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England’s capital is not only the largest city in Western Europe, but is also its most vibrant. The home of the Queen, Big Ben and the famous Hackney Carriage is also home to one of the most cosmopolitan populations in the world, which has left its mark on this ancient yet very cutting edge metropolis. 

London is a world city of truly global proportions. Visitors come here to experience the world’s best restaurants, top hotels and its varied nightlife. But they also come for another thing, the culture. If there is a world capital of culture then London must surely be it. Plays and musical productions pack the city’s famous West End, while museums and art galleries, such as the iconic British Museum and the Tate Modern wow visitors with their huge exhibits.  

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Run or Dye or, preferably, both, if you want to make the most of this colourful 5K event (though don't worry, walking is also perfectly acceptable). The latest in a number of ‘colour runs' to be staining various spots around the country in recent years, that is, where participants get pelted with paint as they make their way around a set-course, it's simply good, not very clean, fun. Even better, kids under the age of five can take part for free. See runordye.co.uk for details of upcoming events.


Disney on Ice Magical Ice Festival There's a simple way of working out if someone is a “goody” or a “baddy”: make them watch a Disney film. If they fail to smile even once, they're definitely a member of the dark side. It's a similar story with the magical group's latest ice-skating extravaganza, especially now that it, rather fittingly, features everyone's favourite Frozen characters. The performance is showing up and down the country this month, and comes to London's Wembley Arena in April, so book now to stay on everyone's right side (Arena Square, Engineers Way, HA9 0AA, disneyonice.com).


O2 CLIMB Sure, you can see London by bus, train, bike or even helicopter. But until you've gazed upon it (well, upon Canary Wharf and Greenwich to be specific), in a fetching blue jumpsuit, following an exhilarating, 90-minute hike up the side of The O2 (yes, we do mean the ginormous concert venue), you're missing out. With tickets starting from £26 (€33), and climbs running all day and into the evening (twilight is particularly good), it really is worth the effort (The O2, Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX, theo2.co.uk).


Natural History Museum Ice Rink Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD In an increasingly crowded market for festive rinks (there's even one in Vauxhall this year), this Kensington number gets our vote. Not only is it situated next to London's most beautiful museum building, but the hot chocolate in its cafe comes with those little itty bitty marshmallows on the top. Get your skates on, though, it's only open till 4 January. nhm.ac.uk


As seasoned treasure hunters, you have to believe us when we say that the interactive murder mysteries run by A Door in a Wall are by far the most adventurous, hilarious and puntastic in the city. Recruit a team of up to six people and be ready for an evening legging it around London's murder sites, gathering clues, solving riddles, and undertaking tasks for characters you meet en route. Dress comfortably. adoorinawall.com

Sightseeing


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Eccentric characters (big and small), catchy songs, awesome set design with special effects, and a whole lot of chocolate means this theatrical version of arguably Roald Dahl's greatest novel is bound to leave a very sweet taste with all. charlieandthechocolatefactory.com


Matilda: it started as a wickedly magnificent book, then morphed into a wonderfully hilarious movie, and is now the most marvellous of West End musicals. Essentially, it would seem the brilliance of Roald Dahl's classic children's story, about an extraordinarily gifted child, flows into whatever art form it takes on. So, don't be an ignorant little slug (as Miss Trunchbull would say), go and check it out for yourself. You won't regret it. Runs at the Cambridge Theatre until 20 December 2015. matildathemusical.com

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"The Jam: About the Young Idea" Paul Weller, Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton, that is, the three members of The Jam, one of Britain's most influential punk rock/mod bands of the 70s and 80s, have gone through their drawers to pull out all their scrapbooks, letters, fanzines and more. The result is the most comprehensive exhibition about their rise to glory. Catch this incredible, personal insight into their trailblazing life at Somerset House until 31 August. somersethouse.org.uk


Everything in life is so much better when you have a cat. At least that's the ethos of London's first ever cat cafe, Lady Dinah's, and if the 65,000 people who visited it in its first year of opening is anything to go by, they're probably not alone in their thinking. Keen to get away from the need to book months in advance to meet their 12 furry residents (it's tough being popular, eh?), these moggie lovers have introduced walk-in sessions this summer. Get there early for a purrfect start to the day. ladydinahs.com


WIMBLEDON Strawberries and cream, sophisticated clapping, 50 shades of white and possibly the most British thing of them all, the humble queue. Yes, Wimbledon is back for another year and so are all our favourite tennis champions to bid for the title. If you didn't get a ticket (and don't have a few hundred spare for the few remaining ones), then get up super-early (like 5am) and do it English-style by queuing with the rest of the merry minions for a ground pass. It's much cheaper and actually a lot of fun. wimbledon.org


It's not often you'll go on about spending the night in an old car park, but then it's not often that an old car park has been taken over by the Hawker House team as it has for the Dalston Yard Street Feast. Expect a line-up of London's best street food traders, pop-up bars, and a young crowd in the know having a blast. Find it in east London's trendy Dalston from this month (until late September) to see what we mean. streetfeastlondon.com


For the city that has “everything”, there can often be some frustration in London when trying to find something open after-hours. It's why the contact details of the Hippodrome casino and entertainment space are well worth saving in your phone. It's open 24 hours, entry is free, food is served until late and drinks are available all night (Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7JH, hippodromecasino.com).


Take the best beer factory tour or vineyard trip you've ever been on, and replace the booze with Bombay Sapphire gin (yes, we thought that might turn a few heads). The company has just opened its Hampshire distillery to the public (a 90-minute drive from London), to allow fans to explore and learn about the origins of their botanicals before, of course, trying some of the finished product. distillery.bombaysapphire.com

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