Architectural adventure

If you’ve always wanted to take in the view at The Shard or explore the inner towers of the iconic Battersea Power Station, but don’t fancy having to remortgage for the experience, then this may be the weekend for you.  For two days only, a vast number of London’s finest architectural landmarks are opening their doors for free.  Yes, that’s free!  Named ‘Open House London’ this annual weekend event allows you to take in Tower 42 in the City (once the tallest skyscraper in London) and even snoop around 10 Downing Street.  Well, technically numbers for the viewing of the Prime Minister’s residence and The Shard have already been allocated by ballot, but there are still plenty of other famous buildings to explore.

Battersea Power Station Source - Creative Commons- Aurelien Guichard

Battersea Power Station (image source: Creative Commons/Aurelien Guichard)

No10-Downing-Street courtery of Open HouseNo 10 Downing Street (image source: Open House)

Open House was started in 1992 as a not-for-profit organisation promoting our fantastic architecture.  Their aim is to get people to look around them and learn about the structure and history of some of our beautifully designed constructions.  Often buildings that are not usually accessible to the public (like the aforementioned Battersea Power Station) are included in the long list of participants.  The event has been so popular that it has been replicated in numerous cities internationally, including New York, Melbourne, Rome and even Jerusalem.

 Tower 42 courtesy of Open House

Tower 42 (image source: Open House)

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden (image source:

Most of the buildings are on a first come first served basis, so you best be quick if you want to peruse the plum locations. It’s already mid-morning and we all know what they say about the early bird…

London’s Open House runs from 21st-22nd September- visit for more info.

For ideas of where to head this weekend check out Time Out’s guide to the top venues:

Main image – Cutty Sark. Source:

Dining at The Shard

Last night I visited The Shard for the first time. Or to be more specific I dined at the restaurant Aquashard on the 31st floor of London’s latest architectural triumph.  Whether you love it or hate it, The Shard is definitely a prominent landmark on the London skyline, boasting a lift that can scale 30 floors in 30 seconds and stunning views of the city.  Unfortunately, the first day of London Fashion Week also brought with it the rain, and the rather spectacular view was somewhat ruined by the cascades of water running down the windows.  Nonetheless, the beauty of Aquashard made up for the view.  A sexy, low lit, slick interior – reminiscent of a chic New York cocktail bar – is complimented by a three-storey high atrium and plenty of glass. As the world’s fashionistas descend on our fair city, I thought it more than worthy of a blog. - Margarita

Stunning cocktails – a Margarita

I am incredibly lucky as I, along with my cousin Joanna, were being treated to supper by my lovely aunt Irma.  We had a fantastic evening.  The atmosphere and service at Aquashard was superb.  Our dishes for each course were brought out simultaneously, so no-one at the table had to wait to start their meal.  Our wine was topped up regularly and empty plates disappeared discreetly.  My only complaint was that drinks did take some time to arrive, but this could be due to the large, lively crowd at the bar on a Friday night. - Cheese plates - Cheese plate close-up

Britain’s finest artisanal cheese selection

So to the food…  Aquashard ‘serves innovative contemporary British cuisine’ and the menu is succinct and well written.  The food itself is creative and beautifully presented, but a little hit and miss.  We ordered three different fish starters and shared them all.  The confit salmon with Dorset crab, and a puree of avocado and courgette was delicious and definitely our favourite of the three.  For mains, my cousin ordered the lamb, my aunt had the Diver Scallops and I opted for cod.  Each dish was lovely and very subtle with some intriguing difficult-to-place flavours, although the scallops were too lightly cooked for my palette and the lamb was quite rare (admittedly this was requested).  Unfortunately I was too busy dining to remember to take pictures, and I didn’t think an image of an empty plate would suffice.  For dessert we opted for two cheese plates, which came with wafer thin walnut bread and a delicious chutney.  Not only were these very tasty, but as you can see from the images they also looked very stylish.  All in all, I had a wonderful evening – the setting and atmosphere was fantastic and the dishes were beautifully presented, but make sure you choose wisely as certain dishes are better than others. - Alicja Jasnikowska & Irma Pietron

Me and my aunt Irma

If you’re in town for Fashion Week, it’s worth noting that reservations need to be made in advance and we did have to wait over a month for a suitable time slot. However, you can come for cocktails at the bar and to soak up the atmosphere while taking in the view of London by night.  I would definitely recommend it…

For more information and to make a booking go to