So you've dreamed of a trip to England for ages and can't wait to look round London and see all that it offers. But while you're in the capital city, make sure you don't miss out on these four experiences which will give you a great London experience as quickly as you can say 'Cor blimey Guv'nor'.
Be warned, these pack a serious punch with only a couple needed to get you in the mood to rummage through Barts extensive dress-up treasure trove. Best to stick to the Signature Park Avenue cocktail for a more civilised evening, unless you want to put on a show for your fellow revelers.
Over the last couple of weeks we've lost two iconic central London alternative spaces, the 12 Bar Club and Madam JoJo's, both victims of weak and uninspiring planning decisions and out of control property developers. Their loss raises genuine questions on the nature of our city and whether London is at risk of losing what makes it so special.
In the run up to Christmas most working parents will have already planned their Christmas leave, but taking time off is the easy part - what isn't so easy is making sure you have enough things planned that make the Christmas holidays fun for the whole family (especially if this year you're having a 'staycation'!)
Soho is to some extent, a myth itself. As Ian Board of the long departed (and much mourned) Colony Rooms said of Soho "It isn't what it used to be, but it never was what it was." Soho's seedy, sexy, taboo and often violent history makes it a great place to get nostalgic about. For many, Soho is hardwired into memories of their youth, the clubs, the all night drinking, the sex workers.
At some point over recent years it has become tradition among the kids who hang out there to chuck worn-out and broken boards and destroyed trainers onto the bridge support closest to the Festival Hall - creating an incredibly poignant memorial to TimothyBaxter... Which makes Westminster City Council's clean-up crew abseiling down to remove the lot both sad and a bit of a massive cock-up.
The niche that Grimm Tales is aiming for is not easily achieved - open for the above eights, but also entertaining for adults - and perhaps this is the production's downfall. At times, the script is tickling and enjoyable, yet at other moments it is glaringly poor and simplistic, whereas, when taken as a whole, the evening is of somewhat formulaic fantasy...
holpan Sharbakova is a classically trained pianist, soloist, laureate of international competitions and festivals, yet music is only one of her creativity codes. "Musical notes always had a physical presence for me" says Sholpan.
After visiting The Goring back in April and enjoying it immensely, I was very excited to be paying the hotel another visit to sample their afternoon tea. ..
Recently I've noticed an overwhelming increase in the use of statements such as 'here we go the race card again' and 'you can't just use the race card'. Sadly you're wrong, and I will continue to talk about racism and the extremely deep rooted affects it has on the black community in the UK and many other places across the world.
As London gets colder, the wine is getting hotter; that's right people it's officially mulled wine season and time to say yes please to Christmas in a cup! This ain't no time for those dodgy mulling tea bags and some pre-made bottle of wine job, this is a time to go long on your spices and brew something magical.
Admiringly, it would appear that it is not just the likes of Ebenezer Scrooge who is able to turn a chime of despair into a tune of hope. Many UK volunteer groups are making a stand against commercialism, from helping the homeless to sponsored carol singing.
With its Christmas market selling pork and apple stuffing naps and hot cider, a sky-scraping 'Big Wheel' with panoramic views of the city, and a picturesque, oval ice rink (which loops round the Melville Monument) in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh is quite possibly one of the best cities to visit during the festivities.
In 2004, when everybody wanted to be in Mayfair and Fitzrovia, Ziba Ardalan, born in Iran, whose career was developed between the US and Switzerland, arrived from New York and decided to found a contemporary art organization in the far end of the cosy central London
Let's not react too late to the next development which comes along that seems intended to make a ton of money for a handful of people, but leaves the spirit of Soho much, much poorer. Let's learn to be proactive when we see those dreaded signs going up about the next "improvement" in this unique neighbourhood.
As a filmmaker, I've always been curious to hear people's stories. Everybody has a story to tell and the first thing I often wonder when I meet someone is what theirs is. This was the case with Naomi, the young woman whose experience sleeping rough on the streets of London inspired the story for my latest film, A Horse Called Oz.