Free attractions in London for the whole family

Posted on Jul 18, 2014 | 0 comments

London is a great city, with plenty to do for the whole family. Here are our top London attractions that you can visit for free:

British Museum

British Museum

The British Museum has a stunning range of artefacts spanning over two million years of human evolution and was recently named as the most visited visitor attraction in the UK last year.

Marvel at the ancient mummies of Egypt and explore stunning collections from throughout history, all under one roof. The museum currently has a Pompeii exhibition cataloguing the catastrophic events that happened after Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79.

Other exhibitions currently on at the museum include netsuke and Japanese men’s fashion, how Germany saw the First World War and the gems of Chinese paintings.

Venue Address:

British Museum

Great Russell Street

London

WC1B 3DG

Opening Hours:

Open daily 10:00 – 17:30 (Fridays open till 20:30)

Admission:

Free

Imperial War Museum London

IWM London

The Imperial War Museum London will re-open on the 19th July 2014 with new galleries and exhibitions to improve its visitor experience. Founded in 1917 to record the military war effort and British and its empire’s sacrifices during the First World War, the museum now features collections from all conflicts involving British and Commonwealth forces since 1914.

As prat of its £40 million expansion, The Imperial War Museum London features the ground-braking First World War Galleries which chronicles the story of the First World War through the lives of those who experienced it, and Truth & Memory: British Art of the First World War – a stunning collection of powerful artworks painted by First World War artists.

Venue Address:

Imperial War Museum London

Lambeth Road

London

SE1 6HZ

Opening Hours:

Open daily 10:00 – 16:00

Admission:

Free

National Gallery

National Gallery

The National Gallery has a collection of over 2,000 paintings dating from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century by some of the most iconic artists in history. Art lovers will be inspired by this stunning collection which incorporates paintings by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Botticelli.

The National Gallery also features various exhibitions throughout the year, at the moment they include Making Colour, an exhibition teaching visitors about how paints and colours were made throughout history including surprising materials that were used to make certain pigments.

The national Gallery aims to study and care for these priceless pieces of art, while giving its visitors the best possible access to the paintings.

Venue Address:

The National Gallery

Trafalgar Square

London

WC2N 5DN

Opening Hours:

Open daily 10:00 – 16:00 (Fridays open till 21:00

Admission:

Free

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A beach in London – you better believe it!

Posted on Jul 9, 2014 | 0 comments

Do you live in London or are you visiting the city but can’t make it to the beach? Don’t worry, the beach will come to you! From the 26th July till the 23rd of August the annual Camden Beach event takes place at the Roundhouse.

Attracting over 40,000 visitors each year, Camden Beach is set to be even bigger and better than before, with 900 square meters of the finest sand, restaurants and bars all with a summer theme. There is a range of different activities to see and do such as live music events, fantastic restaurants and bars and chilling by the swimming pool.

Camden Beach is free to enter and is open from 5pm – 11pm Mondays and 12pm – 11pm Tuesday to Sunday. Here are some of the highlights of the beach:

Tiki Hut

Enjoy a mouth-watering cocktail at the original urban beach bar – open every day.

Rum Shack-a-lack

Another great cocktail bar situated in a genuine rum shack – open Monday, Saturday and Sunday.

Dog House

Hungry? Then the Doghouse has you sorted. Offering a range of gourmet hotdogs and fresh salads for you to enjoy from the comfort of your deckchair – open Tuesday to Sunday.

Pork BBQ Bar

This revamped shipping container is the best place to find a pulled pork sandwich and a beer in the city – open every day.

For more information about the event and to see what else is on head to the Roundhouse website.

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Classic books reimagined as London benches

Posted on Jul 7, 2014 | 0 comments

As a part of the Books about Town project 50 unique BookBench sculptures have been created depicting some of the most iconic books in the world. Among the books depicted are How To Train Your Dragon, The Canterbury Tales and Around the world in Eighty Days.

Designed to look like open books and hand painted by a team of well renowned artists, the initiative, set up by the National Literacy Trust have placed 50 BookBenches throughout London and will be on show till the 15th September 2014.

James Bond stories

How To Train Your Dragon creator Cressida Cowell talked about the event saying, “I am so excited to have designed a How to Train Your Dragon book bench and to be part of the National Literacy Trust’s Books about Town campaign to celebrate the wealth of writing and illustrating talent in this country,” said Cowell, who is known for illustrating her own books.

“I am hoping Books about Town will remind Londoners on the streets of the joy of reading books.”

Other literature heroes are also represented such as James Bond, Hercules Poirot and Sherlock Holmes for visitors to find throughout the city. The benches will be auctioned off at the Southbank Centre on the 7th of October and the proceeds will help the National Literacy Trust tackle illiteracy in disadvantaged communities across the UK.

Shakespeare's London

Head to the books about town website for more information and to see where the benches are situated in London.

Have you seen any of these colourful benches yet? Send us your pictures and we’ll feature them on our site.

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A hotel perfectly placed for sightseeing

Posted on May 28, 2014 | 0 comments

The Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, is a five-star hotel situated in the West End, in a perfect location to access all of London’s top attractions and shopping opportunities, and within easy distance of public transport routes to take guests further afield. Sitting adjacent to Park Lane, places like Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, and Marble Arch are just a short walk away, while the shopping areas of Bond Street, Oxford Street, and Soho are just around the corner.

The hotel has 434 rooms and suites, all of which have a view of the green area of Portman Square, the hotel’s inner courtyard, or the London streets. The rooms are decorated in a contemporary style with shades of calming greens and blues, and natural tones of beige and taupe. In addition, there are 50 suites, including a Royal and Presidential suite. These have luxurious bedrooms, spacious bathrooms, and comfortable lounges. All are equipped with the latest technology to make meetings and leisure time enjoyable and easy.

Those looking for a more personalised style of service can opt for the hotel’s Regency Club, the Hyatt’s concept of a ‘hotel within a hotel’. With this accommodation available on the 7th, 8th and 9th floors of the hotel, guests can enjoy higher levels of comfort and service apart from the rest of the hotel’s residents.

In accordance with the law, the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill is a non-smoking hotel, but designated smoking areas are provided in the front of the hotel in the Forecourt Terrace and The Churchill Bar Terrace.

The hotel has several eateries serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Montagu offers seasonal British cuisine with a modern twist, served in an open plan kitchen and dining area. The Chef’s Table offers guests a chance to get up close to chefs as they cook their food to order, whilst the Locanda Locatelli is a family-run restaurant serving classic Italian food.

Amenities at the hotel include a 24-hour fitness centre with state-of-the-art cardiovascular machines, with adjacent showers and changing rooms. In addition, the hotel staff willingly helps guests plan their sightseeing days.

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A bird’s-eye view of London

Posted on May 18, 2014 | 0 comments

Get a bird’s-eye view of London by taking a trip on the iconic London Eye. A distinctive feature of the capital city’s skyline, the London Eye is simply the most magical way to experience London. Enter into one of the Eye’s capsules to enjoy a 30-minute ride that can be tailored to suit any occasion.

Standard tickets include access to a capsule’s interactive touch screen guides, which have been designed to enhance the guest’s experience of the view they see before them, touching on key landmarks and providing a 3D view of each one. There is also entry to a 4D cinema experience and with a fast track ticket, a free 360-degree mini guide. The London Eye also operates in the evening, offering a panoramic view of London by night.

The London Eye is the perfect way to mark a special occasion, by hiring one of the capsules for a private party. Romantics can order a capsule with champagne and chocolate or a high tea. Those who have always wanted to have a wine, champagne, or chocolate tasting experience can do so in a private capsule, while experiencing spectacular views of London. Those who want a small party and a truly customised ride can work with the London Eye team to deliver a unique selection of food and drink for their guests.

The London Eye also runs special packages for big calendar events, such as Easter and Christmas, and offers discounted prices for combination tickets to other affiliated attractions.

Picture: tjuel

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The return of the bunny boiler

Posted on May 8, 2014 | 0 comments

The notorious 1980s sex thriller comes to the London stage with a new reworking of Fatal Attraction. Showing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in south-west London, Fatal Attraction tells the story of a man, Dan Gallagher, who is bored and frustrated by the lack of excitement in his family life, and has a brief and torrid affair with a woman he has only just met. After a weekend of passion, he thinks he can return to his wife and family without suffering any consequences from his affair, but is quickly disillusioned when his mistress, Alex Forrest, starts pursuing him. She turns nasty, becoming obsessed with her lover, claiming she has become pregnant by him, and seeks revenge when he fails to submit to her demands. With Alex endangering Dan’s family, Fatal Attraction is a story that explores how an ill-considered sexual encounter can quickly become a nightmare scenario for a married man and his family.

The play has been adapted for the stage by James Dearden, who wrote the original film screenplay, and is directed by Trevor Nunn, a director renowned for his work with both Shakespeare and contemporary drama. It stars Natascha McElhone of Californication fame, as the obsessed and vengeful Alex Forrest, the Bourne Ultimatum’s Mark Bazeley as Dan Gallagher, the man caught between two women, and Sex and the City’s Kristin Davis, appearing for the first time on the West End stage, as Beth Gallagher, his suffering wife.

Fatal Attraction runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from 8th March 2014 to 21st June 2014.

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Handy tips for avoiding excess baggage charges

Posted on Apr 29, 2014 | 0 comments

Millions of tourists travel to London each year to take in the sights and sounds of this great city, only to find that on the way home their baggage exceeds the weight limit and are charged a huge fee by their airline. It can happen to anyone, so what can you do about it? Check out our hand guide to avoiding excess baggage fees:

  • Invest in some lightweight luggage – modern luggage has become stronger and lighter over the past few years and if you travel a lot the initial investment will pay you back after a few holidays.
  • Use travel toiletries – travel toiletries are smaller and therefore lighter than standard toiletries and take up far less room in your suitcase. The great thing about these mini substitutes is that you can leave them behind after your trip with the minimum of waste, freeing up more space in your luggage.
  • Check your airlines limits – every airline is different when it comes to baggage limits and carry on dimensions. It is recommended that you check your limits before travelling.
  • Check if your accommodation has everything you need, you don’t need to pack your hair dryer or heavy towel if the hotel supplies them for you.
  • Ditch the books and buy an e-reader. E-readers are very reasonably priced nowadays and can store hundreds of books, meaning that you don’t have to pack your heavy paperbacks.
  • Think about shipping bulky or heavy souvenirs home instead of cramming them in your luggage.
  • Weight your luggage before you leave for the airport, but bear in mind that all scales are slightly different, so try to be a bit under as opposed to bang on the weight.
  • If in doubt take a few items out of your luggage, you can always wash your clothes when abroad.

If you have followed our tips and your baggage is still too heavy it may be worth considering a specialist company to transport your luggage. Company’s such as Send My Bag can collect and deliver your luggage from anywhere in the world and is much cheaper than the airline will charge in excess baggage fees.

Picture: Kate Ter Haar

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A place with more than a thousand years of history – The Tower of London

Posted on Apr 27, 2014 | 0 comments

One of London’s top tourist attractions, the Tower of London has stood near Tower Hill for more than a thousand years. Its fearsome reputation as a place of torture and execution belies its service as a royal residence fit to house kings and queens, a fortress to protect its inhabitants against enemies and rebels, and an armoury for the capital’s weapons. It has also been chosen as one of London’s most secure buildings, being trusted with keeping the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

Visit the complex’s largest and oldest building, the White Tower, built to strike terror into the city’s inhabitants. Here, visitors can see the 300 year old exhibition known as the Line of Kings, as well as exhibits from the Royal Armoury, including armour for both men and horses, as well as kings, including Henry VIII, Charles I, and James II.

The Medieval Palace offers visitors a chance to see how people lived during the Middle Ages, with chambers decorated to show how Henry III and Edward I would have seen them when they stayed at the Tower, as well as items which belonged to the Yeoman Warders and their families.

The Crown Jewels is one of the treasures of England, and a newly designed exhibition shows them off at their spectacular best. Still used by the sovereign today, the collection includes some of the most famous precious stones in the world, including the Koh-i-Nûr and Cullinan diamonds. Here, visitors can see the solid gold crown of St. Edward, and Queen Victoria’s small diamond crown.

Visit the Fusilier Museum to find out about the famous infantry regiment. The Officers’ Mess is still used for formal dinners and special ceremonies. Highlights include 12 Victoria Cross Medals, only given out by the sovereign to soldiers who have demonstrated exceptional valour in battle. There is also an Eagle Standard of one of Napoleon’s army regiments that was captured by the Royal Fusiliers in 1809.

Chat with the Yeoman Warders in their distinctive Beefeater red and black uniforms, or take one of their tours to find out more about the Tower.

Picture: xiquinhosilva

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Bad habits committed by holiday home guests

Posted on Apr 22, 2014 | 0 comments

London and the surrounding areas are full of some of the best holiday homes and apartments in the UK, but not everyone treats them with the respect they deserve.

A new study by a holiday home insurance company has found some of the most common bad habits committed by holiday home guests. The study asked over 1,900 individuals about their holiday home habits with some surprising results.

A staggering 73% of participants admitted that they treat their holiday accommodation worse than they would their own home; here are the top 10 bad behaviours found by the study:

  1. Leaving the heating/ air conditioning on when out (47%)
  2. Hide or fail to replace broken or damaged items (40%)
  3. Leaving the doors unlocked when out (35%)
  4. Getting make-up and fake-tan on the bed sheets (33%)
  5. Failing to clean the accommodation at all during their stay (32%)
  6. Excessive use of white goods including the washing machine and dishwasher (31%)
  7. Allowing their pets on the furniture and beds (29%)
  8. Leaving the spare key to the accommodation outside of the property (25%)
  9. Leaving appliances such as TV’s, radio’s etc. on when out (22%)
  10. Leaving waste/ rubbish in home when they leave (19%)

These are some staggering results and goes to show that the majority of people staying in holiday homes or apartments have a lack of respect for their surroundings. Hopefully this article will change some of you minds and help you to be a bit more respectful of the time and effort it takes to run holiday accommodations.

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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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