Coming back from a holiday is always a bit of a downer, so I was keen to keep the holiday feeling alive this weekend and it helped me remember that London always has so much to offer, I could have a mini break on my doorstep every weekend.
Time Out magazine is still the best source of what’s on in London and if you’re not able to pick up a free copy in town on Tuesdays, you can subscribe for a whole year for just the postage cost of £30. Last week’s copy had a pull out guide to West End LIVE, a free two day show in Trafalgar Square featuring some of the best shows on the London stage. Despite it being the 10 year anniversary I’d never been, even though I’ve been twice to the New York equivalent, Broadway on Broadway.
Songs in the sunshine proved to be the perfect antidote to my post holiday blues, particularly as I chose to arrive in time for Ten from Ten, a fab selection of performances from 10 of the greatest musicals that have been on West End stages over the past 10 years. It kicked off with Hairspray’s Good Morning Baltimore and then Somewhere Over the Rainbow, before moving through three numbers from Chicago and tunes from Blood Brothers, Joseph and Avenue Q, which seemed very popular but can’t say it did much for me!
Mary Poppins was up next before the crowd were encouraged to sing-a-long to a rousing Do Ray Me and then Charlotte Wakefield provided the spine chills with a wonderful rendition of the Sound of Music. I saw her in the show at Regents Park last year and she was just as good this time. Jodie Prenger singing As Long as He Needs Me from Oliver and a couple of songs from Priscilla Queen of the Desert were the final ones, wrapping up an hour long demonstration of what’s great about London’s theatreland. And of course, that was the purpose, to promote and sell more West End theatre tickets.
Ten from Ten was just an excerpt of a packed two day programme that is definitely worth checking out in future years. But in the meantime there are stacks of other things going on in London every weekend. Before getting to Trafalgar Square I walked along Regent Street where the Year of the Bus Cavalcade was taking place.
It might sound a bit geeky to some but seeing the huge range of vintage buses from across the years was really fun. The first in the line was one pulled by horses while the last were the latest ultra modern routemasters, very different but both creating just as much interest. Also popular was the Lego bus stop with a stand and shelter made from Lego bricks not far from Hamleys.
After leaving West End LIVE I headed across the river to Waterloo station via the Southbank and guess what, there was loads going on. Bands and DJs were in evidence along with some public art and lots of people soaking up the sunshine standing outside the Festival Hall, or for those who know better like me in the rooftop garden above the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
I headed for the train home feeling like I’d been on holiday again and with a promise to myself to make the most of what London has to offer more often.
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