Visit London Blog » the dorchester Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:10:40 +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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Alternative Places to Watch Wimbledon 2013 Tue, 18 Jun 2013 09:56:57 +0000 Strawberries and cream, Pimm’s and champagne, fast serves and tiny white shorts…. It has to be Wimbledon, the world’s most famous annual tennis tournament!

If you don’t have ticket to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships, you can still gain entry to the courts and to the viewing area on Henman Hill by queueing for day tickets: you can find out how to do this on our event page. However, for the prime spots you should be prepared to queue overnight and if you’re looking for a more sedate way to enjoy London’s world-class tennis, read on to find the best viewing spots around town. All are open for the duration of the tournament, unless stated otherwise.

Attending an outdoor screening is a great way to recreate the tournament’s electric atmosphere,  and best of all they’re all free! Land Securities  are hosting screenings in three locations this year: Cardinal Place in Victoria, Bankside Mix in Southwark and New Street Square (weekdays only) in Holborn. Best of all, the venues all offer a range of food and drink that can be delivered straight to your deckchair! Over in Chelsea, the Wimbledon semi-finals and finals will be screened live in Duke of York Square, where you can lounge on pre-booked cushions and enjoy a glass of bubbly from the Pommery champagne tent.

The Pimm's Summer GardenFor something slightly more weather-proof, yet still very summery, check out the Pimm’s Summer Garden. Not only can you enjoy a glass of Pimm’s while you watch the screenings, but you can even order a special picnic in advance, or emulate your favourite  tennis stars by taking part in the venue’s Pimmbledon game.

Bluebird Chelsea will showing the matches on their giant outdoor screen in their courtyard. You can enjoy BBQ,  Pimm’s and champagne while you watch your favourite players during the tournament, or splash out on their acclaimed three-course set menu (£55) during the men’s final. For more tennis-themed foodie treats, head over to Gaucho Piccadilly, which will once again be turning its terrace into a tennis court, on which you’ll be served tibits from their Wimbledon menu by waiters in tennis whites.

If watching all that sport makes you peckish, why not indulge in one of London’s special Wimbledon afternoon teas? The Ampersand Hotel will be offering a special tea (£27.50) in their drawing room for the duration of the tournament, which includes delicacies such as tennis racket shortbread and strawberry tarts. Alternatively, you can enjoy Afternoon Tea by the water at the Wyndham Grand’s Harbour Bar, whose special tennis menu includes Pimm’s jelly and cucumber sandwiches. For the heights of luxury it’s hard to beat the Dorchester, and their Wimbledon Afternoon Tea (£55 with champagne) certainly doesn’t disappoint – check out this photo of their tennis-themed pastries.

Photo by Paula Funnell via flickr

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RHS Chelsea Flower Show-Themed Events in London Wed, 08 May 2013 13:00:19 +0000 Didn’t manage to get a ticket to the 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show? Not to worry, there’s a whole host of floral-themed events happening in London during May for everyone to enjoy. Some take place solely during the flower show itself (21-25 May), whilst others are timed to coincide with the Chelsea Fringe (18 May-9 June), and aims to spread the horticultural enthusiasm throughout London. Some of our favourites are below, but you can also visit the Chelsea Fringe website for lots more ideas.

The Belgraves Edible Garden

Between 21 and 25 May the Belgraves hotel, located in Knightsbridge, is transforming its terrace into an Edible Garden that features a wall of edible flowers and an interactive cocktail station. Not only will there be cocktail classes and ‘food and flower pairing’ tutorials, but guests can also take away seed packets so they can enjoy the same tastes at home. Those staying in the hotel can opt for the full Bed, Brunch and Botany’experience, which features delights such as brunch in bed, an edible flower recipe book and complimentary cocktails.

Chelsea in Bloom

For eight years Chelsea in Bloom has been extending the wonders of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show throughout the entire borough by encouraging local retailers to create their own floral displays. These creations, this year themed on ‘decades’ to mark the centenary of the prestigious flower show, are assessed for prize-worthiness by official RHS judges and can be viewed between 20 and 25 May. To see them all, join the regular tours, which take place every half hour.

A Guide to Green Scents at the Athenaeum Hotel

Not only is this 5 star hotel on Piccadilly offering a menu of delicious floral cocktails for the duration of the Chelsea Fringe, but it is also hosting ‘a guide to green scents’ on 21 May. This evening event is inspired by the hotel’s landmark Living Wall (right), and features a talk by perfume specialist Lila Das Gupta on perfumes that capture the fragrance of nature, plus a guide to the scented flowers that are grown on the Athenaeum’s wall. Tickets for the talk cost £15 per person and include the talk, canapés and a cocktail. Send an email to reserve your place.

Chelsea Flower Show Menu at LIMA

For the duration of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show LIMA, the Peruvian restaurant in Bloomsbury, is putting on a celebratory menu that puts a flowery twist on their national cuisine. Dishes include orange and pisco poached lobster salad and steamed fillet of halibut with rhubarb blue potato aji Amarillo. Guests can either opt for a three course menu which includes a Chelsea Cocktail of melon and pink Champagne (£60) or order from the a la carte. The menu is available from the 20 to 26 May.

Floral Afternoon Teas

Given the traditional nature of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, it’s no wonder that many venues are serving special afternoon teas during the week to celebrate. Radission Blu Edwardian, Vanderbilt, for example, is serving a Floral Afternoon Tea throughout May that includes rose fruit jellies and orange blossom and lavender scones (£29.50). Nearby, the Royal Garden Hotel offers elderflower posset, jasmine opera and rose marshmallow as part of its celebratory Afternoon Tea during Chelsea week, which is accompanied by tunes from the resident pianist (£24). Further east, The Dorchester has worked with the team behind Laurent-Perrier’s 2013 show garden to create a menu that includes delights such as a ‘lavender basket’; a dark chocolate tartlet infused with lavender scent and decorated with a spun sugar handle. This afternoon tea menu is available between 20 and 26 May for £56.

Rib Room Bar Floral cocktailsFloral Facials and Cocktails

The Jumeirah Carlton Tower is offering a range of excellent floral indulgence options; why not follow one of their new Rose Facials (£65) with a Chelsea Flower Show-themed cocktail in the hotel’s Rib Room Bar? Guests can choose between rose, camomile and elderflower martinis – yum!

The Avant Garden in Covent Garden

Head to the Covent Garden piazza to see Crabtree & Evelyn’s twist on the classic British herb garden. Created by garden designer and rising star Emma Coleman, ‘The Avant Garden’ will be a tranquil urban oasis that promises to be a highlight of the 2013 Chelsea Fringe Festival from 14 May to 9 June.

Floral Cocktails at Barts, South Kensington

Popular speakeasy Barts, situated close to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, is offering a special cocktail in honour of the event. ‘The Chelsea Flower’ is a mix of home-made lavender-infused Grey Goose Vodka, peach liquor and jasmine essence, garnished with a molecular raviolo of lavender. Furthermore, guests can really get into the spirit of the occasion by availing themselves of the bar’s dressing-up box, which will feature a range of floral-themed items during the show week.

Floristry classes and lunch at Tom Aikens, Chelsea

Learn the delicate art of floristry at the Michelin-starred Tom Aikens restaurant in Chelsea, where you can create a stunning arrangement of freshly-cut blooms to take home, before tucking into a delicious three course lunch that contains edible flowers. The package also includes coffee and pastries and a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne. Classes run throughout the RHS Chelsea Flower Show week, as well as on selected other May dates, and cost £120.

Chelsea Fringe at Battersea Power Station

This free event takes place between 17 to 19 May and 21 to 26 May, and allows visitors to enjoy a variety of entertainment and activities in the newly-opened temporary riverside park at Battersea Power Station. The focus of the fringe hub at Battersea will be installations, including one that features 35 people planted knee-deep in soil to promote conversations on sustainability. See the website for opening times and full details.

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Russia in London: Russian Maslenitsa Festival Thu, 02 Feb 2012 17:00:24 +0000

Fed up of the cold, dark days of winter? Get ready to say goodbye to them with vodka and blinis (pancakes) at the Russian Maslenitsa Festival in London!

Maslenitsa is the Russian sun festival, marking the end of winter and the start of spring. In London, the Maslenitsa Festival has become a week-long celebration of Russian culture in the capital, marking the contribution of London’s 160,000-strong Russian population.

This year’s festival takes place from 19 to 26 February and offers Londoners the chance to experience many aspects of Russian culture including:

  • Food: Try a Russian-themed afternoon tea at the Kensington Hotel or The Dorchester, including caviar blinis, and berry and honey pavlovas (from £25 per person)
  • Fashion: See some of Russia’s most celebrated designers in a fashion show at The V&A, 22 Feb
  • Nightlife: Experience a Moscow club as top Russian DJs come to DSTRKT, 25 Feb

The main Maslenitsa event takes place in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 26 February. This free event promises fun for all the family, with stalls offering traditional Russian handicrafts, souvenirs and art plus music, dancing and singing on the main stage.

Visit for more information about the festival.

Where else can you find Russian culture in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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