London is famous for having street pianos dotted throughout open spaces, parks, malls, and waterfront areas. They act as a musical canvas to inspire and produce spontaneous creativity.
Recently, a nine-year-old Icelandic girl named Ásta Dóra Finnsdóttir came across one such piano at the Crossrail Place Roof Garden in Canary Wharf. The unusual and quirky-looking piano, decorated by a local artist, called out to her. She simply couldn’t help but sit down and play “The Turkish March.” Her rendition of the classical song was so breathtaking that commuters stopped in their tracks to take in the beautiful music.
What a talented young lady. I just love how her performance was greeted with such a generous applause and even high fives from the passersby.
Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/street-piano-girl/
Or after, if you’re already there.
There are thousands of books set in London, here are just a select few of them. For books set across different parts of London, I’ve highlighted one place in particular.
In the title story from this collection of shorts, a teacher spends her lunch hour on Hampstead Heath, taking in both the view and the conversations of passers-by.
Recommended for: People watchers.
Monica Ali’s Booker shortlisted debut takes its name and setting from the street at the centre of East London’s Bangladeshi community, as 18-year old Nazneen moves to London from Bangladesh to marry an older man.
Recommended for: The culturally curious.
When young businessman Richard Mayhew saves the life of a girl named Door, he finds himself catapulted into the subterranean world of London Below, a city under the city, filled with fantastical creatures and places at once familiar and yet utterly bizarre.
Recommended for: Daydreamers.
Experimental in form, the story follows a young Chinese girl sent from her rural home to London to study English. She renames herself “Z”, and meets an English boyfriend – a 44-year-old bisexual vegetarian who lives in Hackney. The language barrier, as it turns out, is the least of their problems.
Recommended for: International students.
Nina Stibbe moved to London in 1982, hired as a nanny to the sons of London Review of Books editor Mary-Kay Wilmers and her ex-husband, director Stephan Frears. Cue candid encounters with some of London’s literary elite, as neighbours such as Alan Bennett popped round for dinner.
Recommended for: Budding writers, nannies.
A beat novel focusing on poor West Indian migrant workers in 1950s London, as they live and work around Notting Hill and Bayswater.
Recommended for: Beatniks.
Moving backwards from the post-war lives of four characters, and ending in with their wartime exploits in 1941, The Night Watch moves around London and gives both a compelling account of the city in wartime, and of those forced to traverse it in secret, not for war, but for love.
Recommended for: Those who have ever felt the need to hide themselves.
On the eve of his wedding, Andy makes a drunken bet that he can travel through every single Tube station in a single day. Fail the bet and he won’t be able to collect the Eurostar tickets he needs to get to his wedding in Paris.
Recommended for: Train enthusiasts.
Zadie Smith’s startling debut, chronicling the lives of two families in a multi-racial North-West London suburb.
Recommended for: Fans of British social satire.
Predominantly set in San Francisco as part of Maupin’s Tales of the City series, Babycakes contains a London sojourn featuring depictions of the 1980’s gay scene through the eyes of American Michael Tolliver.
Recommended for: Anglophiles.
A day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares to host a party in her affluent Westminster home, and contemplates issues of class, society, sexuality, politics and love.
Recommended for: Feminists.
Taylor interviewed 80 Londoners to paint an oral portrait of the city as told by those who live and work here – from the tube train announcer to the Buckingham Palace guard.
Recommended for: The incurably curious.
A Scottish migrant arrives in London and wrecks havoc with the staid existence of Peckham’s working class inhabitants.
Recommended for: Plucky Scots.
Probationary Police Constable Peter Grant is a bit useless at his job, until he discovers a supernatural London hidden amidst the regular one, filled with ghosts, witches, and vampires, and finds himself assigned to the branch of the Met that polices them.
Recommended for: Supernatural fans.
A suburban ghost story set around Highgate Cemetery, as American twins move into a flat bequeathed to them by an aunt they never met.
Recommended for: Literary horror fans.
A literary murder mystery set in the heart of Hackney, where a teminally ill writer stumbles across both a funeral-crashing young woman, and the plot that will kill her.
Recommended for: Those suffering writer’s block.
A married MP engages in an affair with his son’s fiancée in this poetic and brutal study of sexuality and human nature.
Recommended for: Politicians.
A young photographer traverses the world of West London cool; rock and roll music, Italian motor scooters, coffee bars and sharp clothes – what would come to be known as Mod culture.
Recommended for: Fans of the swinging 60s.
A Nigerian woman moves to the UK in search of a better life for herself and her children, only to be faced by the grim realities of 1960’s London.
Recommended for: Young parents who think they’ve got it tough.
After the death of his father, Saul Garamond meets the mysterious King Rat, who takes Saul under his wing and pulls him into a centuries old war with the dangerous Piper.
Recommended for: Fans of grown up fairy tales.
A teacher begins an affair with a troubled student at a North London comprehensive school, risking her job and her family in the process.
Recommended for: Incorrigible gossips.
Much like Mrs. Dalloway, Saturday takes place over the course of a single day, as the neurosurgeon narrator prepares for a dinner party, navigating post-9/11 terrorism paranoia and pondering the assumed safety of the middle class life he has built.
Recommended for: Existentialists.
Divorced architect Matthew Halland sees London past and present all at once, as streets and buildings peel back layers and facades before him, offering up both the history of the city and a fresh perspective on his future.
Recommended for: Architecture buffs.
Regarded as Dickens’ best novel, Bleak House features vivid descriptions of Victorian-era Central London, particularly Chancery Lane and Holborn.
Recommended for: Downton Abbey fans.
Start your day the right way.
1. New Street Grill at Old Bengal Warehouse
Whether it’s a sausage, bacon and maple-syrup waffle, or a full English, add free-flowing prosecco to your order and settle in.
Price: From £12, plus an additional £15 per person for prosecco refills.
Nearest station: Liverpool Street
2. Forge and Co
Pick up a veggie full English (above, left), or maybe some bubble & squeak, and wash it down with endless prosecco. Splendid.
Price: From £4 plus £10 for a glass of prosecco with refills.
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street
Fancy a feast? How about steamed Japanese buns with steak or pork belly? How about Korean friend wings and sushi? And dessert? And unlimited beer, wine or prosecco? Truly a marvel.
Price: £39/£46 per person, including: a cocktail on arrival; chips, dips, and edamame; unlimited hot and cold dishes; signature “flesh & buns”; unlimited prosecco or red or white wine; and dessert for the table.
Nearest station: Covent Garden
4. Bunga Bunga
If you’re over a traditional brunch, branch out to Bunga Bunga. Antipasti, pizza, and unlimited Bellinis. Wow.
Price: £38 per person from 11.30am–1pm (£48 per person afterwards), including pastries, bread, antipasti, pizzas, pudding, and unlimited Bellinis.
Nearest station: Battersea Park
5. Lima Floral
For a Peruvian twist on brunch (check out the sea-bream ceviche, above left), pop along to LIMA Floral. And bottomless prosecco is nice too.
Price: From £18 per person, plus £10 for prosecco refills.*
*Launches Saturday 21st February
Nearest station: Covent Garden
Delicious and pocket-friendly. Grab eggs as you like them, and refresh yourself with bottomless Bloody Marys or mimosas.
Price: £20 per person for bottomless mimosas or Bloody Marys, bottomless tea or coffee, bottomless toast, and a main.
Nearest station: East Dulwich
A bounty of delicious Indian food for brunch, plus unlimited Duval Leroy champagne and live music? Delightful.
Price: £25 per person (£45 per person including unlimited champagne) for unlimited items including dhokla, sambar vada, soup, roasts, and desserts.
Nearest station: South Croydon
Settle into a comfy armchair and chow down on an eggs Benny, washed down with unlimited Bellinis and Bloody Marys. Simply delightful.
Price: Food from £3.50, £15 per person for bottomless Bloody Marys, £16 for bottomless Bellinis.
Nearest station: Farringdon
Ditch the eggs and have an early roast. And to really put some spring in your step, there’s an unlimited DIY Bloody Mary bar (above right) featuring home-infused vodka, gin, tequila, and whiskey.
Price: Roasts from £10.50, and £20 for unlimited Bloody Marys.
Nearest station: Battersea Park
Whether it’s soft shell crab Benedict or ox cheek hash, what makes this boozy brunch stand out is the choice. Choose from endless raspberry Bellinis, Bloody Marys, prosecco, white wine, red wine, or rosé.
Price: Food from £7.50, and £15 for bottomless drinks.
Nearest station: Canary Wharf
11. Aqua Kyoto
This option is pricy, but the selection is amazing. Think luxury sushi and sashimi, yakitori, noodles, and mochi ice-cream, as well as unlimited house wine and beer.
Price: From £55 per person, including a cocktail on arrival, a wide range of dishes, and unlimited house wine and beer.
Nearest station: Oxford Circus
Whether you fancy a burger or a pancake stack, add unlimited Bloody Marys or prosecco to get your Saturday on the right track.
Price: Food from £14.50, and £15 per person for unlimited prosecco or Bloody Marys.
Nearest station: Green Park
A slightly more expensive option, but with unlimited quality fizz (Frerejean Frères Champagne).
Price: £40 per person, including a range of brunch items, as well as a pastry, a cake platter, and unlimited coffee, orange juice, and champagne.
Nearest station: Charing Cross
The brunch menu is incredible (including a smoked haddock and salmon Scotch egg) and the unlimited drinks are 10/10 (including a Belvedere Bloody Mary and bottomless Tanqueray 10 Red Snapper).
FYI, we inquired and you are able to order the unlimited drinks menu on its own (just make sure to eat at home first!).
Price: Brunch from £25 per person, and brunch bevs £25 per person.
Nearest station: Leicester Square
It’s not unlimited, but Rita’s deserves a shout-out for its amazing value brunch combo, which includes a main, a Sriracha Bloody Mary or mimosa, and unlimited refill filter coffee.
Price:: £16 per person for a brunch combo.
Nearest station: London Fields