Category Archives: England

List of articles with tips for things to do in England; top English attractions, sights and museums.

hackney city farm english classroom

Hackney City Farm in London

Hackney City Farm is in Hackney Road at the southern end of Haggerston Park, is a ten minute walk from Hoxton Overground station.

hackney city farm sign

It looked as though the goats were in love, as they only had eyes for each other.

hackney city farm goats

They seemed unperturbed by a chicken pecking around close to them.

hackney city farm goats and chicken

The pigs were enjoying an afternoon snooze in their hut.

hackney city farm sleeping pigs

There were a couple of donkeys grazing in the field.

hackney city farm donkey

I liked the donkey stable.

hackney city farm donkey stable

There’s a small garden with a vegetable patch.

hackney city farm garden

You can buy fresh eggs and organic vegetables, as well as gifts and souvenirs at the Hackney City Farm Shop.

hackney city farm shop

The shop extension opened in September 2013. It was constucted of recycled materials including scaffolding boards and sash windows.

hackney city farm modern bulding

The farm gets a lot of school visits. Some of the classes on the environment, nature and food take place in brightly painted caravans.

hackney city farm english classroom

There’s a ‘Woodland Trail’ close by in Haggerston Park, where I spotted several squirrels.

hackney city farm woodland trail sign

It’s free to enter Hackney City Farm, although donations are welcome. It’s open all year from 10am–4.30pm everyday except Mondays.

mumbai square exterior

Review of Mumbai Square Indian Restaurant in Aldgate London

I saw a sign advertising the £10 buffet lunch at the Mumbai Square Indian Restaurant when I was walking back from Tower Gateway station to the Tune Hotel Liverpool Street. The restaurant is very close to Petticoat Lane and less than a ten minute walk from both Aldgate and Liverpool Street stations.

On my last day in London I had lunch there. The first thing I noticed upon entering was a pianist. I’ve never had a live music accompanient in an Indian restaurant. I later spoke to the pianist, Tristran from Galway in Ireland, to compliment him on his playing.

mumbai square live music from tristan

The interior was spacious, but I thought that all the dark wood and chairs made it slightly gloomy.

mumbai square interior

The starters weren’t part of the buffet. They were cooked freshly and served at the table.

mumbai square xtarters

There was a good choice of main courses at the buffet including three chicken and three lamb dishes, My favourites were the Prawn Curry and Aubergine Bhaji. Nan bread was brought to the table.

mumbai square main course

The staff were all friendly and attentive. After I’d eaten and paid,  I said I was going to take some photos of my restaurant for my review. The staff volunteered to be photographed.

mumbai square waiting staff

I was happy with the quality of the food for the £10 paid and I’d recommend the buffet lunch at the Mumbai Square Indian restaurant if you’re in the area.

Review of Mumbai Square Indian Restaurant in LondonKeep It Real Travel Review – No Fluff

broadway market tarts

Photo Tour of Broadway Market in East London

When I was staying at the RE London Shoreditch Hotel in Hackey Road, I took a walk to the nearby Broadway Market, a Saturday food market located between the northern bank of Regent’s Canal and the southern end of London Fields.

broadway market pies

Whilst there were plenty of tempting wares, I thought that everything was very expensive e.g. £3 for a loaf of ‘Artisan’ bread and £2.50 for a square of ‘Cherry Crumble Cake’. If I’d been hungry I’d probably have nipped into the Greggs bakery shop for something a bit cheaper.

broadway market pastries

Still, it costs nothing to have a wander around and soak up the atmosphere.

broadway market scottish flavours

broadway market spices

broadway market flowers

broadway market risotto

broadway market tarts

broadway market salmon bites

broadway market friut juice stall

The closest Underground station to Broadway Market is Bethnal Green on the Central Line. It’d take around 20 minutes to walk to the market from there. Cambridge Heath rail station is closer, it’d take around 10 minutes to walk to Broadway Market from it.

horniman museum exterior1

The Horniman Museum in London

I resolved to finally visit the Horniman Museum in south London when I noticed that I could get a direct London Overground train from Hoxton station, fairly close to the RE London Shoreditch Hotel where I was staying, to Forest Hill, where the Horniman is located. It was raining during the rail journey, but fortunately dry for the ten minute uphill walk from Forest Hill station.

The Horniman Museum, built in the Arts and Crafts style, opened in 1901 to house the collections of tea-trader Frederick Horniman.

The ‘Humanity in the House of Circumstance’ mosaic at the top front of the building illustrates human aspirations and constraints.

horniman museum mosaic

I was impressed by the Conservatory which was being used by visitors who’d bought drinks and snacks from the Cafe and those who’d brought picnics.

horniman museum conservatory

I didn’t spend much time in the gardens, as I didn’t arrive at the Horniman Museum until after 4pm, I thought I’d better get into the museum, as it closed at 5.30pm. When I came out of the museum, it had started raining again. It’s a pity as I would have liked to follow the ‘Sundial Trail’.

horniman museum sun dial

My favourite section of the Horniman Museum was the ‘Whisper of the Stars’ temporary exhibition depicting life in Artic Siberia.

horniman museum whisper of stars child

horniman museum whisper of stars feeding

horniman museum whisper of stars reindeer

The Natural History Gallery was dominated by an enormous walrus.

horniman museum walrus

There were some very vivid Scarlet ibis.

horniman museum red ibisi

The collection of central nervous systems in various species was interesting.

horniman museum central nervous system

Entry to the Horniman Museum is free of charge, but you do have to pay to get into the Aquarium and some temporary exhibitions. During my visit the cost for a combined ticket, giving access to the ‘eXtremes’ exhibition and the Aquarium, was £8.80 for adults and £4.40 for children.

horniman museum extremes

There were some colourful photos in Gallery Square on the lower ground floor.

horniman museum lower ground foyer1

The Ijele (a giant Nigerian mask), which honours the dead, on display in the ‘African World’ section, was commissioned by the museum.

horniman museum mask

The Midnight Robber mask is a representation of a character who is a traditional part of carnival in Trinidad.

horniman museum skeleton

I wish that I’d had more time to explore the Horniman Museum and Gardens. I recommend that you make the effort to visit.

lincoln's inn fields sculpture1

A Morning in Lincoln’s Inn Fields London

I spent an enjoyable morning visiting the Sir John Soane’s and Hunterian Museum, both free to enter,  in Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London. Unfortunately, photography isn’t permitted in either museum.

Sir John Soane’s Museum was built in as the home of Neo-Classical architect. In 1833, four years before his death he established his home as a museum on condition that the interior be maintained as it stood.

john soane's museum exterior

Exterior of John Soane’s Museum

The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeon’s is directly opposite the Sir John Soane’s Museum, through Licoln’s Inn Field Sqaure, the largest public square in London.

lincoln's inn fields fountain

Fountain in Lincoln’s Inn Flields

lincoln's inn fields modern sculpture

Modern sculpture in Lincoln’s Inn Fields

royal college of surgeon's

The Royal College of Surgeon’s in Lincoln’s Inn Fields

In the Hunterian Museum, there was the skeleton of the ‘Irish Giant’, Charles Byrne, who was 7’7″ tall. The most interesting section for me was about plastic surgery, developed largely in response to the many facial injuries inflicted on troops during WW1. This theme was continued in the ‘War, Art and Surgery’ exhibition which runs until 14 February 2015.

huntarian museum war art and surgery

 War, Art and Surgery exhibition poster


tara tari interior1

Review of Tara Tari Buffet Restaurant London

Update 17 December 2014 – The restaurant has now closed. I’m assuming that this is at least partly due to loads of awful reviews on TripAdvisor. I’m surprised, as I enjoyed my meal there.

I had lunch at the Tara Tair Buffet Restaurant in Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage in late May 2014. I had done some research to find a reasonably priced restaurant for lunch fairly close to my hotel, the Colonnade Town House in Little Venice. I knew that I’d arrive at the Colonnade around one hour before the official check in time of 2pm. I didn’t fancy hanging around the hotel lobby. As heavy rain was forecast, I thought I’d go out to eat. I didn’t want to be wandering around in the rain looking for a restaurant. I was able to get to Tara Tari on a direct bus route from a stop two minutes walk from the hotel.

tara tari exterior

It was very quiet when I entered Tara Tari. The staff were welcoming,

tara tari interior

I thought that there was an excellent choice of dishes. I really enjoyed the aubergine stew.

tara tari starters

The mexican chicken was tasty.

tara tari main course

The fruit salad contained pineapple, grapes and melon. All too often it’s mainly apple. The chocolate cake pieces were good.

tara tari desserts

I thought that the price of £8 for a weekday lunch at the Tara Tari Buffet Restaurant offered very good value for money in London. I’ve often paid more than £10, plus a 12.5% (supposedly discretionary) service charge for an indifferent main course in London.

Review of Tara Tari Buffet Restaurant LondonKeep It Real Travel Review – No Fluff

Review of Airbnb Apartment near Barbican in London

I searched the Airbnb peer-to-peer accommodation website for a 2 night midweek stay in London in early December 2014. My budget was up to £75 a night, as Airbnb had given me a £150 credit to try out their site. My search criteria were quite restrictive, I was looking for a private room with an ensuite bathroom within a 30 minute walk of both King’s Cross station and Shoreditch High St a few days prior to my stay.

Fortunately I found a room that ticked all the boxes with availability, that was under budget at £115 for the two nights. The room was in a two bedroom apartment with a shared kitchen and living room in Goswell Road near the Barbican Centre.

Before booking I checked with the host that there were no pets and that is was no smoking accommodation. Once that was established, the host confirmed my booking within a few minutes.

Another attractive feature of that accommodation was that check-in and check-out times were flexible. This enabled me to walk straight to the apartment to drop off my case after my arrival into King’s Cross.

goswell rd exterior

Entrance to the apartment block in Goswell Rd

I didn’t meet the host in person, we communicated by messaging. The cleaning lady let me into the flat. I was happy with my room and its ensuite bathroom. It was warm, comfortable and very clean. I did hear some road noise when I was in bed at night, but that’s usually an issue from me in cities.

goswell rd bedroom

My bedroom

The WiFi was faster than our fixed line broadband at home. I was able to upload photos in a flash. The kitchen was really well equipped, not that I did any cooking, but it was handy to have access to a fridge and toaster.

goswell rd kitchen

The kitchen

The living room was so large that it could comfortably fit four sofas and a six seater table. There was Sky TV, but I didn’t use it.

goswell rd lounge

Living room

There was another Airbnb guest, an Austrian guy, in the other bedroom in the apartment. I chatted with him a few times in the kitchen.

I thought that £115 for two nights in an ensuite room in a central location with access to a lounge and a kitchen was excellent value for money, especially compared to hotel prices in London.

If you join Airbnb using this referral link, you’ll receive a credit of $25 (approx £16) which you can use when you make a booking for the value of at least $75 (approx £48), excluding any cleaning fee, within 30 days of the referral.

I’ll receive a $25 credit if you make a qualifying booking, and $75 credit if you sign up to become a host, after you’ve hosted your first qualifying stay.

Click here to read the full referral terms and conditions.

geffyre museum christmas 1930s room

Christmas Past at the Geffyre Museum London

As I was staying within a 30 minute walk of the Geffyre Museum when I was in London last week, I decided to visit to see the Christmas Past. Every year from late November to early January, eleven period rooms at the Geffyre are decked with festive decorations appropriate to the times.

geffyre museum christmas past 1960s room

!960s room for Christmas Past at the Geffyre Museum

geffyre christmas past victorian room

Victorian room during Christmas Past at the Geffyre Museum

geffyre museum christmas past 1990s room

1990s loft conversion flat during Christmas Past at the Geffyre Museum

geffyre museum christmas past 1630s room

1630s festive spread during Christmas Past at the Geffyre Museum

geffyre museum christmas past 1930s room

1930s room during Christmas Past at the Geffyre Museum

Christmas Past runs until Sunday 4 January 2015 at the Geffyre Museum. It’s free to enter and the museum’s open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am – 5pm, but closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

Photo Tour of the London Film Museum – Bond in Motion

Although I’m not the greatest aficionado of the Bond movies, the series of films is an integral part of British culture. As I had a relative working at Pinewood Studios in the 1970s, a highlight of my teenage years was gaining access to watch part of ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, starring Roger Moore, being filmed in 1976.  That’s why visiting the ‘Bond in Motion’ exhibition at the London Film Museum was fun for me.

bond in action ski car

‘The Living Daylights’ (1987) – Aston Martin V8

bond in action helicopter

 ‘You Only Live Twice’ 1976 – Little Nelly

bond in motion armoured car

‘Die Another Day’ (2002) –  Jaguar XXR

bond in motion colourful car

‘Diamonds Are Forever’ (1971) – Ford Mustang Mach 1

bond in action silver car

‘A View to a Kill’ (1985) – Rolls Royce Silver Cloud

bond in motion folding wing plane

‘Octopussy’ (1983) – Agrostar BD-5J

bond in action spikes on bumper

‘Die Another Day’ (2002) – Aston Martin V12 Vanquish

bond in action montage

Montage from various Bond movies

Tickets for the London Film Museum cost £14.50 for adults, £9.50 for kids aged 5+ and over 65s. I received complimentary entry. Do check the opening hours before you visit, as the day before I visited, the standard opening hours were reduced.

camden arts centre foyer

Camden Arts Centre London

Camden Arts Centre is located close in Arkwright Road, near the Finchley Road Underground station in London. It focuses on contemporary visual art and education. The building started life as Hampstead Central Library in 1897. It became an arts centre when the new library building opened in Swiss Cottage in the 1960s.

camden arts centre exterior

The shop in the foyer has a good selection of books.

camden arts centre foyer1

There’s a garden with a patio for the Cafe and some other seating. It was too wet during my visit to go out.

camden arts centre garden

I wasn’t permitted to take photos in any of the galleries.

camden arts centre exhibition

The Morya Davey exhibition ‘life without sheets of paper to be scribbled on is masterpiece’ didn’t appeal to me at all. The Canadian artists’ visual essays and her relationship with literature were too much naval gazing for my taste.

camden arts centre moyra davey exhibition

Things went from bad to worse in the other exhibition, ‘Besides’, by London based Phillip Lai,  which featured installations such as folded blanket type material with cutlery arranged at the side and what looked like an old metal lamp sitting on a plank with wires sticking out of the top.

Anyway, it’s still interesting to see work by various artists. Different styles of art appeal to different people.

It’s free to get into the Camden Arts Centre. It’s closed on Monday. Opening hours are 10am – 6pm, with late opening until 9pm on Wednesdays.