Visit London Blog » hampton court palace Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sewing in London: A Guide to Sewing Classes, Shops and Museums Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:48:45 +0000 Are you a fan of the BBC TV series The Great British Sewing Bee? Here are some ideas for sewing themed fun in London:

Geffrye Museum

The first series of The Great British Sewing Bee was filmed in Dalston; you can plan your next sewing project with tea and cake at The Other Café and Gallery where the contestants had lunch. From there it’s easy to hop on a bus down to the Geffrye Museum to see the vintage interiors, and then visit the area around Spitalfields market, where you’ll find a hive of independent designers/makers selling beautiful things.

Don’t miss the Sunday Upmarket near Brick Lane, which homes 140 stalls selling crafts, interiors and accessories. Cavernous fabric shop Crescent Trading in Shoreditch also merits exploration.

London Sewing Machine Museum

One episode of the second series included a short film made at the London Sewing Machine Museum. The Tooting-based museum is open on the first Sunday of the month and includes three rooms of gorgeous antique sewing machines and sewing memorabilia. It’s sited above a huge sewing machine shop where you can get your machine repaired or buy a reconditioned one. You’ll also find a big craft shop next door selling fabric, patterns and haberdashery.

One of the finest collection of fashion and textiles in the world can be found at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. As well as the fashion galleries, there are regular fashion exhibitions and you’ll discover beautiful textile items displayed throughout the museum.

If you were inspired by the patternless draping in the second series semi-finals, the V&A has some Vionnet dresses in its collection, but none are currently on display. If you want to see them, you might want to consider a visit to the Clothworkers Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles where you can make an appointment to study items from the national collection of textiles and fashion.

London’s amazing Fashion and Textile Museum has also been featured on the show and has a full schedule of classes and exhibitions devoted to sewing, design and creativity.

Savile Row

Find out more about London’s history of traditional tailoring at Savile Row. Dishy Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant is the creative director of Norton & Sons (established 1821) at Number 16 Savile Row.

You’ll find many sewing classes in London. Some of the best places to take a class include Liberty, Fabrications, Ray Stitch, Sew Over It and The Thrifty Stitcher (where you can take masterclasses run by the Great British Sewing Bee’s sewing producer!).

A shop in Southall

If the modification challenge is more your thing, head to Sew Good in Kilburn. Run by the charity Traid, you can learn to mend and upcycle your valued clothes. If vintage techniques inspire you, check out the classes at The School of Historical Dress. If you’re looking for amazing embroidered trims, have a hunt around the shops in Southall.

Learn how to decorate your projects with goldwork embroidery with a weekend class at Hand & Lock or The Royal School of Embroidery at Hampton Court Palace.

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Top 5 Alternative Mother’s Day Treats Thu, 20 Mar 2014 10:00:48 +0000 If you want to treat your mum to a memorable Mother’s Day that oozes wow factor, check out some of these alternative ways to spend Sunday 30 March.

British Pullman

Take a nostalgic train journey
Step back in time to the golden age of travel by spoiling your mum with a ride on a British Pullman or Northern Belle, sister trains to the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Your mum can expect vintage 1920s wood-panelled carriages, gourmet cuisine, lashings of Champagne and liveried stewards. Perfect for those with cash to splash, a one-day round trip from London Victoria is £310 and includes a five-course lunch with champagne and half a bottle of wine per person.

A Taste of Honey

See a play
For a dose of culture, take your mum to see taboo-breaking play A Taste of Honey at the National Theatre, which stars Lesley Sharp (Clocking Off) and Dean Lennox Kelly (Shameless). The play tells the story of a feisty teenager whose mother elopes with a car salesman. Left alone, the teen begins a relationship with a sailor who promises to marry her, before fleeing to sea and leaving her pregnant.

London Jewellery School

Make jewellery
Treat your mum to a jewellery-making class at the London Jewellery School. Taster classes cost from £50 and vary from making chandelier earrings to upcycling jewellery.


See a flower show
Taking place over the Mother’s Day weekend at Hampton Court Palace, Florimania features colourful Georgian-style floral displays. This annual event is included in the entrance price to Hampton Court Palace.

The London Eye

Indulge on the London Eye
Live the high life by enjoying a double rotation in a private capsule on the EDF Energy London Eye, while feasting on an afternoon tea with Champagne or a chocolate tasting experience, which includes two glasses of prosecco. From £44.75 per person.

More Mother’s Day ideas

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Spotlight On: Richmond upon Thames Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:00:17 +0000 An iconic river view of Richmond upon Thames

One of London’s most attractive boroughs, picture-pretty Richmond upon Thames has for hundreds of years been a favourite retreat for royalty, the rich and famous. Sited 15 miles southwest of Central London, the borough can be reached in 15 minutes via a fast train from London Waterloo.

The River Thames runs through the heart of the borough for 21 miles linking Hampton Court Palace, Richmond town centre and Kew Gardens with central London. With beautiful Royal Parks and historic houses, theatres, museums and galleries rich with exhibits, and town centres bursting with shops and restaurants, there’s loads to do in this picturesque borough. Here, the borough’s tourist board Visit Richmond have suggested five of the area’s unmissable attractions:

Richmond Park deer

Richmond Park
With 2,500 acres of hills, woodlands, gardens and grassland, Richmond Park is London’s largest Royal Park. Home to herds of red and fallow deer, the gated park is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and Nature Reserve. Adventurers can enjoy a host of activities, such as horse riding and cycling. The park also houses the magnificent Isabella Plantation and the gardens at Pembroke Lodge.

Treetop walkway, Kew Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Delve into a rainforest, stroll a soaring walkway amidst the tree canopy and explore world-class gardens. Kew Gardens contains the finest plant collection in the world and offers a unique day out. There is also a fantastic year-round programme of festivals which includes workshops and family activities.

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace
Henry VIII’s favourite royal residence is famous for its maze and plush State Rooms. New for 2014 is the royal Chocolate Kitchen, open to visitors for the first time in 300 years. The 18th century Chocolate Kitchen was once used by Thomas Tosier, personal chocolatier to King George I.

Ham House

Ham House and Gardens
Built in 1610, Ham House is a beautiful and atmospheric Stuart house beside the Thames that’s full of paintings, furniture and textiles that were acquired 400 years ago. Its 17th-century garden is a perfect picnic spot.

Richmond's riverside

River Thames
A total of 21 miles of the River Thames run through Richmond; it is also the only riparian borough to be both north and south of the River Thames. Richmond boasts one of the most beautiful stretches of the riverside in London, together with the historic Richmond Bridge, which is an English Heritage Grade 1 listed structure (as it is the oldest bridge that still spans the River Thames).

The river has a special magic in Richmond upon Thames, offering an opportunity to spend tranquil hours exploring its banks on foot or by bike, which can be hired from one of the boathouses near Richmond Bridge.

This blog post was provided by Visit Richmond, which offers information VisitRichmond_Logoof what there is to see, do, explore and experience in Richmond upon Thames. Follow Visit Richmond on Twitter @Visit_Richmond1

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Spotlight on: Kingston upon Thames Wed, 12 Feb 2014 10:00:40 +0000 Kingston's falling over phone boxes

The picturesque riverside town of Kingston upon Thames is just a 30-minute train journey from Central London and is well worth the short journey.

Here’s why:

For messing about on the river

Kingston’s stunning location on the River Thames is a big part of its appeal. In summer watch the world go by while dining al fresco in Charter Quay or enjoying a health bite at The Terrace Eatery or drink on the terrace of the ever popular Woody’s pub.

Alternatively experience the river up close on a cruise. Turks Launches has 300 years of boating heritage and operates regular cruises between Kingston, Hampton Court Palace and Richmond.

Jack Wills in Kingston

To shop until you drop  

No trip to Kingston upon Thames is complete without a spot of shopping. With over 500 stores the town has something for every taste and budget, ranging from designer brands and high street fashion in large retail outlets like the The Eden Walk Shopping Centre and The Bentall Centre, to independent boutiques that appeal to those seeking one off or unique finds.

A great area for more unusual purchases is Old London Road – marked by Kingston’s famous falling over phone boxes (officially named ‘Out of Order’ by artist David Mach).

Old London Road is also home to the Kingston Antiques Centre, one of the biggest, liveliest and most affordable destinations for collectors in the South-East of England with more than 100 dealers offering a startling array of antiques and quality vintage items.

For its rich history

Kingston is a town steeped in history. In 1208 it was granted its first Royal charter by King John and it is said that seven Saxon kings were crowned here – the Coronation Stone remains to this day.

Discover the town’s rich history at the fascinating Kingston Museum. Housed in a beautiful, custom-built building, the museum has three permanent exhibitions. Two tell the story of the borough from Saxon times and the third details the life and work of renowned Kingston-born Victorian photographer Eadweard Muybridge.

See its historical sites up-close on a guided walking tour. Tours take place every Sunday during summer and on the first Sunday of the month in winter and depart from All Saints Church.

Rose Theatre

To see a show

Catching a show in the 900 seat Rose Theatre is a real treat.  Its circular design brings great intimacy and epic scale to all the productions that appear here.

The Rose works with internationally-renowned theatre companies and many West End stars appear here. The theatre even has a pit area where audiences can sit on cushions to watch performances, a popular option for families or those on a budget.

For fabulous food

Visitors to Kingston are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. Choose from homely pubs, like the Druids Head, and riverside restaurants to al fresco cafes and stylish and even stately venues for afternoon tea.

The ancient market place is home to a six-days-a-week market, featuring a fabulous range of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Also choose fresh fish at Webster’s Fishmongers, pick out delicious meat cuts at Jimmy’s Meats or sample the flavours of Morocco at Exotic Tagine and tasty fresh sushi at Namu.

This blog post was provided by Kingstonfirst, which is branding for the Business Improvement District (BID) of Kingston Town Centre. The branding is used for the delivery of all events, services and marketing undertaken.

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Christmas Carol Concerts in London Fri, 13 Dec 2013 08:29:00 +0000 Nothing sings Christmas like a candlelit concert. Whether you’re looking to belt out a few notes of your own or sit back and soak up the surroundings, here’s the shortlist of the top locations to hear carols in the capital.

Christmas carols at Hampton Court Palace (17-23 Dec)

The fairytale one. Henry VII’s Tudor palace hosts its famous do-it-yourself carol singing accompanied by the Epsom & Ewell Silver Band. Sing your heart out beneath the stars in the courtyards of the palace. Illuminated in the dark, this makes a stunning night-time destination. Don’t forget to try out the ice rink!

Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square (9-22 Dec)

The traditional one. For years crowds have flocked beneath this gigantic tree in Trafalgar Square to listen to songs and join in with carol services. Every night until 22 Dec, different carol groups will be singing all the classics, from Deck the Halls and Good King Wenceslas, to Ding Dong Merrily on High and The Holly and the Ivy, plus it’s all for charity.

Southwark Cathedral Christmas Carols (Throughout December)

The family one. Singing, readings, and music all under the roof of the stunning Southwark Cathedral. Highlights include the Cathedral Sing-in, The Southwark Cathedral Choir Concert and the Christmas Eve ceremonious Building of the Crib- an event created specially for children and which follows the Nativity Story with readings and carols. See choir boy Raphael revel in the festive atmosphere of Southwark Cathedral in this heart-warming video. Watch it for a chance to win a five night trip to London!

St-Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Carols (Throughout December)

The grand one. This landmark church hosts an outstanding music programme throughout the year with lunchtime concerts and top musicians but is even busier than ever in the festive season. Special concerts include the incredibly popular Choir of Christ’s College Cambridge’s Glory of Christmas by Candlelight and two chances to see the English Chamber Choir and Belmont Ensemble of London perform Handel’s Messiah.

Royal Albert Hall Christmas Festival (13-24 Dec)

The lively one. The Royal Albert Hall’s Christmas Sing-along does exactly what it says on the tin and features all the classic tunes and Christmas hits. Other concerts at the venue include The Glory of Christmas, The BT Christmas Concert, Anton and Erin’s Christmas Cracker, Carols by Candleight and Royal Choral Society Christmas Carols.

Our pick of top upcoming carol concerts include:

See more about Christmas in London.

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Tower of London Twilight Tour Fri, 08 Nov 2013 10:33:59 +0000 Dare you take a spooky twilight tour of the Tower of London this winter? Historic Royal Palaces are giving visitors a unique opportunity to gain after-hours access to the ancient fortress as well as hear the gruesome stories which make it world famous.

The tours are led by the iconic and entertaining Beefeaters who not only share tales of intrigue, imprisonment, execution and torture but also get a kick out of making you jump.

Although largely spent outdoors, the tour also includes a brief look in the Bloody Tower, where two young princes disappeared from their beds while under the care of their Uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Two centuries later, workmen at the Tower dug up a wooden box containing two small human skeletons.

Another highlight of the tour is the chance to hear ghost stories at Tower Green, a historical burial ground and the site where three English Queens (Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Jane Grey) were beheaded. If you feel tired, you can rest your legs in the Chapel where their headless bodies lie. Rumour has it that there might be some more right beneath your feet…

Finally, you’ll head to the bottom of the Wakefield Tower where hundreds of prisoners were held at one time and where you can see three terrifying instruments used to torture traitors. Not one for the faint-hearted!

The tour is interspersed with tales of apparitions appearing in photographs, mirages passing through bodies and unknown guests being seen on tours…

Evening tours run in November, January, February and March. Tickets are £25. Book a twilight tour here.

Learn more about the legendary Tower of London in Tudor Times by watching Tower Beefeater Barney Chandler sharing his London Story. Watch this video  for a chance to win a dream trip to London for two. Find out more here.

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Royal Baby Names: a History by Historic Royal Palaces Wed, 24 Jul 2013 10:12:37 +0000

As we wait to find out the name of William and Kate’s baby son, Historic Royal Palaces curators discuss the history of royal baby names. The video was filmed at Kensington Palace (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s home) and Hampton Court Palace.

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What’s On This Weekend: 24-27 May 2013 Mon, 20 May 2013 09:00:34 +0000 It’s another bank holiday in London – a perfect excuse to linger in your favourite attractions or discover something completely new. There are many fantastic special events taking place this weekend, meaning that even three days might not be enough to see them all!

London Vintage Kitchen

Combining two of the city’s favourite trends – namely pop-up dining and a retro lifestyle – the London Vintage Kitchen hosts glamourous dining events that make you long for a time machine. Their next event takes diners back to the Bohemian world of Paris in 1913, and offers them a four-course menu of period dishes – served by a troupe of butlers – alongside Pernod Absinthe cocktails. After dinner in the candlelit secret location, guests can dance the night away to ‘newfangled’ jazz music. Tickets are £37. 25 May

Concrete Fragments, Shoreditch 

Want to get an exclusive look at tomorrow’s big names in contemporary art? Head to this exclusive two day show by Morgan Concrete Art Advisory London, which brings together seven young international artists for a cutting-edge exhibition featuring both static and performance art. Catch the opening night from 6pm to 11pm on Friday, or the day viewing from 11am to 6pm on Saturday. Entry is free. 24-25 May

IncrEdibles Festival at Kew Gardens

Learn about surprising sources of food at this fun festival, which explores the huge range of edible plants growing at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Not only can you attend a variety of interesting talks and workshops, but you can also enjoy the festival’s more frivolous side at the Rose Garden Tea Party and the Picnic Garden. A highlight will undoubtedly be the Tutti Frutti Boating Lake by renowned jelly-makers Bompass and Parr, which allows visitors to sail across a giant fruit salad to a pineapple island. Entry is £16 for adults; check the website for details of individual events. 25 May – 3 Nov

The Book Club’s May Film Hop

Shoreditch hotspot The Book Club presents an innovative take on the cinema experience this bank holiday weekend. Guests at their outdoor film screenings wear wireless headphones, which not only guarantees great sound but also means you can dance, drink and party along to the film. Three classic films, Grease, Dirty Dancing and Purple Rain, will be shown, and dance experts will be on hand before the screenings to show you the all-important moves. Tickets are £15. 25-27 May 

Foodies Festival at Hampton Court Palace

A food festival fit for a king, the Foodies Festival at Hampton Court Palace is a haven for the culinarily curious. Not only will TV chefs be demonstrating their skills, but you can also sample dishes from popular London restaurants, learn about new products and even take the kids for a cookery lesson. A day ticket costs £15 for adults. 25-27 May

The Star of Bethnal Green Street Party

To celebrate its fifth birthday, the Star of Bethnal Green is hosting a street party at which you can enjoy popular London street food, DJs and live entertainment that includes live graffiti. From 2pm to 9pm the party also features children’s entertainment, including a bouncy castle and face painting, then it moves inside the pub for more revelry until 2am. Entry is free. 27 May

More London events

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What’s On This Weekend: 17-19 May 2013 Mon, 13 May 2013 09:00:50 +0000 This weekend really highlights the incredible cultural diversity to be found in London. Not only can you enjoy large-scale festivals that celebrate the best of the city’s museums and traditions, but there are also many smaller events which epitomise the myriad interests that you can explore in the capital.

The Chelsea Fringe

Commencing on Saturday, the Chelsea Fringe celebrates the forthcoming RHS Chelsea Flower Show with an extended programme of horticultural events around London. There is a huge variety of events – most of which are free – on offer: visitors can enjoy everything from treasure hunts to floral-themed cocktails. See the Chelsea Fringe website for full programme details. 18 May-9 Jun

Museums at Night

An inspirational festival for those of a nocturnal persuasion, Museums at Night opens up most of London’s cultural institutions for three evenings of learning, exploration and fun. Whatever your interests, there should be something for you; whether that’s a pyjama party at Hampton Court Palace, a 1940s-themed event at the RAF Museum or a tour of the magnificent Banqueting House. For a full list of events, times and ticket prices, visit the Museums at Night website. 16-18 May 

Propaganda: Power and Persuasion at the British Library 

A must for anyone who is curious about how governments communicate with and influence their citizens, the British Library’s new exhibition promises to be a fascinating insight into international state propaganda. Concentrating on the 20th and 21st centuries, the exhibition uses posters, films, cartoons and texts to illustrate the sometimes surprising ways in which people can be informed, mis-informed or persuaded. Entry is free for under 18s or £9 for adults.. 17 May-17 Sep

Curiosities and Quirky Fans at the Fan Museum

Celebrate the quirkier side of fan-making at this wonderful small museum in Greenwich. At this new exhibition you can explore the history of ‘alternative’ fan-making and see how craftsmen have incorporated both unusual objects and designs into their beautiful creations. Admission is £4 for adults. 15 May-1 Sep


Get the best challah, falafels and bagels in town at the Gefiltefest London Jewish Food Festival. Taking place at Ivy House, the former home of ballerina Anna Pavlova, the festival will offer a mix of food stalls, cooking demonstrations, lectures, tastings and workshops. Highlights include talks by award-winning Jewish authors, a chance to find out who won the 2013 Jewish Food awards, and a debate on the merits of eating locust. Adult tickets are £25. 19 May

More events in London

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Where To See Royal Clothing in London Thu, 07 Mar 2013 10:30:12 +0000

If there’s one thing we love about the royals, it’s their clothes. From The Queen’s unending range of hats, to the Duchess of Cambridge’s maternity wear, we’re fascinated by what the other half wear. With the news that Princess Diana’s most famous dresses are to be auctioned for thousands of pounds this month, we’re looking at some of the places in London where you can see attire worn by the royal family - from recently worn clothes to much older garments.

Kensington Palace

One of the best places to view generations of female royal fashions is at Kensington Palace, where a wealth of garments are on display. You can, for example, see a magnificent collection of royal wedding dresses, or marvel at the clothes included in the Victoria Revealed exhibition (including the dress pictured above). Adult tickets are £15.

Buckingham Palace

This summer, Buckingham Palace is the perfect place to begin your exploration of royal fashions through the ages. From 27 July to 29 September, the palace’s State Rooms will host a celebratory display to mark 60 years since The Queen’s coronation. This will feature a range of dresses, robes and uniforms worn by those involved on the day, as well as the chance to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the historic occasion. Keep an eye out for the charming outfits of Prince Charles and Princess Anne, which provide a pleasing contrast to the adult costumes on display. Adult tickets are £19.

Hampton Court Palace

It may not be strictly an item of royal attire, but the replica of King Henry VIII’s crown at Hampton Court Palace is undoubtedly worth a look. Made by the crown jeweller, this stunning piece is on display in the Royal Pew and is crafted to the specifications set out in the King’s servants’ inventories. The original was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell after the English Civil War. Adult tickets to Hampton Court Palace are £16.

Museum of London

As you walk through the many galleries of the Museum of London, you’ll notice various displays of clothing that provide extra context to the eras under scrutiny. Some of these garments belonged to the royal family of the time and within the museum’s collection are royal clothes ranging from the  mid-17th century to the mid-20th. The most intricate items in their collection, however, may sadly never be on display.  Entry is free.

The Tower of London

The most compelling exhibit at the Tower of London is undoubtedly the Crown Jewels. An important symbol of the British monarchy, they are regularly worn by The Queen in state ceremonies and include some of the world’s most beautiful diamonds. Alongside these spectacular adornments you can also view royal armour in the White Tower and King George V’s military uniform in the Fusilier Museum. Entry costs £21.45 for adults.

Kew Palace

Visitors to Kew Palace can see George III’s (1738-1820) waistcoat on display. Made from pale blue damask, the waistcoat was designed for the monarch towards the end of his life and was especially crafted with his comfort in mind. You can check out the long sleeves and fine workmanship on this garment from 2 April when the Palace re-opens. Adult tickets are £6.

More royal attractions in London

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