As many of us will be having what it is fashionable to call a ‘staycation’ this year, let’s see what the Westminster Libraries Gateway can do to make a summer in the city a pleasant one (assuming it ever stops raining!).
First port of call is the London page and the first link is to theSeer ‘the free online directory and resource for all of London’s creative individuals, organisations and venues to find, receive and promote arts and creative information in London’. It’s not used as much as it should be, but it’s a good way of finding out about offbeat arts events that you might not have known about. A search for events in what’s left of July reveals a play performed in Twickenham Lido, a double bill of stand-up comedy from Edinburgh in Earlsfield and a free concert of Liszt in Kensington. You can also subscribe to a newsletter, selecting your own personal interests so if all you want to know about is reggae in Redbridge, they won’t bother you with information about classical music in Camden.
If your appetite for culture hasn’t been satisfied by this, check out the City Heritage Guide from the people at the 24 Hour Museum. Using the Places to Go link, you can see if there are any cultural organisations you didn’t know about in your area (who knew there was a London Sewing Museum in Balham?).
How about seeing London like a tourist? Scroll down to the bottom of the Gateway’s London page for range of sites designed to help visitors get the most out of the city. One fun option is to download a free podcast of a walk from the Free Walks in London site. The most recent walk takes you from Little Venice to 221B Baker Street via Abbey Road with, no doubt, lots of useful facts to be gleaned on the way.
Moving away from the London page of the Gateway, the Transport and Tourism page has some useful links to help you find your way around. The Transport for London Journey Planner is perfect for constructing your own routes around London and especially useful is the advanced option which allows you to specify what form of public transport you want to use (fancy walking from Pimlico to Bloomsbury but think you might get lost? Or taking the bus from Victoria to Harrow ? The Journey Planner will be with you every step of the way.)
Whatever you choose to do in London this Summer, even if it’s only sitting in the park at lunchtime (see Parks and gardens to find out where your nearest open space is), hopefully the Gateway can help you enjoy yourself just that bit more!