The British capital is a fabulous holiday destination to visit any time of the year. London offers visitors an incredible array of experiences that have made it the number one holiday spot in the UK. From medieval architectural marvels to visiting its cultural gems, there are loads of places to visit and things to do in town.
To truly enjoy a memorable trip staying at luxury accommodation in London would be a nice way to pamper yourself.
Those looking to enjoy boutique comforts and amenities at an affordable price will find the Park Grand Hotel London an excellent choice in terms of price and ambience. Besides its central location also places it in close proximity of the best shopping and Hyde Park restaurants.
A few of the family-friendly activities to enjoy in the city include:
Some of the fun things to do in town are:
Go on a Harry Potter tour:
One of the best ways to entertain the kids would be to take them on a Harry Potter Studio Tour. London is home to several locations that have featured in the Harry Potter movies and a tour of the studio where most of the movie was filmed would be something the kids will enjoy. The Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour is very popular with families visiting the city. Book your tickets in advance to enjoy a behind the scene look at the movie sets, props, costumes and memorabilia of the movie series. A fun experience for the family to enjoy together.
Enjoy an aerial view of central London:
If you want to experience a totally unique perspective of the city and its famous landmarks, taking a ride aboard the London Eye would be a not-to-miss experience. The massive Ferris wheel was added to the city skyline in 2000 to make the advent of the new millennium. Although it was initially meant to serve as a temporary installation, it became such a hit with the locals and tourists to the city that it was decided to make it a permanent fixture. There are 32 cubicles that are transparent with a ride lasting about 30 minutes for the wheel to make one complete revolution. It offers unique views overlooking the city and its major landmarks and is a must-have experience when on holiday in London.
Enjoy a visit to any of the royal parks:
When the weather is warm and sunny, make it a point to visit any of the Royal Parks in the city. London is home to many gardens and parks and is one of the greenest cities in Europe. Head to any of the parks in central London to relax and spend a few quiet hours away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Hyde Park would be a great place to explore with a wide range of activities on offer at the park. If nothing else get a picnic hamper and spend time with the family picnicking amidst the stunning natural beauty of Hyde Park.
Those planning a visit to London in spring will find the city at its most scenic and colourful. Along with the parks and gardens in full bloom, there are numerous events that take place at this part of the year. Spring and summer are the busiest part of the year with tourists arriving in droves to explore the city and its beautiful outdoor locations.
Travellers looking for a suitable location to stay will find Hyde Park accommodations well suited to their needs. Staying at a Hyde Park London hotel offers convenient access to the best of shopping, entertainment and major tourist spots.
Some of the best locations to explore near the Park Grand London Hyde Park hotel include:
A picturesque spot near Covent Garden, it is home to a number of quaint cafes and bars. With eateries like Bill’s serving great food and equally stylish interiors, the yard adds to the beauty of the place. One of the most colourful locations in Covent Garden, the area is home to ample greenery and flowers that make it a beautiful spot for photography. Neil’s Yard is a perfect location for photography for all social media enthusiasts.
St Paul’s Cathedral:
With its already magnificent interior décor, St Paul’s Cathedral is even more spectacular when the rays of sunlight filter through the windows enhancing the beauty of the cathedral. On a bright sunny day, the beauty of the dome and the beautiful architecture combined with its brilliant white colour makes it a very majestic sight to behold.
Located in Richmond Park, Isabella Plantation is one of the most picturesque locations for a photo shoot. The plantation is home to an assortment for colourful flowers that are in full bloom in the spring season. Among the most beautiful locations to visit in Richmond Park.
In close proximity of the Park Grand hotel is the very famous and beautiful Hyde Park. Home to various memorials, installations and other landmarks the park also houses the tranquil and serene Serpentine Lake. Art lovers will enjoy spending time at the Serpentine Gallery that showcases among the displays of contemporary art in the city. A visit to London must include a tour of the most famous park in the British Capital.
The weekends are when Portobello Road in Notting Hill comes alive with shoppers thronging to the area. There is an array of stalls selling a wide variety of vibrantly colourful flowers. Equally charming are the terraced houses in a variety of pastel colours that add to the beauty of the place.
Columbia Road Flower Market:
Those visiting London in spring will enjoy a tour of Columbia Road Flower Market. Located in East London, the market hosts a Sunday flower market in the mornings on the weekend. It is a great spot to browse even if you do not want to buy anything and also among the most scenic locations in this part of London.
Besides the shopping, the museums and the historic landmarks, London offers a thriving nightlife for its guests. Whether you’re looking for a pre-dinner cocktail, a post-theatre glass of wine or a happy hour pint, there is no shortage of places to grab a drink. Here are the trendiest bars in London right now.
Bloom recently opened in Kensington, branding themselves as a no-frills neighbourhood hang out. Decor is stylish, cocktails are delicate, and the music is sultry. There is no dress code and no guest list at this casual joint. Rock up for a tipple before dinner at The Grand Restaurant Paddington, or head here later at night if you feel like going for a boogey.
2 Kensington High Street, Kensington, W8 4PT
This was once the most infamous public gents bathroom in London’s theatre land, and supposedly Oscar Wilde was a patron. Nowadays, the intimate basement cocktail bar Cellar Door is a swanky burlesque joint. The bartenders will whip up any cocktail your heart desires, whether it’s on their menu or not. You can even try snuff here, and sometimes the venue hosts film screenings.
Zero Aldwych, Aldwych, WC2R 0HS
Taking the place of a former swingin’ sixties haunt, the Pinstripe Club, Disrepute is an elegant basement cocktail bar. A very classy affair, all cocktails on the menu are paired with literary tales. Disrepute admits non-members when tables are vacant so give them a call from the Park Grand Paddington Court Hotel to ask for a space.
4 Kingly Court, Soho W1F 9RR
Cirque Le Soir
Open since 2009, this fiery bar still blazes ahead of the crowd when it comes to a unique night out in London! As you sip your cocktail, fire eaters, aerial performers, burlesque dancers and circus stars will dazzle you with their skills. Make the most of deals on London hotels and take yourself out for a night you won’t forget!
15-21 Ganton Street, Soho, W1F 9BN
Taking its inspiration from the gangster noir of the 1940s and 50s, Murder Inc presents a glamorous, moody, yet relaxed vibe in their cocktail lounge. Cocktails on the ‘hit-list’ are refined and sophisticated, with tongue-in-cheek names such as Miss Demeanor, Sweet Nothing and Orange Is The New Black.
36 Hanway Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 1UP
The Vault of Soho
The Vault is a cocktail bar hidden beneath the oldest whiskey shop in London, Milroy’s of Soho. The entrance is hidden behind a bookcase, and once down in the basement you’ll find a chic bar which serves quality cocktails - whiskey and much more!
3 Greek Street, Soho, W1D 4NX
Discount Suit Company
No suits for sale here, this is a dimly-lit cocktail bar with an exposed brickwork lounge dotted with Motown records. Next door to a former 1980s tailoring shop, the bar was originally its stockroom. Cocktails are delicious and can be paired with cheeses from their menu.
29A Wentworth Street, Spitalfields E1 7TB
London has been described as the city that never sleeps. And it doesn’t. There’s always something going on and things to do and see. Though a heads up, if you do want somewhere to sleep you have to check out the Barbican Rooms Hotel for luxury at its best. Why? Because it’s a good place to camp, relax and sleep in before venturing out at night.
The allure of London by night
It doesn’t matter where you stay in London because at nightime, it’s likely that the lights won’t go off. In a good way of course. For instance if you’re staying in 5 star accommodation London City, then you’ll be prone to seeing some great lights from your hotel window. The lights of iconic landmarks in the distance, the buzz of a vibrant dining scene and much more. Just go outside and explore!
Landmarks by night
Seeing some of the capital city’s landmarks during the day is one thing. But at night time it’s completely different. For instance if you head to Tower Bridge or the Millenium Bridge, you’ll see it lit up like something in a movie. Which makes it even more appealing to walk over! Even better, if you book yourself onto the London Eye at night time, you’ll get an amazing view of the Southbank. All the restaurants, bars, street performers (if they’re still out), all performing their own light show for you. We’d recommend heading to Sushi Samba for a night to remember, not just because of the dining experience but because you can also take in the London skyline at night, with views including the impressive Gherkin in the not-so-far-distance.
Going out on ground level
Get lost in the crowd. Well, don’t actually get lost. Just enjoy the buzz of a bustling crowd in areas such as Soho or Chinatown or Leicester Square. All the buildings nearby are lit up, enticing you in. And with so many different pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs to choose from, you’ll find something new each and every time you head out. Or there’s always McDonald’s.
Business doesn’t mean business
Canary Wharf may be home to big businesses and might only remind you that you need to check your HSBC account, but at night time it’s completely different. Looking upon it from the other side of the river is like looking at the Godfather skyline imagery - bright, visceral skyscrapers. Head into Canary Wharf and see for yourself that it’s not all work and no play, with bars and restaurants to visit.
Extra curricular activities
As well as all the things you can see just by setting foot outside your door, there are lots of night time specific events too. Some are held in museums such as the Natural History Museum or the V&A so you can enjoy culture whenever you like. Maybe you’ll do a Jack the Ripper tour in the East End? Or you might just find a flyer for an all-night rave at 93 Feet East down Brick Lane. Whatever your vibe, you’ll attune to it at night time.
Before you get started, don’t forget to look up City Break London Packages for some great deals. This way you can book your accommodation at great prices and also benefit from some extra discounts and deals too.
East-London is fast becoming the culinary capital of London. As you make your way to Spitalfields, you will find this much-desired dark wood-panelled restaurant that is set in a classic townhouse dating back to the 1600s. It is very often in London that you can expect to find historic and family-owned establishments that have made their way through generations. The English restaurant is no exception and certainly no stranger when it comes to producing the best in British cuisine. The restaurant setting is classic and tucked away in a part of Spitalfields that avoids the rowdy crowds. Visitors a treated to a warm abience with its white linen tablecloths, traditional table setting and mahogany furniture.
What to eat
The menu comprises of a wide selection of British favourites with recipes that have been in the family for centuries. The restaurant prides itself in utilising fresh local ingredients, and all food is made to order.
Some of the dishes that you can expect to find from the breakfast menu include A vegetarian breakfast of eggs of your choice, halloumi cheese, fried mushrooms, grilled vine tomatoes, potato cake, homemade baked beans and toast. From the dinner menu start of your experience with Seared scallops with Parma ham, parsnip puree and bottarga followed by a main of Pan-fried pork chop with mashed potato, calvados poached apple and wild mushroom sauce. A great way to round-up any dinner is with a sweet serving of dessert, in this case, Mulled poached pear, caramel sauce, ice cream.
The restaurant features a comprehensive wine menu that includes a range of local wines as some of the best imported French wines. Ask your waitor/ waitress to assist you in selecting the wine best suited to compliment your dish. There is also a selection of sparkling wined and champagne to kick off that special evening.
When to come
The restaurant is opened for breakfast right through to dinner with breakfast hours running from 8 am - 12 pm on weekdays and 10 am - 12:30 pm on weekends. As a member of the Grand Royale London Hyde Park Reward club, you might want to skip breakfast at the English restaurant and opt for the complimentary hotel breakfast. Not all is lost as you can head to the restaurant to enjoy a delicious dinner from the restaurant's al a carte menu. There is an option for a private dinner seating, or you can choose to book the restaurant out for your next private function.
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 11 pm
Saturday 9.30 am - 11 pm and Sunday 9.30 am - 7 pm.
The restaurant takes reservations via their website; alternatively, members of the Premier Rewards can request the hotel concierge to arrange table bookings for you and your party. The nearest tube station to the is Liverpool Street Station and guests at Grand Royale London Hyde Park can take a short tube ride to the restaurant.
Address: 50/52 Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, London E1 6AG
The London restaurant scene is known internationally to be thriving and full of delicious dishes from all cultures and cuisines. Offering many options from Michelin star restaurants to quirky pop-ups, there is plenty to experiment with and plenty of choices to suit everyone.
Whether you are looking for a birthday meal, a special celebration gathering or simply a unique place to eat, here are some of the best restaurants near The Arch that may take your fancy:
The Crescent Restaurant – Montcalm Marble Arch Hotel (0.0 miles)
This restaurant is a very elegant venue inside the Montcalm Hotel Marble Arch. With high ceilings and a marble floor, The Crescent is a wonderful venue to enjoy a traditional English afternoon tea, you can even upgrade to include champagne if required. Children also receive special treatment when dining here as a child’s afternoon tea also comes with a Montcalm teddy bear for them to take home as a souvenir. An afternoon tea here would be a great addition to a spa day onsite at ‘Spa at The Montcalm’, a luxury spa London prides itself on.
Hankies Marble Arch – Montcalm Marble Arch Hotel (0.0 miles)
Hankies is a street food restaurant that serves Indian Tapas and speciality dishes such as Roomali Roti. The dress code here is smart casual, no trainers, no flip flops and no shorts. There are a selection of menus to choose from aside from the main menu such as a party menu, dessert menu, drinks menu and a Sunday brunch menu.
Bernardi’s – Seymour Street, London (0.1 miles)
Bernardi’s is an Italian restaurant that promotes casual yet elegant dining. With seasonal dishes on offer, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner every day and also serves brunch on weekends. There is also a cocktail bar that has a daily happy hour from 3 pm – 6:30 pm. Bernardi’s is a popular restaurant with Londoners and tourists so booking is beneficial, but the staff will always try to accommodate walk-ins.
Daisy Green of Portman Village – Seymour Street, London (0.1 miles)
The Daisy Green brings the Australian food and coffee scene to London. You can visit Daisy Green to get your first coffee of the day followed by a bottomless brunch. A unique and uplifting experience, Daisy Green is a great place to dine and this is quickly discovered by both locals and visitors alike. The venue on Seymour Street has been decorated with Alice in Wonderland as its inspiration and this theme compliments the charming Grade II listed buildings character.
Boxcar Butcher and Grill – New Quebec Street, Marylebone, London (0.1 miles)
This restaurant uses ethically sourced produce from British farms. Their most popular dishes on offer include grilled steak, signature burgers and homemade pies. The restaurant is open everyday for morning pastries, lunch, dinner, a Saturday brunch and Sunday roasts. A brunch here can also be served with bottomless prosecco and bloody Marys so it is definitely a great venue for meeting up with friends and getting the weekend off to a great start.
St Patrick’s Day is an annual cultural celebration, where billions of people take to the streets dressed head-to-toe in green across the world to celebrate the Patron Saint of Ireland - St Patrick. Celebrations generally include parades, drinking, dancing and general group socialising on the streets of the city. If you are fortunate enough to be in Japan in March, then you can join in the festivities too! We know, an Irish celebration...in Japan? Well, yep! This is an event which is celebrated in most of the major cities throughout the world - so green suit up and follow our tips for how to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Japan, Irish style.
Join the Party
So, first things first, when do you need to be there? Well, the major celebration for St Patrick’s Day in Tokyo is the “I love Ireland” Festival on the 14th and 15th of March. By checking into the Prince Hotel that week, you will be able to experience all the must-see sights of the city, then take the weekend to get your Irish Jig on and party the days away. The I Love Ireland Festival takes place in Yoyogi Park and celebrates all the best aspects of Irish culture, from food and drinks to dancing and music. The festival then takes to the streets for a parade along Omotesando Dori on the sunday, which promises to provide plenty of spectacular performances, costumes and insta-worthy moments making a great weekend in Tokyo.
The Emerald Ball
If you are looking for a slightly fancier St Patrick’s Day celebration in Tokyo, then we recommend that you book a seat at The Emerald Ball. Get glammed up in green in your Prince Hotel accommodation, set out to one of the restaurants holding an Irish theme for the weekend, then head over to the stunning Emerald Ball. Here, you can enjoy world-class musical performances which celebrate the culture of Ireland in a stylish concert hall - which is great for those who are not such big fans of parades.
St Patrick’s Day Parade
There is nothing like a good old fashioned parade. We mentioned this earlier but The Parade is the most iconic part of the festivities throughout the world, so we’re going to go into a little more detail for you. Tickets are only Y500 to join in, which allows you to dance alongside the brightly coloured performers, animals, musicians and dancers. Take to the streets for 2 hours after the I Love Ireland Festival, and absorb the wonderful positive, buzzing atmosphere, before heading back to the Prince Hotel restaurant for dinner in the capital. If you’re looking for a night on the town after this weekend of celebrations, then head over to Shinjuku where the celebrations will continue into the early hours of the morning. For the ultimate night out experience, try to find a club which serves Guinness! This fun drink challenge still injects the Irish spirit into your night while still allowing you to enjoy the iconic Japanese clubbing experience.
Spring is a beautiful time of year to visit lots of places, and London certainly doesn’t buck the trend. With flowers in bloom and weak spring sunshine, you could argue that it’s the best time of year to visit the hustle and bustle of the UK capital.
Whether you’re new to the city and making the most of London hotels special offers, a returning visitor or even a Londoner yourself, here are three wonderful ways to spend a springtime day in London.
Take a stroll in the park
Fresh but not freezing, spring is the perfect time to get out and about in the great outdoors in England, and that means one thing: the opportunity to explore some of London’s most lovely parks. Whether you’re north, east, south or west, there are lots of green spaces in the city, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
Regent’s Park is home to London Zoo, great for visiting with the kids; Richmond Park is located in the far west, but is well worth the trip for its ‘out of city’ vibe and majestic stags; Greenwich Park and Alexandra Park are the best for city views; and Hyde Park is convenient for those staying in hotels near Paddington London, with its own restaurant, art gallery and boating lake.
Feast on international foods
With winter well and truly in the past, spring is an awesome time of year to tour a few of London’s best markets and sample some of the finest local and international foods they have to offer. Borough, Portobello Road, Brick Lane and Maltby Street Market are all great options.
If you’re a true food fanatic, there are a couple of events taking place this spring which might spark your interest, too: the Eat and Drink Festival will take place at London Olympia from 27th March to 13th April, and restaurant festival, Taste of London, will be held in Regent’s Park from 17th to 21st June.
Fill your day with flowers
When you think of spring, you probably think of budding blossom and blooming flowers - and if that’s what you want, London won’t disappoint. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is taking place from 19th to 23rd May this year, making for the ideal spring day out. Walk amongst a sea of colours as you browse some of the best and most beautiful flowers the show has on display, and explore some of 2020’s climate change-inspired garden designs.
Sound like your cup of tea? You’d probably fancy a visit to Kew Gardens, too. Located in the western suburbs, you can browse tropical plants, Japanese gardens and more, as well as getting to explore the quainter side to city life in London.
If you’re hoping to visit London on a budget and are looking for accommodation Paddington London can be a great option, as it’s an affordable area, despite its proximity to many of the city’s top sights and attractions.
London is the dazzling capital of England. Welcoming in over 30 million visitors each year, it has so many experiences and opportunities available that you could visit 100 times and still not be short of things to do and see. Some come for the Galleries and others for the shopping, but our favourite thing about this wonderful city is the impressive selection of dining experiences that are available to you. London’s population is made up of 270 different Nationalities and some 300 languages are commonly spoken. With this in mind, it is not really a shock that there is such a wide range of culinary opportunities available, from traditional to ingenius fusions. Our favourites of the eating locations in the city have to be in Shoreditch. Read on to discover the best restaurants in Shoreditch.
Dirty Bones Shoreditch
Now, if this is your first time in the city, then we are sure that you will have some very intense sightseeing days scheduled. After hours of walking and exploring the sights, you will inevitably build up quite an appetite. Although you may be tempted to cuddle up and order room service in your 5 star hotel in Shoreditch, however, we recommend that you head to Dirty Bones instead. This American Comfort Food Joint invites you to enjoy the naughtiest of American cuisine in a super stylish yet cosy environment.
The Clove Club
If this is your first time in the UK, then we imagine that you are keen to sample some quintessential British dining. However, once you’ve stuffed yourself on a Sunday Roast and dined like royalty on an Afternoon Tea, we recommend that you book yourself into the Clove Club. A delightful example of fine british cuisine The Clove Club, located inside Shoreditch Town Hall. This wonderful establishment creates delightful british recipes out of “overlooked” ingredients, making for a sustainable and delicious night out from your Montcalm Shoreditch hotel.
Street Food on Brick Lane
Last but not least, we have Brick Lane. If you have a hankering for a curry following an afternoon in M by Montcalm Spa, then you need look no further than this world-famous street. The Bangleshi hub of London, Brick Lane is home to an immense selection of Curry Houses, vintage shops, and, of course, some pretty amazing street food. Both indoor venues and stand-alone stalls provide some of the tastiest in street food dining experiences. This is perfect for those looking for a laid back dinner and a truly authentic experience of the city from a local’s perspective. While you’re there, be sure to put the phone down and take in the sights, because you will be surrounded by some of the most wonderful examples of Street Art in London.
Sometimes, all you need a good pizza. Fortunately for you, there is a wonderful little Italian place just around the corner from your Montcalm Shoreditch accommodation. This establishment as a friendly yet stylish feel to it, making for a great dinner spot in the city.
Have you got a trip to London coming up? If so, you are in for a real treat. The sights of the city are iconic to say the least, and there are so many wonderful opportunities that you could visit 100 times and still never be short of new things to see and do. Although the hustle and bustle of the city can be invigorating to begin, after a few days you may find yourself needing a little peace and quiet - a place you can relax and unwind. Well, if you’re fortunate to be staying in accommodation in Paddington London, then there are plenty of places where you can do just that. So, read on to discover our favourite places to unwind and take a break from the buzz of the city in Paddington.
Our first and a favourite spot for a bit of relaxation is Little Venice. This charming district can be easily found by strolling along the canals from your Park Grand Paddington, then you will reach this quaint part of the city in no time at all. Picture idyllic architecture lined along the canal with little cafes that make you feel as though you’ve been transported to an Italian haven. If the weather allows for it, we recommend that you grab a takeaway before taking a seat in the heart of the district for a great little spot to watch the world go by.
When looking up London Hotel Special Offers before your trip, we highly recommend that you opt for a location in the heart of the city, like Paddington. If you’re fortunate enough to have a sunny afternoon to kill in the city, you should head to the Serpentine Lake, which you can easily reach by taking a walk through Hyde Park. Here, you can relax away from the crowds and feed the ducks which live in this picturesque part of the city. We recommend that you grab some lunch to take away and set yourself up on the lake side, read a book and dine in this beautiful royal park of London. From here, you can also reach the beautiful Serpentine Galleries, which are a great place to relax away from the busy atmosphere of London.
A Spa Experience
When staying at the Park Grand Paddington, you will be in an incredibly cosy yet stylish accommodation that’s just moments away from the must-see sights of the city. Although, when looking for a relaxing experience, you may be tempted to snuggle up and stay inside, we highly recommend that you make a compromise, by having a lie and a late breakfast, before heading out to one of the wonderful spa experiences that Paddington has to offer. Read your body and think about what would benefit you most, then book a treatment in one of the top wellness facilities in the city, to have you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed for the rest of your trip.
It may be only January, but you needn’t wait until mothering Sunday to treat that special woman in your life. Mothers really are worth their weight in gold, from the endless encouragement, countless favours and maybe even babysitting at the drop of a hat, the truth is, we’d be lost without our mums. If you really want to show your mum how special she is to you, there’s no better gift than spending some quality time together, and no better place to do that than in London.
If your budget (and hectic lives!) will allow it, consider making it a trip to remember with an overnight stay too. There are many hotel deals in London available all throughout the year, so be sure to do some research before you commit to a booking, in order to get the best price available. Whilst some people may want a central hotel, others may be more concerned about the star rating, or spa facilities, so try and decide what is most important to you before you begin to search for your accommodation.
Once in London, there’s so much to see and do, that there’s bound to be somewhere absolutely perfect for you and your mum to enjoy together. Whether you want to make memories seeing a west end show together or discover ancient history at one of the city’s fantastic (and free!) museums, London will be sure to delight and entice you. You could probably fit two or three different attractions or venues into a day if you plan meticulously, before topping the day off with an exquisite meal at the Grand Restaurant Paddington. After a sumptuous meal, you’ll be ready for a fantastic night’s sleep at your hotel before rising to discover more of the city’s sights the next day.
Before you check out, be sure to take full advantage of the breakfast facilities that your hotel provides. The Park Grand hotel Paddington Court offers free breakfast to all its’ guests, so eat like queens before you leave- doing so will fuel you up and prevent you spending unnecessarily on snacks throughout the day. It’s also the perfect opportunity to have a good old natter about the previous days’ activities, looking back on a day that will soon become a treasured memory.
If the weather’s kind to you on your day of departure, you could venture out to explore one of London’s well-loved parks. Hyde Park is one of the largest green spaces the city boasts, and its beauty is obvious to all regardless of the season or time of year. A walk around the lake at Hyde Park will also help if you accidentally over-indulged on the pastries at breakfast too!
Wherever you decide to visit within the city, you’ll be guaranteed to come away with memories that will last a lifetime. The only challenge may be finding a time that suits you both to return to discover more of lovely London.
The term ‘dark tourist’ has become a phenomenon and more and more people are visiting sites all over the world that are associated with the macabre. Like most capital cities, London has its fair share of places to visit that will keep any dark tourist happy and this guide gives a brief look into a small selection of sites that will satisfy your curiousity.
The Tyburn Tree
After taking a tube from the Montcalm Hotel Barbican, head to Edgware Road where you will spot a small traffic island near Joe Strummer passage. This may not seem like an obvious dark tourist destination, but it is where the infamous Tyburn Tree once stood, a death spot that claimed the most lives in the whole of the UK. It was the place where many came to be executed but, before their death, they were walked to Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park where they would make their confessions before they were hung. So, while it looks like a little plaque in a big city, it has a very dark history behind it.
Bart’s Pathology Museum
A 14-minute walk away from the Barbican centre parking lies Bart’s Pathology Museum, a place that harbours a unique collection of skeletons. Carla Valentine, the museum’s curator, restructured the entire museum to what you see today with its impressive 5,000 specimens scattered over 3 levels. You can peruse an array of medical specimens including the skull of John Bellingham, who assassinated, British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, and a skeleton of conjoined twins. Just a stone’s throw away from the museum is a dedication to William Wallace, the Scottish freedom fighter who was hung, drawn and quartered near the site where the plaque is placed.
Highgate Cemetery is every dark tourist’s dream destination as not only does it offer a fine selection of deceased famous people for you to visit, but it also has some fantastic superstitious stories surrounding it. It can be found a 40-minute tube ride away from the restaurants London City and you have a choice whether to explore the gravestones yourself searching for the final resting place of George Eliot, Michael Faraday and Karl Marx, or you can take a guided tour; entry to the west side of the cemetery is by guided tour only. The guided tour will also fill you in on the legends surrounding the cemetery such as the story of the vampire that roams Highgate, so beware!
London Hospital Museum
The London Hospital Museum is a place that is filled to the brim with death and intrigue, a dark tourist’s dream. One of its famous pieces is the replica skeleton of John Merrick, the Elephant Man, and it also has an impressive exhibition dedicated to this extraordinary man and his life. It is rumoured that the museum also holds a knife that was used by Jack the Ripper on one of his victims as his murder spree took place only a short distance away from the museum itself. Once you have explored the museum, you can head along to Whitechapel and take a Ripper tour around the sites where Jack committed his crimes before finishing with a drink at the Ten Bells pub, the original pub where many of the victims were last seen.
If you’re heading to the Big Smoke this year and planning to make the most of offers on hotels in London, you should definitely consider spending an evening at a West End show.
Whether that be a musical or a play, London has plenty on offer when it comes to theatre, and there are some fantastic shows flying across the pond from New York this year to make their debuts in the British capital. Here are four Broadway shows you can watch in London in 2020.
Based on Harper Lee’s landmark tale of racial injustice, To Kill a Mockingbird is a courtroom drama that proved Broadway isn’t just for flamboyant musicals. Previews began at the Shubert Theatre in November 2018 and the show opened to rave reviews, so it comes as no surprise that the show is receiving a West End transfer after a continuing successful run.
Set to begin previews at the Gielgud at the end of May this year, Rhys Ifans stars as leading lawyer, Atticus Finch.
Based on one of the most popular Disney stories of the 21st century, Frozen opened on Broadway in March 2018 at the St James Theatre, and fans in the UK have been waiting patiently for its West End transfer ever since.
Well, the wait is almost over, as Princesses Elsa and Anna arrive at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in autumn of this year. Featuring an award-winning score from Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Frozen is the perfect uplifting tale for kids and grown-ups alike.
Based on the 90s romcom of the same name, Pretty Woman officially opened at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre back in August last year. Featuring music from Bryan Adams, this new musical follows the story of beloved characters Vivian and Edward, as they overcome obstacles and fall in love.
With Aimie Atkinson and Danny Mac leading the cast, Pretty Woman opens on February 13th, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
So, Be More Chill isn’t quite making it to the West End, but it deserves a mention here nonetheless! Running at London’s The Other Palace from February to May, Be More Chill has been described as a ‘relatable tale about how far we’ll go for validation’.
Based on a book of the same name, and featuring music and lyrics from Joe Iconis, the show received its Broadway debut in New York’s Lyceum Theatre after runs in New Jersey and off-Broadway.
If you’re considering where to stay when visiting this vibrant city, there are plenty of 5 star options and, in fact, 4 star accommodation in London can be equally as nice, providing better value for money.
You may want to consider the Park Grand Hotel Hyde Park, set in a fantastic location and just a short Tube ride from the West End and its fabulous theatres.
It’s funny how often the latest trends come from things that people used to openly despise or look down upon. When I was a teenager, I almost died of embarrassment when my mother suggested that I buy a fanny-pack for my school trip to France to keep my valuables safe from the pilfering of pickpockets - and yet everywhere I look today: fanny-packs. Children are wearing them, models down the runway are wearing them and my 20-year-old brother thinks he is hot stuff when he wears his to music festivals. What is life?
I feel that the same upgrade was given to people’s attitudes towards Street Food. A few years ago, mentioning ‘Street Food’ brought up images of either dodgy cart hotdogs stewing in year-old water or taking you back to your ‘gap yah’ across Asia where you mustered all your bravery to sample a fried scorpion on a stick.
This reputation is no more my friend, because now ordering food A-La-Street-Cart is all A-La-Mode. It is almost impossible to take a stroll around London without stumbling upon a bustling market filled with carts and huts and stalls selling trendy and delicious food combinations that you would never have imagined and from all over the world.
They say that variety is the spice of life and we all know that there is nothing worse than getting consensus on what food to order or restaurant to go to for more than one person: which is why there is so much appeal to modern Street Food at one of your local market scenes. A wonderful vibe, enticing aromas, usually some form of musical entertainment and a place for everyone to sit together and each eat exactly what their heart desires. The only potential problem is finding that seat, but with a little stealth, strategy and persistence this should not be too much of a problem. Just be sure to look up the days and times that your market of choice is open before you go!
Depending on where in London you have based yourself or set your sight on exploring that particular day, you are bound to come across some amazing markets. If you’re a Central London Loyalist (you know, the type who stays at the Marble Arch Suites so often that they are on the Platinum level of the hotel loyalty program) then you will be happy to know that you have many wonderful options close-by.
If you venture Eastward towards the City of London you will pass Berwick Street Market neatly placed right in the middle of the Covent Garden Station and the Oxford Circus Underground Station. An oldie (established in 1830) but a goodie – there will be plenty to feast your eyes and stomachs upon. Not too far away, in Farringdon, you would also be spoiled for choice at the Leather Lane Market: but be warned that it is only open from 10am-2pm on weekdays!
However, if you’re willing to venture a little further North for the marketplace that stands tall above them all, then you really have to go and experience the whirlwind that is Camden Market. There is vintage clothing, interesting artworks, novelty products mixed with antique treasures and Street Food for Every Mood… and these are just three popular ones from Central London! If you’re a real explorer in search of Street Food then London truly is your oyster.
If you’re attuned to British politics or are simply interest in seeing where British democratic history has been made over the past centuries, then the Houses of Parliament and Westminster may well be on your to-do list. An attraction marketed by everyone from bus tour companies to London Hotels special offers, the area of Westminster is where parliaments meet to discuss and debate British law, and generally make headlines with controversial statements and ideologies.
In terms of visiting, it really is as easy as getting on the tube and jumping off at Westminster. Starting in the district which is home to the renowned Montcalm Hotel London and some of our favourite dining locations, the Jubilee Line provides an easy route to your destination – where you will be greeted by the sight of the Houses of Parliament and the iconic Big Ben, standing tall and overlooking the city; chiming the hour and informing thousands of commuters and tourists of the time.
While Westminster is Southside towards the bank of the river Thames, it is well known and understood that some of the most popular hideouts for politicians are up towards the very Centre of the West End; commonly centred around the bars of Mayfair, eateries of Marble Arch and the 5-star hotels Bond Street London is home to. As such, for an immersive day in the life of a politician, take a stroll from your hotel down towards Westminster, taking in the Mall, rows of high-end shops and green spaces that line the roads.
As you reach Westminster, with its streets flooded by suits and cyclists, you can look up and take in the Houses of Parliament.
Can you actually get inside?
Typically, unless you know someone on the inside or are invited in to attend a special event, the best way to actually get inside the Houses of Parliament or Palace of Westminster are to book onto a public tour. Alternatively, free public events are regularly scheduled in the calendar which can be found online, although general consensus recommends you always book in advance if you wish to attend these.
Generally, when it comes to public events these will take place in specified areas of the buildings, with other sections cordoned off to keep the public out. We recommend checking out the deals for luxury hotel rooms surrounding the Westminster area, if you plan to make a full trip out of your stay – and you could even book onto one of the exclusive afternoon tea tours which provides your group with a tour inside the Houses of Parliament before sitting you down for a special afternoon tea with your guide.
What is there to see?
Did you know that the Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament, is 300m long, and took over 30 years to build?
And did you know that deep inside the building there is over 3 miles worth of passageways and corridors, connecting 1,100 rooms and more than 100 different staircases?
There is so much to see and learn about the Palace of Westminster and what goes on within its walls, and one of the best ways to appreciate this is through an audio or guided tour. Maybe they will be able to tell you why the leather seats in the Commons Chamber are all decorated in green...
No doubt some smart research has looked into how many hours in a person's lifetime, is spent looking for lost items.
We all do it every day. It may just be looking for the car keys, wallet, or a tin opener. And one example of mislaid goods can be embarrassing when it involves something as large as our car.
A few years ago I parked my car on the second floor of a multi-story airport car park. Two weeks later, on return from the holiday, I went to the same floor and looked at the spot it had been parked, to find another vehicle there.
In a panic, I found an airport security guard and reported my loss. He told me to try the other identical car park next door. I was highly sceptical, but went to look anyway.
Sure enough, it was there, and not for the first time, I promised to fit some sort of tracking device to save any future embarrassment.
Car theft, of certain new models, is a major crime that in recent years hasn't overly bothered insurance companies. Premiums for the rest of us, just goes up a few more pounds the following year.
Whilst these devices are clearly helpful in knowing where your car is, and where it's travelling to when driven by someone else, to a canny car thief, there are other devices that scan the car and help him find and remove it.
Many car manufacturers are now building vehicles with GPS devices securely fitted in areas that are too well embedded, for a casual car thief to locate and remove.
These are mainly in luxury cars and commercial vehicles. In the latter, this has become an integral part of logistics management. Commercial fleet managers can now view live, on-screen, the location of all their vehicles, along with additional information, such as speed.
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