11 Things You Didn’t Know About Brixton

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11 Things You Didn’t Know About Brixton

For years Brixton has been one of London’s best kept secrets. A bohemian neighbourhood absolutely bursting with art, music, culture and fabulous food. Brixton has had a huge cultural and artistic impact on the world as this is where David Bowie, Adele, Danny Kirwin of Fleetwood Mac, and two members of The Clash, called this part of London home.

Market

If you want to get face-to-face with unparalleled street art, delicious market food, and some of the quirkiest locales in town, check out our friends and Subculture tours! But to occupy your time before you take the tour, here is our list of 12 things you didn’t know about Brixton!

1. Brixton has a restaurant staffed entirely by prisoners

Billed as “a dining experience delivering changed,” The Clink Restauraat Her Majesty’s Prison, Brixton is staffed entirely by prisoners who live there. Prisoners are eligible to earn credits towards a National Vocational Qualification in Hospitality, Catering and Customer Service. This programme equips inmates with skills and qualifications to be used as soon as they are released. As far as reducing the risk of reoffending, the programme has an 87.5% success rate!

2. Electric Avenue is located in Brixton

The first market street to be lit by electricity, Electric Avenue was built in the 1880’s. The street was later immortalised in Eddy Grant’s 1983 hit, “Electric Avenue” which reached No. 2 on the Singles Charts in both the U.K. and the U.S.

3. Brixton has produced a Mayor of London as well as a Prime Minister

Ken Livingstone, the very first Mayor of London from 2000 – 2008 grew up in the Brixton area. As did John Major, Prime Minister from 1990 – 1997.

4. Brixton has its’ own currency

Known as the Brixton Pound, this currency was first launched in September 2009. The idea is that this money, spendable only in Brixton, encourages spenders to shop locally. It is estimated that the Brixton Pound circulates through the local community three times longer than through national chains.

Currency comes in B£1, B£5, B£10 and B£20 denominations and are decorated with famous Brixtonian figures and places such as David Bowie, Electric Avenue and the Brixton Murals.

Bowie

5. London’s ultimate Afro-Caribbean Market is here in Brixton

Although Brixton Markets sells goods from all over the world, it is primarily known for it’s wide range of food and goods from Africa and the Caribbean. The Market is both open air in the street (the famous “Electric Avenue”) as well as covered market arcades holding dozens and dozens of independent shops.

6. The Tate Library in Brixton is one of the first free libraries in London

Built in 1893 entirely with funds donated by Sir Henry Tate, the Tate Library was one of the first free public libraries opened in our capital city. It’s also worth noting that the money Sir Tate donated to create the library came from his massive success as a sugar merchant. Tate is given credit as being the first person to create a sugar cube and, for this reason, Tate & Lyle sugar is still a staple in many British households!

7. Between 1910 – 1915 nine cinemas were built in Brixton, including one of the first purpose built movie-theatres in the country

Most of Brixton’s cinemas were constructed underneath rail arches running through the area, with trains hiding to/from Victoria, Waterloo and London Bridge Stations. One of these cinemas, The Ritzy Picturehouse is widely regarded as one of the first cinema built specifically for film in the UK. And out of all the Brixton theatres, the Ritzy is the only one that still stands today.

8. Brixton has been a cultural meeting point for centuries 

The earliest evidence of human habitation in the Brixton area comes from the ruins of Roman roads that ran through this area into the Roman port of Chichester. In the 11th century, the area was given the name ‘Brixistane’ in reference to a type of stone placed here: Brihtsige. The stones here were meeting points for communities in the near area which means Brixton has been a popular neighbourhood for nearly 1,000 years!

9. London’s only cannabis festival was previously held in Brixton

Ceasing in 2005, the JayDay Cannabis Festival used to be held in Brixton at Brockwell Park, organised by the Cannabis Coalition as a movement to lobby for the legalisation of marijuana. Although the festivals were always peaceful, Lambeth Council refused to hold the festival in 2005 owing to the continued illegality of cannabis in the UK.

10. The Splash Festival highlights some of London’s best up-and-coming acts

A festival still taking place in Brixton is the Splash Festival. Held on the first Sunday of August every year, the festival celebrates the independence of Jamaica and Jamaican culture. Local up and coming R&B artists, rappers, singers and dancers perform centre stage and occasionally these acts make it onto the international stage: Katy B headlined in 2010!

11. Brixton’s history is painted here

In a series of murals painted by local artists in Brixton, the colourful history of this area is carefully painted out. Highlighting events, people and places that help to form the Brixton neighbourhood, the murals are regarded as some of the finest works of street art in all of London.

Parrots

Reviewing the Best London Helicopter Flights and Tours

Posted by & filed under London.

This post is a review of your options for the best London helicopter rides and tours.  Obviously we love to see London by foot, but sometimes it’s fun to get a totally different view! If you’ve ever wanted to get a birds-eye view of our favourite city, then check out our guide below for the best helicopter tours in town!

 

LONDON PLEASURE FLIGHTS

These guys know their stuff: the pilots working here have been flying over London for the past 10 years! London Pleasure flights take guests along the River Thames from the City Airport all the way down to the Houses of Parliament. Tours begin in easy-to-reach Essex and depart on pre-selected dates throughout the year.

 

 

  • Tour Duration: 30 Minutes
  • Cost: £125.00 per person

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Soho Food Tour Free Tours by Foot London

A Taste of Soho and Chinatown London

Posted by & filed under London.

Consistently ranked one of the world’s finest neighbourhoods for food lovers, Soho is a must for any foodie during their visit to London. Steeped in over 300 years of history, Soho is beloved by locals and tourists alike, all drawn to the area for its abundant food options available at many different price points.

Be sure to check out our full list of guided and self-guided London food tours.

This vast foodie area can be overwhelming on one’s own, so join our Soho tour and you’ll discover mouthwatering snacks and sweets that hail from all over the globe. Your guide will introduce you to the delights of classic British food, Chinatown bakeries, Spanish and Basque tapas and Jamaican flavours, all without leaving London! Taste local oysters, authentic Beijing dumplings and so much more as you learn about Soho’s scandalous past and immigrant histories. With your guide’s help, you’ll design your own personalised tasting menu and experience Soho like a local.

 

Bangers and Mash Soho London Food Tour

 

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London Downton Abbey banner

Downton Abbey Tours and Locations

Posted by & filed under London.

Downton Abbey exploded onto our screens in 2010 and people from all over the world watched the lives and exploits of the Crowley Family and all the characters surrounding them. Although Downton Abbey finished airing last December, it’s still as popular as ever. For visitors who have traveled to the U.K. hoping to see some Downton Abbey locations and inspirations, here is our helpful guide to London’s Downton Abbey connections!


Downton Abbey Tours in London

Downton Abbey Day Trip Tours from London

Self-Guided Tour of Downton Abbey in London


Downton Abbey Walking Tours in London

Though most Downton Abbey Tours take you out of London and into the countryside where the show is filmed, there is one company offering a walking tour of the city. Brit Movie Tours visit all the major sites where the TV series was filmed during its stint in London. Compared to other Downton Abbey tours, this is a steal, so definitely check it out if you’re a big fan of the show, but don’t have the time or funds to take a day trip. Also, as you’ll probably notice, most Downton Abbey Tours to Highclere Castle or Blenheim Palace are sold out months in advance so this tour is a great alternative if you can’t get tickets for the day trip tours. 


Brit Movie Tours – Downton Abbey Tour of London

If you want to reenact a bit of Downton Abbey during your trip to London, then you should consider taking a walking tour with Brit Movie Tours! Though this tour won’t take you to Highclere Castle or Blenheim Palace, you will get to walk in the footsteps of your favorite characters as they moved through London. Some of the well known places that are visited include the hotel where Lady Mary and Lord Gillingham have their secret liaison, the spot where Branson first confesses his love to Lady Sybil, and many others. The tour is approximately 2.5 hours and starts from Temple Station. 

When: Fridays at 10:30am  

Cost: Adults (16 years+) – £12, Children (3 – 15 years) –  £10

Free Tours by Foot guests also receive a discount on Brit Movie Tours by using promo code AGTFTF100 for their Downton Abbey tours! (or any of their tours!)

Reviews of Brit Movie Tours

Though their day trips to Downton Abbey locations are more popular, many also love the Downton Abbey Walking Tour of London offered by Brit Movie Tours. Several guests comment on how engaging their guide was, as well as how much they enjoyed the pace of the tour. One guest even writes: “Brit Movie Tours does not disappoint. I wont hesitate to be a returning customer.” So far, there are no negative reviews for this particular tour. The overall TripAdvisor rating for all of their tours is 4.5 stars. 
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London Night Tours

10 Tipps London bei Nacht

Posted by & filed under London.

London ist eine wunderbare Stadt in der es Tag und Nacht viel zu entdecken gibt. Wenn in London der Tag zu Ende geht, hört der Spass noch lange nicht auf. Hier sind unsere Top 10 Tipps was man in London bei Nacht erleben kann.

Im Winter empfehlen wir zudem unseren Blogpost: Wo geht man am besten Schlittschuhlaufen in London?

++Unsere Westminster Tour jetzt auch auf Deutsch!+++

Besuch einer West End Theatershow

Theater stageLondon hat eine sehr belebte Theaterszene und ist weltweit dafür berühmt. Ein Besuch einer Theatervorführung im Stadtbezirk West End, ist ein echtes Londoner Erlebnis. Vergünstigte Eintrittspreise machen das Ganze erschwinglich, und die Auswahl an Shows ist nicht zu verachten. Ein Besuch im Theater in London ist es immer wert. [Hier haben wir Tipps wie man günstig an Tickets kommt! Discount Theatre Tickets]

 

Endecke den Nachthimmel im Hampstead Observatorium

Hampstead Heath ist der höchstgelegenste Ort in London und ein wunderbarer Ort um Londons Silhouette zu bestaunen – ob bei Tag oder Nacht. Für alle die sich für den Sternenhimmel interessieren, bietet die Hampstead Scientific Society die Nutzung ihrer Teleskope an. Jeweils freitags und samstags von 20-22 Uhr im Herbst und Winter stehen Besuchern die Tore offen für ein unvergessliches Erlebnis die Sterne über London zu betrachten.

Nimm an unseren Zahl-was-du-willst-Touren teil
Thames NightIm März und April bieten wir unsere Westminster Tour auf Deutsch um 17:30 Uhr an (siehe Kalender). Eine Stadtführung zu Fuss ist eine ausgezeichnete Möglichkeit London zu entdecken. Ob nun auf unserer deutschsprachigen Westminster Tour oder auf unseren anderen Touren auf Englisch, wie zum Beispiel der Dark Side of London Geisertour geht, oder unserer Jack the Ripper Tour, es gibt immer was zu erleben und lernen.

 

Nimm an einem Fledermaus Spaziergang teil

Wer hätte das geahnt: London hat einen offiziellen Fledermausverein. Wenig bekannt aber unter Eingeweihten sehr beliebt, bietet die „Bat Group“ regelmäßig Spaziergange, Veranstaltungen oder Kurse zum Thema Fledermäuse an. Der Verein wird von Freiwilligen Mitarbeitern getragen, die ihr Interesse an den kleinen Fledermäusen auf sichere Weise teilen wollen.

 

Schau der Schlüsselzeremonie im London Tower zu

London tower at nightJeden Abend wird in Londons Tower eine alte Tradition von Neuem wiederbelebt: die Schlüsselzeremonie. Riesige Schlüsselanhalter, geheime Passwörter, die Ordnungstruppen des Towers die sogenannten Beefeater, und Marschmusik, sind unabdinglich wenn der Tower jeden Abend offiziell geschlossen und verriegelt wird. Die Zeremonie ist ein besonderes Londoner Erlebnis. Zuschauen kostet nichts, es muss sich allerdings angemeldet werden. Hier haben wir Tipps wie Sie an die kostenlosen Tickets kommen. [Unser Blog zum Thema Schlüsselzeremonie]

Besuch das House of Parliament

Ein Besuch im House of Lords oder im House of Commons im Westminster Palast kostet nichts und Besucher können das Gebäude betreten, in der Galerie entspannen oder bei den parlamentarischen Debatten mitlauschen. Auch wenn der Besuch des House of Parlaments nicht sofort als Abendaktivität ins Auge springt, arbeiten die Abgeordneten oft bis spät in die Nacht, manchmal bis 23 Uhr! Falls Sie also nach dem Abendessen noch nichts vorhaben, kommt vielleicht ein Besuch beim Parlament in Frage. Informieren Sie sich vorab zu aktuellen Debatten und Öffnungszeiten.

Fahr mit dem Riesenrad London Eye
London Eye Christmas
Das London Eye dreht sich bei Tag und auch am Abend. Vom London Eye aus hat man eine tolle Perspektive auf London und kann insbesondere abends die Lichter der Nacht von London bewundern. Mit einem Tag-und-Nacht-Ticket ergattert man sich gleich zweimal eine Fahrt mit dem Riesenrad: einmal tagsüber und einmal wenn die Sonne untergegangen ist.

Hör Big Ben um Mitternacht läuten

Die wohl bekannteste Uhr weltweit, Big Ben, befindet sich am Ufer der Themse im zentral gelegenen Stadtteil Westminster. Natürlich eine Attraktion am Tage, aber auch im Dunkeln findet Big Ben Bewunderung. Wenn die angeleuchtete Uhr mit der goldenen Umrahmung im Mondschein glitzert, ist es ein wahres Londoner Erlebnis den Glockenturm zu besuchen und von dort Big Bens Mitternachtsgeläut zu lauschen.

Besuch den London Zoo bei den Zoo Lates

Der Londoner Zoo haust mehrere hundert Arten von Tieren (über 800 um genau zu sein!) und im Sommer ist es nicht nur möglich tagsüber, sondern auch abends die sogenannten Zoo Lates zu besuchen. Mit Gesichtsmalerei, Kabarett- und Comedy-Shows, sowie verschiedensten Snackbuden, gibt es für Zoo Late Besucher alles Mögliche zu geniessen. Die Veranstaltung ist nur für Erwachsene, und man verlangt Eintritt. Falls Sie vorhaben den London Pass zu kaufen, ist der Eintritt zum Zoo mitinbegriffen.

 

Live Musik in London

Londons Musikszene hat etwas für jedermanns Geschmack und Budget zu bieten. Von Jazz bis zur Klassik, Pop oder Rock, nichts klingt besser also bei einem kühlen Bier oder Ale Live Musik zu hören. Es gibt eine Vielzahl an Pubs wo Musik gespielt wird. Hier sind unsere Favoriten: Koko – Roundhouse, oder St. Martin-in-the-Fields (eine Kirche aus dem 17. Jahrhundert wo Konzerte im Kerzenschein stattfinden) und der Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.

++Vielleicht sind unsere Tipps zu Pubs an der Themse oder Historische Pubs noch von Interesse!++

London Free Entry to St. Paul’s Cathedral

Free Entry to St. Paul’s Cathedral

Posted by & filed under London.

This post discusses how you can visit the cathedral, both with a paid ticket and for free as well as a tip to get a great view of the building. Dominating the London skyline for centuries, St. Paul’s Cathedral has remained a beautiful landmark on the capital’s horizon to this day. With a varied history spanning back to 1666, and playing host to many important events in the United Kingdom’s history (including the iconic wedding of Lady Diana Spencer to Charles, Prince of Wales), St. Paul’s acts as a site of worship, a tourist attraction, and a top-of-the-agenda item for visitors from all over the world.  

TIP: Entry to St. Paul’s is included for free with the purchase of Smart Destination’s Explorer Pass and Build Your Own Pass.


Directions

Skip The Line Tickets

Combo Packages + Discounts


 

 


WHERE IS ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL?

St. Paul’s Cathedral is located within the City of London.  It’s central location means that you can reach it by various London Underground stations as well as bus lines.  The nearest Underground station is St. Paul’s (Central line).    The cathedral is also within walking distance from Mansion House (Circle + District lines) and Barbican (Circle, Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan lines).  Bus Nos. 4, 11, 15, 23, 25, 26, 100, 242 all stop at or near the cathedral.

We recommend using this map for directions to St. Paul’s Cathedral from anywhere in the London area.  Be sure to read our post on navigating the London Underground.  If you are considering a hop-on, hop-off bus ticket during your stay in London, keep in mind that all the major companies stop here.  Read our London bus tour comparison page.

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London Queen Elizabeth II

Celebrate the Queen’s Birthday

Posted by & filed under London.

Celebrate the Queen’s Birthday! Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II was born on the 21st of April 1926 which means that this year she will be celebrating her 90th birthday! This makes her the first reigning British monarch to reach the age of 90. We always go all out for the Queen’s birthday – see our post on The Trooping of The Colour for more information – but this year there are even more events and activities planned throughout our capital to mark this special occasion!

Related Content:

Here are a list of dates for celebrations, parades and events of where to Celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday:

May 12th – 15th – The Queen and other members of The Royal Family will be attending a pageant celebrating the Queen’s life. The event spans four nights, with the Queen attending the final night. Over 900 horses and 1,500 participants from around the world will make up the troupe performing to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. 25,000 tickets have already been sold but there are more to purchase for the pre-performance which is FREE.

It’ll also be streamed live on television and will air in many of the pubs throughout London.

How to Get Tickets: Click here.

Where? The Home Park at Windsor Castle.

 

June 10th – The Queen and Prince Philip will attend a National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral. This is a tradition with Her Majesty, who has attended many services of thanks at St. Paul’s for events such as her Diamond Jubilee.

How to Get Tickets: Unfortunately this ones just for people invited by the Royal Family, however it will be aired live on television and you can line the route between Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s for a chance to glimpse Her Majesty!

Where? St. Paul’s Cathedral.

 

June 11thThe Trooping of the Colour! This is an annual celebration held to mark the Queen’s birthday and takes place at the same place at time everywhere. From Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade, all the members of the Royal Family, the Household Calvary, and the Queen’s Guard come together for a parade and spectacle finished with a flypast over Buckingham Palace by the Royal Airforce.

How to Get Tickets: Click here. Also note you can purchase tickets for the rehearsals or line up for free along The Mall

Where? Buckingham Palace, the Mall, St. James’s Park and Horseguards Parade.

 

June 12thThe Patron’s Lunch. This is a special event where The Mall will be transformed into a giant street party! The Patron’s Lunch will see 10,000 guests eating a picnic lunch and being entertained by acrobats and street performs. The Queen and Prince Phillip will also be attending.

How to Get Tickets? The event recognises the charities and organisations that the Queen patronises so most of the tickets are given to them. However, 1,000 tickets are available for sale via public ballot, click here.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a ticket – the even will be broadcast live on giant screens set up in Green Park and St. James’s Park!

Where? The event is held on the Mall and in St. James’s Park.

+++Learn more about the Royals in London on our Westminster walking tour!+++

 
London Change of the Guards

The Trooping of The Colour

Posted by & filed under London.

London Change of the guards Every year, we celebrate the Monarchs’ birthday in the same way: The Trooping of the Colour Ceremony! It’s a huge spectacle that sees soldiers, civilians, musicians, flags, banners and people all coming together to celebrate the birthday of the Sovereign.

The ceremony begins with the Queen leaving Buckingham Palace escorted by the Household Cavalry. When the Queen was younger, she would wear her own military uniform and ride to the ceremony herself on horseback! These days, she takes a horse-drawn carriage.

In addition to the Queen processing down the Mall toward Buckingham Palace, her husband, Prince Phillip, her children and grandchildren all take carriages from the Palace to attend the ceremony. (This includes the very popular and much loved William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge). On arrival, she is led to the “saluting base” which is essentially a platform where she will sit and view the ceremony.

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London shard

How is the weather in London in April

Posted by & filed under London.

London Food tour east endDaylight hours continue to increase rapidly this month gaining almost 2 extra hours between the 1st and the 30th.  Daytime high temperatures tend to be in mid 50s F (about 12C) early in April but will warm to about 60 F (15-16C) by the end of the month with a few afternoons seeing temperatures at or above 70F (21C).

Read our post on things to do in London in April.

Late night and early mornings tend to remain cool early in April, averaging near 40F (4-5C) with a few colder mornings dipping to near 32F (0C).  Towards the end of April, mornings will mostly be in the mid-40s F (7-8C).

About 13-14 days will have either sunny or at least partly sunny skies while 18-19 days will record some rainfall with one of these days reporting snow. Accumulating snow is rare.  April winds are mostly light to moderate but occasionally can be fresh at 20-24 MPH (31-38 KPH).

What to wear in London during April

April is changeable so it is best to bring rain gear and a warm coat or jacket for those cooler mornings and evenings but also bring some lighter springtime attire for those warmer afternoons. A pair or two of good walking shoes are also a must.

What to see in London during April

London Eye ShadowLondon in April begins to come alive as warmer weather allows for more outdoor activities including the London Marathon.  It is also a good time of year to visit some of London’s parks.  During April you can also enjoy the free St George’s Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square. The festivities include food, parades and children’s activities.

While visiting London, please join Free Tours by Foot for one of our popular tours like Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Chinatown Tour or if you are hungry, our East London Food Tour.

Check out our post on Things to Do in London in April.

Things to Do in London in April

10 Things to Do in London in April

Posted by & filed under London.

This post is our list of 10 things to do in London in April.  There are many more things to do in the city, but this post is for things only happening in April in the city. Check out our post on London weather in April, too.

  • (1) See the Land of the Lions

Showcasing a brand-new enclosure at the London Zoo, Land of the Lions is now home to a pride of endangered Asiatic lions. Visitors can explore the Land riding in trucks and rickshaws and are invited into the rangers’ huts – or even asked to assist the rangers in their duties. For the young and young-at-heart these is also the chance to test your bicycle speed against that of an Asiatic Lion.  Read our post on how to get discount London Zoo tickets.

  • (2) Watch the London Marathon

Every year around 36,000 people sign up to run the 42.4km (26.2m) marathon through the streets of London, taking visitors over the River Thames, past the London Eye, along the Tower of London and finishing on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. Both seasoned professional runners take part, as well as members of the public ho are wanting a challenge or a fit day out! The route is long and Londoners (and the visiting us) are encouraged to line the streets to watch and cheer on the athletes as they race through town. Find out where you want to watch from their website: https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/ Read more »