Visit London Blog » Jersey Boys Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 22 Dec 2014 16:40:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 I’m With the Band: Top 10 London Attractions for Musicians Tue, 04 Mar 2014 09:00:36 +0000

London has long been a magnet for the world’s most famous singers and bands – and it’s produced a fair few itself, from Queen to Amy Winehouse. So the city is full of great attractions where musicians and lovers of music can learn about their idols, buy classic records and even record a tune. Here are 10 of the best:

Abbey Road
The iconic Beatles album cover picturing the famous four walking over a zebra crossing on London’s Abbey Road has inspired endless copies and parodies. The nearby Abbey Road Studios are not open to the public (unless you’ve booked a recording session), but they do have a live web cam online so why tell your friends back home to look out for you doing the famous walk?

Jersey Boys
Even if you’re not familiar with the name Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, you’ll know their songs: Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye), Big Girls Don’t Cry, Beggin’, December 1963 (better known as Oh What A Night)… the list goes on. So Jersey Boys, the Olivier Award-winning musical about the band, is a must for all music fans – even if you think you’re not into musicals! Other great musicals to check out include Thriller – Live (Michael Jackson) and We Will Rock You (Queen).

British Music Experience
Roll back the years at the British Music Experience (located inside The O2) and explore amazing outfits, instruments, videos, photos and other memorabilia from the past and present of British popular music. Look out for John Lennon’s glasses, Ziggy Stardust’s 1970s number outfit and ‘Ginger Spice’ Geri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress. Plus you can show your best moves in the Dance The Decades booth, record a track in the Gibson Interactive Studio and transport yourself to some of the biggest concerts of the past 60 years in The Finale.

Open Mic Night at The Spice of Life
Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Jamie Cullum have all performed at The Spice of Life in Soho. And you can too if you pop along to its Open Mic Night, held every Monday. Make use of the in-house piano and PA, or bring along your own instrument. The music kicks off at 7pm, but performers should sign up at 6.30pm to be sure of getting a spot.

Denmark Street
Denmark Street, near Leicester Square, is known as London’s Tin Pan Alley. Both sides of the small street are lined with music shops, including Wunjo Guitars (selling new, used and vintage guitars), Vintage & Rare Guitars and Stick around into the evening to enjoy live music at the intimate 12 Bar Club or Alleycat Bar Club, located below Regent Sounds Studio – where the Rolling Stones recorded their first album.

Rock and Roll London Walk
If you love to be regaled by tales of rockstar exploits, book a spot on the fascinating, two-hour-long Rock and Roll London Walk. You’ll visit the famous Marquee Club, pop into the pub where Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton once jammed, discover the location of the Sex Pistols’ world debut, and much more. No need to book, just turn up at Tottenham Court Road station (Exit 3) any Friday at 2pm.

Honest Jon’s Records
Arguably the most legendary of London’s independent record stores, Honest Jon’s is the retail arm of the acclaimed record label of the same name. Specialising in reggae, jazz and soul, Honest Jon’s has enjoyed a colourful, rollercoaster existence since its birth in 1974 and is still considered to be one of London’s best record shops by those in the know.

Wembley Arena
Every musician dreams of shouting “Hello Wembley!” to a sea of screaming fans – and many have done it, including Madonna, David Bowie and Prince. Check out Visit London’s music section for listings of gigs taking place every night across London at venues including Wembley Arena.

Music Gallery at Horniman Museum
See, hear and play instruments from around the world at Horniman Museum – from a 3,500-year-old pair of Egyptian bone clappers to a retro synth. Make time to visit ongoing exhibition The Art of Harmony, exploring Western classical music traditions, as well as the Hands-On Base, where you can give the instruments a go. Other London music museums to check out are The Royal Academy of Music Museum and The Royal College of Music’s Museum of Instruments.

Hard Rock Cafe
Today there are Hard Rock Cafes all around the world, but the London branch is where it all began in 1971. The walls of the restaurant – and the vault below – are lined with memorabilia, including the first piece donated to the cafe: Eric Clapton’s Lead II Fender. You may even spot the odd rock star popping in for a burger, according to the cafe – or witness one of the occasional jamming sessions. And if you don’t, you’ll still get a great meal out of it.

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London Theatre News: Carey Mulligan, Martha Plimpton, Eve Best, Lily Cole, Robert Webb, Bonnie Langford, Alex Jennings and John Lloyd Young Wed, 19 Feb 2014 10:51:11 +0000

My latest theatre news seems to come, like animals entering an ark, two by two.

There are, for example, two film stars set to make their West End debuts in the coming months. Brit in Hollywood Carey Mulligan, star of Shame and Inside Llewyn Davis, will swap the silver screen for the London stage when she stars alongside Bill Nighy in David Hare’s Skylight this summer. US stage star Martha Plimpton, best known for roles in hit 80s films including The Goonies and Parenthood, is also making her West End debut, appearing in Other Desert Cities at the Old Vic from March.

There are two nuggets of exciting casting news for this year’s summer season at Shakespeare’s Globe. Olivier Award winner Eve Best, who directed last year’s Macbeth at the famous venue, is stepping back on stage to play the Egyptian Queen in Antony and Cleopatra. She’ll be joined at the venue by model turned actress Lily Cole, who will play Helen of Troy in The Last Days Of Troy.

More paired up news comes from London transfers. Chichester Festival Theatre’s hit production of the public school-set Another Country is heading to the Trafalgar Studios this spring. And Theatre Royal Bath’s acclaimed comedy Relative Values, which stars Caroline Quentin, Rory Bremner and Patricia Hodge, comes to the Harold Pinter Theatre in March.

What else? Well:

  • Robert Webb, of Mitchell and Webb and Peep Show fame, is taking over from Stephen Mangan in Jeeves And Wooster in Perfect Nonsense from 7 April
  • Bonnie Langford is back playing Spamalot’s Lady of the Lake from 24 February
  • Alex Jennings will replace Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory from 19 May
  • And John Lloyd Young, who originated the role of Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys when it opened on Broadway, will lead the London cast when the show transfers to the Piccadilly Theatre from 15 March.
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Thursday Theatre News: Pop Goes The Musical, Hampstead Downstairs and the Open Air Theatre Thu, 16 Aug 2012 17:00:04 +0000

A new charity initiative was launched this week that sees pop stars taking to the West End stage for special encores. Pop Goes The Musical raises money for Children in Need by offering special £80 tickets for fab West End shows, which are then followed by special performances by pop stars.

Tickets can be purchased exclusively at and include a top price seat, signed programme, Pudsey bear toy, complementary drink and access to a VIP after show reception hosted by the famous bear himself.

Hampstead Downstairs has announced its autumn season this week. Three plays, Brain, Blue Sky and Ignorance will be produced by the theatre; both Brain and Ignorance are new shows, the first by writer Rona Munro; the second by Steve Waters. The space was created for new writers to showcase their work, so if you’re a fan of seeing and feeding back on new theatre, book now.

If you’re looking ahead to theatre production in London for the summer 2013, I’ve got some great news from the Open Air Theatre. Their summer season will contain a production of Harper Lee’s American classic To Kill A Mockingbird alongside the much-loved musical The Sound Of Music. Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Mockingbird will play from 16 May to 15 June. And the Von Trapp family will be encouraging you to Climb Every Mountain and consider your Favourite Things from 25 July to 7 September. These are just two of the four shows on offer at the venue next summer.

London Theatre Casting News:

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Kids Week Launch: Booking Opens Tomorrow Mon, 11 Jun 2012 16:00:30 +0000 We attended a star-studded (and school-kid-stuffed) birthday party for Kids Week earlier today. The festival, which gives parents the chance to take kids to the theatre for free during August each year, is celebrating its 15th birthday.

At the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, West End stars including Richard Blackwood and Carly Stenson (from Shrek), Tom Chambers (Top Hat), Bonnie Langford (Spamalot) and the boys from Thriller Live, gave an audience of super-chirpy children a taste of all the excitement to come this summer.

This year, theatregoers will be able to book for hit musicals including Billy Elliot, The Lion King, Jersey Boys, Les Misérables, Singin’ In The Rain and We Will Rock You, comedies like The 39 Steps, One Man, Two Guvnors and Yes, Prime Minister, dramas Chariots Of Fire, The Doctor’s Dilemma and The Woman In Black, and colourful children’s shows such as Dora The Explorer and The Tiger Who Came To Tea. Kids Week offers you a free child’s ticket for every adult ticket purchased to one of the participating shows, plus the opportunity to purchase up to two more children’s tickets half-price.

As well as the shows, Kids Week gives children the chance to take part in singing workshops, Q&As, dance classes and puppet workshops, backstage demonstrations and more. You can take part in a Tigerlympics Tea Party, become a Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz or learn about the Terrible Tudors in a Horrible Histories workshop.

Go to for a full line-up of shows and activities on offer. Tickets go on sale on the website at 10am tomorrow or you can call the Kids Week 24 hour booking hotline on 0844 248 5151. You can also keep up-to-date with Kids Week on their facebook and twitter pages. and

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Thursday Theatre News: 2012, Thandie Newton, Karen Gillan and David Suchet Thu, 28 Jul 2011 17:08:28 +0000 This week seems to have been dominated by news of London 2012. And London’s theatreland has been getting in on the action too. More than 20 shows have released tickets for the Olympic period, to ensure audiences can book theatre tickets if they’re coming to town for the Olympics or the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

For a full list of shows that have extended their booking into 2012, check out the Official London Theatre website.

Edward Hall’s all-male theatre company Propeller have also announced their 2012 plans. They’ll perform their Shakespearean pairing of Henry V and The Winter’s Tale at the Hampstead Theatre from 4 to 21 July.

Before we get to that all-important Olympic year, there’s still exciting casting news to think about. This week’s announcements include:

  • Hollywood star Thandie Newton, who’ll appear in Ariel Dorfman’s Death And The Maiden at the Comedy Theatre from October
  • Doctor Who star Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) is making her professional stage debut in Inadmissible Evidence at the Donmar, also in October
  • Another debut, this time from Hannah Spearritt (who you’ll know from Primeval, or if you’re my age, S Club 7!) in The Belle’s Stratagem at the Southwark Playhouse from September
  • And finally, a real favourite of mine, David Suchet’s going to be back on the London stage in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, at the Apollo Theatre. You’ll have to wait til next April for that one, I’m afraid.

Last of all if you’re a fan of London theatre: don’t forget Kids Week, next month!

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Thursday Theatre News: Ruby Wax, Railway Children and War Horse Thu, 03 Mar 2011 17:30:01 +0000 I’ve got three quick bites of theatre news for you this week.

If you’re not able to catch Ruby Wax at the Menier Chocolate Factory, where she’s currently performing Losing It (until 19 March), you’ll be pleased to hear she’s coming back in the summer.

You can now catch her show, which deals with the darkest moments of depression through poignant prose and funny songs for five weeks from 17 May.

Second up: great news about a return London journey for The Railway Children. The hit London show is back at its unique venue inside the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo Station from 18 June until 4 September. If the you know anyone who’s a fan of E Nesbit’s book, trains, or just fantastic family entertainment, I’d thoroughly recommend taking them along to this show…

Finally, another fantastic family hit gets a cast refresh. Nicola Stephenson and Patrick Robinson join the cast of War Horse next week. The actors are best known for inhabiting the hallways of Holby General; they’ll now be playing in Michael Morpurgo’s Second World War drama at the New London Theatre.

Stephenson will play the protagonist’s mother, left worrying for her son’s life when he runs away to worn-torn France in search of his beloved horse, Joey. The actress’s numerous TV credits include Clocking Off, Law And Order and Larkrise To Candleford. Robinson plays German soldier Friedrich Muller. In addition to Casualty, Robinson is well known for his work on ITV drama The Bill. The pair joins War Horse as it enters its fifth year; the show’s recently celebrated its one millionth customer.

Finally, have you voted for your favourite show in the BBC Radio 2 Olivier Audience Award? The shortlist makes decisions difficult, with 4 fantastic musicals fighting it out for this year’s prize:

Have your say now at The winner will be announced at the Olivier Awards on 13 March.

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Ice Skating in London Mon, 27 Dec 2010 09:00:09 +0000

Littleblom shared this great photo of the ice rink at Somerset house with our Flickr group.

If you’ve stuffed yourself with mince pies and had your fill of Christmas telly, book a skating session at one of London’s ice rinks now.

Don’t forget your camera – share your photos of London with us by entering our Only in London Flickr photo competition. Add them to our Flickr group and tag them onlyinlondon2010 and you could win a night for two at the Thistle Marble Arch with champagne and top price tickets to Jersey Boys.

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London Photo of the Week: Cycling Santas Thu, 23 Dec 2010 12:00:21 +0000

Quick! Follow that reindeer! Even Santa knows that cycling in London is a great way to get around. shared this photo with the Visit London Flickr group.

If you’ve taken a great photo of London, enter our Only in London Flickr photo competition and you could win top price tickets to Jersey Boys and a night for two at the Thistle Marble Arch with a bottle of champagne! Don’t forget to tag your entry onlyinlondon2010.

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London Photo of the Week: Canary Wharf Sat, 11 Dec 2010 14:00:08 +0000

Tom_art entered our Only In London Flickr photo competition with this atmospheric shot of Canary Wharf.

Have you got a winning London photo? Enter our competition by adding it to the Visit London flickr group and tagging it onlyinlondon2010.

The prize is a pair of top price tickets to Jersey Boys and a night for two at the Thistle Marble Arch with a bottle of champagne.

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London Photo of the Week: View from London Bridge City Pier Sat, 27 Nov 2010 09:00:40 +0000

Have you entered our Only in London Flickr Photo competition yet? Add your London photos to the Visit London Flickr Pool and tag them onlyinlondon2010 and you could win two top price tickets to Jersey Boys and a night for two at the Thistle Marble Arch with a bottle of champagne!

Rominicole entered this stunning photo of London Bridge taken from the Thames path at London Bridge Pier.

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