Puppy Tennis – tennis classes for children – comes to Holland Park

Starting next week, there’s a new set of tennis classes for children that are being held in Holland Park – Puppy Tennis! Suitable for boys and girls aged from 18 months to five years – otherwise known as ‘pups’! – the classes will not only teach your child to play tennis, but will also serve as a way of improving coordination and taking on other key learning skills, all in a safe and fun environment.

Tennis classes for children - Puppy Tennis

Group coaching classes last 45 minutes per session, with six and twelve week bookings available from 5th November 2013; children can begin their sessions any week from then. The classes cost £72 for a six week session, or £144 for a twelve week one; there is a maximum of eight children per class.

Classes take place on a mini court, using mini rackets and sponge balls. As well as fun movement drills and hitting the sponge balls across the mini net at targets, the youngsters will be taught the basics of tennis with regards to the court, tennis scoring, different shots and simple tennis techniques. There will also be match play and imaginative tennis throughout! Week by week specifics can be found at the Puppy Tennis Course Guide.

All tennis equipment and rackets will be provided; the tennis pups just need to bring their own trainers and a water bottle to join in.

As well as classes on the tennis courts in Holland Park, there are also sessions available at Bishops Park Tennis Centre in Fulham SW6. It’s also possible to book Puppy Tennis as a kids’ party, or to book individual coaching sessions.

Puppy Tennis was founded by Katharine Brown, who has coached tennis for nine years and grew up as a national junior tennis player. She’s also a fully qualified British LTA coach, is CRB checked and First Aid trained.

For full details on Puppy Tennis, please see www.puppytennis.com.

Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk, Sunday 23rd September

The Alzheimer’s Society will be holding their annual Memory Walk in Battersea Park (and nearby areas) on Sunday 23rd September, inviting all locals to sign up, help raise some money and join in with the fun and entertainment taking place on the day!

Memory Walk Alzheimers Society

Participants can sign up for walks of 2, 5 or 10 miles in length that will take place in the Park itself, and through different parts of London as well – including along Chelsea Embankment and across the Albert Bridge. It is free to sign up to these walks, and there is no minimum fundraising limit; whole families are also encouraged to take part, and pets are also more than welcome!

There will also be food stalls, music and entertainment in Battersea Park that day. The event starts at 10am with registration at the bandstand, and will continue on throughout the day.

For more details about the event and to sign up, please see www.memorywalk.org.uk/london.

Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk
Sunday, 23rd September (starts 10am)
Battersea Park

Review: Bikeminded’s Alice in Wonderland Cycling Tour

I had the very pleasant experience of being able to join Bikeminded’s Alice in Wonderland cycling tour on Friday evening – and what a wonderful experience it was!

I must begin this review by first stating that cycling isn’t something I do often. Although I do enjoy it (and often rent bikes when on holiday in some low-key and relaxed destination – but that’s holidays for you!), the thought of cycling on London’s busy roads scares me just a touch.

But it was on Friday evening that I picked up a Boris Bike from one of the nearby docking stations and made my way down to Cremorne Gardens in SW10, doing a few practice “runs” on some of the backstreets there to get myself reacquainted with a bike and cycling on the road.


Cremorne Gardens is a lovely little green space right by the River Thames, and was a great setting for the start of the tour. As the audience – or participants – gathered for the tour’s 7pm start, we were all ticked off the list and given a little bit of guidance (those on Boris Bikes, that is) by the friendly marshalls that were to accompany us on that evening’s tour.

The evening’s performance started as we were ushered in to the Gardens themselves by some of the characters for the first scene – and an introduction to Alice herself. Following an inventive take on the famed Eat Me/Drink Me part of the story, the riverside setting also provided a humorous introduction and exchange between Alice and the play’s Mouse character.

Off on our bikes for the first time, we navigated the area’s streets with ease – with the marshalls providing wonderful help, sometimes stopping traffic where necessary, and making sure we all kept together as a tidy group. We certainly received some bemused looks from pedestrians, as well as the clientele of a Chelsea pub enjoying their end-the-week drinks, but that all made for a more enjoyable experience. (Cycling past a bus stop later in the journey, I did also amusingly overhear one lady say to another – “Oh, I think they’re teaching them how to cycle.” Not quite, my dear!)

The second part of the play took us to a Chelsea playground, which proved the setting for one of the most interactive parts of the evening – chucking sweets at Alice trapped in a “house” (part of the playground) before linking hands to be lead around the park and in front of more interactions between Alice and other characters.

Off we headed on our bikes again, this time cycling through Brompton Cemetery (which, I would like to add, is a total must whether you’re on a cycling tour or not!) before reaching Earl’s Court and a stop to meet the Duchess in a very pretty mews there.

Cycling on to Kensington proper – with a brief foray onto the High Street – we reached Holland Park for the final scenes of the play, including the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (nicely set in the Park’s ecology centre), the croquet scene and the trial over the theft of the Queen’s Tarts. The backdrop of Holland Park was a fantastic addition to the performance, not least being lead through the (real-life) rose garden and encountering some of the Park’s most famous residents, the peacocks – who were thankfully quiet at the time.

Throughout the evening we were given a number of sweet treats as part of the performance (strawberry tarts at the Mad Hatter’s tea party; chewy mushroom sweets for when Alice eats bits of a mushroom), which certainly added some additional charm to proceedings. Although the actors travelled between scenes separately to us, we were joined throughout by Alice, making us feel properly immersed into the play.

All in all, an incredibly fun experience to have taken part in – a very unique bicycle tour combined with some thorough enjoyable interactive theatre elements. All credit goes to both Bikeminded – for commissioning the tour – and the Exquisite Folly Theatre for their fantastic adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

The Alice in Wonderland evnets were the conclusion of a series of tours run this summer by Bikeminded, with previous events in 2011 including those of a spooky variety – a Ghost Tour for Halloween – and the far less scary Coffee and Cake Cruise. More great tours and other cycling events are sure to be announced in future, so do keep your eyes peeled. And do also make sure to join a tour (if not more than one) for not only are they very enjoyable, they’re also a superb way of getting to experience a slightly different side of Kensington and Chelsea.

Bikeminded Cycle Shorts Film Competition – Get Voting for the People’s Choice Award!

The winning film in Bikeminded’s Cycle Shorts Film Competition was announced yesterday – and what a fabulous film it is too! Entitled “Cycle of Life” and by filmmakers Ross Dolton and Gabriel Aldon, it’s a great little cycling tale that takes in some wonderful Kensington and Chelsea locations. You can watch the film here: www.bikeminded.org/film-competition/cycle-of-life.


The Cycle Shorts People’s Choice Award is yet to be decided – and now is the time to vote! There are five fantastic films to choose from, and they can all be viewed at www.bikeminded.org/film-competition, where you can also vote for your favourite. The team behind the winning entry will receive £500 towards their next film.

Get voting!

Bikeminded is a campaign to encourage those that live and work in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to get on their bikes and get cycling.

Alice in Wonderland Bikeminded Tours in Kensington and Chelsea

Concluding their summer series of cycling tours in the Kensington & Chelsea area this summer, July will see Bikeminded put on a set of unusual Alice in Wonderland-themed tours that will guide participants through the parks and hidden corners of the borough, all the while indulging in the fantasy world of Alice herself.

Bikeminded Alice in Wonderland Tours

Alice in Wonderland by John McKeever

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Bikeminded campaign (which aims to get local residents and workers using bikes more often) and the Exquisite Folly Theatre have teamed up to produce six two-hour tours in mid-July that are sure to be enjoyed by both adults and children alike. For each specially adapted performance, the seven actors on the tour and the audience will be transported back to the 1930s, encountering many twists and surprises.

The two hour tours will take place from Wednesday 18th July to Sunday 22nd July, with matinee tours on the weekend for families. Each tour will start at Cremone Gardens in Chelsea (right by the River Thames) and end in Holland Park.

Tickets for the Alice in Wonderland tours cost £8 for adults and £4 for children, and can be booked on Bikeminded’s website.

Councillor Paget-Brown, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea says:

“We are delighted to be bringing Alice in Wonderland to the streets and green spaces of Kensington and Chelsea this July with such a unique cycling tour. This is the first time, to our knowledge that Alice in Wonderland has ever been performed and experienced on bikes and therefore encourage as many of our residents as possible to be part of this unforgettable and one-off opportunity.”

Amelia De-Felice, Exquisite Folly Theatre Company says:

“We are very excited to be working with Bikeminded again, following the successful ghost cycling tour we hosted for them last October. To be given free-reign by Bikeminded to integrate theatre with cycling is very exciting.  With the streets of the borough as our stage we can really let our imaginations run wild taking the audience into the realm of fantasy and give them a cycling experience they’ll never forget. And as our interpretation of Alice in Wonderland is set in the 1930s we’d love it if our audience felt inspired to dress up in costumes of that era for the tour!”

Bikeminded’s Music Tour this Saturday!

We’ve written before about Bikeminded’s wonderful summer cycling tour programme, which features differently-themed bicycle tours (based around film, music, and Alice in Wonderful!) of the Kensington & Chelsea area. Not only are they a great way of getting in an extra bit of exercise, they’re also a fun way of exploring the local area – and perhaps even learning about some secret and hidden places that you never knew were there!


This Saturday (9th June) sees a Music Tour take place from 2pm to 4pm. Some clues about locations that will be visited during the tour include the home of a legendary DJ whose record collection was recently made available online; the recording studios of a world famous reggae artist, whose life is on the big screen at the moment; and some of the pubs frequented by a rebellious lot who took the 1977 Silver Jubilee by storm with their controversial anthem.

A few tickets for the tour are left (snap them up quick, though!) and they can be bought online.

More details on the tour and others in the series can be found at www.bikeminded.org/events/bike-tours.

Bikeminded’s Summer Cycling Tour Programme in Kensington & Chelsea


Bikeminded has recently announced a very exciting summer programme of cycling tours that will take place in the Kensington and Chelsea area over the next few months, and kicking off this Saturday, shop 14th April with a Film Tour.

The Bikeminded campaign is run by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea with the aim of getting more people on their bikes – as well as helping them discover hidden areas of the Borough and teaching them about its history.

The Film Tour will visit locations that have appeared on the big screen, vcialis 40mg from crime films such as the 1950s Blue Lamp to James Bond. Starting with a two and half hour tour this Saturday, there are additional tours later this month and in May.

There will also be a two-hour Music Tour (taking place on three dates May and June with two tours a day) that will re-visit the haunts of the hippies and rockers of the 1960s, the punks and reggae artists of the 1970s, the synth popstars of the 1980s and the stars of today.

Rounding off these events is an Alice in Wonderland Tour (five tours taking place on dates in July) that will also be part of the InTRANSIT Festival. The Tour will be an immersive and interactive theatre experience with the White Rabbit and Alice weaving a journey through park spaces and hidden corners of Kensington and Chelsea.

Councillor Paget-Brown, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea says:

“We are delighted to announce such an exciting and varied Bikeminded summer cycling tour programme, which we hope will appeal to people in the borough and beyond, and encourage them to join us in experiencing the pleasures of cycling.  We are lucky to live and work in such a vibrant and cultural part of London, and through these cycling tours we aim to bring our streets and their stories alive through film, music and theatre.  There’s no better way of experiencing the sights and sounds of Kensington and Chelsea than on two wheels, and this summer we want everyone to get involved.”

To book a place on any of these tours, please visit www.bikeminded.org/events/bike-tours and for more information on Bikeminded, visit www.bikeminded.org.

Saturday 14th April – 14:30 – 17:00
Saturday 28th April – 11:00 – 13:30 and 14:30 to 17:00
Saturday 12th May – 11:00 – 13:30 and 14:30 to 17:00
Saturday 26th May – 11:00 – 13:30 and 14:30 to 17:00

Tickets cost £7 per person

Saturday 5th May – 11:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:00
Saturday 9th June  – 11:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:00
Saturday 7th July – 11:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:00

Tickets cost £7 per person

Wednesday 18th July – 19:00 – 21:00
Thursday 19th July – 19:00 – 21:00
Friday 20th July – 19:00 – 21:00
Saturday 21st July – Matinee for families – 13:00 – 15:00 and 19:00 – 21:00
Sunday 22nd July – 13:00 – 15:00

Tickets cost £8 per person

Coffee & Cake Cycling Cruise in Kensington & Chelsea on Saturday 8th October

Another great cycling event is coming your way thanks to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Bikeminded campaign! And seeing as it will feature some sweet treats, this one will be very hard to resist!

On 8th October, Bikeminded will be holding a two and a half hour Coffee and Cake Cycling Cruise around some of the area’s best and most delicious cafes and cake shops. Starting at 1.30pm at a coffee spot in Notting Hill, the tour will pedal its way to Pierre Herme in Knightsbridge for the opportunity to sample their award-winning macarons, before making its way on to Chelsea where the cycle cruise finishes.

Bikeminded Coffee & Cake Cycling Cruise

If you’re anything like me, you may often feel a bit guilty about treating yourself to some cake or other sweet delicacy. But by cycling – an exercise that’s a great way of burning off calories – inbetween sampling some treats, there’s no need for any such concerns!

Royal Borough marshals will be present at all times on the tour to ensure safety, and making sure that any novice cyclists are confortable on their cycling travels. There will also be valet cycle parking during the cake and coffee shop stops, so no need to be concerned about your security of your bike!

Bikeminded Coffee & Cake Cycling Cruise

The tour only costs £5 per person – and seeing as this includes cakes and coffee, this is a fantastic bargain! Participants are welcome and in fact advised to bring their own bikes, although anyone that doesn’t have their own can participate using a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. (This can be hired from a nearby docking station.)

There are a limited number of places, so advance booking is a must. To book, please visited the Bikeminded website a www.bikeminded.org.

Bikeminded Coffee & Cake Cycle Cruise

Bikeminded is a three year cycling campaign that has been launched by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to encourage residents and workers in the borough to cycle, improving both their own well-being and the local environment. Launched in July, their website www.bikeminded.org is updated daily with plenty of information on cycling in the area, plus tips and ideas for cyclists and a blog that’s well worth a read. There will of course be plenty more cycling events taking place in the future, including some rather exciting ones in the next few months, so do check the Bikeminded website regularly for information further fun ways to get and stay fit.

RBKC’s Bikeminded campaign launches Bike Heroes

Paul Shackelton and Eric Bates
Paul Shackelton and Eric Bates

A great new initiative by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Bikeminded, was launched last month to encourage residents and local workers alike to get on their bikes and experience the area using pedal power! Following the Blue Plaques cycle tour that took place at the end of July (you can download the app or a PDF map from their website if you’d like to re-visit the two tours), Bikeminded has this month launched a Bike Heroes campaign in Notting Hill.

Bike Heroes will see 23 local residents, workers, business owners and celebrities trialling a bike for two months and then writing about their experiences on cycling around the borough for business and leisure on the Bikeminded website. The Bike Heroes include journalist and TV presenter Mariella Frostrup; David Higgins, owner of Ten Pilates; David Lewis, head gardener at the Kensington Roof Gardens; architect and TV presenter, George Clarke (pictured below); Kell Scott, owner of Kell Scott haircare; Jonathan Newby, Director of NMSI Enterprises at the Science Museum; and Paul Shackelton and Eric Bates from the V&A (pictured above), who will be sharing use of a bike. The Heroes will also receive free bike maintenance clases, as well as cycle training and advice on security. All of these services are also available for free to Kensington and Chelsea residents and workers – more information can be found at www.rbkc.gov.uk/cycling.

George Clarke
George Clarke

All the Heroes are taking part in the campaign on bikes kindly lent by the Moulton Bicycle Company, who designed their first bike with pioneering suspension back in 1962; the Electra Bicycle Company, the leading brand in lifestyle and leisure cycling sales in the Independent Bicycle Dealer Network; and Brompton Bicycle Ltd, a company founded in Kensington and Chelsea and whose bikes are still made from scratch in their West London factory today.

Reports on the Bike Heroes’ adventures will be available up on the Bikeminded blog (with some already there – go take a look!) with additional tips and snippets on their Twitter and Facebook pages.