Visit London Blog » st pancras Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Visiting the Past: The Paintings of John O’Connor Mon, 24 Jun 2013 11:20:06 +0000 John O’Connor is a relatively unknown artist who was born 12 August 1830, and whose paintings are among the most popular at the Museum of London.

Here we see the Gothic spires of St Pancras, now home of the Eurostar, rising towards a glorious sunset. They tower above the busy crowded thoroughfare of Pentonville Road, filled with workers hurrying home, sandwich board men and omnibuses. A pile of debris bottom right indicates the rubbish which can pile up in everyday life, as opposed to the majesty of the wealth and prosperity of business and technology exemplified by the railways.

O’Connor was an Irishman who trained as a theatre set painter and came to London to work in the highly lucrative theatres painting set designs. His eye for colour and his harmonious designs demonstrate this background.

The Museum of London also has another very popular oil called The Embankment which shows the view from the terrace of Somerset House looking down river to St Paul’s Cathedral and Blackfriars Bridge.

A guest post by Pat Hardy, Curator of Paintings, Prints and Drawings at the Museum of London. More Visiting the Past next week

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London Restaurant News: Story, Social Eating House, Plum + Spilt Milk, London Coffee Festival Tue, 23 Apr 2013 10:14:55 +0000 Two much-anticipated new restaurants have opened over the past week: Tom Sellers’ Restaurant Story and Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House. And there’s more excitement among London foodies this week as Plum + Spilt Milk opens and the London Coffee Festival comes to town.

Restaurant Story

Chef Tom Sellers has transformed an old toilet block in Bermondsey into a brand-new, wood-clad restaurant with an adventurous menu. Restaurant Story’s signature dish is bread and dripping in the form of an edible candle, which is lit at the table and served with bread to mop up the melted “wax”. Other highlights include the rhubarb and custard cream soda, served in old-fashioned milk bottles, and the three bears porridge, which comes in three bowls – one too salty, one too sweet and one just right.

Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House

Jason AthertonFollowing the launch of Little Social earlier this year, Jason Atherton has opened his third London restaurant, Social Eating House in Soho. Mains – priced at £12 to £18 – include duck with smoked ham, egg and chips; and ravioli of wild boar bolognaise with peppered hearts and kidney. There’s also a first-floor bar called The Blind Pig. Atherton said, “I want it to be a social restaurant where the surroundings are as vibrant as the food.”

Plum + Spilt Milk

Plum + Spilt Milk opens on Friday (26 April) at London’s first railway hotel, the Great Northern Hotel near St Pancras International station. Open from 7am until midnight, the restaurant will serve brasserie-style dishes such as twice-baked smoked haddock soufflé and lemon meringue pie. Seasonal ingredients will be sourced from small, independent suppliers along the Great Northern Line. The hotel also re-launches this week following a £40m refurbishment.

London Coffee Festival

If you’re looking for an excuse to pop out for a latte, you’ll be pleased to hear that this week is UK Coffee Week. The initiative celebrates everything to do with coffee while also fundraising for clean-water projects in African coffee-producing countries. The week’s flagship event is the London Coffee Festival (25 to 28 April), where 15,000 coffee lovers will gather to enjoy artisan coffee, gourmet food, demonstrations and live music. Don’t miss the Espresso Martini Launch Party on Friday night.

Look out for more restaurant news soon.

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What’s On This Weekend: 1-3 March 2013 Mon, 25 Feb 2013 10:00:43 +0000

This weekend sees a couple of unique London events at which you can help a good cause by having fun – what could be better? There are also a couple of great art events, plus a chance to party Cymru style on St David’s Day.

Tiger Tracks at St Pancras International

Head to St Pancras International Station for the ‘world’s biggest tiger event‘, which aims to highlight the plight of the endangered wild tiger. Inside the magnificent station you’ll find tiger-themed activities, music and entertainment, as well as a special photographic exhibition. The station’s shops and eateries will also be getting involved, and you can find out more about the festival’s special events on the Save Wild Tigers website. 1-21 Mar

St David’s Day, various venues

Taking place on 1 March every year, St David’s Day is the national day of Wales. You might see people wearing a daffodil or leek in celebration of Welsh national pride, and there are lots of fun events in London at which you can join in with the festivities. Check out the St David’s Day Dinner at Guildhall, the fantastic London Welsh Male Voice Choir in Dartford (2 Mar) or a medley of Welsh entertainment at Loose Cannon in the City. 1 Mar

Art13 London at Olympia

Billed as ‘the most exciting new art fair launch in a decade’, Art13 – organised by the people behind Art HK – will bring 129 international art galleries under the same roof in Olympia’s Grand Hall. Thousands of artworks, including painting, photography, sculpture and prints, will be on display and prices start from just £100. For those wishing to make a day of it, the exclusive Fortnum and Mason Champagne Bar & Restaurant should be a delightful place for a spot of afternoon tea. Get two-for-one tickets to Art13. 1-3 Mar

The Wine March

If there was ever a good excuse to drink wine, this is it. Raising money to build water projects in poverty-stricken areas of the developing world, the 2Water Wine March is a five mile walk along the Thames, with stops for wine tasting along the way. Led by the Three Wine Men – TV wine experts Oz Clark, Olly Smith and Tim Atkin MW – the march starts with a glass of wine at Vinopolis, before heading east via Gordon Ramsay’s The Narrow to Canary Wharf gastropub The Gun. Tickets are £15 and include a glass of wine at each stop, with all proceeds going to the 2Water charity. 3 Mar

Angela Williams – An Hour with Audrey Hepburn at the Heartbreak Gallery

Head to the aptly named Heartbreak Gallery to see stunning photographs of Audrey Hepburn, many of which are on display for the first time. Taken at the Ritz in 1964, the photographs capture the actress’s innate glamour, charisma and beauty, and are sure to have you longing for a bygone era. Follow this with a look at Williams’ snaps of other 60s icons, displayed in the adjoining room. Entry is free. 27 Feb – 31 Mar 

More events in London

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In Pictures: World Record Hug at St Pancras International Thu, 19 Jan 2012 11:04:09 +0000

Seven pairs of huggers gathered at St Pancras International station this morning to attempt to break the record for the world’s longest hug. The current record stands at 24 hours and 33 minutes.

Among them were Mayella Reynolds, founder of hugging group Random Huggers, and her sister-in-law, who she chose as a partner because she’s of similar height. “Guinness World Records contacted me on Boxing Day,” said Reynolds. “I said I’d be failing in my duty as a random hugger if I said no.”

Random Huggers has members worldwide, spanning Glasgow, Brighton, Madrid and Hong Kong as well as London. “We want this to go global!” said Reynolds.

Stand-up comedian Sanderson Jones was hugging friend Mikey. “Mikey and I hadn’t seen each other for a very long time,” explained Jones. “It was a good way to catch up.” He added that he would be “elated” to break the world record, although “there will be a lull, I expect, four hours before we finish”.

Lorna Tulett, star of BBC’s The Choir, was happily hugging her army officer husband Bryan.

In case you were wondering, the huggers are allowed a five-minute toilet break every hour. Good luck to all the couples!

The world record hug is the first in a series of unique record-breaking events taking place as part of the World Record London campaign

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Next Thursday: World Record Hug at St Pancras International Fri, 13 Jan 2012 17:06:43 +0000

Next week we’ll be attempting to break the world record for the world’s longest hug! Our huggers will be embracing for more than 24 hours at St Pancras International station, in front of The Meeting Place statue.

The hunt’s now on for people to come along and keep the huggers entertained. Do you have a special talent that could keep them amused? Sign up here:

See the world record hug attempt at St Pancras International from 8am on Thursday 19 January 2012

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Five Funky Christmas Trees in London Thu, 01 Dec 2011 11:00:04 +0000 London’s feeling festive as Christmas trees spring up in public spaces around the city. While some venues have stuck to a traditional feel, others have branched out with trees made from cardboard and Lego.

St Pancras Station has unveiled the tallest-ever Lego Christmas tree, constructed by professional Lego builder Duncan Titmarsh out of 600,000 Lego bricks.

Ever-fashionable Claridge’s boasts a tree by Lanvin’s creative director Alber Elbaz, complete with marionettes dressed in Lanvin-designed Claridge’s uniforms.

Covent Garden has a hand-picked British tree festooned with red and white lights, as well as topiary reindeer, giant mirror balls and a nativity art installation.

Giles Miller is creating the world’s tallest cardboard Christmas tree for the Design Museum. See it in the museum’s atrium from tomorrow, Friday 2 December.

And the lighting ceremony for Trafalgar Square’s famous Christmas tree – donated by the people of Norway every year since 1947 – will take place this evening, Thursday 1 December.

What’s your favourite Christmas tree in London this Christmas? Let us know below or add your photos to the Visit London Flickr pool

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Giant Olympic Rings unveiled at St Pancras International Mon, 07 Mar 2011 13:00:55 +0000

Boris Johnson and Seb Coe revealed the giant Olympic rings at London’s St Pancras Station last week.

This video really captures the excitement at the event: the music performances, parkour demonstrations, and the work that went into hanging the rings in place.

Have you seen the rings at St Pancras? What do you think of them?

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Eurostar Tri-City-Athlon: St Pancras, Regent’s Park, then Home, Sweet Home Wed, 15 Sep 2010 18:00:55 +0000

Last stop: St Pancras.

We had been up since 4.30am UK time, and the last leg was starting at 18.15: it had already been a long day. Now we faced a 10km run. 

Everyone had been fed, watered and massaged, and off we headed on the coach to Regent’s Park. As we reached the start, it was so nice to see the G/great British public out to support us all especially as the rain had begun to come down.

We started with a warm-up to some of the acts that were playing on the stage, both to entertain the spectators and keep the competitors motivated! Another great motivator was news that we had a glass of champagne and BBQ awaiting us at the end!

Unfortunately, after 5km I had to pull out due to cramp in my left leg, which had started in the bike race. But on went everyone else with Jonny Brownlee coming in first with an impressive 34 minutes! As everyone else passed the finish line, there was a sense of such great achievement by all, no matter what standard of athlete.  Out of 140 athletes, 100 completed all three legs – an amazing achievement.

The whole day was a fantastic experience and one that no-one will forget I am sure. We swam, cycled and ran through three major European cities in one day! There was great camaraderie between all, no matter what level of participant and fantastic encouragement from those on the sidelines.

A big thanks to Eurostar, IMG, the athletes and the volunteers who pushed us though each leg and made such an amazing experience possible. I’m looking forward to the next Eurostar 2012 activation event!  

Definitely a story for the grandkids…

Read about the first leg (swimming in Paris) here, and the second (cycling in Brussels) here

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Belgium in London: Neuhaus Chocolates Tue, 24 Aug 2010 15:30:46 +0000

Belgium is famous for beer and chocolates. Since the developments to the Eurostar service back in 2007, the journey times between St Pancras and Brussels have been squeezed to an impressive 1 hour, 51 minutes. I made the journey myself earlier this month, and it really is a very smooth, stress-free way to travel.

While in Brussels I had the most amazing chocolates from Neuhaus. They were by far my favourites. And I’m not the only one! After the Royal Festival in 2000, King Albert II gave Neuhaus the title of Accredited Supplier to the Belgian Crown.

But if you don’t want to take the train, you can still get a taste of that famous Belgian chocolate here in London.

There are Neuhaus stores in London in St Pancras Station, Heathrow Airport, and in Harrods. They also have a gorgeous boutique on South Molton Street, full of wonderful chocolatey treats, and a café in Putney. All Neuhaus products are still made in Vlezenbeek, near Brussels, and exported to the UK.

My favourite is the St Pancras Station branch. It’s perfect if you want to pick up a last-minute present for someone before you catch a train. And it smells amazing!

I spoke to Sandra Szondi, Neuhaus’ communications manager, to find out what makes Neuhaus’ chocolates so special.

“Neuhaus have been making chocolates in Belgium for 153 years. They even invented the Belgian praline. Most people don’t know that. It was Jean Neuhaus, the grandson of the original Jean Neuhaus, who created the world’s first filled chocolate, which he named ‘Praline’.

“At the time, the pralines were served in paper cones, like you eat chips from, and the pralines got squashed together. Jean’s wife, Louise, invented a new box to keep them from getting spoiled: and that’s the ballotin (which you can see in the picture above). They’re still used today.

“For Belgians, the most popular chocolates are the old ‘Caprice’ and ‘Tentations’ – these are chocolates with a rich history. They were created for the World Expo in Brussels in 1958. And they are named after a famous quote by Brigitte Bardot.

“But my favourite is the Manon Sucre Vanille. It’s made with vanilla cream or butter cream, and it’s quite milky. Inside, there’s some pecan nuts, a little, little piece of waffle, and cream of vanilla sugar. It’s quite heavy; most people don’t like it, because it’s too rich. But it’s good for eating once a week or so, I think!

Do you have any other recommendations on where to find a taste of Belgium in London (beer, chocolate or anything else?!) Let us know in the comments below.

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Visit London Asks: What’s Your Favourite Period in London’s History? Mon, 14 Sep 2009 10:50:53 +0000 Mayor Boris Johnson launched Disney's A Christmas Carol in New York yesterday

Last week, we asked for your Only in London recommendations. Thanks for adding your thoughts to the comments!

With news announced yesterday that London will be heading back to Victorian times this Christmas with the exciting world premiere of Disney’s A Christmas Carol and Christmas Carol themed Christmas lights in the West End, we’ve been discussing London’s history here at VL towers.

So, imaginative thinking caps on. We want to know, if you were given a time machine, which period of London’s history would you most like to travel back to?!

Would you be interested in galloping across to Hampton Court Palace with Henry VIII and his Tudor court?

Or maybe you’d like to pop into an 18th century coffee house, and witness the new revolutionary age of pamphlets and trade and Enlightenment.

Perhaps you’re another fan of Dickens’ Victorian London, and would like to go back to the golden age of railway with stations like St Pancras; new buildings like the Houses of Parliament, and the Royal Albert Hall; the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the wonderful Crystal Palace.

Or would you rather swing with Twiggy and The Stones in Carnaby Street in the 1960s? Let us know!

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