LondonLife – In the shadow of the Eye…

In-the-shadow-of-the-eyeIn a reminder of the summer’s past, here’s an image of Londoners enjoying the sun in the shadow of London’s Eye. The EDF Energy London Eye this year officially welcomed its 50 millionth visitor, some 13 years after the 135 metre high wheel first commenced operation. It was originally anticipated the Eye would only exist for five years but such has been its success that it’s been granted lifelong permission to remain at its South Bank site. For more on the Eye, check out

Around London – ‘Hidden Treasures’; Open House programme; and the Isabella Plantation celebrates 60 years…

St-John's-GateHidden Treasures – the national initiative to celebrate the UK’s museum and archive collections – kicks off for its second year next Thursday, 22nd August, and runs over the bank holiday weekend until 27th August. Among the London institutions taking part this year are the British Library, the British Postal Museum and Archive in Houghton, the Museum of the Order of St John in Clerkenwell (pictured) and Orleans House Gallery in Twickenham. Hidden Treasures is an initiative of the Collections Trust and the Independent newspaper. All events are free but some have to be pre-booked and have limited spaces so make sure you check out the details at

The programme for Open House London – held over the weekend of 21st and 22nd September – will be made available online from today (or alternatively you can order a hard copy via the Open House London website). It’s important to note that a few of the buildings involved can only be entered by those successful in a ballot – they include 10 Downing Street, The View from The Shard, EDF Energy London Eye and Gray’s Inn. Head to the website – – to enter the ballots which close on 13th September.

The Isabella Plantation – a 40 acre ornamental woodland garden located in the south west area of Richmond Park – is celebrating 60 years since its creation and they’ve kicked off a fortnight’s programme of free events community to mark the occasion. The events, which will be focused around the yurt by Peg’s Pond in the plantation,  include guided walks, a showcase of art for young people and a Teddy Bears picnic on the bank holiday weekend. One of the most visited parts of Richmond Park, the plantation is home to the Wilson 50 National Collection of Evergreen Azaleas, more than 150 hardy hybrid Rhododendrons, 50 species of Rhododendron and a large collection of camellias and magnolia as well as many rare and unusual trees and shrubs. While the plantation can be dated as far back as 1771 (then named Isabella Slade), it was planted for timber in 1831, and in 1953 the present garden was established and the old name Isabella adopted for it. For more on the events, see

As Muslims mark the end of Ramadan this weekend, the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated in Trafalgar Square on Saturday. As well as the chance to sample foods from across the Islamic world, there will also be entertainment on stage, exhibitions and children’s activities. The festival, put on by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, runs between 1.30pm and 6pm. For more, see

On Now: Take One Picture – Discover, Imagine, Explore: Children Inspired by Willem Kalf. This display at the National Gallery focuses on Willem Kalf’s Still Life with Drinking-Horn (about 1653) and features alongside it responsive works created by children from 25 schools across the UK and as far afield as Turkey with works from other schools captured in a slide-show. Located at the Annenberg Court (Getty Entrance), admission is free. Runs until 12th September. For more, see

Around London – Composer Herbert Howells honored; London Eye’s new name; and, the Natural History Museum’s new gallery…

Composer and teacher Herbert Howells has been commemorated with a blue plaque on his former home in Barnes, south west London. Known for composing “recognisably English” works, Howells is considered by man to be the last of the great English Romantic composers and is particularly remembered for this contributions to the Anglican liturgy. According to English Heritage, Howells lived at the house at 3 Beverley Close from 1946 until a few weeks before he died in 1983. For more on Howells, see

The London Eye is to have a name change. Having started life as the Millennium Wheel (while still under construction), it was officially named the British Airways London Eye when it first opened in March 2000 and later renamed the Merlin Entertainments London Eye when the BA naming deal expired. Following a new deal, the wheel will be known as the EDF Energy London Eye from the end of this month.

On Now – The Natural History Museum’s new Images of Nature gallery opens tomorrow. The new permanent gallery showcases the museum’s collection of natural history artworks and includes works by bird illustrator, John Gerrard Keulemans, and botanical artist, Georg Ehret as well as a range of more modern-day creations such as a 3D scan of a shark’s head. The gallery also boasts a temporary annual exhibition with the first, a rotating collection of Chinese watercolors, featuring works by 19th century amateur naturalist John Reeves as well as contemporary works by the museum’s Shanghai-based artist-in-residence. Entry is free. See