Days & Nights In London
The jump back into London’s life after summer is akin to slamming from one dimension to another. October is crammed with events, some free, some cheap, many outrageously expensive. We’ve had Super Thursday, the day when more books are published than on any other, and the knock-on effect is hundreds of literary events in every corner of the city. It’s a new season too for theatre, opera, dance and exhibitions. Football is back. Serious films appear in time to qualify for the awards season. This year the leaves are all still on the trees and the days are clear and (abnormally) warm, plus a weak pound means more visitors.
I have guests staying for a couple of weeks, and it’s always fascinating to see the city through their eyes and watch what they will choose to do. I’m taking them to the Dickens Museum tour by candlelight tonight. For the first time I can remember, one exhibition is completely sold out for the entire length of its run – the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A is less about art than the invention of her persona, but it chimes with an astonishing rise in interest in her.
Other events are thankfully less popular. My guests had been on a tour of Europe, marred by small villages of interest being overcrowded with tourist buses, and the fact that many of the rivers are so low no cruises can currently attempt them. The problem I have is trying not to overwhelm them with choices. The good things is that none of them wants to do touristy stuff, which makes finding days out easier.
I now actively avoid going anywhere near Camden Town, a hyperactive hellhole aimed at making teenage girls buy crap, but my default suggestion; ‘Take a walk along the South Bank’ is wearing thin, as is ‘Go for a Ruby down Brick Lane’. Shoreditch at night is for the brave. Send them to Epping Forest and you might never see them again. Peckham – anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
Today I’m looking for less usual days/ nights out in London – hit me with your best shot and I’ll suggest them to my guests.