, take place Mondays to Fridays (except on bank holidays) at 10am and 1.30pm and cost £10 per person (£7 for children). These must be booked in advance.
The nearest Underground Station is Sloane Square.
The Great Hall, which is one of the many glories of this glorious building and will simply take your breath away.
Founded by King Charles 11 for soldiers "broken by age and war "and, initially, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the Royal Hospital Chelsea is a gem.
However, a tour of the premises in the company of one of the Chelsea Pensioners is something I would highly recommend. The tours are fantastic, providing as they do a unique insight into the Hospital and its characterful residents.
If your group consists of less than 10 people you can simply drop by and visit the grounds, Chapel and Great Hall for free, although donations are always appreciated.
The Poetry Cafe
22 Betterton St, London WC2H 9BX
Monday to Friday: 11am to 11pm. Saturday: 7pm to 11pm
The Nearest Underground Station is Covent Garden
A pleasant way to while away a passing hour or two.
Is to listen to some poetry along with a welcome brew.
It's better here than Starbucks and it needn't Costa lot.
And your synapsis will be tingling, when off to home you trot.
STEP INTO THE PAST OUT EAST
The Museum Of London, Docklands
No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL
Monday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Galleries begin to close at 5.40pm
The Nearest Stations are West India Quay (DLR), Canary Wharf (Underground),
Located in a former warehouse in the very heart of Docklands, this museum is a favourite of mine, and the effort to journey out East and enjoy its eclectic displays will be well rewarded.
They're also be hosting a Christmas Fayre on Tuesday 8th December from 4pm to 10pm, so there's yet another reason to head for the depths of docklands.
The neighbours include a rich mix of pubs and restaurants so you can enjoy a full day or (on 8th December at least) night out in docklands.
Now, I'm wondering if I mentioned docklands enough times?!
CELEBRATE THE BETROTHAL OF
CATHERINE OF ARAGON TO HENRY V111
ST Margaret's Church.
St Margaret Street, London SW1P 3JX
Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3.30pm. Saturdays 9.30am to 1.30pm. Sundays 2pm - 4.30pm
FREE, BUT A DONATION IS REQUESTED
The Nearest Underground Stations are Westminster or St James's Park
The lovely little church of St Margaret often gets bypassed by its larger neighbour Westminster Abbey in the shadow of which it almost cowers.
Yet, those who visit the Abbey and then don't give a thought for the little church alongside it are missing out on one of London's true gems.
Winston Churchill was married here, Sir Walter Raleigh was buried here - so you'll be treading in some very famous footsteps. Mind you, in Raleigh's case at least, he probably would have preferred not to have been buried here.
But one of the church's chief glories is the magnificent east window, which contains some of the finest pre-reformation Flemish glass in London. Its journey to the church was, to say the least, eventful. It was created to commemorate the betrothal of Catherine of Aragon to Henry VIII (you can see them kneeling in the bottom left and right-hand corners of the window). Needless to say, the window later fell from royal favour and it made its way through several owner before being purchased by the churchwardens of St Margaret's in 1758.
It is worth visiting the church for this alone. But St Margaret's is blessed with so many other points of interest that you can easily enjoy an hour or more exploring its nooks and corners.
But, keep it to yourself, as we don't want the crowds from the Abbey next door spoiling the ambience of this magical little church!
I hope you find the November 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