22 May 2017 | 10 °C

A Map Of The London Zodiac

By Londonist Staff Last edited 9 months ago
A Map Of The London Zodiac
Click to enlarge. © Mike Hall

Each constellation in this new London Zodiac maps a different night-time itinerary. Prepare to hunt bats, spot comets, drink a Monkey Gland, and skank till dawn.

Telescope

The highest point in central London, the top of Hampstead Heath, is one of the best places for stargazing, even with the city's light pollution. For a closer look, visit the Hampstead Observatory: the Hampstead Scientific Society opens its telescopes for free from 8 till 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, mid September to mid April.

Bat

The London Bat Group has an active events calendar. Head to Hyde Park to see pipistrelles, Europe's smallest bat, and noctules, Britain's largest, best seen flitting over the Serpentine. While you're there, consider the sinister aftermath of the lost film, London After Midnight. This 1927 vampire flick was used as defence by Robert Williams, who murdered a girl in Hyde Park: he claimed the film had driven him temporarily insane. The last known copy of London After Midnight was incinerated in 1967. Afterwards, walk from Hyde Park to Eon House at 138 Piccadilly, once the central London residence of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

From Hampstead Heath. Photo: Torsten Reimer.

Spectre

After spirits at the Black Lion Pub in Hammersmith, try this closing time ghost tour. The pub itself is reputedly haunted by Thomas Millwood, shot in 1803 by an excise officer who mistook him, ironically, for the 'Hammersmith Ghost'. During the ensuing murder trial, John Graham, a shoemaker, revealed that he was the Hammersmith Ghost and had been dressing up in costume to protest against ghost stories. Walk to Margravine Cemetery nearby, the site of one of Graham's attacks.

Werewolf

If it's raining, find a werewolf with a Chinese menu and follow him to Lee Ho Fooks for a big dish of beef chow mein. Listen to Warren Zevon's Werewolves of London as you do so. According to the song, you might also meet a well-groomed werewolf in Trader Vic's bar inside the Hilton on Park Lane. Fooks, on Gerrard Street, has since been renamed Dumpling's Legend and closes at 1am.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Photo: Darrell Godliman.

Creek

The Greenwich Foot Tunnel is open all night. Walk to the maritime borough via this tunnel under the Thames and emerge to admire the ghostly Cutty Sark, riding its cloud of illuminated glass. Then visit Up the Creek, south London’s cult comedy venue, which hosts raucous after parties until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. If you fancy something quieter, walk to the mouth of Deptford Creek, where you’ll find Peter the Great standing next to a dwarf. Sit in his high-backed Russian throne and tune in to the shipping forecast at 00.48, looking out over the river. Sail on the airwaves to Viking, Fair Isle, Biscay and Shannon.

Shades

Sometimes one night is too short, but in Brixton that doesn’t have to be a problem. Begin Friday evening at Hootananny on Effra Road. Enjoy the ska in this characterful pub before migrating to one of many nearby clubs. Skank till dawn, then head to Club 414 on Coldharbour Lane for their morning-after party. Come midday you'll be back on the street. Put on some shades and take a taxi to the Brixton Windmill. It's always night-time in this windowless music cave. Take shelter, catch a band or two, and hide out until night falls and you can begin again.

Explanations for the rest of this map can be found inside the magnificent Curiocity, an A to Z exploring every aspect of life in London. It's out now in hardback, RRP £30. Published by Penguin Books.

Text © Penguin Books.

Last Updated 19 August 2016