What cultural activities do you like to do in London? What stops you doing more? Is there anything you’d like to see or do that you don’t think is available in the city currently?
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I am bedridden and get to very little these days. I used to get to a lot in my twenties, but then with small children, and barely enough money to pay the bills and feed them, it made a huge difference that Ken Livingstone brought in the 'fares fair' campaign. There are so many things you can do for free in London if you are fit and can get around, but London isn't compact and fares are inescapable. Ken made a massive difference to our lives. And he's not antisemitic, only anti-Israeli. I am sad at what we have allowed the Zionists to do to him.
theaters are very expensive and aimed at tourists .i believe some leading theatre shall play at reduced price once per week.
also,people shall be better dressed going there-seems like they wear same clothes doing trash bins and going to theater,shame...
Jessica Saraga, if you know a student, they can join ROH students (Royal Opera House) for free, which allows them to take a second person along to events at the student price. Only one student card is required for the two guests. The student prices are supported by patrons. Seats are in the ampitheatre at reduced prices.
I recently became a mature student full-time and have been trying to take advantage of the special priced ballet, opera and concert events around London (from the Royal Opera House to the Young Vic). However, some student schemes exclude the over 35s, which is unfair. Some offers are open to all (Friday Rush, Today Tix), etc. I currently live near 2 large parks, and a smaller one, all of which are wonderful for walking in. I struggle to find any gyms and creative arts classes that are remotely affordable in my area. The National Portrait Gallery, which is a bus ride away, runs free drawing sessions.
As the weather improves, I shall learn to jog in the local 'green lungs', but would also like to do less solitary fitness pursuits. Some sports shops offer free fitness classes - I shall give one a try. Student rates at borough fitness centres are approx. £35 a month, which is too high. £25 a month would be more affordable. How about a book of tickets to use over a number of months offering a discount for each session? I can but dream.
I also use the parks to meet my friends - there are many pleasant cafes. There are gallery spaces in one of the parks, which are free to attend, so this is a bonus.
I have never been to a football match because I always assume they are too expensive. I would like to go to a rugby match but suspect pricing may also be an obstacle. I don't have anyone to go with so am not sure how much fun going alone would be.
My rent is currently half the local market rent but this accommodation closes down in October. A great loss for students in London. After that, I shall put even more energy into trying to find free cultural events in London, as what little funding I can muster will be swallowed by the London rental studio market plus storage fees for the rest of my possessions. London living!
Love theatre, everything on the South Bank, Tate galleries, V&A. I like opera but tends to be pricey so I don't go.
I don't like the West End at weekends because of crowds which are sometimes quite scary if I'm on my own.
Sorry for the duplication of this message. I only just spotted the "reply" link.
The Mayor should concentrate on clearing the rubbish from the streets of London this would make it more appealing to visit London.
My last visit we had to walk round bags of rubbish left out by restaurants and fast food shops with people adding their own rubbish to the pile.
Not much these days due to cost of parking and congestion charge. Public transport not an option from where we live so our money goes elsewhere.
I too love going to theatres, museums, galleries, cinema (independents more than the biggies and to see "indies"). I go to the National Theatre and Sam Wanamaker most as quality is superb and world-class.
Live music, cinema, theatre, museum and galleries.
What stops me doing more of cultural activities? The cost of course. It's not that London does not have a variety of activities but who can afford those?
I should like more participation and less sitting watching professionals.For example, I am now in a community choir which I find fun and rewarding, and get a lot closer to the composer's intention. Discussion groups are much better than lectures. This would also be cheaper. London does not need 6 big orchestras; losing one would pay for thousands of kids to learn to playor sing for life.
A small gripe is the lack of more whimsical comedians who don't swear in every sentence; I am not shocked just disappointed at the limited use of our beautiful language to make me laugh.
There's Culture and there's Culture. A concert/performance by a name artist is not culture it is a business venture. Discount tickets for cultural events(that aren't designed to make a profit) would be fine as long as it's not funded/subsidised from Council Tax by those not wishing to attend it. Compaining about high ticket prices is pointless. If the paying public don't turn out because of the prices the businesses will either drop the prices or shut up shop.
From my point of view, Matinees and Afternoon Activities are those which attract older people to get out and about, so more of those would be of mutual benefit to consumers and providers.
I have been working as a musician here in London for 40 years or so. I enjoy going to smaller venues (affordable ones) to see music live and up close. I saw another comment about the small venues having a difficult time, I know many are run not for profit but for the love of the music/ art and for the community spirit. I think allowing small art venues (I include spoken word, film, dance and exhibitions of visual art here) to go easy on the bureaucracy and giving them a break on business taxes would go a long way towards helping them.
I got to the theatre, but can’t afford to go often.
I love seeing art in public spaces.
I also love nature and green spaces. In a city it’s even more important to mental well being and community to have a bit of nature around. Benches under trees, graffiti friendly zones, raised beds for local residents etc - all these things help us reclaim our streets and get out and about more easily and safely. Even better are gigs and art events in parks, like they do at Whittington Park near me. Now the councils are so poor, maybe there is a larger role for the Mayor to support such events.
My favourite cultural activity is attending live music shows. There are a reasonable number of live music venues but these tend to be more and more outside Central London particularly since Crossrail development at Tottenham Court Road. A number of venues were lost to this development including the Astoria which was the only central venue with a capacity of around 2,000. East London where I live has always had less than its fair share of venues and that continues to be the case. Promotion rather than restriction of live music licences would be welcome. I go to the cinema and my concern here is the internal policing of anti-social behaviour - eating smelly food, throwing pop-corn on the floor, talking, texting and even taking calls - during showings. This tends to be less of an issue in central cinemas which tend to have more adult audiences. Wouldn't it be great if cinemas introduced screens which don't allow food and drink. I'm not sure if eating and drinking counts as cultural but they are both part and parcel of a night of cultural activity. The restaurant scene seems to be pretty healthy and the craft ale boom has led to a burgeoning microbrew scene and some interesting new bars in new areas. However, a lot of traditional pubs have closed which is particularly sad when it leads to the demolition or re-purposing of the building. Demographic changes do sometimes mean that it is no longer viable to run a pub but the onus should be on developers to prove that a pub would not be viable, e.g. in Soho, which has become an antiseptic version of its former self, a pub is always viable.
I enjoy theatre, opera, live music and galleries.
The biggest problem in London, as many people here are saying in different ways, is that it's very difficult for artists and promoters as venues become scarcer and more expensive and artists cannot afford to live here in London. There is an 'art drain' to places like Berlin and Barcelona of talented artists particularly those in the early stages of their careers.
We need to guarantee that venues for non profit or start up arts events are available. Cheap venues such as the Coronet in Elephant and Castle are being demolished and the remaining 'big spaces' concentrate on the, lucrative for them but artistically barren, corporate events. Temporary arts spaces are disappearing as they more rapidly than ever become flats and retail space.
How about a designated artists quarter? A part of London where planning prevented the redevelopment of arts spaces and where cheap rents were encouraged? Buildings handed over to arts cooperatives to allow both professional and amateur artists to form a community? It's done in places like Denmark and Sweden and I've recently come back from a conference in Nantes in France, a town that has re imagined itself as a centre for arts.
Finally TFL was forced into spending nearly forty million pounds on the garden bridge debacle, a project which would have done nothing to encourage innovative artistic creativity. Five million pounds could secure a building given over to creativity on a non profit basis to kick start grass roots art and keep those vital creative young people in London.
Without them the future London will slowly die, a 24 hour transport city with nowhere to go.
I love the fact there are different parks to visit both centrally in London and in my local borough. Most have cafes. You can take out boats on the lake in London and listen to band music during the summer months also locally. I think it would be nice if local schools might encourage their orchestras to play in parks or request any budding musicians to come and play. I think all park bins should be about Recycling so have 3 bins together one for cans, glass and plastic.
I enjoy visiting theatre both in London and locally. We have great small theatres at The GatesHead in Highgate and The Kings Head in Islington. I just wish tickets were more affordable.
I used to enjoy attending my local Evening Institute in Hampstead Garden Suburb for photography and embroidery. It would be nice if all local boroughs could provide once again such an insitute to encourage learning of languages, computer skills, vocational skills, musical instruments, singing and so on. Perhaps local schools could be used for this??
I think it would be nice if Retired people who have a cultural interest be invited into schools and introduce the young people to culture, we have such a wealth of culture both in London, locally and nationally. Our youth should know about all our big cities, ports etc. what the UK's culture is all about.
Thanks everyone for sharing your views. Many of you have mentioned the cost of transport as a barrier to taking part in more cultural activities.
Thinking about your local area specifically, what cultural things do you like to do? What would you like to see more of in your area?
For me transport is that which not always work and did not aloud to take part in some activities.
I enjoy going to Museums (thanks God they are mostly free!). And I go a lot to fringe theatre performances. The West End is very expensive but that's normal among other citie's. The good thing about London is that there is always something going on, either free or very affordable. And then there are the parks, the flora, oasis of peace int he middle of a very busy city.
My husband and I enjoy walking and discovering the back streets of London as well as outside London as we are fortunate to have Freedom Passes. We often take a train to the last railway station we are allowed to use on the outskirts of London and then jump on a bus. We treat it as a challenge to see how far we can travel. In central London we think that peaceful streets and parks are preferable to busy streets full of tourists. Museums, especially in the school holidays, may be free but are full and noisy. Travel in to London and on the Underground is not what it used to be. We were taught to respect older people and give up our seats to them on public transport. It seems to be foreign folk who still do this while often small children do not sit on the lap of their parents but occupy a seat themselves. On the Underground the other day it was my husband who gave up his seat to a younger person with
crutches while parents with children occupying a seat just looked on.
24/7 opening of shops and night clubs open all night, especially during the working week, must be noisy for those living nearby.
We believe in supporting outer London theatres as they too have good shows. We also support local operatic groups and choirs.
I love to go to art galleries and museums but although most are free entry you have to pay to get into special exhibitions. As a pensioner the price is prohibitive and I think also for most people especially families and people on low incomes. In other countries and cities local people pay nothing or a reduced price to access exhibitions. Why doesn't this apply to Londoners?
I used to go to the West End theatre regularly but now I am priced out, even though I don't consider myself poor. Ticket prices are astonishingly high. I would support a move to have London residents (by a residency qualification, including people who are not necessarily British nationals) to have a percentage discount.
On the positive side, the over-pricing of the West End stage has led to the development of excellent fringe theatre which is often as good as the West End. Locally to me I would name the Brockley Jack Theatre, London Theatre New Cross and the Bunker Theatre.
These are professional, but another development from over-pricing is the growth of really excellent amateur productions which rival professional productions. My local amateur group is the Dulwich Players. Their recent production of The Compleat Female Stage Beauty was flawless.
On a similar theme, the excellent transport links across London now mean I can get to the Hampstead Theatre as quickly as I could get tot the West End in a journey (south-east to north-west London) which used to take hours. I think it is local theatre which will save the London stage.
I think London has a great deal to offer but I do think the theatre needs to be more affordable especially for those who find prices too high. The National and other theatres do have a number of special offers but there needs to be more especially in the West End. Of course there are commercial considerations but it is an area that needs a wider discussion so theatre is available to a wider audience
I have to agree that the price of theatre tickets is becoming outrageous through the marketing and selling strategies being implemented by the theatres. I recently sought tickets and discovered that it was going to be £80 for restricted view seats which is just not affordable when you go as a couple and add travel. That's almost £200 before you eat or drink anything. My children enjoy the theatre too but sadly i and my family have been priced out of one of the best sources of cultural education and entertainment.