18 October 2014

Come on a virtual visit to London's Frieze Art Fair

Frieze Art Fair takes place each year in a huge marquee in Regent's Park and attracts the top art people from all over the world - artists, collectors, buyers, galleries and the likes of you and me who like to just visit. When I say visit, there is the people watching, the lusting after out of reach pricey art, there is the lunching and then, sometimes, there is the champagne. So all in all a big day out!

On my way to the main entrance I stumbled upon the edge of the impressive Sculpture Park which is a free side exhibition to the rather more expensive main event.  In just a few minutes I saw some good and some fun stuff on one corner of the park and this map tells you how much else there is to see: 

Then it was time to enter the beast of a show that is Frieze and we spent a good 4 hours exploring the rooms and even then missed out on many galleries. There was the important matter of lunch, of course, just a few snacks at Caravan, to keep us going. Despite this distraction,  we did see some interesting, some beautiful and some downright strange stuff so here is my selection for you to enjoy:

Damien Hirst

Tony Cragg

Goshka Macuga's wool tapestry

Mariana Castillo Deball

Mark Wallinger's curated room. Was he supposed to be sleeping? Yes!

Angus Fairhurst
Darren Bader. One of the strange pieces - an axe in sugar

Wolfgang Tillman - beautiful and impossible to photography

Joyce Pensato

Callum Innes - loved this colour and form

Alicja Kwale - yes a wrapped door

Alexandre da Cunha

Slavs and Tatars

A performance piece

Eric Bainbridge

Tacita Dean

 I hope you had a good time at my virtual Frieze. There is a lot of art on in London at the moment,  so watch out for more arty blogs over the next few weeks.

Bye for now.

7 October 2014

Where to eat near the Tower of London

London has a rich and vibrant restaurant scene and making the right choice is often really challenging. To help with these dilemmas I'm writing a series for the great Cool Places website which offers reviews, recommendations and inspiring ideas for places all around the UK. They use local contributors with expert knowledge and have kindly asked me to do this restaurant series on London. 

Each of my reviews takes a major London site you might be visiting and gives you write up of somewhere nearby I recommend you go to eat. Let's start with my piece on where to eat after the Tower of London:

The Tapas of London

A visit to the Tower of London is on every first timer's list of London ‘must sees’, and for good reason. A World Heritage site, it is packed full of history, has imprisoned monarchs and noblemen, housed lions and elephants and now guards the Crown Jewels. But it's the heart of Tourist London. As you emerge, the main thing on your mind will be: where can I find a good meal away from the crowds?

Click here to read the review....

Bye for now

30 September 2014

London's top 10 fabulous fountains

Wandering round London last week I was struck by how many fabulous fountains we have, so I thought I would take you on a little tour around my top 10 favourites.  I couldn't choose between them as each one is lovely in its own way, so they are not in any particular order. Have a look, see if you agree and let me know!

Trafalgar Square
This iconic square has some of the best known fountains in London with the backdrop of the National Gallery and when you next visit take a look at the less obvious figures spouting water inside the east fountain. 

The South Bank
This is a seasonal one and is very popular as this photo shows. It has 4 'rooms' separated by water and an outer square of water and they go up and down so you can hop between them. Lots of very wet people, some in swimming gear, others just jumping in fully dressed for the fun of it!

More London

Leicester Square
I have included this one as it has been under construction and then under repair for so long it was wonderful to see it emerge at last this summer.  William Shakespeare looks at home in the centre.

 Kensington Palace
It's easier to hear than see the fountains when you visit the sunken garden at Kensington Palace. The gardens are stunning and the gentle sound and sight of the central fountains give the area such a peaceful feel. 

This is an unusual fountain as for most of the time there is just a pool of quietly flowing water across the area and then every 15 minutes for just 15 seconds steam pours out from the base of the trees.Try to catch it at night when the lights in the pool are stunning.

Granary Square
The spouts in this square are on a complex pattern of changing heights and colours especially at night. During the day they brighten up a concrete square and have many visitors running up and down, including this Alsatian!

Somerset House
This is another fountain that is constantly changing its height and power. Being in the centre of London it is really popular and on a sunny day you will find families here with full beach gear settling in and watching the kids have a great time. 

 Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Another 'here it is and now it's gone' fountain as you will see in these photos. It's new this year and is certainly attracting the crowds who are now enjoying all kinds of entertainment is the former home of the London 2012 Olympics. 

 St James Park
I love the shape of this fountain in the green of the royal park just next to Buckingham Palace. Definitely not one for jumping in and enjoying!

What's your favourite London fountain - have I missed it out? Let me know.

Bye for now,

10 September 2014

Ships ahoy! The Tall Ships go sailing out of London

It was a glorious sunny day in Royal Greenwich for the last day of the Tall Ships Festival. I chose this day to visit as all the ships were due to assemble and sail past Greenwich's historic waterfront and head out to sea down the Thames. 

Royal Greenwich is packed full of top visitor site and is a UNESCO world heritage list. Time itself was invented here - well the Greenwich meridian was - there's the Maritime Museum with the coat Nelson was shot and died in, there's the Royal Observatory, the Painted Hall and so much more.  But yesterday was all about the tall ships. 

London was hosting a 4 day Tall Ships Regatta for the first time in 25 years and 50 ships gathered Greenwich at was the final port for the race from Falmouth on the south west coast of England, a race which started on 31st August.

The sail past itself was a magnificent sight as ships of so many shapes and sizes glided past serenely and off to sea and more unknown journeys and potential battles with the oceans. I loved the huge white Polish ship which had the massive groups gasping in amazement as it came close by, and the wonderful old style warships were evocative of how the Thames may have looked in the 16th century. 

Here is my selection: 

What a wonderful sail past, I hope you enjoyed it too.

Bye for now,