• Visit the atmospheric Pope’s Grotto

    In the 1720s, the poet Alexander Pope dug a series of tunnels underneath his house in Twickenham — and 300 years later, they’re open to the public to explore.
    This is Pope’s Grotto.Alexander Pope bought a villa next to the Thames in Twickenham in 1719, and at some point shortly afterwards decided to dig a grotto underneath the house. Atmospheric grottos were a popular folly for the rich to build, but while most are little more than small shallow spaces, Pope dug a long tunnel a
  • Back to the Silverlink: London Overground’s past in a new photo exhibition

    Photos of London’s railways and train passengers are filling a camera shop at the moment, offering a look back at pre-Overground services. The link between the photos is that they’re all on stations that were once part of the unlamented Silverlink railway.They’ve all been taken by London-based photographer Simon Wheatley, who has become known for his raw and intimate photographic portrayal of the city and its communities. The photos almost look as if they were taken in dockland
  • Tickets Alert: Architecture tours of Haringey’s grade II listed Civic Centre

    Next month, you can take an architect-led tour of Haringey’s Civic Centre, a Grade II-listed modern building designed in 1938 but thanks to WWII, wasn’t built until 1958.
    (c) Haringey Council / Hawkins Brown Architects
    The Civic Centre has been home to many of Haringey’s important historical moments. In 1985 Bernie Grant was elected leader, becoming the first-ever black leader of a local authority in Europe. It is also a favourite film and TV set location featuring in season 3
  • TfL gets debt ratings upgrade, but need for long-term government support highlighted

    Transport for London’s finances have been given a vote of confidence after one of the debt ratings agencies upgraded the quality of TfL debt.
    When TfL borrows money by issuing debt, it is given a quality score by the ratings agencies, and that affects how much TfL has to pay in interest payments. The better the quality score, the lower the cost of servicing the debt.
    The ratings agencies periodically report on company debts. Now Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has lifted TfL’s
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  • London’s largest FREE flower show has opened in Chelsea

    This week, thousands of people will have paid eye-watering amounts to visit the Chelsea Flower Show, and yet there’s a large free flower show that anyone can enjoy.
    And it’s also in Chelsea.This is the duel Chelsea in Bloom and Belgravia in Bloom, and this year, for the first time since 1979, a local church will be open, having filled the church with flowers and vestments.
    So, three events in one.
    A tip: visit before Saturday lunchtime if you want to attend all three official events,
  • There’s a model railway at Hounslow West tube station

    Hounslow West tube station’s ticket hall recently gained a large model railway, sitting inside the old passimeter box where station staff used to check tickets.It was installed last year to mark the double whammy of the 160th anniversary of the London Underground and the 90th anniversary of the rebuilding of Hounslow West tube station.
    Drawing from 1930s art deco posters, designer Dan Maier created a looped background for two trains to run around. The two trains, an early steam train and a
  • Royal Portraits: A century of evolution in style and technique at the King’s Gallery

    A century of royal portraits have gone on display at the King’s Gallery, showing how royal portraiture has changed in both style and technique.The exhibition brings together 150 photos, some of which haven’t been seen before, from austere Edwardian family photos designed to show off the majesty of the royal family to more intimate family snaps. Many are by noted photographers of their time, and much of the exhibition is actually about the photographer than the photographed, broadly d
  • c2c’s oldest trains to get major refurbishement

    The fleet of c2c’s oldest trains, which run between Essex and London, are to be refurbished as part of a major overhaul.
    c2c Class 357 train (c) Alstom
    The trains that need refurbishing are the Class 357 Electrostars, ordered by c2c in 1997 to replace the older slam-door trains it inherited from British Rail during the privatisation of the railways. The trains were built at Alstom’s Derby Litchurch Lane site between 1999 and 2002, and need a major overhaul to keep them in service.
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  • London’s Alleys: Ham Yard, W1

    This upmarket looking Soho passageway lined with posh shops and a hotel is a far cry from what it looked like just a decade ago — as one of the last remaining WWII bomb sites in central London.
    Indeed, the run-down site with the empty plot of land fenced off in otherwise busy Soho was a curious relic and people of a curious mind, almost a tourist attraction to seek out and explore.
    Now, it’s just another posh yard with expensive shops.Originally though, Ham Yard was a square courtyar
  • Up to third off tickets for the Tina Turner musical

    The musical, based on the life of Tina Turner, made a huge splash in the UK during its West End premiere. It is based on the often tumultuous life and legendary music of international recording artist Tina Turner.
    Ticket prices currently start from just £20 for mid-week performances.Tina Turner was born Anna Mae Bullock and raised in Nutbush, Tennessee. From humble beginnings, she rose to fame as the Queen of Rock n Roll and sold more concert tickets than any other solo artist. After her a
  • Charing Cross Road’s restored Welsh Chapel opens for Nan Goldin’s exhibition

    There will be a chance to step inside Charing Cross Road’s gothic-looking former Welsh Chapel later this month as it opens its doors for an art exhibition.
    Welsh Chapel (c) ianVisits
    The Welsh Chapel, built in 1888 by James Cubitt on Charing Cross Road, was a busy place of worship until the 1950s, when urban populations drifted to the suburbs. In the 1980s, it became the Limelight nightclub, an Australian-themed pub, and eventually ended up as a squat.
    It was recently restored for use as a
  • The City of London’s Leadenhall Market is to open at weekends

    Situated in the heart of the City of London, Leadenhall Market is usually closed at the weekends, but for a couple of months, it will be open as a craft fair marketplace.The weekend series will see the grand Victorian marketplace return to its roots as a trading ground, but instead of selling meat, poultry and game, stalls will be filled with furniture, fashion and crafts.
    A number of the market’s restaurants, cafes and bars will also be open, serving food and drink.
    Judy’s Vintage F
  • Demolition of the old Museum of London will go ahead

    The old Museum of London site on London Wall will be demolished after the government decided not to call in the planning application for review.Last month, the City of London approved the plans, which will see the 1970s Museum of London building and the monolithic Bastion House office block that sits next to it demolished to be replaced with new public spaces and offices.
    At the very last minute, though, Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, issued an Ar
  • Lumo applies to run trains between Manchester and London

    Low-cost train operator Lumo has applied for permission to run services between Manchester and London, adding to its existing Edinburgh to London services. It is also in talks to run services to Glasgow.
    (c) Lumo
    FirstGroup, which owns Lumo, says that it plans to offer six return journeys a day, restoring the direct Rochdale to London link via Manchester, which last ran in 2000.
    The trains will run from Rochdale to London Euston, calling at Manchester Victoria, Eccles, Newton-le-Willows and Warr
  • America’s ‘cable cowboy’ lost out in infrastructure boom

    Wrangling media and telecoms products into business models that produce durable profits has proved to be tough going
  • The Red King – New portrait of King Charles III’s is on public display for a few weeks

    Much lauded and loathed in equal measure, the first official portrait of King Charles III is on public display in London for a few weeks so you can make your own mind up about it.Dominating the ground floor of Philip Mould’s Pall Mall gallery, the portrait is exceptionally red but, maybe surprisingly, not as red as you might have expected from press photos. It is also a lot more textured than seems to be evident from photos taken of it so far.
    In part, that could be due to the photos in th
  • Derelict industrial buildings to house the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration museum

    A new museum focused on drawing and illustrations has received a grant to convert some derelict industrial buildings in Clerkenwell into its new home.
    New River Head buildings (c) ianVisits
    The 300-year-old former waterworks in Clerkenwell was mainly a pumping site for sending clean water into London and was also one of London’s first major pieces of urban infrastructure. However, its 18th—and 19th-century buildings have been locked up and left empty for over 70 years.
    The Quentin Bl
  • Southeastern set to overhaul its Metro Service with a new fleet of trains

    Southeastern has confirmed that it is looking for a fleet of new or upgraded trains to replace its ageing Metro service trains.
    Class 465 train at Gravesend (c) Southeastern
    Southeastern operates a mixed fleet of trains across its network, which includes HS1 services, long-distance services, and local metro services. The metro services are a mix of old Bombardier Electrostar trains, even older Networkers, and some newer City Beam trains acquired from South Western Railway.
    The state-controlled c
  • BT’s CEO says she ‘loves to squeeze’ short sellers while unveiling £3bn of cost cuts

    Shares in UK’s biggest telecoms group rise 10% as Allison Kirkby announces strategy and raises dividend
  • BT’s CEO says she ‘loves to squeeze’ short sellers as shares jump

    UK’s biggest telecoms group rises 13% as Allison Kirkby announces strategy and raises dividend
  • BT to cut another £3bn of costs

    Shares rise 8% as chief executive Allison Kirkby says telecoms operator at an ‘inflection point’
  • London’s Pocket Parks: Hatton Cross tube station, TW6

    London’s Pocket Parks: Hatton Cross tube station, TW6
    A series of neglected spaces outside Hatton Cross tube station in west London have been given an ecological makeover.The raised beds were created in the 1970s along with the tube station, and although at times looked after, they have generally not been that well cared for over the decades and had become rather overgrown. It has now been transformed thanks to two projects coming together to improve the station. The gardens have been given a makeover, while a new mural has softened the brutalist b
  • Monopoly updates its London Underground themed board game

    Monopoly updates its London Underground themed board game
    There’s been a London Underground themed version of the Monopoly board game for some years, but it’s been refreshed for 2024 to include some new changes.Apart from the tube map in the centre, the other changes include the fact that the money no longer has a currency, but the banknote designs include a tube map impression in the background.
    The stations have been tweaked — including Victoria (replaces Fenchurch Street), Paddington (replaces Liverpool Street), King’s Cross
  • DLR testing improved accessibility at their unstaffed stations

    DLR testing improved accessibility at their unstaffed stations
    Transport for London (TfL) has started a trial to improve accessibility at DLR stations by offering staffed assistance for people who require it. The new Access DLR trial aims to enable customers to travel who may otherwise encounter barriers to getting around London.Although TfL offers a ‘turn up and go’ assistance service on the other rail services, it hasn’t been possible to offer that on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) until now as the stations are unstaffed.
    As part of a
  • From naughty ravens to mischievous cats: Charles Dickens’ pets revealed in this new exhibition

    From naughty ravens to mischievous cats: Charles Dickens’ pets revealed in this new exhibition
    At a time when animals were expected to work and owning pets for pleasure was still a bit of a novelty, Charles Dickens owned a small zoo’s worth of pets, and now the Charles Dickens Museum is taking a look at the family pets.Some of the pets were known to his readers, as they appeared as inspiration in his stories – such as the talking raven and his bull terrier dog – and others proved the inspiration for characters who could be described with animal characteristics. The raven
  • London Underground’s experiment with a carpeted tube train

    London Underground’s experiment with a carpeted tube train
    Fifty years ago, the London Underground put a carpet on the floor of one of their tube trains to see what the public thought. The verdict was not favourable.
    At the time, tube train floors were made of slatted wood, but London Underground faced a problem. The floors were usually made from hard-wearing Canadian maple, but in the 1970s, there was a growing shortage of Canadian timber, and prices for what they could get were soaring.
    LT Museum’s 1938 stock carriage (c) ianVisits
    So, in March
  • Moorgate’s shabby lawn to be revamped with bust of the poet John Keats

    Moorgate’s shabby lawn to be revamped with bust of the poet John Keats
    The rather neglected lawn next to Moorgate tube station is to get a makeover, to be replaced with a number of raised planted beds, and a bust of John Keats to commemorate the poet’s birthplace and work.
    Moorgate and London Wall junction
    The lawn was laid out as part of the neighbouring Moor House office development when it was completed in 2004, and was always intended to be a temporary greenspace until long-term plans were made. The current lawn has lasted rather longer than expected.
  • Plans shown off for 1,500 homes above ASDA’s Park Royal superstore

    Plans shown off for 1,500 homes above ASDA’s Park Royal superstore
    A large ASDA superstore in west London could be redeveloped into a new housing site with around 1,500 homes close to the future Old Oak Common station.
    Early concept for the new development (c) ASDA
    Assuming planning permission is granted, the Park Royal Superstore site will have a replacement superstore built on the existing car park, with up to 1,500 new homes built on a podium above the store. Around a third of the new homes would be classed as “affordable”, although at this early
  • Barnes railway bridge to close for a week of repairs

    Barnes railway bridge to close for a week of repairs
    A key rail link across the Thames in west London will be closed for a week in late July due to bridge repairs.
    Barnes rail bridge (c) ianVisits
    The rail bridge crosses the Thames at Barnes,, and Network Rail says that it needs to replace all 48 solid wooden “wheel timbers” supporting the track across the Grade II-listed structure. Wheel timbers differ from traditional railway sleepers in that they provide extra strength and length in areas such as river bridges and are generally wide
  • Tickets Alert: Dry dock tours of the Golden Hinde

    Tickets Alert: Dry dock tours of the Golden Hinde
    A few Sundays this summer will offer an opportunity to go down into the dry dock around the Golden Hinde replica ship and get up close to the restoration work being carried out at the moment.
    (c) The Golden Hinde
    The ship is a full-size replica of Francis Drake’s original and was launched 50 years ago, in 1973, on a global tour.
    Since 1996, she has been berthed in a dry dock next to Southwark Cathedral as a tourist attraction. At the moment, a restoration project is underway, and tours wil
  • A day trip to Stansted Mountfitchet – Castle, Churches, Toys and a Windmill

    A day trip to Stansted Mountfitchet – Castle, Churches, Toys and a Windmill
    Not far from London is a small village old enough to appear in the Doomsday book that’s now far better known for the airport that stole its name. This is Stansted Mountfitchet, and for such a small village, it has a heck of a lot to see on a day trip.
    The town boasts an ancient church, a gothic church, an old windmill, one of Europe’s largest toy museums, a dinosaur park, and a large replica castle.
    Mountfitchet Castle and Norman Village
    Right in the centre of the village is a full-s
  • Expanded mobile phone coverage goes live on Elizabeth line and Underground

    Expanded mobile phone coverage goes live on Elizabeth line and Underground
    Mobile phone coverage on the London Underground and the Elizabeth line has expanded again, with more sections going live in recent weeks.On the Elizabeth line, 4G phone coverage is now live in Paddington, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, and Woolwich stations, completing the rollout to all the new Elizbaeth line stations. Work to deliver coverage within the tunnelled sections of the Elizabeth line continues, with the first sections between Bond Street and Liverpool Street expected to get coverage with
  • Investors place record £300mn bet against BT

    New chief executive Allison Kirkby is battling to reverse adeclining share price
  • Wallpaper maker to return to former offices nearly a century after moving out

    Wallpaper maker to return to former offices nearly a century after moving out
    An Arts and Crafts wallpaper factory inChiswick built in 1902 has recently been restored and will again be occupied by the firm that commissioned it, along with the William Morris wallpaper designs that form its archive.
    Voysey House (c) Jack Hobhouse
    Sanderson, a manufacturer of fabrics and wallpaper, was founded in 1860 and in 1879 built a factory just off Chiswick High Road. In 1902, they expanded into a brand new modern factory, now known as Voysey House.
    However, Sanderson left the building
  • Tickets Alert: Vintage tube train to travel through central London

    Tickets Alert: Vintage tube train to travel through central London
    Next month, a 1938-era vintage tube train will travel through central London, and you can either wave as it goes past or be inside waving back if you want.The restored 1938 art-deco tube train will travel along the Piccadilly line on Sunday 9th June 2024 between Acton Town station in west London to Oakwood station in north London.
    At Oakwood station guests can enjoy a mini talk about the architect Charles Holden and how his innovative station design has played a major role in shaping the appeara
  • London’s Alleys: Oriel Court, NW3

    London’s Alleys: Oriel Court, NW3
    This is a short but charmingly cobbled little passage in Hampstead that unexpectedly leads to a cluster of hidden cottages.There is a hint in John Roque’s map from 1746 that the alley ran through the block to the road on the other side, although that could be a reference to Oriel Place or Perin’s Court, two longer alleys on either side of Oriel Court. It’s a tad difficult to be certain though.
    Whatever its origins, today the alley is a short L-shaped dead-end passage. The name
  • What I wish I’d known before my smartphone was snatched

    As phone theft surges, how can you protect your financial data?
  • The Spanish Navy’s tall sailing ship will visit London

    The Spanish Navy’s tall sailing ship will visit London
    A note to clear your diaries if you like ships, as the world’s third largest tall sailing ship will visit London in July, and the public can go on board.
    (c) Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores
    The Juan Sebastián de Elcano is a Spanish Navy training ship that was constructed nearly 100 years ago, and at 113 metres long, is the third-largest tall ship in the world. It is also the sailing vessel that has sailed the furthest, covering more than 2,000,000 nautical miles in its lifetime.
  • Tickets Alert: Visit the Cosmic House in Holland Park

    Tickets Alert: Visit the Cosmic House in Holland Park
    A slightly unassuming house in Holland Park conceals a remarkable interior — a house packed full of early Post-Modernist designs — and is now occasionally open to the public.Externally it looks like a normal sort of house for the area, but the architect Charles Jencks and family gutted most of the interior and built something that is really quite stunning. Not necessarily nice, as that’s down to individual tastes, but it is most certainly stunning.
    You’ll feel stunned whe
  • Tickets Alert: Tours of the BBC studios at Alexandra Palace

    Tickets Alert: Tours of the BBC studios at Alexandra Palace
    Next month, there’s a chance to tour the original BBC studios inside the Ally Pally where television was born.
    BBC Studios May 2023 (c) ianVisits
    The space is pretty run down now, but still has the echoes of the time that actors and musicians would perform in the rooms and the many technicians stood off screen to control what went on.
    When it started, the BBC leased the entire East Wing of the Alexandra Palace for the new television service, with former dining rooms transformed into studio
  • Large light show filling Trafalgar Square tonight for the National Gallery’s 200th birthday

    Large light show filling Trafalgar Square tonight for the National Gallery’s 200th birthday
    If you head to Trafalgar Square tonight and tomorrow evenings (10th & 11th May), you’ll see a large light show projected onto the National Gallery for its 200th anniversary.The show is part of the Gallery’s Big Birthday Weekend, and the light show is a completely free and unticketed way to celebrate the Gallery’s 200th birthday home in the heart of central London.
    Conceived by the National Gallery, produced by Nvisible Productions, and designed in collaboration with Visual
  • Charity abseiling off landmark London buildings

    Charity abseiling off landmark London buildings
    If you fancy flinging yourself off the top of some tall buildings, and doing so for charity, there’s a number of chances to abseil down them this year.
    Several are in the City of London, one in Stratford, Whitechapel, and next to the Thames.
    Most have a modest registration fee, and then there’s a minimum amount that you need to raise from people sponsoring you to perform the deed.Leadenhall Building (the cheesegrater)
    This June, the Lord Mayor’s Appeal will take you up to the 4
  • See inside one of the legendary Isokon flats

    See inside one of the legendary Isokon flats
    The Isokon Flats in north London are famous as much for their architecture as for the bohemian lifestyle of the residents in their early years. Now, one of the residents occasionally opens their flat to the public.The Isokon Flats were designed in the early 1930s by Canadian engineer Wells Coates for Molly and Jack Pritchard as an experiment in minimalist urban living. The flats had modest kitchens but also a communal kitchen for everyone to share.
    The flats attracted a wide range of residents,
  • Government set to approve £1 billion tunnels for HS2-Euston link

    Government set to approve £1 billion tunnels for HS2-Euston link
    The government is expected to confirm that HS2 will dig tunnels linking the high-speed railway to Euston station, although there’s still no confirmation that Euston station will be built.
    HS2 tunnel entrance next to the M25 motorway
    The Financial Times reported, citing industry sources, that approval for the £1 billion pair of tunnels from Old Oak Common to Euston is expected to be given shortly. The £1 billion cost is based on the 2019 figures, so the final bill will be higher
  • Architects invited to redesign the British Museum

    Architects invited to redesign the British Museum
    Plans to redevelop about a third of the British Museum building have taken a step forward with an invitation to architects to propose their designs.
    Great Court of the British Museum (c) ianVisits
    The western side of the Museum, where the redevelopment will take place, currently houses houses collections from Ancient Egypt, Greece (including the Parthenon Sculptures), Rome, Ancient Assyria, and the Middle East. Including the galleries, the redevelopment will encompass about a third of the Britis
  • Rediscovering Tropical Modernism: From colonial imposition to sustainable architecture

    Rediscovering Tropical Modernism: From colonial imposition to sustainable architecture
    A style of architecture born in damp Britain for use in hot colonies would have been expected to die off when independence arrived, but it flourished until it was killed off by something we’re trying to get rid of today.
    The style, Tropical Modernism, is universally recognisable. It adopts and adapts ancient building ideas to keep interiors cool in hot climates, but it strips away decorative flourishes to create a very obviously modernist look.This exhibition at the V&A Museum focuses
  • Clapham Common incident exposes gaps in London Underground staff training, RAIB finds

    Clapham Common incident exposes gaps in London Underground staff training, RAIB finds
    London Underground staff were not trained to handle a situation in which people smashed a window to get out of a carriage at Clapham Common tube station, according to a report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).
    The damaged train in depot after the incident (c) TfL/RAIB
    The incident saw a tube train stop after an alarm was pulled, and then passengers tried to break out of the train after reports of smelling smoke. The report found that station staff were not equipped to deal with a
  • South by Southwest (SXSW) is coming to London

    South by Southwest (SXSW) is coming to London
    America’s world famous festival, South by Southwest (SXSW), will be coming to London next year.
    SXSW has been running in Austin, Texas, for nearly 40 years and attracts some 300,000 people to the festival. London is unlikely to garner such attendance numbers in its first year but could well grow into one of London’s larger annual festivals over time. The risk could be that it crowds out other similar concept events in London all year round as the organisers choose to join the SXSW br

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