With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the London 2012 Games, it’s been a historic year for London. Sara O’Reilly nominates her highlights – and the bits best forgotten.
Diamond Jubilee River Pageant
A thousand craft thronging the Thames from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge and beyond, with most of the royals afloat. Bridges closed, church bells and music belting out. A hugely dramatic and ambitious undertaking (so many things might have gone wrong) and such a glorious result, which the day’s rain failed entirely to diminish.
Landscaping at the Olympic Park
Alongside the feats of physical prowess that turned the most unlikely among us into sports pundits, and the sterling contribution of the volunteer Games Makers, the other triumph at the Olympic Park this summer was the landscaping, especially the vast swathes of wildflower meadow, blooming brilliantly, right on cue, and the great drifts of dreamy cowparsley.
A Room for London
Perched on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, this wonderfully whimsical temporary hotel room – it looks like a boat washed up by a freak high tide on the Thames –was designed by David Kohn Architects with artist Fiona Banner. Nights in this lofty space were snapped up as soon as they went on sale. The good news is, although it was originally only intended to remain in situ for a year, it’s staying for 2013, with the £300 bookings allocated by ballot (the first closes at midnight on December 19: livingarchitecture.co.uk/ballot).
The new bus for London
Spotting a Routemaster-revisited 38 bus and riding it for the sheer joy of being able to get off when you choose is one London’s small but precious pleasures. The design, like that of the Olympic cauldron, is by Thomas Heatherwick.
Georgian Dinner at Kew Palace
A series of intimate tour-plus dinner evenings to mark the restoration of the Georgian kitchens at Kew Palace took place this year. At £100 a pop, they proved a costly but magical way to experience the royal palace to which George III retreated during his ‘mad’ episodes and discover the culinary customs of another era.
The Olympic branding
Brand consultant Wolff Olins must have heaved a sigh of relief when we all threw ourselves into the spirit of the London 2012 Games and, for the duration of our collective euphoria, refrained from bad-mouthing its ugly Olympic logo. The mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, the work of creative agency Iris, got a similar reprieve. In contrast to these own goals was the great emblem for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (drawn by ten year-old Katherine Dewar from Chester).
For more end of year round-ups, go to timeout.com/2012. Let us know your best 2012 moments in the comments.