Grand Designs in London

Wow! Doesn't time fly. Has it been a year already? Well I'm mighty glad it has; do you know, Mrs Atticus and I, we absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Grand Designs. It's one of our favourite TV shows. So much so, we tape it (well record it, I don't suppose you can call it taping anymore, now that we use these newfangled hard drive DVR PVR Sky+ BT Vision Tivo boxes or whatever they're called ). We even keep our favourite episodes and watch them again.

What is the fascination with Grand Designs? Is it the desire by all Brits to own their own home, our unusually high levels of home onwership and a desire to spruce them up, make them look good, maybe even move up the housing ladder to the point when we will, finally, be able to build our dream home. Ah yes, our dream home... with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that nicked from our favourite bits of telly. Is it those big solid oak beams we fell in love with, or the clean, contemporary style of a modern home constructed of steel, glass and aluminium? Contemporary or traditional, that is the question - and for some of us, the answer is, well, a bit of both!

If like Mrs Atticus and I you love the escapism that Grand Designs offers you, then why not visit Grand Designs Live this May bank holiday weekend at the ExCel exhibition centre in London. The show is open from Saturday 4th of May to Sunday 12th of May, and features over five hundred exhibitors showing off their wears and looking to tempt you with exquisite ideas for your dream home. This year, the show has been organised into different sections, allowing visitors to plan their visit and walk through self-build, renovations, home improvement, interiors and gardens. There is also a cool tech section where you can see the latest smart fridges and other devices that will help you run your home more efficiently (and do it from your desk at work, to boot). Finally, just in case Mrs Atticus gets bored, there's also a shopping section - sorted!

Grand Designs Live is one of the highlights of living in London. There's loads going on. With the bank holiday offering you the ideal opportunity to pay a visit (and - please, sit down before I tell you this - the sun making a welcome appearance for some anticipated balmy weather), what more encouragement do you need to hop on a tube and head out past Docklands to the East End of London? Kevin McCloud himself will be giving talks from the Grand Theatre - and he's not alone, George Clarke will be joining him too! If like me your other half seems to obsess about that cute Geordie lad, then you might want to move swiftly on to the Grand Village, where modular home manufacturers are showing off their new environmentally friendly homes; homes which can be erected in three days or less. Kevin McCloud has himself picked the winners though, and his Green Heroes exhibition allows him to share with you the very best homes, ideas and technologies when it comes to making our homes eco friendly.

Phew! Sounds like a proper day out in London to me. Knowing Mrs Atticus, we'll have to finish at one of the many Grand Cafes dotted around the place for a rest (well, a cup of tea and some cake, anyway).

The weather has been awful this spring hasn't it, truly awful. So what better way to kick start spring and summer than a visit to Grand Designs? Plan out your home improvements, and get some top tips and ideas for your garden in 2013. Enjoy - and see you there!

What? Grand Designs Live

When? Saturday 4th May 2013, to Sunday 12th May 2013

Where? ExCel London, One Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1XL

By tube: Custom House DLR

Tickets? £12 during the week, £15 at the week-end (standard adult rate)

For more information, visit

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