A taste of modern art

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 | 0 comments

Take in some modern art by visiting the Tate Modern art gallery, the nation’s premier gallery for modern and contemporary art, showcasing pieces from around the world. Housed in what used to be the Bankside Power Station, the gallery sits next to the Thames and is a short walk away from the Globe Theatre complex. Here, visitors can see work by Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and Bonnard, and iconic pieces by twentieth century artists including Salvador Dali, Pollock, Bourgeois, and Andy Warhol.

Like many of London’s major art and history institutions, the Tate Modern not only offers free admission to some of the finest modern art, but also provides talks and lectures by expert art historians and critics, and some of the artists whose work is exhibited at the gallery.

The gallery offers free guided tours around the collection, where visitors can find out more about the art work on display, or groups can enjoy private views of the art and book private lectures. New interactive features at the gallery include Bloomberg Connects, an area which invites visitors to make their own artistic creations and connect with artists, the artworks, and other guests on a creative level.

The Tate Modern has a café on the riverside, and an espresso bar serving drinks and light snacks. Visitors can also enjoy fantastic views and great food in the gallery’s restaurant located on level 6.

Visitors can take away a memento of the art they have seen by visiting the galleries shop, which sells picture postcards and other art souvenirs.

Picture: Dr Case

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Shop at the world famous Harrods store

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 | 0 comments

No trip to London would be complete without a trip to one of the most famous department stores in the world – Harrods.

Situated in the heart of the fashionable Kensington district, between the Victoria and Albert Museum and Buckingham Palace, Harrods occupies the corner of Brompton Road. It holds behind its doors a wide range of products, from the relatively humble to the quite extraordinary. It was once said that Harrods could provide anything the shopper would want, and at one time this even included exotic animals, like the alligator Noël Coward once purchased.

Today, the store offers designer clothing for men, women, and children, a wide variety of accessories, makeup, and beauty products by the industry’s top names. There will be something for all tastes and budgets in the Homewares department, which offers a wide range of kitchen and dinnerware. There are also gifts for every occasion, including select items displaying the distinctive Harrods logo.

For foodies, the Food Hall offers a wide range of products, many of which make up the quintessential English tea time, with biscuits, cakes, preserves, and different brands of high quality tea and coffee. For those looking for something to make a dinner party a little more special, there are truffles, caviar and foie gras available, or chocolates. Also, there is Harrods’ hampers, which make an excellent and thoughtful present.

There are also plenty of eateries to relax in when the shopping becomes too much. Choose from family-friendly cafés, to contemporary restaurants with international cuisine and exemplary service.

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A little celebrity fine dining

Posted on Apr 5, 2014 | 0 comments

Take the chance when in London to dine in one of the food world’s top restaurants, the renowned Le Gavroche, the exquisite eatery owned by world-famous chef Michel Roux Jr. Situated in the heart of Mayfair, the restaurant opened in 1967 by Albert Roux and was the first UK eatery to be awarded three Michelin stars.

Le Gavroche boasts an elegant interior as befits a fine dining establishment, with exemplary waiter service. The kitchen has recently been refitted with some of the most innovative cooking tools available today. A private dining room, known as the Chef’s Library, seats up to six people, and is decorated with cook books collected by Michel Roux Jr and photographs of famous diners. The restaurant has a spacious dining room with the largest table seating up to 10 people, with a spacious bar nearby serving a wide assortment of drinks.

Le Gavroche serves an international menu, with dishes inspired by both French and British cuisines. Diners can enjoy such dishes as marinated var salmon (Faroe Islands) with lemon and vodka jelly, and grilled fillet of Scottish beef with wild mushrooms and a red wine shallot sauce. Some wines offered are Pouilly-Fumé and Domaine Vincent Ogereau. All of the dishes are overseen by Michel Roux Jr to ensure they meet his exacting standards.

The restaurant does have a dress code which is smart casual, and men are required to wear a smart jacket for lunch and dinner. Ties are not compulsory, but shorts and trainers are not allowed.

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There’s nothing like London!

Posted on Mar 29, 2014 | 0 comments

It is true and most people, who have ever visited our capital know, there is no place in the world that is quite like London. It is of course a 24 hour city and it has some of the very finest restaurants in the world; famous attractions, incredible shopping, West End theatres, history by the bucket load, nightlife, the very best in Europe.

Take a break in London and see some of the many attractions, the London Eye, naturally Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the ever popular Tower of London and St Catherine’s Dock, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s all famous and a must visit. London Museums are world famous most are free as well, galleries like the Tate Modern to view exhibitions.

A great way to see London is by having a bus tour, these have running commentaries on them and you can see all the sights on an open top, weather permitting of course! The beauty of these is they are hop on and hop off so if you want to stop and see something, it is not a problem, have a look and then get the next tour bus. Your tickets are valid for 24 hours so it means that you can use the bus from say noon until noon, or all on one day.

No visit to London would be complete without a visit to Madame Tussauds, there are 14 interactive zones which will keep you fascinated, full of glamour and all the glitz that goes with it, a walk down the red carpet perhaps when you can strike a pose with the famous, or maybe an audience with the Queen, a complete and fulfilling experience on your Breakaway to London.

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London West End Musicals

Posted on Mar 25, 2014 | 0 comments

To many, the London West End beats New York’s Broadway and at present, if you fancy a trip to the capital during the Easter holidays, you will find a host of top class musical entertainment waiting for you.

In the limited time that you may have available to you, which one to choose is going to be the thing. Playing at the Novella Theatre is the favourite of young and old Mamma Mia featuring superbly performed ABBA tracks, all set on a Greek Island.

If Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is more to your liking, then the Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre is playing to full houses, telling the story of a group from the “wrong side of the tracks” set in New Jersey.

Still a huge hit and playing at the Victoria Palace is Billy Elliot, a great story line about a miner’s young son, set during the time of the miners’ strike, who prefers ballet to the boxing ring; a sure fire winner.

Still running and the second longest running West End musical of all time is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, playing to packed houses at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Great family entertainment is on show at the Theatre Royal where child performers are at their best in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Really great entertainment and a big hit with a huge dollop of sentimentality added.

Thriller Live on show at Lyric Theatre is sure to be a huge success with all of Michael Jackson fans, with all of his hits in one complete show, dance routines and of course the moonwalk are in there.

These are just a handful of wonderful musical shows that can entertain you during the evening on a trip to London, and with the West End you can always be sure of a great dinner to celebrate afterwards.

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St Patrick’s Day Parade in London

Posted on Mar 13, 2014 | 0 comments

It may be a bit late for you to get to London for this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, and one thing is sure, if you cannot be in Dublin in Ireland for the vent, then there is no better place than our own London.

This year marks the thirteen year that more than 100,000 happy people watch and celebrate as only the Irish can, in what is a great family friendly day out in the capital.

The event is free and this year is celebrated on Sunday March the 16th when a huge gathering begins at noon with carnival floats, marching bands and happy people as it makes its joyous way from Piccadilly Circus to Whitehall. It then starts the celebrations in earnest in Trafalgar Square with fabulous Irish misc, dancing comedy and much more.

In Trafalgar Square you will be treated to the timing and enthusiastic dancing from the Riverdance Company. There is plenty of food on offer at stalls and sellers in the food market; a comedy tent is open for the children as well as a programme of films from the nearby Prince Charles Cinema.

This event is just one of the many attractions that are taking part in London during March. The annual Ideal Home exhibition is on for the last two weeks in the month at Earls Court for all those wonderful ideas for homemaking. To view a rarely seen collection of dazzling jewels, the Museum of London is exhibiting the Cheapside hoard, an extraordinary collection of 16th and early 17th century jewels and gemstones, discovered in 1912 buried in a cellar on Cheapside and this is the first time it has been seen in its entirety and is on until the 27th April.

For “petrol heads” and Bond aficionados the London Film Museum is exhibiting the largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles, and these will be on display for the first time in London from 21 March until the 31st December.

As always, these are just a few of the very many things that the visitor to London can see when they visit, not forgetting the whole West End theatre experience and some of the best restaurants in the world.

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The A-Z is the best way to get around London

Posted on Feb 28, 2014 | 0 comments

When you take you trip to see the sights of London, or to go to a show, do not forget your A-Z as it is still the best way to navigate around the capital. Yes most of us have smartphones that have Google maps, but, taking out the old faithful book is still the most favoured.

Whilst in London you could go and see the musical which celebrates the woman credited with popularising A-Z city map books. The musical is named the A-Z of Mrs P, the star is Peep Show actor Isy Suttie, and it tells the story of Phyllis Pearsall, this lady was responsible for the publication of the hugely popular London A-Z she was also the founder of the successful Geographer’s A-Z Map Company, the company is still responsible today for producing these London maps as well as those of other British cities.

The book also shows tube stations so when you are getting about London and want to visit a certain attraction such as the British Museum, or Madame Tussaud’s you will find the nearest tube station to the attraction and an easy way to get there of foot when you exit the tube.

So do not become frustrated by your smartphone or new tablet running out of battery power, or finding yourself in a 3G black hole and wishing you had left the book behind, it is your best friend when on a visit to London.

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London has a spring in its step

Posted on Feb 23, 2014 | 0 comments

You would imagine after all the celebrations and carnivals that have taken place in London over the last year or so, including a Royal wedding the Queen’s jubilee and not forgetting the very successful Olympic Games, that London would begin to look drab.

Not so, in fact far from it London has a real spring in its step now that springtime is nearly upon us. The Victorian railway stations are positively sparkling, and now Kings Cross can compete with its next door neighbour St. Pancras, home of course of Eurostar.

Bang on schedule the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has new sections being added and the map of London’s tourist areas is getting bigger as the move towards the east of the city begin to take on new developments. In fact cranes and construction is growing a pace and as ever you theatre is alive and very well, restaurants continue to invite hungry people to sample their intention cuisine.

Spring is in fact a very good time to visit London; it’s quieter than the summer holiday period and getting about London is very easy, particularly by underground or even bus. For even a short stay, if you intend to travel and see various places in the capital then buy an oyster card, the charges vary depending on which zones you want to travel in. For full information visit tfl.gov.uk all the rates are shown and you can even buy it online or at any station.

Shorter and direct travel from your hotel, station to anywhere in London, take the famous black cab its quick, they know just where they are going, thanks to the in depth training, but are on the expensive side, but you will get there and safely.

Getting to London for most of the country is bets by train as it takes you into the heart of the capital and you onward journey can be made usually by underground or by black cab. London in the spring is inviting you to see it in all its glorious colour, particularly the parks, which in spring, they are at their best.

Picture: stewartmorris

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Upcoming events in London

Posted on Feb 15, 2014 | 0 comments

There is always something to do or to see in London, each week a new festival, exhibition or event takes place, but it is worthwhile looking ahead and planning, you can ensure that your favourite hotel is booked and perhaps plan to take the children to something during a half term break.

May is a particularly good month the visit the capital and one event that booking ahead for is a wise option, is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which this year is to be held from the 20 May 2014 to 24 May and along with all the magnificent flowers on display the Great Pavilion is paying homage to this year to the centenary of the First World War. There are to be poppies and other representations of this period. Check out the herb garden inspired by the famous little character Peter Rabbit created by Beatrix Potter. The exhibition is always tremendously popular with 157,000 visitors annually, so book your tickets now.

On the same scene of conflict, during May HMS Belfast which is moored on Queen’s Walk on the Thames, is hosting celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the D Day landings; it is well worth a look around this ship to see just what men endured on Arctic convoys and in wartime Britain. On a different note and great fun for the kids is a visit to Legoland at Windsor, well worth the trip out of the centre, but a never to be forgotten experience for young and old alike.

Take time out and plan your trip to London, no matter what time of year you choose to visit, there is always something on.

Picture: Sergio Alcantara Fernandez

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Visiting London? There’s an app for that!

Posted on Feb 6, 2014 | 0 comments

London is a great city to visit, but it can be a bit daunting for those who have never visited before because of the sheer size of the city and the amount of things to do. Here is our list of top smartphone apps to help you get the best out of your London trip.

Official London AppOfficial London App

Run in association with the visitlondon.com website, the Official London App provides you with all of London’s great attractions in one place. See what’s on in the city on a specific day, places to visit including free attractions, museums and galleries, and use the interactive map to see where you are in the city and if there are any recommended events or sights nearby. Available for iOS and Android devices.

 

 

 

 

 

Barclays Bikes AppBarclays Bikes App

What to explore the city by bike? Then the Barclays Bike app can help. This app helps you to find the nearest bike and docking station, plan routes and also gives you turn by turn directions to your destination.

What’s more, this app allows you to save your favourite routes and places, and can also recommend some of the best cycle routes in the city. There is also an option to share your routes with your friends and discover where the locals like to cycle. Available for iOS and Android devices.

 

 

 

 

Street Art London AppStreet Art London App

London is famous for its street art, although it isn’t exactly easy to find. The Street Art London App displays the locations of hundreds of street art locations and is updated on a regular basis. You can filter the map by artists or artwork and has a preview picture of the work so you can see it before you get there.

You can even share the pieces you find with your friend straight from the app on Facebook, Twitter or email. The Street Art London App is available for iOS devices only.

 

 

 

 

Hailo Black Cab AppHailo Black Cab App

This handy free app allows you to order a black cab to your current destination at the touch of a button. The app will tell you how long the taxi will be, so you never have to stand out in the rain flailing your hands around anymore. Cash or card payment is accepted and the receipt is emailed to you instantly should you need it. Available for iOS and Android devices.

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