Winter Lights Festival in Canary Wharf

For its 5th year, Winter Lights returns in 2020 to Canary Wharf with some of the most imaginative and exciting international artists working with light art from 16th to 25th January.

State-of-the-art light technology, spectacular artworks, responsive installations and experiences. Here are some of the installations that we saw in 2019 and we can’t wait to see what will be up in 2020:

BIT.FALL BY JULIUS POPP

The speed at which information is sourced, exchanged and updated in our modern society is almost inconceivable and more ephemeral than ever before.

The work BIT.FALL translate this abstract process into an experience for the senses as an ever-changing cascade of words, derived from a live newsfeed on The Times website, falls down on a wall of water. Julius Popp’s BIT.FALL is part of Canary Wharf’s permanent art collection.

Germany

RECYCLISM BY OSKAR KRAJEWSKI /ART OF OK, CROSSRAIL PLACE, LEVEL O

Recyclism is a platform for artists and like-minded people who care about our global environment. Oskar’s sculptures are made almost entirely of recycled materials such as unwanted toys, obsolete electronics, plastic packaging or any everyday use objects. His pieces usher the viewer into illuminated, colourful and futuristic worlds.

Poland / UK

VENA LUMEN BY FONTYS VENA LUMEN TEAM, CROSSRAIL PLACE ROOF GARDEN, LEVEL -1

Vena Lumen means pulsing light. Take a seat on this stunning bench, place your hand on the sensor and watch it transform your heartbeat into dancing light.

The light illustrates the beauty of two lives colliding and joining together to become one with each other.

Come and discover more installations in the Isle of Dogs unexpected tour, that includes the light festival and a lovely walk to Greenwich. The ideal active end to a hectic day in the office!

Best Cultural Alternative Nights Out in London

There is something magical about London at night. Everything calms down, people start walking at a more relaxed pace, the London skyline lights up and you can admire its majestic beauty in its purest form.

From a relaxing walk along the Thames to a visit to a museum, to a great theatre show, discover some unique cultural activities that you can do after 6:00 pm, especially if you love art, theatre, sightseeing or politics.

Of course it is impossible to include everything in an article, so watch out for other related articles in the future, but we’ve started with an initial overview of some of the things we enjoy the most.

 

Late Night Theatre in London

With more than 230 theatres, London is definitely Europe’s capital for live entertainment. From musicals to comedy, to ballet, to opera the offer is endless. Here you will find some recommendations on what shows or venues to check out and how to book them, but if you are interested in any specific genres to get in touch and we will send more tailored advice!

Musicals

From iconic musicals like Le Miserable or Phantom of the Opera to family shows like the Lion King, Aladdin, Hamilton, Matilda or Harry Potter, to some of the most recent and successful ones like Tina Turner, or more satirical ones like The Book of Mormon, the choice is huge and it really depends on your taste and mood.

Buying Tickets

Surprise, surprise, unless you are interested in a specific musical that would likely sell out, buying your tickets online in advance is not your most convenient option. If you are flexible in your choice we recommend buying your tickets on the same day or the day before, according to what is available and do so either at TKTS in Leicester Square or on the app Today Tix. If you can, try and avoid weekends and go to the theatre from Monday till Thursday as you usually get better seats at a better price.

Theatre Experiences

If instead, you are looking for a different theatre experience, we’d recommend checking out immersive theatre shows. We will soon write an article specifically on this, but in the meantime, the best places to enjoy some great quality immersive shows are:

If you are a lover of Shakespeare a show at the Globe Theatre is a must.

Opera Experiences

For opera lovers, you can check out what is on at the Royal Opera House (tickets sell out pretty quickly) and for dance shows the Sadler’s Wells always offers some of the best dance shows in town. Natural history museum London

A Night at the Museum

Would you like to see some of London museums but are struggling to fit everything into a busy schedule? Well, you might be able to squeeze some museums in at night if you are lucky enough to be in London when some of the museums are open late. So let’s see which museums do late night opening and when.

Tate Modern

Opening hours: every Friday and Saturday until 10 pm Enjoy the Tate Modern’s art gallery and relax at its Terrace Bar with a nice cocktail or drink, with fewer tourists and students around.

National Portrait Gallery

Opening hours: every Friday until 9:00 pm Spend an evening amongst art and creativity and check out what special events are on.

Science Museum

Opening hours: every last Wednesday of the month until 10:00 pm. Different events are held monthly for adults only, so check them out and book your free ticket here.

Natural History Museum

Opening hours: every last Friday of the month until 10:00 pm. Come face-to-face with our ancestors and check what is on.

V&A

Opening hours: every last Friday of the month until 10:00 pm. The V&A late openings celebrate all aspects of contemporary visual culture and design through live performances, films, installations, debates, DJs and late-night exhibition openings.

Sir John Soane Museum

Opening hours: one candlelit opening a month. Home of one of London’s most famous architects, this is one of the most unique museums you will see in London. Booking is necessary and entry varies from £20 to £25.

Dennis Severs’ House

Opening hours: silent Night every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5 pm to 8 pm (closed all of July). Go back in history in this unique visit to a Victorian house. Smells, sounds, ambience, this is a really unique experience. Make sure you book your slot in advance as availability is very limited.

Scenic Walks

On a nice evening there is nothing better than just walking across London at night. We’ve put together for you some of our favourite spots to enjoy at night.

Waterloo Bridge

This is for sure our favourite view in London. No matter how many times we see it, it never stops to amaze us! On one side of the bridge you can enjoy views on the City of London, St Paul, the Shard and Canary Wharf, on the other side you can admire Westminster, Charing Cross and the London Eye. So if you are in Central London make sure you walk across Waterloo Bridge and enjoy this fantastic view.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge and the Tower of London are stunning during the day but even more at night. Go for a walk from London Bridge, past the Hay’s Galleria, London City Hall and Tower Bridge. If you then cross Tower Bridge and turn right you will find St Katherine’s Dock, a lovely quiet dock where you can also find some nice bars, restaurants and pubs.

View Points

If instead, you like to see London from above the best viewpoints you can get if you are around the City are from The Shard, Sky Garden, 120 Fenchurch Street and The Terrace at Madison. Another 360 degrees views that we really recommend, both during the day and at night is from the Bokan Restaurant and Terrace in Canary Wharf. For beautiful sunset views from a hill instead, we’d recommend Primrose Hill and the Greenwich Meridien.

Should you wish to explore London by night with a private local guide we would be happy to arrange a tour for you, so do not hesitate to get in touch.

8 Exceptional Alternatives to the Chelsea Flower Show in London

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It’s almost here, the most awaited flower show in London is starting on 21st May. Whether you will be attending the Chelsea Flower Show and are looking for related events and places about gardening or flowers in London, or if, as a flower-lover, you are just looking for alternatives to visit, here’s a list of our 8 favourite must-see floral places in London!

Belgravia in Bloom

20 – 25 May 2019 Free entry

One of the most remarkable floral displays in London, Belgravia in Bloom takes place from the 20th to the 25th May around the elegant and refined neighbourhood of Belgravia.

Inspired by the Victorian-era concept where secret messages were sent through flowers, bouquets and potted plants you will see 50 installations created by some of the best florists in town, including Moyses Stevens and Neill Strain, to demonstrate the meaning behind the blooms.

Mayfair Flower Show at Sketch

16 – 26 May

The famous No. 9 Conduit Street is being transformed into a series of immersive gardens and beautiful flower displays. From its facade to its Parlour to its famous bathroom pods you will be able to admire the work of top florists such as Thierry Boutemy, Carly Rogers, Jam Jar, Ricky Paul, Figa & Co, Tony Marklew and Rebel Rebel. This year’s theme is all about celebrating springtime in the city.

Covent Garden in Bloom

15 May – 5 June

Another must-visit floral destination is Covent Garden. Celebrating its heritage as London’s original flower market you can find here the biggest number of floral installations in London this Spring. From pop-up floral activations to fully decorated stores, to botanical menus in dining spots make sure you don’t miss it!

Chelsea Physic Garden

Opening times

  • Monday – Friday, 11 am – 6 pm
  • Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm

The oldest botanic garden in London, this gorgeous garden used to be a world leader in natural medicine after being opened in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to grow plants to be used as medicines. Within its walls, 5,000 different edible medicinal plants grow including the world’s most northerly outdoor grapefruit tree. Its rock garden is the oldest English garden devoted to alpine plants and also the largest fruiting olive tree in Britain is here.

Kew Gardens

Opening Times

  • Monday – Thursday, 10 am – 7 pm (last entry 6 pm)
  • Friday – Sunday, 10 am – 8 pm (last entry 7pm)

A World Heritage Site, Kew Gardens has the largest and most diverse botanical collection in the world. An absolute must for lovers of gardens and flowers, consider taking almost a full day to explore it properly as it is huge. It has more than 30,000 different kinds of plants and over seven million preserved plant specimens in its herbarium. Make sure you see the Treetop Walkway, the Palm House, the Waterlily House, Kew Palace and the Royal Kitchens, Redwood Grove and of course all its beautiful gardens.

Hampton Court

Opening Times

Monday – Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm

Apart from the beautiful palace, Hampton Court boasts its world-famous gardens, which include 60 acres of spectacular formal gardens and 750 acres of parkland, all set within a loop of the River Thames. Venture into the oldest maze, see its record-breaking grapevine, enjoy three National Plant Collections and over one million flowering bulbs in the Wilderness. Here you can also spot a huge variety of wildlife, including the descendants of Henry VIII’s deer herd. Please calculate at least half a day to see everything or even a full day if you want to see it in a more relaxed way. From Hampton Court, you could go to Kingston by boat or to Richmond for even more nature, deer and beautiful scenic panoramas.

Holland Park, Kyoto Garden

Free Entry

The perfect place to unwind, go for a stroll and admire beautiful plants, flowers and wildlife, Holland Park is such a unique nature gem close to Notting Hill and Kensington. A picturesque waterfall flows into a peaceful rock pool, where koi carp dart beneath the surface and peacocks stalk past on the banks. You’re not in a Japanese fairytale, although you might feel this way. So if you haven’t been, make sure you take some time in your agenda to go and visit this magical park. It won’t take more than 1 hour to visit the park, but even if you just want to walk through it, it is absolutely worthwhile.

Richmond Park, Isabella Plantation

Free Entry Opening Times: Monday – Sunday, 7:30 am – 8:15 pm

A true floral paradise, The Isabella Plantation is a 40-acre woodland garden set within a Victorian woodland plantation planted in the 1830s in Richmond Park. First opened to the public in 1953, you can admire its azaleas along the ponds and streams, which are at their peak of flower in late April and early May. Enjoy a large collection of Rhododendrons and Camellias, exotic plants and many other rare and unusual trees and shrubs. The plantation is set within the gorgeous Richmond park where you can enjoy some lovely walks amongst herds of deer and stunning nature. We also recommend visiting Petersham Nursery for a drink, some food or just to visit its lovely nursery (if you are around Covent Garden check out their shop and restaurant there too).

And for unique nature immersive experiences in London check out nature walking tours.