1. Enjoy a smorgasbord of art at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Mall Galleries on The Mall. The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) is one of London’s leading artistic and cultural centres, where you can see cutting edge art, hear the latest bands and enjoy avant-garde classic films. The Mall Galleries next door is one of the city’s coolest art venues and major contemporary art showcases.
Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH (020-7930 3647, ica.org.uk) and Mall Galleries, 7 Carlton House Terrace, The Mall, SW1Y 5BD (020-7930 6844, mallgalleries.org.uk). Charing Cross tube, free.
2. Refresh yourself at the ICA bar and café, tucked away inside London’s coolest cultural centre. In keeping with the hip ICA, it’s a modern, arty and effortlessly relaxed spot which has become something of a destination venue for the city’s creative and fashion types in recent years.
1. Visit the Hive Honey Shop in Clapham to learn about beekeeping and buy honey and beeswax products. The Hive is a pioneer in the creation of health and medicinal lotions, potions, ointments and cosmetics using natural ingredients harvested from bee hives. Products sold in the shop include everything from beeswax candles and fresh royal jelly to honey mustard, mead and delicious honey.
Hive Honey Shop, 93 Northcote Rd, SW11 6PL (020-7924 6233, thehivehoneyshop.co.uk, Clapham Junction rail).
2. See the working windmill and museum on Wimbledon Common, built by Charles March in 1817, and a museum since 1976. Exhibits tell the story of the development and construction of windmills, explain how the windmill worked and how grain was milled to produce flour (children can try their hand at milling flour), plus a magnificent collection of millwright’s tools.
Wimbledon Windmill & Museum, Windmill Rd, Wimbledon, SW19 5NR (020-8947...
1. Spend a glorious day in Richmond Park, London’s largest royal park and the second-largest urban park in Europe, extending to 2,360 acres. It’s classified as a European Special Area of Conservation, a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest – with a plethora of flora and fauna – and is famous for its deer which number around 650. The park’s royal connections date back to Edward I (1272-1307), who established a royal palace at the Manor of Shene (Sheen), which remained in royal ownership until 1851.
Be sure to visit the magical Isabella Plantation, a 42-acre ornamental woodland garden packed with exotic plants and designed to be interesting all year round. In spring there are camellias, magnolias, daffodils and bluebells, while the azaleas and rhododendrons flower in late April and early May. The Plantation has 15 varieties of deciduous azalea and houses the national collection of 50...
1. Experience some of London’s most cutting edge design during Clerkenwell Design Week, the UK’s leading independent design festival. The annual, three-day festival hosts an array of the world's most notable design, architectural and creative names, plus a comprehensive programme of workshops, presentations, product launches and debates. Clerkenwell is the UK's foremost design community, boasting over 60 showrooms and a wealth of creative businesses and architects.
Clerkenwell Design Week, Clerkenwell, EC1 (020-3225 5200, clerkenwelldesignweek.com, Farringdon tube).
2. Enjoy a pint and good music at The Betsey Trotwood (named after a character in Dickens’s novel, David Copperfield), a large, characterful Victorian pub with good beer and friendly staff. The Betsey’s main claim to fame, however, is its entertainment, usually staged in the cellar gig room, including indie bands, alternative country and folk, plus comedy, drama, readings and disco nights.
The Betsey Trotwood, 56...
1. Brush up your tennis technique before Wimbledon at Bush Hill Park in Enfield which has ten free tennis courts, making it one of the largest free tennis centres in London. In general you can simply turn up and play, with no booking or payment required, although courts are sometimes used for coaching sessions and by local tennis leagues, so it’s advisable to check.
Bush Hill Park, Lincoln Rd, Enfield, EN1 1PS (tennisforfree.com, Bush Hill Park rail).
2. Take to the water at the Docklands Sailing & Watersports Centre at the west end of Millwall Outer Dock, in the heart of London’s Docklands. The award-winning, purpose-built facility is a Royal Yachting Association recognised training centre offering courses in sailing, windsurfing and power-boating, plus British Canoe Union approved courses in paddlesports.
Docklands Sailing & Watersports Centre, 235a Westferry Rd, E14 3QS (020-7537 2626, dswc.org, South Quay DLR).
1. Learn the art of mime at the Theatre de l’Ange Fou in Finsbury. Created in Paris in 1984 and relocated to London in 1995, the school is devoted to the development of the technique, growing repertoire and dramaturgy of corporeal mime, and offers a full range of professional training programmes.
Theatre de l'Ange Fou & International School of Corporeal Mime, Unit 207, Belgravia Workshops, 157-163 Marlborough Rd, N19 4NF (020-7263 9339, angefou.co.uk, Archway tube).
2. Try an unusual eating experience at Dans le Noir restaurant, where you eat entirely in the dark! You can choose between four menus – chef surprise (exotic and unusual), fish and seafood, meat or vegetarian – which are served in a ‘dark room’ by blind guides. The experience is designed to make you more aware of your other senses, such as taste and smell.
Dans le Noir, 30-31 Clerkenwell Green,...
1. Relax in Rembrandt Gardens, a peaceful spot with splendid views over Little Venice. The gardens are quite formal, consisting of lawns, shrubs and bedding displays, with beech, rowan and silver birch trees, plus a raised terrace and pathways leading down to the towpath. There are also wildlife areas, and on summer evenings you may see bats flitting about.
Rembrandt Gardens, Warwick Ave, W2 1XB(020-7641 5271, westminster.gov.uk > parks and open spaces, Warwick Ave tube, free.
2. See the world’s longest-running, live comedy show at the Canal Café Theatre, perched on the edge of the canal in Little Venice (above the Bridge House pub). NewsRevue has been running since 1979 and is a mix of sketches and songs that propels you through world news and current events at breakneck speed. It’s performed Thu-Sat at 9.30pm and Sundays at 9pm.
Canal Café Theatre, Delamere Terrace, Little...