101 Things to Do Before Leaving London

Since I am getting ready to purchase a house/flat in London, guess I’ll have lots of time to do some of the more fun items on this list recently published by TimeOut London.

When we offered up our first hit list of 101 essential London experiences last year, the feedback we got from you was immense. So here’s the next instalment of things everyone in the capital should try at least once – from soothing health treatments to hedonistic indulgence, breathtaking landmarks to hidden gems
1 Visit the Shree Swaminarayan temple
The gleaming pinnacles and pillars of the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir would be an extraordinary sight anywhere – but rising out of Neasden, they are particularly special. This Hindu temple is the biggest in the Western hemisphere. Some 2,820 tonnes of Bulgarian limestone and 2,000 tonnes of marble from Italy were carved in India by hundreds of craftsmen before being shipped to London and assembled over three years. Dress respectfully to enter.
Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, 105-119 Brentfield Rd, NW10 (020 8965 2651/www.mandir.org).
2 Try on a bearskin at the Guards Museum
Learn about the glorious history of the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards. At 10.50am every day (from April to August), the Guards line up outside the Museum in preparations for Changing the Guard.
Guards Museum, Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, SW1 (020 7414 3271/ www.theguardsmuseum.com).
3 Learn swordplay
Beginners are welcome at the Saturday afternoon session at Marcello Zizzari’s Japanese sword class at the Islington Arts Factory (2 Parkhurst Road, N7; 020 7704 6796/www.battodo-fudokan.co.uk). Classes cost £5 for an introduction, then £40 for six weeks.
4 Learn to mix a martini
Dirty, naked, smoky, muddy – no, not a hike through a Laotian jungle, but the range of martinis you’ll learn how to mix at masterclasses held at Christopher’s.
Christopher’s American Bar & Grill, 18 Wellington St, WC2 (020 7240 4222/ www.christophersgrill.com). Hour-long session £12.
5 Spend a penny in the loos at Sketch
A pair of sweeping staircases leading up from the circular bar take you to an entire floor devoted to toilets, in the form of 11 pods.
Sketch, 9 Conduit St, W1 (0870 777 4488).
6 Watch the Peter Pan cup
Every Christmas morning members of the Serpentine Swimming Club (www.serpentineswimmingclub.com) bravely plunge into the frosty waters of Hyde Park’s pond.
7-11 Have a literary night out
Run by Time Out favourite Robin Ince, the Book Club is probably the most innovative comedy show in town. It takes place monthly, sometimes fortnightly, at the Albany (20 Great Portland Street, W1; 020 7387 0221). Fantastically weird.
‘A bi-monthly bonding of brains and beautiful people over books, bands and bellinis’ is how the organisers of B Club describe this free soirée at the Great Eastern Hotel (40 Liverpool Street, EC2; 020 7618 5000/www.thebclub.co.uk).
Getting into monthly musical-literary club Book Slam used to be a case of camping out for hours or organising your tickets far in advance. Until, that is, the organisers – author Patrick Neate and Everything But the Girl’s Ben Watt – relocated from poky club Cherry Jam to the more spacious Neighbourhood (12 Acklam Road, W10; 020 8960 9331/www.bookslam.com).
The First Tuesday Poetry Club, now at Clerkenwell’s Three Kings (7 Clerkenwell Close, EC1; 020 7253 0483), celebrated its first anniversary at the end of last year.
If you wind your way to the back of the Vibe Bar on a Saturday night, you’ll find bohemian night Poejazzi (91-95 Brick Lane, E1; 020 7247 3479/www.myspace.com/poejazzi).

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