BATTERSEA POWER STATION OPENS THIS MONTH
There's a real buzz around the former power plant, which opens on October 14
Bar a brief but iconic stint as a cover star for Pink Floyd, Battersea Power Station is a building that has always just been there, hugging the banks of the Thames like a giant, decaying limpet.
Having not pumped out electricity for nearly 40 years, the old building occupied a strange place in Londoners' hearts; a huge, derelict waste of 38 acres of prime, riverside real estate, but one that locals would fight tooth and nail to keep as part of South London's skyline.
Plans for the site have come and gone. Some, like the Parkview shopping mall, were cast aside for being too mundane and out of touch with the local community. Other more bizarre suggestions - notably a theme park and a new stadium for Chelsea Football Club - showed how desperate people were for the structure to be put to use.
But this month, Battersea Power Station finally opens as a fully public space for the first time, and you'll want to check out everything it has to offer.
Retaining the grand, industrial pillars and exposed, metal beams, the new power station hosts a pedestrian 'High Street', called Electric Avenue. It's a high-end offering, so don't expect to find a Poundland here - we're talking. designer clothing brands, luxury watchmakers and pricey make-up.
There's also a new branch of one of London's oldest florists, Moyses Stevens, a Boom Cycle for those who want to get their sweat on, and the Battersea General Store, which sells food and veg from artisan brands and international producers.
Eat and drink
You might have already visited the Power Station for its f&b offering, as a slow roll-out of new openings means that some restaurants and bars have been welcoming guests for a while. Battersea Brewery, Black Sheep Coffee and the imaginatively-named No. 29 Power Station West are our picks of the early openers.
But there's plenty more to come. Arcade will take inspiration from food markets around the world, while Clean Kitchen offers only the finest and healthiest vegan dishes. There'll be French baked goods at the Paris Baguette Bakery Cafe; sweet and savoury belly fillers from Where The Pancakes Are and modern takes on kebabs at Le Bab.
The real show-stopper is Control Room B, a new all-day cocktail bar brought to you by Inception Group, the geniuses behind Mr Fogg's, Cahoots, Bunga Bunga and plenty more of London's most popular theme bars.
Control Room B retains the original controls from the power station, so you can drink surrounded by the nobs, dials and screens that kept this mammoth plant ticking over back in the day. Inception Group don't do things by halves. Expect staff members with brilliant costumes and complex back stories, themed cocktails and plenty of hidden surprises that'll keep you coming back again and again.
This old building is still in the business of giving you power, and TV's favourite insect nibbler, Bear Grylls has brought his Be Military Fit (BMF) franchise to Battersea. If planking, battle ropes and kettlebells aren't your thing, Boom Cycle plonks you atop a bike and pumps music into your ears for a high intensity spin session. It's like cycling, except you won't get sworn at by a taxi driver.
And perhaps angry road users will be able to vent their pent up aggression at BXR London, which is scheduled to open in 2023. BXR takes boxing, places it in a venue that could feasibly be a private members club and packs the room full of state of the art equipment. It's posh boxing, essentially, because rich people like to punch things, too.
If you prefer to be pampered (we also prefer to be pampered than punched, if we're brutally honest), then Third Space is the place for you. If their other London venues are anything to go by, expect swish swimming pools, spa-areas, fancy gym spaces with low lighting and a vibe that'll make you feel like you're working out in your favourite nightclub. It opens in 2023.
Do you know what London needs more of? Instagrammable activity bars! OK, we jest - London has MANY instagrammable activity bars - but that's not to say Birdies isn't worth a visit. Nine holes of crazy golf come packaged with street food from Cheeky Burger and cocktails galore.
High-octane ping pong purveyors, Bounce are adding to their Old Street and Farringdon venues with a new outlet in Battersea Power Station in 2023 - expect migraine-inducing neon colours, loud music and plenty of booze, all of which make for a very enjoyable evening but probably a sub-par table tennis performance.
For something truly otherworldly, head over to the arches in Circus West Village at DNA VR, where 50 VR experiences promise to take you out of Battersea for a few hours. Choose from VR Escape Rooms, multiplayer games and even a complete, free-roaming experience.
But we're fairly confident that the experience that'll attract tourists and Londoners alike, is Lift 109 which is, as the name suggests, just a lift. But it's all about location, darling, and THIS lift scoots right up inside Battersea Power Station's iconic chimney and pops you right out of the top like a modern day Charlie Bucket. The views will be incredible and you'll be in the perfect spot if that flying pig ever floats past again.
The power station will host no less than TWO cinemas, and we can only begin to imagine the number of hours spent sitting around large conference tables as marketing teams pitched naming ideas for both locations.
The Cinema in the Arches is located in the arches at Circus West. There are three screening rooms in total - the smaller holding just 38 people and the larger two accommodating 58 - and each offers plush, comfy seating - this is more Everyman than Odeon, and all the better for it.
Opening soon, The Cinema in the Power Station will be located in... the power station. You see? Genius. It'll be part cinema, part members club and although information has been scant about its launch this month, we'll be heading down to check it out as soon as possible.
Confusingly, The Turbine Theatre isn't actually in the turbine hall, but outside the main BPS building on the cultural strip of Circuit West. But don't let that naming struggle put you off! It's a hub of fresh new ideas and exciting, contemporary shows. Previous shows such as My Son's a Queer, But What Can You Do? and Emojiland have had spells Off-Broadway and moved on to the West End after showing in Battersea, so you can be sure you're seeing the next big thing here.
Battersea Power Station, Circus Rd W, Nine Elms, London SW8 5BN. www.batterseapowerstation.co.uk