diamond geezer

 Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Now that Time Out is on permanent hiatus, I wondered if there might be a gap in the market for a fresh pan-London listings presence.

But not doing your typical reviews of events, openings and establishments worth going to, because a multiplicity of online portals are attempting that. Instead how about reporting on places not worth visiting, venues worth skipping and experiences that aren't worth having, in a brand new kind of series called...

Things Not To Do

All too often we only hear upbeat reviews, positive reports and glowing feedback written by someone who was thrilled. Worse we face purple prose pasted from a press release by a propagandist who's been paid to promote the attraction. But all too often when we dutifully turn up we discover it was nothing special, or worse a waste of time and/or effort and/or money, because weasel words suckered us in when really it wasn't for us at all.

How much better to hear the truth before we go, or at least to be warned in advance that perhaps it won't be up our street. Here then is a prime potential example of an ignorable event, a proper Thing Not To Do.

Things Not To Do: Superbloom
(at the Tower of London, 1st June - 18th September 2022)

Those poppies in the moat were fabulous, weren't they, even if you could only look down on the red wave from above. So the good folk at Historic Royal Palaces have decided it might be worth flooding the moat with flowers again but this time to invite us down for a closer look.



Earlier this year they planted over 20 million wildflower seeds around the Tower of London in an attempt to create a beautiful naturalistic landscape primed to attracted pollinators and other biodiverse wildlife. They call it Superbloom.

If you think it's all a bit upbeat so far, rest assured that was just the factual intro. Wait a few more paragraphs and the barbs will really start flying.

In real life a superbloom is a Californian phenomenon, only appearing when the desert bursts into flower after a rare spell of rain. The Tower's display is entirely artificial and has had the benefit of a team of gardeners on site to water it, but has still been very much at the mercy of the British weather. Alas not only was spring 2022 much drier than usual but early April nights proved somewhat chilly, all of which caused the display to emerge weeks later than hoped. Anyone who prebooked a ticket for the first half of June was therefore invited to rebook or come again or even request a refund, because a still-green moat isn't what they paid to see.



It looks a lot better now with waves of colour in reds and yellows and pinks and purples. But it doesn't look amazing. The flowers are bright but not dazzling, the overall ambience is of dense wildflower meadow rather than unique landscape, and the path weaving through has had to be given a few sinuous wiggles to provide more interest. Occasionally the designers have added a sculpted geometric element, a mini-roundabout or a willow pergola, just to give your social media captures a more interesting backdrop. But essentially it looks like a nice walk between some nice flowers around three sides of a moat, and I can't see how that's worth the money.

I hope you're getting a sense of how this works now.

Superbloom is not a cheap attraction. It costs £12 to go round plus an optional 10% donation they preload unless you take it off. That's for a walk they reckon will take you 30 minutes, i.e. 40p a minute, except from what I saw I reckon you'd get round quicker. They've also added a gift shop at the end where they hope you'll fork out £18 on a bag, £13 on a tea towel, £6 on some seed mix or £25 on a water bottle. And there's no end of takers. Many of the moatwalking sessions are fully booked, seemingly by people flooding in from the provinces who've done Chelsea and fancied another horticultural treat. Daily Mail readers got 20% off by prebooking with a voucher code and by the looks of things many took up the offer.

You may also have noticed by now that I didn't actually go round the Superbloom walk myself. That's because this is a report on a Thing Not To Do, so obviously I didn't do it.

The biggest drawback to a paid-for floral display in a moat is that it's quite easy to see from above and anyone can do that for nothing. I found numerous perfectly good vantage points along the approach road to Tower Bridge, as could you, not to mention the lower walkway near the tube station. Indeed I reckon I had a much better overview of Superbloom than the people who'd paid good money to be in the midst of the flowers, not that they'd have realised when they prebooked their tickets.



Admittedly my camera only picked up the individual flowers as a pastel blur which wasn't proper selfie material. Also I never saw the inflatable slide they've included as an optional experience near the start of the walkway, and maybe that's fantastic and justifies the price of admission all by itself. But having seen what I've seen I won't be buying a ticket and I can't recommend you do either.

So here's the main drawback with this feature. I'm attempting to review a thing I didn't do, hence basing my review solely on what I saw from a distance which isn't how someone who did the thing would have experienced it.

Also I'm advising you not to do something purely on the basis that I wouldn't have enjoyed it, whereas perhaps it'd be completely up your street and my subjective viewpoint is thus entirely worthless. It's a bit like me urging you not to go to a cricket match or dine out at a Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant based solely on my own personal prejudice.

Superbloom is designed to evolve over the summer and to peak later in the season, so might be more impressive if you go next month. But at a time of tightened budgets and surging prices I'd say it's a gimmick you can miss, ablaze with blooms but definitely not super.

In my considered opinion this supposed Thing To Do is very much a Thing Not To Do. But if you want to spend your money wandering through a meadow in a moat then that's entirely your prerogative.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan22  Feb22  Mar22  Apr22  May22  Jun22
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21  Jul21  Aug21  Sep21  Oct21  Nov21  Dec21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
853
our bow
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
bus and train user
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain
#coronavirus

read the archive
Jun22  May22
Apr22  Mar22  Feb22  Jan22
Dec21  Nov21  Oct21  Sep21
Aug21  Jul21  Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv