Visit London Blog » Visit London http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:51:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Top Five River Thames Experiences http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/08/top-five-river-thames-experiences/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/08/top-five-river-thames-experiences/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:00:41 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39178 A guest post by Totally Thames Festival Director Adrian Evans

Throughout September, Totally Thames festival celebrates the River Thames with a 30-day programme of river-inspired events, including colourful regattas, river rallies and community festivals. Totally Thames Festival director Adrian Evans shares his top five must-do River Thames experiences:

1. Walk the towpath between the lush riverside villages of Kew and Richmond.

The Thames path at Richmond

The Thames path at Richmond

2. Soak up the view of the Thames Barrier, which spans 520 metres across the Thames at Woolwich Reach. Then take a stroll around the picture-pretty Thames Barrier Park.

Thames Barrier

Thames Barrier

3. Take a ride over the River Thames on the Emirates air line, London’s cable car. During the 10-minute journey, you’ll be treated to eye-popping views of East London as you travel between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.

Emirates Air Line

Emirates Air Line

4. Stroll amongst the wilderness at the RSPB Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve.

Rainham Marshes

Rainham Marshes

5. Ride the Thames Clipper from Westminster Pier to Woolwich.

Thames Clipper

Thames Clipper

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Five Of The Best: Historic London Landmarks http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/five-of-the-best-historical-london-landmarks/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/five-of-the-best-historical-london-landmarks/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:00:07 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39101 A Guest Post by London Pass

London is a historical hub and a centre of culture so when visitors arrive in the city they expect the cobbled streets to whisper the secrets and scandals of centuries gone by. Sightseeing city card company London Pass has delved into London’s unique history and picked out five of the best attractions in and around the capital.

Tower of London

Tower of London
Arguably one of London’s most popular attractions, the Tower of London goes all the way back to the days of William the Conqueror and Richard the Lionheart. Passing through the hands of many rulers and sovereigns, it’s no surprise that the building’s purpose and influence over the city has radically changed over time, from a stronghold, to a zoo – and more memorably, a prison…

Learn about the gory history from those who lost their heads in execution, to the most notorious prisoners. It’s not all about blood and brutality though, the Tower of London is most famous for housing the priceless Crown Jewels, the most monarchic symbol in the UK.

Visit the exhibitions and events over the summer and learn about the history of the Royal Mint and the Line of Kings – the world’s longest-running exhibition.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge
Not to be confused with London Bridge, Tower Bridge is a feat of London’s industrial ingenuity with its hydraulic bascules (drawbridges) and 11,000 tonne steel framework.

Over 128 years old, Tower Bridge was built as a solution to ease East End congestion with both roads and foot passages. As a landmark of architectural glory, it was given a facelift in celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, from brown to blue, white and red. Much more patriotic!

Now you can explore the high level walkways and admire the views over the River Thames, as well as gain an interesting insight into the history of the bridge through an exhibition and photo gallery.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey
As one of London’s most impressive buildings, Westminster Abbey is not only a stunning Gothic church, but a UNESCO World Heritage Site with hundreds of years of history. As one of the most important churches in the city, it has played host to numerous national events, royal weddings and influential ceremonies.

Westminster Abbey celebrated over 1,000 years of worship – and some believe it might even date as far back as 785 with some evidence of an abbey on an islet in the Thames. Now, the Abbey is the resting place of some of Britain’s most prominent figureheads from royals and poets, to scientists and politicians. Explore the graves of Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Dickens, even Sir Isaac Newton.

Most recently it was the church in which Kate and Wills, the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge, got married. And what a splendid affair that was!

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle
Slightly outside London lies the Queen’s preferred weekend residence: Windsor Castle. As the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, it’s a must-see for any visitor to London – and definitely worth the trip. Handed down through a line of Kings and Queens, the castle has undergone years of restoration following a destructive fire and, let’s be honest, clashes in personal ‘decorative’ taste!

The State Apartments are testament to the extravagance of the royals and you can see priceless paintings and portraits of the monarchs who made Windsor Castle their home.

Hampton Court Palace maze

Hampton Court Palace
When you think of King Henry VIII, you think of Hampton Court Palace – or you should. With an infamous reputation that proceeds him, this King was one of the most memorable of the monarchy. With die-hard habits and a ruthless character, he helped transform Hampton Court into what we see today.

One of the most impressive features of Hampton Court Palace – and certainly one of the most ridiculous – is the huge kitchen! Known for his huge appetite, Henry’s kitchen was equipped to cook for up to 600 guests, at least twice a day, so you can imagine the size. You can still explore this kitchen today, as well as the hedgerow maze and 60 acres of manicured gardens, including a vineyard.

Make the most of your sightseeing experience with a London Pass and you can enjoy all of these London landmarks for free. 

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My Favourite Places To Go In London This Summer By Ezra, Age Eight And a Third http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/favourite-places-to-go-in-london-this-summer-by-ezra-age-eight-and-a-third/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/favourite-places-to-go-in-london-this-summer-by-ezra-age-eight-and-a-third/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:05:07 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39064 Guest blog by Ezra from Babes About Town

Ezra

1. Granary Square, King’s Cross

I like Granary Square because there are fountains that change shape. At night it’s even better because the fountains go a bit higher and they turn loads of bright colours. It’s a really big space where you can jump and run around.

Sometimes there are food stalls, and there are other nice places to eat, plus there’s a space round the back where they have different activities. There’s table tennis, and last summer they had a roller skating rink. My friend had a party there and it was my first time ever roller skating. I did pretty well.

Sometimes we get to Granary Square by walking along the canal and you can sit by the water on these great big steps like long green sofas covered in grass. I once saw a guy doing a handstand on there. You can also do forward rolls although I wouldn’t do forward rolls down the stairs because it would hurt a lot and also you could fall into the canal! You can actually take a boat ride through a tunnel from there too.

Granary Square Fountains

Hyde Park

I like Hyde Park because it’s like a country of green lands. It’s like a giant, giant park that’s probably bigger than two buildings stacked on top of each other. It’s a good place for running around as there’s loads of space to play. It’s a great place to have a picnic. We love playing football there — sometimes we find two trees and another two trees next to each other so it makes a great goal.

At Hyde Park there are always people playing sports and loads of people rollerskating down the pathway, skateboarding, doing back flips and tricks. There’s a very long lake (it has to be long because Hyde Park is giant!). You can sit by the lake on a deckchair and sometimes the ducks fly out so you can feed them.

Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park

Southbank Centre

I love the South Bank because not only is it really big, there’s a food market at the bottom where you can get loads of stuff to eat. There’s a really cool skate park; I like watching them skate and do bike tricks. There’s space to run around, you can see the River Thames.

You can get a river cruise or a sightseeing tour and one time we went on a super-fast speed boat ride! From the Southbank Centre you can see all the famous buildings like Big Ben and the EDF Energy London Eye. When you walk along, you can see buskers who do stunts like flipping off their bicycle or these amazing African acrobats. We’ve seen lots of shows there, like Slava’s Snowshow in winter which is a very funny show.

Skateboarder on the South Bank

Science Museum

I like the Science Museum because there’s a place called the Launchpad where you can test things out and do the actual experiment yourself. You can fire a water bottle rocket by pressing two buttons, it’s really cool. There are different sections where you can find out about science, outer space and how the world was created, or how people lived in the olden days. The space section is cool because it tells you about the galaxy and stuff which hasn’t even been discovered yet.

Science Museum

Street Food Fairs and Markets

My dad does street food and we love going to street food fairs and markets. There’s Kerb, there’s Street Feast, there’s Feast, loads of different ones. I’ve tried different types of food from all different countries, even vegetarian Indian! I usually eat quite a few things because it all looks so nice. One time at an event I made some meatballs and we had them in a sauce and it was yummy. I had two helpings! Most of the time, the food doesn’t cost as much as restaurants and you can just walk around outdoors eating. It’s pretty cool.

South Bank Market

Ezra is one of the babes at Babes about Town, a blog that celebrates the best activities and coolest finds for families in London and beyond.www.babesabouttown.com

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Free Day Out For Families in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/free-day-out-for-families/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/free-day-out-for-families/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 09:00:34 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39045 Family outside Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Guest post by Laura Porter

The South Bank is always a great destination for families. It’s traffic-free, has wide pavements, fantastic views of iconic London landmarks, and there’s always lots going on that costs nothing. Here’s a plan for a free day out with your family.

Start by the EDF Energy London Eye where you can look across to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The nearest tube station is Waterloo.

Once you’ve taken some snaps let the kids play in Jubilee Gardens. As well as the green open space to run around safely there is also a playground for under 11s. (Be aware that bikes and scooters are not permitted at Jubilee Gardens.)

 Jubilee Gardens

Between The London Eye and Southbank Centre you’ll find lots of street performers vying for your attention. My daughter likes to take some coins to give to her favourites.

I know there’s a carousel here but we normally finds something more interesting at Southbank Centre, whether it’s a free event in the Royal Festival Hall (where there’s also a cafe and toilets), the summer garden on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall or a free festival alongside the river. There’s also the singing elevator (JCB Glass Lift) in the Royal Festival Hall and the skateboarders under the building to watch so you’ll always find something to entertain.

Carry on walking along the South Bank and you’ll soon reach Gabriel’s Wharf where there are often sand sculptures on the beach to admire. Head into Gabriel’s Wharf and there are some well-priced cafes (and more toilets).

Ten minutes further along the riverside walk and you’ll reach Tate Modern. There are many floors of modern artworks to admire and you only need to buy a ticket for special exhibitions. The river level cafe is incredibly family-friendly with a buggy park at the back, plenty of high chairs and a kid’s menu (and kids eat free when an adult buys a meal). Paper placemats and crayons are brought to the table for families too.

If you’d prefer a view from higher up go to Level 3 and from the balcony you can look across to St. Paul’s Cathedral and The City. There’s another small cafe on this level too, and, of course, more toilets. (Hey, anyone who’s travelled with children will appreciate this advice!).

Many people choose to continue along the South Bank past Shakespeare’s Globe and, maybe, onwards to Borough Market but my best tip is to cross over the Millennium Bridge (pedestrian only) and go into The City. You can walk from Tate Modern to St Paul’s in just ten minutes so it really is closer than you think.

Tip for kids: As you cross the bridge see if you can spot any love locks (small padlocks) attached to the sides.

If you check the tide tables in advance, under The City of London side of the Millennium Bridge is a great spot for mudlarking. There are steps to reach the river foreshore and it’s rarely muddy on this side so you can check the surface for old clay pipes and bits of pottery.

Afterwards, walk towards St Paul’s and on your left you’ll find the City Information Centre where you can pick up free trails, including one specifically for children which includes stickers. It has a few routes to try so let the kids choose the one that interests them.

Or, if it raining and you don’t want to wander far, the Museum of London is five minutes away from the other side of St Paul’s. This free museum is great for families and has two floors of exhibits to explore.

Museum of London

Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as AboutLondonLaura.

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10 Things For Families To Do In The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/10-things-for-families-to-do-in-the-queen-elizabeth-olympic-park/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/10-things-for-families-to-do-in-the-queen-elizabeth-olympic-park/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 09:00:12 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39007 Guest blog by Laura Porter

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has undergone further transformation since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and is now an amazing location for families to enjoy. Here are a few of our favourite family attractions:

1. Cycling
The whole park is fantastic for cycling so bring your bikes or hire from View Tube. You can also book to ride inside the Lee Valley VeloPark or outside on the BMX Track.

2. Wandering
There are lots of free park trails to follow, including a Children’s Trail. You can pick up the leaflets at the Information Point (opposite the Aquatics Centre) or print one out at home.

 Aquatics Centre

3. Water Fun
The Aquatics Centre is home to the best swimming pool in the world – really! – and is now open to everyone. Try and book an ‘Aqua Splash’ session and you’ll get to play on an assault course of inflatables. Or go early and you may just see British Olympic bronze medal winning diver Tom Daley in the diving pool as he trains here regularly. I loved my first time in the Olympic pool and now the extra seating has been removed, there are glass sides so you can see Britain’s tallest structure The ArcelorMittal Orbit from the middle of the pool.

ArcelorMittal Orbit

4. Climb Britain’s Tallest Structure
The 114.5m-tall ArcelorMittal Orbit is worth visiting if you like high views. I’d recommend taking a map of London up with you as it’s not the same view as from the EDF Energy London Eye so you may need some guidance finding the landmarks. Adult tickets are £15.

 Helter Skelter

5. Not So High
My eight-year-old daughter loves the helter skelter that you can see near the Orbit. There is a charge but she was talking about it all day so I’d say it’s good fun.

Fountains

6. More Water Fun
Before you reach The Orbit there is the snaking line of fountains which causes squeals of delight from both children and adults of all ages. Many come just to play here and it is worth bringing extra dry clothes as it’s easy to get caught out. I’d recommend playing in the fountains and then visiting the Aquatics Centre so you can swim and have fun before changing into dry clothes.

Tumbling Bay Playground

7. Playground Adventures
The Tumbling Bay Playground is a child’s dream with its mix of rock pools, sand pits, tall treehouses and wobbly bridges. Alongside the playground is the attractive Timber Lodge Cafe which serves up fresh, home-cooked food.

8. Grass Space
If you do walk beyond the Orbit there’s a large grass space that’s great for running and playing in. There are also some toilets here too.

9. Cafe Tip
If you’d like a decent cup of tea and a homemade cake, exit the Park at this point and pop over to The View Tube which is the lime-green container building you can see just off the park site.

Climbing Wall

10. Climb
Walk back past the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the fountains and take the canal path and you’ll find the climbing wall. This is an activity for the bigger kids (and adults) where they can challenge themselves to climb the two stages of the wall. My eight-year-old daughter can do it so it’s not too tough but there are ladders if you get left behind.

Sometimes it’s just good to visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and not worry about making plans. It really is incredible to remember the amazing events that happened here in the summer of 2012.

Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as AboutLondonLaura.

 

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Things To Do in London During Menswear Fashion Week http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/celebrate-menswear-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/celebrate-menswear-in-london/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 09:00:37 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38934 Guest post by Fashion City Insider 

London is the home of men’s fashion. As well as enjoying over 400 years of expert tailoring on Savile Row , a glut of emerging designers will be showing their wares at this month’s London Collections: Men (LC:M), the London fashion week for menswear.

As the world’s sharpest dressed men descend on the capital for LC:M next week, we’ve threaded together a few fashion-related events to enjoy.

Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition

Paul Smith and Jean Paul Gaultier exhibitions

For art and design lovers, immerse yourself in the world of iconic designer Paul Smith at the Design Museum on London’s South Bank. Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith (until 22 Jun) shows Smith’s roots in menswear. The Barbican’s The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk (until 17 Aug) celebrates Gaultier’s mastery of couture and ready-to-wear fashion, as well as film and music costume collaborations, with as much for guys as for girls.

John Deakin’s street style photography

The Photographer’s Gallery steps back into London of the 1950s and 1960s through the work of one of the best British photographers – John Deakin. Delve into the history of street style photography at Under The Influence: John Deakin And The Lure Of Soho displaying Deakin’s exploration of the hidden corners and colourful characters of London’s Soho. Until 13 Jul

Dapper gents on screen

The Institute of Contemporary Arts is celebrating the art of sharp tailoring and style with a special 35mm screening of The Million Pound Note (1954) staring Gregory Peck, hosted by Anthony Peck, son of the Hollywood legend and style icon. 17 Jun

Bowler Hat at The City of London Festival

And a giant Bowler hat!

The party continues in London even after the fashion media circus has left town at the The City of London Festival with a huge inflatable 10m-high bowler hat pop-up venue near St Paul’s Cathedral which will be hosting more than 100 events from drama, music , comedy to debates. 22 Jun-17 Jul

Fashion City Insider is a London fashion travel guide.

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Five Highlights Of The City of London Festival http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/five-highlights-of-the-city-of-london-festival/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/five-highlights-of-the-city-of-london-festival/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 08:08:05 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38900 Guest blog by City of London Festival Director Paul Gudgin

The City of London Festival brings more than 250 events to the amazing buildings and spaces of the City of London from 22 June.  It is one of the biggest and broadest programmes in the festival’s 52-year history with music, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret and even a Korean production of Hamlet to whet the appetite.

FLOWN_PiratesOfTheCarabina_ Bowler Hat

The centrepiece this year will be the Bowler Hat; the iconic piece of City headwear has been turned into a large inflatable 200-seat theatre just beside St Paul’s Cathedral in Paternoster Square.

With so many events to choose from, here are a few festival highlights:

1. Immerse yourself in one of our 9th Symphony epics at St Paul’s Cathedral with the London Symphony Orchestra – Bruckner’s 9th Symphony (3 July) and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (15 July). Seeing a massive orchestral concert under the dome of St Paul’s is an experience everyone should try, and tickets start at just £5.

St Paul's Cathedral

2. Soak up outstanding City views and great jazz with our ‘Jazz with a View’ series. Choose from Clare Teal at Unilever House (6 Jun), Kit Downes at The Gherkin (29 Jun) and Roberto Pla on the Roof Terrace of One New Change (8 Jul). This idea was inspired by Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center in New York… we think our views are easily as good as their Manhattan skyline!

3. Enjoy music and beer in the Guildhall Yard with our City Beerfest (3 Jul). Sample a selection of beers from over a dozen of Britain’s most popular breweries while listening to live American bluegrass, folk and Old Appalachian music, overlooking the City’s ancient HQ.

Beerfest
4. See breathtaking circus performed in a giant Bowler Hat with exceptional contemporary circus companies PSiRC, Silver Lining and Pirates of the Carabina.

5. Have a good laugh with our comedy programme in the Bowler Hat – Doc Brown, Adam Kay, Russell Kane, Katherine Ryan, Andy Zaltzman, Richard Herring and many more well-known and up-and-coming comics.

Book events for The City of London Festival

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Grace Kelly’s London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/grace-kellys-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/grace-kellys-london/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 07:30:40 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38624 Blog post by Kate White

Grace Kelly and James Stewart in Rear Window. Courtesy of the BFI.

London has always been a magnet for the famous and fabulous, and Hollywood royalty Grace Kelly was no exception. As one of the world’s most stylish women, it’s no surprise that the actress-turned-princess loved the finer things the capital had to offer. To celebrate the upcoming release of new biopic Grace Of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman, we’ve rounded up a few ways to experience London Grace Kelly-style, without having a movie star’s bank balance.

The Connaught

The Connaught
Grace always checked-in at plush Mayfair hotel The Connaught. You might balk at the cost of the penthouse suite, but in their charming cocktail bar you can indulge on a smaller scale. You’ll be in good hands because the bartenders there can knock you up a cocktail inspired by their famous former guest. These delectable drinks aren’t on the menu so only those in the know now request them. It’s a divine way to toast Princess Grace and end your night feeling as fancy as royalty.

Ray StitchLearn to make a Grace Kelly-style dress at Ray Stitch
You can’t think of Grace without picturing a wardrobe to die for. Ms Kelly has never gone out of fashion and Islington-based sewing school Ray Stitch is running a special course where you can make your own Grace dress. Their experienced teachers will guide you through a Vintage Vogue pattern and, after you’ve created your gorgeous gown, you can hit the Big Smoke knowing you look good enough for your close up. The class takes place over four Friday evening sessions, beginning 20 June.

Alfred Hitchcock

The Alfred Hitchcock London Locations Walk
She became a professional princess but who could forget Grace’s other day job on the silver screen? It was in front of Alfred Hitchcock’s camera that she really shone and the pair collaborated on three iconic movies – To Catch A Thief, Rear Window and Dial M For Murder. Take film historian Sandra Shevey’s fascinating walking tour to get the lowdown on the legendary director, his London locations and the story behind the Hitchcock blonde. The walk runs three times a week and lasts for three hours, plenty of time to grill Sandra, who met and interviewed Hitchcock in 1972, about Alfred and his obsession with Grace.

Cafe de Paris

Café de Paris
Her own style was classic and elegant so it’s no wonder that Grace’s favourite restaurant in London was Café de Paris. Built in 1924 and located in the heart of the West End, the sparkling cabaret club is still bewitching guests to this day. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal and to take in one of their legendary stage shows, all the while turning heads as you swish around in your bespoke Grace gown.

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Top Five May Bank Holiday Club Nights by DesignMyNight http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-may-bank-holiday-club-nights-by-designmynight/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-may-bank-holiday-club-nights-by-designmynight/#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:00:00 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38485 Guest Post by DesignMyNight

If there’s one thing London does well, it’s a Bank Holiday. As that sacred three-day weekend creeps ever closer, it’s time to think about how you are going to celebrate that extra day away from the office. Here are five of the best events taking place this May Bank Holiday.

Paradise by Way of Kensal Green

KidYouNot at Paradise by Way of Kensal Green

Swing by one of West London’s leading lights for an immersive party tailor-made for the eccentric and cosmopolitan. There will be classic games from your childhood, we’re talking giant Jenga and beer pong – with Miss P’s delicious BBQ street food keeping hunger at bay with fan favourites like beef brisket, pulled pork and catfish. The party then gets into full swing with a string of talented DJs playing house, hip-hop, disco and pop tunes until the early hours. 4 May

Spring Festival at Bavarian Beerhouse Bavarian Beerhouse

With wholesome German grub, live music and lashings of authentic Bavarian beer – Oktoberfest comes five months early at this hugely popular Shoreditch haunt. A welcome shot of Jaegermeister and a hearty greeting from the all-German bar-staff (kitted out in traditional Bavarian attire) sets the tone, before the party moves through the gears with dancing to the soundtrack of Oompah bands and beers served up in Stein glasses. Well worth a visit any time of year; drop by at the start of May to find the venue in its element. 1–3 May

Voodoo Blues at Roxx at Code Roxx

Kick start the Bank Holiday weekend in style by heading over to Roxx at Code, where an evening of Deep-South inspired debauchery lies in wait. Proceedings kick off at 7.30pm with a delicious spread of Cajun and Creole food served up while guests take in live performances and music from a New-Orleans inspired band. Once dinner is done and dusted, you’ll be invited backstage at Roxx – the renowned rock’n’roll party – where you’ll find yourself up on the bar and dancing the night away in no time at all. 2 May

Vestal Voyages Vestal Voyages

Hop on board this stunning 50ft canal boat for a pop-up drinking experience like no other. Vestal Vodka’s experienced bartenders whip up all kinds of creative cocktails for you to enjoy, as you drink your way along the Regent’s Canal. With a maximum of 12 guests you are guaranteed an intimate and relaxing vibe; what better way to wile away the Bank Holiday than aboard one of London’s finest boat party experiences? 2–4 May

Twisted Circus Bank Holiday at Foundation Foundation

Head over to Foundation on 4 May and you’ll be able to enjoy performances from circus acts and a raucous night of partying all at once. Expect no shortage of snake charmers, stilt walkers, contortionists and the like, as this Covent Garden haunt brings a bit of circus glam to the table! With a mix of RnB, hip-hop, classic party anthems and a whole room devoted to house tunes, there will be plenty of shapes to cut on the dance floor too. 4 May

DesignMyNight is passionate about bringing you the very latest and greatest venues on show in the capital.

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5 of the Best: London Seafood Restaurants http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-seafood-restaurants-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-seafood-restaurants-in-london/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:00:46 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38463 A guest blog post by Sara D’souza

Following the opening of the new Bonnie Gull Seafood Café  in Islington’s Exmouth Market yesterday, we’ve rounded up five of our favourite seafood restaurants.

Bonnie Gull

Bonnie Gull Seafood CaféCrab at Bonnie Gull
Style: A blue and white striped awning, nautical touches and a vintage jukebox make up the 1960s seaside café theme of this Exmouth Market-based eatery.
Dishes: Beer battered North Sea haddock with beef dripping chips, a 1kg crab or the classic fish finger sandwich. Lights bites are native lobster or fresh picked crab rolls, while oysters, cockles and smoked mussels will be served the traditional way, on newspaper.
Desserts: British seaside sweets are homemade whippy ice-cream in a cone, Cornish fudge, Blackpool rock and millionaire’s shortbread.
Cost: 1kg crab is £17; fish and chips are £14 and house special Bloody Marys are £8.

Randall & Aubin

Randall & Aubin
Style: Based in Soho, the white tiled walls, butcher’s hooks and marble slabs still remain from Randall & Aubin’s former incarnation as a 1930s butcher’s shop.
Dishes: Lobster is served half (325 grams) or whole (750 grams) roasted in garlic butter with chips and the seafood platter is filled with rock oysters, green-lipped mussels, and diver picked scallops and clams.
Desserts: Sweets include sticky date pudding with vanilla ice-cream, lemon and raspberry tart with double cream and flambéed vanilla crème brulee.
Cost: Half lobster from £20, seafood platter (for two) £42.50 per head and wine from £20 per bottle.

J Sheekey corner tables

J SheekeyOysters and langoustines at J Sheekey
Style: Situated in Covent Garden’s theatreland, J Sheekey’s Art Deco style interiors have leather banquettes and lacquered wood panels hung with black and white photographs of actors.
Dishes: Atlantic prawns are served by the pint or half pint, crab bisque is with cream and cognac, and there’s Sheekey’s famous fish pie.
Desserts: Choose from traditional British Bramley apple pie, Italian Amalfi lemon bar with biscotti, vanilla panna cotta or hazelnut praline tart.
Cost: Half pint of prawns from £6.75, fish pie is £15.75 and wine from £21 per bottle.

Wright brothers Oyster and Porter House

Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House
Style: Overlooking Borough MarketWright Brothers has an open kitchen and long oyster bar.  If you sit outside, you can pull up a stool at a barrel table and look out over the market stalls. Menus are chalked up on the blackboard.
Dishes: Galway Bay Irish natives no.3 are sold per oyster, while specials such as the Lindisfarne oysters come in plates of six or 12. Moules marinière and Cornish dressed crab are on the main menu.
Desserts: Chocolate truffles, crème brulee or a lemon pot with homemade shortbread will all sate your sweet tooth.
Cost: Oysters from £4.20 each and wine from £20 per bottle.

Big Easy

Big Easy
Style: This recently-opened Covent Garden restaurant has American-style diner tables and booths with neon signs and walls graffitied with giant lobsters.
Dishes: Think surf and turf. Lobsters are straight from the tank or from its charcoal grilled oven. Jumbo barbeque shrimps come in the shell and crabshack combos have crab claws, mussels and clams.
Desserts: All American puddings include cherry pie, apple and cinnamon waffles, and red velvet cake.
Cost: Whole fresh lobster from £20 and wine from £19 per bottle.

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