Visit London Blog » the shard Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Five Things to Do In The London Borough of Southwark Tue, 11 Nov 2014 10:00:10 +0000 Guest blog post by Marlin Apartments

Head south of the river to Southwark for little-known attractions and hidden gems. Here are our top five things to do around the Southwark area:

The Old Vic

The Old Vic

Great theatre isn’t just found in London’s glitzy West End; Southwark is home to several renowned theatres, such as The Old Vic, The Young Vic, Southwark Playhouse and Menier Chocolate Factory. The Old Vic produces adaptations of classic plays that often feature big names, such as Kevin Spacey and Richard Armitage, while The Young Vic is a brilliant low-cost alternative bringing you works produced by younger artists.

Borough Market

Borough Market

Borough Market
Foodies unite! For the ultimate experience in quality food and drink, you should head straight to one of the oldest and largest food markets in London. Tease your taste buds with the vast array of stalls on offer, from pastries and treats to continental cheeses and meats. Even if you’re not looking to shop, you can still enjoy a delicious and freshly-cooked lunch at the Borough lunch market. The full market is open Wednesday to Saturday, bit the market is open for lunch on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Southwark homes a handful of off-the-beaten-track museums in the Southwark area, such as the Fashion and Textile Museum, which feature exhibitions of great British and global fashion through the ages. For something completely different, try the Clink Prison Museum, which offers a glimpse into one of England’s oldest and most notorious prisons.

the shard

London Bridge Quarter
At the epicentre of the area’s redevelopment is London Bridge Quarter, which has transformed the South Bank. The UK’s tallest and most iconic new building, The View From The Shard, is open to the public and offers stellar views of the London cityscape for miles around. But it’s not all just about the view; there are eight world-class restaurants in The Shard alone offering a diverse range of cuisines. So why not sample some of the best culinary efforts London has to offer while absorbing that mesmerising view?

Tour of the Golden Hinde II
Be transported to the Tudor times in this family favourite next to London Bridge. You will be taken on a guided tour around the full-size replica ship by costumed actors who will both entertain and educate about life in the 16th century.  Open 10am until 5.30pm daily.

Marlin Apartments are based in London Bridge, just a five-minute walk from The Shard. We even have a full-size kitchen so you can cook up a storm after shopping at Borough Market!marlin


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Hotel News: 5-star Shangri-La Opens at The Shard; Jazz Returns to Bloomsbury; Plan a Girl’s Night in Mon, 26 May 2014 10:00:54 +0000 The Shangri-La, The Shard

As summer excitement builds, there’s plenty of London hotel news to delight visitors, from jazz and theatre-themed nights to pampering packages for women and cool treats for kids. There are also new openings to explore, with the eagerly awaited The Shangri-La Hotel having opened its doors at The Shard this month.

New arrivals

The most hotly anticipated opening of recent years, The Shangri-La, At The Shard, opened earlier this month. Nestled high up within Renzo Piano’s impressive building, this 5-star hotel offers more than 200 rooms and sweeping views of London. There are also dining options at TĪNG, which serves modern European food with Chinese twist, and the deli LÁNG; while cocktails can be sipped at GŎNG on level 52, where there is also a stunning infinity pool.

Further west, the suburb of Brentford is welcoming a new arrival. Opening on 9 June, Novotel London Brentford is in a great location for exploring Kew Gardens and Richmond, and is just 20 minutes away from Heathrow. As well as 202 contemporary and spacious rooms, there will be on-site refreshment in Elements restaurant and bar as well as a pool, fitness centre and sauna to enjoy.

Get your culture fix

Meliá White House's Kids & Co. clubIt don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing at The Bloomsbury Hotel from this month. The hideaway just off Oxford Street has relaunched its monthly Jazz & Swing evenings, providing guests a chance to sample the best of the wide-ranging genre through live performances (tickets: £25 per person).

The Landmark London is also in the limelight, with its From West End to Broadway gala dinner featuring the best of musical songs, on 27 June (tickets: £95 per person).

The Doyle Collection is offering visitors a chance to really get to grips with London, with the Discover London package at its hotels: The Bloomsbury Hotel, The Kensington Hotel and The Marylebone Hotel. Available Thursdays to Sundays, guests are given a Zone 1 and 2 day travelcard, a concierge pack with top tips on what to see and do, breakfast, late check out and a welcome drink with their overnight stay (£225 for two people).

Kids rule, OK!

Kids will be made to feel right at home at Meliá White House. The swanky hotel near Regent’s Park has introduced a crèche enabling the little ones to play to their hearts’ content, looked after by nannies. It has also added the Kids & Co by Meliá service concept that sees children given a designated check-in area, a glass of milk and homemade cookies upon turn down, and their own welcome letter.

Girls just wanna have fun

Girls Night In at The BerkeleyIt’s not all about kids; however. The Berkeley has relaunched its Girls Night In package. Crammed full of girlie delights such as Diptyque candles, chick flicks, manicures and a pink hat box containing scrumptious goodies, it’s the perfect treat for those who want to relax away from male interruptions (available weekdays and weekends from £630 including English breakfast for two people).

Fresh for foodies

And finally, there are a number of recent additions to London’s hotel dining scene. Lee Westcott heads up Typing Room, which replaces former Michelin-starred eatery Viajante, at Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel, ; acclaimed chef Simon Rogan is now serving a menu based on “wild food” at Fera in Claridge’s; while all-day dining venue Pantry at 108 is now open at The Marylebone Hotel.

More London hotels


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Hotel News: Booking Opens for The Shangri-La At The Shard; Chocolatey Easter Delights; Orient-Express Rebrands Mon, 17 Mar 2014 10:00:37 +0000 The Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard

One of the most anticipated hotel openings in recent years is now a step closer this month,  while there’s plenty to look forward to at Easter. March has also seen the rebrand of a major hotel group; and there are delights for foodies and bookworms to enjoy.

Shangri-La Hotel Open for Bookings

The Shangri-La Hotel, At The ShardThe most eagerly anticipated opening of the year is inching that bit closer as booking lines are open from today. The Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, which opens in May, features a stunning infinity pool as part of its cocktail bar on the 52nd level as well as a restaurant with panoramic views and a ground floor patisserie.

Its restaurant, Ting, and its opulent rooms are now available for bookings ahead of the confirmed opening on 6 May. Ting will serve European dishes with a hint of an Asian twist and will be found on level 35 where 360-degree views will afford the perfect opportunity to marvel at London’s skyline.

The hotel‘s cocktail bar, Gŏng, will become London’s highest champagne and cocktail bar upon opening in July, when it will be far too tempting not to take a dip in the magnificent pool.

Easter Excitement

Easter will soon be upon us, and with increasingly spring-like weather and daffodils in bloom where better to stay than with views across the green expanses of Hyde Park? Throughout April, London Hilton on Park Lane has a chocolate-themed Suite Easter package, which includes a stay in one of its luxury Park Lane Suites, a Confessions of a Chocoholic afternoon tea and a handmade chocolate gift.  Served on a painter’s palette, cakes included in the afternoon tea can be hand decorated by the guest using an edible glaze. The price of the one-night package is £1,015.

Confessions of a Chocoholic at London Hilton on Park LaneThe Corinthia Hotel London is also going cocoa crazy, with a chocolate masterclass on 5 April. Guests can learn the ropes from Head Pastry Chef Kimberly Lin-McCartney. Secure your spot for this one-day only event for £175.

In Other News…

The parent company of the British Pullman, Orient-Express, has re-branded its hotel offering under a new name, Belmond. The company’s only asset to keep the Orient-Express moniker will be the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train.

Finally, Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes has opened an online bookshop featuring a collection dedicated to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective. Watson’s Lounge Bookshop has been set up in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, with 10% of its proceeds going to the charity.

More London hotels

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Top 10 Instagram photos: February 2014 Sat, 08 Mar 2014 10:07:55 +0000 Now that our Instagram account (@visitlondonofficial) is up and running, along with the #visitlondon hashtag, here is our pick of your best pictures from the last month.

If you want the chance to be included in a future top ten get out there and start snapping our fantastic city, and make sure to hashtag it with #visitlondon

Yeoman and Raven by maviscfwang

Yeoman and Raven by maviscfwang

Westminster by rebekahesme

Westminster by rebekahesme

Tube escalator by i_shootfilm

Tube escalator by i_shootfilm

The Shard and Tower of London by mongulden

Old and New: The Shard and Tower of London by mongulden

Royal Arcade by nisaoliveira

Royal Arcade by nisaoliveira

View from the EDF London Eye by marenlm

View from the EDF London Eye by marenlm

The EDF London Eye from the river by joanamlimao

The EDF London Eye from the river by joanamlimao

Covent Garden by solar_patrick

Covent Garden by solar_patrick

Barbican by solar_patrick

Barbican by solar_patrick

Millenium Bridge by l_senator

Millenium Bridge by l_senator

]]> 2 Guest Editor: Gordon Ramsay Thu, 16 Jan 2014 11:45:53 +0000
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 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 #TheLondonStory

What would you recommend to visitors to London?

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5 of the best London New Year’s resolutions Wed, 01 Jan 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Conquer a fear of heights with a trip up The Shard


Happy New Year! After all the fun and excitement of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it’s time to turn your attention to 2014. For many of us, that means making a New Year’s resolution; and London is the perfect companion to keep you on the right track.

I’ll detox…

Detox at the Mayfair Hotel SpaAfter all that stodgy Christmas pudding, brandy butter and too much roast turkey, it’s definitely time to get your body into shape. Many join a gym come 1 January, but what better way to start your new regime than by spending a leisurely detox day in one of London’s many spas? The May Fair Spa has a great range of treatments featuring everything from manicures and mud wraps to Moroccan steam cleansing – it’s open daily to guests and non-guests, so it’s easy to start the New Year on the right (newly pedicured) foot.

I’ll spend more time with my kids…

Spend some time with the kids at the Natural History MuseumHas the festive season made you realise you should spend

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more time with your kids? Make 2014 the year to do more parent-child bonding. There are plenty of family-friendly museums and activities in London for all ages to enjoy, from children’s theatres and city farms to hands-on experiments at the Science Museum and exploration at the Natural History Museum.

Delve into one of the many toyshops, from the world-famous Hamleys on Regent Street to the traditional and quirky Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop in Covent Garden. If you’re only here for a day, you can cram in a lot with our family day out itinerary.

I’ll conquer my fear of heights…

If you’re looking to banish your fear of heights this year, head up all 72 floors of The Shard. From The View – the observation area at the pinnacle – you’ll see all of London and far beyond with stunning 360-degree views. Reward your bravery with afternoon tea at Aqua Shard, which gives the phrase “high tea” a completely new meaning. And don’t forget to pick up a souvenir photo to prove you’ve been all the way up the vertigo-inducing 1,016ft-high (310m) structure.

I’ll save money…

Marvel at the National Gallery's famous artworkIf your resolution is to save money, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a trip to London. As well as affordable accommodation such as cheap hotels and hostels, and affordable restaurants, London is jam-packed with free attractions, from some of the world’s best museums to lesser-known stop-offs unique to the city.

Among the major free-to-enter museums and galleries in London are the National Gallery which hosts one of the world’s most impressive collections of art, Tate Modern which satisfies those with a more contemporary taste, and the Victoria and Albert Museum that’s perfect for design lovers. For something more unusual, head to the Sewing Machine Museum or get your teeth into the British Dental Association Museum.

I’ll slow down…

Wander through Epping ForestLet’s face it, life is hectic these days and we all rarely get enough “me time”. After the last-minute hassles and family arguments of Christmas, take time to relax in one of London’s peaceful open spaces.

If you’re looking for a stroll, why not lose yourself in the gladed Epping Forest watched inquisitively by resident deer. On a more reflective note, London has many cemeteries that are the perfect places to contemplate the year ahead, including the large Brompton Cemetery with its elegant chapel modelled on the design of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Chelsea Physic Garden (closed until March) is another tranquil haven where you can relax with a book, a cup of tea and some cake nestled among medicinal plants.

What’s your new year’s resolution? Tell us in the comments below…



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London Restaurant News: Aqua Shard, Hutong, Shake Shack Tue, 09 Jul 2013 11:38:48 +0000 It’s been an exciting few weeks for London foodies. Two new restaurants – Aqua and Hutong – have opened in The Shard, and American phenomenon Shake Shack has launched its first UK branch in Covent Garden. Read on for more new places to eat and drink in the capital.

Aqua Shard

Aqua Shard

This new British restaurant is perched on Level 31 of The Shard, Western Europe’s tallest building, and offers stunning views of London. On the menu you’ll find British staples such as Dover sole with cuttlefish, broad beans and cider sauce. There’s also a bar with three-storey-high panoramic windows, where you can enjoy cocktails inspired by British favourites gin and afternoon tea.


Aqua Shard’s sister restaurant, Hutong, serves Northern Chinese cuisine and is located on Level 33 of The Shard with fantastic views of the London skyline.

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Signature dishes include Red Lantern (crispy crab with chilli); chilled, spiced razor clams; crispy de-boned lamb ribs and roasted Peking duck. At lunchtime you can pick from a menu of meat, fish and veggie dim sum.

Shake Shack burgers

Shake Shack

Cult American burger bar Shake Shack has opened its first UK branch in Covent Garden. Originally launched in New York’s Madison Square Park in 2004, Shake Shack is known for its burgers, flat-top dogs and frozen custard, available as shakes and concretes (blended frozen custard with mix-ins). Try the Drury Lane Jam concrete with custard, strawberry jam, biscuit and banana. And look out for treats for your dog on the Woof menu!

Whyte & Brown

New chicken and egg restaurant Whyte and Brown has just opened in Kingly Court, off Carnaby Street. You can choose from roasted and grilled chicken, burgers, soups, pies, salads, casseroles, wings and croquettes, or free-range egg dishes such as risotto Scotch egg, and eggs Florentine and Benedict. Pop in at the weekend for traditional roast chicken with all the trimmings.

More Foodie News

  • Tom’s Kitchen Canary Wharf: Tom Aikens has opened a new a restaurant, bar and deli in Canary Wharf
  • Jamie’s Italian Trattoria: Jamie Oliver has launched his first Trattoria, a smaller and more rustic version of Jamie’s Italian, in Richmond
  • The Happenstance: This new bar and restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows with views of St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Joe’s Southern Kitchen and Bar: Previously Navajo Joe, this Covent Garden venue serves American food and creative cocktails
  • Paesan: Paesan has opened on the corner of Exmouth Market serving simple, authentic Italian dishes and cocktails
  • Five Guys: The American burger bar has just opened its first UK branch in Covent Garden
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London Video of the Week: Beautiful London by Chris Brooker Fri, 05 Jul 2013 11:09:18 +0000

We love this gorgeous time-lapse/hyper-lapse video by Chris Brooker. The film took three weeks to make and consists of more than 15,000 still images.

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London Restaurant News: Oblix, Kaspar’s and Jamie Oliver’s Hotdog Diner Fri, 17 May 2013 11:51:35 +0000 Whether you’re after astounding views or gourmet hotdogs, there are plenty of exciting new restaurants to try in London.

Oblix in The Shard

For some of the best views in London, head to Oblix on the 32nd floor of the The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe. The New York-style grill has just been launched by Rainer Becker, the man behind celebrity favourites Zuma and Roka. As well as a la carte lunch and dinner menus, Oblix has a bar and lounge serving deli-style appetisers at lunchtime with live entertainment from 9pm.

Kaspar’s at The Savoy

Billed as one of the most exciting restaurant openings in The Savoy’s 124-year history, Kaspar’s is a seafood bar and grill with 1920s décor and panoramic views of the river Thames. The luxurious new restaurant is named after Kaspar, The Savoy’s three-foot-high cat sculpture, which for 90 years was placed at tables of 13 guests in order to avoid bad luck – and was even invited to meetings by Winston Churchill.

Jamie Oliver’s Hotdog Diner

Jamie Oliver has opened a diner in Piccadilly Circus, serving artisan hotdogs with a range of house condiments. Chef Arthur Potts Dawson, who created two sustainable London restaurants – Acorn House and Waterhouse – helped to devise the menu, which features grilled chicken, burgers, steaks, fish and waffles as well as hotdogs. “I wanted to create a menu full of delicious, classic, comfort food,” said Oliver.

More Restaurant News

  • Small fine-dining restaurant The Five Fields is due to open in Chelsea on Tuesday, serving dishes made from rare herbs and vegetables grown in the restaurant’s own East Sussex gardens
  • The team behind French eatery Chabrot Bistro des Amis have launched a meat-focussed restaurant near Smithfield Market called Chabrot Bistrot des Halles
  • Boutique hotel One Leicester Street has just opened in London’s Chinatown, on the site of the former St John Hotel, with a restaurant serving sharing dishes made from British produce
  • The Miller in Bermondsey re-launches this week, serving a range of bespoke hotdogs from the acclaimed Street Kitchen
  • Stories bar has just opened in Broadway Market, East London, offering brunches, cocktails, special events and contemporary art exhibitions
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London Video of the Week: A Momentary Lapse of London by Davide Roveri Fri, 22 Feb 2013 12:08:43 +0000

A Momentary Lapse of London from Davide Roveri on Vimeo.

After seeing last week’s time-lapse video of London, Davide Roveri got in touch with this beautifully atmospheric London video. If you spot any great London videos, let us know and we’ll try to feature them here.

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