Lovely and Alternative Things To Do In London | Places I Go
If you can dream it… chances are somewhere in London they’re doing it!
Lazy Sunday’s rummaging around Gods Own Junkyard, secret inner city gardens, shopping in shipping containers, or getting pissed in some old toilets! If you can dream it… chances are somewhere in the Big Smoke they’re doing it! And that’s what makes London one of the most wild and wonderful cities in the world!
Here’s my pic of this summer’s hip, hidden gems and some personal favourites of my own x
Sketch– Skip over the hop scotch at the entrance, and wander into the beautifully eccentric, artsy playground that is Sketch. Dripping with quirky features at every corner, from their ‘somewhat infamous’ egg shaped toilet cubicles, moving wallpaper, and dusting french maids, to their newly revamped Afternoon Tea. Decked out by comical Turner prize artist David Shrigley, and set within a saccharine pink paradise; Sketch’s Afternoon Tea is a welcome alternative to the traditionally stuffy version. Featuring an expansive, salon style display of Shirgley’s black and white illustrations all the way from the walls to the china, plus three tiers of goodies which pair perfectly with a champagne! Sketch’s chef’s supply cakes, pastries and macaroons to some of the most prestigious spots across the city… so this is a perfect chance to eat an unlimited supply!
Barbican Garden Room- Housed and situated on the third level of the Barbican lays one of London’s truly best kept secrets. While a day at the uber cool Barbican is already unspoken perfection for culture lovers, city escapers and myself included, the epic masterpiece that is it’s Garden Room is a secret oasis even seasoned Londoner’s don’t know about!
Open only on Sundays (and equally as difficult to find within the 70’s concrete deco building as any of its other spaces) the Barbican’s Garden Room is truly like nothing else. Take all the best bits of Kew Gardens, mixed with the futuristic city backdrop, flyover walkways and viewing points, sprawling palms, and usually one lone security guard , and you have the perfect spot to get lost in and explore all Sunday afternoon! And its Free!
Gods Own Junkyard – If you’ve ever seen a twinkling neon sign in Soho, in a film, on tv, a photoshoot, or an elaborate electric window display; chances are it belongs to Chris Bracey. The late artist is something of London royalty, and now you can visit him and his son’s workspace, prop shop and junkyard. Have a cappuccino at the newly opened cafe, visit the onsite brewery, or sit out back in the beer garden and enjoy the lights! Instagram your heart out…and hopefully take home a neon sign or two!
Dishoom Brunch– The scrambled eggs or sausage nan sandwich at Dishoom is something hangover Sunday dreams could possibly be built up on. Always worth getting up for, even despite the buzzkill you might get from possibly waiting in a queue to snag a seat…but nonetheless nothing their spicy bloody mary or pipping hot chai can’t fix. The Shoreditch location is ideal to go for a little post brunch walk around Columbia Road Flower market, or check out the street art or solitude of Red Church Street. There’s the occasional exhibition at London Newcastle Gallery just down the road or if you’ve stuffed your face and just need some downtime, another favourite spot of mine is Barbour & Parlour for a cold pressed juice and a film; in house at The Electric.
Rooftop Film Club | Bussey Building & Franks – From cinematic cult classics, retro guilty pleasure’s to pure cheese… the Rooftop Film Club has the title of being the UK’s #1 outdoor cinema for a reason. Take in the breathtaking view at the Peckham Rye location, snuggle into a deck chair and blanket, and get ready to enjoy everything from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dirty Dancing, Lock Stock, Pulp Fiction to Hitchcock if your lucky enough to snap up a ticket! Skip across the road to the painfully hip Frank’s and drink campari with the ‘cool kids’ afterwards, or head downstairs for a boogie in the Bussey. Grab a slice at pizza joint Forza Win, or glass of wine in slick and low key The Nines. Better yet, get drunk and do it all!
Four Quarters– London’s version of Brooklyn’s hip arcade/bar ‘Barcade’ is open for business. While I’m forever loyal to the Willamsburg hangout (not only for the amount of points and quarters I’ve contributed ) I’m extremely excited to become a regular fixture at it’s new London counterpart Four Quarters! Revel in the nostalgia of ‘Pac Man’ , kick your friends ass at ‘Street Fighter’ or cut some shapes at ‘Tetris’ … all whilst enjoying a craft beer, a hot dog, and some good old retro americana.
Trishas – Its widely known among friends that if I ever go missing you’ll probably find me in Trishas. The Soho establishment (known formerly as The New Evaristo Club) is beyond an institution. If you can manage to find it, you’re in for a great night! Walk through the dodgy looking blue doorway, head down the equally un-alluring staircase and prepare to meet some of London’s most colourful characters…most likely Trisha’s longtime devoted regulars. Theres a scattering of tables and chairs, pictures of boxers, mafia types, Italian football teams and Trisha’s holiday snaps, a small blue fairy lit courtyard outback and some pretty basic toilets. The bartender can often be found sipping wine and playing Abba Gold on a skipping CD, while a Staffordshire bullterrier sits at the bar begging for crisps. I once went on a night where the whole bar sang Happy Birthday every hour to one of the most popular regulars…which pretty much sums the vibe up. Sometimes there’s a DJ or a band, often the mix for drinks come’s out of a plastic pop bottle and is flat, you can easily wind up dancing and stumble out at 5am, and its by far one of the most lovable, complete dive bars left in Soho.
57 Greek St, London W1D 3DX
020 7437 9536
Pop Brixton- I’ve always been a lover of going down south, and now even the trendsetters of the East are following suit. Hot on the tales of Shoreditch’s popular ‘shipping container mall’ Boxpark, comes it’s newly opened South London location ; Pop Brixton. Shop Pop’s cute and well curated selection of independents, drink hand made cocktails, eat from some of the cities hottest street food traders, or just hang out and enjoy your weekend at the market made up entirely out of shipping containers. Cleverly stacked and buzzing with ever changing pop-ups, bars, events, yoga, live music and much much more!
Words by Tracy Kawalik
Photos by Tracy Kawalik, The Barbican, Sketch and WC