Visit London Blog » The London Story http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:31:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.3 Westfield: East vs West http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/westfield-east-vs-west/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/westfield-east-vs-west/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 09:00:21 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=36997

Two giants of shopping heaven in London, both called Westfield. But which is the best one for your visit? We check out what’s on offer at Westfield London (West) and Westfield Stratford City (East).

Eating at Westfield London

Where to Eat in Westfield London?

There are more than 60 places to eat at Westfield London, from tasty treats at Ben’s Cookies to Jamie’s Italian. See your food prepared live in front of you on The Balcony, or settle down at one of the restaurants clustered along the Southern Terrace – such as the homely Bill’s, sizzling steakhouse The Meat Co. or Penang! for Malaysian food – tapas style.

Where to Eat in Westfield Stratford City?

There are 78 food retailers spread throughout Westfield Stratford City: at the World Food Court, along The Street, inside the Fast Food Court… As well as family favourites like bowling alley/diner All Star Lanes and Pizza Express, there are international options like Pho, Comptoir Libanais and Rhythm Kitchen and a branch of celeb hangout Bumpkin.

Ryan Giggs (left) and Gary Neville (right) at Cafe Football

What’s new in Westfield London?

Bath, body and beauty connoisseur Molton Brown has opened a new store, turning the air at Westfield London beautiful with its gorgeous perfumes, shower gels, body lotions and candles. Other new openings include fashion favourite Weekend by Max Mara, hand-woven fabric specialists Khaadi, vintage-inspired childrenswear store Their Nibs and Euro-Russian brand Amaka Design. Jimmy Choo has also reopened after a refurbishment.

What’s new in Westfield Stratford City?

The hot new arrival to Westfield Stratford City is Café Football, the new 140-seater restaurant from football legends Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. Glam accessories label Follie Follie and American Apparel have also recently opened stores at the mall.

Westfield London The Village

Where to shop in Westfield London?

The highlight of Westfield London is undoubtedly The Village, a high-end shopping enclave lined with more than 40 exclusive brands such as Prada, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton and Burberry. The rest of the mall is home to some 300 luxury and high-street stores, including Debenhams, Next, M&S and House of Fraser.

Where to shop in Westfield Stratford City?

John Lewis, Primark and Forever 21 are just three of the shops you’ll find at Westfield Stratford City but not Westfield London. As well as 250 great stores selling everything from fashion and jewellery to tech gadgets and furniture, there’s the Great Eastern Market too – shopping central for foodies.

The LEGO shop at Westfield

What facilities are there for children at Westfield?

Both Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City do everything they can to make your visit with your little ones super easy and stress-free. Both malls are very pram-friendly with spacious layouts and lots of lifts. There are also Kiddy Cars to hire, designated Family Rooms (perfect for baby changing), an under-5s play area and Parents with Prams spaces in the car park.

Win a trip to London!

Watch this video (below), which explores London’s style scene and how Westfield has transformed the east and west of the city, for a chance to win a five-night trip to London!

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visitlondon.com Guest Editors: Marianela Nunez and Thiago Soares http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/visitlondon-com-guest-editors-marianela-nunez-and-thiago-soares/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/02/visitlondon-com-guest-editors-marianela-nunez-and-thiago-soares/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 17:07:41 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37374

Royal Ballet dancers, and husband and wife team, Thiago Soares and Marianela Nuñez tell their London Story in the video above.

During our interview the two dancers, who are both South American but met at London’s Royal Ballet told us about their life and work in London. We’ve used some of their favourite London experiences to populate our homepage www.visitlondon.com from 4 to 6 February.

Here’s Marianela and Thiago’s London top five:

Covent Garden and the Royal Ballet

T: We have a really strong connection with Covent Garden. Because really, that’s where the dreams came true, isn’t it – both onstage and offstage.

M: Covent Garden definitely is a very special place for us.

T: We’ve spent so many nights here, visiting restaurants and doing things for the Royal Ballet Company, and of course, so many nights on stage at the Royal Opera House, here, so whenever we are walking around the piazza, it feels like home to us.

London Restaurants

T [It’s hard for me to surprise Marianela because] she’s not that keen on surprises and we work so hard that she knows exactly what she wants to do when she’s not dancing, whether that is go to a restaurant or go to her favourite shops. We very much like Roka, the Japanese restaurant on Charlotte Street.

Islington

M: We bought our first flat in Highbury & Islington and we’ve been living there for two years now. We fell in love with the area straight away. It feels very ‘homey’ and we are only 10 minutes from Upper Street which I love – it’s full of great restaurants, beautiful little boutiques and we are so happy there. We are only 20 minutes door-to-door from the Royal Opera House, so it’s very handy too.

T: A great nightlife as well, some great pubs and small clubs too.

M: Close to our flat we have Highbury Fields as well and I love it there. I also like to go to Columbia Market on Sunday mornings, I love it and could spend hours there.

London in 24 hours: Start at Portobello Market 

T: I would take them to maybe Portobello Market in the morning, walk around, get some cool stuff and look at the funky shops.

M: I would take them to see all the big sights like Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral. The Underground means you can get round the city in just one day. I would take them to my favourite shop, Liberty’s. So, see all the main spots and then finish your day by coming to the Royal Opera House to see us dance.

The National Gallery

M: We are very lucky to have the National Gallery right here near the Royal Opera House. I remember when we started going out together, he would call me and say, ‘Hi, I’m on a lunch break and I’m at the National Gallery.’ It’s amazing for us from where we come from as we don’t have that free entrance. We go there and get inspiration from all that incredible artwork.

T: There is so much going on in London, a lot of culture and a lot of art, and the real tradition that there is in this city in theatre, which is our field, is really amazing. You can just walk from here and see a number of high-class performances at so many places. I really believe that art makes all of us better people.

Discover more stories and enter a competition to win a fantastic stay in London at www.visitlondon.com/story #TheLondonStory

What would you recommend to visitors to London?

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Video of the Week: The London Story – Celebrity Compilation http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/video-of-the-week-the-london-story-celebrity-compilation/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/video-of-the-week-the-london-story-celebrity-compilation/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 11:31:39 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37334 We asked famous Londoners to share their London highlights, as part of The London Story. Watch Gordon Ramsay, Joanna Lumley, Boris Johnson, Twiggy and the principal dancers from the Royal Ballet share their stories.

See each story in full, and enter the competition to win a dream trip to London with a bespoke prize at www.visitlondon.com/story #TheLondonStory

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visitlondon.com Guest Editor: Gordon Ramsay http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/visitlondon-com-guest-editor-gordon-ramsay/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/01/visitlondon-com-guest-editor-gordon-ramsay/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 11:45:53 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=37274
We asked world-famous, London-based chef, restaurateur and TV personality Gordon Ramsay to share his London Story. Watch the video above.

During our interview Gordon mentioned more of his favourite London things and experiences and we’ve used this to populate our homepage www.visitlondon.com for 16-19 Jan 2014

Experience London the way Gordon does with his five top tips on what to see and do in London.

Albert Bridge

The Grade II-listed Albert Bridge over the River Thames was built in 1873, connecting Chelsea to the north with Battersea to the south. The bridge is sometimes known as “the trembling lady” in reference to the effect caused when large numbers of people walk across it, and indeed there are even signs warning troops to break step when crossing (although since the nearby Chelsea Barracks closed in 2008, the bridge is no longer regularly used by soldiers). An extensive, multi-million pound refurbishment in recent years included the installation of thousands of LED lights that illuminate the bridge at night. As Gordon Ramsay rightfully opines, Albert Bridge: “Looks stunning during the day and at night is picturesque.”

Brick Lane

“Whenever we’re returning from a long journey, the first thing we do is go out for a curry. I’ve been to India but I find curries in Brick Lane better; it’s that good.” This is Gordon Ramsay’s glowing recommendation for the area of London that is famous for its Indian, Bangledeshi and Pakistani curry houses. Stretching from Bethnal Green Road to the north, through Spitalfields and onto Whitechapel High Street in the south, this bustling East London street includes more restaurants than you could ever dream of visiting in one lifetime (including Sheba, the Best UK Curry House in Cobra’s 2013 curry guide). Decision making is often down to which curry house has the most persuasive staff member and best special deals as you saunter along the one-kilometre-stretch of Brick Lane.

Borough Market

Borough Market’s gourmet food market consists of up to 70 stalls and stands that open from Thursday to Saturday. Producers from all over the country bring a range of fresh produce to the market, including fish, meats, vegetables, ciders, cheeses, breads, coffees, cakes and patisseries; while other stalls specialise in produce imported from abroad. The market’s proximity to London’s newest icon The Shard, and the popular tourist area of Southbank, give it “must see” status on any London visitor’s itinerary.

Boris Bikes

The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme – known playfully as Boris Bikes – stretches across Central London from Shepherd’s Bush (and the Westfield London Shopping Mall) in West London, to East India DLR station in East London. The network extends as far south as Oval Cricket Ground and as far north as the Stable Markets in Camden. Since the bikes’ introduction in 2010, more than 24 million journeys have been made, averaging 18 to 28 minutes. Further extensions to the cycling scheme are planned for Hammersmith & Fulham, Lambeth, Kensington & Chelsea, and Wandsworth, which should prove welcome news to Gordon Ramsay, who lives and works in these key areas. Gordon says the scheme, “has transformed London, given it so much more flow. What an exciting thing to do when you’re coming to London for the first time: see this beautiful city on a bike, the wind rushing through your hair.”

Vingt-Quatre, now known as VQ

Vingt-Quatre is French for 24, so as the name suggests, this café-restaurant on the Fulham Road in west London is open 24 hours a day. Gordon Ramsay’s “secret place for an amazing fry up” offers a mixed menu of traditional restaurant food (mainly served before midnight) and dishes that can be ordered at any time of the day or night. Beans on toast at 2am? No problem. Burgers at seven in the morning? But, of course. The food here, in Gordon’s eyes, is “to die for”, and has recently proved popular enough to convince the owners to open a second 24-hour VQ Bloomsbury near Tottenham Court Road Tube station.

You’ll discover more stories and enter a competition to win a fantastic stay in London at www.visitlondon.com/story #TheLondonStory

What would you recommend to visitors to London?

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London Video of the Week: The Lion King http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/london-video-of-the-week-the-lion-king/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/london-video-of-the-week-the-lion-king/#comments Sat, 14 Dec 2013 10:00:35 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=36805

See behind-the-scenes of hit West End musical The Lion King in this fascinating video, narrated by London actor and singer Shaun Escoffery who is currently starring in the show as Mufasa.

Meet more London characters like Shaun for a chance to win a dream trip to the capital for two. Find out more here.

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Visiting the Past: Traitors’ Heads on Old London Bridge http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/visiting-the-past-traitors-heads-on-old-london-bridge/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/visiting-the-past-traitors-heads-on-old-london-bridge/#comments Wed, 23 Oct 2013 09:00:58 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=35809

As Halloween looms, London is likely to be awash with people dressed as zombies and other members of the ‘undead’. Less than 400 years ago, you could have witnessed the genuinely ghoulish sight of the rotting heads of traitors, stuck up on poles on Old London Bridge.

The first recorded head displayed on London Bridge was that of William Wallace, the Scottish patriot executed in 1305 for fighting against the English rule of King Edward I. From then on, heads were shown on the Drawbridge Gate before they were moved to the Great Stone Gate at the southern end of the bridge in 1577. A Keeper of the Heads had the job of looking after the rotting skulls, which were often par-boiled and dipped in tar to preserve them.

Tudor visitors to London recorded the grisly sight in their travel journals. In 1592, one German visitor saw a total of 34 heads on display. The political and religious upheavals of the 16th century led to the execution of many people and a ready supply of heads for London Bridge, including Henry VIII’s ministers Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell.

Bishop John Fisher, who refused to accept Henry VIII as head of the Church, was executed in 1535. His head was displayed on the bridge for 14 days and instead of decomposing “grew daily fresher and fresher, so that in his life time he never looked so well”. So many people visited London Bridge to view this macabre miracle that it caused serious traffic jams. The head was discreetly thrown in the river at night to end these disturbances.

The practice of exhibiting traitors’ heads on London Bridge continued into the 17th century (the heads of Guy Fawkes and the other Gunpowder Plot conspirators are famous examples) but it finally ceased in the 1670s.

Find out more about 16th and 17th century London at the Museum of London’s Medieval London and War, Plague and Fire galleries.

Learn more about the legendary Tower of London in Tudor Times by watching Tower Beefeater Barney Chandler sharing his London Story. Watch this video  for a chance to win a dream trip to London for two. Find out more here.

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Five of London’s Best Cake Shops and Patisseries http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/londons-five-best-cake-shops-and-patisseries/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/londons-five-best-cake-shops-and-patisseries/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 08:00:26 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=35773 The nation has gone barmy for cake thanks to The Great British Bake Off, which will see its champion baker crowned tonight in the series final. In homage to magnificent cakes across the capital, we’ve rounded up five of the best London cake shops. So loosen your belt and get stuck in.

candycakes 250

1. Konditor & Cook: Famed for its scrumptious chocolate vanilla Curly Whirly cake, highly decorated cupcakes and well-stocked brownie bar, this luxury cake shop chain has six London stores: in Borough MarketCurzon Soho, Chancery LaneWaterloo, the Southbank and The Gherkin.

2. Candy Cakes: For tasty cakes that ooze fun and flair, pay a visit to Candy Cakes. Expect colourful cakes with novelty designs that go down a storm with kids and adults alike. With five stores in central London, its flagship store in Covent Garden has been hyped as a “colourful candyland full of sugary surprises”.

3. Bea’s of Bloomsbury: With four cafes across Central London, Bea’s has won numerous accolades for its outstanding cakes and delicious afternoon teas, which include mountains of scones with clotted cream and jam, cupcakes and a glut of mini treats including brownies, meringues and fruity marshmallows.

4. The Hummingbird Bakery: This American-style bakery sells a whopping 22,000 cupcakes a week across its five London stores. Other tasty treats on offer include whoopie pies, layer cakes, brownies, pies, cheesecakes, muffins and more.

5. Maison Bertaux: With its vintage awnings and retro vibe, this time-warp cafe is London’s oldest French pâtisserie. Established in 1871, the tea parlour’s seriously moreish fruit tarts, creamy eclairs, pies and marzipan figs are all baked maison bertaux 250on the premises. Find out more about the beautiful bakery by watching Maison Bertaux’s Michelle Wade sharing her personal London Story. Watch the video for a chance to win a dream trip to London for two. Find out more here.

 

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London Video of the Week: Warner Bros Studio Tour http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/london-video-of-the-week-warner-bros-studio-tour/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/london-video-of-the-week-warner-bros-studio-tour/#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2013 09:00:49 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=35611

Calling all Harry Potter fans! Take a sneaky peak behind the scenes of the magical Harry Potter movies by watching this fascinating video about the Warner Bros Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. Watch and share more London stories for a chance to win a five night trip to London! Find out more about The London Story here

 

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