Top 10 things to do in London with toddlers

by Karolina Przeklas

Parents are always on the lookout for a cheap day out, not only because keeping babies entertained  has a huge impact on their development, but also because boredom makes children naughty. Here are Roam’s top 10 cheap things to do with toddlers in London.

1. Go swimming

Babies spend the first nine months of their lives in water, so it’s a no-brainer that most toddlers love swimming. Many local pools run family sessions, which cost very little compared to special swimming classes. If you don’t want to spend a fortune, pack your costumes and head to your family fun sessions. With the “summer” upon us why not check out open-air swimming pools like London Fields Lido? It will be money well spent.

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2. Visit animal farms

Local animal farms are a great chance to introduce your little one to some “moos” and “baas”. Check out Freightliners Farm in central Islington – a wonderful place for the whole family.

3. Grab a bite to eat

Watching how kids experiment with flavours and textures can be mesmerizing. As one of the most multicultural capitals of the world, London offers different cuisines practically on every street corner.  Ignore the generic fast food joints that offer nothing apart from bad fats and high sugar content. There are plenty of other options like That place on the corner or Giraffe. Kids are very unforgiving when they don’t like something, so let your baby discover which places serve good food and which don’t.

4. Check out museums and galleries

Museums and galleries are a great source of entertainment and knowledge for everyone. For example, the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green provides a backpack designed by Montessori full of books and toys. It allows children to  lead their play, encouraging them to learn independently.

Virtual  tour of Childhood Museum 

Check out MUMSNET for honest and up-to-date reviews of events in your local museums.

5. Pop in to London Zoo

Zoos are so much fun for everyone. At London Zoo in Regent’s Park, check out what the penguins have been up to or simply hang out with the gorillas.

kumbuka, gorilla

6. Visit adventure playgrounds

From sandpits to hanging bridges, curled slides and pirate ships, playgrounds offer hours of joy – and most of them are free. We recommend the Princess Diana Memorial Playground,  with a Peter Pan-inspired design.

princess-diana-memorial-playground-pirate-ship

If you want to get more involved, why not join Londonplay and be part of a scheme design to make London streets safer for children?

7. Take part in special classes

Local libraries run special toddler classes. Islington’s Baby Bounce helps babies learn rhythm and rhyme through songs and stories. A great way to encourage children to socialise with others.

“I love coming here for an hour of singing with all the local mums” – say Kelly Davids, mum of David who offten takes part in the Baby Bounce Classes

8. Go to the park

London gets a lot of rain, but rain can be lots of fun. So if you don’t mind getting a bit grubby and wet, grab your wellies and head off to the your local park, or choose one of many dotted around London.

“Go to Westow Park in SE19, Crystal Palace. A Bug Hunt started again in March. Expect wonderful nature lovers teaching about seeds, planting trees, and story telling. All ages welcome, it’s free and quite wonderful. We had mulled apple juice to warm us up last time we went. The Park has excellent children play areas, and Crystal Palace is full of gorgeous cafes and restaurants which are all child friendly. There are Antique shops with kids toys, and independent trading shops of all varieties, and Crystal Palace Park is a five minute walk away. You have the leisure centre and pool, the petting zoo, a maze, and of course the giant stone life size dinosaurs” – says Roxana Aman, mum of Zayan and Dalia 

9. Visit an aquarium

Just like the zoo, this trip is worth every penny. The best time to visit this underwater world is during feeding times. London Aquarium has the world’s biggest collection of Caw Nosed Rays.

sea-life-london-aquarium

10. Join street parties and festivals

London’s best festivals are happening in the summer so have a look around. On the 25th of August Londoners will be dancing to the rhytms of calypso, Nothing Hill Carnival one of the world’s biggest street parties, with a special kids day opening the weekend of fun.

We also like the look of  the Lollibop Festival.

Lollibop Festival 2013

A bash for little people

And there are always smaller events that run though out the year, like Southbank’s Imagine Children Festival.

And if you want to travel further afield, take a trip outside London and visit the Butterfly World Project in Hertfordshire, the biggest butterfly experience in the world.

professor-david-bellamy

A Summer of Music Madness

Wireless 2012

Wireless 2012

By Soraya Downie

The weather in summer is questionable, but the festivals are not and there’s plenty to go to.

There is lots of music madness occurring this year in the capital, no need to look further when wanting to see your favourite musicians and here’s just a few for you to know.

Bobbing in the bushes at Bushstock Festival

Think about the Woodstock that delighted the hippie revolution in US 1970s.

This is similar, but is the UK alternative and is happening in venues surrounding the Shepherds Bush area, hence the name.

Bushstock is the type of festival that aims to those who are not into mainstream music.

This year’s line up includes:

The festival will take place on Saturday 1st June, less than a month to go and fans are more than happy to see the event make a return.

Grahame Stephens, 33, a music producer from Chiswick, said, “I attended last year and it was really amazing. A breathe of fresh air than the typical young, big, in your face ones.”

“I enjoyed music by Fionn Regan, Alessi’s Ark and Jamie N Commons, they were my favourite.”

It’s rawer, edgier and is a tad bit like folk music, so if that ticks all your boxes, then get on down there this year.

For more info, visit http://www.bushstock.co.uk/

Yahoo’s Wireless Festival

Wireless Festival (presented by Yahoo) usually takes place in London’s Hyde Park. But this year’s acts will be performing at the Queen Elizabeth Park in Stratford.

This year’s line-up includes:

 Tickets for Friday 12th and Saturday 13th July are sold out, but tickets for Sunday 14th are still available, go get yours here: http://www.wirelessfestival.co.uk/

Alicia Martin, 20, an office worker from West London, enjoyed the three day event last summer and thinks it will be even better this year.

She said, “They’ve done so much better with the line-up this year. So many more US acts and then Jay Z and Justine are headlining together on Sunday is going to be epic.”

“I think it will be so much different compared to last year because of the bigger stage. The location may be a bit further a field, but I recommend anyone to get tickets for Sunday’s show.”

A lesson in love at LoveBox

Between Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July, the yearly LoveBox festival will take place at Victoria Park, within the Tower Hamlets area, East London.

Various musicians will be gracing the stages over the three day event, including:

Stephanie Coleman, 26, beautician from Harrow, said, “I’ve been going LoveBox for the past three years and I refuse to miss this year.”

“The line-up is immense, there really is something for everyone and even if you don’t know a few of the acts, you get to know them and enjoy their music. I’m going to go to all three dates.”

Canalway Cavalcade

The Annual Canalway Cavalcade took place last weekend in London’s Little Venice Located in Maida Vale. Being the thirtieth Anniversary there was lots of excitement in the air and even more boats on display. Organized by the The Inland Waterways Association who along with many volunteers work tirelessly to put on a tremendous bank holiday weekend spectacle for the whole family to enjoy. Packed with stalls serving all types of food, snacks and drinks. Not to mention lots of Canal and boat memorabilia. Shows, boat rides and competitions are just a few of the activities to mention on this great occasion, children can also keep their selves entertained on the many carnival rides.

History

The UK canal system was essentially the father of the British Industrial Revolution. Started by the Romans and continued through the Medieval era the Canals were the best way to transport materials, tools and people to the UK’s early building projects. The 16th and 17th century saw major work and improvements on exiting canals starting from the Thames linking the North to the South. This time period is considered the Golden Era of the Canal system as many fortunes were made by people transporting goods up and down the country.

 

Be sure to check out the Inland waterways web site (http://www.waterways.org.uk) you can also check out there Facebook page for more info and upcoming events.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southbank Cheese and Wine Festival 2013

by Karolina Przeklas
 
For all the cheese and wine lovers looking to broaden their horizons and sample some of the best products from around the world, why not check the Southbank Cheese and Wine Festival? Based on Southbank Square, the event runs over three days at the end of April. Roam spoke to some of the exhibitors and here are our best recommendations.

Vintage Roots – Advertised as “organic wine people”, they offer a great selection of not only wines like Argentinian Malbec but also English ales and ciders.Well done for promoting English homemade brews.

Wines of Uruguay – Delicious dessert wines from small vineyards in Uruguay, those you are not able to find in any supermarkets.

La Fromagerie – Offers a huge selection of amazing cheeses, mainly French, but also British Cheddar. Originally set up in the founder’s garage, the company now has a shop in Highbury. “We were becoming bigger and bigger so we finally got our own shop,” says salesperson xxx xxxx. So go get some cheese in your life!

La Fromagerie

Teifi Cheese – Sells raw milk cheese made with unusual and interesting ingredients.

Flour Station – Serving amazing artisan breads and pastries. We tried the potato sourdough – well worth a recommendation.

tasty sourdough breads

tasty sourdough breads

Grays & Feather – Offers award-winning bubbly from around the world. Check out the smallest bubbly bottles.

Grays & feather     Grays & feather

The London Book Fair 2013


london-book-fair1

The London Book Fair is a trade event and global market place for negotiations with an advertising of books, videos, movies and digital productions. The London Book Fair opened its doors to public at Earls Court from 15-17 April 2013. Turkey is designated as Market Focus Country for this year’s London Book Fair festival.

London Book Fair welcomed Turkey to the one of the world’s biggest publishing events of the year in the United Kingdom. Turkey, as the Market Focus country had the spotlight on publishing trade links with international and the UK professionals. The event also showed various publishing industry opportunities from all around the world.

Festival guest writer Zahira Hussain, from SOAS university, said that “it is great to welcome different Market focus countries every year in the city of London. In 2012, the Market focus country was China and this year is Turkey as a rapidly growing country in the region. I  love Turkish literature and it is absolutely amazing to meet with our favorite authors from Turkey in our hometown.”

Market Focus 2013 Introduction to Turkey:

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Turkey Market Focus of 2013 

London Book Fair brought nearly 20 different writers from Turkey to participate in this astonishing organization.

Turkish authors have had several discussions on Turkey, feminism, women’s right, Kurdish problem and all the other social conflicts in the country. Readers had given a chance to ask many questions to publishers, academics, writers and designers.

35% of Turkish books are translated to foreign languages and the aim of this year’s event was to exhibit Turkish literature to the UK readers from historical narratives to contemporary  literature.

LBF 2013 visitor London School of Economics graduate James McCain told us; “this is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to see Turkish traditional literatures in London. I read several Turkish books, so that I have a bit of taste of Turkish literature beforehand. I also finished reading Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence  and  would like to visit Istanbul to see his special museum on this book.”

London Book Fair festival promoted Turkey’s literature with many inspirational writers, such as Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel prize winner of literature and Elif Shafak, is an award-winning novelist of The Forty Rules of Love.

#visiting #london #bookfair #festival #via #instagram

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As London Book Fair Author of the Day on Tuesday 4th of April 2013, Elif Shafak:

London Book Fair – Earls Court

Local Map & Guide

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Follow N. Seyda Yilmaz on Twitter @nseydayilmaz

David Nash at Kew – A Natural Gallery 2013

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David Nash, one of the UK’s most successful sculptor began to exhibit his work at Kew Gardens in April. He created the art of sculpture as a response to nature and the extraordinary exhibition includes sculptures, flowers, art drawings and film preview all over the Gardens.

From April to September 2012, David Nash created his sculptures with new pieces from ‘wood quarry’ – using trees from the Gardens that had showed the natural atmosphere of Kew Gardens to visitors.

Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, the Wood Quarry and stunning piece of work by the Nash Conservatory was the three main galleries which displayed on the exhibition.

British artist Nash’s historical sculptures invite you to understand the relation with nature in the astonishing place of Kew Gardens. “Some of his works fit better into the gallery, while others worked better in nature,” said one of the visitors at Kew.

The Guardian newspaper claimed his work of art as ‘dramatic artworks’, as he has generally been trying to create sculptures from fallen trees, which gives Nash an inspiration to re-create a dead wood to a magnificent piece of art.

27-years-old, London-based industrial designer Yasmin Celik said that; “Nash’s pieces are great example of re-creation of the nature by woods. As a designer, I am very glad to see how fallen dead trees can become a piece of art by an artist like him.”

Tickets to the Gardens and the exhibition – adults £14.50, concessions £12.50, children 16 and under FREE

Exhibition closed last week on Sunday 14 April 2013.

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David Nash – A Natural Gallery: Seeds of Inspiration, you can find out more here;

Tweets about David Nash’s exhibition;

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David Nash on Pinterest;

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Follow N. Seyda Yilmaz on Twitter @nseydayilmaz

Summer in Miami: When to go and How to save

South Beach. By Nayara Chaves

South Beach. By Nayara Chaves

London is a delight…

Shops, bars, and things to do around the clock, but there is one thing Londoners don’t get to see a lot: Sunshine.

If you are one of many that think you deserve a break from London windy streets and humid weather. Join the crowd pack your bags and let’s got to Miami this summer.

Busy and sunny all year around it is up to you to chose which season best suits the type of vacation you want. If you able to afford you can always go for the vibrant energy of high season with masses of partygoers and sort of cool winter weather.

But the better option is to go during the deliciously hot months between June and September. Low season is much cheaper than the rest of the year. From touristic attractions to hotels and fares, and to tell the truth Miami is never empty so you’ll probably see plenty of tourists all around.

When to go

South Beach. By Nayara Chaves

South Beach. By Nayara Chaves

The reason why Miami gets loads of tourists between January and April is that when the rest of the country tends to get much colder, Miami always have incredible weather.

If you decide to go for these months, be prepared to book well in advance and have plenty of cash to spare. This is a season to party, expect the beaches to be packed full during the day even though the weather is not that warm.

  • Peak season: January to April
  • Low season: June to September
  • Middle season: May, October to December

Weather Warning

Miami can be quite windy at times, but don’t let that distract you as to how hot the sun can be. With warm weather through out the year you can easily expect highs between 20 and 30 degrees. So don’t forget to use plenty of sun block even under gray skies, to get sunburned will most definitely ruin your beach time. During the low season, June is not one of the best months as you can get more summer showers during this period.

Miami is located in Florida, which is one of the states within the hurricane belt, between June 1 and November 30 the likelihood of going through hurricanes and tropical storms is bigger, so is better to be prepared. Remember to obtain travel insurance, and have a look at the weather before you book and prior to leaving the UK.

“Hurricane Sandy didn’t hit Miami  in full last year, so I remember a lot of people still went out to watch the waves by the beach,” says Paulo Costa, 37, local taxi driver.

“It was beautiful but a bit scary the wind was quite strong.”

How do you book your holidays? find out what people in the streets do to find the best deals.

How to save and Where to go

By Nayara Chaves

By Nayara Chaves

You can definitely expect lower prices during the summer, food and attractions prices are less likely to change with the seasons, but you might be able to scoop some summer discounts.

South Beach is normally more expensive than other areas, so you will probably get better dinner options going to Miami Beach which is just around the corner, and even paying a taxi it still works much cheaper. If you stay in South Beach, Collins Avenue marked bellow in the map is full of hotel’s to choose from, prices will vary from place to place.

“Here if you book in advance you can get prices varying between 100 and 150 for a double per night. ”

“July is not as busy as other months so that’s the time to get cheaper prices,” says Bryan Ward, 25, receptionist at The Best Western Hotel.

The nightlife starts quite late, and will only heat up after Midnight, so no point in arriving too early, unless you want to be the only one in the club for a few hours.

Miami Beach party…

The best way to get a good price for a hotel room is to book as soon as you can, the sooner you book the cheaper you get. Room prices tend to go up as hotels get busier.

If you don’t feel like going to be beach, there are plenty of other options. Have a look below and see some of the things you can do.

City tour of Miami: Includes a boat tour of the bayside and Biscayne Bay.

Biscayne Bay, by Alex de Carvalho

Biscayne Bay, by Alex de Carvalho

On this tour, you will see the most beautiful side of Miami: Mansions, yachts, Port of Miami, Little Havana and Calle Ocho, Art Deco district of South Beach, Coconut Grove, Brickell Avenue, and Coral Gables are some of the highlights.

 Miami Sea Aquarium:

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Visit the world-class Miami Seaquarium, the home of killer whales, sea lions and dolphins. This is a fun, educational and recreational activities for the whole family.

Also in the aquarium you are able to swim with the dolphins get up close and personal with a playful dolphin. During the Dolphin Encounter, learn about these intelligent and fun-loving marine mammals before enjoying a 30-minute dolphin interaction. (Book in advance as it is a very busy attraction)

” It was really fun to get in the water with a dolphin. That was definitely the highlight of my trip, a new experience to take back to London,” says Aaron Dijon 28, London stockbroker.

by Miami Sea Aquarium

by Miami Sea Aquarium

If you are not keen in any of the above there is plenty of other options like scuba diving and jet skiing.

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Sneak a peak at the best moments of the show, in our video shot straight from the crowd…

Your opinion is important, let me know what you think of this post.

The Color Purple Comes to London

Copyright Wikipedia

Copyright Wikipedia

By Soraya Downie

A stage production of the 1982 novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker is set for a show at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory on July 5.

What is The Color Purple

The African American drama sets around the life and times of Celie, as she journeys from childhood to adulthood, along the way she experiences joy, tragedy, hope, love and anguish.


 

Film adaption

In the Steven Spielberg film adaption in 1985, Celie was played by US actress Whoopi Goldberg, Akosua Busia played her sister Nettie and US actress and TV talk host, Oprah Winfrey starred as their friend Sofia.

Proving to be a huge commercial success, the film was awarded 11 Academy Awards nominations and four Golden Globes, with Goldberg winning Best Actress (Drama).


 

Divided opinion

The novel is still considered to be one of the best novels of the 1980s and in American history.

Marie Kolawole, 30, a dental nurse from Camberwell, said, “The Color Purple is an exceptional story and I really enjoyed the film when I was growing up. I am slightly dubious in whether the British cast can capture the American nature of it.”

“As it looks at the hard times of African Americans, I’m hoping they really try to imitate the essence of film and really show Celie’s journey and everything she had gone through.”

Who’s who

This will be the first time that a theatre production of The Color Purple will take place in the UK, as it had been previously on Broadway in the new York in 2005.

The Color Purple’s first European premiere will showcase British talent, with stars from other big productions starring in the big lead roles.

Cynthia Erivo, who stars in Sister Act: The Musical, will take on the role of Celie and Abiona Omonua, stars in both Legally Blonde and Hairspray, will play the role of Nettie.

A worthy winner

Walker’s novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, making her the first African American woman to achieve this.

Fanatic theatre fan, Callum Moore, 27, from Camden, said “I think the show will be amazing. I’ve been waiting a long time to see a stage production of it here and it’d be interesting to see how it turns out.”

The Primary school teacher also said, “The book itself was fascinating, I’m just praying that all the British cast do a good job and bring the story to life on stage.”

Look out for…

The UK show will be directed and designed by Tony Award winner, John Doyle and adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Marsha Norman.

The London Menier Chocolate Factory is located on Southwark Street, South London.

Tickets are on sale now and are priced between £29.50 and £37.50.

The delights of Venn Street Market

Where it's happening.

Where it’s happening.

By Soraya Downie

Run out of ideas on what to do on a Saturday morning?

Hop on down to Venn Street Market along Clapham High Street. Less than a minute’s walk from Clapham Common tube station, Venn Street market is a local community food and drinks market, which aims to appeal to anyone.

The market takes place every Saturday, from 10am till 4pm and is located in front of Clapham Picture-House cinema.

The Perfect Location

Clapham High Street already has a great deal of restaurants, bars and shops to offer.

But Venn Street Market is real community pleaser; it first launched in November 2009 and has gone from strength to strength.

What’s on offer?

The stalls offer a vast amount of tasty food and drinks from up and down the UK, including traditional English foods such as, savoury pies and pastries.

The market is a Saturday ritual for many, who come here to explore exceptional food and drinks, produced by the finest chefs across the country.

Other cuisines are present and add vitality and a variety of tastes from many different cultures. You feel like you are travelling between British towns and cities, sailing down the sea to the South Coast, whilst tucking into delicious scampi or fresh sea bass. You can walk for 30 seconds and end up at Italy and experience the finest Italian food: pasta, meatballs and cheeses.

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Don’t just take our word

“There’s so much to try, but I always buy a few selection of cheeses,” says Helen Fitzgerald, 26, a retail manager from Clapham. She visits the market every week just to get her hands on the finest cheeses.

“My favourite cheeses are: Fontina, Gorgonzola Piccante and Gran Blu di Capra. The smellier the better.”

Helen recommends the stall occupied by Gastronomics, who produce high quality Italian food. She said, “They know so much about Italian food.”

The Gastronomics chefs know a thing or two about good tasting food, their meats, cheeses, preserves and wines continue to be a hit with locals and visitors of the market.

The perks of being a stall worker

Elizabeth Harrod, 33, has been working at The Pie Chart stall, since July last year. She’s been selling a range of pies and other foods, such as Scotch eggs.

“I think that people will buy into good quality foods. The prices here at The Pie Chart are good value for handmade products and people who visit us are very lovely.”

Pies are £4 each, or three for £10, which is really good, once you see how plumped the pies are.

These pies are all homemade and come in a variety of flavours, such as: chicken, leek and mushroom; Moroccan spiced lamb or steak and cheese.

Venn Street market is lively and filled with foods and drinks from all over the world. Stall holders are friendly and are honest about what they sell and the price. There’s a real sense of community spirit and the locals are welcoming.

NFL Comes to London

By Zanib Asghar

As many of you know, American sports were not all that popular here in London. But over the years, their “football’ which considered our ‘rugby’ has started to attract some attention.

Whether the Monday Night Football (MNF) scene will become as popular as the Premier League is, we don’t know, but what we do know is that come September 2013 and we’ll have our very own live MNF in Wembley Stadium.

QuintEvents-NFL-On-Location-2013-NFL-International-Series-Club-Level-Packages

The NFL International series has secured two games in London for 2013. The first will take place on Sunday 29th September where the Minnesota Vikings will play the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The second game will be on Sunday 27th October where the Jacksonville Jaguars will play the first of their four games in London against the San Francisco 49ers.

The NFL and the NFLUK have progressed rapidly as four teams across two games will be playing regular season games in London for the next three years.

This progress shows us just how far American Football has come as a game in the UK since 2007, when the first International series game was played here between the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants.

Here’s just some of the excitement we’ll get to experience this September and October. Copyright Brian J. McDermott

Here’s just some of the excitement we’ll get to experience this September and October. Copyright Brian J. McDermott

David Tossell, Director of Public Affairs at NFL London, spoke about the success American Football could have in London, “NFL has been present in the UK since the 1980’s and it already has quite a large fan base here already.

“The NFL owners are interested in expanding NFL, it’s already as big as it can be in the states, so they’ve been looking into playing games internationally since 2007.”

“The UK was the most obvious choice for us as the games already been available for everyone here as it is. Fans in the UK have been watching the game for years and years, so we think it will pick up as we have more live games down here.”

“We know we won’t be as big as the Premier League is, but if we can be everyone’s second or even third favourite, then it will open up a whole fan base for us in the UK.”

It was officially announced by the NFL that at least one game will be played at Wembley Stadium each year, till new contract talks begin in 2016.

Some NFL memorabilia to remember a great evening. Copyright Matt McGee.

Some NFL memorabilia to remember a great evening. Copyright Matt McGee

As they step on international ground, a home team was established in talks that took place between the NFL and Wembley Stadium that the Jacksonville Jaguars would be the home team in Wembley. The Jaguars will play their first game here in October 2013.

Alongside securing the Wembley stadium for two 2013 games, NFL officials have also been in talks with Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, over staging matches at the London Olympic Stadium.

The NFL has staged games in London every year since 2007, and October 2012 saw the New England Patriots beat the St Louis Rams 45-7 in front of a sold-out Wembley crowd which included Boris Johnson.

Enthusiastic football fan, Safeer Zaman says, “I’ve been to a NFL game in the States and as popular as it was there, it won’t be here. As someone who loves the Premier League and watches football all the time, I wasn’t into the match over there. I don’t think it will stay for long and if it does not that many people are going to go to the games.”

To purchase tickets and for the latest updates on future matches in the UK visit the Official NFL UK Website.

Watch the Super Bowl 9 where the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Minnesota Vikings played to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1974 season:

Follow Zanib Asghar on Twitter.