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Category: UK (page 1 of 5)

Lumiere London – visit this illuminating festival

Lumiere London is back! The UK’s largest light festival transforms London’s streets and architecture into dazzling, thought-provoking nocturnal art exhibitions. We last saw it back in 2016 when a whopping 1.3 million people attended. This year’s spectacle is from 18th – 21st January between 17:30 – 22:30 with over 50 illuminated installations to discover. Lift your spirits in these dark days of winter and see how many of them you can discover on an evening’s amble.

Lumiere London Westminster Abbey -The Light of The Spirit

Lumiere London Westminster Abbey -The Light of The Spirit

Lumiere London takes place in the key locations of King’s Cross, Fitzrovia, Mayfair, London’s West End and Westminister, with Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Victoria, South Bank and Waterloo added as new destinations this year … and what more it’s all free! So whether you’re in London anyway, or on the commute home you should be able to spot a few of them! Find yourself looking “up” and around, rather than “down” into your iPhones as you navigate the city’s streets above ground.

We started our journey in Westminster having already downloaded the Visit London app to save the installations we wanted to see first on the easy-to-use map. Check out the official website too. Paper copies can be purchased as well. We started here as top of my must visit list was Westminster Abbey with its majestic old facade’s intricacies individually illuminated in this technicolour wonderment! This installation is called ‘The Light of the Spirit (chapter 2)’  and is by French vital artist Patrice Warrener. There’s no right or wrong way to view the event so start where you like and see as much or as little as you have time for.

So our illuminated journey took us from Westminster > Mayfair > Soho on Thursday night and Waterloo > South Bank > King’s Cross  on Friday evening. We missed Covent Garden and Fitzrovia, but hey, you can’t see everything. Some  installations are bigger than others, some are interactive, some are static, some are moving, some you go “wow”, others you go “meh” … but the one thing I noticed most was that lots of people had smile on their faces and more importantly it got people talking to each other – the tell-tale clues that they were taking part in Lumiere London being their SLRs and tripods crooked under their arm.

One tip is to factor in some foodage as part of your evening. In SoHo and along the South Bank you can easily find an eatery but there’s a dedicated outside food market up at King’s Cross and most importantly a big warm tent to shelter in.

So our favourite installations in no particular order were:

1.  The Rose – Westminster

The aforementioned Westminster Abbey above by Patrice Warrener! Wow! But also The Rose by Mick Stephenson and Electric Pedals that uses thousands of recycled plastic bottles. A hot topic right now, and once again interactive as it requires people pedalling to power it.

Lumiere London Westminster Cathedral -The Rose

Lumiere London Westminster Cathedral -The Rose

2.  The Wave – South Bank

with its constantly changing patterns of sound and light along the South Bank, by Vertigo. As you can walk through it you really feel part of the exhibit, before you then work out how best to capture it. I stood to the side and captured “ghost man” in the foreground.

Lumiere London Southbank - The Wave

Lumiere London Southbank – The Wave

3.  Lampounette – King’s Cross

Paying homage to the iconic office lamp, by TILT. They fitted in so nicely it would be great if they could become permanent exhibits. A contemplative place to sit before you catch the train home.

Lumiere London Kings Cross - Lampounette

Lumiere London Kings Cross – Lampounette

4.  Spectral – London’s West End

Colourful cords stretched taut between the trees, by Katarzyna Malejka and Joachim Slugocki. The park was pretty dark so heightened the effect, compared to other Lumiere London exhibits that were competing with the surrounding street lighting/lit-up shop fronts.

Lumiere London West End - Spectral

Lumiere London West End – Spectral

5.  Lightbench – Mayfair

Transforming the concept of public seating, by Bernd Spiecker. This was the one where we saw most people talking to each other, sharing some jokes and taking each others’s photos. Wouldn’t it be nice if that could happen the other 361 days of the year too?

Lumiere London Brown Hart Gardens - Lightbench

Lumiere London Brown Hart Gardens – Lightbench

6.  Neon Bikes – Mayfair

Now as I like all things “bike” there was something beautifully simple by seeing a bike represented in gleaming neon, by Robyn Wright. There are three to see – red, white and blue.

Lumiere London Brown Hart Gardens - neon bike

Lumiere London Brown Hart Gardens – neon bike

7.  Illumaphonium – Mayfair

Close by was a wonderful multi-sensory, music-making glockenspiel which was @OnTheRoadToYou’s favourite so I’m adding that just for him. The higher the horizontal bar you struck, the deeper the tone. One of the few exhibits that had an aural element too.

Lumiere London Mayfair -Illumaphonium

Lumiere London Mayfair -Illumaphonium

8.  Waterlicht – King’s Cross

This one was by equally “wow” and lead to many people thinking “Well how do they do that!?” The whole of Granary Square is covered with a blue ceiling  of wavy, misty light. Whereas many installation look good from one angle, with this one you can wander around and get a different few every split second as the pockets of mist (I think it’s actually dry ice) captured the light bealing through it. By Daan Roosegaarde.

Lumiere London King's Cross - Waterlicht

Lumiere London King’s Cross – Waterlicht

Overall thoughts are “Take a bow #LumiereLDN“. Having such a visual treat at the end of a cold January is just what the doctor ordered. It puts smiles on people’s faces and gets people talking to each other. There was a nice mix of favourites from two years’ ago but also much new stuff too. For every one person’s “Meh” to an installation, another person wil be going “wow!” so take a look, embrace it, and see if you can capture some amazing photos while meandering around parts of London you never get to see normally.

When is Lumiere London again?

4 evenings, 5.30pm-10.30pm, January 18-21 2018. Check out the official website.


Where is Lumiere London 2018?

All over the city, in King’s Cross, Fitzrovia, Mayfair, the West End, Westminster, with Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Victoria, South Bank and Waterloo added as new destinations.


Is there an entry fee? 

No. Lumiere London 2018 is a completely free event.

Share with your friends so they get the chance to see it before it ends too! 🙂

Driving a classic MGB around Silverstone

What’s it like to drive a classic MGB around the legendary racetrack at Silverstone?

Having grown up hearing about my dad’s various MGB GTs back in the 60s and then having had the pleasure to hire a lovely red 1969 model for his 60th birthday, I thought I’d ticked all the MGB boxes, apart from possibly owning an MGB in the future that is. But then along came the opportunity to be driven around Silverstone in one as part of MG car club’s MGLive! meeting. Helped by the fact that my girlfriend is an MG Car Club Member.

Heading under one of the many Silverstone bridges

Heading under one of the many Silverstone bridges

This was back in the Summer of 2016 and was made even more special as Rory from Top Gear was filming there on the same day, and on the track at the same time, albeit sufficiently far in front of us that we didn’t appear in any of the subsequent ‘Extra Gear’ footage! Here you can see them prepping the £95k MG Abingdon with its swift 0-60 in 3.8 seconds offering!

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Doctor Foster filming locations in Hitchin

Hitchin in Hertfordshire has served as the main backdrop to many a scene in the latest series of Doctor Foster, acting as the fictional town of Parminster. Many a Hitchin resident tuned in initially back in 2015 to see what parts of town would be shown, but now we’re just as engrossed as everybody else. With the last episode of this second series being shown tonight where exactly are the key locations?

Doctor Foster filming in the Market Square back in September 2016

Doctor Foster filming in the Market Square back in September 2016

With signs being out up in the centre of town back in September 2016 most of us already had a good idea where they would be, including the local Hitchin Running Club who were politely asked to do a little detour one evening as bright neon green, pink and yellow doesn’t look too good on camera. But for those who missed a few of them here are the key locations and a link to the Doctor Foster series 1 and 2 on DVD from Amazon for the ultimate catch-up.

A lot of the action is filmed around Hitchin’s Market Square. This panorama photo sets the scene and shows a lot of the locations that were used. Continue reading

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