This November-in-review blog post is brought to us all by Sue Hillman of It’s Your London touring company. Providing custom tours of London tailored to your personal interests, It’s Your London will help you make the most of your time in this phenonemonal city. (For more information, see our previous blog on It’s Your London as well visit www.itsyourlondon.co.uk)
Hello! This is my first monthly blog for London Relocation and I’m really pleased to be asked to do this. I’d like to share with you the fun of living in here,and give you a taste of the real life. Why not give you a bit of background information on the way. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it whether you are thinking of relocating, on your way here, or already arrived and want to get the most out of London.
In the UK, November kicks off with Bonfire Night, also called Guy Fawkes Night. All over town there are huge firework displays both public and in people’s own gardens and bonfires of all sizes. The actual night is 5th November and the nearest weekend sees the major displays where folks flock in their thousands. The reason for all this is Guy Fawkes himself who, in 1605, was part of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament with explosives hidden in the cellars. It became known as the Gunpowder Plot and the plotters wanted to put Catholic rulers on the throne by blowing up the King and the Protestant aristocracy while they were in the Houses of Parliament. But Guy was discovered after a tip off and subsequently killed. Bonfires were lit in celebration of the King’s escape from death and effigies of Guy were burnt on the bonfires and these traditions have continued although the ‘guys’ are seen less than before. The photo is from a wonderful display at Alexandra Palace, where firework, music and a fair make for great entertainment.
November bring us the wonderful London Jazz Festival when major stars come into town for a couple of weeks. You can catch them at the famous Ronnie Scotts, a jazz haunt that’s been in business since 1959, through to very small or new venues. I saw the African Jazz Quintet at the Notting Hill Tabernacle venue and they were great with a brilliant saxophonist whose melodic style married Caribbean styles with more mainstream jazz. I’ve attached a snap of Ronnie Scotts to show its jazziness!
It is amazing here for one off exhibitions and the stand out one in November was ‘Ghost Forest, From the Tropics to Trafalgar’ in Trafalgar Square. It’s aim was to raise awareness of the dangers of cutting down the rainforests and did this by bringing 10 enormous tree stumps from Ghana and displaying them around the square. The square itself was part of the show as it houses Nelson’s Column, which, at 169 feet, is the same height as a fully grown tree. The photo shows this wonderful and unusual show.
Trafalgar Square is topped by the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery and the Portrait Gallery was hosting the Beatles to Bowie photographic exhibition this month. It was a mixture of photos, album covers, magazine and newspaper cuttings of all the key stars of that era. It was a must for anyone who remembers these performers as each photograph mentioned a key song so the visitors were all humming their way round. This photo of the poster will make you wish you’d seen it.
There really is so much more to talk about but that’s probably enough for my first blog. I will close with my restaurant of the month which will be a regular feature – the Criterion on Piccadilly Circus. I had a wonderful meal there and slipped in a separate visit to their bar for a fine Cosmopolitan. It is one of the most beautiful dining rooms in London with golden mosaics on the walls and vaulted ceiling. It’s well worth a visit and is right in the centre of town.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and let me know what you’d like me to talk about in future blogs.