Visit London Blog » leicester square Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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: It’s Got To Be London by Tim Benzie and Paul Joseph Thu, 16 May 2013 13:44:47 +0000

Emma and her boyfriend Brendan (who live in Australia) are saving up for their first trip abroad together. Emma’s uncles, Tim Benzie and Paul Joseph, made this video to convince the couple to come to London instead of going on a cruise. Emma and Brendan: we agree that it’s got to be London! Find out more about the video at

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Return to Hippodrome: London’s Newest Casino Opens its Doors Wed, 25 Jul 2012 09:00:05 +0000 First opened in 1900, the Hippodrome was originally intended for circus and variety performances. Not only did the likes of Charlie Chaplin grace the stage, but spectators would have also witnessed equestrian shows, exotic animals and even aquatic spectacles, which took place in its 100,000 gallon water tank.

Later that decade the venue was transformed into a theatre, which hosted many memorable performances – including the English premiere of Swan Lake – until it was closed in the 1950s. In 1957 it was reopened as “The Talk of the Town”, a nightclub at which international stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey made appearances. It continued to be a nightclub in various incarnations until 2004, after which time it was variously a burlesque venue, corporate events space and theatre once more.

On 13th July this year this venerable building was reopened as The Hippodrome Casino, which features a restaurant, bars and event spaces as well as a plethora of gaming opportunities. Indeed, the live entertainment should be as much of a draw as the gambling, as their Matcham Room boasts appearances from Miss Polly Rae, Ruthie Henshall, Cerys Matthews and many more.

The overall feel of the Hippodrome is discreetly stylish, and it’s worth visiting just to inspect the building and get a feel of its rich past. Although the main room’s large, flower-like lights are the sort of thing a teenage girl might choose for her bedroom, they don’t detract from the pleasant experience of simply walking around the building’s many floors – at any time of day or night – and mingling with the well-heeled crowd.

Gaming opportunities are everywhere, including the swanky Top Deck poker area, but there’s no sense of being pressured into playing. If you don’t gamble, the two-tier smoking terrace and reasonably priced bars (their unexpectedly large selection of beer starts from £4.10 per pint and bottles of wine from £19.50) are an attractive proposition, especially as they serve until 5am.

Although I visited after the Heliot restaurant had closed for the evening, its menu boasts some interesting dishes that will undoubtedly lure people away from the inedible sort of chips – Millionaire’s Mac “n” Cheese, anyone?

The Hippodrome Casino is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week except for Christmas Day. Heliot opens at 5pm daily. Let us know what you think of the new Hippodrome in the comments section below.

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Bill Bailey: Dandelion Mind at Wyndham’s Theatre Mon, 15 Nov 2010 15:30:47 +0000 Bill Bailey‘s latest one-man show Dandelion Mind is a near-perfect mix of stand-up and musical comedy. Rather than some of the stadium gigs Bailey’s done recently (often with full orchestra) the smaller Leicester Square venue of Wyndham’s Theatre lent an intimate feel and meant the comedian could interact well with the audience throughout.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I’m not a huge fan of musical comedy but Bailey is a cut above. Getting everyone to sing the callbacks to California Dreamin’ (“all the leaves are brown…”) early on was a master stroke – making us all feel part of the show. And Bailey’s genuine delight, not just in playing music himself, but in hearing the audience sing it too, only added to the fun.

Doubt was the loose theme of Dandelion Mind, with Bailey meandering from topics as diverse as the uncertainty engendered by having a coalition government, to vagaries of Australian slang, to religion and analysing renaissance paintings of Doubting Thomas. I liked the fact Bailey pitches his rants at a certain level that, if anything, flatters the audience’s intelligence. And he generally manages to avoid the usual all-too obvious gags that can be cringeworthy in live comedy.

This show is so much more than a mindless laugh: it’s amusing, thought-provoking but most of all, hugely entertaining. I absolutely recommend seeing it.

Bill Bailey’s Dandelion Mind is on at Wyndham’s Theatre until 7 December. Don’t miss it! Buy Bill Bailey tickets here.

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Video of the Week: The 54th BFI London Film Festival Vodcast Day 1 Fri, 15 Oct 2010 12:00:54 +0000

With London caught up in fillm-fever this week, we wanted to share this great video from the opening night of the BFI London Film Festival.

Watch stars Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield light up London’s Leicester Square as they chat about their new film, Never Let Me Go.

Have you seen anything exciting as part of the BFI London Film Festival? Keep us posted in the comments…

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Happy 30th Birthday tkts! Celebrate with Free Theatre Tickets Tomorrow Morning Mon, 09 Aug 2010 16:34:54 +0000

Way back in 1980, when Nicholas Nickleby and Educating Rita were the hot theatre shows in the West End, the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) set up a half-price ticket booth in Leicester Square. 

Since then, what’s become known as the tkts booth has sold an incredible 10.9 million tickets to more than 1,200 shows. Its friendly staff are responsible for 1 in 39 theatre tickets sold in the West End.

Tomorrow the booth, based in the Clocktower Building on the south side of Leicester Square, celebrates its 30th birthday. tkts will be giving away a free theatre ticket to the first 30 people in the queue tomorrow morning. If you’re not able to get up that early, make sure you grab one of the tkts scratchcards being handed out in Leicester Square tomorrow and Wednesday to win some great theatrical prizes.

Let us know if you’re one of the lucky few in the comments below!

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Visit London Blog Giveaway: The Go! Go! Go! Show Wed, 21 Jul 2010 08:00:18 +0000

The Go! Go! Go! Show is a new musical at Leicester Square Theatre that the whole family can enjoy.

Go! Go! Go! follows a young pop group who awake one morning to discover their socks are missing. They soon realise the culprit is a cheeky creature called the Fluffalope, who likes nothing more than munching his way through tasty old socks! The gang then embarks on a hilarious caper to rescue their socks via Holiday Bay and the Land of Lost Property.

The feelgood musical is packed full of music, dancing, jokes and magic and is suitable for kids of all ages.

Visit London is giving away 10 family tickets (2 adults, 2 kids per ticket) to any performance of Go! Go! Go! in August.

To win, tell us in the comments below what you’re doing as a family in London this summer holidays and send an email with your contact details to

Entries close at 11.59pm on Wednesday 28 July. Winners will be notified by email on Friday 30 July.

If you’re not lucky enough to win, you can book Go! Go! Go! tickets here

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Sing-a-long-a Rocky Horror Picture Show for Halloween Fri, 23 Oct 2009 15:40:09 +0000 Sing along to Richard O'Brien's 1975 classic - The Rocky Horror Picture ShowWhat’s your favourite movie musical? Whatever it is, I bet you’ve seen it loads, know all the songs and can probably recite most of the script too. Now, imagine if you could do this while watching said movie on the big screen, in a cinema full of like-minded (and similarly well-versed) souls, where no one’s going to complain about your rubbish singing. Sounds like fun?

Well, with Sing-a-long-a films, you can do exactly that. And, if you answered The Rocky Horror Picture Show to my first question, then all your Halloweens have come at once!

Next Friday night, London’s Prince Charles Cinema is hosting a special Sing-a-long-a Rocky Horror screening for all you sweet transvestites and time warped Transylvanians out there.

I went along to the Sing-a-long-a Rocky Horror a couple of months back and it was so much fun. I love the film, and seem to know all the songs scarily well (shades of my teenage gothhood in Sydney) so the night proved a thoroughly enoyable trip down nostalgia lane. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Tim Curry is astoundingly great, and the songs are catchy as hell.

Science fiction, double feature. Get into the Rocky Horror spirit for HalloweenThose of you who are unfamiliar with the film need not worry. The night kicks off with a lesson in how to do the Time Warp and various other vital Rocky routines. You are given a goody bag of props and, perhaps best of all, the song lyrics come up as onscreen subtitles so you won’t miss a beat.

Most people get dressed up, often as their favourite Rocky character, and there’s a lighthearted competition for best costume. In fact, now I’ve written this, I’m very tempted to do the time warp again! It’s just a jump to the left…

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