Today, 17 May, we officially launch London Begins at 40, a lifestyle and travel website aimed at the over 40 Londoner and visitor to London. Our editor Mark Bibby Jackson answers some questions you may have concerning our new venture staring with perhaps the most obvious.

Why launch London Begins at 40 now?

For many of us the past winter has been interminable. Denied so many of the luxuries that we had taken for granted by the pandemic, the last few months have been pretty grim. And we are the lucky ones. Many never made it through the worst national health disaster perhaps since the Great Plague.

If the government’s road map goes to schedule – and the Indian variant does not derail it – from today we will see a reopening of many of the capital’s best cultural venues – museums, art galleries, theatres, cinemas and the like – as well as pubs, restaurants and sports venues, albeit with certain inevitable Covid restrictions to ensure our safety. By the end of June hopefully we will be able to watch a gig.

London life back to normal then?

BFI Southbank Riverfront, courtesy of BFI + Luke Hayes (21)
Cinemas such as the BFI Southbank will reopen in London this week, photo courtesy of BFI / Luke Hayes.

Hardly. Things will never quite be the same as they were pre-pandemic, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. The pandemic has allowed all of us the opportunity to reflect upon what is really important, to reappraise some of our life choices, and to decide how we wish to frame the future.

That applies to the London cultural and arts scene as much as to our personal lives. The past few months has highlighted two major issues that can no longer be swept under the carpet. Black lives really do matter, and that climate change is existential.

London Begins at 40 is a retro magazine that is looking back to the future of the capital

One of the wonderful aspects about life in London is its multiculturalism, another is its ability to drive change. Part of the reason behind setting up London Begins at 40 now is to promote the vibrancy of this most amazing capital, as well as to promote a sustainable future. In our sister website Travel Begins at 40, we have started to promote sustainable tourism through our #SustainableSunday series. London Begins at 40 will follow the same course.

That does not mean the website is solely forward looking. Much of the attraction of living in London lies from its rich heritage. As you can see from our initial articles, as well as our mini reviews, we are as interested in the history of the capital as in its future.

For me London Begins at 40 is a retro magazine that is looking back to the future of the capital. And you can expect many more cinematic references across our pages.

Who is London Begins at 40 for?
Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser Victoria and Albert Museum The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill (c) Kristjana S. Williams.jpg
We will preview and review London’s many exhibitons such as Alice: Curioser and Curioser at the V&A, photo The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill (c) Kristjana S. Williams, from the V&A.

When we launched Travel Begins at 40 a couple of years ago we said it was designed for the independent-minded over-40 traveller. The same applies for London Begins at 40, only you don’t have to travel to enjoy the delights of the capital, that is so long as you live here.

Not that our website is exclusively for Londoners. Our pages will include information on the latest openings, events, exhibitions, plays, film releases and gigs providing you with our previews – and reviews – of what’s happening in London. So whether you live in London or are just planning a day-trip to the capital, London Begins at 40 can inspire you with ideas on things to do about town.

Above all else London Begins at 40 is about you

We will also bring you more in-depth articles, as well as round-ups of the best things to do in London, and provide you with ideas on what to do on day-trips or weekend breaks in our travel section.

One of the things I like most about London is the ability to walk everywhere – I have lived in Asian capitals where this is just not practical. That is why I have introduced our Streets of London series to offer a free guided walk through some of the more interesting parts of town. Meanwhile our expert columnists will give you their insightful thoughts on the latest happenings in the art, theatre, food, music and sport scenes in the capital.

London Eye London Southbank walk
Follow us on a London Southbank walk through the Streets of London.

Above all else London Begins at 40 is about you. We want you to express what you love about living in the most amazing metropolis on the planet, which is why we have started our London Voices series by an interview with George McGeorge, a normal Londoner who enjoys living London life to the full.

The say that life begins at 40. London can too. If the past year has taught us nothing else then it is to live our lives to the full – after all we never know what is awaiting us around the corner. In the words of David Hockney, whose The Arrival of Spring exhibition opens at the Royal Academy just as we launch our website, we should “love life”. Well, let’s love London too. Seize the Day!

Your Feedback

We hope you enjoy our website and look forward to receiving your feedback over the following months and years. If you wish to send us a comment or suggestion, please email Mark at [email protected].

Background image: The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, Somerset House, Image by Kevin Meredith.