Keats House in North London is the newly redisplayed home of the English Romantic poet, John Keats. Originally known as Wentworth Place, the Regency villa was home to the poet for the most productive years of his career. The London-born poet has one of the most exceptional careers of any English poet, which is why his legacy is kept alive through poetry programs and workshops. The Keats House Collection is comprised of original material including letters written by Keats, books in which Keats wrote some of his poetry, and the engagement ring given by Keats to his fiancée, Fanny Brawne. The collection also features new exhibits of his original manuscripts and artifacts, which recount the story of how the young poet found inspiration. With tons of free events throughout the summer, Keats House is great for a family fun day, encapsulating the beauty of Keats’ life and his world-famous poetry. Whether you watch a film about his eventful life in Hampstead, enjoy a guided walk around the grounds, or write your own poem, Keats House makes for a delightful, uncrowded day out in North London.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 1 P.M. to 5 P.M. £5.50 Adult, £3.50 Concessions, Free for Children
Admission valid for one year and entitles you to unlimited visits within that period
Keats House, 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, London, 020 7332 3868
House Of Illustration
The House of Illustration is the only public gallery in the UK which is exclusively dedicated to the art of illustration. Situated in the heart of London’s most resurgent area, King’s Cross, the House of Illustration is dedicated to learning about illustration and allows you to enjoy a range of different types of illustration, such as advertisements, animations, picture books, political cartoons, scientific drawings and fashion design. The gallery opened only a year ago in July 2014 and remains unaffected by the hustle and bustle of Granary Square, making it the ideal spot to enjoy a relaxed day out in North London. As a registered charity, the House of Illustration has a London-wide education and outreach program, and is the best place to see the work of up-and-coming illustrators. The gallery strives to promote fresh new talent and commissions contemporary work regularly. House of Illustration runs a range of adult masterclasses and courses, which are led by experts to give you experience and confidence in an array of different practices, ranging from Illustrating a Narrative to Experimental Map-Making. The gallery also has great events for children such as Ladybird Family Workshops, which will run throughout August. The Ladybird by Design exhibition features over 120 original illustrations from Ladybird Books, to celebrate 100 years in publishing.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm, £7 Adult, £5 Concession, £4 Child
Gillespie Park Nature Reserve And Islington Ecology Centre
Gillespie Park Nature Reserve and Islington Ecology Centre is the best spot in North London to enjoy the wildlife, fresh air and soak up the sunshine away from the hordes of people in the city. The 2.8 hectare nature reserve boasts a variety of wildlife including 24 types of butterflies, 244 species of plants and 94 species of birds. If the mass of beautiful butterflies isn’t enough, the park has picturesque ponds as well as woodland and meadow areas. Next door to the Emirates Stadium, the nature reserve is ideal for a picnic in the sunshine, or dog-walking in the allotted section by the St. Thomas Road entrance. The ecology center offers visitors advice about wildlife gardening and sustainable living, in addition to running events throughout the summer. The center is great for learning about sustainable living, with its wind turbine, biomass boiler, and water recycling systems. The Sunday Café is open from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. and allows you to indulge in scrumptious tea and cakes with the beautiful backdrop of Gillespie Park.
Gillespie Park is open to the public from 8 A.M. to dusk every day, except for days of Arsenal Stadium events, when it is closed.
St Pancras Old Churchyard
For lovers of history and literature, perusing St Pancras Old Churchyard is the perfect day out. Along with its historical significance, St Pancras Old Churchyard is the largest green space in the area, making it a serene spot to enjoy an alternative day out. Situated behind the two famous railway termini St Pancras and King’s Cross, the churchyard is where married writers William Goodwin and Mary Wollstonecraft are buried. The churchyard is also famous for where their daughter, Mary Shelley secretly met with her husband and Romantic poet Percy Shelley before they were wed. The famous Hardy Tree, which is an ash tree that has grown in amongst the gravestones, is also in the churchyard. The churchyard is also the home to the mausoleum of the designer behind London’s iconic red telephone box, Sir John Soane.
St Pancras Old Church, Pancras Road, London, 020 7424 0724
RAF Museum is the U.K.’s only national museum that recounts the history of the Royal Air Force through its collections and people’s stories. Located on the historic site of Hendon’s London Aerodrome in Colindale, the North London site is one of the RAF Museum’s two sites; the other is situated in Cosford. Prepare to be taken on a journey through time from the early aircraft designs to the latest in military aircraft and modern day jets. With over 100 aircraft on site, including the life-sized model of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet, this is the only place in London to see so many historical aircraft up close with no entrance fee. The museum’s latest exhibition ‘First World War in the Air’ features the diary of Major Edward Corringham, a Propellor from a Bleriot XI Cross channel Monoplane, and is open now. Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast or just want to experience something new, exploring the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force through real aircraft and interactive exhibits makes for an unconventional and fun day out.
Open 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. Admission is free.
RAF Museum, London, Grahame Park Way, London, 020 8205 2266
By Gina Chahal