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Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola

A rather chilly but sunny afternoon at the Hampstead Pergola. Home to some of the most extravagant parties of the Edwardian era and built using spoil from the newly created extension to the Northern Line, it fell into disrepair by 1980s. However a refurbishment programme resulted in its reopening in 2010. A delightful collection of raised walkways, overgrown with vines and exotic flowers with the most magnificent of gardens surrounding it. This time of year the colours are at their most dramatic; a real hidden London treasure if ever there was one.

City of London - new buildings

A wonderful overview of the current state of new skyscrapers and other buildings in development within the square mile with my fellow guide and all round amazingly knowledgeable chap David Thompson. Very exciting developments, not just to hear about the how the skyline will be changing with projects such as 122 Bishopgate, formerly known as The Pinnacle which will soar 278 metres above the city (almost as high as the Shard) and the Scalpel (with its innovate construction techniques including cantilevered cranes employed half way up, see pic), but also other innovative projects by Eric Parry which will see colorful additions to the more usual glass and stone buildings you see in the area. L

London Mithraeum at Bloomberg HQ

Had a good look around the restored Temple of Mithras today. Mithraism was a cult religion centred around the god Mithras that was practised in the Roman Empire from about the 1st to the 4th century AD. This temple was discovered after bomb damage in WWII and temporarily moved 100 metres to Temple Court, Queen Victoria Street but then moved back to its original location during the construction of the new Bloomberg Building. The temple has been recreated on its original site using 90% of the original material and can be visited for free, although you need to make book your tickets via the website. Included in the visit are an array of incredible objects that were discovered in the excava

Lord Mayor Show, 2017

The 690th Lord Mayor Show took place today and it was, as ever, a wonderful spectacle of pageantry, pomp, colour, tradition with elements of silliness thrown in for good measure. I particularly loved the inclusion of the world's only shopping trolley dance display team. Charles Bowman is the new Lord Mayor of the City of London, which is not to be confused with the Lord Mayor of London. The Lord Mayor of the City of London supports and promotes the financial and professional services of the UK both here and abroad as well as promoting the City of London as a centre for business. An unpaid but highly prestigious position which will play an even more significant role as the UK prepares for

The Gloriana used in Lord Mayor Show

QRB Gloriana is the royal barge, commissioned and first used in the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II where it was the lead vessel in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012 Always impressive, today it plays its traditional role in bringing the new Lord Mayor of the City of London up the river Thames to the City of London for the internationally renowned Lord Mayor Show. A flotilla of 24 smaller boats surrounded it and although it wasn't the greatest of days weatherwise, it didn't diminish the splendid spectacle of the event. I actually saw her as she passed by Westminster Bridge and then took the Circle and District Line to see her arrive at Tower Bridge.

World Travel Market @ ExCeL

Always a pleasure to visit the World Travel Market show where over 50000 travel industry professionals get together for 3 days of great networking, excellent hospitality and great camaraderie. I used to manage the website for this show, and was present for its move to ExceL back in 2002 when I worked for Reed Travel Exhibitions. It is the easiest way to travel the entire world without leaving the United Kingdom with over 5000 exhibiting destinations represented

Funky Folkestone Triennial

Last time I was in Folkestone I was getting onto a big old ferry with the family car laden with supplies on the way to The Continent for a fortnight on the Costa Brava. I remembered it as pretty grim. The ferries no longer run and the town went into some decline once the Eurostar took up the traffic. But it has since undergone quite a transformation and this is the 3rd Triennial art show that it has hosted. Innovative artworks, some better than others of course, including David Shrigley (who is like, EVERYWHERE right now) and Anthony Gormley. I particularly liked the many 'Holiday Homes' by Richard Woods dotted around the place, a social commentary on housing crisis and the fact that so

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