Fun things to do in London

1. Head over to Portobello Market
OPENING TIMES

Friday to Sunday  under the Westway in Portobello Road

Friday – Antiques, Retro,  Art Deco, Vintage
Saturday – Fashion Market, Designer Clothes, Jewellery and Accessories
Sunday – Bric-a-Brac, Clothes, Books, CDs and records etc

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HOW TO GET THERE:

Portobello Market is easily accessible and a great way to shop.

Check TFL for details and Journey Planning.

Tube to Notting Hill Gate Station (Central Line, Circle Line, District Line).
The market is  a five minute walk from Notting Hill Gate Station..

Tube to Ladbrooke Grove Station (Hammersmith and City Line)
The market is just across the road from the station..

Bus many buses (including  7, 12, 23, 27, 28, 31, 52, 70 & 328) from Victoria, Oxford Street, Hyde Park Corner and Kensington High Street come to Portobello.

2. Visit Hampstead Heath swimming ponds

Explore Hampstead Heath during the summer months by visiting The Hampstead Ponds or Highgate Ponds by walking on the heath or taking a swim in a pond. Originally dammed-off clay pits, the ponds are run by the City of London Corporation.There are three large swimming ponds, two designated single sex and one is for mixed bathing. The Men’s and Ladies’ Ponds are open all year round but to use the Mixed Pond in the winter season you must join the Hampstead Heath Winter Swimming Club. Even in the summer the water is chilly but very refreshing!

I went on a Saturday Afternoon to the Mixed pond and I had to pay a small fee of £2 to enter. It was extremely busy but well worth it!

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However, swimming was not the original intention for the ponds. They were originally dug in the 17th and 18th centuries as reservoirs. A malarial marsh was drained by the Hampstead Water Company in 1777 to meet London’s growing water demand.

Getting thereHampstead Heath is served by three stops on the Northern Line: Kentish Town, Hampstead and Golders Green. The nearest overground is Gospel Oak or Hampstead Heath.

3. Visit the Old Bailey

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Interested in watching a live criminal trial session? The Crown Court sitting at the Central Criminal Court deals with major criminal cases from Greater London and from other parts of England and Wales. Members of the public can sit in the court galleries for free but are subject to high security procedures.

Be prepared as there are no storage facilities available and try to arrive early as seats are limited. I would suggest not taking cameras, video equipment, mobiles, bags with you as you won’t get them past security. Although there are places to keep your belongings until you return by charging a small fee of £2.

Children under the age of 14 will not be admitted and older children may be asked for proof of age.

The opening times of the Old Bailey are from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm, from Monday to Friday. St. Pauls and Blackfriars are the closest tube stations to the Old Bailey.

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4. Afternoon tea at Liberty

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Liberty Regent Street is a leading department store in London. The magnificent Tudor building, situated in the heart of London since 1875 remains a visible statement of the store’s point of difference.

After browsing the different departments, my sibling’s and I decided to visit the cafe that is situated on the second floor. This is definitely worth a visit if you are into tea parties!

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We received a selection of finger sandwiches, pastries, treats, strawberry jam, plain or fruit scones with cornish clotted cream, and a pot of freshly brewed traditional English tea. Coffee is another option. The staff were extremely friendly and I will definitely be returning!

The Cafe opening hours are listed below:

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5. Nottinghill Carnival

Nottinghill Carnival is Europe’s biggest street festival which is held each August Bank Holiday. Since 1964 the capital’s Afro-Caribbean communities have celebrated their culture and traditions with a two-day festival of  live music ranging from reggae to dub to salsa, soca floats, steel bands, uplifting beats. You can buy all different types of food from the stalls along the street such as, jerk chicken and fried plantain food stalls, and much more.

Advice for ladies: Don’t wear heels! The Carnival route is 3 miles long.

Remember that people live in Nottinghill and the carnival does end eventually. According to the official Notting Hill Carnival website, events end at 9pm on both days and sound systems at 7pm.

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6. Brick Lane Market

London’s Brick Lane Market is a traditional flea-market affair, with everything from food, second-hand clothes, to old junk in between. I typically go to Brick Lane on a Sunday Morning or Afternoon to check out the vintage markets. Brick lane car park on a Sunday turns into a fashion and vintage market which is really surreal at first.

Brick Lane is renowned for its curry houses and ever-changing street art and graffiti on the walls of buildings.The market spills across a relatively large area and several streets.

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7. Crate Brewery

If you happen to stumble across East London, Hackey Wick area, I suggest visiting Cate Brewery – my all time favourite brewery.

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CRATE first launched in July 2012 and is Hackney Wick’s first craft brewery and pizzeria, situated canal-side in a former print factory. What I love about this place is the industrial interior that has been crafted with reclaimed materials from around the Wick.

The Crate brews it own tasty beers such as; CRATE Lager, Golden Ale, India Pale Ale, Best Bitter and new CRATE Stout – all brewed on-site. They serve stone baked Pizzas that are made fresh to order, with seven varieties to choose from. and are pretty good although quite pricey and take around 30mins to cook!  Their kitchen is open 12noon-10pm daily, click here for the Pizza menu.

It is best enjoyed on a sunny day when you can sit outside in either the speed boat or an old rowing boat to enjoy pizza and beer next to the canal for a spot of Hackney hipster watching.

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8. Visit Hampton Court Palace

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Henry VIII reigned from 1509-47. He left his imprint firmly on England’s landscape, influencing both culture and religion. Explore Henry VIII’s magnificent palace for the day, then stroll through the elegant baroque apartments and glorious formal gardens of William III and Mary II.

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ABOUT HENRY

Henry VIII is one of the most famous kings in English history. He was the second Tudor monarch and was well-known for having six wives. His break with the papacy in Rome established the Church of England and began the Reformation.

When he died in 1547 Henry VIII had more than 60 houses, but – in the second half of his reign – none were more important to him, nor more sumptuously decorated, than Hampton Court Palace.

All of Henry’s six wives came to the palace and most had new and lavish lodgings. The King rebuilt his own rooms at least half a dozen times.

Hampton Court palace also provided accommodation for each of the King’s children and for a large number of courtiers, visitors and servants.

A year later, Henry was dead, with three surviving children – the 9-year old Prince Edward and his older sisters Mary and Elizabeth. Each would rule England, and Hampton Court would continue to play an important part in the lives of the Tudor monarchs.

You can purchase tickets online or by phone http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/hamptoncourtadmission

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