Top Six Things To Do in the City for London Festival of Architecture

Jade Steward

Seats at the Table by Re-Fabricate and The Disordinary Architecture Project as part of LFA2023. © Luke O’Donovan 

This June the Square Mile we all know and love is welcoming the London Festival of Architecture (LFA) and we can’t wait!

LFA is a month-long celebration of architecture & city-making that takes place every year across the Capital. This year, all events respond to the Festival’s theme ‘In Common’.

With a plethora of events and installations to choose from across all corners of London, we’ve handpicked the top six things to do in the City for the Festival. These events and activations will immerse you in the world of architecture, design, history, and hidden gems – so they’re not to be missed!

Without further ado, our six top things to do in the City are:

1. Take a guided tour of St Mary Le Bow

Join the experts, Rector George R. Bush and local tour guide Ian McDowell, on this guided tour of the Grade I* listed St Mary-Le-Bow church. With origins dating back to 1080, there’s centuries of history to unpack.

Tours will take place on various dates and will last an hour meaning you might even be able to fit it in your lunch break.

Free to attend. Tours take place everyday from 19 June-23 June.

Urban Playground © Luke O’Donovan

2. Visit McCloy + Muchemwa’s Urban Playground

Urban Playground brings an element of the unexpected into the City. Inspired by wooden children’s toys, this interactive installation invites you to engage with fellow City-goers and your surroundings in playful and unexpected ways.

This urban playground isn’t just about having fun, it’s also about shifting perceptions and challenging current public realm space design. This is not a traditional playground, keep an eye out for it at Fen Court!

Free to visit. In place from 1 June-31 August.

3. Follow the City’s Secret Spaces Trail

Explore the City’s abundance of hidden gardens, unknown artworks, and public spaces with this Secret Spaces Trail. By following the trail you’ll uncover some of the City’s most fascinating stories, uncover its twisting streets and find spots unknown to visitors, workers, and residents alike.

All the stops on this trail are accessible to the public and free to enter, so pick up your map from The London Centre and begin your explorations!

Free to take part. The trail will run from 1 June – 31 August

4. Visit ‘Seats at the Table’ on Postman’s Park

Wander down to ‘Seats at the Table’ at Postman’s Park to see what it means to design in a way that is accessible. This unique installation is comprised of several pieces of ‘street furniture’ including a main table and chairs. All pieces are designed with features , such as audio description, colour paths and a silence booth to make them ‘truly’ accessible and create a welcoming space for everyone.

Along with the physical installation, organisers Re-Fabricate and the DisOrdinary Architecture Project, have planned a programme of events that you won’t want to miss – including a launch event on 2 June!

All activities are free. The programme will run from 02-30 June.

Design concept of ‘Seats at the Table’ by Re-Fabricate and The DisOrdinary Architecture Project

5. Join the Outsiders, Immigrants and Integration walking tour in Whitechapel

This tour will take you through the vibrant streets of Whitechapel, a place brimming and rich with culture. It looks specifically at shared spaces from a Roman Gate, to a Brick Lane Mosque, Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Dutch synagogues.

Tickets cost £15, book them here. Tours will run from 28-30 June.

6. Relax among medicinal plants at Fleet Street Plant Press

This playful and immersive public realm installation will show you what can be done when nature and creativity collide. Made of evergreen, scented and medicinal plants designers, Wayward, were inspired by 16th-Century herbalist John Gerard as well as the area’s history of printing.

Find this hidden in the corner of St Andrews at Holborn Circus!

Free to visit. In place from 01 June-31 August.

The Herbalist’s Plant Press © Luke O’Donovan

To see the full Festival Programme of over 400 events, including many others in the City of London check out the LFA Festival Map and browse the LFA Collections. We can’t wait to see you in the City this year for #LFA2023.

One City Pub Crawl: Part 2

Jade Steward

Looking for a new drinking spot in the City? You’re in the right place!

This blog post follows on from Part 1 and will take you through some of the most historic, unique and intriguing spots to enjoy a pint.

By reading both blog posts you can in our footsteps on this ‘One City Pub Crawl’ or you can use it as a reference point, picking out individual pubs. Either way, read on and you’ll always be the friend that knows a great place to go!

The Lamb Tavern

This lively spot is located in the iconic Leadenhall Market. Visit after 5 on a weekday and be met with a fellow City workers finishing the day with a glass of something refreshing and delicious. Visit on a Sunday and enjoy a classic Roast dinner make with British produce!

The Lamb Tavern is decadently decorated pub, having been rebuilt in 1881 by Sir Horace Jones as part of the overall Leadenhall Market development. Hidden inside the right-hand doors is a large tiled panel from 1889 showing Sir Christopher Wren in 1671 explaining his plans for the Monument to those gathered around. Can you spot it?

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has been in place since 1538 but was rebuilt following the Great Fire of London in 1666. From top to toe (or ground floor to cellar) this pub has a highly quirky interior, albeit with some questionable archaic signage. Visiting this pub is like taking a step back in time

The pub looks so historic, because it is! It was once the favourite drinking spot of Charles Dickens, Samuel Johnson and many more. It was also the first spot that Charlie Chaplin visited on his return to London in 1921.

Ye Olde Mitre

While it’s one of the hardest to find, Ye Olde Mitre Holborn is not one to miss.

It has a huge history including being home to a cherry tree that was said to have been danced around by Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Christopher Hatton.

It was built in 1546 for the servants of the Bishops of Ely and was declared it part of Cambridgeshire and incredibly it stayed that way until recently: in fact Ye Olde Mitre’s licensing laws only stopped being administered by Cambridgeshire in the 1960s.

The Blackfriar

This quirky pub is like no other in London.

It has an incredibly lean facade, with a the sculpture of a monk seemingly willing you in from the outside, by architectural sculptor Henry Poole. This relates to the fact that the pub was built on the site of a Dominican Priory).

The interior of The Blackfriar is just as characterful as its outside. You’ll notice a significantly Arts and Crafts feel with touches of Art Nouveau. The now Grade II* listed building was nearly demolished during a phase of redevelopment in the 1960s, until it was saved by a campaign led by poet Sir John Betjemen.

One City Pub Crawl: Part 1

Jade Steward

We’re taking you on an adventure of the square mile and its fringes, exploring the area’s best pubs.

Bursting with character and history, these pubs formed part of our ICONIC One City pub crawl which we launched on our Instagram in January.

Ye Olde Cock Tavern

Starting off this ‘quintessentially London’ experience is a trip to Ye Olde Cock Tavern. It’s hard to miss this pub as, despite its small size, it’s tudor-looking timber beamed façade is wildly different to the smooth stone of the buildings that surround it.

We love this pub because of its rich history. It was originally built in the 16th Century; it was later enhanced with woodwork thought to have been done by master carver Grinling Gibbons.

Since being built, this place has been a key venue for watering the minds of intellectuals, writers and creatives including Samuel Pepy’s and others. In the 1930 it held the founding meeting of the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers (now the Chartered Society of Designers), attended by creatives such as Sir Misha Black; known for the design of the Westminster Street name signs.

Old Bank of England Pub

Just across the road is the Old Bank of England Pub. Labelled by locals as having one of the most stunning interiors of a pub in the City, this one is not to miss. This pub resides in the old Law Court’s branch of the previous Bank of England which operated from 1888 to 1975.

Now it is run by McMullen & Sons Hertfordshire Brewers who’ve given it a new lease of life with a selection of honest pub grub (including vegan and vegetarian options). These can be watered down with a properly pulled Hertfordshire pints. If pints don’t tickle your fancy, they also gave an extensive list of cocktails, whiskies and gins… ask their friendly staff for more info!

Princess of Prussia

In 1858 Queen Victoria’s eldest child, Princess Victoria married Frederick William, the Crown Prince of Prussia. A year later the doors to this pub opened and was named in homage to the royal marriage.

In the 20th Century, this pub was taken over as part of Trumans, hence the lettering spelling ‘Truman’ – something that is somewhat of a familiar sight to pub goers in East London. Recent restoration has revealed this iconic lettering, inviting us into the establishment along with the green tiles, another familiar site of East London pubs.

This pub boasts an incredible Thai menu, all of which can be enjoyed with a pint.

Cheers! And stay tuned for part 2!

Top 5 Unexpected Date Ideas in the City

Nicole Pottle

Valentine’s Day may have passed, but if you’re looking for a reason to treat yourself and your loved ones, read on!

You won’t have an excuse not to with the help of our trusted guide recommending you the City’s Top 5 Unexpected Date Ideas

  1. Climb The Monument – did someone say 311 steps?! You heard us. Don’t panic though, apparently the record time to climb to the top was just over a minute, (trust us, it wasn’t us). If you’re looking for something active and unique to do on a date – you should give this a go. Not only will you feel a huge sense of accomplishment at the top, you’ll be rewarded with phenomenal 360 degree views of the City (highlights include Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Walkie Talkie building). Well worth the climb, if you ask us!

2. Premium Whiskey Tasting at Alba Bar – an exclusive hidden gem nestled within Silverleaf bar, Alba is a private, intimate bar offering you a journey of sensations during their premium whiskey tasting sessions. With only up to 12 people per session invited, the team will take you through an incredible journey – from cask selection, to the ageing process, you will be submerged into the journey of whiskey creation. If an exclusive drinking experience sounds up your street, we’re certain you’ll love this. Memories to last a lifetime!

3. Shopping at One New Change – Why not take your date on a shopping trip? In the heart of Cheapside, One New Change gives you all your shopping needs. Expect an abundance of high street and designer shops and restaurants. Why not stop for a cheeky pastry and coffee after at Paul, and enjoy the world-class views of St. Paul’s Cathedral, just a 2 minute walk from One New Change?

4. Dining at Terra – Looking to wine and dine in the City? Join us in Terra, part of Eataly, just next door to Liverpool St station. Terra, the wood-burning grill restaurant, offers you quarterly-changing menus, keeping seasonality at the forefront of the produce-led kitchen – covering antipasti, a curated selection of pasta & risotto, and most importantly, ‘alla griglia’ – the grill, which is the beating heart of Terra.

See you there!

5. Discover classic & contemporary art at The Guildhall Gallery – Finally, we have another freebie for you. Visit the Guildhall’s Art gallery – free entry and guided tours. The City of London Corporation had commissioned and collected portraits since 1670, to hang in the Guildhall. Right now, you can also check out ‘The Big City’ exhibition, which celebrates monumental painters of the capital, and London’s only Roman amphitheatre from 70AD which was discovered during the construction of the gallery in 1988.

Whether you’re tasting exceptional whiskies in an immersive experience, viewing influential pieces of art at the Guildhall Gallery, or treating your date to an impressive Italian meal at the wonderful wood-burning grill restaurant, Terra, we know you’ll have a great time.

Albion Waves by Oliver Beer at London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE

Jade Steward
Photo by Marcus Leith. Courtesy of London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE.

Albion Waves by British artist Oliver Beer brings together vessels of various shapes, sizes, forms and functions for an immersive installation at London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE. Located on the ground floor of the London Mithraeum, Bloomberg SPACE showcases a series of contemporary art commissions responding, and bringing fresh perspectives, to the site’s rich archaeological history.

Each vessel contains a microphone that, once activated by visitors’ movement, amplify the vessels acoustic resonance, or it’s “voice”. Although there are 2,000 years between the oldest and most recent vessels, as you move around the room they are united by a harmonious symphony.

Some quirky, kitsch, austere, royal and even familiar, these vessels suspended from the ceiling each represent a different time in Britain’s object making across the centuries. Here are some of our favourites:


Roman pots

Among the eclectic collection hangs two vessels of a similar simple shape and neutral tone. Though unassuming, these are Roman vessels found in the artist’s home county of Kent. The older of the two is dated to the 2nd – 3rd century and was excavated from the Upchurch Marshes in the 1980s.


Savoy Champagne Bucket

A unique, and perhaps surprising, inclusion in the assemblage is a silver-plated champagne bucket from the Savoy, the luxurious London hotel. Showing its age, this bucket, having once catered for many extravagant events, is now retired.


Burleigh Cabbageware

Shaped like a cabbage head, this pot comes from Staffordshire and dates from the 20th century. However, vegetable-shaped pottery has been popular since the 18th century. Burleigh is the world’s last pottery still to use underglaze tissue printing, a traditional English process dating back over 200 years. The vessel’s blue and white colour draws a visual connection with Beer’s lighting choices and hung Resonance paintings.


Resonance Paintings


Accompanying this installation are six of Beer’s ‘Resonance Paintings’ which, incredibly, have been created without the artist ever touching the canvas. By positioning a speaker beneath a horizontally oriented canvas, a played tone causes the canvas to vibrate and the powdered pigment to move into visual representations of the sound waves. This creates a beautiful and unique design, that combines both the auditory and visual senses.


To get the most out of your experience, the artist has shared with us the following top tips:

– Make sure you look at the underneath of the vessels, this is where you can gather clues on the makers’ practices and vessels’ history.

– Find out even more information about the exhibition, vessels and access an audio tour by the artist himself, by downloading the Bloomberg Connects app.

Not just for pottery or painting lovers, this is an exhibition where city workers, residents and visitors can come together in sweet harmony. Book your free ticket today!


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