Visit London Blog » london eye http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Spotlight On: Lambeth http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/08/spotlight-on-lambeth/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/08/spotlight-on-lambeth/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:00:37 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38763 South Bank

The London Borough of Lambeth is an area of London which encompasses the central areas of South Bank and Waterloo, as well as Brixton, Crystal Palace and Streatham Common. The childhood home of Charlie Chaplin, Lambeth is now home to the The Old Vic theatre and the basketball team the Brixton Topcats. There’s no shortage of things to see and places to go. Here are a few of our favourites:

EDF Energy London Eye

1. Top London Attractions
Lambeth is home to some of London’s top attractions, including the EDF Energy London Eye which offers spectacular views across the city; arts hub The Southbank Centre; the London Aquarium and the London Dungeon.

If you have a passion for intelligent theatre, visit the National Theatre which attracts well-known, highly regarded actors. Tickets often sell out so try to book in advance.

Lambeth Palace

2. Hidden Gems
If you love historic buildings, there are regular guided tours of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s London residence Lambeth Palace which was built in 1490. West Norwood Cemetery is one of London’s most magnificent Victorian cemeteries with 69 listed monuments. Regular guided tours are held on the first Sunday of the month.

Brixton Windmill was built in 1816 and has recently been restored. Open regularly for guided tours, the sails will be turning when you visit if you’re lucky! Other fascinating places to visit in Lambeth include the Garden Museum, Vauxhall City Farm and the Florence Nightingale Museum.

Brixton Village Market: The Granville Arcade

3. Shops and Markets
There are loads of cool places to shop in Lambeth. Pick up a perfect gift at the Southbank Centre Shop, or head to Lower Marsh Street for street markets and independent and vintage shops like What the Butler Wore, iKnit and Radio Days. You’ll also find some interesting shopping in Crystal Palace, including Bookseller Crow on the Hill and Crystal Palace Antiques Emporium.

Brixton Market’s trendy revival has seen some arty boutiques arriving in the former Granville Arcade. The market is also a great place for foodies. Stock up your cupboards or join the queue for an amazing Franco Manca pizza. Don’t miss the mouth-watering tapas at Seven or the tasty delights at Rosie’s Deli.

Brockwell Lido

4. Sporty Lambeth
Swim outside in the sunshine at Brockwell Lido, or get your skates on at Streatham Ice Rink. Show off your skateboarding tricks at the Kennington Bowl, House of Vans or Stockwell Sands. If that sounds too energetic, go for a stroll around the Rookery in Streatham Common or slap on some suncream and sit back and watch international cricket at The Oval.

BFI IMAX

5. Cinema
Lambeth is a paradise for cinephiles who should head to the BFI Southbank, a multi-screen cinema and movie archive beside the river. You’ll find a huge programme of classic, foreign language and independent movies, as well film festivals and themed events.

Fans of very big screens can enjoy the latest blockbusters and 3D specials at the BFI IMAX. There are also two other great alternative arthouse cinemas in Lambeth, the Brixton Ritzy and the Clapham Picturehouse.

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Free Day Out For Families in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/free-day-out-for-families/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/free-day-out-for-families/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 09:00:34 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39045 Family outside Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

Guest post by Laura Porter

The South Bank is always a great destination for families. It’s traffic-free, has wide pavements, fantastic views of iconic London landmarks, and there’s always lots going on that costs nothing. Here’s a plan for a free day out with your family.

Start by the EDF Energy London Eye where you can look across to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The nearest tube station is Waterloo.

Once you’ve taken some snaps let the kids play in Jubilee Gardens. As well as the green open space to run around safely there is also a playground for under 11s. (Be aware that bikes and scooters are not permitted at Jubilee Gardens.)

 Jubilee Gardens

Between The London Eye and Southbank Centre you’ll find lots of street performers vying for your attention. My daughter likes to take some coins to give to her favourites.

I know there’s a carousel here but we normally finds something more interesting at Southbank Centre, whether it’s a free event in the Royal Festival Hall (where there’s also a cafe and toilets), the summer garden on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall or a free festival alongside the river. There’s also the singing elevator (JCB Glass Lift) in the Royal Festival Hall and the skateboarders under the building to watch so you’ll always find something to entertain.

Carry on walking along the South Bank and you’ll soon reach Gabriel’s Wharf where there are often sand sculptures on the beach to admire. Head into Gabriel’s Wharf and there are some well-priced cafes (and more toilets).

Ten minutes further along the riverside walk and you’ll reach Tate Modern. There are many floors of modern artworks to admire and you only need to buy a ticket for special exhibitions. The river level cafe is incredibly family-friendly with a buggy park at the back, plenty of high chairs and a kid’s menu (and kids eat free when an adult buys a meal). Paper placemats and crayons are brought to the table for families too.

If you’d prefer a view from higher up go to Level 3 and from the balcony you can look across to St. Paul’s Cathedral and The City. There’s another small cafe on this level too, and, of course, more toilets. (Hey, anyone who’s travelled with children will appreciate this advice!).

Many people choose to continue along the South Bank past Shakespeare’s Globe and, maybe, onwards to Borough Market but my best tip is to cross over the Millennium Bridge (pedestrian only) and go into The City. You can walk from Tate Modern to St Paul’s in just ten minutes so it really is closer than you think.

Tip for kids: As you cross the bridge see if you can spot any love locks (small padlocks) attached to the sides.

If you check the tide tables in advance, under The City of London side of the Millennium Bridge is a great spot for mudlarking. There are steps to reach the river foreshore and it’s rarely muddy on this side so you can check the surface for old clay pipes and bits of pottery.

Afterwards, walk towards St Paul’s and on your left you’ll find the City Information Centre where you can pick up free trails, including one specifically for children which includes stickers. It has a few routes to try so let the kids choose the one that interests them.

Or, if it raining and you don’t want to wander far, the Museum of London is five minutes away from the other side of St Paul’s. This free museum is great for families and has two floors of exhibits to explore.

Museum of London

Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as AboutLondonLaura.

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10 Things For Families To Do In The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/10-things-for-families-to-do-in-the-queen-elizabeth-olympic-park/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/07/10-things-for-families-to-do-in-the-queen-elizabeth-olympic-park/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 09:00:12 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=39007 Guest blog by Laura Porter

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has undergone further transformation since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and is now an amazing location for families to enjoy. Here are a few of our favourite family attractions:

1. Cycling
The whole park is fantastic for cycling so bring your bikes or hire from View Tube. You can also book to ride inside the Lee Valley VeloPark or outside on the BMX Track.

2. Wandering
There are lots of free park trails to follow, including a Children’s Trail. You can pick up the leaflets at the Information Point (opposite the Aquatics Centre) or print one out at home.

 Aquatics Centre

3. Water Fun
The Aquatics Centre is home to the best swimming pool in the world – really! – and is now open to everyone. Try and book an ‘Aqua Splash’ session and you’ll get to play on an assault course of inflatables. Or go early and you may just see British Olympic bronze medal winning diver Tom Daley in the diving pool as he trains here regularly. I loved my first time in the Olympic pool and now the extra seating has been removed, there are glass sides so you can see Britain’s tallest structure The ArcelorMittal Orbit from the middle of the pool.

ArcelorMittal Orbit

4. Climb Britain’s Tallest Structure
The 114.5m-tall ArcelorMittal Orbit is worth visiting if you like high views. I’d recommend taking a map of London up with you as it’s not the same view as from the EDF Energy London Eye so you may need some guidance finding the landmarks. Adult tickets are £15.

 Helter Skelter

5. Not So High
My eight-year-old daughter loves the helter skelter that you can see near the Orbit. There is a charge but she was talking about it all day so I’d say it’s good fun.

Fountains

6. More Water Fun
Before you reach The Orbit there is the snaking line of fountains which causes squeals of delight from both children and adults of all ages. Many come just to play here and it is worth bringing extra dry clothes as it’s easy to get caught out. I’d recommend playing in the fountains and then visiting the Aquatics Centre so you can swim and have fun before changing into dry clothes.

Tumbling Bay Playground

7. Playground Adventures
The Tumbling Bay Playground is a child’s dream with its mix of rock pools, sand pits, tall treehouses and wobbly bridges. Alongside the playground is the attractive Timber Lodge Cafe which serves up fresh, home-cooked food.

8. Grass Space
If you do walk beyond the Orbit there’s a large grass space that’s great for running and playing in. There are also some toilets here too.

9. Cafe Tip
If you’d like a decent cup of tea and a homemade cake, exit the Park at this point and pop over to The View Tube which is the lime-green container building you can see just off the park site.

Climbing Wall

10. Climb
Walk back past the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the fountains and take the canal path and you’ll find the climbing wall. This is an activity for the bigger kids (and adults) where they can challenge themselves to climb the two stages of the wall. My eight-year-old daughter can do it so it’s not too tough but there are ladders if you get left behind.

Sometimes it’s just good to visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and not worry about making plans. It really is incredible to remember the amazing events that happened here in the summer of 2012.

Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel site and contributes to many other publications while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival that of our Queen. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as AboutLondonLaura.

 

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London Video of the Week: Top 10 London Attractions http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/london-video-of-the-week-top-10-london-attractions/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/06/london-video-of-the-week-top-10-london-attractions/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 09:44:02 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38983

From the British Museum to the EDF Energy London Eye, Tate Modern to the Natural History Museum, watch this video to discover London’s top 10 most popular tourist attractions, based on visitor numbers.

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Top 5 Easter Egg Hunts in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-easter-egg-hunts-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-5-easter-egg-hunts-in-london/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:13:00 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38426 There’s a cracking choice of Easter egg hunts taking place in London this weekend. Here’s our pick of the best:

Easter egg hunt at Kew Gardens
When: 20 Apr 9.30am-1pm
Kids can collect tokens from around the postcard-perfect gardens before receiving a yummy Easter egg from a giant Easter bunny. The egg hunt is one of many Willy Wonka-themed activities to celebrate 50 years of Roald Dahl’s much-loved classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You can also make your own Willy Wonka chocolate bar and devise new recipes with the Oompa Loompas in the Inventing Room.
Cost: Children under 16 go free when accompaied by an adult. Adult tickets are £14.50.

Kew Gardens

Kensington Palace Easter Egg Hunt
When: 18-21 Apr
Children aged seven to 11 can follow a trail through the beautiful palace gardens and crack a secret code before guzzling the chocolate prize. Other activities include Easter bonnet-making, live performance and storytelling.
Cost: Children under 16 go free when accompanied by an adult. Adult tickets are £16.50.

 Bunnies on the Run at the London Eye

Bunnies on the Run at the London Eye
When: From now until 21 Apr
Help Edwin the bunny find his stolen Easter eggs aboard the London Eye. Suitable for kids aged four to nine years, the eggs-travaganza includes priority boarding and an activity pack including a magnifying glass and badge.
Cost: £24.21 per person

 Alternative Easter Egg Hunt at the Design Museum

The Alternative Easter Egg Hunt at Design Museum
When: 18-21 Apr 11am-4pm
Under fives can go on a bunny hunting trail through the Hello, My Name is Paul Smith exhibition, while over fives can crack clues. Hunters will be rewarded with a Rococo chocolatey treat at the end of their egg-cellent mission.
Cost: £1

 Kensington Roof Gardens

Easter Egg Hunt at Kensington Roof Gardens
When: 20-21 Apr 10-12pm
While kids go on the hunt for chocolate eggs in the Spanish garden under the watchful eye of the Easter Bunny, parents can relax with eggs-tra special chocolate-flavoured cocktails in the bar which boasts eye-popping views of London’s skyline. Finish the morning by enjoying Babylon’s traditional roast lunch.
Cost: The lunch menu is £27 for two courses, while children eat for £6 for two courses.

 More Easter events

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Top 10 Instagram Photos: March 2014 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-10-instagram-photos-march-2014/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/top-10-instagram-photos-march-2014/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:00:25 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38286 Here is our pick of your best Instagram pictures from the past month. To be in with a chance of being featured follow us @visitlondonofficial and be sure to use the #visitlondon hashtag when you’re snapping around the capital.

The O2 by stayfound

Hotel Russel by atefehhafez

Hyde Park silhouettes by monoca1

Liberty by mindfultravel

London Eye by gregfoliente

Red Phone Box by jasmondo

Royal Albert Hall by sisterhood_london

St Paul’s View by hai_huynh

Street Musician by vabyo

 

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Best Bus Routes for Sightseeing in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/best-bus-routes-for-sightseeing-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/best-bus-routes-for-sightseeing-in-london/#comments Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:00:35 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=27625

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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Five of the Best: Festive London Ice Rinks http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/11/five-of-the-best-festive-london-ice-rinks/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/11/five-of-the-best-festive-london-ice-rinks/#comments Thu, 21 Nov 2013 09:22:53 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=36230 Winter’s here so it’s time to wrap up warm, get your skates on and soak up the festive atmosphere at one of London’s gorgeous open-air ice rinks.

London Eye – Eyeskate

When? 27 November – 5 January 2014.

Why go? Situated on the festive South Bank and overlooked by one of London’s most iconic landmarks, this ice-rink has plenty of wow-factor. No need to book.

Drink: Tea and coffee at the Zen Café, which can be found inside the London Eye ticket office.

Eat: Snacks, sandwiches and cakes.

Price: From £9.45 for adults and £6.75 for children.

Broadgate Ice Rink

Broadgate Ice Rink

When: Until 27 February 2014

Why go? Nestled in the heart of the city, London’s longest-running ice rink runs hourly skating sessions from 10am until 9pm. No need to book.

Drink: Craft beers and tasty cocktails.

Eat: BAR BBQ on Ice serves up hot treats from a charcoal grill and wood-burning oven: think miniature burgers and spicy beans.

Price: £12.50 for adults; £8.50 for children.

 

Somerset House Ice Rink

When: Until 5 January 2014

Why go? Sited in Somerset House’s glorious 18th-century courtyard, this ice rink’s setting is spectacular. After dark, skate to a live soundtrack spun by some of the world’s top DJs at dedicated Club Nights, or hear festive tunes on Tuesday nights. The Somerset Penguin Club offers training space to newbies under the age of eight. There’s also a skate school for adult beginners.

Drink: Mulled wine, hot chocolate and cocktails.

Eat: Overlooking the rink is Tom’s Skate Lounge which offers a delicious winter menu, devised by Michelin-starred chef Tom Aitkens. Warm up with hot soup, sandwiches and Yuletride treats including mince pies and toffee apples.

Price: From £7.50.

 

Natural History Museum Ice Rink

When: Until 5 January

Why go? Set amongst the backdrop of one of London’s most famous museums, this 1000sqm ice rink can be found beneath 76,000 fairy lights. And if that wasn’t festive enough, the rink also has a Christmas tree at its centre. Warm up in the Natural History Museum after your skating session.

Drink: Creative cocktails and warming drinks, including mulled wine and hot chocolate.

Eat: Sumptuous snacks in the Café Bar which overlooks the rink.

Price: From £8.

 

Ice at the Tower – Tower of London Ice Rink

When: Until 5 January 2014.

Why go? Located in the moat of this magnificent ancient fortress, a skating session at the Tower of London ice rink is a must for history buffs. Brilliantly illuminated after dark, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic evening skate.

Drink: Hot chocolate, coffee, tea, mulled wine, beer or champagne at the Ice Bar & Café which overlooks the ice rink.

Eat: Festive snacks.

Price: From £11.50 for adults, £9 for children.

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London Video of the Week: London Timelapse by Mattia Bicchi http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/11/london-video-of-the-week-london-timelapse-by-mattia-bicchi/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/11/london-video-of-the-week-london-timelapse-by-mattia-bicchi/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 15:18:45 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=26925

London is a fast-moving city, but time appears to be moving at a supersonic pace in this stunning time-lapse video. Keep your eyes peeled for London’s most famous sights, including City Hall, Covent Garden, The Gherkin, Liverpool Street Station, Millennium Bridge, Battersea Power Station, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, London Eye, Westminster and Canary Wharf.

Photo & Editing: Mattia Bicchi

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London Video of the Week: Freerunning Around the South Bank http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/london-video-of-the-week-freerunning-along-the-south-bank/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/london-video-of-the-week-freerunning-along-the-south-bank/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 08:32:33 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=35830

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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