Visit London Blog » Jenny http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Things To Do in London on Christmas Day 2013 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/things-to-do-in-london-on-christmas-day-2013/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/things-to-do-in-london-on-christmas-day-2013/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 16:00:21 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=30391

London isn’t often described as quiet, but Christmas Day is the one day of the year when the capital can feel that way. But there’s actually no shortage of things to do and Christmas Day is a rare chance to explore and experience a different side of London.

There’s no public transport on Christmas Day, but you could opt for a Boris bike to explore Central London with much less traffic around. There will also be a few taxis and mini-cabs for hire.

With limited transport options, and thousands of Christmas calories consumed, walking might be your best bet. You’ll have London’s beautiful architecture, street art and Christmas lights largely to yourself, and walking is the best way to experience it. Take a look at these photos of London on Christmas morning by IanVisits, which include Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street and Hyde Park Corner.

Tours

You can even go on a guided walking tour. London Walks hosts two walks on Christmas Day: The London of Samuel Pepys at 11am and Charles Dickens’ London Walk at 2pm. Both walks start at the big Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square and last for two hours.

Westminster guide Peter Berthoud is offering three walking tours on Christmas Day, with the first at 6am for anyone who wants to experience an eerie 28 Days Later-style London! If you’re keen on a Christmas lie-in, you can opt for a post-lunch walk at 3pm.

Fancy a more relaxing tour? Push the boat out and have your Christmas dinner on the Thames, enjoying the sights of the river on a cruise. Or take a luxury coach tour of London with a professional guide.

Activities

Almost all of London’s attractions are closed on Christmas Day. However, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the Charles Dickens Museum are both open.

Ripley’s is open from 10am until 10pm, with last admission at 8.30pm on Christmas Day. The Charles Dickens Museum is open 10am to 5pm, with last admission at 4pm.

Or, head to The Serpentine (lake) at Hyde Park where the hardy members of the Serpentine Swimming Club take part in the annual Peter Pan Cup swimming race. The race starts at 9am.

Christmas Services

Most London churches will have Christmas Day services. It’s best to check with the individual church in advance but Central London churches with Christmas Day services include:

Eating and Drinking

Many restaurants close on Christmas Day but check our blog post for Christmas dinner options in London.

Some pubs open for a few hours around lunchtime but most will be closed or ticketed in the evening. Make sure you check in advance for opening hours. Hotel bars are a good bet for a drink on Christmas Day, but again, check with the hotel in advance.

Do you have any advice or suggestions for spending Christmas Day in London?

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Where to Enjoy Apres-Ski in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/11/where-to-enjoy-apres-ski-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/11/where-to-enjoy-apres-ski-in-london/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2013 08:36:55 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=36259

Whether or not you’re hitting the slopes this winter, you can enjoy the best part – the après-ski – right here in London. Sip a vin chaud, or indulge in a fondue, without a ski lift in sight at one of these Alpine-themed venues:

Montague Ski Lodge
With falling snow, pine trees, reindeer and piste-maps, the only thing that’s missing from the Montague on the Gardens’ Ski Lodge is a snow-clad mountain! As at any ski resort, entry is only possible with a lift pass. In this case, the £20 pass gets you three flavoured vodkas or cream liquers, and a cheese or chocolate fondue. Until end of Jan

Lodge d’Argent
City venue Coq d’Argent has turned its outdoor terrace into a sparkling winter wonderland, decorated with fairy lights, antlers, and snow globe-style jars. To ensure you won’t feel the cold, the terrace has been covered and heated. Get into the winter holiday spirit with hot toddies, mulled wine, fondue and cocktails. Until Feb

St Moritz Restaurant
Love cheese? Then head to St Moritz restaurant for a bubbling cheese fondue with a side of Swiss hospitality. The restaurant might be in Soho, but you’ll feel like you’re in the Alps as you dine among the cow bells and Swiss-chalet style décor. Other hearty fare on the menu includes steak, rosti and raclette – perfect after a full day on the slopes (or sightseeing).

Freeze Festival
This year, Freeze Festival has a new home on Clapham Common and will be treating boarders and skiers to four, yes four, themed après ski bars (Bavarian Haus, Metro Lodge, Ibiza Rocks The Snow Bar, Krazy Kangaroo). Other entertainment includes live music; ski and snowboard movies; and gnarly ski and snowboarding competitions, featuring some of the world’s best. 27 Nov-1 Dec. 

York & Albany’s Winter Cabin
As the cold weather sets in, get cosy at York & Albany’s Winter Cabin in Camden. Winter warmers include buttered rum hot chocolate, chestnut-infused bourbon cocktails, venison and red current sausage rolls and spiced Bloody Marys. Don’t miss the heated outdoor terrace, where you can wrap up in a blanket and toast marshmallows. Until 4 Jan (bookable for two hour periods from £30 per hour, suitable for groups of four to 12)

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London Hotel News: The DoubleTree by Hilton – Hyde Park Opens; The London EDITION Announcement and Hotels Introduce UnionPay http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/08/london-hotel-news-the-doubletree-by-hilton-hyde-park-opens-the-london-edition-announcement-and-hotels-welcome-chinese-guests/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/08/london-hotel-news-the-doubletree-by-hilton-hyde-park-opens-the-london-edition-announcement-and-hotels-welcome-chinese-guests/#comments Fri, 09 Aug 2013 11:18:20 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=35134 Find out what’s happening in London’s hotel scene.

Hotel openings

Last month, The DoubleTree by Hilton – Hyde Park opened its doors following a £10 million refurbishment. The hotel’s new look includes 12 new guest rooms and a restaurant will open in September. The hotel is walking distance from Notting Hill and Queensway Tube stations.

The opening date for new hotel The London EDITION has been confirmed as 12 September. The hotel will open in the location of the former Berners Hotel, with 173 guest rooms, two bars, a 24-hour fitness facilities and a dance club. It is the first London project by hotelier Ian Schrager for 15 years – he previously worked on both Sanderson and St Martin’s Lane hotels.

Chinese whispers

London’s hotels have introduced a range of services to help Chinese guests feel at home. Both Brown’s Hotel and the Corinthia Hotel now accept UnionPay, the Chinese payment card.

The Corinthia also employs both Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking staff members, including in the spa, reception and both restaurants. Chinese guests can also request Chinese breakfast items and Chinese newspapers, and CCTV (China’s state television broadcaster) is included on the TV channel list.

Hilton’s London hotels offer the Huanying Programme, including a Chinese-speaking team member to assist guests, traditional Chinese breakfast and in-room Chinese tea-making facilities.

Free accommodation

Sing for your supper or, in this case, your bed at Clink78 hostel! Musicians can get a free bed for the night in exchange for performing at the hostel’s bar, Clashbar. Find out more

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Hotel News: DoubleTree by Hilton Opens Two Hotels and TripAdvisor Excellence Award Winners http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/06/hotel-news-doubletree-by-hilton-opens-two-hotels-and-tripadvisor-excellence-award-winners/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/06/hotel-news-doubletree-by-hilton-opens-two-hotels-and-tripadvisor-excellence-award-winners/#comments Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:00:09 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=33676

This month sees two new hotels, TripAdvisor awards and a new place to pamper yourself in London…

Hotel Openings

DoubleTree by Hilton has acquired two new London hotels, the first of which opened its doors this week. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London Ealing (formerly Ramada London Ealing) has undergone a £10 million renovation to offer contemporary comfort to guests staying in West London. The location is particularly good if you’re planning to visit Westfield London, Kew Gardens or Wembley. Ealing Broadway Underground station is within walking distance of the hotel

The second hotel, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Hyde Park opens on 1 July – more about that next month.

TripAdvisor Excellence Award-Winners

Congratulations to Charing Cross, The Grosvenor Hotel and The Royal Horseguards Hotel, who have won a TripAdvisor Excellence Award. Only the top performing 10% of businesses on the online review site qualify for an award.

London Collectons: Men

Radisson Blu Edwardian London, Bloomsbury Street Hotel has been named official hotel partner of London Collections: Men (a showcase of British menswear brands and businesses taking place this month). To celebrate, the hotel is offering a special package for stays from 14 to 23 June which includes 10% saving on the best available room rate, 25% breakfast, and a free drink at the bar – up to the value of £15.

Haymarket Hotel Treatment Rooms

Soholistic beauty and treatment rooms have expanded to the Haymarket Hotel, offering beauty treatments using Temple Spa products. The Haymarket Hotel now has two luxurious treatment rooms, a gym and a pool.

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Hotel News: Five New Hotels, Chelsea Flower Show Afternoon Tea and Happy Birthday Hilton http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/04/hotel-news-five-new-hotels-chelsea-flower-show-afternoon-tea-and-happy-birthday-hilton/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/04/hotel-news-five-new-hotels-chelsea-flower-show-afternoon-tea-and-happy-birthday-hilton/#comments Tue, 16 Apr 2013 11:51:09 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=32606

This month, we begin by wishing happy birthday to the London Hilton on Park Lane, the first Hilton hotel to open in the UK, which turns 50 this week.

New Hotels

As spring arrives, so does a bumper crop of new London hotels. Here are London’s hottest new hotels:

Great Northern Hotel – Relive the romantic age of train travel at the Great Northern Hotel, which re-opened this month. The hotel, which was London’s first railway hotel, has undergone a £40 million refurbishment and offers a quiet oasis in the hub of King’s Cross and St Pancras. The 91-bedroom hotel has been refurbished to exude “timeless elegance with a hint of modernity”. Room rates from £250

The Apartments by The Sloane Club – For stays of seven days or more, try a luxury serviced apartment in the exclusive neighbourhood of Sloane Gardens. Apartments are set in two beautiful late 19th century buildings and guests have access to a 24-hour concierge. Rates from £220 per night excluding VAT. Opens this week

One Leicester Street – A new boutique hotel comes to London on 1 May. One Leicester Street is the first hotel from the Unlisted Collection to open in the capital. Opening on the site of the former St John’s Hotel on the edge of Chinatown, the property will feature 15 bedrooms, a restaurant and bar. The restaurant will be headed by Michelin-starred chef Tom Harris. Opens 1 May

Nadler Soho – Boutique hotel brand base2stay is becoming Nadler Hotels, and opening a new property in London. The Nadler Soho promises “affordable luxury” with stylish rooms and Local Ambassadors on the front desk providing an introduction to the best bars and restaurants nearby. Opens late May

Xenia – Coming to South Kensington next month is Xenia hotel, situated in a restored Victorian building with contemporary interiors. The boutique hotel includes 99 bedrooms, an Italian restaurant, and a bar with a herb garden terrace. Opens in May, room rates from £160

Chelsea Flower Show

Even if you haven’t got tickets to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, you can still be there in spirit thanks to London’s hotels.

Belgraves – A Thompson Hotel in Knightsbridge will be transforming its terrace into an edible garden for the duration of the show (21-25 May), with edible flower cocktails, and food and flower pairing classes. Both the Landmark London and the Royal Garden Hotel are offering floral-themed afternoon teas during Chelsea Flower Show week – reservations recommended.

Extra, extra

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London Hotel News: ibis Styles London Excel opens, ME London on the way and London Fashion Week http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/02/london-hotel-news-ibis-styles-london-excel-opens-me-london-on-the-way-and-london-fashion-week/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/02/london-hotel-news-ibis-styles-london-excel-opens-me-london-on-the-way-and-london-fashion-week/#comments Wed, 13 Feb 2013 16:00:57 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=31798

This month, we’ve got the latest hotel openings, hotel deals and news of how London’s hotels are preparing for the fashion crowd to hit town.

Don’t forget, if you’re planning a (very) last-minute Valentine’s break in London, check out the capital’s romantic hotels.

New openings

First up, the ibis Styles London Excel (formerly Custom House Hotel) has re-opened following extensive refurbishment of its bedrooms and public spaces. The hotel is handy if you’re in London for a conference, as it’s located next to ExCeL Exhibition and Convention Centre. It’s also an easy journey to The O2, Westfield Stratford City, the Olympic Park and Greenwich.

Luxury hotel ME London opens next month in Marconi House, the original home of BBC Radio. The hotel features 157 guest rooms, including 16 suites and a two-storey penthouse. The hotel’s hotspot will be the Radio Rooftop Bar and Restaurant, offering panoramic views over London.

London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week is on its way and official hotel partner The May Fair is sporting illustrations by designer Manolo Blahnik on its façade from today until 19 February to celebrate.

St James’s Hotel and Club are launching a gluten-free afternoon tea in time for Fashion Week. Indulge for £19 (or £34 with a glass of champagne). Available from 15 February.

Special offers

Last chance to book a two-for-one Detox Spa Day at the London Marriott Hotel County Hall. The deal includes use of the hotel’s gym and a 60-minute power plate session; access to the Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room; plus a 60-minute Dr Murad treatment. £125 for two people. Offer available until 28 February, for reservations call +44 (0)20 7902 8023 or email mhrs.lonch.theclub@marriotthotels.com

Apex City of London Hotel is offering two complimentary travelcards with their London Unlimited package on stays before 14 April. Rooms from £131 per night. Find out more

Enjoy a free airport transfer from Heathrow or Gatwick for stays before 15 March with onefinestay. The company offers holidaymakers the chance to live like a local by staying in a Londoner’s home while they’re out of town.

Extra, extra

Cheval Residences will be opening a new set of serviced and non-serviced apartments, Cheval Three Quays, in 2014. The apartments will be within walking distance of Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and The Shard.

More hotels in London

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London Video of the Week: London Set for Huge Chinese New Year Celebrations http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/02/london-video-of-the-week-london-set-for-huge-chinese-new-year-celebrations/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/02/london-video-of-the-week-london-set-for-huge-chinese-new-year-celebrations/#comments Sat, 09 Feb 2013 10:30:02 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=31648 London’s Chinatown is getting ready for the Chinese New Year celebrations this weekend. See the preparations taking place in the video below, as London gets ready to welcome the Year of the Snake.

Find out more about Chinese New Year in London including tomorrow’s parade and festival in Trafalgar Square.

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London Underground Afternoon Tea at The Park Lane Hotel http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/01/london-underground-afternoon-tea-at-the-park-lane-hotel/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/01/london-underground-afternoon-tea-at-the-park-lane-hotel/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2013 17:34:21 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=31235  

London Underground Afternoon Tea. London Underground logo reproduced with permission of Transport for London London Underground Afternoon Tea. London Underground logo reproduced with permission of Transport for London London Underground Afternoon Tea. London Underground logo reproduced with permission of Transport for London

In one of the tastier celebrations of the Tube’s 150th birthday, The Park Lane Hotel’s pastry chef has created a London Underground-themed afternoon tea.

Among the treats on offer are a London Bridge roll, Circle and District Line roulade and Royal Oak smoked salmon bagel. The sweet offerings include Limehouse curd and Victoria plum jam and clotted cream, a white chocolate Oreo Swiss roll Cottage and a selection of London Underground pastries.

The London Underground Afternoon Tea at The Park Lane Hotel costs £41 per person and is available until 10 February. The tea is served from 3pm to 6pm weekdays and 2pm to 6pm at weekends. Bookings must be made in advance. To book, call The Palm Court on +44 (0)20 7290 7328 or visit www.palmcourtlondon.co.uk

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Where to Find Out More About the Tube’s History in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/01/where-to-find-out-more-about-the-tubes-history-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/01/where-to-find-out-more-about-the-tubes-history-in-london/#comments Fri, 04 Jan 2013 10:00:34 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=31113 This year, the Tube is celebrating its 150th birthday. The Tube was the world’s first underground railway, and made a huge difference to the way people travelled in London. Here are some London museums where you can find out more about the Tube’s history.

London Transport Museum

London Transport MuseumYour first stop for any transport-related tourism. At the London Transport Museum you can find out all about the world’s first underground railway, learn about its famous roundel logo and pick up Tube merchandise in the shop, from Tube map iPad covers to books about the Tube.

The museum is great for kids, with plenty of interactive exhibits, including vintage buses to climb on and a simulator giving you the chance to drive a Tube train. This year, the museum is hosting a special anniversary exhibition about poster art on the Tube and has a programme of special events to mark the 150th anniversary.

London Transport Museum Depot at Acton

If the London Transport Museum whets your appetite, head to the museum’s store in West London where you can see the rest of the collection which is not in display in the main museum. There are more than 370,000 objects here, including vehicles, signs, posters, uniforms and photographs. The depot is not open every day and can only be visited on a guided tour or during open weekends. This year’s open weekends are in April and October.

Brunel Museum

Brunel MuseumThe Tube isn’t the only London icon celebrating a big birthday this year; the Thames Tunnel, which connects Rotherhithe and Wapping, turns 170. Built by Marc Brunel and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, this is the oldest tunnel in London.

It was designed to carry cargo from one side of the river to the other, but that proved too expensive and so the tunnel opened instead as a tourist attraction in 1843, with visitors paying a penny to walk beneath the river.

In 1869, the first passenger trains ran through the tunnel. It was later used as part of the East London Underground line and is now part of the London Overground. Take one of the Brunel Museum’s excellent guided tours, where you can enter the Grand Entrance Hall of the tunnel.

People's City gallery, Museum of LondonMuseum of London and Museum of London Docklands

At these two museums, you can learn about the Tube’s construction and how it affected a growing city. At the Museum of London’s People’s City gallery, which looks at the rapid expansion of the city between the 1850s and 1950s, you can find out how the Tube and new technologies in transport transformed the way people navigated the city.

Over at the Museum of London Docklands, the New Port, New City gallery examines how the docklands area has boomed in the past few decades, including the building of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). You can also see part of a DLR carriage on display.

Have we missed anything? Let us know where else you can learn about the Tube

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The Snowman in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/12/the-snowman-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/12/the-snowman-in-london/#comments Wed, 19 Dec 2012 09:00:00 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=30856 The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images

Have you seen The Snowman in London? He’s been melting the hearts of both children and adults for 30 years and this Christmas, he’ll be visiting the capital in more ways than one.

On Christmas Eve, The Snowman will enjoy some spectacular views of London as he returns in Channel 4′s sequel to the much-loved animated film. In The Snowman and the Snowdog, The Snowman and friends swoop past some of London’s most famous sites, including the London Eye, Big Ben and the OXO Tower. 24 Dec, 8pm

You can also see the original animated version of Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman at the Barbican, with the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera providing extra magic with a live accompaniment to the film. The family double-bill also includes a screening of Peter and the Wolf, with narration by Tamsin Greig. 22-23 Dec

Finally, clocking up its 15th year at the Peacock Theatre, Sadler’s Wells is the dance production of The Snowman. This family treat includes an orchestra, dancing penguins and of course, the magical flying sequence, all created live on stage.

Which is your favourite version of The Snowman?

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