Tate Modern Be amazed at the Tate Modern

man standing on pavement near building during daytime

Renowned for some of its more bizarre pieces, The Tate Modern is the home of contemporary and modern art in London.

While it may not be for everyone, having your art displayed in the Tate Modern is a life dream of many artists and creators across the world.

Entry to the gallery is free, however, on occasion some exhibitions require a small fee.

Imperial War Museum Discover and learn at the Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museum building

You’ll know when you’ve found the building as there are ship guns outside. Head inside and there’s a central atrium with a spitfire and harrier jet suspended.

The First World War galleries include a trench walk-though but be warned, I’ve left these galleries feeling truly sick. But then war is horrific, isn’t it? The Holocaust Exhibition also leaves most people deeply shaken.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Visit Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

If you would like to adopt a cat or dog or if you would simply like to visit the rescued animals Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is open to visitors. You don’t have to want to adopt an animal to visit the centre, although you probably won’t be able to view the animals out of their pens.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has been rescuing and rehoming animals for over a hundred and fifty years and is one of of the best-loved institutions in London. If you would like to visit more animals after your visit, Battersea Petting Zoo is just around the corner.

London Eye Visit London’s most popular tourist attraction – The London Eye

london, london eye, attraction

Previously known as the Millennium Wheel, due to its launch in 2000, The London Eye has become as Iconic to London as Big Ben and Buckingham Palace.

The Coca Cola London Eye takes guests on a sightseeing journey 135m over the city, making it Europe’s largest ferris wheel.

Advance booking is advised, as The London Eye is currently the most popular paid tourist attraction in the whole of the United Kingdom!

Garden Museum Work on your green-fingers at the Garden Museum

Next to Lambeth Palace, St Mary’s Church is home to the Garden Museum that tells the history of gardening.

There are items from 16th-century naturalist John Tradescant’s collections, who was Head Gardener to Charles I.

The ticket price may seem steep but it does include entry to climb the 14th-century tower to get the best photos of the Houses of Parliament.

Lambeth Palace Wonder at the majestic Lambeth Palace

This medieval riverside palace is the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

It’s not open every day but you can book a guided tour to see the Crypt, Chapel and Great Hall (this room has a ‘wow factor’), or go to one of the monthly garden open days in the summer.

And while the new Lambeth Palace Library isn’t expected to be open until 2021, the current Library is open to the public from Tuesday to Friday each week with no appointment necessary.

Portico Gallery Try a new hobby at The Portico Gallery

This West Norwood community gallery has pottery, sewing, movie nights, yoga, life drawing, singing and comedy so it’s a fun place to know about.

I love the fact you can dance to African jazz one night and listen to punk covers the next. If feel the need to be creative check out what’s on here.

Streatham Ice Rink Take to the ice at Streatham Ice Rink

Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre has the only Olympic-sized ice skating rink in London. The rink has been here since 1931 and is still popular.

Do your Bambi impression during one of the public sessions that shake your thang at the ice disco. There are ice hockey games here too so if you prefer to watch there’s room for nearly 1,000 spectators.

And it’s not just ice skating here as there’s a gym and two swimming pools too.

Norwood Park Take a stroll in Norwood Park

Norwood Park is at one of the highest points in Lambeth and has some of the best views of London as, on a clear day, you can see St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and the Shard.

But it also feels a long way from London, especially with the country walks. If you want to get active there’s an outdoor gym, a floodlit football pitch and a skate park.

Brockwell Park Take a stroll in Brockwell Park

This large south London park has excellent views of the central London skyline from Brockwell Hall. Or just take a stroll among the ornamental ponds and formal flower beds.

The art deco Brockwell Lido has a 50m outdoor swimming pool and a popular cafe. The miniature railway is worth finding too. Each July the free Lambeth Country Show is held here.

Brixton O₂ Academy See big name bands at Brixton O₂ Academy

I had some brilliant nights at this old theatre in the ’80s and ’90s. It’s been a music venue since 1983 and has a large main floor space for watching and dancing, plus seating on the balcony.

It’s one of the biggest non-arena venues in London (capacity nearly 5,000) so big bands include it on their tours. Gigs we all wish we’d seen here include Madonna in 2000 promoting her Music album, and The Smiths’ last ever gig in 1986.

Above The Stag Theatre See a show at Above The Stag Theatre

This is the only full-time professional LGBT+ theatre in the UK. That means LGBT-interest theatre all year round.

Based in Vauxhall, the venue offers plenty of new writing, musicals and revivals in the 100-seat main house and the 60-seat studio. And why the odd name?

Well, the theatre was originally in a room above a gay pub called The Stag. The pub is long gone but the theatre is here to stay.

Vauxhall City Farm Pet the animals at Vauxhall City Farm

One of London’s oldest city farms, Vauxhall City Farm is home to pigs, sheep, rabbits, ducks and more. The turkey is called Trevor and the alpacas are called Ben, Tom & Jerry.

Fred the golden Guernsey goat will usually jump up at the fence to say hello. You can take horse riding lessons here and the shop has an excellent range of pocket-money toys.

Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall Order cake and coffee at Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall

BGV is an artist-run contemporary art gallery housed in a Victorian ragged school (poor school) building.

The art can be a bit ‘way out there’ but it’s a welcoming place and there’s lots of space to explore.

I tend to go for the Ragged Canteen on the lower level as it’s a lovely daytime vegetarian café.

Pop Brixton Meet the locals at Pop Brixton

Pop Brixton has turned disused land into a creative space for local, independent businesses by using shipping containers.

The designer-maker shops are great but I like to go in the evening as there are restaurants and food startups making this an excellent night out.

It just feels like a really vibrant and creative place. Note, on Fridays and Saturdays it’s for over 18s from 6pm.

Brixton Jamm Hang out with mates at Brixton Jamm

Brixton Jamm is a staple party venue for south Londoners. From House to Jungle, Disco to Drum and Bass this is a fun place when you want to dance.

They have live music, DJ sets and after parties. And the courtyard has decent DJs, street food, cocktails and dancing too.

Brixton Market Go shopping at Brixton Market

Station Road street market is open on weekdays for street food and general stalls, and there are colourful themed markets on Saturdays, such as a flea market and makers’ market.

Electric Avenue has cheap food stalls all week and there are the covered arcades too. Brixton market sells a wide range of foods and goods but is best known for its African and Caribbean produce, which reflect the diverse local community.

Danielle Arnaud Gallery Go in the house at Danielle Arnaud Gallery

This is one of the best private art galleries in the area. The beautifully curated contemporary art exhibitions have been held in her elegant Kennington townhouse for over 20 years.

It could be intimidating ringing the bell but it’s worth it as the gallery is great at showcasing emerging and established artists with everything from paintings and sculpture to light installations and projections.

LASSCO Brunswick House Find something unique at LASSCO Brunswick House

This Vauxhall antiques showroom of the London Architectural Salvage and Supply Company has fine furniture, fireplaces, flooring, lighting and decorative ornaments.

It has some very ‘London’ items such as doors from old banks in The City to iron railings from famous buildings. This antique-filled Georgian mansion also has a popular restaurant.

Brixton Windmill Find a relic at the Brixton Windmill

Who would expect to find a 200-year old, 15 metre high windmill in Brixton? Built when this was open fields, the mill closed in 1934.

But following restoration in 2011 it is now London’s only working windmill.

Officially known as Ashby’s Mill, after the family who milled here, it’s open to the public for guided tours from March to October, usually on the second weekend of every month. And you can buy the flour milled here then too.

Black Cultural Archives Explore and learn at the Black Cultural Archives

The BCA, on Windrush Square in Brixton, is the only national repository of Black history and culture in the UK.

They are all about uncovering the hidden stories of Britain’s Black Heritage and then sharing their finds with everyone.

There’s an impressive archive offering insight into the history of people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain.

You can study in the Reading Room or simply enjoy the free exhibitions and events.

Brixton Ritzy Enjoy movies and music at Brixton Ritzy

You’ll get the blockbusters plus art-house and foreign language films at this restored 1911 multi-screen cinema as well as regular Q&As, film festivals and themed seasons too.

The cafe is open from breakfast and the bar is open through the evening with seating outside the front. And The Ritzy is not just for seeing films as Upstairs is the second floor music venue open 7 nights a week.

Beefeater Gin Distillery London Enjoy a Tipple on the Beefeater Gin Distillery Tour

This is a museum to London’s favourite tipple. You get issued with an iPad (no extra charge) then set off on a self-guided tour.

The distillation process is explained by a guide and then it’s onto gin tasting time to compare different Beefeater gins.

And as all good visits to a distillery should, the tour ends with a complimentary gin and tonic (before you hit the gift shop).

Brixton Village Eat out at Brixton Village

This was once one of the rundown market arcades (called Granville Arcade), but it’s been restored due to its cultural significance as one of the principle hearts of the UK’s Afro-Caribbean community, and the fact that they are few arcades like this left in the UK.

Now there are more than 20 cafés, restaurants and takeaways making this Brixton’s culinary hub. The Village Market stays open late on Thursday and Friday nights for live music and food from around the world.

Tamesis Dock Enjoy a brew with a view at Tamesis Dock

This converted 1930s Dutch barge, moored permanently between Lambeth and Vauxhall Bridge, is a floating pub with live music venue.

Grab a drink and then admire the view of the Houses of Parliament from the top deck.

There’s a good range of beer and the pub grub is well-priced and pretty decent too. (I’m a fan of the vegan nachos here). Come along for Ukulele Wednesdays – yes, you can bring your own uke – or check the event listings for other live music.

Electric Brixton Dance the night away at the Electric Brixton

I remember this place as the rather excellent Fridge nightclub in the ’90s, but I can confirm Electric Brixton is still a fab live music venue with top notch dance DJ sets.

It’s in a theatre dating back to 1912 so has a large main floor and ornate plasterwork on the walls and balcony.

VauxWest/East Climbing Centres Climb that wall at VauxWest and VauxEast Climbing Centres

You can do indoor bouldering at both VauxWest in Vauxhall and VauxEast near Lambeth North. Both centres welcome climbers of all abilities and the walls have gentle slabs and steep overhangs.

Both sites have cafés and retail outlets for climbing supplies (you can hire boots too). The pros use these centres which is why they’re open until late (11pm at VauxWest and 10pm at VauxEast).

Cinema Museum Celebrate the movies at the Cinema Museum

If you love going to the pictures this is the place for you. It’s a private collection of cinema history and memorabilia including projectors, photos and even old usherette uniforms.

Interestingly, the building was the workhouse where Charlie Chaplin was sent as a child. Although the museum seems to be eternally under threat of closure there are two cinemas here (the main hall and a smaller screening room) so it’s worth checking what’s on.

Clapham Picturehouse Catch a movie at Clapham Picturehouse

Loved by locals, this isn’t a faceless mutliplex but has plenty of character (the hand-drawn chalkboards are quite beautiful). It’s a little rundown but that adds to the appeal.

There are new releases, classic and arthouse films, plus baby screenings and even dog-friendly films. The café/bar has outdoor seating and there’s a farmer’s market right outside on Saturdays.

Newport Street Gallery Be wowed by the white at Newport Street Gallery

This is Damien Hirst’s gallery in Vauxhall running half the length of the street.

It displays some of his impressive personal art collection with works by Francis Bacon, Banksy, Tracey Emin, and Pablo Picasso, as well as taxidermy and anatomical models. The very white exhibition space also has solo and group art shows to see for free as well.

I know you’re supposed to be looking at the art here but do see the ovoid spiral staircases as they are rather gorgeous too. Oh, and the museum restaurant is the medically-themed Pharmacy 2.

Lightbox Be wowed by the lightshow at Lightbox

This 3-room nightclub takes its name from the LED walls and ceiling that cover the main room. It’s another Vauxhall railway arch venue and the mesmerising light shows are legendary.

The music includes House, Trance, Techno and Bass as well as Disco and Grime so check the website so you know what to expect. There’s a large garden here and the club has a really good vibe.

Streatham Space Project Be entertained at the Streatham Space Project

This new purpose-built theatre, comedy, music and art venue opened in 2018. Nine creative locals made sure it happened and it’s got a strong community focus so there’s plenty for the kids to do too.

The main theatre space has room for an audience of 120 and there’s a second room that’s used for smaller performances, workshops, etc. The bar and café is a nice area with local artists’ work on the walls and live music some days too.

Cabinet Gallery Be confused at the Cabinet Gallery

This 12-sided, six-storey brick art tower on the corner of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens is striking in itself. The multi-faceted structure has distinctive trapezoid oak-framed window panes and an open, column-free art gallery at the base.

The gallery’s website remains perversely minimal about what’s on but, as well as representing artists, it does have exhibitions of their work here from Wednesday to Saturday each week.

575 Wandsworth Road Be surprised at 575 Wandsworth Road

This National Trust property was beacons until 2006.

It looks like an ordinary Georgian terraced house outside but inside he used recycled wood from skips and carved intricate designs to cover all the surfaces.

The chain of ballerinas over the fireplace in the Sitting Room are particularly lovely. Do look up as the ceiling is also decorated, and look down to the freehand painted floorboards that echo the carving patterns.

You can book a tour online. Note, visitors have to remove their shoes (thick socks are available).

Gasworks Meet the artists at Gasworks

Gasworks is a non-profit contemporary visual art organisation with an art gallery and artist studios. Most of the studios are for UK artists but some are reserved for an International Residency Programme for non-UK based artists.

Gasworks is also the hub of the Triangle Network, an international network of over thirty arts organisations, mostly based in Africa, Asia and South America. There are up to four exhibitions a year here and free events such as open studios.

West Norwood Feast Eat your way through the West Norwood Feast

On the first Sunday of the month, from April to December, 100 outdoor market stalls spring up over five sites along the High Street in West Norwood.

There’s a farmer’s market, craft fair, a ‘Retro Village’ flea market and the all important street food stalls. Live entertainment and free children’s activities mean it’s welcoming to families.

And it’s all people-powered as it’s organised by volunteers from the local community.

BFI Imax Take in a movie at the BFI Imax

timelapse photograph of building

The BFI IMAX is a small but immersive cinema that has the largest screen in the UK, at an impressive 20 metres by 26 metres, as well as a 12,000-Watt digital surround system. Highlights Watch a film at the BFI IMAX – that’s all you need to do to be amazed Enjoy a leisurely drink at the licensed bar before or after a screening; there are often film-themed cocktails on offer Take in the stunning views over Waterloo Bridge while you savour an ice cream in the cafe What to see and do Don your 3D glasses and watch a classic The IMAX cinema offers 3D films and so by wearing a pair of special glasses, you can experience the full effect. The IMAX still shows all its older classics such as the Space Station 3D film from 2002, or you can watch a more recent movie such as 1917. Hire out one of the internal spaces for a private function The ground floor can accommodate 450 people, or 200 seated for a dinner, while the first floor can accommodate 320 people standing. Marvel at the architecture of the IMAX building itself Architect Bryan Avery (1944-2017) designed the cinema building and transformed a neglected area into a multiple award-winning hub of creativity which attracts more than 350,000 visitors each year. Did you know? (5 interesting facts) Just to get an idea of how big the IMAX screen is, its height of 20 metres is almost the same height of five double decker buses stacked on top of each other. The cinema has an underground train line just four metres below it, but the architect team designed the structure so it rests on anti-vibration bearings so that there’s no transmission of vibration or noise. More than 350,000 people visit the IMAX cinema each year and they eat more than 30,000kg of popcorn, 10,000 portions of hot dogs and nachos, as well as slurping down more than 7,000 litres of soft drinks. The Waterloo IMAX is well-known for its all-nighter screenings of popular film series, such as the Dark Night Trilogy and Lord of the Rings. The new IMAX screen, which replaced the original one in August 2012, was made in Canada and it took ten riggers to pull up the 800kg of vinyl to its full 20 metres of height. Once in place, it took around 48 hours for all of the creases to straighten out of the new screen. History 1983: The site of the IMAX cinema was a small shanty town known as Cardboard City, which had as many as 200 homeless people living under the pedestrian underpasses of the Bullring. 1998: Cardboard City was closed down by the authorities to make way for the £20million IMAX development, which took just a year to complete. 1999: The cinema opened in May of this year and an estimated 500,000 people visited to see the 3D films on offer. 2000: The cinema won several awards in 1999 and 2000, including the … Read more

The Vaults See a unique show The Vaults

London’s West end is not the only place to head to if you enjoy the theatre, if you want to take in something a little less mainstream then you may want to head to The Vaults.

The Vault’s is London’s home for immersive and alternative theatre, set in a maze of disused railway arches under Waterloo station.

An evening show at The Vault’s encourages the use of imagination, often transporting guests into a different realm or reality.

Southbank Skatepark See a different kind of history at the Southbank Skatepark

The undercroft of the Southbank Centre has been the beating heart of London’s skateboarding scene for the past 40 years.

The tunnelled area underneath Southbank’s buildings has been set aside to allow the skaters to show off their skills.

There is also a railing to prevent the hundreds of tourists who stop to watch from getting too close and potentially in the way.

Jubilee Gardens Relax in the Jubilee Gardens

Situated in front of the London Eye is the Jubilee Gardens, a vibrant green area amongst some of London’s most famous tourist attractions.

The gardens provide a space to sit and relax during the summer months and there is even a play area to keep children entertained.

Florence Nightingale Museum Learn about a true hero at the Florence Nightingale Museum

Located on the banks of the river Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament, The Florence Nightingale museum celebrates the life and works of the World’s most famous nurse.

In honour of her legacy, the museum offs children and adults alike to learn about her influence on nursing today and the continuing relevance of her work.

Oxo Tower Have a dinner with a view in The Oxo Tower

You will find another fabulous view at the Oxo Tower, however this one also comes with a fabulous price tag to match.

Since its opening in 1996, the Oxo Tower has been a space for some of London’s best restaurants, where you can dine alongside breathtaking views of London’s skyline.

On the levels below you will find space created for artists and multiple exhibitions.

Gabriel’s Wharf Find something unique at Gabriel’s Wharf

London’s Southbank is not necessarily known for its shopping, however, it is a good shout if you are looking for something unique.

Towards the end of the Southbank parade is an arty enclave offering a treasure trove of independent boutique stores.

At Gabriel’s Wharf you will find vintage stores nestled between handmade gift stores, as well as plenty of independent cafes and restaurants – making it the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon.

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel Discover urban London at the Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel

Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel is a free-for-all brick canvas tucked away in the heart of London’s street art scene.

Leake Street had its first introduction to spray cans in May 2008, when renowned street artist Banksy himself launched the Cans Festival and while there is not much left of Banksy’s work today, it is, in my opinion, one of the best places to see street art in the whole of London.

Royal Festival Hall Bring music to your ears at the Royal Festival Hall

The Royal Festival Hall is London’s leading classical music venue located on the banks ofthe River Thames at the heart of Southbank Centre.

Built in 1951 as part of the festival of Britain, the main auditorium is big enough to host 2500 people, so if you are looking to indulge in British culture of the classical type then you will want to pick up tickets to a show here.

Udderbelly Festival Belly laugh at the Udderbelly Festival (Summer Only)

In my opinion there is not much better than London is the sunshine and one of my favourite places to spend it is alongside the Southbank at the Udderbelly Festival.

The outdoor seating area is the perfect place to grab a glass of Pimms with a friend before taking in one of the many rib tickling comedy shows which take place there over the summer months.

Southbank Beach Visit the Southbank Beach

Beaches do not automatically come to mind when you think of London – but we have one and it resides along the Southbank.

Between the months of May and September you do not need to leave London to get to visit the seaside, as 85 tonnes of golden play sand is provided for the public, all you need to do is bring your bucket and spade.

Studio Voltaire Catch an exhibition at Studio Voltaire

Studio Voltaire is located in an atmospheric former church and has supported artists since the start of the millennium via a highly regarded programme of performances, exhibitions, and events. If you are in Clapham, visiting Studio Voltaire is highly recommended as it offers the chance to see the works of often underrepresented and international artists.

Venn Street Market Discover Venn Street Market

Venn Street is a lively street market that was pedestrianised by Lambeth Council six years ago in a deliberate attempt to gentrify this part of Clapham. The weekly market now trades every Saturday from 10 am-4 pm.

Independent traders include Perry Court Farm, the Portland Scallop Co. for oysters and fish and caught by day boats, and Une Normande à Londres for authentic French cheeses and charcuterie. Why not stop for a bit to eat as there are several restaurants and cafes nearby?

Brixton Brewery Grab a pint Brixton Brewery

On Saturdays, this easy-to-reach local brewery opens its doors to the public to sell its tempting wares. Those purchasing beer can stay and drink or take it home for later. Brixton Brewery is usually open 12 noon-5 pm, but hours may vary, so check the website before visiting.

Electric Avenue Rock down to Electric Avenue

Immortalised by the song by Eddy Grant, Electric Avenue is home to many independent shops and also Brixton Market, a vibrant market with many fresh meat and fish stalls, among covered arcades. Try a delicious Jamaican saltfish patty, buy a ripe mango or two and stop for a coffee at Federation – admire the street art and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.

Young Vic Theatre Sample the Youthful Young Vic Theatre

London, UK - July 20, 2019:  Stagehands moving scenery outside the famous Young Vic Theatre in the Waterloo district of Lambeth, London.

Opened in 1970 as an offshoot of the Old Vic, the Young Vic continues to be an important theatre for aspiring young performers and directors. If you are working on a budget the New Vic can be a good option as they stage world-class productions at generally lower entry costs. Look out for their Lucky Dip tickets which guarantees at least standing entry for a reduced fee.

The New Vic was not intended as a permanent theatre so has undergone modernisation in recent years to match its status. The theatre’s Cut bar provides a vibrant space to enjoy refreshments.

The Old Vic Theatre Bask in the Historic Old Vic

The Old Vic Theatre, The Cut, Waterloo, London, England, United

Two hundred years of history grace this famous old building in the heart of the city. The Old Vic is an independently operated not for profit theatre, whose historic décor has seen shows of all types performed on its stage. Today the theatre continues to offer diverse productions, supporting new and exciting talent.

The building was sadly damaged during the second world war, but reopened in 1951 and is grade II listed. Just three minutes walk from Waterloo Station the Old Vic is easy to reach and a must-visit attraction for any theatre fan.

Southbank Centre Enjoy Music and Art at the Southbank Centre

London / UK - 05/08/2020:  London's busy area, popular destination empty as people self isolate during COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Southbank Centre on sunny day with blue sky

The Southbank Centre is a complex of artistic venues, forming the largest art centre in the UK. It includes the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The centre is also home to four orchestras including the London Philharmonic as well as the National Poetry Library.

The centre was born out of the Festival of Britain in 1951. Since 1968 it has also been home to the Hayward Gallery one of the capitals most important contemporary art galleries. There are lots of options for refreshments at the centre including the Riverside Terrace Cafe, which offers great views across the Thames.

National Theatre Catch a Performance at the National Theatre

Royal National Theatre London UK

The world-renowned National Theatre stages a diverse range of performances within its three auditoriums. Since its opening night in 1963, the National Theatre has put on world-class plays with world-class actors. It continues to support and encourage emerging talent from all backgrounds.

From the gallery level, the Sherling Backstage Walkway provides visitors with behind the scene views down on to the production workshops. Theatre tours also show you around areas previously graced by the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier, letting you in on the secrets behind staging a show.

The London Dungeon Test your bravery at the London Dungeon

London / Elgland, UK - September 8, 2008: The famous London Dungeon exhibition. Enter at your peril.

London is known worldwide for its centuries of history, a lot of that history is also quite dark and gruesome.

The London Dungeon recreates various gory and macabre historical events in a gallows humour style with the use of live actors and special effects.

Due to its dark side The London Dungeons are suitable for older children and adults, all of which will be guided through 19 live shows and 2 thrilling rides, where they will learn about everything from The Plague to Jack The Ripper.

The Oval Watch a cricket match at The Oval

International Cricket England v Australia Investec Ashes 5th Tes

The Oval has been the home ground of Surrey County Cricket Club since it opened in 1845. The final Test match of the English season is traditionally played here as it’s a 23,000-seater stadium.

And The Oval is not just the birthplace of The Ashes as it has hosted football and rugby matches too. Even if you’re not a cricket fan, the stadium tours on Fridays and Saturdays are really good.