Hyde Park, a great place on a Sunday morning

It’s summer in London, it’s a lovely Sunday morning, my sponsored half marathon is looming so what could be better than a full circuit of Hyde Park? It turned out to be an excellent idea and I zoomed round taking in all the sights in no time.
I saw the work going on to completely reinvigorate Kensington Palace and give it a grand garden entrance; the wonderful formal fountains on the north side of the park; people take a horse ride around the park, those jogging and more unusually those ski-ing! The Horse Guards were returning to their barracks and the Albert Hall and Albert Memorial were looking at their best. The photo in the order listed here and you can see what a wonderful morning it was!

After completing a full circuit I decided to treat myself to a visit to the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Each year this fine gallery holds a competition for the best design for its summer outdoor pavilion – this year’s competition was won by Peter Zumthor, a Swiss architect, with his design Hortus Conclusus, meaning Enclosed Garden. It has a plain dark exterior with several doors through to an interior garden and cafe via interior dark passageways. The garden is conceived as a peaceful place which is enclosed and protected. The cafe bustle somewhat disturbs the peace but it is an impressive and interesting structure. Here are some photos: of the Serpentine Gallery itself; the Pavilion exterior with people entering and a view taken further back to give more perspective; and, the interior garden.




London has great night life so I should mention a visit to a venue completely new to me – the Bush Hall in west London. As part of the inaugural London Blues Festival Ray Gelato was playing a set here and it was a great night. Ray was born close by but has had a long and illustrious career playing with many bands as well as his own Giants so he can put on a really fun show as the singing and saxophone playing lead man in a band with plenty of good brass. The hall itself is a star – a small ex theatre decorated in a wonderful Victorian music hall style and I’ll definitely keep my eyes open for future events there.








Bye for now





Party time – the big launch…

It’s been a busy week at It’s Your London not because of tourism but a big charity launch event I was organising. We held a fabulous party at the 20th Century Theatre, known as ‘Notting Hill’s best kept secret’, which used to be an active theatre with non other than Laurence Olivier making an appearance here in 1925! It was built around 1860 and Charles Dickens read his work from the magnificent stage so there were lots of good vibes around. We launched Arts Mentoring (http://www.artsmentoring.wordpress.com/), which is set up to send artists and performers to world with disadvantaged children around the world. The party was a blast with brilliant performances from Nina Conti and Monk, Tiger Lilly, Rebecca Poole, the Parlour Room and Ian Gray and thanks to all these fine folk for their support. Photos at: http://bit.ly/aQwhjZ . Phew – back to tourism….

The Royal College of Arts was holding its graduate exhibition, called ‘Show’, so we went to see what these talent BA and MA students were up to. Some good glass work, some interesting photos but overall not overwhelming – or was it just me?
We’ve had some beautiful weather so after ‘Show’ we wandered around Hyde Park by the Albert Memorial, which along with the Royal Albert Hall was built by Queen Victoria for her dearly loved and much missed consort Prince Albert. The memorial was given a face lift last year and you can see it here sparkling in the sun and fronted by 2 wonderful elephants.


The Victoria and Albert Museum (see the theme here!) is a wonderful place to visit for its permanent collections and special exhibitions. It is described as the world’s largest museum of art and design but it feels much more with amazing new galleries of medieval artifacts and the massive Cast Courts with plaster versions of huge Roman columns. Perhaps these do come under the art and design heading. I love their precious Ardabil carpet, completed in 1540 in Iran, which can only have lights on it for 10 minutes each hour and is one of the finest in the world. The ceramics are breath-taking and there are many contemporary items too, in fact it’s just wonderful and it’s free! To add to the fun on a good day, there’s a courtyard cafe and when we went it was packed with lunchers and paddling children.
A restaurant well worth a mention this week is El Pirata de Tapas on Westbourne Grove and I made yet another return trip as it is one of my local favourites, serving great tasting small plates at reasonable prices and is always packed. Another place worth telling you about is Coffee Plant on Portobello as people are often wandering up and down looking for a decent coffee. Try these guys- it’s not posh looking but the coffee’s good and they are nice people so that can’t be bad.

The football World Cup starts this Friday with England’s first game on Saturday versus the USA so it’ll be very tense and exciting. There’ll be more about how the World Cup hits London in next week’s blog.

Oh yes before I go, of course we need a few more elephants from the Elephant Parade….

Bye for now.