Visit London Blog » houses of parliament Enjoy the very best of London Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:00:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Video of the Week: London in 1927 and 2013 Fri, 28 Mar 2014 15:06:56 +0000

Compare the live footage of London in 1927 and 2013 in this fascinating video. The images of London in 1927 were captured by cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene who travelled across the UK with his new colour film camera. BFI recently restored these images.

Film-maker Simon Smith followed in Friese-Greene’s footsteps, providing a recent view of London landmarks like Tower Bridge, Peter Pan’s Statue, Big Ben and the Houses of ParliamentPetticoat Lane Market, Hyde Park and the River Thames.

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London Video of the Week: Sunrise Over London Fri, 21 Mar 2014 14:44:42 +0000

Using a GoPro camera attached to a mini-helicopter, photographer Ben Chan has captured London at dawn as the sun rises over the city. Keep your eyes peeled for Tower Bridge, City Hall, the River Thames, the EDF Energy London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

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Valentine’s Day Treats in London Fri, 31 Jan 2014 09:07:37 +0000 If you’re seeking a unique way to say ‘I love you’ to your special someone, here are a handful of Valentine’s Day treats to sweeten up your loved one.

Houses of Parliament Guided Tour and Afternoon Tea
Combine a love for British history with a love for British tradition this Valentine’s weekend. Enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner, then the next day continue on into the weekend with a guided tour around the Houses of Parliament. Follow this grand occasion with afternoon tea in the elegant Pugin Room, overlooking the River Thames. The tour will take you into both the Commons and Lords’ Chambers. Saturday 15 Feb. The tour and afternoon tea are priced at £41.50. This offer is also available on 1 Feb, 8 Feb, 22 Feb and 1 Mar.

Fortnum and Mason Hamper
Treat you loved one to a touch of class with the Be My Valentine hamper from the traditional London store, Fortnum & Mason. The hamper is filled with a Marc de Champagne box of fine chocolates, Amber Rose body lotion, luxury bath truffles, and a bottle of personalised Fortnum’s rosé Champagne. Hamper priced at £100.

Candy Cakes
Sweet treat experts Candy Cakes in Baker Street have a heart-obsessed selection of cupcakes available in a variety of flavours: two Chocolate Passion, two First Love, two Red Velvet Valentine, one Strawberry Love, one Caramel Kiss and one Mocca Chocca Love. Box of nine priced at £21.55.

Godminster Heart-Shaped Cheese
Not all Valentine’s Day idea need to be sweet treats. For something truly original, take a look at the heart-shaped Godminster cheese pictured above. It will be available at department stores Harrods and Selfridges in vintage organic cheddar and organic brie flavours.

Veuve Clicquot Rosé and Marshmallows
Take your Valentine to any Aubaine restaurant in London during February and you could treat them to the gentle effervescence of Veuve Clicquot Rosé paired with three light lemon meringue marshmallows (pictured above). The experience is priced at £15.

Other Valentines Day ideas:
The Lyttleton restaurant at the The Stafford by Kempinski in St James is laying on a special Valentine’s afternoon tea including Pacific oyster-caviar and Laurent-Perrier Champagne for £42.50 per person.

It’s Chocolate week at Barts in Chelsea from 6 to 14 February. Alongside a number of love potions and alcoholic aphrodisiac cocktails, there will be chocolate fountains, chocolate face painting, cupid style fancy dress, romantic two-person sharing cocktails served in giant teapots, and Barts home brewed and handmade rum filled chocolates.

Asian restaurant and bar, Bam-Bou in Fitzrovia, has invited psychic counsellor, Susie Johns, to offer lovers one-on-one readings on the 4, 11, 18 Feb. The 15-minute reading and a Love Potion cocktail are priced at £25 per person.

More Valentine’s Day ideas

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Best Bus Routes for Sightseeing in London Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:00:35 +0000

London’s famous double-decker buses are an ideal way to see the city if you’re on a budget. Buy a Travelcard for the day and take a self-guided city tour on London’s best bus routes. These four cover most of the major sights in the city. Their routes are described from west to east and the return journey passes the same sights in reverse.

Number 74
Starting in Putney, this route travels past London’s museums hub in South Kensington where the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum sit side by side. It then passes luxury department store Harrods and the boundary of one of London’s largest green spaces at Hyde Park Corner. You can catch a glimpse of The Dorchester hotel just after, followed by the famous haunt of public rhetoric – Speaker’s Corner at Marble Arch. The final stop is Baker Street, home to both the Madame Tussauds wax figure museum and the Sherlock Holmes Museum, at the site of the fictional detective’s residence.

Number 9
The number 9 is one of only two routes operating the old-style Routemaster buses on part of its route. Leaving from Hammersmith, it passes Kensington Palace (you’ll have to get off to see it) followed by the beautiful Royal Albert Hall and the monument to Queen Victoria’s husband which sits opposite it. Like the number 74, the 9 passes the museums in Kensington, Harrods and Hyde Park corner. It takes a different route afterwards to visit St James’s Palace, Trafalgar Square, The Savoy hotel and arts and cultural centre Somerset House.

Number RV1
The RV1 is a favourite route for us here at VL Towers! Despite being a single decker, it still passes through some of the best parts of London, giving you a great cultural tour of the city. Soak up some shops and street theatre at Covent Garden before taking the RV1. Hopping on it will take you to the South Bank where you’ll see the London Eye and Royal Festival Hall. The London Bridge stop is metres from the London Dungeon and City Hall is the next sight on the route, which crosses Tower Bridge to finish up at the Tower of London.

Number 24
The 24 sets off from Camden Town which offers alternative fashion and food. The bus then heads to the more mainstream Leicester Square in the centre, calling in at Trafalgar Square and Horse Guards Parade. The political heart of London is next as the bus passes Parliament Square where you’ll find Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, as well as the nearby Westminster Abbey where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married in 2011. The final site is the city’s policing headquarters at the iconic New Scotland Yard building.

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London Video of the Week: Freerunning Around the South Bank Fri, 25 Oct 2013 08:32:33 +0000

Freerunner Kie Willis leaps, jumps and somersaults his way around the South Bank in this thrilling video. Keep your eyes peeled for the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.


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Houses of Parliament Tour Thu, 22 Aug 2013 15:29:21 +0000
This week, some members of the team were treated to a private tour around the Houses of Parliament. And what a treat it was! The team share their highlights…

“I loved hearing about the antics of King Charles I, such as when he stormed into the House of Commons, and the rules and traditions that have been created as a result of things he did during his reign. It was really interesting seeing the warrant for his death on display, signed by the 59 Commissioners, including Oliver Cromwell!”
Lauren Manning, Client Services Manager

“So many highlights! Westminster Hall was beautiful and so majestic; it’s incredible that it’s 900 years old. It was sobering to stand in a room where people like William Wallace and Guy Fawkes had been tried, and where huge figures such as Winston Churchill had lain in state. I also loved the tiny working Post Office – but then, I guess ministers receive a lot of mail…”
Louise Maher, Marketing Manager

“For me (an Aussie in London) the Houses of Parliament is one of the most interesting buildings in the capital. It’s architecturally magnificent and I always enjoy walking past it. I’ve always wanted to see inside and it was so impressive. I loved hearing about the history and why a monarch can’t enter the Commons and that the Speaker is the only person who lives in the building. I thought the House of Lords was spectacular with the red and gold. A visit inside the Houses of Parliament should go to the top of the list of things to do in London!”
Tamara Sperling, PR Manager

“I didn’t realise visitors were allowed inside the Houses of Parliament so I was really excited to have a look around. I wasn’t disappointed, it was one of my favourite things I’ve done in London! There’s so much amazing history, but I think my favourite thing was getting a behind the scenes view of the Lords’ Chamber and the House of Commons – they’re so much smaller than they look on television! It was also really interesting hearing about how many old parliamentary traditions have remained intact.”
Stacey Crosskill, Social Media Manager

The Houses of Parliament run guided tours in Spanish, Italian, French, German and Russian, as well as English, and are open throughout the year, including Christmas. Book tickets

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What’s On This Weekend. 2-4 August 2013 Mon, 29 Jul 2013 09:35:45 +0000 This weekend really highlights the best of British – whether you’re admiring the skill of top sportspeople, learning about the history of British democracy or stepping back into an iconic 20th century era, you can’t fail to be inspired.


Prudential RideLondon

Enjoy a fantastic free family festival of cycling this weekend, thanks to Prudential RideLondon. Festival activities are split over two days: on Saturday you can see famous female cyclists in the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix or take part in the family-friendly FreeCycle, while Sunday gives you the opportunity to see some of the world’s best cyclists at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey cycle classic. There are also free festival activities happening throughout the weekend. To see the full range of cycling-related festivities on offer, visit our Prudential RideLondon event page. 3-4 Aug

The Kenwood House Summer Garden Fete

Celebrate almost 100 years since Lord Iveagh donated the magnificent Kenwood House to the nation at a 1920s garden fete held in the building’s grounds on Hampstead Heath. Lots of vintage fun will be on offer at the free event, including horse and cart rides, Charleston workshops, rag time music and opportunities for afternoon tea in the garden. The fete runs between 11am and 5pm on both days. 3-4 Aug

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Comes to Trafalgar Square

Before it sails 40,000 miles around the world, the 70ft GREAT Britain yacht will be displayed in Trafalgar Square, allowing you to admire the new design Clipper Race yacht and meet the crew. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the world’s longest sailing race, which sees 12 purpose-built yachts from different countries racing around the globe in eight stages. This is a fantastic chance to view the UK yacht at close range before it sails from St Katherine’s Dock on 1 September – and best of all it’s free! 1-4 Aug

The Houses of Parliament Summer Opening

See inside one of the world’s most famous buildings at the Houses of Parliament summer opening, during which time you can take a 75-minute tour behind the scenes of British democracy with a Blue Badge guide. You’ll learn about the 900-year-old Palace of Westminster, pivotal moments in British history and how Parliament works today. If you’d like to learn more about the building’s incredible art collection, you can book a specialist tour. Adult tickets are £16.50. Until 5 Oct

The Essex Military Vehicle Trusts’ Military and Flying Machines Show

See WWII aircraft, including Spitfires and Hurricanes, at this 40s-themed military show at Damyns Hall Aerodrome. As well as flying displays and static exhibitions of military vehicles, there will also be a vintage funfair, military re-enactments, kid’s activities and vintage inspired musical acts. Tickets start at £8 for adults and £20 for families. 2-4 Aug

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London Video of the Week: Beautiful London by Chris Brooker Fri, 05 Jul 2013 11:09:18 +0000

We love this gorgeous time-lapse/hyper-lapse video by Chris Brooker. The film took three weeks to make and consists of more than 15,000 still images.

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London Video of the Week: Pepsi Max & Dynamo present Bus Levitation Fri, 28 Jun 2013 09:00:22 +0000

Magician Dynamo has found a novel way of sightseeing in London – by levitating! We wouldn’t recommend this form of travel for most visitors, but you can see lots of London’s best landmarks on a regular London bus tour.

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My London: Celebrity Chef Gary Rhodes Thu, 06 Jun 2013 14:14:41 +0000 Top chef Gary Rhodes runs British restaurant Rhodes 24 on the 24th floor of Tower 42, one of the City of London’s tallest buildings. We caught up with him to talk about all things London.

Gary, do you live in London?

I’ve lived in London for many, many years. At the moment I’m based just outside of London, in Kent, but I have lived all over London and spent the majority of my time in West Hampstead, although I am from the south of London originally. Each place I have lived is totally different.

What’s your favourite London restaurant?

My restaurant is in the City, but I have many favourite restaurants in the capital. In Greater London, Chapter One – a Michelin-starred restaurant with British produce and a slight French influence – is one of my favourites.

I also love Le Gavroche by the Roux brothers, who are my culinary heroes, and I love eating there. There is also an Italian, Zafferano, in Knightsbridge, which is quite sensational.

There are many places I love to eat at different times. Some of the Indian restaurants, such as The Painted Heron on Cheyne Walk, I like going to. I really like to sample and experience foods from different countries and see if they can influence my style of British food.

We’ve noticed lots of different food trends in London lately, from pop-ups to street food. What do you think will be the next trend?

We’ve seen a lot of modern British cooking, but something I think is really coming up is Middle Eastern cooking. We have seen a lot of Lebanese and Moroccan places that are having a bigger influence. This could be as the Middle East becomes more popular for holidaymakers. The great tagine dish will become very popular soon.

What would you recommend to first-time visitors to London?

It’s all food-related with me, so of course I’m going to recommend taking to the streets, taking a walk around a neighbourhood, enjoying some of our architecture – sometimes London is like walking around an open-air art gallery – and taking in some of the best local eateries. There are many more undiscovered great streets to explore. Soho has once again become one of the most fashionable places to be.

When you are away from London, what do you miss most?

When I’m travelling into London to go to the restaurant, I get off one stop early and walk across London Bridge to the City. I am approaching probably the most exciting city in the world. To my right is Tower Bridge, to my left is Westminster and Big Ben, slightly to my left is St Paul’s sitting there and I’m thinking “wow”.

From there, I walk to Leadenhall Market, where during lunchtime and the evening you will find some fantastic street food and a fantastic British pub. The story goes on as I continue my walk, and that’s the beauty of London: every path and every corner you turn there is something fresh and exciting for you to discover and enjoy.

  • We spoke to Gary Rhodes as he showcased some fantastic British cuisine at VisitBritain’s Destination Britain travel event in Bangkok, Thailand. Gary Rhodes will be appearing at Taste of London festival this month.


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