Halloween is Coming… Some of the Spookiest City Places for a Scare

Nicole T Raleigh

For some, Halloween is all about the fancy dress and nocturnal fun and frolics. For others, however, All Hallows Eve is much more to do with the purely frightful (and, for some, utterly delightful). They want to be truly, appropriately scared; almost to the point of petrification. It just so happens that the City of London has a long (and chequered!) history, and within that history lay many a gruesome, horrific tale. So, why not take the opportunity to become more au fait with the capital’s spooky spots this year? The (not too tiny, please) kids will have goosebumps and be shiveringly impressed – and grown-ups can always grab a themed cocktail at a nearby bar after to take away the taste of fear…

1. Ghosts, Ghouls, and Graveyards – The Original Haunted History Tour @ Various

If you are literally seeking The Hidden Horrors of Haunted London, then this walking tour is for you. Beginning at 7pm on Friday 26th October outside The Lord Raglan Pub, the clocks won’t yet have gone back, but this spooky stroll will still be dark. One for urban history buffs, as well as budding horror writers seeking some aptly timed inspiration, the tour promises “churchyards to plague pits; hidden courtyards and narrow alleyways; haunted pubs to Roman ruins; not to mention execution grounds and time-worn churches”. We’re sold. Costs £10 per person.

2. City of London Cemetery and Crematorium @ Manor Park

With a half century history of complaints about a strange light emanating from one of the gravestones at night, and all those years without solving the cause of the eerie sight, you can be sure the chill factor is set to ‘hellishly freezing’ when and if you elect to wander around the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium this fine and frightening October (make it of a darkening evening for an even more haunted feel). A free option for those seeking a scare this month, be careful not to spill a piping hot drink on yourself when you jump at the next tombstone around the bend… Of course, the cemetery and its crematorium are still operational and lovely and offer beautiful flower bed surrounds for the dearly departed, etc. But channel your inner thrill-seeking child for one moment: was that a ghost over there..?

3. Old Operating Theatre Museum @ Tower Bridge

Situated in an herb garret of St. Thomas’ Church roof, and originally built for poor women in 1822, the theatre has been restored down to every last, gory detail. Saw movie fans will delight at the faint-worthy operating implements on display (re-enactments are sometimes held, as well). A highly atmospheric experience in the days approaching Halloween (mad and murderous doctor, anyone?), if your heart wasn’t already beating faster, be aware that the theatre is accessed via a 52-step vertiginously steep spiral staircase. The Old Operating Theatre Museum holds “weekly talks on the weekends on Victorian Surgery (mock-up demo) and The Gore Tour (how surgical instruments were used in the past)” – so, if you’re into all that, make it a Saturday or Sunday.  Maybe take some smelling salts…

Frightfully Fabulous Halloween Parties in the City

Nicole T Raleigh

‘Tis a night that comes but once a year, when the sun’s gone down and the moon arises, and the heavy darkness spreads its cloak over the City streets – that’s when they appear. That’s when the ghouls and the witches and the vampires meet to revel in true London style – or something like that. You’ve carved the pumpkin and strung the faux spider webs: now’s the time to party. And what better place to lose yourself to the magic of the night than the City at Halloween? These are One City’s frightfully fabulous triple dose of top picks for the ghoulish week ahead.  In London, Halloween isn’t restricted to a singular evening…

1. Halloween Special (Day & Night Party) @ Jin Bo Law

If you like your frolics with the twist of an iconic view, then the Halloween Special (Day & Night Party) on the 14th floor of the Dorsett City Hotel in Aldgate is the one for you (and your companions!). Taking place in the Jin Bo Law Skyline Bar, taste a terrifyingly terrific themed cocktail while absorbing also the wondrous night-lit sights of “Tower Bridge, the Shard, the Walkie Talkie, the Gherkin and more”.

Starting at 2pm on Saturday 27th October and running in ‘Extended Party’ style until 4am Sunday morning (oh yes!), the event is sponsored by Patron and offers one free drink per entry. Think “Body/Face paint artists, Magicians performing the art of ‘Black Magic’ and sorcery, Vampire & Zombie blood tequila shots, scary decorations and lots more”. Tickets between £10 and £20.

2. Halloween at The Medieval Banquet @ The Ivory Vaults

However, you might like your Halloween revelry somewhat more immersive (we do costume ourselves fantastically for the night, after all). If so, then The Ivory Vaults are throwing a themed Medieval Banquet from Wednesday 24th October until Saturday 27th October. Set in the court of King Henry VIII, but with an undead twist, it is sure to be “the perfect location for witches, warlocks, zombies, werewolves and evil jesters” this year.

Tickets £50 per adult and £30 per child (yes, even the young enjoy All Hallows Eve…). This includes a 4-course feast with wine and/or ale and ongoing entertainment.

3. Halloween at Savage Garden @ Savage Garden

Halloween should be wickedly wild, of course. Concur, and you’ll most likely enjoy Savage Garden’s darkly themed offering on Friday 26th October. Taking place in this wonderful City rooftop bar from 10pm until 2am, Halloween at Savage Garden promises a “‘twisted circus’ party complete with evil clowns, circus performers, and even a human table” at its 12th floor location. Background music (provided by DJ Karistocat) will be of the “hi-energy club atmosphere with sets that blend on-trend tracks past and present with disco, hip hop, RnB gems and classic house”.

But it’s all about the cocktails really, isn’t it? If that be your focus (it might perhaps be ours – shh!), then SG is certainly the pick for you: just some of the options include Penicillin (made from a healthy dose of 10 year old Laphroaigh), Devil’s Advocate (two red chilli horns warn of its hellish beauty), and Wild Poison (Makers Mark bourbon, apricot brandy, apple juice, smoked pine syrup, Campari and ‘poison apple’). We know which we’ll be sipping through plastic pointed teeth… Tickets from £20 and far upwards.

The Best City Sunday Pub Lunches to Indulge in this October

Nicole T Raleigh

It would be foolish to deny that the weather has finally taken a turn towards its due autumnal self (if not a pivot for the inclement worse), all of us having before been spoilt by an extended summer well past September and, indeed, far into the very heart of October. Now, though, we’re all wrapping ourselves in warming attire and grumbling about the chill damp and shaking umbrellas off by doorsteps, while the wind whips up previously coiffed hair and circles inside on airy loops disentangled golden leaves from street-lining trees in the midst of shedding their displays pre-winter.

In short, what better time to find a wonderfully cosy pub in the City, preferably with a fire (but we know that’s pushing it)? And what better day of the week to properly relax and enjoy such surroundings than on a (very traditionally British) Sunday? Here’re some we think you’ll rather relish.

1. The Magpie, Bishopsgate

A very realistic short stroll from Liverpool Street Station, Bishopsgate, and HoundsditchThe Magpie is thoroughly flying the flag when it comes to traditional British pub food, and has a Real Ale list to match. Originally an ambulance station in the early 1900s, The Magpie is one of Nicholson’s Collections’ pubs, which are “held in the highest of regards for their distinctive buildings, intriguing history and vibrant atmosphere”.

2. Culpeper, Whitechapel

Yes, it very much errs on the side of gastropub taken to its limits, but one has to admit: the food is very, very good. If it bothers you, simply overlook the roof garden replete (though decidedly less so at this time of year) with freshly grown herbs and salad ingredients, and set aside wondering what such extras have to do with honest pub grub. Once a Truman’s pub for 130 years, this Victorian Inn is still worth a sojourn of a Sunday when famished by the colder weather (and the prospect of a new working week to come).

3. Jugged Hare, Barbican

One of two pubs acquired by The Barbican (together with Chiswell Street Dining Rooms), the Jugged Hare is perhaps not the venue to choose with the beloved vegetarian or vegan in your life in attendance – if simply because of the plethora of mounted animal heads on the walls. And as for the menu? Well, think “chips and gravy; pork crackling with apple sauce; venison scotch egg with Cumberland sauce”. A veritable carnivore’s paradise. Indeed, as the name suggests, game is the speciality on this pub’s menu. Hearty fare for the soul (pescatarians will feel welcome too).

4. Old Red Cow, Farringdon

One for the man in your life (ladies, perhaps return to the idea of the Culpeper), Old Red Cow prides itself on its keg beer offerings (over a dozen!), and once again this is a meat adoring establishment, with an emphasis on the Sunday roast. If Yorkshire pudding overflowing with homemade gravy on the side of fresh vegetables and juicy slices of beef is your idea of heaven, make it Old Red Cow.

London Restaurant Festival 2018: One City’s (Delicious) Top Picks

Nicole T Raleigh

The London Restaurant Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, partnering up with American Express for a culinary revelry that sees some of the most taste bud-tantalising and appetite-satisfying (not to mention most exclusive) establishments in the capital take part. If, however, the list of choices becomes overwhelming – what with 60 programmes to choose from this October (such as “Restaurant-Hopping Tours, Gourmet Odysseys, Chef-Hosted events, Eat Art and Ultimate Gastronomic Weekends) and over 250 specific festival menus to select from (yes, 250!) – then, fear not: One City is here to help. With the majority of events having sold out quickly, these are our top City-based picks from those with tickets still available.

1. Eat Film – Departures (16th October @ 7.15pm)

Celebrating a few of the best Japanese films of all time (including “Spirited Away, Ring, Departures and Jiro Dreams of Sushi”), the event has turned out to be so popular that it has mainly sold out (with a limit of 35 people per showing). That is, except for remaining tickets for Departures. The screening is preluded by “a delicious Bento Box from Miyako (voted top Japanese restaurant in 2017 in London by Forbes Magazine) and Asahi beer”. Furthermore, your cinematic theatre for the evening is the Masonic Temple within the 5-star Andaz London Hyatt Hotel. Ideal for couples, singletons, and anyone with a keen eye for film and a keener palate for good food. Cost £37.

2. Gourmet Odyssey – Discover East End (27th October)

London’s own version of an urban gastronomic road trip, with none of the Kerouac/Beats style struggle. Three different courses at three different restaurants, and a champagne reception and wine to accompany each course, travel is to be facilitated between venues by grace of “an iconic heritage Routemaster bus”.

One of the last remaining experiences, Discover East End will include a champagne reception at Rakes, a French morsel of a starter at Club Gascon, a main course at Moorgate’s Angler, and dessert at Tower 42’s very own City Social. Cost £93.

3. Ultimate Gastronomic Weekend – A “Michelin-starred'”Weekend (27th-28th October)

Staying in the luxury five-star Andaz London Hyatt hotel on Liverpool Street, this “Michelin-starred weekend” includes its own version of the “Gourmet Odyssey” (see above) on the Saturday. Think, a trio of highly acclaimed restaurants over a luxuriously languid luncheon (the Angler, Club Gascon and City Social); think also, wondrous London skyline views.

The evening permits a private book-signing with two Michelin-starred chef, Simon Rogan (in promotion of his new volume, “Rogan”) as well, before a return to the Andaz. Originally “opened as the Great Eastern Hotel in 1884 and one of London’s original railway hotels”, its stunning Victorian redbrick structure is sure to induce a sound sleep.

Sunday, on the other hand, begins (as every good Sunday should) with a slow and hearty breakfast, after which you’ll venture out of the City to Harrods’ food halls for some gastronomic exploration. Said exercise should see your appetite return just in time for lunch at the marvellously decadent two Michelin-starred Bibendum, with a chance to meet the famous chef Claude Bosi to boot. Cost £375 (pricey, but oh so worth it!).

New Term, New Music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Nicole T Raleigh

October might veritably be the month of Keats’ season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but in academia it’s also the start of a new school year for both those beginning and those returning to tertiary study. The case is no different for talented attendees of London’s own Guildhall School of Music and Drama, but what does mark a change from many other institutions is its schedule of performances for public enjoyment, offering recitals of musical brilliance from students and professionals alike. Here are One City’s top picks for the month ahead:

1. Hansel and Gretel (A nightmare in eight scenes) – 12th October @7.30pm, Milton Court

Hans Christian Andersen might have recorded the famous fairytale, but this Goldfield Productions reimagining is a mighty touch creepier. With poetry by Simon Armitage and chamber music by Guildhall professor Matthew Kaner, the puppetry and animation is overseen by Clive Hicks-Jenkins and puppeteered Jan Zalud. A “sinister fable for our times”, please note the show is suitable only for those aged 12 and over. Tickets cost £15 (£10 concessions).

2. Guildhall Consort & Baroque Orchestra – 15th October @ 7pm, Milton Court Concert Hall

Directed by Eamonn Dougan (of The Sixteen) and Pavlo Beznosiuk, the evening presents the considerable talents of the Guildhall’s “elite vocal consort” together with the school’s period instrument orchestra. The focus of their programme is Polish Baroque music, aiming to delight the audience with samples from 17th Century composers such as Bartłomiej Pękiel and Marcin Mielczewski. Highly interesting and not to be missed. This is a free admission event.

3. Guildhall Jazz Showcase – 23rd to 25th October, Milton Court Studio Theatre

The big draw in this three-day exploration of Jazz is the Jason Rebello Trio on the 23rd at 7.30pm (always an amazing aural experience), but each day between approximately 11am and 5pm the Guildhall’s own Student Combos can be heard, offering a sampling of the up-and-coming next generation of Jazz artists; tomorrow’s future stars. Furthermore, Wednesday presents Curated: An Evening with Iain Bellamy (supported by Malcolm Edmonstone on piano, Jules Jackson on bass, and Andrew Bain on drums) from 7.30pm, and Thursday evening closes the showcase with a full Faculty recital. Tickets cost £15 (£10 concessions; £5 Young Barbican tickets available for the Bellamy concert).

4. Songs at Six & Verlaine Songs / Debussy Centenary – 29th October @ 6pm & 7.30pm, Milton Court

If 20th Century French music tickles your fancy, then head along to Songs at Six at the end of the month. Curated by Bretton Brown, the Debussy-celebratory repertoire for this first recital of the evening includes the composer’s most romantic output, “from youthful infatuation to autumnal yearning”. The first in a two-part series marking the centenary of Debussy’s death, it will be followed by something rather special (if poetry is your thing). Setting the work of Paul Verlaine to the music of Debussy, and curated by Iain Burnside, the second recital of the evening also combines the talents of Guildhall postgraduate singers and pianists. Admission is free to both.