It’s the first week in September, the air outside tells you it’s totally still acceptable to be smoozing round London in flip flops and shades but the reality is that the brats are back at school, every website pop up going is trying to flog you an early buy winter coat and it won’t be long before the leaves are falling to piss on your new autumn essential brogues. So what to do with those last remaining weeks that thanks to a bit of global warming we can still pass off as summertime?
London Wonderground, located on the Southbank runs until September 24th and could well be the answer to that last minute bit of escapism while the nights are still light. The site has been open since May, doubling up with the underbelly for fringe previews during festival season and providing the perfect location for an awkward date or two. This Saturday we went to see what all the fuss is about.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present London Wonderground at Southbank Centre. A playground for the people, leave your real life at the door and step inside… the Wonderground features a packed programme of circus, cabaret and family entertainment, all taking place in our beautiful 1920s Paradiso Spiegeltent. We also present oddities, curiosities and eccentricities from our Sideshow Wonderground run by Guinness World Record-Holder, The Space Cowboy, and our 60-metre high Star Flyer gives you an unrivalled view over London’s rooftops (if you can bear to keep your eyes open). A splendid place to sit and while away the summer, stop by for a Pimm’s at our Riverside bar, or enjoy a delectable treat from one of the Laughing Stock’s delicious eateries.”
This way to the freak show…
Aside from cabaret and circus style shows on offer there is a vintage fun fair style feel for those just looking for somewhere a little bit different to enjoy a beer or two. The seating is a mixture of picnic tables in fairy lit woodland, bar stools on a rotating carousel (not for the motion sick or Jager bomb induced) and cosy two-somes in double seats in the shape of dodgems and other classic fairground rides. The Wonderground hosts several bars but watch what you order, you’re safe with standard house wines and beers but a bottle of Pinot Grigio will set you back £26 and a double G&T around the £9 *token brummy faints on floor* (although the measures were pretty much free pour) Food wise there isn’t a dodgy Mr. Sizzle van insight, instead a selection of gourmet style fast food including Stocks’s Burgers and Birds, Lola’s Hot Dogs, Stocks Wraps and Pittas and J & A Elles Pizza. We went for the burger – a cheese and bacon burger with rosemary fries will set you back about a tenner and although the portion sizes are small it’s a few splendid mouthfuls of high class cow. For the bigger eaters you might be better off doubling up as we still ended up indulging in 1am Dominoes (classy.)
The DJs blasted a mixture of pimping melodies from retro disco beats to RnB tunage making the whole experience feel like a Saturday night on the tiles without the sweaty tribes of lads.lads.lads and fear of someone vomiting on your shoe. Sylvester Stallone was spotted queuing for a cheeky beer at the Wonderground when he came over for the Expendables premiere earlier in August so you never know you may bump into a famous face or two, or not but still there are always the £1 pots of jelly beans to get high off…
In it’s final weeks there are plenty of shoes still on offer so why not give it a whirl….