Visit London Blog » hms belfast Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 17 Mar 2015 16:11:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Restaurant News: Grain Store, Hush St Paul’s, HMS Belfast Upper Deck, Galeto, 1701 and VOC Grill Thu, 13 Jun 2013 13:59:55 +0000 The arrival of summer has seen a host of brand new restaurants open in London. Here’s where to experience some of London’s best new dining options.

Grain Store

Bruno Loubet, who launched a successful restaurant at The Zetter in 2010, has opened a new eatery in King’s Cross. Grain Store has an emphasis on vegetables, with dishes such as sprouting beans and seeds with miso aubergine, crispy citrus chicken skin and potato wafer. “I love meat and could not give it up entirely,” said Loubet, “but the endless opportunities that focusing on vegetables allows me – the colours, flavours and textures – are so exciting.”

Hush at St Paul’s

Hush restaurant and cocktail bar in Mayfair has opened a second spin-off venue. Hush St Paul’s follows the launch of Hush Holborn in 2012. The new St Paul’s restaurant serves brasserie-style classics such as lobster roll with horseradish mayonnaise and frites, and pulled pork with Yorkshire pudding, apple and calvados. Hush St Paul’s also offers brunch and a range of refreshing spritzers including Pinot Grigio with strawberry.

HMS Belfast Upper Deck

The new Upper Deck bar at HMS Belfast has one of the best views in town: across the river Thames to Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the City. Located on top of HMS Belfast’s new Café Bar, which opened in April, the Upper Deck is open until 10pm, with an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy a drink along with nibbles from a cheese, meat or fish board. Opens 17 June


If you’ve never tried Brazilian street food, now’s your chance! Galeto has just opened in Soho bringing a taste of Rio’s carnival spirit to London. Galeto means “little chicken” in Latin Portuguese, and the restaurant’s signature dish is a marinated, grilled half-chicken served with fries and dips. Also on the menu are flame-grilled Brazilian picanha steaks and burgers. The restaurant’s colourful interior was decorated by Brazilian graffiti artist Milo Tchais.


A new Jewish fine-dining restaurant has opened in the grounds of Britain’s oldest synagogue, Bevis Marks, which was built in 1701 in the City of London. Restaurant 1701 aims to attract both Jewish and non-Jewish diners with traditional dishes such as chopped liver, Jewish Penicillin (chicken consommé with chicken tortellini) and Friday night dinner (chicken breast, sweet potato, shallots and fennel).

VOC Grill

Stylish King’s Cross punch house VOC is launching a new grill, serving a changing menu of grilled steaks, fish and more. Expect dishes such as chargrilled duck breast with port-infused cherry compote; pike with dandelion salad and sea urchin powder; and the VOC Black Label burger, a 30-day aged steak on the bone, minced and mixed with spices. Make sure you try one of VOC’s speciality punches with your food. Opens 14 June

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What’s On This Weekend. 15-17 March 2013 Mon, 11 Mar 2013 09:00:13 +0000 Keep Calm - Keep stitching!This weekend provides a great opportunity to see multicultural London at its best, as Russian and Irish celebrations take over Trafalgar Square on successive days. You can also perfect your craft skills at Olympia, say happy birthday to HMS Belfast or catch a gay or lesbian film at the BFI.

The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia

Discover the reasons why crafts have become so popular at the Knitting and Stitching Show, which celebrates all things textile. Anyone with an interest in making their own clothes, gifts or other items will love the extensive range of stalls, which sell everything you need to perfect your creations. There are also helpful workshops, daily fashion shows and the chance to meet renowned designers and authors. Adult tickets are £15. 14-17 Mar

Maslenitsa Russian Festival in Trafalgar Square

Enjoy a lively celebration of Russian culture in Trafalgar Square this weekend, as the Maslenitsa festival celebrates the end of winter. Families can enjoy live music, dance and theatre performances, as well as a special marquee for children. Stalls will dotted around the square, selling everything from traditional handicrafts to Russian culinary specialties such as blini. The event starts at 1.30pm and entry is free.  16 Mar

HMS Belfast’s 75th Birthday Bash

Launched in 1938 on St Patrick’s Day, HMS Belfast was the largest and most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy for many years. You can explore her rich history and pay tribute to her distinguished past at this special birthday celebration, at which you can meet veterans, see simulated gun firing and take part in a range of special family activities. Admission to the celebration is included in the ticket price, which costs £14.50 for adults. 16-17 Mar

St Patrick’s Day, Various Venues

Join in the fun as London turns green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and most Irish pubs and restaurants around the capital will host special events and menus in honour of the occasion. A highlight of the day will be the St Patrick’s Day parade, which sets off from Green Park  towards Whitehall at 12pm and contains a colourful variety of floats and participants – don’t miss the giant inflatable dragon designed by Keith Payne, who has worked with renowned rock groups such as the Rolling Stones. There is also a lively St Patrick’s Day celebration in Trafalgar Square, which features traditional Irish entertainment, a comedy tent and a food market. 17 Mar

The 27th London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival at BFI Southbank

This year’s London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival has a bigger programme than ever before, featuring a diverse selection of films divided into ‘hearts’ ‘bodies’ and ‘minds’ categories. You can watch feature films, shorts, documentaries and archive classics, as well as attend special club nights at weekends. Many films are being premiered at the festival, which kicks off with a gala showing of ‘I Am Divine’  on Friday night. See the festival website for full programme details and ticket prices. 14-24 Mar

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What’s On in London This Weekend: 7-9 September 2012 Thu, 06 Sep 2012 11:07:55 +0000

London’s gone festival-crazy this weekend: can you fit them all into your schedule?

The Mayor’s Thames Festival

The River Thames is the stage for The Mayor’s Thames Festival – London’s largest free festival. For its sixteenth year, the programme of events in, on and alongside the water include some which tell the stories of the river’s ships. HMS Belfast will host choirs and drummers for a piece inspired by the vessel’s arctic sea battle in 1943, and  Turner Prize-nominated artist Richard Wilson has used ships horns to make the Cultureship De Walvisch sing her own sea shanty, retracing her cargo journeys of the past. The spectacular Night Carnival finale returns with 1,500 illuminated dancers, drummers, lantern-carriers and masqueraders parading the streets, followed by a huge fireworks display against the city skyline. 8-9 Sep


The Paralympic Games may be drawing to a close, but the renewed cultural focus on disability hopefully won’t. The Unlimited Festival involves disabled and deaf artists in some striking pieces. If you can catch her show, Scottish dancer Claire Cunningham will stage one of her personal and unforgettable performances with her crutches – Ménage à Trois explores her 20-year relationship with them and asks if it’s possible to find love when there are already three of you in a relationship. Until 9 Sep

Hackney Film Festival
East London’s celebration of all things cinema is back for a third year showcasing film screenings, Q&As, live cinema shows and film artist performances from the creative borough. Independent and Bafta-winning films are on the bill of short films at Rio Cinema: highlights include The Odyssey, where director Asif Kapadia collects Londoners’ opinions of the 2012 Olympics using aerial photography, audio interviews and archive footage. For an abstract experience check out Saturday’s ‘expanded cinema’ evening, where artists will distort film and fuse it with other mediums using tape recorders, lenses, projectors, animation and the Victorian zoetrope. 7-9 Sep

Future Cinema Presents Grease

Danny, Sandy and the gang from cult teen movie Grease will transform Barnes Common into a 1950s USA high school set this weekend, for one of Future Cinema’s immersive productions. The location was only revealed a few days ago and details are always cryptic, but it looks like we can expect a funfair, sleepover at Frenchie’s, food at Frosty’s diner and of course, a screening of the classic motion picture at the end. Tickets are selling fast – but a new batch of tickets for Friday and Saturday are being released at 1pm today. 7-9 Sep

Got some tips for what to do this weekend? Add them below.

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Martin Creed’s All The Bells On HMS Belfast Fri, 27 Jul 2012 11:30:32 +0000

This morning, we were lucky enough to experience part of Martin Creed’s mass participation artwork, All The Bells on HMS Belfast.

More than 300 children from around the city joined in the piece, which celebrated the first day of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. There were Brownies, Scouts, Sea Cadets and girls and boys wearing traditional Bangladeshi costumes all taking part. Ruth Mackenzie, Director of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival and Jeremy Hunt (the Minister for Culture, Olympics and Sport) also joined in, as did Channel 4 news anchor, Jon Snow.

At 8.12am, the ship’s cannon fired, and everyone on board rang their bells for three minutes. Across the UK, church bells, bicycle bells, door bells, mobile phones and more were rung for three minutes. Even the bells of Big Ben joined in; it’s the first time the clock’s bells have chimed anything other than the hour since 1952.

It sounded fantastic, and the children involved all had a great time. “It was brilliant,” one Brownie told me. “I’m really excited about the Olympics now. My favourite event is the diving – I want Tom Daley to win!”

“It was outstanding,” said Lee Harrison, 59, from Peckham, the Yeoman of HMS Belfast. “I’m quite taken aback, actually. I didn’t expect it to be as good as this! We’re a multicultural nation, and this’ll be a multicultural Games, bringing everybody together in peace and unity. And we’ve reflected that this morning. Getting the whole of Britain together to do this today is absolutely brilliant. As an ex-serviceman, I feel very honoured to be able to do this on the ship. But I’m going to have a serious lie-down now; I’m going to tell my wife to get the Radox out, cos my knees are aching!”

Ruth Mackenzie also found it quite a tiring exercise: “I was in the middle of the huge crowd, I can scarcely hear a thing, and it’s quite hard work actually – a young child from Wales next to me said ‘This is like a work out!’ and it was! It was quite good training.”

And what was the message of this mass bell ringing? “It’s our welcome message. Our message that London is a fantastic place. A great place to live, to visit, and it welcomes people from all around the world as tourists, as partners; we’ve got artists from all around the world as part of the London 2012 Festival, and of course, to welcome the athletes who are about to take centre stage with the greatest show in the world.”

Did you ring bells at 8.12 this morning? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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London’s Best Boats and Ships Fri, 08 Jun 2012 10:13:51 +0000

Has seeing a thousand boats parade down the river during the Thames Jubilee Pageant fuelled your love for all things maritime, or made you fancy a trip on the Thames yourself? Here are our favourite boats and ships to explore and travel on in the capital.

Cutty Sark

The world’s last remaining tea clipper has re-opened after a six-year, £50 million restoration and topped the poll of the best boats in London on our Facebook page. It’s a surreal experience to walk underneath its gleaming hull which has been raised three metres (10 feet) off the ground.

HMS Belfast

The historic war ship re-opened just in time for the Jubilee celebrations. It was built in 1936 and was Britain’s largest cruiser during the Second World War, when it protected arctic convoys and bombarded German defences on D-Day. There are nine decks to visit, including the interactive Operations Room where you are put in the Captain’s shoes to control a fleet of ships off North Borneo.

Golden Hinde

The Golden Hinde is a full-sized reconstruction of the Tudor warship which carried Sir Francis Drake around the world in the late 1500s. The voyage took three years, but you can explore the decks and rooms in a day. To get into the historic mood, book a tour with costumed guides or a pirate workshop which will train you in the art of raising the anchors and firing the cannons.

RIB Tours

If it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for us. Taking a speedboat is an exhilarating way to see the landmarks littered along the Thames, from The O2 to Tower Bridge. Three companies run sightseeing tours in rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) offering various high-octane trips, whether you want to slow down for guided commentary on the sights or to travel at full throttle for thrills.

Thames Clippers

The KPMG Thames Clippers are a fleet of river catamarans used daily by city commuters that make a pretty exciting day out for the rest of us. The high-speed boats leave London’s major piers every 20 minutes, giving you the flexibility to piece together your own watery sightseeing tour or hop between stops as part of a day’s tourism.

London Duck Tours

Part boat and part bus, London’s amphibious yellow vehicles are easy to spot on the streets as they drive past London sights starting at Waterloo, before launching into the Thames from a slipway near the MI5 building in Vauxhall. The hybrid vehicle is far from a gimmick – the heroic ducks were all used in the D-Day landings in 1944.

What’s your favourite boat or ship in London?

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London Photo of the Week: A tall ship in the Pool of London Sat, 27 Aug 2011 08:00:57 +0000

The sailors hanging on to the rigging at the top of this tall ship have an excellent view of London, although not quite as high as the viewing platform of The Monument in the background. The ship, photographed by Baynes Media, has passed under Tower Bridge into the upper Pool of London, next to HMS Belfast and the Tower of London.

Have you seen the sights in London this week? Don’t forget to add your photo to the Visit London Flickr group.

You can watch ships passing under Tower Bridge on our Tower Bridge Live webcam.

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Gun Turret Experience on HMS Belfast Wed, 03 Aug 2011 09:00:20 +0000 HMS Belfast just keeps getting better! After opening up its operations room earlier in the year, the ship has now added an exciting installation allowing you to experience the atmosphere and conditions of a cramped gun turret.

Guest blogger Mark Baynes went along to find out more:

Visitors to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London are often surprised to see HMS Belfast moored just a stone’s throw away. Those who venture inside this mighty warship are in for another surprise as they can now experience the reality of fighting at sea during World War II with the new Gun Turret Experience.

Step inside the triple gun turret overlooking the Belfast’s quarterdeck and you will see, hear and most certainly feel the central gun being raised and fired. The physical and emotional sensations are certain to be vivid memories to take from a trip to the heart of London.

The Gun Turret Experience: A Sailor’s Story, 1943 has been developed with the help of Royal Navy veterans and eye witness accounts from the archives of the Imperial War Museum.

Exhibitions Manager Cressida Finch said:

“This installation came about because we wanted to find ways of making the experience of working on HMS Belfast more understandable for our visitors especially for families. During our research we looked at a variety of people who worked in the gun turrets, especially in the Battle of the North Cape. In the storyline that you will hear we have woven together the words of the actual people who fought there.”

 HMS Belfast, Morgan’s Lane, Tooley Street, SE1 2JH

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In The Navy: HMS Belfast’s Interactive Operations Room Thu, 21 Apr 2011 10:00:15 +0000 Radar man Action station Game station

HMS Belfast is now even more interactive with the opening up of its operations room.

If climbing ladders, witnessing gruesome surgery and smelling what’s cooking in the ship’s kitchen weren’t exciting enough, you can now take control of the ship during an exciting naval salvage mission!

The brand new touch-screen game is based on a real-life exercise, Operation Pony, which HMS Belfast took part in during 1961.

The operations room was once the nerve centre of the ship and now you can also get close to all the machinery, knobs and flashing lights, which were previously cordoned off.

Entry to the operations room is included in the HMS Belfast admission fee, which also allows exploration of nine floors of the ship and the chance to find out about life aboard HMS Belfast. Kids get in free with a paying adult.

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London Photo of the Week: HMS Belfast Sat, 15 Jan 2011 09:00:27 +0000

Ok, it’s a little bit late for festive lights but we love this photo by John – Sparkie featuring HMS Belfast showing London how to dazzle.

Don’t forget to share your brilliant photos of London with the Visit London Flickr group.

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Photo of the Week: London Skyline from Vertigo 42 Fri, 23 Oct 2009 13:48:48 +0000 London and the Thames from Vertigo 42 by Sami Susiaho

This week’s photo is a view looking south over HMS Belfast, City Hall and Tower Bridge from Vertigo 42 by Sami Susiaho.

Have you taken any stunning pictures of London? Share them with us in the Visit London Flickr pool.

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