Tag Archives: Things to do in London

Pancake Day Race venues in London 2016

It’s Shrove Tuesday on February 9th aka Pancake Day – here is a list of Pancake Day Race venues in London 2016.

pancake day races 2016
Pancake Day 2016

aka Pancake Day, it’s also that time of year when folks, from city gents to MPs, don their aprons, dress up in silly costumes, let their hair down and with frying pans at the ready…. race to the finishing line flipping pancakes!


Scenes of Pancake Day at the Guildhall from 2013

scenes from the 2013 Pancake Race at Guildhall, City of London for shrove tuesday
St Paul’s Cathedral in the ‘running’ for First Prize for best costume; 2013 Pancake Day Races

A sight that should not be missed. You are spoilt for choice in London, with a number of races going on in different areas, you needn’t miss out!  I went to watch at Guildhall in 2013 and it was highly amusing….albeit painful for some who fell (thankfully nothing broken so far as I know).


pancake day london march 2014 shrove tuesday
Borough Market, Southwark

The Better Bankside Pancake Day Race, within Borough Markets’ Jubilee Market, 8 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TL (off Borough High Street).

Tuesday 9th February 2016 Starts 12:30pm. FREE to watch the races.

Nearest tube: London Bridge

pancake day london march 2014 shrove tuesday
Old Spitalfields Market

The Great Spitalfields Pancake Race, Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6QL

Tuesday 9th February 2016. Starts 12:30pm. FREE to watch the races.

Teams of 4 will race up and down Dray Walk to raise funds for London’s Air Ambulance.

Nearest tube: Liverpool Street.

pancake day races at greenwich market
Greenwich Market – even on a quiet day…we still Love Greenwich

Greenwich Market Pancake Race, Off College Approach, Greenwich, SE10 9HZ

Saturday 13th February Starts 12PM. FREE to watch the races.

Teams of 4 will flip their way through a series of heats.  Donations to The Sick Children’s Trust.

Nearest Tube: Cutty Sark (DLR)

pancake races 2016 london
Parliamentary Pancake Races 2014

The ‘High-profile’ Parliamentary Pancake Race, Victoria Tower Gardens, Millbank, SW1P 3JA

Tuesday 9th February. Starts 10AM. FREE to watch the races.

Teams of MPs, Lords and members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery will pit their tossing skills in teams as they race to raise funds for the charity Rehab: helping people with disabilities, brain and spinal injuries and mental health difficulties. http://www.rehab.ie/pancake-race/index.aspx

Nearest tube: Westminster.

pancake day london march 2014 shrove tuesday
Leadenhall Market, City of London

The Leadenhall Market Pancake Race, Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 1LR

Tuesday 9th February. Starts 12pm-2pm. The legendary Pancake Races at Leadenhall Market starts at The Lamb Tavern. FREE to watch the races.

Nearest tube: Bank, Monument. 

pancake day race at guildhall
one of the contestants

The Worshipful Company of Poulter’s Pancake Races, Guildhall Yard, Gresham Street, City of  London, EC2

Tuesday 9th February 2016. Starts 12PM. FREE to watch the races.
With dozens of teams representing the Livery Companies, this colourful inter-livery event was inaugurated in 2004, and includes competitors running in their regalia and/or fancy dress.


Nearest tube: Bank, St Paul’s

more london pancake races 2016
Pancake Races at More London 2016

More London: The Flipping Marvellous Pancake Race, between The Scoop at More London and Tooley Street. 9th February Time: 12.30 – 2pm. Free to watch

Nearest station: London Bridge



The annual Pancake Races are another of the UK’s quirky traditions that persist year after year….and thank goodness for that, what would we do without them.

Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/

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What is London

Christmas Past at The Geffrey Museum

Each year, the absolutely wonderful Geffrye Museum, the museum of the home, has an exhibition called ‘Christmas Past’. I visited Christmas Past at the Geffrye Museum a couple of years ago and found it to be utterly charming, the perfect panacea to the cold dark days……

christmas past at the geffrye museum
Christmas tree at The Geffrye Museum

Here is a little peek at some of the rooms set out in chronological order.  The sets are amazing, each has a storyboard explaining how the parlour and tables would have been set up and why for that particular period.

christmas past at thegeffrye museum
Events 1800-1900

In the earlier settings you will notice that Christmas trees and decorations were not standard.  They were first introduced during the Victorian era by German-born Prince Albert; husband to Queen Victoria, who thought having a tradition from his home would be a good idea.

christmas past at the geffrye museum
A painting depicting Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on their wedding day

Holly, Mistletoe and Ivy were also introduced over the years and have now become along with puddings, the now traditional roast with all the trimmings, gifts, tinsel and lights, a staple of Christmas in modern homes.

christmas past at the geffrye museum
a modern Christmas tree

No booking is required and it’s free to visit, but like most London museums they do depend on visitors donations.

This year’s exhibition opened on 24th November and runs till 3 January 2016 (closed on 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January).

christmas past at the geffrye museum
The Geffrye Museum; museum of the home

Look out for the Twelfth Night ‘Farewell to Christmas’ event on 6 January at 3:30pm to 5pm…also free, and enjoy the traditional ‘Burning of the Holly and Ivy’. There will be carol singing, stories about Epiphany and a taste of mulled wine and Twelfth Night cake.  Please note that this event takes place in the garden, so wrap up warm!

Visit http://www.geffrye-museum.org.uk/whatson/christmas-past/ for more information on the events and details of their address etc. In fact, why not download our FREE 3 Days in London App and keep up to date on this and other events; where it is and how to get there.
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QRB Gloriana takes her place in the Lord Mayor’s Show

Yes!!! The glorious QRB Gloriana takes her place in the Lord Mayor’s Show again for the 3rd year.  A wonderful opportunity to see this beautiful craft on the River Thames on Saturday 14th November 2015.

gloriana lord mayors show 2014 (2) - lms 14
QRB Gloriana at the 2014 Lord Mayor’s Show

2015 is the 800th anniversary of the Lord Mayor’s Show that began back in 1215 at the time of King John and Magna Carta and hasn’t missed a year since Wellington’s funeral blocked the whole city in 1852 (it which time it was postponed).

When the Lord Mayor’s journey began, London and Westminster were two small towns separated by open countryside and the quickest and safest way to get from one to the other was to travel up the Thames, and for the first few hundred years the Lord Mayor’s Show did just that.  Then somewhere along the way the tradition was discontinued, although the Lord Mayor’s Show continued as it has for nigh on 800 years, but on land rather than river.

the lord mayors show london
The Lord Mayor’s Show, and annual London event dating back nearly 800 years

A few centuries later and inspired by a Canelletto painting, it was decided to built a brand new craft for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012…..and so the the QRB Gloriana was launched.

diamond jubilee, queens jubilee, thames river pageant, river pageant june 2012 route, royal barge gloriana, Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant ,2012
Royal Barge Gloriana bearing the Royal Coat of Arms (although it heads up the Pageant, none of the Royal family will travel in the Gloriana)

Since then the Gloriana has featured in the 2012 London Olympics, the Lord Mayor’s Show in 2012, the Tudor Pull in April 2013/2014/2015, the Great River Race 2014 and more recently the Magna Carta celebrations in June 2015 and Open House weekend in September 2015 at the Boat Show in St Katherine Docks, as well as many, many other events on the river.

Gloriana - St Katharine Docks - Thames Festival 2013
the lovely Gloriana – QRB Rowbarge

This year she will once again take to the waves;  for the 2015 FLOTILLA, carrying the new Lord Mayor of the City of London, downstream from the City of Westminster to the City of London.

“After several centuries, the Lord Mayor’s flotilla is back in the water having moved from river barges, to horseback to coaches. The new Lord Mayor will travel in QRB Gloriana, the traditional Thames barge made famous in the Jubilee celebrations, with an accompanying procession of 24 traditional Thames boats from London’s livery companies and port authorities.

The Lord Mayor will board QRB Gloriana in Pimlico at 08:30 then the flotilla will make its way downstream, passing under a number of bridges along the way….Vauxhall, Lambeth, Westminster, Waterloo, Blackfriars, London and Tower bridges before finally disembarking at RNR HMS President, just below St Katherine Docks. The journey will take about an hour, and from HMS President the Lord Mayor is carried by car and will reach Mansion House ready to join the procession to the Royal Courts”.

lord mayors show 2010, The Royal Courts of Justice
the coach and horses at rest front of The Royal Courts of Justice

TIMETABLE (please note these are as always with the river approximate times…the tides sometimes move a tad quicker than expected. If you want to see the Gloriana plan on getting to your preferred vantage spot earlier than the times listed below).

  • 08:30: Lord Mayor boards QRB Gloriana at Westminster Boating Base, Pimlico
  • 08:35: Flotilla sets off
  • 09:00 Flotilla reaches Waterloo Bridge
  • 09:20 Flotilla reaches London Bridge
  • 09:25 Tower Bridge opens in salute (this is definitely a must see!!)
  • 09:35 Lord Mayor disembarks at RNR HMS President

Be sure to diarise the date: 14 November 2015 to watch the Lord Mayor’s Flotilla as it processes along the River Thames, once more a feature of the Lord Mayor’s Show.

lord mayors show 2012
and finally….what we have all been waiting for…The Lord Mayor comes by in the State Coach…hooray!!

As mentioned before, 2015 is the 800th anniversary of the Lord Mayor’s Show and will be bigger than ever with 200 ‘floats’ and over 3 and a half miles long: 7,000 people from all over the world in the procession, including 180 horses, 140 vehicles, 70 floats, a vintage steamroller, a Spitfire, a Viking ship, Masai dancers, Taiko drummers, Shaolin kung-fu dancers, a grand piano pulled by bicycles, Napoleon and a tank;  and the new City of London Lord Mayor  travelling in the golden State Coach. For more information about the Lord Mayor’s Show visit their website.

You can plan on using any number of tube stations, depending from where you would like to watch the procession.  Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk

Details of the Lord Mayor’s Show and other events are listed on the 3 Days in London App….so remember to download your FREE #3DIL App today

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A Band concert at Guildhall

A few days ago I attended a Band concert at Guildhall.

the bands of the royal yeomanry and hac
Guildhall on a summer evening in London

The band was made up of members from both The Band of The Royal Yeomanry and the HAC Honourable Artillery Company,

the bands of the royal yeomanry and hac
The Standards of the HAC and The Royal Yeomanry

who played a wonderful selection of tunes, as well as one of my absolute favourite tunes ‘An English Country Garden’ a song I have loved since I was about 6 years old when my mother brought the 7-single home and played it for my sister and I (yes, I’m that old 😉 ).

the bands of the royal yeomanry and hac
a concert at Guildhall with members of the HAC and The Royal Yeomanry

After a most enjoyable evening assisted by a wonderfully mild and balmy summer evening, the concert ended with the National Anthem ‘God Save the Queen’, I recall as a younger me, before SA became a Republic, having to stand at the cinema prior to the start of the film and sing the anthem….now I live here and get to see the Queen. :)

queen elizabeth II diamond jubilee, diamond jubilee london, thames pageant
Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh at Trooping the Colour

The Band of The Royal Yeomanry was formed in 1961, but can trace their history back to 1548 with the raising of the Inns of Court Regiment.  Following amalgamation with The City of London Yeomanry and further reorganisation of the Territorial Army in 1967, the band became the Royal Yeomanry. They have maintained their distinctive ceremonial uniform. They were recently granted ‘State Band’ status which enables them to undertake State Ceremonial Public Duties at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and Windsor Palace.

buckingham palace home of her majesty the queen
The Union Jack being flown at Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace, London

In recent years the band has performed as far afield as North America, Africa, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.  More recently the band represented the Army Reserve and provided musical support to WW2 commemorative events in Normandy in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and international heads of State.

in flanders fields the poppies blow
In Flanders fields the poppies blow….commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1

I’ve uploaded a video of the finale of the evening; the National Anthem ‘God Save The Queen’ for your enjoyment

I’ll add a fuller video shortly with snippets from the evening. Further scenes from the evening

For more information about this event (for 2016) and many other events in London remember to download your FREE #3DIL App today

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Guildhall Yard Market

A couple of months ago I read about the new food market held in Guildhall Yard, so obviously I had to visit and find out more for myself, so on Thursday last week I headed into London for my usual walkabout and also to visit the market.

Guildhall Yard Market city of london
Adopt a Duck – Guildhall Yard Market

Guildhall Yard and surrounding area is one of my favourite places in the City of London so a visit is always a pleasure. The market is made up of 20 stalls offering a wide range of products from delicious food to beautiful and quirky arts and crafts.

Guildhall Yard Market city of london
they are adorable….I loved the sheep

I meander around the stalls till the aroma of freshly cooked dumplings assailed my olifactory senses….LOL The Korean stall had a wonderful selection of traditional foods on offer, but I resisted temptation and ordered 6 freshly deep-fried vegetarian dumplings….oh my word they were delicious.  I can so recommend them for a delicious snack.

After that I had a look around at the craft stalls and ignored the cake stalls……they all looked way to yummy. In all a great venue for something different. I believe that there will be anther 3 markets in 2015 and who knows, perhaps they’ll become a regular feature!

Guildhall Yard Market city of london
delectable delicacies – Guildhall Yard Market

The next market is Thursday 10th September so be sure to look out for it. I have uploaded the information to the 3 Days in London App so be sure to download our FREE app and keep up to date with this and other events in London. If you do happen to attend the next market be sure to leave me a comment and tell me what you think of it.
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Guildhall Yard Market, off Gresham Street, City of London EC2V


Nearest station: Bank
Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk

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While you are there:
Guildhall Art Gallery & Roman Amphitheatre
Visit St Lawrence Jewry Church
Bank of England Museum