London is awash with them. Look around and you’ll see them everywhere – immaculately turned out and gleaming all over. We’re not talking about the latest model of supercar or this season’s must-have shoe (although you’ll see plenty of both in London). We are, in fact, talking Power Couples. May’s Royal Wedding brought them out in force and they did not disappoint. From Harry and Meghan’s loved-up gaze to the Clooney’s effortless cool and even Victoria Beckham’s planet-eating scowl which made hubby David’s smile seem all the more angelic, celebrity pairings continue to be a source of unending fascination. In addition to all this, America’s first family of R&B are due to land in London. As always, it’s the differing profiles of Beyoncé and Jay-Z that make them so interesting. Jay-Z is the self-proclaimed mogul of rap, but it’s his wife’s talent, branding and Twitter following that makes everyone take notice…
If you see beards bristling and tattoos gleaming in Regent’s Park this June, you haven’t stumbled into a Viking re-enactment event, it’s just how cutting-edge chefs tend to look nowadays. Open fires and smoke pits are the name of the game at this year’s Taste of London and Niklas Ekstedt, Josh Katz and David Carter will be basting, grilling and carving with the best of them.
Aside from the fire pit demonstrations, there will be a seriously good cocktail bar, craft beer tasting and pop-up shops selling a whole host of artisan food products. International tastes will be covered by the likes of Danny Tu, Vivek Singh and Selim Kiazim. Live music, a piano bar and various DJs will be on hand to keep the atmosphere bubbly. https://london.tastefestivals.com/
The garden square is a London institution that revives memories of Mary Poppins, Paddington Bear and altogether more innocent times. There are many pristine examples in places like Chelsea and Kensington, complete with manicured lawns, dazzling flowerbeds and wrought-iron railings. Usually closed off to the public, they are accessible only at set times with the weekend of 9-10 June being one of them.
Visitors can enjoy the genteel charms of Chelsea’s Markham Square but may also appreciate the more off-the-wall designs of a movable Skip Garden in Kings Cross. Other unlikely locations include Tube Station platforms, reclaimed rubbish tips and office rooftops which all reflect the modern preoccupation with sustainability and reusable resources. Selected gardens will feature guided tours and cycling paths.
Billed as the ultimate cross-collecting event, Masterpiece excels in the imaginative juxtaposition of genres, disciplines and history. Over 150 galleries, collectors and organisations will be exhibiting fine art, sculpture and jewellery. The items will be presented in a variety of inventive ways with respected names like Axel Vervoordt, Rose Uniacke and Benjamin Proust showing how ancient skills have evolved to influence even the most contemporary pieces.
European Modern Art and Impressionism are well represented by the likes of Pissarro, Picasso and Miro, but Masterpiece celebrates skilful artisans and bold visionaries with equal fervour. This year marks the four hundredth anniversary of the birth of the esteemed master craftsman, Thomas Chippendale and exquisite examples of his legacy in the field of decorative arts and furniture will be on show. https://www.masterpiecefair.com
Dads are funny creatures. Getting them to go along to any event is a mammoth task, although once they are there, they usually want to take complete charge. However, if they find a nice relaxing spot, then they tend to take root again. Armed with this intelligence, planning a Father’s Day outing should involve a mix of adventure, knowledge, booze and food and Greenwich is the ideal place.
Zip over on the cable car which will allow Dad to show off his knowledge of London, then take a high-speed boat trip along the River Thames to fulfil his James Bond fantasies. Return to the O2 Arena for a quality steak dinner at Gaucho’s followed by a riverside stroll to the Cutty Sark. Here you will find an eponymous pub where Dad can drop anchor and enjoy a relaxing pint or two. Cheers! https://www.theo2.co.uk
A welcome addition to London’s cultural calendar, this event celebrates the onset of the rainy season in China which was believed to have been controlled by the Dragon – the bringer of rains and good harvests. Apart from the Chinese New Year, it is the best chance for Londoners to sample Oriental culture close up and is not to be missed.
The race itself takes place over 2000 metres of calm water created by the Royal Albert Dock and features colourful boats crewed by enthusiastic amateurs who are encouraged by drums, cheers and whistles. Other attractions include live music from a selection of local bands, a Kung Fu demonstration and plenty of delicious Chinese dishes. http://www.lhkdbf.co.uk
Leaving their plans and models behind, some of the world’s leading architects get out of their offices and get among The Great British Public. The festival takes the form of talks, workshops and guided tours of interesting structures around the Capital. A great example of the latter is the swing bridge that spans the Paddington Basin at Merchant Square. The designers of this ingenious piece of engineering will be giving an on-site talk on the challenges and triumphs that led to the completion of the project.
A popular part of the month-long festival is the open office concept. On select days, various architectural practices open their doors to the public and allow visitors to get a feel of what it’s like to plan, prepare and execute a major architectural project. Installations are always a popular draw and The Treehouse in Nine Elms is an intriguing construction of wood and smoked glass that reflects the surrounding parkland, rendering it almost invisible. https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org
As a master of suspense, Hitchcock realised that a carefully chosen location could be vital for ratcheting up the tension of certain scenes. With the aid of a knowledgeable and experienced guide it’s possible to be transported back into the foreboding landscape of post-war London which formed the backdrop of many of the director’s early works.
Not only are his preferred outdoor locations discovered, but some of his favourite restaurants, shops and studios still stand, although they have subsequently changed use several times. Of course, Hitchcock – like Chaplin before him – soon outgrew the technical limitations of Britain and followed his star to Hollywood, but the atmospheric chill of nighttime London never left his work and helped him become the legend that we know and celebrate today. http://www.walks.com/our-walks/alfred-hitchcock-s-london-more-than-39-steps
A recent visit here from one of our Hampstead staff prompted us to mention this little gem. Tucked away by the side of the canal at Little Venice, this delightful Persian restaurant offers the very best of a cuisine that has been criminally overlooked. As London foodies rush to celebrate the new wave of Lebanese cooking or approve of cost effective Turkish dining, they have omitted a tradition that influenced both. Persian dishes are thousands of years old and their approach to herbs and spices is as inspiring as it is instructive.
At Kateh, the fun starts with the bread which alone is worth the visit. Crisp delicate layers make it ideal for mopping up starters. And what starters! Chicken livers are cooked to perfection and the grilled octopus has the consistency of belly pork – no rubbery tentacles here. Main courses centre round a selection of expertly grilled cuts of lamb and chicken which are accompanied by superbly fluffy portions of saffron rice and other Persian delights. http://www.katehrestaurant.co.uk
Kicking off the festival season in London is this early summer chillout session in Brixton’s Brockwell Park. With the likes of Erykah Badu, Cornelius and Charlotte Gainsbourg on the bill, fans can look forward to a fairly relaxed vibe that is also a tad experimental. The acts come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from big band jazz ensembles to minimalist solo electronica.
Watch out for breakout jazz star, Zara Macfarlane who is being backed by formidable drummer, composer and producer, Moses Boyd. These two artistes constitute a large part of what could be the future of British jazz. There’s plenty to see and do as you wait for your favourite act to hit the stage. Village Mentality is a modern revamp of the village fair with old-skool competitions and games together with a craft beer stall. There are plenty of street food outlets all around the main site too.
The young pretenders have been out and about making plenty of frivolous noise. Cardi B et al have had their hits and basked in their 15 minutes, but now they must make way for the original Queen B. This month Hurricane Beyoncé hits London with the full force of a sequinned, stilettoed stealth bomber as the OTR II show opens at the London Stadium. Sharing the stage with husband/mogul/rapper Jay-Z, Mrs Carter comes fresh from blowing away all-comers at the Coachella Festival in California.
That event showed that Beyonce could wow any audience under any conditions and London fans can expect a treat. Apart from her own massive back catalogue of pop-dance bangers, she has guested on many of her husband’s most iconic beats and it’s bound to be a blast when they combine on stage. OTR stands for On The Run, one of those aforementioned collaborations and although these two megastars are hardly what you would call outlaws, the energy and panache they both bring is bound to reach critical levels.
A prequel about the life and times of the young Hans Solo is well overdue and Star Wars fans will welcome something to obsess about as they await a next instalment. A capable and photogenic support cast enable Alden Ehrenheich to shine as the orphan who wants to be a top space pilot but falls among thieves and has to risk all to redeem himself.
When Solo and his gang screw up a robbery, they end up in hock to a dangerous gangster and need a fast spaceship in order to regain the loot. Enter the young Lando played by man-of-the-moment Donald Glover and they are set to zoom off in the first reincarnation of the famed Millennium Falcon. Having met Chewbacca along the way, Solo is ready to stake his claim as the swashbuckling bounty hunter that we all know and love.
A combination of imaginative set design, pop-up flair and heady cocktails is set to transform a small section of the River Thames this Summer. Taking inspiration from the beach bar scenes of Miami and Havana, the guys at The Food Firm have created the ideal stress-busting venue for those working in the City.
Known as the London Riviera, the location overlooks a small flotilla of luxury yachts and backs on to a chic promenade of restaurants and shops. In addition to this, there will be a comprehensive open-air bar and a pop-up bistro featuring Eastern Mediterranean favourites. Guests are encouraged to try their hands at mixing cocktails and making up their very own juice combinations. https://secretldn.com/summer-by-the-river-festival/
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