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L O N DO N • BR I S TO L • BURY ST EDMUNDS • C A MBRIDGE • C HIC HESTER CI R EN CES T ER • EDI N BU R G H • GUILDF ORD • LUDLOW • MARLOW • NORWIC H OXFO R D • TUNBRIDGE WELLS • YORK

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MANAGING DIRECTOR

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188-196 Regent Street, London W1B 5BT www.hamleys.com/explore

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FRONT COVER IMAGES: ©RBG KEW; ©THE TRUSTEES OF THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON; DREAMWORKS TOURS: SHREK’S ADVENTURE! LONDON; GRAHAM LACDAO/ST PAULS CATHEDRAL; MARK ALLAN/BARBICAN; TAYLOR GROTE/UNSPLASH

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CONTENTS

Markets

Camden’s markets offer a real assortment of street culture… Page 76

Blue plaques

Today, there are more than 900 blue plaques in London… Page 58

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CONTENTS Welcome.......................................09 Welcome to the capital of the world!

History all around....................... 10 Go back in time and experience London’s incredible past.

Like to shop? You’ll love it here........................20 ADOBESTOCK; GRAHAM LACDAO/ST PAULS CATHEDRAL; NANDO MACHADO/ SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; SEALIFE; VISITLONDON.COM/PAWEL LIBERA

You’ll love London – it’s the shopping capital of the world!

Ten things you must do............38 There are loads of things to do here – but make sure you don’t miss these.

Let’s go there...............................40

A taste of London – and the world .............................60 Whatever your culinary tastes, you’re guaranteed to find a menu that suits in the capital.

Did you know?............................. 74 Think you know all about London? Think again!

On the market ............................ 76 Fancy a browse round the market? It’s possible every day of the week in London.

A city at the heart of art ............80

Whatever the time of year, and whatever the weather, there’s plenty to do here.

A global centre for art and culture, London is respected and envied the world over.

Have a blue day...........................58

My kind of town..........................94

Celebrate the diversity and achievements of London’s architecture and its past residents by touring the city’s blue plaques.

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So what’s so good about the capital? World-renowned musician Paul Edmund-Davies, takes us on a tour of his own personal London.

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WOMEN SHAPE THE WORLD WE SHAPE THEIR SHOES

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ECCO WESTFIELD Westfield Shopping Centre, Unit 1114, W12 7GD London +44 208 735 18 30 ECCO WIMBLEDON Centre Court Shopping Centre, The Broadway, SW19 8ND, London +44 208 947 86 65 eccoshoesuk.com


CONTENTS

Travel

The quickest and easiest way to get around London is the tube… Page 114

Sport

Cricket is the second most popular sport in London… Page 134

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98 Ten reasons to love London....96

Our sporting life........................ 134

Welcome to the night................98

Living for the city......................140

There are dozens of reasons to love it here – check out a few of our favourites.

From wild clubs and drinking dens to more sedate, laid-back spots, London has it all when it comes to a night out.

If you’re only here for 48 hours................................108

London is a big city so, if you only have a couple of days to explore, here’s how to make the most of your time in the capital.

©THE TRUSTEES OF THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON; ADOBESTOCK; QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK; THE O2

Getting here and around..........114 Getting to – and around – the UK’s capital city couldn’t be easier.

Walk this way............................. 124 If you want to see this city close up, try it the old-fashioned way.

Let’s explore...............................128 If you have some time to spare, then why not head slightly further afield and explore some of what lies on the capital’s doorstep?

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Whether you want to watch or take part, there’s always plenty on offer here.

Buy or rent a home here and become a part of London’s diverse residential market.

108 28

There’s nothing like a capital Christmas......................144 Christmas in London is truly magical.

My kind of town........................148 Black cab driver Tina Palmer takes us on a (free!) tour of the city where she lives and works.

Summer in the city...................150

134

Get the sun cream at the ready, because summer in London is a real scorcher.

On your bike.............................. 154 Jump on two wheels and explore the city at a pace to suit you.

Take me to the river.................156 To experience London’s heart, head down to the river.

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EXPERIENCE LUXURY IN THE CITY

A world-class selection of designer boutiques and restaurants under one historic roof

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WELCOME

WELCOME From Chris Gottlieb, Director of Marketing & Communications, London & Partners

ADOBESTOCK; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

W

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elcome to London, the most open, dynamic and vibrant city in the world. Steeped in history and heritage, and yet always cutting edge. Nowhere else in the world can you experience as much in a day as you can in London; from standing at the place where time begins, to riding the world’s biggest observation wheel, taking in a blockbuster exhibition and indulging yourself at Europe’s longest champagne bar. Whether you are here to take in a little of London’s culture, theatre, shopping, sporting and music venues, or here on business, there is something for everyone right across the city. The UK’s leading visitor attractions are all here including some of the world’s most famous museums and galleries putting on blockbuster exhibitions, many of which are free to visit. London is also the world’s biggest city for theatre with more than 210 venues across the city as well as a myriad of successful

festivals and open air theatre spaces. Away from the big attractions you can find world-class family attractions, quirky hidden gems and historic landmarks all connected by the city’s excellent transport network. And with more green space than any other major city in the world, including eight Royal Parks, there’s also the chance to experience some peace and tranquility. If it’s retail therapy you need, then why not explore London’s famous shopping venues such as Oxford Street, Regent Street or Carnaby Street and iconic department stores including Liberty, Harrods and Selfridges which offer more well-known brands than anywhere else. And when it comes to refuelling, there’s no shortage of vibrant bars, restaurants and pubs – from rustic street food to high-end cocktail bars so you’ll be spoiled for choice. Whether you’re here for a day, a week or longer, you’ll never tire of London. l

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“WHY NOT EXPLORE LONDON’S FAMOUS SHOPPING VENUES SUCH AS OXFORD STREET, REGENT STREET OR CARNABY STREET?”

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HISTORY & HERITAGE

HISTORY ALL AROUND! Go back in time and experience London’s incredible past

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L

ondon has many, many tales to tell, but just how far back does the history of this wonderful city go? Thanks to various archaeological digs around the River Thames which have uncovered spear heads and weapons from the Bronze and Iron Ages, it is thought that London’s first settlements date back to prehistoric times. However, it was the Romans who were responsible for the city we know today; after invading Britain in AD43, they founded Londinium – a fort at the Thames crossing which was originally only about the size of Hyde Park. It is believed that the Roman army built its original river crossing close to Westminster but later replaced this with a sturdy wooden bridge, the remains of which have been excavated just east of London Bridge. For 1,600 years, this was the only crossing for the Thames. The Romans reign in the city initially didn’t last long – just 17 years after they founded Londinium, Queen Boudica of the Norfolk Iceni tribe rose up against them and they fled west, leaving their burning city behind. Not ones to admit defeat, however, the Romans eventually returned and regained control, rebuilding London with a city wall around it to protect it from further invasion, along with a market and basilica. The area inside this wall is known today as ‘The Square Mile’ or ‘The City’, and remains the financial centre of the UK. This rebirth was the start of a golden age of trade and by AD100 vast quantities of goods from across the empire were changing hands at Londinium including wine and pottery from Gaul and Italy, olive “JUST 17 YEARS AFTER oil from Spain, marble from Greece THE ROMANS FOUNDED and, of course, slaves. There was LONDINIUM, QUEEN also a thriving export market for copper, tin, silver and corn. BOUDICA OF THE The Romans left at the beginning NORFOLK ICENI TRIBE of the 5th century as the Roman ROSE UP AGAINST THEM Empire crumbled, leaving London largely deserted. Britain was AND THEY FLED WEST” invaded by the Angles, the p12

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HISTORY & HERITAGE

Saxons and the Jutes but as farmers they preferred to live outside big towns and so little is known about London in this period. However, by the beginning of the 7th century the city had become important enough to justify the building of a cathedral, St Paul’s, at the highest point in the city – believed to be the same spot where our current St Paul’s Cathedral stands today. During the 9th century Londinium was renamed Lundenburh and the area west, which the Romans fled to during Queen Boudica’s uprising, was referred to as Ealdwic, meaning old town. This is where the present district of ‘Aldwych’ gets its name. It was after one of England’s most famous invasions that one of the city’s most famous landmarks was built. In 1066 the Normans invaded England from France and William the Conqueror took control of the city, quickly building the Tower of London as its military stronghold. During its lifetime, The Tower has been used as a castle and a palace, a zoo and a weapons store, a mint and a prison and today is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its fascinating past. The Tower is most famous,

YOU’RE IN LONDON

however, for being a prison and the place where traitors, such as King Henry’s wife Queen Anne Boleyn, were beheaded. During Tudor times, the many prisoners were brought to the tower by river through Traitor’s Gate. From one remaining historic landmark to another, the first permanent stone River Thames crossing which was commissioned by Henry II in 1176. Before that the only way to cross the Thames from London on the north bank to the southern suburb of Southwark was by ferry or a rickety wooden bridge. It took 33 years to complete and was to last more than 600 years – it is today known as London Bridge. Crossing the medieval London Bridge often took over an hour, which gave its users plenty of time to view the heads of traitors on spikes above the bridge’s stone gatehouses. The first unfortunate person to have his tar-soaked head displayed in this manner was Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace, in 1305. The practice continued until 1678 and included the heads of Thomas More, Guy Fawkes and Oliver Cromwell.

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London continued to grow within its original Roman walls throughout medieval times – the locations of the gates through which people entered and left the city are still marked today with street names such as Bishopsgate and Moorgate. In fact, if you look today in the area known as the Square Mile, there is plenty of evidence of medieval London in the street names, which tell of the trades and the shops established during that time, such as Pudding Lane, Milk Street, Ropemakers Square and Silk Street. Another place where London’s prisoners sentenced to death met their very public end was at Tyburn Tree, London’s infamous gallows. You wouldn’t know the site existed today apart from the stone plaque, which sits in the ground on one of the traffic islands at the junction of Marble Arch and Edgware Road. The huge triangular Tyburn Tree, erected in 1571 and made of thick wooden 3m crossbeams on 5.5m legs, played a part in an estimated 50,000 hangings. Mass executions took place on Mondays, when prisoners were p14

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EXPLORE the HOMES of

HISTORY MAKERS

Plan your day out in historic London Visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/london

The English Heritage Trust is a charity, no. 1140351, and a company, no. 07447221, registered in England.


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HISTORY & HERITAGE

transported in their finest clothes from Newgate Prison to Tyburn in an open wagon. The hangings were witnessed by thousands of spectators, who would pay to sit in open galleries erected especially for the occasion or rent the upper-storey rooms of the houses and pubs facing the site. Just around the corner from the site, at 8 Hyde Park Place, you can still find Tyburn Convent, which was founded at the beginning of the 20th century and contains a Shrine of the Martyrs in remembrance of more than 350 Catholics who died at Tyburn during the Reformation. In Tudor times London became the centre of trade and government and by the end of the era there were about 200,000 people living both inside the city walls and in the nearby town of Westminster, on the north side of the River Thames, and Southwark, on the south. Most of London as we know it today was still fields but the Tudors established a number of palaces in London and surrounding area, such as King Henry VIII’s Richmond Palace. They also created deer parks so that they could indulge in their favourite occupation of hunting. Later, in 1625, Charles I brought his court to Richmond Palace and turned it into a park for red and fallow deer – deer can still be seen at what we know as Richmond Park today.

YOU’RE IN LONDON

The first theatres were also built in London during this time; the most famous being The Globe, which was partly owned by William Shakespeare. The original theatre burnt down in 1613 and immediately rebuilt, but closed by the Puritans in 1642. In the 1990s a new Globe Theatre was built just a few hundred yards from the original theatre and today thrives with regular productions of Shakespeare plays. The 17th century was a time of huge change – and indeed drama – for London. At the start of the century, the gunpowder plot almost saw the Houses of Parliament blown up and by the 1640s civil war raged throughout England, with King Charles I and battling against Oliver Cromwell and Parliament. The King lost and was beheaded in London in 1649. Sixteen years later and the last ever major epidemic of the bubonic plague in England rampaged through the city, killing 100,000 people. Brought to the city by rats on board trading ships, the Great Plague lasted a whole year and was almost certainly a death sentence if you caught it – 60 to 80 per cent of those who did, died. A red cross was painted on the front door of the houses of those infected and everyone inside was isolated for 40 days. While the plague had little effect on London’s buildings, the 1666 Great Fire of London wiped out 80 per cent of the city. On 2nd September, a p16

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“ON 2ND SEPTEMBER, A SMALL FIRE, WHICH ACCIDENTALLY STARTED IN PUDDING LANE, SPREAD INTO AN ENORMOUS BLAZE LASTING FOUR DAYS”

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small fire, which accidentally started in Pudding Lane, spread into an enormous blaze lasting four days. Astonishingly, very few people lost their lives, but because London’s buildings were crammed so closely together, and were made of wood, they were easily destroyed. By the time it burned out on 5th September around 13,000 buildings had been destroyed, including the original St Paul’s Cathedral, 87 parish churches, the Guildhall and the Royal Exchange, while up to 80,000 people lost their homes. The task of getting London rebuilt was given to a committee of six men, including architect Christopher Wren. Their role was to manage surveys of ruined properties and consider the form and scale of new buildings, and any alterations to the streets. It was a mammoth project estimated to cost more than £10 million. A monument to the Great Fire stands on the corner of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill and is positioned so that if it fell over in the right direction, it would point to the exact place where the fire started. In the 1700s London became an important financial centre with much of the business done in coffee houses in The Square Mile, especially in Exchange Alley, the site of London’s stock exchange today. London’s growth into the centre of world trade flourished during Queen Victoria’s reign when railways were built linking much of Britain to the capital. Many of the buildings in London today were also built during Victorian times, the most famous being the Houses of Parliament, which were built in 1834 after a fire destroyed the original buildings. It was also during the Victorian era that the first ever underground railway opened, in 1863, running between Paddington (then called Bishop’s Road) and Farringdon Street. The first complete line – the Circle Line – was opened 21 years later and by the end of the century, in 1890, London launched the world’s first deep-level electric railway. London continued to grow in population and geographical spread during the 20th century. In fact during the two decades between 1919 and 1939 it doubled in size. In 1915, advertisers coined the phrase ‘Metro-land’, painting a picture of rural charm within easy reach of the city to entice people to settle in London’s suburbs and new estates were developed in areas such as Neasden, Wembley Park, Northwick Park, Eastcote, Rayners Lane, Ruislip, Hillingdon, Pinner, Rickmansworth and Amersham – it was the beginning of London’s urban sprawl. During the Second World War, however, many of London’s building’s were badly damaged, particularly in the area surrounding St Paul’s Cathedral – these days you can identify the places the bombs hit where a more modern building has been built in between and surrounded by Victorian ones. The most notorious raid took place on Sunday, 29th December, where the area from Aldersgate to Cannon Street and Cheapside to Moorgate went up in flames with 19 churches, including 16 built by

YOU’RE IN LONDON

Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London, destroyed. Miraculously, St Paul’s survived. In the end around one third of the city was destroyed, although many of the main business streets, such as Cornhill and Lombard Street suffered little damage and the Bank of England and the Stock Market were not hit. The end of the century was marked by the construction of another iconic landmark on the bank of the River Thames. The Millennium Wheel, or ‘London Eye’ as it is known today, is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the capital. And, for a snapshot of the history of London, head to the London Bridge Experience where you can see, hear and even smell what the Bridge and the wider city was like through the ages. London continues to literally build on its history and in 2012 hosted the London Olympics for the third time. With it came a brand new ‘village’, Queen Elizabeth Park, and then in 2013 The Shard – western Europe’s tallest building – opened its doors next to London Bridge Station. One thing’s for sure, wherever you go in London, you’ll be sure to uncover a story or two from its fascinating and illustrious past. l

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“THE MILLENNIUM WHEEL, OR ‘LONDON EYE’ AS IT IS KNOWN TODAY, IS NOW ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN THE CAPITAL”

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SHOPPING

LIKE TO SHOP? YOU’LL LOVE IT HERE! You’ll love London – it’s the shopping capital of the world!

ADOBESTOCK; CLEM ONOJEGHUO/ MIKE PETRUCCI/ILYA ILYUKHIN/UNSPLASH

O

ver 200 years ago, Napoleon Bonaparte famously referred to England as a nation of shopkeepers – 200 years later and its capital city remains one of the best places in the world to go shopping. From big-name emporiums, such as Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Liberty, which not only offer a slice of heaven to shopaholics but have become sightseeing attractions in their own right, to the hidden boutiques and independent start-ups and the dozens of markets where you can bag a bargain, London has it all. When it comes to shopping in London, bustling Oxford Street, which with over 200 million visitors a year lays claim to being the capital’s busiest street and also Europe’s longest high street, is hard to beat but it is not for the faint hearted. The 1.5 mile-stretch running from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road is home to 1.5 million square metres of retail space including more than 300 shops, designer outlets and 67 flagship stores including the legendary Selfridges, which is regarded as one of the world’s finest department stores. Spread over six floors and offering 10 acres of shopping space, the department store – which opened in 1909 and is famous for its yellow bags – stocks everything from perfume to pillowcases. There’s also a 19,000 p22

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square feet Wonder Room, which in 2017 celebrated its 10-year anniversary and is a luxury watch and jewellery brand addict’s paradise, and the world’s biggest-ever denim department, housing more than 11,000 pairs of jeans. As well as the flagship shops of other British department stores including Debenhams and John Lewis, Oxford Street also offers some of the best choice in terms of high street fashion, if you can fight your way through the crowds. Topshop’s flagship store is here, as are not one but

“THE OXFORD STREET OFF-SHOOT HAS BEEN A DESTINATION FOR VINYL RECORD COLLECTORS SINCE THE 1980S WHEN IT BECAME KNOWN AS ‘THE GOLDEN MILE OF VINYL’”

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two Primark stores and then there’s the four-floor Niketown for that sports luxe attire – you can even design your own trainers there! If the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street is a little too much, then slip down one of Oxford Street’s side streets, such as Berwick Street or St Christopher’s Place, and uncover some hidden gems. You may recognise Berwick Street as it was the location for the cover shoot of the 1995 Oasis album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? The Oxford Street off-shoot has been a destination for vinyl record collectors since the 1980s when it became known as ‘The Golden Mile of Vinyl’ and is still home to central London’s largest concentration of independent record shops. There’s also the world-famous Berwick Street Market, which was first established in 1778, and offers fruit and vegetable traders, flower sellers and street food including Jerusalem Falafel, Soho Deli and the oldest flower stall in London, Ronald Stannett Flowers. Popular with fashion designers and film and TV costume makers, Berwick Street is

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home to a host of fabric shops such as The Cloth House, Misan Textiles and Silk Society. Immediately north of Oxford Street and opposite Bond Street tube station is St Christopher’s Place (look out for the landmark purple clock and you’re in the right place), which offers a unique blend of top-notch boutiques and restaurants, as well as some of Britain’s best brands including the Whistles flagship store and Mulberry’s oldest boutique. A little further away from Oxford Street, to the north of Hyde Park, is an area known as Connaught Village, is another little-known treasure trove of independent retailers. Its quiet Georgian streets are lined with pastelcoloured boutiques selling exclusive luxury products, from fine wines and posh chocs to interior design. Considered London’s second most famous shopping district is Regent Street, which provides an altogether elegant shopping experience thanks to its Grade II-listed buildings designed by famed architect John Nash. It’s also home to some of the city’s oldest stores including Hamleys p24

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SHOPPING

and the magnificent mock-Tudor building which houses Liberty. Established in 1760, Hamleys is London’s oldest toy shop and is one of the largest toy stores in the world. The legendary store is a fantastic experience for kids of all ages featuring seven floors brimming with the latest crazes, computer games, traditional teddies and specialist collector areas. Liberty is one of the last great emporiums for innovative and eclectic design; the story goes that in 1875, Arthur Lasenby Liberty borrowed £2,000 from his future father in law and took over half of 218a Regent Street with three dedicated staff and the vision of creating an eastern bazaar that would change the look of homeware and fashion. Within just 18 months the loan was repaid, the second half of 218a Regent Street was bought and neighbouring properties were added to cater for the ever-increasing demand for carpets and furniture. Today this quirky store continues to be a ‘Tardis’, where rich heritage combines with the cutting edge and avant-garde. On Regent Street you’ll also find flagship clothing stores, such as Banana Republic, Ted Baker and Burberry with its 38-square-metre video display unit and perfumery, Penhaligon’s. Dating back to 1664, when Charles II authorised Henry Jermyn, the Earl of St Albans, to develop an area close to St James’s Palace, Jermyn Street, which sits just off Regent Street, has a world-renowned reputation as the centre for gentlemen’s fashion, especially bespoke shirts. Over the years Jermyn Street’s distinguished residents have included the likes of Sir William Stanley; Sir John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough; Sir Isaac Newton; William Pitt; Sir Walter Scott; the poet Thomas Gray; William Gladstone; and W. M. Thackeray. To this day it retains its distinctive 300-year-old character, providing an altogether quintessentially British shopping experience. Another area of London known worldwide for its tailoring is Savile Row and it is THE place to go if p26

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“JERMYN STREET, JUST OFF REGENT STREET, HAS A WORLD-RENOWNED REPUTATION AS THE CENTRE FOR GENTLEMEN’S FASHION, ESPECIALLY BESPOKE SHIRTS”

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SHOPPING

you require a hand-made suit crafted the old-fashioned way, although you should prepare yourself for a price tag to match. You can still visit the first ever Savile Row tailors at No. 15 where Henry Poole & Co, credited with inventing the tuxedo, is still cutting cloth. Other big names, such as Huntsman & Sons and Ozwald Boateng, can also be found here and the street even has its own association – The Savile Row Bespoke Association – and a colourful language of its own. A few streets away, Bond Street, which boasts one of the biggest and best concentrations of designer shops in the world, is the place to be seen if you are any kind of serious fashionista. Names include Donna Karan, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Nicole Farhi, Armani, Versace and Ralph Lauren to name just a few and you’ll also find British designers Mulberry and Burberry. New Bond Street is also home to Sotheby’s auction house and those with a love of diamonds will be spoilt for choice here, thanks to branches of Cartier, Tiffany & Co and Asprey, all within a short stroll of each other.

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Whether you’ve got money to burn or just love luxury window shopping, this is the place to be for some extravagant retail therapy. This area is also home to the famous Fortnum & Mason department store. Founded on the same site on Piccadilly in 1707, this beautiful store is renowned for its fine foods, hampers, teas and wine. It also has five restaurants, from an award-winning wine bar to the wonderful ice cream parlour. Food may be first at Fortnum’s, but lift your eyes to the spectacular atrium and feast your eyes on the delights above. From the serious fun of the cook shop to the tranquil femininity of the second floor and the leathery comfort of men’s accessories, Fortnum’s is a theatrical oasis for shopaholics and those who appreciate the finer things in life. Another place to head to if you are looking for prestigious brands is Knightsbridge. Visitors from around the globe flock here to marvel at the illustrious stores and window displays, particularly those found at Harrods and Harvey Nichols. A luxury shopping destination for more than

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160 years, Harrods is renowned for exclusive collections and excellent service – 15 million people walk through its doors every year. The seven-floor store contains a labyrinth of 330 departments dedicated to the finest products in food, fashion, homeware and technology. The luxury womenswear department has 17 boutiques dedicated to top international brands, including Valentino, Prada and Dior, while Salon du Parfums houses the finest fragrances, some exclusive to Harrods. There are also rooms dedicated to expensive watches and fine jewellery. As well as the store’s 20-plus restaurants, which include a pizzeria, steakhouse, oyster bar, Thai and Chinese, there’s The Georgian for a spot of afternoon tea and The Champagne Bar, where you can sample a glass of exclusive Harrods’ fizz. The Hostomme family – Harrods’ champagne provider – has been established in the Champagne region for over three centuries and uses only premium quality pinot noir grapes and an age-old saignée production method. Set among the international fashion collections on the first floor, The Champagne Bar lets you enjoy the full selection of Harrods collection, from the Harrods NV and the Rosé, Grande Réserve to the delicious Vintage 2004. For an unforgettable experience, don’t forget to make a pit stop at the famous Harrods Food Halls – almost an entire floor dedicated to high-end foodstuffs from across the globe. The experience is more like visiting a museum than shopping and there are also free hands-on master classes in some of the halls, such as the Meat and Fish Food Hall, where you can learn the correct way to cut p28

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WESTFIELD STRATFORD CITY 132-133 THE STREET, MONTFITCHET ROAD, LONDON, E20 1EN TEL: +44 (0)20 8534 3899

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King’s Road, where you will find an eclectic mix of trendy boutiques, unique labels, designer shops and high-street staples, alongside a vast array of cafés and restaurants. The further along King’s Road you walk away from Sloane Square, the greater the number of smaller, independent clothes and shoe shops there are, plus a good selection of contemporary furnishing stores. The street takes its name from the 17th century when it was King Charles II’s private thoroughfare between Whitehall and Hampton Court Palace and became famous during the 60s and 70s. Although the area doesn’t have the character of that time, it is still full of famous faces and one of the most varied places to shop and eat in London. You can visit Vivienne Westwood’s first shop – World’s End – where “punk was born” in the 70s and see collections by royal milliner and Duchess of Cambridge favourite, Jane Taylor, (she designed the hats Kate wore for both Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s christenings), but you’ll also find high street regulars, such as Jigsaw, French Connection and Benetton. The King’s Road is also a great place for inspirational interior design, with Cath Kidston and Habitat both vying for attention along with independents, such as Juliettes Interiors and Kings of Chelsea, the exclusive UK dealer of Roberto Cavalli Home Interiors. If you happen to be in town in March then there is also the famous Chelsea Antiques Fair, which is p31

steak or skin a fish, make a burger or clean and butterfly prawns. Walk further north up the Brompton Road and, on the corner of Knightsbridge and Sloane Street, you’ll find another famous high-end department store – Harvey Nichols. This flagship store opened in its present form in the 1880s and has eight floors of fashion, beauty and lifestyle collections with its fifth floor dedicated to food and restaurants. Offering a slightly more refined shopping experience than its larger cousin down the road, Harvey ‘Nics’, as it is often referred to, is far more minimalist in its design but still offers all your favourite designer labels, such as ultra-hip Alexander McQueen and Versace. A new beauty space has recently been completed on the ground floor offering over 220 brands and a number of services including a dedicated beauty concierge, a blow dry bar, nail bar, skin-rejuvenation bar and treatment rooms. There’s also a selection of fearfully stylish bars and restaurants, in particular the Fifth Floor Café and Terrace, which has spectacular views across west London and is a good place for a bit of celebrity-spotting. To continue the luxury shopping experience, wander down Sloane Street towards Sloane Square, where you’ll find over 50 luxury boutiques. It’s another of London’s famous designer shopping districts and home to the Duke of York pedestrian precinct and Saatchi art gallery. The curved facade of Peter Jones department store (owned by John Lewis) marks the start of the

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Luxury Cashmere - Made in Scotland

51 Elizabeth Street London SW1W 9PP www.hawico.com


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“FLORAL STREET, MONMOUTH STREET AND ST MARTIN’S COURTYARD, ARE NOW FILLED WITH HIGH STREET OUTLETS SUCH AS OASIS, HOBBS, DIESEL AND PAUL SMITH”

Market, the centre close to Bond Street station is home to 200 of London’s finest antique and vintage dealers spread across two buildings and is very much seen as the epicentre of the art and antique dealing world. Another good place for antiques, and shopping in general, is Covent Garden. On Mondays the Jubilee Market Hall plays host to an antiques market where you’ll be sure to find a treasure or two. While the markets at Covent Garden are very much its focal point (there are now three) and have dominated the square since the Middle Ages, the area has grown exponentially since then and its parades and the streets surrounding it, including Floral Street, Monmouth Street and St Martin’s Courtyard, are now filled with high street outlets such as Oasis, French Connection, Urban Outfitters, Hobbs, Diesel, Replay, and Paul Smith. There’s also the beautiful Apple Store which, located in a carefully restored 1876 building on the corner of James Street and King Street, is spread across numerous floors and has a variety of interactive experiences to try out. And then, of course, there is plenty of outside street entertainment, such as magicians and mime artists, to keep you entertained in-between shops. For those with a passion for shoes, Neal Street, which runs out of the Piazza, is home to a huge number of trendy shoe shops including Office, Offspring and The Natural Shoe Store, as well as a number of fashion stores and is not to be missed. Neal’s Yard, just off here, is a quaint and colourful courtyard that’s worth a stroll through while you’re in the area, especially if you’re a fan of cheese or cosmetics! Neal’s Yard Dairy has a range of delicious British farm cheeses and the flagship Neal’s Yard Remedies, for organic skincare products and treatments, is also here. A few streets away from Covent Garden and you’ll come across Carnaby Street – the birthplace of the fashion and cultural revolution during the swinging 60s. p33

usually held annually in the town hall on King’s Road (although will be held elsewhere in Chelsea in 2018 due to refurbishments at the town hall). Established in 1950, the event sees fine quality, specialist dealers in traditional art and antiques gather together with some added 20th century sparkle, offering a great variety of exquisite objects for sale with prices from £100 going up to about £10,000. The fair is popular not only with London and Chelsea collectors, many of whom have been attending for over 60 years, but VIPs such as the American Ambassador, Diana Rigg, Michael Portillo, Charlie Watts, Jeffrey Archer and Lady Thatcher have all been visitors, as well as collectors from as far away as Japan and Argentina. If antiques are your thing then, as well as the various markets such as Portobello and Alfie’s Antiques Market in Marylebone (see On the Market), head to Grays Antique Centre, in Mayfair. Better known as Grays Antique

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77 NEW BOND STREET LONDON W1S 1RY TEL: 0207 629 8983 CASHMERE & FINE WOOLLENS MADE IN SCOTLAND

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itself also has an eclectic collection of small shops and galleries letting commercial spaces and workshops below. The iconic Royal Exchange building, in the heart of the bustling, money-making City, is now a luxury shopping destination with a spectacular collection of boutique shopping and dining in an impressive setting. If the more obscure is what you favour, then head north of the river to Islington where, nestled behind Upper Street, you will find Camden Passage. This cobblestone lane is a treasure trove of market stalls mostly selling antiques, vintage clothes and cool products like old pub signs. There’s also plenty of unusual shops and cafés. Back south of the river there are plenty more quirky places to find that stylish purchase. Chiswick High Road and its surrounding streets – often referred to as west London’s antidote to shopping sameness – have a whole host of independent stores from The Old Cinema, where you can buy antique and retro furniture, to Macken Bros butchers which provides meat for a number of the city’s Michelinstarred restaurants. There’s also Mary Portas’ Save the Children charity shop (Mary’s Living & Giving Shop), which opened following the success of her TV programme, Mary Queen of Charity Shops, as well as a host of favourite high-street names. And then there’s the Northcote Road, in Clapham. Popular with the yummy mummy set, this road cuts through the heart of Clapham and is lined with an overwhelming array of high-quality restaurants, cafés, boutique shops and DIY stores. There’s also an incredible weekend market with top-notch snacks, meals, cakes, flowers, art and more. Of course, some people prefer to do their entire shopping under one roof and – just like its p34

“A FEW STREETS AWAY FROM COVENT GARDEN YOU’LL COME ACROSS CARNABY STREET – THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE FASHION AND CULTURAL REVOLUTION DURING THE SWINGING 60s”

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Step under the iconic arch and you’ll find an intriguing mix of cutting-edge designer stores as well as independent boutiques and heritage brands. Shoppers will find an abundance of trendy urban streetwear stores, such as Replay, Diesel, Scotch & Soda and Puma and there are also a number of cosmetics shops – seek out the Cowshed and MAC Cosmetics – as well as a few boutiques selling vintage mod clothing. All in all, this dynamic area, including the surrounding streets of Newburgh Street, Foubert’s Place, and Kingly Court, which has three floors of one-off ‘concept’ shops, cafés and restaurants set around an open courtyard, has over 140 shops, bars and restaurants to choose from and is a fantastic place to enjoy a London shopping experience. London has many more little-known shopping areas, hidden away from the masses and not necessarily known for their retail offering. For example, Hay’s Galleria, near London Bridge, has a raft of traditional craft and market stalls selling a variety of products from jewellery to paintings, and ceramics to designer children’s wear, decorating its walkways. They share the space – built in the 1850s as a wharf to take in deliveries from ships from all over the world and which became known as the ‘Larder of London’ – with more permanent shops, restaurants and bars. A focal point in the galleria is David Kemp’s magnificent 60ft kinetic sculpture, The Navigators, providing a hypnotic combination of moving parts, water jets and fountains. Another wharf, which in recent years has become a haven for shoppers looking for that unique keepsake, is Gabriel’s Wharf. Tucked between the Oxo Tower and London Television Centre on the South Bank, it houses a good mix of independent shops, restaurants and bars, while the Oxo Tower

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YOU’RE IN LONDON


SHOPPING

fantastic collection of department stores – London also has its fair share of shopping centres. Its most famous is probably the landmark Westfield London, which was built on a 45-acre brownfield site in White City in 2008 as a pioneering shopping and leisure destination within which to shop, eat, and socialise. In its first three weeks of opening, the centre welcomed over two million visitors and is now established as a celebrated architectural and commercial success for London. You’ll find Debenhams, Next, Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser, Waitrose and over 265 premium and high street retailers from more than 15 different countries within the architecturally-stunning centre. Inside, at The Village, you’ll discover a world of luxury with over 40 boutiques from leading fashion houses to new designers including brands like Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. When all that shopping has built up enough of an appetite to stop for a spot of lunch or dinner, head to the Southern Terrace, where a bustling cluster of restaurants creates a pedestrianised street of dining

ING IMAGE; VISITLONDON.COM/MICHAEL HEFFERNAN

“OF COURSE, SOME PEOPLE PREFER TO DO THEIR ENTIRE SHOPPING UNDER ONE ROOF AND – JUST LIKE ITS FANTASTIC COLLECTION OF DEPARTMENT STORES – LONDON ALSO HAS ITS FAIR SHARE OF SHOPPING CENTRES”

or The Balcony, where open cooking brings drama to the collection of counters preparing fresh food fast and to order. Westfield London is as much a meeting hub as a place to shop and eat. A central Atrium hosts a full calendar of arts and educational events beneath a spectacular glass roof. There is also a 14-screen state-of-the-art cinema, gym and spa, and a library. It’s also the best-connected shopping destination in the UK thanks to four underground stations providing – on average – a tube train every five minutes, an overland station which will get you from Clapham Junction to Westfield London in under 10 minutes, and two bus stations. Cycle bays, secure pedestrian routes and 4,500 car parking spaces directly beneath Westfield London complete the transport picture. Westfield London’s younger – yet much larger – sister was built in 2011 as part of the regeneration of Stratford, one of the largest urban regeneration projects ever undertaken in the UK. Offering almost two million square feet of retail space, Westfield p37

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“THERE ARE OVER 200 SHOPS, BARS, CAFÉS AND RESTAURANTS FOUND ACROSS ITS FOUR SHOPPING MALLS, WITH LUXURIOUS BRANDS SUCH AS TIFFANY & CO., JO MALONE, AND MONTBLANC”

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Stratford City is one of the largest shopping malls in Europe. With over 250 shops plus 70 places to eat, it has become a new lifestyle destination for east London and offers spectacular views of the Olympic Park. As well as the shops and restaurants, it also has world-class leisure facilities including one of the largest, most innovative, all-digital cinemas in Europe boasting 17 all-digital screens and an All Star Lanes luxury bowling alley. There is also the 65,000ft Aspers Casino, with two bars and an 80-seat restaurant, which has set a benchmark in the UK as the first to be granted a large casino license. While Canary Wharf, also in the east of the city, is known for its financial and business credentials, the area is also a key shopping destination. There are over 200 shops, bars, cafés and restaurants found across its four shopping malls – Cabot Place, Jubilee Place, Churchill Place and Canada Place – with luxurious brands such as Tiffany & Co., Jo Malone, Jaeger and Montblanc sitting side-by-side with high street names such as Topshop, Reiss, Whistles and Zara. There is also a selection of quintessentially British brands, such as Aspinal of London and Hackett, as well as smaller independent shops and designer boutiques. Of the four malls, Canada Place alone houses the flagship Waitrose Food Home store, Plateau, which offers fine dining and incredible views, and Third Space – the largest health club in Europe with 100,000 square feet of luxury training space, an indoor climbing wall, 23-metre swimming pool and a full-sized basketball court. Of course, shopping in London isn’t all about

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spending big bucks. Bargains can be found, not only at the city’s various markets but also in its shopping malls! London Designer Outlet is situated directly opposite Wembley Stadium and is home to over 70 brands selling at discounts of up to 70 per cent, plus restaurants, bars and a multi-screen cinema. In recent years pop-up shops have also become a popular site on the streets of London, giving start-up businesses a chance to trial-run their products in various different spots before committing to a permanent base. In Shoreditch you will find the world’s first pop-up mall – Boxpark. Built from shipping containers and now home to more than 60 carefully-chosen fashion brands and food and drink retailers, Boxpark is packed with talent, innovation and attitude with not a high street retailer in site. It also hosts around 200 music and art events each year with free entry to encourage people to visit and shop in the non-permanent stores. The second Boxpark opened in Croydon – London’s largest borough – in September 2016 with 80 shipping containers and there are a number of similar temporary concepts now opening up across the city including Pop Brixton, which was commissioned by Lambeth Council and designed by Carl Turner Architects and The Collective and is set to remain in place until autumn 2018. So, as you can see, from the world’s best-known fashion labels and covetable designer collaborations to cheap-as-chips, thrift-shop buys and authentic antiques, there’s a bit of something for everyone when it comes to shopping in London. l

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10

THINGS YOU MUST DO!

YOU’RE IN LONDON

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10 THINGS

[01] TOUR THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE

“DESCRIBED BY ARCHITECT RENZO PIANO AS ‘A VERTICAL CITY’, THE SKYSCRAPER IS ALMOST A THIRD OF A KILOMETRE TALL”

BRYAN BUSOVICKI/CEDRIC WEBER/IGOR BULGARIN/JULIUSKIELAITIS/KAMIRA/ SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; VISITLONDON.COM/STEPHEN MCLAREN

Gain a fascinating insight into the home of the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet with a backstage tour – learn about the colourful history of the theatre, its architecture and the costumes, which play such a huge part in the productions that take to the stage.

[02] CLIMB ABOARD THE LONDON EYE Created to celebrate the Millennium, the London Eye is essentially a ‘big wheel’ which rotates over the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and has since become one of the city’s most iconic attractions. At 135 metres high, the London Eye is the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel and offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the capital from each of its 32 high-tech glass capsules. There are even private packages, which allow you to hire out a whole pod for special occasions.

[05] CRUISE ALONG THE RIVER THAMES Capture an altogether different view of London’s landmarks from the river. There are a variety of tours and vessels available, from sightseeing trips with commentaries to themed cruises and dining experiences.

[03] GLIMPSE THE CROWN JEWELS Despite the Tower of London's grim reputation as a place of torture and death, within its expansive walls you will also discover the priceless Crown Jewels, which are still regularly used by The Queen and include some of the most extraordinary diamonds in the world. You can also get a guided tour by one of the iconic Beefeaters and learn the legend of the Tower's ravens and the criminals who were executed there.

[07] SEE AN ALL-SINGING, ALL-DANCING WEST END SHOW From Broadway transfers like The Book of Mormon and Kinky Boots, to home-grown hits such as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic The Phantom of the Opera and Sam Mendes’ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, London’s West End offers something for everyone. Last-minute tickets from the Leicester Square ticket booth are usually your best bet for a bargain.

[04] BROWSE A MARKET From gourmet food at Borough Market to literature at Southbank Book Market and antiques at Portobello Road, you’re never far from a street market in London.

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[06] HAVE A COCKTAIL OVERLOOKING ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL The view from the rooftop bar at Madison, opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, is so good it even has a separate viewing area so tourists can capture the perfect picture.

offers visitors unobstructed 360-degree, 40-mile views across the London skyline and beyond. [09] WATCH THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD See Buckingham Palace’s guards, dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats, take part in this traditional ceremony, which takes place daily at 11.30am and lasts about 45 minutes. [10] VISIT THE NATIONAL GALLERY With more than 2,000 western European paintings from the middle ages to the 20th century, you can discover inspiring art by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner, Renoir and Van Gogh, all for free! l

[08] TAKE A TRIP UP THE SHARD This 95-storey tower by London Bridge is western Europe’s tallest building. Described by architect Renzo Piano as “a vertical city”, the skyscraper is almost a third of a kilometre tall. From floors 68 to 72, The View from The Shard

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YOU’RE IN LONDON


DAYS OUT

LET’S GO THERE! Whatever the time of year, and whatever the weather, there’s always plenty to do here

UK PARLIAMENT

L

ondon has hundreds of attractions to tick off the ‘to do’ list so it can be difficult to know where to start. However, one thing is for sure, whatever you get up to in the city, you’ll experience a memorable and enjoyable day out. One good place to start is a visit to the Queen. OK, so you won’t actually get to meet her in person but if the Royal Standard is flying, that means she is at home. You can stand right outside the gates and watch the changing of the guard for free but if that isn’t enough then book a ticket to go inside and see The Queen’s Gallery, which is open all year round and houses Her Majesty’s personal collection of treasures. From February to November you can also gain access to the Royal Mews and in August and September the State Rooms are open to visitors, as well as for special tours on certain dates throughout the year (when the Queen isn’t at home). If you’re in town in June, you may also get a chance to see Trooping the Colour. Since 1748 Trooping the Colour has marked the official birthday of the British sovereign and now takes place on Horse Guards Parade, by St James’s Park. This impressive display of pageantry is carried out by her personal troops, the Household Division, with the Queen herself attending and taking the salute. After the event, the Royal Family gathers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch an RAF flypast. After taking in the home of the Monarchy, just a short walk will take you to the Palace of Westminster – the place where the “TOURS OF THE HOUSES laws of the land are deliberated – in OF PARLIAMENT OFFER A London’s Parliamentary Quarter. UNIQUE COMBINATION Guided and audio tours (offered in OF 1,000 YEARS OF English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Mandarin) of HISTORY, MODERNthe Houses of Parliament offer a DAY POLITICS AND unique combination of 1,000 years STUNNING ART AND of history, modern-day politics and stunning art and architecture. ARCHITECTURE” Tours take around an hour and p42

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©VISITBRITAIN/PAWEL LIBERA; PAUL STEPHENSON MEDIA

DAYS OUT

walk you through the House of Lords and House of Commons. A child-friendly version of the audio tour, aimed at youngsters between the ages of seven and 12, is also available. Most of what is seen on the tour was built in the mid-19th century, following a devastating fire in 1834, but the route also incorporates the magnificent Westminster Hall, dating from 1097. Other highlights include the Queen’s Robing Room, Royal Gallery, Lords Chamber, Central Lobby and the Commons Chamber, where the lively debates take place. You cannot visit Westminster and not marvel at the world’s most famous bell – Big Ben. Designed by architect Charles Barry as part of the Palace of Westminster, Elizabeth Tower (the 96-metre-tall clock tower which houses Big Ben) was completed in 1859 and the quarter bells chimed for the first time on September 7 that same year. If you’re a UK resident, you can usually arrange a tour of the tower through your local MP or member of the House of Lords. However, the tower and clock are currently undergoing a three-year restoration programme, during which tours will not run. The project also means the bell will have to be silenced for a number of months while maintenance work is carried out on the clock mechanism. In the meantime, merely admiring its iconic architecture

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from the outside is a spectacle in itself – just be aware scaffolding will partially restrict views while the work is being carried out. If you’re interested in great figures from England’s history then you will find many of them laid to rest inside Westminster Abbey. A total of 17 kings and queens are buried here, along with dukes, countesses and famous characters from the past including Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Oliver Cromwell and Sir Lawrence Olivier. Tributes to over 3,000 departed souls are located all over the abbey’s chapels and cloisters, including the famous Poets’ Corner in the South Transept, where creative greats, such as Jane Austen, William Blake and William Shakespeare, are all commemorated. This building of Gothic splendour is also where numerous royal weddings have taken place over the years, as well as every coronation since 1066. There are daily tours available in English, which will highlight the various interest points, led by the Abbey Vergers. The tours last for approximately 90 minutes and include the Shrine of Saint Edward the Confessor, the Royal Tombs, Poets’ Corner, the Cloisters and the Nave. The tours don’t need to be booked in advance but times vary each day, so please check availability on arrival. The Abbey is a working church and therefore subject to occasional closures at short notice. p44

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“DESIGNED BY ARCHITECT CHARLES BARRY AS PART OF THE PALACE OF WESTMINSTER, ELIZABETH TOWER WAS COMPLETED IN 1859 AND THE QUARTER BELLS CHIMED FOR THE FIRST TIME ON SEPTEMBER 7 THAT SAME YEAR”

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CHEL-SKI IS LONDON’S

LARGEST INDOOR SKI CENTRE

OFFERING THE VERY BEST HI-TECH SLOPES A fun, safe and controlled environment where you can learn to ski or snowboard as well as advance existing skills - the speed and angle of the slopes are adjusted to match your ability. Off the slopes our Alpine Bar is the perfect place to relax and enjoy something to eat or drink. At Chel-Ski you can develop your technique under close ‘personal’ supervision.

Chel-Ski

We also welcome school race clubs, our in-house Race Coaches make Chel-Ski the ideal venue to help students with their race training. @chelski_SW6

Our instructors look after just three customers (maximum) on each slope at any one time, so that they can assess how well you’re doing and give feedback on areas for improvement.

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www.chel-ski.uk Call us on : 020 3829 6961

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4 Sotheron Place, London SW6 2EJ

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“KENSINGTON PALACE MIGHT NOT BOAST THE SAME NOTORIETY AS BUCKINGHAM PALACE, BUT IT IS LINKED TO SOME OF THE MOST LOVED PRINCESSES OF MODERN TIMES”

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Please check the website for opening times prior to visiting. For another memorable display of music, head east from Westminster to St Paul’s Cathedral, in the city. Designed by Christopher Wren after its predecessor burnt down during the Great Fire of London in 1666, the stunning domed building houses a mesmerising geometric staircase, which looks a little like a giant snail’s shell. You can buy a sightseeing ticket, which allows you to walk around inside the cathedral. Venture down to the crypt to see the tombs of Admiral Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Christopher Wren, climb up into the dome and don’t forget to test your hearing in the Whispering Gallery; the circular walkway around the inside edge of the dome has such amazing acoustics that you can be heard right across the other side of the walkway, even when you talk softly. Those with a head for heights (and a fair bit of stamina) can walk up even further to the Stone and Golden Galleries to see remarkable views over London. If you visit between 10am and 2pm Monday to Saturday, then your entry ticket includes a guided tour but there are also free services that you can attend throughout the week, as well

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as Choral Evensong sessions, which take place every day at 5pm (3.15pm on Sundays). Head west of Westminster and you can experience another of the royal palaces. Kensington Palace might not boast the same notoriety as Buckingham Palace, but it is linked to some of the most loved princesses of modern times. It was here, in 1837, that the then Princess Victoria was awoken to be told she had become Queen, while Princess Diana lived here from the day she married Prince Charles until her untimely death in 1997, when the Palace’s iconic gold gates became the focus for thousands of tributes and flowers to the ‘queen of hearts’. In the same way that the fashion media is obsessed with the Duchess of Cambridge’s designer attire today, so was it infatuated with Diana’s outfits, so it’s little wonder that the former home of the ‘people’s princess’ has become known as the royal residence most associated with glamour and style. It’s somewhat fitting, then, that it often hosts major exhibitions of dresses from the Royal Collection. The latest, Diana: Her Fashion Story, features the pale pink Emanuel blouse worn for Diana’s engagement portrait by Lord Snowdon in 1981 and Victor Edelstein’s iconic ink blue velvet gown, famously worn at the White House when the princess danced with John Travolta. Entry is included in the ticket price. p46

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WESTMINSTER

ABBEY

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Britain’s greatest stories – they’re all here Westminster Abbey is one of the world’s greatest churches, with a history stretching back over a thousand years. The Abbey has been the Coronation church since 1066, and the setting for many other great events in the life of the nation, including sixteen royal weddings. It is the burial place of Kings and Queens, and of other distinguished figures in the nation’s history, from writers and musicians to politicians and scientists. An audio guide, offered free with your entry ticket, is available in twelve languages. Guided tours, led by Abbey vergers, are also available for individuals and family groups.

www.westminster-abbey.org

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©NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM; ADOBESTOCK; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

While at Kensington Palace, you’ll also get to see the Queens’ State Apartments from the time of William III and Mary II and explore the life and times of a young Victoria. You can wander around the grounds and the entrance areas of the palace for free including the Princess of Wales’ Memorial Playground with its huge wooden pirate ship, a sensory trail, and various toys and play sculptures, while the café is a lovely spot on a sunny day. The more formal gardens (included in the main palace entry ticket) are also well worth meandering through, if you have time. A royal is never, of course, fully dressed without their accessories and while Kensington Palace is home to the ‘royal wardrobe’ in terms of clothing, the Tower of London is where the Crown Jewels are kept. The entire collection features 142 historic ceremonial objects, including regalia and vestments worn by kings and queens of the country at their coronations, as well as the Imperial State Crown, which is worn by the Queen at each State Opening of Parliament. However, the Crown Jewels are not the only reason to visit the Tower of London. This 11th-century fortress is a fantastic day out whatever your interests might be and is one of the country’s finest historical attractions. Spanning a triumphant 1,000 years of history, the tower has so much going on that you can easily spend a whole day here. Make sure you join one of the tours led by the Yeoman Warders (popularly known as Beefeaters) and you’ll hear entertaining tales of intrigue, imprisonment, execution, torture and more. The tours begin every 30 minutes, last approximately an hour and are included in the entry price. Another big draw to the tower is the Royal Armouries’ exhibition in the White Tower, with swords, armour, morning stars (spiky maces) and other gruesome tools for separating human beings from their body parts. For younger children, there are swordsmanship games and coin-minting activities. If budgets are tight but history is your thing, then head to the National Maritime Museum, where you can learn about England’s historic battles at sea

YOU’RE IN LONDON

including heroic tales of Admiral Lord Nelson and cheeky pirate escapades all for free. In the Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery, you’ll hear tales stretching from the Glorious Revolution to the defeat of Napoleon with historic pieces on display, which reveal what life would have been like for a sailor over 200 years ago – there’s even the uniform Nelson was wearing during the Battle of Trafalgar, when he was fatally wounded. A section of the museum recounts James Cook’s North-West Passage expedition in the late 1770s – a display about the trade history of the East India Company – and a Forgotten Fighters gallery, which tells the stories of those who served at sea during the First World War. The collection at the National Maritime Museum is an unparalleled treasure trove of artefacts, models, maps, art and memorabilia and is positioned at the heart of the Royal Museums Greenwich, which also includes the Queen’s House, the Cutty Sark and the Royal Observatory. Overlooking the rest of the Royal Museums Greenwich, from the top of the hill, the Royal Observatory explores Greenwich’s connections with time. Built in 1675 on the orders of Charles II, the building contains a vast selection of instruments p49

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“THE CROWN JEWELS ARE NOT THE ONLY REASON TO VISIT THE TOWER OF LONDON – THIS 11THCENTURY FORTRESS IS A FANTASTIC DAY OUT WHATEVER YOUR INTERESTS MIGHT BE”

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IN THE HEART OF LEICESTER SQUARE

IN LONDON FOR A WEEK

LOOKING FOR A GOOD DEAL

LAST MINUTE & DISCOUNT THEATRE TICKETS


©NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM/JONNY BACK

DAYS OUT

ages will love the Sea Life London Aquarium, situated on the South Bank near Waterloo. The attraction is part of the Merlin group and there are often buy-one-get-one-free ticket deals floating about, so make sure you look out for those. You can also buy a Merlin pass, which gets you into a variety of attractions for a set price so it’s worth considering if you plan on visiting a few. The journey through the aquatic wonderland starts with a stroll through Shark Walk and over a glass window that peeks down into the two million-litre aquarium below. Then comes the Atlantic Depths with its sand eels and different breeds of octopus, before you come to Tidal Reach, a collection of creatures from British waters. Along with rock pool displays of brightlycoloured anemones and the gliding green sea turtles that swoop past overhead as you walk through the Ocean Tunnel, there’s a chance to get down deep with the sharks as you peer into the Pacific Wreck gallery and see if you can find Nemo and Dory among the clownfish and blue tang in the Coral Reef zone. Feeding sessions take place daily for the sharks, rays, penguins, terrapins and p50

used in timekeeping since the 14th century. John Harrison’s four timekeepers, used to crack the problem of longtitude, are here as well as the country’s largest (28-inch) refracting telescope, from 1893. There’s also the Astronomy Centre, housing a 4.5 billionyear-old meteorite, and the Peter Harrison Planetarium. This 120-seater auditorium is carefully positioned with its semi-submerged cone tilted at 51.5 degrees pointing to the North Star and its reflective disc aligned with the celestial equator – it screens daily and weekend star shows. Down at the Cutty Sark, you can discover what life was like on board the world’s sole surviving tea clipper, which was the fastest ship of her time. In 2012, this award-winning visitor attraction was re-opened, having undergone a £50 million restoration after it was almost destroyed by fire five years earlier. The refurbishment saw the legendary 19th-century sailing ship raised over three metres to enable visitors to walk directly underneath and touch the original hull planks and iron framework of the ship, which date back to 1869. Keeping with the maritime theme, kids of all

From the countryside, to the seaside…

We love Weston and so will you! When it comes to things to do in Weston-super-Mare, we really do have something to offer everyone! Whether it’s for children, parents, families or groups or whether you are into animals, the arts, theatre, history or adventure, you will be pleasantly surprised at what we offer here in Weston-super-Mare and the surrounding areas. There is always plenty to do in your favourite seaside resort, whatever the weather, with great attractions such as Weston Sand Sculpture Festival, Weston SeaQuarium, AJ’s Karting and Laser Tag, The Grand Pier, Hutton Moor Leisure Centre with a full size pool and a learner’s pool and nearby you can visit Wells Cathedral and The Bishops Palace.

Visitor Information

Weston-super-Mare has a superb selection of accommodation which includes fantastic hotels, bed and breakfasts, self-catering apartments and campsites and caravan parks to choose from, and if you are planning to stay for a while, and you should, why not stay longer as a day just isn’t enough!

Family Fun

Concerts & Theatres

Travelling here couldn’t be simpler either - easily accessible by the M4 and M5, a central train station with several direct train services per day from Birmingham and only a 30 minute drive to the city of Bristol. Weston-superMare is a year-round visitor destination and whatever your age, you will find everything you need for a quality break or weekend.

Dining Out

The official website for Weston-super-Mare

loveweston.com

Attractions

Beach & Lawns

Follow us online:  WeLoveWeston  LoveWestonsMare

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YOU’RE IN LONDON


DREAMWORKS TOURS: SHREK’S ADVENTURE! LONDON; MADAME TUSSAUDS LONDON; PAUL STEPHENSON MEDIA; SEALIFE

DAYS OUT

“YOUNGER CHILDREN CAN POP NEXT DOOR AND CHECK OUT SHREK’S ADVENTURE, WHICH TAKES VISITORS ON A JOURNEY IN SEARCH OF THE FAMOUS GREEN OGRE”

YOU’RE IN LONDON

seahorses, so make sure you check out specific times on the website before you go so you can time your visit accordingly. Just next door to the Sea Life centre is another Merlin attraction, the London Dungeon. After more than four decades spent located under the railway arches on Tooley Street, near London Bridge, The London Dungeon moved to its new, larger home on the South Bank four years ago. Promising tales of murder, torture and other foul deeds from London’s horrible past, the attraction is sure to scare the jeepers out of you, but you’ll also get plenty of laughs along the way. Designed as a living museum, the dungeons feature a cast of actors, who lead visitors through a 90-minute tour of 18 different interactive shows that tell engaging stories of torture, murder and terror. You’ll get to take a boat ride to the ‘Tower of London’ just as traitors did during Henry VIII’s reign, hear the inside story on the Gunpowder Plot from Guy Fawkes himself, and walk the streets stalked by Jack the Ripper. It’s not surprising that it’s not recommended for children under 12. Younger children can pop next door, however, and check out Shrek’s Adventure, which takes visitors on a journey in search of the famous big green ogre.

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Developed in conjunction with DreamWorks Animation, the attraction brings to life the hilarious world of Shrek and his friends through a combination of 10 laugh-out-loud live shows and classic sets from the Shrek films with captivating storytelling, an amazing 4D ride, dramatic multi-million-pound special effects and extraordinary animation. Those who find their way out and escape the clutches of the evil Rumpelstiltskin are rewarded with a DreamWorks finale including walk-through scenes from Madagascar and Kung-Fu Panda, plus a chance to come face-toface with Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. From famous ogres to human A-listers, over in Marylebone, you can meet some 300 ‘famous figures’ at Madam Tussauds. Madame Tussaud brought her show to London in 1802, 32 years after it was founded in Paris, and it’s remained in the same premises in London since 1884. The collection of waxworks include movie stars from past and present, from Brad Pitt and Benedict Cumberbatch, to Audrey Hepburn and Charlie Chaplin, as well as members of the royal family including Will and Kate. You’ll find Mo Farah, Muhammad Ali, Jessica Ennis and Usain Bolt among the immortalised sportsmen and women, while Kim Kardashian and Kanye West can be found p53

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Discover the house where Romantic poet John Keats wrote his best-loved poems. Now a museum and poetry centre, this beautiful Georgian villa is where Keats found inspiration, friendship and love.

The London Museum of Water & Steam is a magnificent 19th century pumping station near the river Thames at Kew Bridge. Visitors can admire some of the largest beam engines in the world whilst also finding out about the fascinating history of water supply in London. The engines come alive every weekend along with a narrow gauge steam railway, which transports visitors around the site.

020 8568 4757 museum@waterandsteam.org.uk Green Dragon Lane, Brentford London TW8 0EN

Open Wednesday to Sunday 11am – 5pm and Bank Holiday Mondays www.keatshouse.org.uk 020 7332 3868

www.waterandsteam.org.uk

St Martin-in-the-Fields Trafalgar Square +44 (0)20 7766 1100 | www.smitf.org

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Outstanding music Striking architecture Traditional brass rubbing Award-winning Café in the Crypt

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Peter Pan Photo: David Jensen/Feast Creative

2018 SEASON

J.M. BARRIE

by by arrangement with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity

BENJAMIN BRITTEN HENRY JAMES

music by libretto by after a story by a co-production with English National Opera

by

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

created by

DEREK BOND and MAX HUMPHRIES

book and lyrics by based on the film by

Season Partner

MYFANWY PIPER

HOWARD ASHMAN music by ALAN MENKEN ROGER CORMAN screenplay by CHARLES GRIFFITH

0844 826 4242* openairtheatre.com *9am – 9pm; calls cost 7ppm plus your telephone company’s access charge.


ADOBESTOCK; ING IMAGE; KIDZANIA LONDON

DAYS OUT

hanging out and taking selfies in the party area. But Tussauds isn’t just about lifelike dummies. There are a number of attractions including the new Alien: Escape experience; Spirit of London – a taxi ride through 400 years of London life – Marvel Super Heroes 4D, which features waxworks of Iron Man, Spiderman and Hulk; The Sherlock Holmes Experience, during which visitors must help Dr Watson find the enigmatic Sherlock, and you can even take the hot seat and see if you have got what it takes to be a coach on The Voice UK. For youngsters who can’t wait to grow up, let them go wild at Westfield London’s Kidzania, where they can take on real-life role play activities and career paths, which just happen to teach them important life skills along the way. Places of ‘work’ include an aviation academy, the fire and rescue unit, recycling centre, supermarket and fruit and nut bar factory and as they enter, children receive currency, which they can either add to by working and/or spend on fun rewards along the way. While there are plenty of attractions undercover to keep all ages entertained, when the sun is shining there’s nothing better than enjoying the outdoors. Since Victorian times, London Zoo, in Regents Park, has amused and enlightened visitors of all ages but over the last couple of decades it has changed almost beyond recognition. Originally opened as a

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collection for scientific study in the early 1800s, the 36-acre park is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and now supports conservation and works to ensure animal welfare. From the nocturnal galleries of the Rainforest Life pavilion to the recreated South American coastline of Penguin Beach and African setting of Gorilla Kingdom, each area has been carefully designed to show off animals at their best without disturbing their daily habits. The Land of the Lions enables visitors to get closer than ever before to the world’s most feared predators, while the Tiger Territory houses two examples of the critically-endangered species of Sumatran tiger and their cubs. Daily events include talks and feeding times, but there are also one-off events throughout the year, including ‘Sunset Safari’ openings on summer evenings. If you have a full day spare, you can have a go at being a keeper for the day and you don’t even have to leave when the zoo closes up for the night as you can now sleep overnight, in lodges right next to the lion enclosure! Regents Park isn’t the only place in London where you can find wild animals roaming. Battersea Park Children’s Zoo can be found by the picturesque riverside walk in Battersea Park, where you can meet monkeys, lemurs, meerkats, otters, farmyard animals and aviaries filled with birds. There are special animal encounter sessions and a play area, where your little monkeys can run wild. p55

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“SINCE VICTORIAN TIMES, LONDON ZOO HAS AMUSED AND ENLIGHTENED VISITORS OF ALL AGES BUT OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF DECADES IT HAS CHANGED ALMOST BEYOND RECOGNITION”

YOU’RE IN LONDON


A world of beauty Enjoy London’s most celebrated Gardens

Only 30 minutes from central London kew.org/visit Friends of Kew go free Kew Gardens Kew Bridge


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“ADRENALINE JUNKIES SHOULD BOOK A THAMES RIB EXPERIENCE, WHICH WILL HURTLE YOU ABOUT THE RIVER IN A RIGID INFLATABLE BOAT AT 30 KNOTS”

©RBG KEW; RICKY DARKO PHOTOGRAPHY/THE O2; THAMES RIB EXPERIENCE

For a unique glimpse at what life is like for a honey bee, pay a visit to the 17-metre-high Hive installation at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Visitors can stand, lie or sit within the massive lattice structure as thousands of LED lights flicker and an orchestral arrangement plays, triggered by the activity of bees in a nearby hive. Once you’ve had your fill of the insect world go and get a bird’s eye view of Kew Gardens from the treetop walkway, discover what’s inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory and marvel at the fine collection of botanical art and sculpture that can be found throughout the 300 acres of gardens situated right next to the River Thames. Talking of which, there are a number of ways to enjoy a great day out on the Thames. Adrenaline junkies should book a Thames RIB Experience, which will hurtle you about the river in a rigid inflatable boat at 30 knots. There are a number of routes to choose from but the most popular takes about 40 minutes to travel from Westminster to Tower Bridge at a sedate pace until it passes the tower and beyond the stretch of the river governed by speed restrictions, where the turbo engines kick in and the RIB skims across the open water, turning in terrifyingly tight figures of eight. It’s the quickest, most thrilling way to travel the Thames and probably the closest you will get to a white knuckle ride in central London. Another London experience, reserved for those who like to get their hearts p57

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YOU’RE IN LONDON


Don’t just experience London. Be a part of it. TAXIAPP UK

DOWNLOAD THE APP

You know where you are in a licensed Black Cab Available to download

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Leighton House Museum

shakespeare’s iconic theatre C

M

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CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

• Guided Theatre Tour • Exhibition with complimentary audio guide

buy tickets online

Shakespearesglobe.com/exhibition Bankside, London SE1

Visit a Private Palace of Art | 10am-5:30pm; closed Tuesdays

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CHEL-SKI; CLIP ‘N CLIMB; ING IMAGE; JOHN GOMEZ/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

DAYS OUT

pumping, is Up at The O2. This unforgettable 90-minute climbing adventure takes participants on an uplifting guided expedition across the roof of The O2 via a tensile fabric walkway suspended 53 metres above ground level. At the summit, an observation platform enables climbers to take in spectacular 360 degree views of London – on a clear day you can see landmarks up to 15 miles away – before descending back to base. If you’d prefer to travel downhill, Chel-Ski is London’s only indoor ski centre, located moments from Kings Road in Chelsea. With no lifts or queues, it is the perfect venue to brush up on existing skills or take your very first steps into the world of skiing and snowboarding. Expect cool design aesthetics and an engaging environment in which to take to the slopes. Although not quite as high as the O2, another nifty way of getting views of the Thames is by gliding across the river on an Emirates Air Line cable car, which you can board either at North Greenwich or Royal Victoria.

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For those who would rather have a slightly more leisurely river experience, there are a number of more sedate river cruises suitable for all ages. There are a number of quirky ways to tour the city. For example, the Pedibus allows groups of up to 12 to cycle the streets of London together while enjoying refreshments from the pedal-powered rickshaw’s bar. You can have a drink, burn a few calories and enjoy the company of your friends – what could be better? You can also jump aboard a refurbished vintage double-decker for a ghost bus tour, where a strange conductor tells stories from London’s murky past. Of course, if you would rather a more conventional form of sightseeing, then you can buy a ticket and board an open top bus. You can hop on and off at over 80 stops across the city and tickets last either 24 or 48 hours. Whatever you decide to get up to on your day (or days) out in London, one thing is for sure – you’ll never be short of things to do, rain or shine. l

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“ANOTHER WAY OF GETTING VIEWS OF THE THAMES IS BY GLIDING ACROSS THE RIVER ON AN EMIRATES AIR LINE CABLE CAR, WHICH YOU CAN BOARD AT EITHER NORTH GREENWICH OR ROYAL VICTORIA”

YOU’RE IN LONDON


HERITAGE

HAVE A BLUE DAY! Celebrate the diversity and achievements of London’s architecture and its past residents by touring the city’s blue plaques

YOU’RE IN LONDON

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he idea of placing commemorative plaques on the London houses of the great and good was first mooted by Liberal MP William Ewart in 1863 and was championed by Sir Henry Cole – the first director of what we now know as the Victoria and Albert Museum. Three years later the blue plaques scheme was founded by the Royal Society of Arts and, in 1867, the first plaque was erected at 24 Holles Street, Cavendish Square – the birthplace of poet Lord Byron, which was sadly demolished in 1889. A plaque commemorating Napoleon III went up in King Street that same year and remains the earliest surviving plaque. Benjamin Franklin, David Garrick and Lord Nelson were also among the first to be considered for the honour and Ewart himself was honoured with a blue plaque, at Eaton Place in Belgravia in 1963, 100 years after he first suggested the idea. Today, there are more than 900 blue plaques in London and English Heritage, which now runs the scheme, aims to install up to 12 plaques a year. Some appear on buildings of great character but indeed some buildings considered quite unexceptional architecturally have been preserved because of their important associations. Although the blue plaques scheme does not offer any kind of special protection to buildings, it does raise awareness of their historical significance and can therefore assist in their preservation. It can also add value; Margaret Thatcher’s former Belgravia home went on the market for £35 million in 2014, having sold for just £4.16 million the previous year, all thanks to the ‘blue plaque effect’. Most of the city’s blue plaques can be found in and around central London because the scheme was not extended to the outer boroughs until 1965. Unsurprisingly, the historical borough of Westminster City has the most amount of blue plaques, followed closely by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. It’s incredibly unlikely you’ll get to spot all of London’s blue plaques during your visit but these areas are a good place to start to tick off some of the most famous. Although the great humourist P G Wodehouse spent much of his life in France and the United States, a blue plaque adorns his Mayfair home at 17 Dunraven Street, which has now been divided into flats, while social

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ADOBESTOCK; ENGLISH HERITAGE/DEREK KENDALL

reformer and founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, is commemorated a few streets away at 10 South Street. Music fans should head to Mayfair’s Brook Street, where you’ll find a plaque honouring guitar legend Jimi Hendrix at number 23 – the flat he lived in from 1968 until 1969 just before he died the following year. The flat has recently been painstakingly restored to look exactly as it did in 1969, using pictures of him inside and the recollections of former girlfriend Kathy Etchingham – a refurbishment that has cost £2.4 million. The building is also next door to where baroque composer, George Frideric Handel, lived for 36 years in the mid-1700s – which is also commemorated by a blue plaque. Another of Hendrix’ London homes, the basement and ground floor of 34 Montagu Square, in Marleybone, also features a plaque but one that commemorates another celebrated musician, John Lennon. The Beatles star and his wife Yoko Ono lived there in 1968 and, during their stay posed for a nude photograph at the flat, which later formed the cover of the Two Virgins album. Reggae legend, Bob Marley, also lived in London before his untimely death and there is a plaque at his home at 34 Ridgemount Gardens, Fitzrovia, while The Who’s drummer

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Keith Moon’s blue plaque, at 90 Wardour Street in nearby Soho, is unusual in that it doesn’t mark where he lived but rather where he performed in the early days of his band. Head to upmarket Chelsea and you’ll find hundreds of blue plaques commemorating famous creative types and literary greats. There’s a plaque at author and playwright Oscar Wilde’s home at 34 Tite Street, while film director Alfred Hitchcock is honoured with a plaque at 153 Cromwell Road, the home he moved into with this wife, Alma, after they married in 1926 and lived in until they moved to America in 1939. Only one house where Charles Dickens lived still stands, at 48 Doughty Street, in Holborn, which is now a museum. He lived at the home from 1837 and 1839 and it is where he wrote Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers. A lot of famous VIPs spent most of their lives in the London borough of Kensington and have thus been commemorated with blue plaques on the facades of the buildings they called home. Poet T S Eliot has a plaque at 3 Kensington

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Court Gardens, the home where he lived and died, while wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, lived and died at 28 Hyde Park Gate. London has a number of unofficial plaques, too, with many outer London boroughs running their own schemes, sponsored by non-governmental societies and groups – in fact you’ll find an interesting nugget of historical information on buildings on almost every street in the city. There is one blue plaque in London that shouldn’t be taken literally, however, and that’s at The Friend at Hand Pub, on Herbrand Street, Russell Square. Despite not being genuine – comedian Ricky Gervais installed the plaque which is inscribed with, “David Letterman, American talk show host, got drunk here for a week” as a joke – it has become a popular tourist attraction. So whether you’re a history buff, literary lover, music fan or just plain nosey about where London’s rich and famous have lived over the years, you will find the homes of many of the world’s ‘greats’ in our endlessly-fascinating city. l

YOU’RE IN LONDON


EATING OUT

A TASTE OF LONDON – AND THE WORLD! Whatever your culinary tastes, you’re guaranteed to find a menu that suits in the capital

ADAM JAIME/UNSPLASH; ING IMAGE

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stools shaped like pills and waiters wore surgical gowns. Its celebrity frequenters included the late David Bowie, Kate Moss and Madonna but the novelty eventually wore off and in 2003 it closed. Pharmacy 2, which follows the same concept as the first, acts as a canteen for gallery visitors during the day and a stand-alone restaurant by night. Themed restaurants are a regular sight in London and, earlier this year, cheese fans were rewarded with the opening of a restaurant dedicated to cheese. The Cheese Bar, situated underneath a burlesque club in Camden Stables Market, is the brainchild of Mathew Carver, founder of the travelling Cheese Truck. This permanent space serves all manner of cheese-based dishes, such as Stilton raclette, grilled cheese sandwiches and even blue cheese ice cream. One of the biggest food fads to hit London recently is the bao. Popular at street food markets across the city, this Taiwanese steamed bun sandwich now has a couple of restaurants dedicated to it – Bao Soho and Bao Fitzrovia – but beware, they don’t take reservations and the queues for a table soon back up. Another foreign delicacy making its mark in the city is the Sri Lankan Hopper (rice and coconut milk pancakes shaped like a bowl). Hoppers Soho (backed by the same family behind Bao) p62

ondon is known for offering some of the most diverse culinary experiences in the world. There are around 17,000 restaurants in London serving menus from more than 50 major national cuisines and over 60 of them are rated with a Michelin star. Pretty much anything goes here and Londoners will give most things a try. Consequently, there is no shortage of restaurateurs willing to experiment; there’s the Cereal Café in Brick Lane, where you can eat hundreds of different kinds of cereals from around the world, and in Soho a pop-up restaurant dedicated to tinned food recently received rave reviews. If you like to be the first in the queue to check out the latest quirky restaurant opening, then you really are spoilt for choice in London – with 179 new restaurant openings last year alone, the city’s foodie scene is enjoying a boom time. The latest incarnations range from the flamboyantlyopulent to the cheap yet wonderfully cheerful and these days, it seems, you really don’t have to be a chef to open a restaurant – as long as you have an original concept London’s foodie population is happy to give it a try. Last year, artist Damien Hirst re-opened his famed Pharmacy restaurant as part of his gallery in Vauxhall. The original, which launched in Notting Hill in 1998, had pill pictures on the walls,

“17,000 RESTAURANTS IN LONDON SERVE MENUS FROM MORE THAN 50 MAJOR NATIONAL CUISINES AND OVER 60 OF THEM ARE RATED WITH A MICHELIN STAR”

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GENEVIEVE PERRON MIGNERON; HENREY BE/UNSPLASH; ING IMAGE

EATING OUT

“THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS PLACE IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE VIEWS AND THE FACT THAT IT’S OPEN 24-HOURS A DAY, SO BOTH THE FOOD AND VISTAS CAN BE APPRECIATED WHATEVER THE TIME OF DAY OR NIGHT!”

YOU’RE IN LONDON

launched in October 2015 and has been so successful that a second branch has just opened its doors in Marylebone. Those who will Christmas to come along so they can get their fix of turkey should get down to Shoreditch, where Strut & Cluck’s whole menu is based on the festive birds. Tapping into the trend for healthy living and turkey’s lean qualities rather than its notoriety as the star of the show at the Christmas dinner table, the restaurant serves eastern Mediterranean dishes, such as grilled turkey drumstick and slow-roast turkey thigh with caramelised red onions and sweet potatoes. While the aforementioned restaurants have (or will in time) earned their place on London’s food map thanks to their somewhat quirky offerings, some must-visit restaurants in London have earned their spot for other reasons. Nearing the top of most people’s wish lists when looking for a place to eat in London, is dinner with a view. London’s highest restaurant is Duck and Waffle, which sits triumphantly on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower at 110 Bishopsgate. Here executive chef Dan Doherty cooks up an array of traditional British dishes with broad European influences and, of course, the restaurant’s signature dish, duck leg and duck egg on a waffle with maple syrup. However, the best thing about this place is undoubtedly the views and the fact that it’s

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open 24-hours a day so both the food and vistas can be appreciated whatever the time of day or night! If you don’t fancy the food on offer at Duck & Waffle, then don’t panic. Descend a floor in the same building and you will find yourself in Sushi Samba, a New York import that serves a fusion of sushi dishes with influences from Japan, Brazil and Peru. The design details are what give this restaurant the wow-factor and include a speckled black-and-white floor, inspired by the Ipanema Beach promenade, a ‘sky at night’ bamboo canopy containing 340 lightbulbs, and not one but two outdoor terraces – one with a bar set around a magnificent orange tree – all adding to what makes this a very special occasion destination. Another of London’s skyscrapers offering a multitude of dining options with a view is The Shard. Although the building, at London Bridge, is the tallest in western Europe, its restaurants are positioned on floors 31, 32 and 33 so don’t quite get the prize for the highest in the city. Nonetheless, the views are impressive. Aqua Shard, located on level 31, serves innovative contemporary cuisine which combines the staple ingredients of British cooking with ground-breaking techniques. There’s also a three-storey-high atrium bar offering an extensive menu of cocktails including two signature selections, one with ingredients inspired by the botanicals used to make gin and the p65

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EATING OUT

second by a most British staple – tea. Situated on floor 32, Rainer Becker’s oblix offers a contemporary, sophisticated yet relaxed dining experience with a wood fired oven, charcoal grill and spit roast serving wholesome dishes. On the next floor up things get an Asian twist at Hutong, which is based on the much-loved restaurant of the same name in Hong Kong. Based on the “Lu school” cuisine of Shandong Province, the menu artfully captures the subtlety and surprises of northern Chinese cooking and takes inspiration from the dishes served in the imperial palaces of what was once Peking. A cocktail selection inspired by ingredients used in traditional Chinese medicine, and a stunning traditional Chinese interior with red lanterns and beautiful hand-carved wooden ‘Moon Gates’, completes the offering. Always listed in the top 10 of places to eat with a view in London is The Oxo Tower which, with its positioning on the south bank of the River Thames, has a spectacular outlook towards Charing Cross and St Paul’s Cathedral. A dazzling success since opening in 1996, the Harvey Nichols-run trio of restaurants on the eighth floor of the tower includes a formal restaurant, low-key brasserie and bar. Those with a taste for the finer things in life can rest assured, as London is one of the top-ranked cities in the world for fine-dining and the capital is quite rightly decorated with Michelin stars year after year.

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Few Michelin-starred restaurants have views to match that of Galvin at Windows, on the 28th floor of Hilton Park Lane. Together with head chef Andre Garrett, chef-patron Chris Galvin has successfully created seasonally-inspired menus based around modern French haute cuisine, complemented by its 1930s décor and views of iconic sites, like Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace. Another shining star in Mayfair’s ever-growing Michelin constellation is the elegantly-understated Alyn Williams at The Westbury. Following eight years perfecting his craft with Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley Hotel, Alyn stepped into the spotlight with the opening of his eponymous restaurant in the autumn of 2011 and has already gained a Michelin star, four AA Rosettes and a top 15 ranking in the UK’s 100 Best Restaurants. Coupled with a National Chef of the Year crown in 2012, Alyn Williams has been catapulted to the top of everyone’s fine-dining wish list. Meanwhile, Marcus Wareing’s two-star Michelin restaurant has recently been renovated and reopened as ‘Marcus’. There are still the same sommeliers wheeling over trollies of champagne on ice and an inspired modern French menu by Gordon Ramsay’s protégé and guest Masterchef judge, Marcus, but the restaurant itself has been stripped back to be more minimalist, making the food the star of the show. Also in Mayfair, Japanese restaurant Umu was awarded two-star status just last year. The restaurant – the name of which means ‘born of nature’ p67

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“THOSE WITH A TASTE FOR THE FINER THINGS IN LIFE CAN REST ASSURED, AS LONDON IS ONE OF THE TOPRANKED CITIES IN THE WORLD FOR FINEDINING AND THE CAPITAL IS DECORATED WITH MICHELIN STARS YEAR AFTER YEAR”

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Located in the heart of London’s Chinatown, Beijing Dumpling takes pride in its famous dumplings, made by specialist chefs from China. The dumplings are freshly-prepared using traditional recipes and ingredients which ensures that every bite is bursting with delicious flavour. There are also a large variety of traditional dishes from the Far East; their fire cracker chicken and special seafood ho-fun are a must try!

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– opened in 2004 as the UK’s first Kyoto-style restaurant, specialising in the multi-course kaiseki menus, derived from the Japanese tea ceremony that is a speciality of the former imperial capital. Its recent promotion from one to two stars is the result of chef Yoshinori Ishii finding the time to add little details to complement his food and the dining experience as a whole – he makes the chopstick stands, crafts the bowls and even paints the menus with calligraphy himself. The restaurant has a futuristic sliding entrance door (set off by placing your hand on a sensor), a plush, dark interior and polished service but with a bill to match, so it’s best to save this swanky venue for a special occasion, unless you have a generous expense account. If sushi is your thing and you have the cash to splash, then its also worth considering the Araki. Opened by Japanese sushi master Mitsuhiro Araki in 2015 as part of the £250m W4 development in Mayfair, the tiny restaurant offers a very personal dining experience with space for just nine covers and has a no-choice, set-price menu costing around £300 per head. Sticking with high-end Asian offerings, the Michelin-starred Amaya, in Belgravia, specialises in stylish pan-Indian tapas. Ask for a table by the kitchen for a view of the chefs working the clay tandoor, charcoal grill and griddle. Traditionalists, meanwhile, will love the 103-yearold The Dining Room, at The Goring. A favourite

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with the royal family, the plush dining room at this exquisite, family-owned hotel near St James’ Park, features bow-tied waiters, Swarovski chandeliers, and thick carpets and drapes in muted colours with a traditional menu of British classics, such as beef Wellington and gypsy tart. That quintessentially English fine-dining experience can also be found at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught in Mayfair. It’s clear the staff take pleasure in working at this historic dining room with its beautiful wood panelling and floral plasterwork ceiling. Waistcoats, silver jugs and Baccarat crystal denote formality yet the menu is far more rustic than you’d expect. Such is the special-occasion nature of this Michelin-starred venue that everyone is presented with a personalised souvenir menu. Meanwhile, the longstanding Le Gavroche, in Upper Brooke Street, is a bit of an institution in London, having trained the likes of Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay. Opened in 1967 by brothers Michel and Albert Roux, the two Michelin-star restaurant is now run by Michel Roux junior and offers a delicious French menu complemented by an unpretentious atmosphere and a 60,000-strong wine list. Fellow Frenchman Stéphane Reynaud recently chose London for his first restaurant outside Paris. While too new to be on the Michelin list, Tratra – a meat and charcuterie-focused restaurant which takes up the entire basement level of the Boundary Hotel in Shoreditch – is bound to start racking up the stars soon. p68

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“THE LONGSTANDING LE GAVROCHE, IN UPPER BROOKE STREET, IS A BIT OF AN INSTITUTION IN LONDON, HAVING TRAINED THE LIKES OF MARCO PIERRE WHITE AND GORDON RAMSAY”

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“IF YOU’RE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT WHO YOU’RE DINING WITH THAN WHO’S COOKING THE FOOD, THEN THE LATEST CELEBRITY HANGOUTS ARE WHERE YOU SHOULD BE HEADING”

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Locanda Locatelli is another Michelin-starred London institution. Considered by many to be one of the best Italian chefs in the UK, Giorgio Locatelli serves authentic home-baked Italian food and can often be seen wandering among his diners. Last year, the chef saw his restaurant closed following a gas explosion, soon after having it refurbished at a cost of £1.2m. Undeterred by this, he has reopened on the same site serving a menu just as it was before. At Kitchen Table – a tiny one Michelin-starred, 19-seat modern European restaurant tucked behind champagne and hot dog spot Bubbledogs – another of Wareing’s protégés, chef James Knappett, is shaking the pans and encouraging full diner interaction with a 12-course tasting menu, which changes daily. There are currently just two London restaurants with three Michelin Stars; Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester and Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea. While Ducasse’s eatery is great for celeb spotting – expect to see star footballers and the like there most evenings – Ramsay’s restaurant has had a feminine makeover following the appointment of Clare Smyth as chef-patron, who has added distinctive yet elegant touches to the menu and décor. Talking of celebs, London also has its fair share of celebrity-run restaurants. Made famous by Jamie Oliver’s TV series in 2002, the cheeky Essex boy’s famous Fifteen restaurant, between Hoxton and Old Street, is still going strong. You can expect Jamie’s

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trademark quirky, delicious food in a trendy, celebrity-filled setting. The Mediterranean menu, which is as seasonal and locally-sourced as possible, is complemented by the laid-back vibe, and philanthropists out there will be keen to hear that money from your bill goes towards teaching the restaurant’s trainee chefs. Heston Blumenthal’s famous flagship restaurant the Fat Duck, in Bray, may well be booked up months in advance but his two Michellin-starred London restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, in Knightsbridge, is a little more accessible. While the Fat Duck celebrates futuristic flamboyance, Dinner updates historic dishes with flair and precision ensuring that it is one of London’s most sought-after destinations. Those looking for a celeb-chef experience on a budget should head for Corrigan’s, acclaimed Irish chef Richard Corrigan’s humble offering in Mayfair, where the great value lunch menu offers a sample of the hearty portions of down to earth food that have been inspired by Corrigan’s rural upbringing. If you’re more concerned about who you’re dining with than who’s cooking the food, then the latest celebrity hangouts are where you should be heading. Sexy Fish has been described as “not so much a restaurant but the museum of London’s rich”. Artwork by Damien Hirst, Frank Gehry and Michael Roberts adorns the walls of this Asian fusion restaurant in Berkeley Square, there’s a resident DJ

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EATING OUT

seven nights a week and it’s open until 2am. Oh, and there’s not one but two massive fish tanks. Expect famous people, lots of famous people. If you don’t manage to bag a booking at Sexy Fish, try Chiltern Firehouse – Andre Balazs’ luxury hotel and restaurant in Marylebone – and it’s almost a dead cert you will be dining with at least one star. Originally one of London’s first purpose-built fire stations, the Grade II-listed Gothic Victorian building has been transformed into a swanky New York-style brasserie with high ceilings, hanging light fittings, large mirrors and a busy open kitchen. Guests, who regularly include Kate Moss, Simon Cowell, Lindsay Lohan, David Beckham, Orlando Bloom and even former Prime Minister David Cameron, are greeted by attractive top-hatted doormen and escorted through a pretty garden courtyard to their tables. Kitchen W8 is also one of the most popular haunts amongst celebs in town. The stylish Michelin-starred venue is nestled unassumingly in one of Kensington’s side streets but has steadily built up a reputation as being the number one choice for the rich and famous in the know. Despite the above new kids on the block attracting the celebs A-listers continue to dine at Nobu, the Park Lane sushi restaurant co-owned by Robert de Niro as well as its sister restaurant in Mayfair. And, while its crown has slipped slightly in recent years, The Ivy is still the

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place to be seen when in London’s trendy West End. A selection of Ivy Brasseries has opened up across the city as well, so check those out if you struggle to get a table at the flagship restaurant. Joining the aforementioned Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester is China Tang, another favourite with the celebrities. The restaurant is owned by the flamboyant founder of the Shanghai Tang chain, David Tang, and his movie star friends are often found there sampling Chinese delicacies alongside supermodels and business tycoons. The signature dish of Peking duck is said to be one of the finest to be found in the UK. Cecconi’s of Mayfair is glamour personified, with smart waiters, a stylish interior and a genuine Venetian tapas bar. Breakfast is served until midday and the place is renowned for its trendy salads, chocolate fondant and “the comfiest sofas in Mayfair” – there’s a good chance you’ll spot the likes of Madonna or Stella McCartney lounging on them. The grand old café-restaurant at The Wolseley, on London’s Piccadilly, has a spectacular Grade II-listed interior and a sumptuous menu to match. Whether you go there for a traditional afternoon tea or the famous Wolseley breakfast, you’re likely to spot a famous face or two, such as Sarah Ferguson or supermodel Lily Cole. Not far away on Piccadily is the quintessential Italian experience of Cichetti, chic all-day dining p70

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from the San Carlo Group – there’s also a sister restaurant in Covent Garden. For a more psychedelic celeb-spotting experience, head to Sketch in Mayfair, a unique gastro-brasserie conceived by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed that pushes the boundaries of art and functionality. Sketch contains five restaurants in total but the two Michelin-starred Lecture Room and Library is the place to eat if you’re after wall-to-wall celebrities. Of course, eating out isn’t just about the food these days. As well as the chance to spot a celeb or two, most people are after a whole experience that will entertain their minds as well as their taste buds. From floating restaurants that take you along the River Thames to those that invite you to eat your meal in the dark, London does not disappoint. With futuristic décor courtesy of British designer Tom Dixon, Circus restaurant and cocktail bar in the West End has a decadent feel and dinner is punctuated by various surprise cabaret and circus acts, which parade around on the tables as you eat.

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“IF YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE A TRUE LONDON TRADITION THEN YOU CANNOT VISIT THE CAPITAL WITHOUT GOING FOR AFTERNOON TEA” Also in the West End, Sarastro is “the show after the show” thanks to the musical entertainment delivered by musicians from London’s opera houses each Monday and Sunday. The restaurant is even decked out like a theatre; elevated boxes arranged around the restaurant are furnished in rococo, Gothic and Ottoman styles with drapes and theatre props in abundance, while food is of the TurkishMediterranean variety. Providing just as much of a show but giving diners a taste of a bygone era is The Medieval Banquet, at St Katherine’s Dock. This show of festive pageantry features your very own serving wenches, who sing and dance while serving you a four-course banquet and refilling your glass with unlimited wine or beer. While The Medieval Banquet is served by torchlight, there is one restaurant in London which serves dinner in complete darkness. At Dans le Noir?, in Clerkenwell, meals are served by blind waiters and challenge your sense of taste and smell in a bid to educate your palate to truly appreciate the flavours.

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EATING OUT burgers and fries, including colouring sets, balloons and movie memorabilia, and the kids’ menu includes unlimited soft drinks. Both little and big kids will appreciate the rock ‘n’ roll offering at the Hard Rock Café, near Hyde Park. The menu features sizzling dishes from the deep south served with a side of nostalgia thanks to the classic rock memorabilia and music. If they’re still hungry after their main meal, then head to Maxwell’s Bar & Grill in Covent Garden for a Freakshake – a massive milkshake with a shedload of cake, crazy toppings and cream piled on top which began life in the Aussie capital of Canberra and is now taking London by storm. If you want to experience a true London tradition then you cannot visit the capital without going for afternoon tea. This famous pastime, made popular by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840, is a staple of London’s social calendar. Tea at the Ritz is by far the most well-known and here you will get the true quintessential experience with 18 different types of lose-leaf tea. However, you will find that most luxury hotels provide an afternoon tea menu, p73

From eating in total darkness to an eye-opening display of cooking at Benihana. With restaurants in Chelsea, Piccadilly and St Paul’s this American-import offers a menu of Japanese sushi and teriyaki grill dishes prepared and cooked at the table by your very own chef. One of the best things about dining in London is that there are hundreds of places where you can dine while looking out over the River Thames. But you can’t get a much better view of the river than by dining on it. Bateaux London operates daily scheduled public cruises for individuals and groups on a Scandinavian vessel, which boasts the largest open upper deck on the Thames. There are plenty of kid-friendly options in the city, too. At the Rainforest Café on Regent Street they’ll go wild watching the indoor waterfalls, lightning, rain, animals and real tropical fish, while munching their way through the special two-course, American-themed kids’ menu and enjoying the activity packs. Older kids might like to mingle with the stars at Planet Hollywood restaurant near the bright lights of Leicester Square. There’s plenty to keep kids entertained alongside their

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some more traditional than others. Traditionalists should head for The Dorchester, Claridges and The Savoy, where the cakes, crust-less sandwiches and scones are all served on delicate stands and are accompanied by a crisp glass of champagne. Bucking the trend, the OXO Tower Brasserie offers a Not Afternoon Tea featuring a selection of quirky cocktails and sweet treats with not a sandwich in sight, while fashionistas should drop by The Berkeley Hotel for a Pret-a-Portea, inspired by the themes and colours of the fashion world. At the Sanctum Soho Hotel, in Warwick Street, gents can get a treat with an afternoon tea featuring masculine delights including beef sliders, miniature lamb hot pot and roast beef with Yorkshire pud topped off with a Jack Daniels and fine cigar. Afternoon tea isn’t the only alternative to the usual breakfast, lunch, dinner option; these days Londoners love nothing more than a brunch. Most popular on a Saturday or Sunday, these mid-morning get-togethers can be bottomless and boozy or vibrant and virtuous. Kings Cross’ Granary Square has become a magnet for foodies and its Caravan restaurant serves one of the best brunches around – particularly as it is served until 4pm. Choose between dishes such as avocado toast sprinkled with chilli, lemon and olive oil or more indulgent options, such as pumpkin waffle topped with baked ricotta, maple and pecans. In Soho, the Dean Street Townhouse provides one of the cosiest dining rooms in London. Shelter from the unpredictable British weather with multiple plates of hot buttered crumpets, kedgeree and eggs Florentine, washed down by Bloody Marys and copious cups of tea. For those who like their brunch rather boozy, Mews of Mayfair, just off Bond Street, is the place to head. You can get unlimited Bellinis and Mimosas for £15 to accompany your brunch of eggs benedict, or even a roast if you’d prefer! Of course, you don’t have to eat in to experience the many culinary delights that London has to offer. Drawing on the cultural diversity of its population, street food is more popular than ever before in London and if you’re food-obsessed but don’t have the disposable income to ‘fine dine’, the street food is a real saviour. You’ll find it for sale at markets across town (most big markets will have at least a handful of food stalls) but the most famous are most probably Borough Market, where you can easily spend half a day dining out on the free samples on offer, and Brick Lane, where there’s more food to be found than just in the street’s famous curry houses. In the evening, head for the Southbank Centre, where stalls are open until 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and Street Feast in Dalston which is open from 5pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer (June to September). You’ll also find food festivals cropping up across London throughout the year. Meatopia and Taste of

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London have become permanent fixtures in the city’s foodie calendar but new ones launch all the time so make sure you keep your eye out for the latest gigs. Whatever your taste and budget, there’s more than enough to choose from in the capital. A lot of restaurants require bookings, particularly at the weekend, so if you have your heart (and belly) set on somewhere, make sure you call ahead to avoid disappointment (your hotel will be able to help or make a reservation for you). However, lots of venues are happy to accommodate walk-ins so there are plenty of options for those who would rather be spontaneous. l

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“DRAWING ON THE CULTURAL DIVERSITY OF ITS POPULATION, STREET FOOD IS MORE POPULAR THAN EVER BEFORE IN LONDON”

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FACT FILE

DID YOU KNOW? Think you know all about London? Think again!

If London was a country, it would be the eighth largest in Europe.

Shaftesbury Avenue, was where Jimi Hendrix played his last ever public performance on 17th September, 1970 – the day before he died.

The exact centre point of London is marked by a plaque in the Church of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, which overlooks Trafalgar Square.

Big Ben is not the name of the iconic clock tower – it’s the name of the bell inside it.

Cars are required by law to travel on the right-hand side of the road in Savoy Court (the road leading off Strand to the Savoy Hotel) – this was originally decreed by Parliament in 1902 so that theatregoers could decamp from their carriages directly into the Savoy Theatre.

Blackfriars is the only train station to have entrances on both sides of the Thames. In order to become a black-cab driver in London you must master the ‘Knowledge’, which encompasses 320 basic routes and the names of the 25,000 streets scattered within those routes, as well as about 20,000 landmarks and places of interest within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross – it usually takes between two to four years to learn by heart.

Arsenal is the only football club to have an underground station named after it – the station was formerly called Gillespie Road but was renamed after the club in 1932.

There is an entire pet cemetery in Hyde Park. The first dog to be buried there was called Cherry, a Maltese Terrier, who died of old age in 1881.

London was the first city to reach a population of more than one million, in 1811. It held the title of largest city in the world until it was overtaken by Tokyo in 1957.

About 500,000 mice live in the London Underground.

PAUL STEPHENSON MEDIA; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Great Ormond Street Hospital owns the rights to Peter Pan and receives royalties from all associated works and performances. In 1929, the popular book’s author J. M. Barrie gifted the copyright to the children’s hospital, eight years before his death.

On the day before drinking alcohol was banned on London public transportation in 2008, thousands of people went on the circle line to ride in a circle for hours while drinking. The Times New Roman typeface was commissioned by The Times of London in 1931 after the newspaper was accused of being typographically antiquated. Although now one of the most popular typefaces across the globe, it is no longer used by the publication.

The world’s first traffic light was installed at the junction of Great George Street and Bridge Street, near Westminster Palace, in 1868. During the 18th century you could pay your admission ticket to London Zoo by bringing a cat or a dog to feed the lions.

More languages are spoken in London than in any other city in the world – more than 300. l

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, on Frith Street, off

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MARKETS

ON THE MARKET! Fancy a browse round the market? It’s possible every day of the week in London

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fish, game, fruit and veg, as well as cakes and all manner of preserves, oils and teas on offer. Make sure you come armed with a large shopping bag and empty stomach when you visit this market, which is open from Wednesday to Saturday but to avoid the hungry crowds go first thing on Saturday mornings, from 8am or 9am, or from midday on Thursday or Friday. On Mondays and Tuesdays hot food and fruit and vegetable stalls trade but not the full market. Across the river, the original Brick Lane Market is a large flea market with street stalls selling antiques and bric-a-brac at bargain prices. However, in recent years a number of other markets have opened including the Boiler House Food Hall, the Backyard Market, the Sunday UpMarket, and the Vintage Market with stalls selling everything from vintage and hand-made clothing, accessories, jewellery, music, arts and crafts, and tasty street food so there’s something to see every day of the week. Less than 10 minutes’ stroll away, you’ll find yourself at Old Spitalfields Market, where the 1876 covered Victorian market hall has been enhanced with a modern shopping precinct. Enthusiastic stallholders sell grub from just about every corner of the world (there’s also a fine food market held three times a week with over 20 traders, many of which can also be found at Borough Market) while up-and-coming designers p79

rom feeding the city’s first settlers to becoming shopping hubs and indeed tourist attractions in their own right, London markets have enjoyed a rich and vibrant history through the ages. The area where Borough Market now stands became a hub for trade and commerce on the south side of the River Thames as far back as the 13th century but it wasn’t until the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries that established markets really took off in London, with the likes of Covent Garden and Spitalfields becoming official markets. South London’s Brixton Market was the first electrified market in the country and stands, as a result, on Electric Avenue. This bustling corner of Brixton is a community within itself, featuring more than 100 local and independent businesses which have transformed an old arcade into a fantastic go-to destination for shopping and just generally soaking up the atmosphere. Meander through the covered walkways to uncover a treasure trove of cuisines, fresh produce, clothing, jewellery, homeware, art, music and more. The market is popular with new traders just starting out so it’s a great place to find a gem at a bargain price. London’s best-known food market, Borough Market, is also the city’s busiest. Occupying a sprawling site under the railway tracks near London Bridge, this is a market for gourmet food lovers, with fresh artisan loaves, rare-breed meats,

“THIS BUSTLING CORNER OF BRIXTON FEATURES MORE THAN 100 LOCAL AND INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES WHICH HAVE TRANSFORMED AN OLD ARCADE INTO A FANTASTIC GO-TO DESTINATION FOR SHOPPING”

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simply superb stalls & designer shops! Hot Street Food Stalls Daily Ve ga n & Ve ggie option s too

ARTS&CRAFTS MARKET Nearest Station - Cutty Sark

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Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Weekends

ANTIQUES&COLLECTABLES MARKET

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Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays

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MARKETS

“FASHIONISTAS AND VINTAGE LOVERS SHOULD HEAD WEST TO GET THEIR FIX AT THE FAMOUS PORTOBELLO ROAD MARKET”

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showcase their creations alongside vintage clobber, crafts, jewellery, books and sheepskin rugs. A record market is also held twice a month. The cost of pitches here is pretty steep, particularly on a Sunday, but that means the choice of produce is high quality. If you want to avoid the crowds, come on a Thursday. Anyone with green fingers should head up past Bethnal Green and make a stop at Columbia Road Flower Market. On Sundays, the street is transformed into an oasis of foliage and flowers with traders selling everything from bedding plants to 10ft banana trees. There’s also a host of independent galleries and shops selling pottery and perfume but they often shut up shop with the market at 3pm so make sure you head over in the morning to get the pick of the crop. In the north of the city, Camden’s sprawling collection of markets offers a real assortment of street culture with over 100 stalls and is open seven days a week. The weekends are not for the fainthearted however, so visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds – although the mish-mash of customers definitely add to the atmosphere. At the main market, which is on the junction with Buck Street and Canal Market, which was reopened after being destroyed by a fire in February 2008, you’ll find cheap jeans, T-shirts and accessories, while at Camden Lock Market – a former timber yard for ship-builders TE Dingwalls that has had various reincarnations since it was opened in the 1970s – you’ll find everything from corsets and children’s clothes to Japanese tableware and multi-cultural food stalls.

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Fashionistas and vintage lovers should head west to get their fix at the famous Portobello Road Market. It’s always heaving with tourists but then that’s pretty unavoidable considering this market is a London institution. Over 2,000 specialist antique dealers squeeze tightly into any available space along the road and if you’re a film fan, you might just catch a glimpse of the blue door from the film Notting Hill. Elgin Crescent is where you can find the fashion market, which is best to visit on a less-frantic Friday morning if you want to have enough elbow room to delve through the troves of prized vintage, boutique fashion and retro memorabilia. However, further along at Golborne Road, which is lined by eccentric second-hand interiors stalls, is where you’re likely to find the real bargains. If it’s antiques you’re after but the crowds of Portobello are too much, then head over to Alfie’s Antique Market in St John’s Wood, which is open from 10am to 6pm every day. With 75 specialist dealers spread over five floors, this bustling and lively indoor centre is packed with decorative and unusual finds and has a little more life than your traditional antique thoroughfares. On the top floor there’s a roof-top kitchen, where you can grab a spot of lunch while enjoying panoramic views over London’s rooftops. So whether you fancy a bit of a bargain hunt, want to sample some of the city’s best local produce or just want to experience the bustling market atmosphere – you really are spoilt for choice in London. l

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ARTS & CULTURE

A CITY AT THE HEART OF ART! A global centre for art and culture, London is respected and envied the world over

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ondon is often considered the cultural capital of the world and when the city hosted the Olympics in 2012, we were reminded exactly what a modern-day cultural powerhouse it is. London is home to more than 850 art galleries and almost 200 museums, three of which are among the top 10 most visited in the world, and most are free to enter. The city’s national museum, the British Museum in Great Russell Street, is the UK’s most visited attraction with around 6.4 million visitors in 2016 but don’t let the crowds put you off. As one of the world’s oldest museums, having first opened in 1759, its collections comprise millions of objects, so vast that only a fraction can be put on public display at any one time. The museum has 10 curatorial and research departments covering geographical regions, periods of time and types of artefacts, but the most famous of its exhibits are undoubtedly the Egyptian mummies, the Rosetta Stone and the Anglo-Saxon ship burial from Sutton Hoo, Suffolk – one of the most spectacular and important discoveries in British archaeology. The various short-term exhibitions mean

there’s always something different to see at the British Museum, no matter how many times you may have visited. However, there are also a number of permanent exhibitions on display including the Enlightenment Gallery, which features around 5,000 objects chosen to cast light on the period when the British Museum was founded by an Act of Parliament. It is displayed in the restored former King’s Library, a huge neo-classical room built in the 1820s to house the books collected by George III. There is also Living and Dying in the Wellcome Trust Gallery, which explores the ways in which people throughout history have diagnosed and treated disease and coped with death. The exhibition considers attitudes towards burial, mourning and festivals for the dead and features an installation on Western approaches to illness. Many of London’s museums can be found in a cluster in an area of South Kensington, so if you want to visit as many as possible in a short period of time, head for the aptlynamed Exhibition Road, where you will find some of the city’s must famous cultural learning facilities. p82

“LONDON IS HOME TO MORE THAN 850 ART GALLERIES AND ALMOST 200 MUSEUMS, THREE OF WHICH ARE AMONG THE TOP 10 MOST VISITED IN THE WORLD, AND MOST ARE FREE TO ENTER”

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Both a research institution and a fabulous museum, the Natural History Museum was opened here in Alfred Waterhouse’s purpose-built Romanesque palazzo in 1881. Now joined by the splendid Darwin Centre extension, the original building still looks quite magnificent; the pale blue and terracotta façade just about prepares you for the natural wonders within. The magnificent cast of a diplodocus skeleton, which had until January 2017 spanned the full length of the vast entrance hall for over 100 years, has been replaced by a blue whale skeleton while it goes on a four-year tour of the UK. However, you can still see the animatronic dinosaurs in the museum’s Blue Zone. There’s also a biology display, which features an illuminated, man-sized model of a foetus in the womb along with graphic diagrams of how it might have got there, a Creepy Crawlies exhibition and From the Beginning, which attempts to give the expanse of geological time a human perspective. The museum also has an extraordinary collection of 22 million insect and plant specimens, many of which are housed in the Darwin Centre, where they take up nearly 17 miles of shelving. Every winter, the museum also premieres the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition before it tours more than 60 cities in the UK and across the world. If the Natural History Museum has whet your appetite for learning, then the Science Museum is also worth a visit while you’re in the area (it’s just down the road). Featuring seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits, this museum forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Perhaps the most spectacular of its exhibitions is Exploring Space, which includes the three metrehigh, 600kg Spacelab 2 X-ray telescope which was flown on British space missions as well as full-scale models of the Huygens Titan probe and Beagle 2 Mars Lander. The museum’s in-house IMAX cinema shows scientific films in 3D, allowing visitors to be surrounded by space or submerged in the depths of the ocean, while the Dana Centre is an adults-only centre for free lectures and performance events on contemporary scientific issues. There’s also the Apollo 10 command module and a flight simulator allowing you to take the controls yourself and perform your very own aerial acrobatics, just like the famous Red Arrows. From transport in the air to transport on the ground and the London Transport Museum, in Covent Garden,

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provides a fascinating insight into the city’s transport systems over the years. You’ll learn about the capital’s first licensed public transport – the sedan chair – and the beautifullypainted, horse-drawn omnibus, from 1805, through to the building of the city’s first passenger railway line, from London Bridge to Greenwich, in 1833. On the first floor of the museum you can take a look at the first underground engine (steampowered) and even climb aboard a wooden Metropolitan Railway coach. You can also learn about Frank Pick, the man responsible for rolling out the London Underground brand, giving each line its own name and character and ensuring the emblematic bar and circle logo became an intrinsic part of London’s visual identity. You’ll find London Transport’s posters – by the likes of Abram Games, Graham Sutherland and Ivon Hitchens – on show throughout the museum including the original tube map by Harry Beck. There’s also plenty to keep the little ones entertained with a designated ‘All Aboard’ play zone for the under sevens, which includes a fleet of mini vehicles to play on and a selection p85

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“THE CAST OF A DIPLODOCUS SKELETON THAT SPANNED THE LENGTH OF THE ENTRANCE HALL FOR OVER 100 YEARS HAS BEEN REPLACED BY A BLUE WHALE SKELETON”

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Handcrafted in the heart of London

5 minutes from London Bridge 62 - 66 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UD gallery@londonglassblowing.co.uk +44 (0) 207 403 2800


Come and visit us at our stunning art-deco building to see thought-provoking, free exhibitions, lively events, browse the bookshop and enjoy lunch or a coffee in our cafĂŠ. More information on our events is available at architecture.com /whatson Address: Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD Contact details: +44(0)20 7580 5533 | info@riba.org Registered Charity No. 210 566. Incorporated by Royal Charter No. RC000484


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of dress-up uniforms to become a mechanic, riverboat captain or station announcer! The museum hosts a number of ‘Hidden London’ tours throughout the year, which you can book tickets for and which enable you to explore unused Underground stations and tunnels at various locations across London. These include the lost tunnels under Euston station, the subterranean shelter at Clapham South and Winston Churchill’s secret station at Down Street. Many of London’s underground tunnels were used as air raid shelters during the Second World War. You’ll learn more about this at the Imperial War Museum. The museum, near Elephant and Castle, had a major refit and re-opened in 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the start of the First World War. The attention-grabbing central hall has terraced galleries with wartime vehicles such as a Snatch Land Rover from Iraq and an Argentine operating table from the Falklands, while guns, tanks and aircraft hang from the ceiling. Note that this museum might not be the best option if you have young children in tow; the Holocaust Exhibition (not recommended for under 14s) traces the history of European anti-Semitism and its nadir in the concentration camps, while the Crimes Against Humanity section (unsuitable for under 16s) is a minimalist space with a film exploring

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contemporary genocide and ethnic violence. When it comes to art, whether you love Old Masters or contemporary works, modern sculpture or Impressionist paintings, London has an art gallery to suit you. London’s most famous art museum is most probably the Victoria and Albert (V&A) – the museum of the decorative arts – which was founded by Queen Victoria in 1853 following the enormous success of the Great Exhibition the previous year. It moved to its current site in Cromwell Road in 1857. The V&A has some 150 grand galleries containing around 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity including countless pieces of furniture, ceramics, sculpture, paintings, posters, jewellery, metalwork, glass and textiles. Highlights include the seven Raphael Cartoons, painted in 1515 as tapestry designs for the Sistine Chapel, the Ardabil Carpet – the world’s oldest and arguably most splendid floor covering – and the Luck of Edenhall, a 13th-century glass beaker from Syria. The fashion galleries run from 18th-century court dress right up to contemporary chiffon numbers, the architecture gallery has videos, models, plans and descriptions of various styles of building and the famous photography collection holds over 500,000 images. Over the past decade, the V&A has undergone p86

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“THE MUSEUM OF THE DECORATIVE ARTS WAS FOUNDED BY QUEEN VICTORIA IN 1853 FOLLOWING THE ENORMOUS SUCCESS OF THE GREAT EXHIBITION”

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a programme of restoration to safeguard its future for years to come. The FuturePlan transformation has seen the refurbishment of the Medieval and Renaissance galleries, the restoration of the mosaic floors and beautiful stained glass windows in the 14th to 17th-century sculpture rooms, and the renovation of the ceramics galleries with the addition of an eye-catching bridge. Newer additions include the furniture galleries, an immediate hit on opening in late 2012; the Rapid Response Collection, which features examples of contemporary design and architecture that represent important events and current affairs, and the reopening of the Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art, which exhibits 550 works from the 6th century to the present day and includes the first-ever Sony Walkman and an origami outfit designed by Issey Miyake. There are also the Europe 1600 to 1815 galleries, which cost £12.5m and opened in December 2015. The seven galleries, which feature a stunning four-metre long table fountain reconstructed from 18th-century fragments at their core, take a chronological and thematic approach to European clothes, furnishings and other artefacts. In June 2017, the latest extension to the museum – the £55 million Exhibition Road Quarter – was completed, providing

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a new entrance, courtyard and purpose-built gallery for temporary exhibitions. One such temporary exhibition is Winnie-thePooh: Exploring a Classic, the largest exhibition to date on the bear and his friends from Hundred Acre Wood, which will run from early December 2017 to early April 2018. It will bring together loans from other collections including a Winnie-the-Pooh tea service presented to the young Princess Elizabeth, coming from the Royal Collection, original illustrations, letters, photographs, manuscripts, and the museum’s own delicate pencil sketches by EH Shepard for the beloved characters, which are so fragile they have not been exhibited for 40 years. The National Gallery, in Trafalgar Square, comes next on the list of London’s most famous art galleries. Founded in 1824 to display a collection of just 36 paintings, today the National Gallery is home to more than 2,000 works, with masterpieces from virtually every European school of art. The modern Sainsbury Wing extension contains the gallery’s earliest works including Italian paintings by early masters like Giotto and Piero della Francesca, while its basement is the setting for more temporary exhibitions. Titian’s masterpiece is in the West Wing along with other Italian Renaissance paintings by Correggio and Raphael and in the North Wing, p88

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17th-century Dutch, Flemish, Italian and Spanish old masters can be found. In the East Wing (reached via the streetlevel entrance in Trafalgar Square) are some of the gallery’s most popular paintings, such as works by the French Impressionists and post-Impressionists, including one of Monet’s waterlily paintings and one of Van Gogh’s sunflowers series. Free guided tours provide further insight into the pieces on display but beware, there is a lot to take in so you’re unlikely to see everything in just one day, particularly if you want to make a pit-stop at the café or National Dining Rooms while you’re there. Also near Trafalgar Square, The National

“LONDON ALSO HAS ITS FAIR SHARE OF CONTEMPORARY ART TO SHARE WITH VISITORS AND THERE’S NO DOUBT THAT THE TATE MODERN IS THE BEST PLACE TO START”

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Portrait Gallery is home to the world’s largest collection of faces and personalities from Tudor times to the present day including icons, such as Shakespeare and kings and queens from times gone by. It also happens to have one of the best rooftop restaurants in London with views stretching from Nelson’s Column down Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye. London also has its fair share of contemporary art to share with visitors and there’s no doubt that the Tate Modern is the best place to start. Hailed as the world’s most popular contemporary art museum, the gallery, on Millbank, attracts millions of visitors a year. In June 2016, a £260m extension was opened to help cope with the ever-increasing visitor numbers, which in recent years has led to overcrowding. It was definitely needed as an additional one million people visited the museum in 2016 than in 2015. The original building was built after the First World War as Bankside Power Station and was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, architect of Battersea Power Station. The power station shut in 1981 and re-opened nearly 20 years later as an art museum.

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Called the Switch House, the new building is a piece of artwork in itself. The twisted, off-kilter tower features an exterior of latticed brickwork and folded surfaces, while its interior includes an assortment of overground and underground galleries, as well as a new roof terrace offering panoramic views of the city. Beneath the Switch House is a space formerly occupied by the power station’s oil tanks and stages live performance and film art. In the main building, the original cavernous turbine hall is still used to jaw-dropping effect as the home of large-scale, temporary installations, while the permanent collection has been expertly curated and draws from the Tate’s collections of modern art featuring the likes of Matisse, Rothko and Beuys. Across the river in the up-and-coming arts hot-spot of Bermonsdey Street, is London Glassblowing where you can pull up a chair and watch the masters at work or get your hands dirty with a beginner’ day class. Over in Chelsea, Charles Saatchi’s fabulous collection of contemporary art includes work by young artists or international artists that are rarely exhibited in the UK. Famous exhibitions have included a Rolling Stones

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tribute, which took over the entire gallery and featured rare and previously-unseen artefacts including original stage designs, dressing room and backstage paraphernalia from live tours, rare guitars, iconic costumes and personal correspondence from Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards. A major contemporary arts programme was established in the city in 2003 and has since become the most talked about contemporary art prize in the UK. Funded by the Mayor of London and supported by Arts Council England, the programme invites world class artists to make astonishing new works for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. The northwest plinth was originally intended to hold an equestrian statue of William IV but remained bare for years due to insufficient funds. After the ownership of Trafalgar Square was transferred from Westminster City Council to the Mayor of London, it was decided that a rolling programme of contemporary artworks should be commissioned. From an iconic marble statue of a heavily pregnant disabled artist to a giant blue cockerel and a skeletal horse structure,

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London’s Fourth Plinth art project has always provided a controversial modern twist to the traditional landmarks around London’s most famous square. As well as its museums and galleries, London is also home to four UNESCO World Heritage sites including the Tower of London, Maritime Greenwich, Westminster Palace and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Each of these sites make a great day out for all the family but also provide a fantastic insight into London’s history and how it has been shaped over the years into the centre for arts and culture that it is today. In January 2017 the Charterhouse also opened its doors to the public for the first time since its foundation in 1348. The historic complex, in Kensington, has at various times been a burial ground, monastery, mansion, school and almshouse and entrance is free. Events, such as the 2012 Olympics, have created new venues in London that can enrich the city’s cultural life. Over the next four years, a cultural and education district will be created on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that will bring together outstanding organisations to showcase exceptional art, dance, history, craft, science, technology and cutting edge design.

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The cultural and education district will be made up of two sites on the park, clustered around the iconic Stadium, ArcelorMittal Orbit and London Aquatics Centre with a number of world-class institutions setting up a permanent presence including a new campus for University College London and major new spaces for the V&A Museum and Sadler’s Wells. In the meantime, the park has become an increasingly popular venue for festivals and outdoor music performances (it has hosted family-friendly 80s music festival Let’s Rock London and Hard Rock Calling to name a couple) so it’s worth checking out what’s on while you’re here. When it comes to music, London has p90

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always played host to amazing performance acts from across the globe but when the O2 arena was opened in 2007, it really put London on the map. In recent years, the 20,000-capacity stadium, has been the first port of call for world-class headline acts, such as Adele, Beyoncé, Lionel Richie and Céline Dion. There are more than 17,000 live music performances a year across London’s 300-plus venues from mammoth rock and pop concerts with full-blown theatrical effects at the O2 or Wembley Arena to classical music performances at the Royal Opera House and Royal Albert Hall. Of course these large-scale venues don’t only play host to talent from the world of music. From classical ballet to the contemporary, London is known around the world for its fantastic dance shows. Go to the Royal Opera House, Albert Hall or the Coliseum for spectacular ballet productions by companies such as the English National Ballet and enjoy electrifying contemporary dance shows at the Barbican Centre and Sadler’s Wells, which has three theatre venues across London showcasing the best in tango, hip hop, flamenco, contemporary ballet and Bollywood. London stages host some of the world’s leading plays and musicals, too. The West End is where you’ll find most of the biggest and well-known shows

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but there is a host of smaller, independently-run theatres throughout the city that are well worth seeking out. Famous long-standing shows include Les Misérables at Queen’s Theatre; The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre and The Lion King at Lyceum Theatre, while newer kids on the block are Aladdin at Prince Edward Theatre and An American in Paris at the Dominion Theatre. Then, of course, there are offerings for those who would prefer the actors on stage to not continually break into song. For example, those with a love of The Bard should head to Shakespeare’s Globe on the river bank in Bankside’s cultural quarter. While most of London’s plays run for relatively limited periods (usually a season or two) compared with its musicals, which can go on for years, Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap has been running for over 60 years and doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon. London also presents more live comedy than any other city in the world. Whatever time of year you happen to be visiting London, you’re bound to find one or more big-name acts, such as Ricky Gervais or Romesh Ranganathan, playing one of the city’s larger arenas. The Eventim Apollo (formerly the Hammersmith Apollo) and the O2 Academy, in Brixton, are good places to start if you want a good laugh. However, there are a whole host of pubs with backrooms hosting new talent on the comedy circuit, as well as The Comedy Store which, since it opened in Soho in 1979, has acted as a breeding

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“LONDON IS ALSO HOME TO A NUMBER OF WILDLYPOPULAR CULTURAL FESTIVALS WHICH TAKE OVER THE ENTIRE CITY ONCE A YEAR”

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ground for the next generation of young stand-up comedians – Julian Clary, Jack Dee, Eddie Izzard, Steve Coogan and Kevin Bridges have all graced its stage at some point. Greenwich even hosts its own Pre-Edinburgh Comedy Festival at the Cutty Sark. The festival, which runs in the fortnight leading up to the famous Fringe Festival, takes place in the 103-seater theatre located in the sailing ship’s lower hold, which stored the tea clipper’s precious cargo more than a century ago. You can catch new talent and big-name comedians as they warm up new material before their sell-out Edinburgh shows. London is also home to a number of wildlypopular cultural festivals, from Fashion Week and the Film Festival, which take over the entire city once a year, to the music and food festivals that take place in various pockets of the community throughout the year. In fact, around 250 festivals take place across the city every year including London’s largest free festival, Totally Thames Festival, and Europe’s biggest street festival, the Notting Hill Carnival, which attracts nearly one million people each year. During London Fashion Week, you’ll see VIPs from the world of couture travel to London from every major fashion capital across the globe. Held in February and September each year (to showcase the spring/ summer and autumn/winter collections), London Fashion Week is a huge opportunity to promote London and British fashion on the world stage and generates more than £100m in orders each season. p93

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films are screened at the film festival, including 22 world premieres. The event centres on Leicester Square but also branches out to local movie houses all over London and there are also heaps of Q&As and masterclasses with film-makers, as well as short films, talks and workshops. There are also a number of independently-run film festivals cropping up in London’s outer districts. For example, New Cross & Deptford Film Festival, held in April, offers 32 free screenings across 22 venues in South London – just make sure you get there early to get a seat as it’s first come, first served. If you don’t happen to be in town during festival week, film buffs shouldn’t be disappointed as they can still enjoy world premieres in Leicester Square (there are at least one a week), specialist art-house cinemas and, in summer, a number of outdoor screenings near iconic buildings, such as City Hall and Somerset House. There’s even a floating cinema, which navigates the city’s waterways. Even if your visit is a short one and you don’t have the time to fully immerse yourself in London’s art scene, merely walking this great city’s streets will enable you to soak up its cultural diversity. From the hundreds of different languages spoken on the streets (more languages are spoken here than in any other city in the world) to the buildings and monuments – both old and new – which act as a reminder of the city’s artistic talent, there’s no doubt London is a global centre for art and culture that is both respected and envied the world over. l

“LONDON IS THE THIRD BUSIEST CITY FOR FILM-MAKING IN THE WORLD AND HAS ALSO PROVIDED THE BACKDROP TO NUMEROUS BLOCKBUSTERS AND CULT FILMS”

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Representing the best of British, the fashion festival features rising stars like Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders, alongside such British icons as Vivienne Westwood and Margaret Howell. It also profiles international heritage brands like Burberry Prorsum, Mulberry and Pringle of Scotland. If you’re in town when it’s on, then watch out for the hordes of glamorously-dressed, sunglassesclad (rain or shine) fashion bods being ‘papped’ outside the various fashion shows, which are held across London – you may well spot a celebrity or two as well. This isn’t the only festival to celebrate the city’s fashion talent. From the bowler hat to the tweed jacket, London has been a world leader in men’s fashion for decades and today the city is the beating heart of the UK’s fashion industry. Every January and June, London Collections: Men showcases the most innovative and international menswear designers who generate billions for the British economy with a variety of fashion shows held across the city. Fashion is not only the talk of the town during London Fashion Week but also when the stars take to the red carpet during the BFI London Film Festival. London is the third busiest city for film-making in the world, behind LA and New York, and hosts over a fifth of the UK’s cinema screens. The city has also provided the backdrop to numerous blockbusters and cult films, from Harry Potter to James Bond. Every October over 230 fiction and documentary

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Q&A

Where’s home, and why?

MY KIND OF TOWN! So what’s so good about the capital? World-renowned musician Paul Edmund-Davies, takes us on a tour of his own personal London

Chiswick in West London. As an impoverished music student I was rather fortunate with my first address in London, Palace Gardens Terrace, Kensington. I eventually had to move out and it was time to get on the property ladder. As all I could afford in Kensington was nothing more than a shoe-box, I very reluctantly had to consider moving further afield. Some friends recommended Chiswick as a good place to buy. I had never heard of it. When I went to look at a property, I was horrified to discover that Chiswick was the other side of Shepherds Bush. More than 30 years ago I moved and I have lived in the same road ever since! It has great schools, restaurants, and a great buzz. And I can get to Heathrow Airport in under 15 minutes.

What’s your earliest memory of London?

As a seven-year-old visiting London with my parents. It was the smells and sights of this incredible city that stayed with me and, in particular travelling on the Underground. Once I moved to London, the first major discovery was Fuller’s beer (incidentally brewed around the corner from where I live in Chiswick).

Favourite view?

It has to be from the north side of Hungerford Bridge (Embankment Underground Station), looking eastwards. In view is St Paul’s, the bustle of the Thames, all the weird and wonderful modern buildings of the City and, of course, The Shard.

What was the last show, or concert, you went to?

As a musician, I am not very enthusiastic about going to concerts. I have given so many over the years, both as Solo Principal Flute of the London Symphony Orchestra and as a soloist with other orchestras and ensembles, that the thought of going to yet another concert hasn’t been that appealing. However, I love going to the theatre whenever I have the time. The last play I saw was a great comedy romp, ‘The Play that goes wrong’. Seeing actors such as Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart live was amazing. I have also fallen in love with the cinema again. Ten minutes away from Chiswick in Shepherds Bush is the Westfield shopping centre, with the Vue ‘Scene’ cinemas on the top floor.

If you were elected Mayor of London tomorrow, what’s the first thing you’d do?

Introduce free travel on the Underground and buses for people who have lived in London for 20 years or more! Quite probably this would prove to be a financial disaster, but having

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where I live (The Dove in Hammersmith where Charles II dined and romanced his mistress Nell Gwynne, and The Bull’s Head in Strand on the Green, which was built in 1722). On the east side of London in Wapping, is a pub dating back to 1522, The Prospect of Whitby.

If you could buy one building in London, which would it be?

The Houses of Parliament, or St Paul’s Cathedral. The Houses of Parliament are on the River Thames, so if converted into luxury apartments, a fortune could be made. It doesn’t appear to be used for anything else useful these days! St Paul’s Cathedral is simply stunningly-beautiful and telling people that I owned it would be wonderful to casually drop into dinner party conversation!

Best place in London for a first date?

recently qualified for a ‘senior’ travel card, I cannot describe sufficiently the total (and probably quite childish!) thrill of touching in and out with my Oyster card, with the knowledge that it isn’t costing me anything at all. I am almost tempted to spend a day going around on the Circle Line because I can, without any charge! Better still if all of this had come 10 years earlier!

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Favourite walk?

There are SO many and London is a fantastic city to walk around, both day and night. Wherever you look, there is always something to catch the eye. Perhaps, as I live close to the river, I would say a walk along the Thames down to Kew Gardens and beyond to Richmond in the spring is hard to beat and then, if you are exhausted, it is very easy to get the Tube back into the centre. If you are an early bird, you could stop at the Mawson Arms in Chiswick, which is the pub attached to the Fuller’s brewery. It serves up one of the best (and not expensive) breakfasts in London (complete with deliciously moist black pudding) and you could even combine this with a brewery visit! However, be wary of the ESB!

Favourite shop?

I love the small boutique shops more than the

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huge department stores. Those on Jermyn Street are particular favourites of mine and so easy to get to. Crockett and Jones shoes fit me perfectly and if you ever have serious cheese cravings, Paxton and Whitfield (which you can smell from around 50 metres away) will more than satisfy your appetite.

Favourite place to eat?

London has really become the foodie capital of the world. There is just so much choice and in any one of many different cuisines. For top-end dining The Ledbury in Notting Hill is amazing. For great value, Outlaw’s (as in Nathan Outlaw) at The Capital in Knightsbridge (a Michelin one rosette restaurant) offers a set menu and a Bring Your Own bottle of wine deal for both lunch and dinner every Thursday. The bar at the Capital is also a fairly well-kept secret and, if dining in Knightsbridge, an excellent venue to start the evening if you are just a couple or in a small group. I also like Bar Boulud in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the Northall Bar at the Corinthian Hotel on Whitehall Place and afternoon tea at the Berkeley Pret a Portea.

Favourite London pub?

Once again, a very awkward question! There are some great pubs on the River Thames close to

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This will depend on the time of the year and on how confident you are feeling! In the summer I would go for Pont de la Tour which, as the name implies, is next to another iconic London landmark, Tower Bridge. If it’s warm enough, you can sit outside and there aren’t many more romantic places to kick off an evening. One small problem, though, is that if it all goes horribly wrong, it’s quite a walk, albeit a pretty one, back to Tower Hill underground station! To impress, I would probably head for the bar at Dukes Hotel, where the barman, Alessandro Palazzi, ‘creates’ arguably the best Martinis on the planet, although, be warned, they’re not for the faint-hearted. In fact, they won’t serve any customer more than two. This is also where Churchill went for a muchneeded drink in the war years, so you can also impress with your knowledge of history! There are also plenty of good restaurants nearby and it is just a short cab ride to Knightsbridge for Bar Boulud if all goes well.

What is your favourite London night out? Definitely finding a special place, first for a drink and then a meal.

If you wanted to show someone the essence of London, where would you take them?

A stroll through St. James’s Park on a sunny spring day has to be one of the total joys of living in London. Life is bursting out everywhere and, from the plants to the wildlife and the majestic surroundings (Buckingham Palace is close by), you cannot help but fall in love with this amazing city. l Paul Edmund-Davies was Principal Flute with the London Symphony Orchestra for 20 years. He now tours extensivley giving recitals, classes and concerts.

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10

REASONS TO LOVE THIS CITY!

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10 REASONS

[01] IT IS HOME TO THE MONARCHY

Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. The Queen may not always be in (The Royal Standard flag raised signals that she is in residence but if the Union Jack is raised she is not) but you can see the Changing of the Guard at 11.30am daily and tours of certain areas of the Palace are available at set times of the year.

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[02] IT IS FULL OF CULINARY DELIGHTS There are more than 6,000 restaurants in London, (about a fifth of Britain's restaurants) featuring menus from more than 50 countries, and then there are the markets with stalls selling all sorts of takeaway delicacies. [03] IT IS EASY TO NAVIGATE London may well be a busy and daunting city on the face of it but it’s pretty easy to navigate. The underground tube network has been running for over 150 years but if you would rather stay above ground then there are the city’s famous red buses and, of course, the renowned black cabs. Cabbies have to go through four years of training to gain the Knowledge of London’s streets so if you’re lost they’ll be sure to get you to the right place. [04] ITS DIVERSITY London is one of the most diverse and multi-cultural cities on the planet; over 300 languages are spoken here, more than in any other city in the world. [05] ITS GREEN SPACES London has more green space than

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any other major city on earth. From the famous Hyde Park to Hampstead Heath, you’re never far from a park or wide open space to escape the hustle and bustle. [06] ITS PUBS It is thought there are around 7,000 pubs in London but, with many of these age-old watering holes giving way to more modern drinking establishments, make sure you pay one a visit while you’re here and keep the traditional British pub alive!

“IT IS THOUGHT THERE ARE AROUND 7,000 PUBS HERE, SO MAKE SURE YOU PAY ONE A VISIT WHILE YOU’RE HERE AND KEEP THE TRADITIONAL BRITISH PUB ALIVE!”

[09] ITS CREATIVITY London has no less that 857 art galleries – three of which are in the top 10 galleries in the world – and around 230 professional theatres showcasing some of the country’s leading artistic performances. London also presents more live comedy than any other city in the world. [10] ITS WORLD-CLASS MUSIC SCENE There are more than 17,000 music performances a year across London’s 300 plus venues and the city hosts around 250 festivals per year. l

[07] IT IS THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD London was officially founded in 43AD so it’s got plenty of history to shout about; there are four UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore and plenty of examples of Roman, Tudor and Victorian architecture still standing. [08] ITS SKYLINE London’s skies are ever-changing; from modern architecture to buildings that have stood for years, this city throws up a different vista at every turn.

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NIGHTLIFE

WELCOME TO THE NIGHT! From wild clubs and drinking dens to more sedate, laid-back spots, London has it all when it comes to a night out

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entertainment (if you can get on the guest list that is). While the section of the West End between Strand and Shaftesbury Avenue is great for theatres and classy cocktail bars, glimpses of real, authentic London nightlife are few and far between here. However, step a few streets north of touristy Leicester Square and you’ll find yourself in Soho, where there is an eclectic mix of hip cellar bars and age-old London institutions. It’s also the centre of London’s gay scene. It’s in this part of London that you will find Ronnie Scott’s famous jazz bar. The club, on Frith Street, has been the home of British jazz since 1959 and is one of the most respected jazz clubs in the world. Some of the greatest names in music have performed on its historic stage including Miles Davis, Buddy Rich and Ella Fitzgerald. You need to book tickets in advance for the club, where the main shows take place, but you don’t need to book to sit at the bar – Upstairs @ Ronnie’s p100

hether you fancy dressing up for a classy cocktail, want to chill out with a pint by the river or dance until dawn, planning a good night out in London is never difficult because the city has so much choice. Most visitors head straight to the West End for a night out and it’s not a bad place to start. Despite earning itself a bit of a reputation as ‘the tourist’s quarter of London’, with all that glitz and glamour it’s hard not to have a good night out here. Today, the West End is the largest theatre district in the world, with many major international stars treading the boards night after night. From musicals to classical theatre and everything in-between, it’s great for those who like their evening entertainment with a splash of culture. Some of the city’s top hotels, bars and members’ clubs including The Club at the Ivy and Soho House are also situated here so you’ll be guaranteed a night filled with high-end

“STEP A FEW STREETS NORTH OF TOURISTY LEICESTER SQUARE AND YOU’LL FIND YOURSELF IN SOHO, WHERE THERE IS AN ECLECTIC MIX OF HIP CELLAR BARS AND AGE-OLD LONDON INSTITUTIONS”

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inspired cocktails are served in oversized milk bottles and tin cans. If you’re further west in the city but still want the speakeasy experience, head to the Evans & Peel Detective Agency – a hidden bar behind a bookshelf – at Earls Court. You’ll need to really get into character for this one; the ‘detective’ at the entrance will give you a bit of a grilling before they let you in. The cocktails here are made with maple bacon and tobacco-infused bourbon or tequila with smoked oranges and you can even purchase a few samples to take away with you so you can recreate your favourite drink in the comfort of your own home. The founders have recently opened a sister speakeasy in Chiswick disguised as a pharmacy. When you give the pharmacist a password, the shop windows will turn opaque, shielding any nosy passersby from seeing you handed a prescription bag filled with bar snacks and a ‘tonic’ before the back door opens and you are ushered into the bar concealed behind the counter. Across the other side of town, near Liverpool Street, ask to see The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town at an ordinary looking café, on Artillery Lane, and you’ll be led to a fridge. Open the door and p102

– which also has live music, ranging from acoustic jazz to Cuban bands, jazz and funk DJs, jive nights and even poetry slams, every night of the week. One trend, which has taken this area by storm in recent years, is the speakeasy bar. Secret drinking dens from the days of post-war Britain, the idea behind these ‘hidden’ bars is that no-one is supposed to know they exist. Except they do, and in some cases it’s pretty obvious, but it’s fun to play along so just go with it. You’ll find them in various guises across the city. Some you have to book in advance and when you make the reservation you’ll be given a secret code or password, which you will need to say when you reach the door of the bar in order to gain entry. China Town’s Experimental Cocktail Club is perhaps the closest London has to a genuine hidden drinking den (you’ll most likely walk past its battered door on Gerrard Street without noticing). The bar’s three floors are a tasteful blend of opulence and antique shop chic with sensational cocktails thrown into the mix. Tucked away on a Soho side-street, the reservation-only Piano Bar whisks you back to savour the faded glamour of the roaring twenties. Sip hand-crafted cocktails as you listen to live music from the resident pianist as well as some of the leading performers on the European jazz club circuit. A few streets away at Cahoots, situated in a small courtyard called Kingly Court just off Carnaby Street, you’ll need to ask to see the ‘Captain’ before you are led down to a former bunker, which has been transformed into an underground station complete with trains and sandbags. Waitresses are dressed in charming 1940s attire and the vintage-

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“THE COCKTAILS HERE ARE MADE WITH MAPLE BACON AND TOBACCO-INFUSED BOURBON OR TEQUILA WITH SMOKED ORANGES AND YOU CAN EVEN PURCHASE A FEW SAMPLES TO TAKE AWAY”

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you’ll be led down to the bar – a darkened room with luscious cocktails, beers and bar snacks. Competitive types, who like to let off a bit of steam on a night out, should head to Farringdon where, located on the very spot that the game was invented (allegedly), is Bounce – a 12,000 sq ft ping pong bar and restaurant. Or, if hitting the bullseye is your idea of a great night out then head to one of the city’s Flight Clubs (there’s one on Shoreditch and Bloomsbury), where you can order pizza and a beer as you and your friends work your way around the state-of-the-art dart boards. Alternatively, head to the city, where a former underground Second World War bunker near the Gherkin has been transformed into a crazy golf, street food and bar concept, Swingers. The bar follows a sold out pop-up in Shoreditch in 2015, and incorporates two nine-hole crazy golf courses, four bars and three street food stalls with food offerings. From London’s ‘underground’ scene to its rooftops and, despite the often unpredictable weather, this is where the city really does excel. With flamingos, vine-covered walkways and ponds full of fish, The Roof Gardens in Kensington, is by far the most extraordinary rooftop in town.

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Developed by Richard Branson in 1981, this hidden oasis above Kensington High Street has not one but three incredible gardens and is open year round. Specifically designed to offer spectacular views of The Shard, the Tower of London, St Paul’s and the Gherkin, Skylounge at the Double Tree Hilton is a classy cocktail retreat with 360-degree views. Resident DJs play until 2am Monday to Saturday, meaning you can dance the night away with the capital’s stretching skyline as your backdrop. Talking of views, the luxurious Radio Rooftop Bar at ME London Hotel, on Strand, also boasts 360-degree vistas of some of the city’s most iconic buildings. The dress code is formal and so are the prices. You’ll also need to make a reservation for this one if your name’s not down, you definitely won’t be getting in. Walk-ins are welcome, however, at The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, aka the ‘Walkie Talkie’. This magnificent three-floor space is dedicated to London’s highest landscaped public gardens, two of London’s most exclusive restaurants and a bar – the Sky Pod – with a monster list of cocktails. Although not officially a garden, The Boundary, which can be found on the rooftop of a converted Victorian warehouse in Shoreditch, has a heated orangery filled with a variety of citrus trees including lemon, clementine and calamondin. Design mogul Terence Conran oversaw its creation so it’s bound to look good. Best-selling food writer, Stéphane Reynaud, has also recently opened Tratra there – a wine bar restaurant and private dining room (for more on this see Eating Out). Also open all year round, Rumpus Room, set on the 12th floor rooftop of Mondrian London at Sea Containers on the South Bank, is inspired by the original party set of 1920s London, the Bright Young Things. The bar has spectacular views of the River Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral and the city’s skyline and plays host to live ‘Skyline Sessions’ every Wednesday night with top DJs playing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Another rooftop bar with a spectacular view of St Paul’s Cathedral is Madison, atop One New Change. In fact you’re so close to the iconic monument here, it feels like you could reach out and touch the dome. There are some rooftop bars that you can only catch in summer, however, such as the uber-cool Dalston Roof Park, nestled amongst Hackney’s Victorian buildings. From film nights to live gigs, this place is hip and happening. Despite its rather inauspicious location on top of a multi-storey car park in Peckham, Frank’s is also worth hunting out if you’re in town during the summer. Watch the sun set over south east London, surrounded by amazing sculptures thanks to summertime non-profit commissioning art project, Bold Tendencies. Back to central London and you can while away evenings at Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, an

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inner city woodland-cum-meadow, on the South Bank. Climb the yellow staircase by Queen Elizabeth Hall and discover the amazing Eden Projectdesigned space complete with a wooden bar area run by the Company of Cooks, which serves strawberry bellinis and passion fruit mojitos by the jug. You cannot get quite as central, however, as Vista, a secret roof garden bar at the top of the Trafalgar, on – you guessed it – Trafalgar Square. Offering panoramic views from Horse Guards Parade to the Royal Opera House, the bar offers fine champagnes, premium spirits and bespoke cocktails from all four corners of the globe. London’s rooftop bars aren’t just about drinks, nibbles and views, however. Many of the capital’s sky-high venues now host open-air cinema evenings showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters, as well as classics that you’ll rarely get to see again on the big screen. If London’s rooftop bars are looking a little chock-a-block (as they often do when the sun shines) there is plenty of room to enjoy the outside down by the river. The Thames is dotted with many respected drinking establishments, but one of the most legendary is The Grapes at Limehouse, which just so

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happens to be owned by Gandalf…well, not exactly, but Sir Ian McKellen is the proprietor of this traditional boozer, which dates back to 1583. Whether you fancy a pie and a pint in the bar or a more formal experience in the dining room upstairs, get a seat by the window so you can watch the lights of Canary Wharf glitter on the water outside. Also on this side of the river, you’ll find what has been dubbed one of the most picturesque drinking holes in London, Gordon Ramsay’s The Narrow. Expect top-notch food and drink from both the bar and restaurant (the bar serves small plates for those who just want a snack) at this Grade II-listed building and a terrace offering panoramic views over the Thames. A coveted vantage point for spectators of the annual Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race that is held in March each year, The Dove in Hammersmith has all the charm and atmosphere you’d want from a traditional English pub, plus great views of the river, day or nights. Also occupying a prime position on the Thames between Hammersmith and Putney bridges and near Fulham Football Club, The Crabtree is a large pub with a fantastic, huge beer garden that gets understandably packed on balmy summer evenings. p104

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“THE LUXURIOUS RADIO ROOFTOP BAR AT ME LONDON HOTEL, ON STRAND, ALSO BOASTS 360-DEGREE VISTAS OF SOME OF THE CITY’S MOST ICONIC BUILDINGS. THE DRESS CODE IS FORMAL AND SO ARE THE PRICES”

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With its magnificent location right on the South Bank, Anchor Bankside is another popular venue for riverside drinks. Nestled between Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and The Golden Hinde, this place attracts tourists and locals alike so if you want to get a prime seat on the waterside terrace, it’s best to get their early. Claiming to be the oldest pub on the Thames, The Mayflower in Rotherhithe may seem a little way out but is definitely one to visit of an evening if you’re a history buff, thanks to the area’s past as a bustling port and site of the world’s first subterranean river tunnel. While you’re in Rotherhithe, cross back over the river and raise a tankard of ale at the Prospect of Whitby – another pub which claims

“WHILE BEER, WINE AND CHAMPERS WILL ALWAYS HAVE THEIR PLACE ON LONDON’S DRINKS MENU, GIN IS HAVING A HUGE RESURGENCE IN THE CITY”

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to be the oldest on the river – where famous patrons in years gone by include Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys and William Turner. When the weather turns cold, a proper cosy pub with a crackling fire and comfy seats are a must for warming up in the evening. For the archetypal old London pub, well-heeled south west London is a surprisingly good bet and has a number of very pleasant old inns. The Leather Bottle, in Earlsfield, is a legendary West London pub that really pulls out all the stops in winter time by transforming its massive beer garden from a summer haven to a winter wonderland with cosy winter chalets (converted from garden shacks), each with their own TV screen. Head north towards Camden and The Southampton Arms, in Kentish Town, offers a truly authentic old-fashioned pub experience with 18 hand-pulled ales, a wood-burning fire and cash-only policy. However, if you want really old then you’ll need to head over to Fleet Street, where the 16th century Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which has survived the reign of 15 monarchs, offers old-fashioned beer at old-fashioned prices. Tucked away down its own little alley off Borough High Street, near London Bridge, The George Inn is not only the last remaining

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galleried inn in the city but it’s also the only pub owned by the National Trust. The galleries that front the 17th century building were once common but many were lost during the Second World War. If you cannot get a seat inside this unsurprisingly popular pub, then perch yourself in the large courtyard area outside, which has plenty of heaters and old-fashioned lamps to huddle under. If you still don’t feel like you’ve got your fill of the traditional London boozer then head down to The Horseshoe Inn, also near London Bridge on Melior Street, where you can experience a right old Cockney knees-up with authentic Cockney grub, songs and rhyming slang. Those who would rather have wine as their tipple might prefer to head to Gordon’s wine bar on Villier Street – thought to be the oldest wine bar in London. Take the rickety wood-panelled staircase down from just outside Victoria Embankment Garden and you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time – centuries-old newspaper cuttings and dusty wine bottles line the walls, and none of the furniture matches. Be prepared for a bit of an elbow fight to get to the bar but once you have ordered from the award-winning wine list, (they only serve wine and port) lean back and, if you can find a

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seat among the low-ceilinged arches, soak up the simply wondrous atmosphere. If you find inside a little stuffy then there is plenty of room outside, where a long terrace of outdoor seating with brollies and heaters provides the perfect spot to while away an evening. When it comes to wine, London has an abundance of wine and champagne bars to suit all tastes. Searcys has a reputation for some of the best gourmet food and drink establishments in the city and its champagne bar at St Pancras International Station is no exception. Whether you’ve just arrived in London or are catching the Eurostar to Paris, make time for a glass of fizz at this gorgeous bar which, at 98 metres, has earned itself the title of the longest champagne bar in Europe. It’s also got one of the most extensive champagne lists in Europe and champions the Parisian technique of decanting, which is said to improve the aromas. If you’re looking for an intimate location to share some bubbly, Voltaire is the perfect place. Built on the foundations of Bridewell Palace, the venue’s interior is inspired by its regal history and the inherited architecture. The Grade II-listed building features old stone vaults, which used to keep prisoners under lock and key and then later housed the treasures of a bank.

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Fast-forward to the present day and the vaults – each named after the different personalities of those who might have been imprisoned in them – are located on the outdoor terrace and have been transformed into heated private VIP zones with a personal waiter and iPod docks. Oh, and the bar also boasts London’s largest selection of Pommery Champagne. Everyone knows that red wine and cheese make a good match but champagne and cheese? “Why not?” says chic French shop-cum-bistro, Champagne + Fromage, near Covent Garden. This tiny little deli-style brasserie specialises in grower champagne – nicknamed farmer fizz – which is made by artisan producers in their own vineyards, accompanied by large chunks of cheese. While beer, wine and champers will always have their place on London’s drinks menu, gin is having a huge resurgence in the city. This spicy tipple has ditched the mother’s ruin reputation and gained some serious street cred of late and, as a result, there are new gin bars

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cropping up across the city, while older establishments are spicing up their cocktail menu with gin-infused concoctions. Located a convenient five minutes’ walk from Fulham Broadway, towards Parsons Green, 510 Below is a subterranean bar with at least 40 different types of gin behind the bar. Gin and tonic, unsurprisingly, is a speciality but you can also sample a gin djinni (gin, raspberry and lemongrass), a passion sin (vodka, passion fruit and chilli) and a hot honey (gin, ginger, cucumber and honey). However, that’s nothing compared to The London Gin Club, in Soho, which sells nearly 200 varieties of gin served in great goblets. For the hard-core, there are tasting menus, which include four or eight gins served on trays so you can compare and contrast. Back on Fleet Street, the City of London Distillery, which brought gin distilling back to the city in 2012 after an absence of nearly 200 years, doubles as a bar, so not only can you partake in distillery tours, tasting sessions, gin flight taster tours and a gin ‘lab’ experience where p106

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“IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO SAMPLE A COCKTAIL IN ONE OF LONDON’S COCKTAIL OR WINE BARS BUT DON’T FANCY PAYING FULL WHACK, SEEK OUT ONE OF THE CITY’S MANY ‘HAPPY HOUR’ BARS”

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you can distil your own gin, you can continue long into the evening among a few of the distillery’s copper stills. If you’ve really got a taste for the stuff, then there’s a shop so you can purchase a bottle to take home. For those with rather particular tastes, then head to The Distillery – the UK’s first gin hotel – on Portobello Road, where you can blend your own gin in The Ginstitute. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to break the bank to have a good night out in London. If you’re looking to sample a cocktail in one of London’s many cocktail or wine bars but don’t fancy paying full whack, seek out one of the city’s many ‘happy hour’ bars. Perfect for those on a budget, these happy hour sessions often last more than an hour so there’s no need to ‘neck it’ in order to get your fill of the bargains. Dirty Martini, at Monument, offers daily happy hours, where you can grab a bottle of wine or a martini for half price, while Slim Jim’s Liquor Store, in Islington does two-for-one cocktails from 4pm to 8pm every day. In Farringdon, Barsmith serves its two-for-one cocktails all day on Saturday.

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There are also a number of West End bars offering deals to get the punters in before or after their slap-up meal or theatre trip. Cocktail bar chain Be @ One has a number of bars across central London, including two in Covent Garden, which run happy hours every day – times vary between venues. London is also home to the pop-up bar and there are a variety which ‘pop up’ across the city for just weeks or months at a time throughout the year – from igloos on the River Thames to inner-city ‘beach bars’ and cocktails served in a prison, anything goes! But nights out in London aren’t just about eating and drinking. Across the length and breadth of the capital, the city’s pubs and bars, live music venues and chic clubs all push the envelope for musical innovation and serious late-night fun. For those serious about their music, Camden Town is the place to head too for more intimate live gigs; it has a splattering of good venues interspersed between its quirky pubs and bars and in summer, the bohemian vibe spills into the beer gardens and out onto the streets. Those who like to take things a little less seriously should head to Club de Fromage – London’s self-proclaimed biggest pop and fancy dress night at O2 Academy in Brixton. Make sure you don your dancing shoes as Slow Alfie and the Club de Fromage performers entertain you through the decades with oodles of Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys and Elton John, to name but a few. There’s usually a different silly theme each week, as well as a meat pie-giveaway and air guitar hero award. If you come in fancy dress, you also get to jump the queue. For those who prefer music and entertainment from a bygone era, Proud Cabaret, which has venues in Camden and the Square Mile, is modelled on a 1920s speakeasy and offers high-end dining and burlesque-style entertainment from Thursday to Saturday. Customers sit in booths while they eat their dinner before the evening of illicit glamour commences. There’s plenty of audience participation and by the end of the night the tables are moved aside to form a dance floor. If participation is your thing, then there’s nothing better than a good old karaoke night. There’s a variety of pubs and bars across the city offering regular open mic nights but if you want to guarantee a good old sing song (and perhaps don’t want too much of an audience) then book in at Karaoke Box or Lucky Voice, where you can sing to your heart’s content in a private booth with just you and your friends. You also don’t need to worry about going to the bar and missing out on your favourite track – each room has a call button allowing you to ring for a bartender to bring you drinks and snacks from the menu. Still got energy to burn? London has plenty of late night clubs where you can dance the night away. Occupying former theatres, railway arches and warehouses across town, major clubs cover all

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NIGHTLIFE

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tastes from indie, rock, pop and world music to all-night raves. Giants, such as the Ministry of Sound at Elephant & Castle, are crammed with youthful clubbers at the weekends so be prepared for it to get a little sweaty. You’ll need to check the club’s own websites for news of which DJs are playing when – expect to pay up to £35 for entry – but that will enable you to watch some of the world’s top headline DJs (beware, however, they don’t usually come on until 3am) and party until dawn. There are cheaper options than the big-brand names, of course. Cargo, situated in a converted rail yard on Rivington Street in Shoreditch, has a great programme of music, party nights and after parties and is open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, with tickets costing between £10 and £15 – on week nights it is often free to enter. With loads of great venues (both indoor and out), a world class theatre and arts scene and plenty of pubs, bars and clubs to choose from, whatever you think makes a good night out, there is more than enough to please all manner of tastes once the sun goes down. l

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48 HOURS

IF YOU’RE ONLY HERE FOR 48 HOURS… London is a big city so, if you only have a couple of days to explore, here’s how to make the most of your time in the capital

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48 HOURS

DAY ONE

“START BY FUELLING UP FOR YOUR JAMPACKED, 48-HOUR ITINERARY WITH A PROPER ENGLISH BREAKFAST AND ORDER A FRY-UP”

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MORNING Start by fuelling up for your jam-packed, 48-hour itinerary with a proper English breakfast and order a fry-up; you’ll find cafés and pubs serving a ‘full English’ all over the city but Hawksmoor Guildhall is renowned for its gut-busting offering. After breakfast, stroll around the financial district – the true ‘City’ of London. If it’s a weekday, then there will be plenty of ‘City’ types glued to their phones on every corner. At weekends, the area is pretty sleepy by comparison. Make sure you stop at the beautiful, domed St Paul’s Cathedral (it’s hard to miss), which is open to sightseers from 8.30am Monday to Saturday. A guided or multimedia, touch-screen tour of the awe-inspiring interior is included in the admission charge. Venture down to the crypt and you’ll discover the tombs and memorials of some of the nation’s greatest heroes, such as Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, and there’s also an award-winning 270° immersive film experience called Oculus. Before you leave, don’t forget to try out the acoustic quirks of the Whispering Gallery and, if you have it in you, climb to the Golden Gallery – the breathtaking panoramic views are worth it! Back down on solid ground, and no doubt it will be time for a quick pit stop so head to Alchemy Café, on Ludgate Broadway, to sample one of its espressos, the beans for which come from different areas of

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Africa and Latin America and are then roasted in the café’s small roaster in South London. Oh, and they are also served in a science lab flask! LUNCH Walk across the London Bridge to the other side of the river (or catch a tube from Monument to London Bridge if you’re feeling lazy) and head to Borough Market for lunch. Situated under the railway lines, this part-indoor, part-outdoor market runs from Monday to Saturday with the full market operating from Wednesday to Saturday. Comprising more than 100 stalls and stands, with producers from all over the country bringing a range of fresh produce including fish, British-reared meats, vegetables, ciders, cheeses, artisan breads, coffees, cakes and patisseries, you’ll be sure to find something to munch. Other stalls specialise in imported produce if you fancy something from further afield. AFTERNOON Take a stroll along the South Bank’s riverside walkway stretching between London Bridge to the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Bridges – the footbridges named in honour of the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne that run either side of the Hungerford Railway Bridge. If you start at the London Bridge end then pop into the famous Tate Modern, which is free to enter, except for some special exhibitions. A new Tate p111

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Studio Fusion Gallery, unit 1.06, Oxo Tower Wharf

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Modern building is now open just behind the original ‘power station’ museum building, which was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1950s, providing 60 per cent more space for visitors to explore. If you start the journey from the other end then head to the Royal National Theatre, which holds daily tours exploring unseen areas of the theatre and a glimpse into the backstage world or, if you’re a film buff, stop at nearby BFI Southbank (formerly the National Film Theatre), where you can catch one of the latest art-house films or browse over 1,000 hours of free film and TV in the Mediatheque. From here, head up a level and wander into the Royal Festival Hall, which often has free entertainment in the ballroom, and then descend once again to the riverside where you’ll most probably

“THERE ARE AROUND 40 THEATRES IN LONDON’S ‘THEATRELAND’ AND YOU’LL FIND EVERYTHING FROM MUSICALS AND COMEDY TO CLASSIC PLAYS AND SERIOUS THEATRICAL PERFORMANCES”

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find a host of street entertainers as you meander along the promenade. At the midway point between the two bridges, you’ll find the Art Deco-style Oxo Tower, which was designed by the stock-cube manufacturer to circumvent advertising rules. Its top floor is now occupied by an upmarket brasserie, bar and restaurant. Stop off in the bar for a tipple as you look across the river to the North Bank or, if you’re on a budget, a free public viewing gallery also provides a spectacular view of London to the north and east, and the West End. EVENING One of the things London is most famous for is its theatre shows – alongside Broadway in New York, West End theatre represents the highest quality theatre in the world. There are around 40 theatres in London’s ‘Theatreland’ and you’ll find everything from musicals and comedy to classic plays and serious theatrical performances. Visit the TKTS booth in Leicester Square for discount theatre ticket for on-the-day performances or you can advancebook using a range of show ticket websites. From long-running musical favourites, such as The Lion King at Lyceum Theatre just up from Strand and Les Miserables at Queens Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue to newer shows, such as Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre off Leicester Square and The Comedy

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About A Bank Robbery at Criterion Theatre at Piccadilly Circus – whatever your taste, you’re bound to find something to entertain you. After the show, head for a slap-up meal at The Delauney on the corner of historic Drury Lane and The Aldwych. The restaurant was Chris Corbin and Jeremy King’s 2012 follow-up to the Wolseley but looks like it has been there for decades and offers a chic, grand European café vibe with waistcoated waiting staff, green leather seating and white linen tablecloths.

DAY TWO MORNING Rise early and make your first stop the world-class Natural History Museum in Kensington. Before you head inside, though, pick up a coffee and pastry from one of the boutique cafés in the lanes opposite. Inside the museum, which is free to enter, you’ll find the iconic blue whale skeleton welcoming visitors in Central Hall, as well as hundreds of exciting, interactive exhibits. Highlights include the popular dinosaurs gallery, mammals display with the unforgettable model blue whale and the state-of-the-art Darwin Centre Cocoon where you can see scientists at work in the laboratories. From there, head over to Hyde Park, taking the route via Knightsbridge for an insight into the lives of the rich and famous. p112

YOU’RE IN LONDON


On the edge of the park, you’ll find a residential development called One Hyde Park, which contains some of the most expensive apartments in the world. At 350 acres, Hyde Park is one of London’s biggest parks so you could spend all day exploring but, with so much more to get through, head straight for the Serpentine in the middle of the park, where, between April and October, you can rent a pedalo or rowing boat or take a ride on the UK’s first Solarshuttle which glides silently across the lake powered only by the sun. LUNCH In London, lunch is “so last year” – brunch is the trendy thing to do. You’ll find a brunch menu on offer at eateries across the capital and many offer a bottomless drink option, allowing you to wash down your choice of mid-morning dish with copious glasses of Bloody Mary or Mimosa. AFTERNOON Head to Covent Garden for a stroll around the

YOU’RE IN LONDON

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48 HOURS

©VISITBRITAIN/INGRID RASMUSSEN; PAUL STEPHENSON MEDIA; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

cobbled piazza. As well as the shops which line the 19th-century square and the streets leading off it, there are also three markets. The Apple Market is found in the North Hall of the Market Building and sells British-made crafts, jewellery and leather goods, while East Colonnade Market has a variety of stalls selling products such as hand-made soap, jewellery, handbags, hand-knitted children’s clothing, magic tricks, sweets, artwork and homewares. In the South Piazza the Jubilee Market changes its wares daily. On Mondays the market is dedicated to antiques, from Tuesday to Friday a general market operates with traders selling clothes and household goods and at weekends the market offers arts and crafts. Once you’ve picked up a souvenir or two head for a spot of quintessentially-English afternoon tea. This indulgent pastime comes in various guises across London, from classic tea, sandwiches, scones and pastries served in pretty tea pots and on tiered cake stands at establishments such as The Ritz, The Dorchester and The Savoy, to quirkier versions which offer an alternative to the traditional. The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, for example, offers Pret a Portea for the fashion-focused with a menu that changes every six months to reflect current fashion trends, while Momo, on Heddon Street, behind Regent Street, offers a Moroccan version served in a atmospheric souk-style restaurant with mint tea, savoury Maghrebine pastries, cheese briouats and zaalouk and mechouia (tomatoes and aubergines) on toast. Sweets are a fusion of French-inspired macarons and scones with North African fig jam. At the pantry of boutique hotel, 108 Marylebone, there’s a healthy afternoon tea featuring sandwiches made with gluten-free bread and gluten-free brownies and for those who are easily bored with their surroundings, you can jump aboard a traditional London double decker bus for tea as you tour the city and take in landmarks, such as Buckingham Palace and Nelson’s Column. EVENING As evening approaches, head east to The Shard – officially the tallest building in western Europe at over 1,000 feet. At its summit is The View from The Shard, and sunset is the best time to visit. Make the trip up to the top before darkness descends to take in a view of everything within a 40-mile radius, and then watch the sun sink and the city’s skyscrapers and Canary Wharf light up the night. You’ll probably still be a little full from afternoon tea so take a wander towards Soho to check out one of its many Speakeasy bars. These underground bars usually require a pre-booked reservation, which you can make online or your hotel can help you, and you will be supplied with a password, which you’ll need to tell the doorman in order to gain entry. Some of these bars are quite theatrical – at Cahoots, a disused underground station in Kingly

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Gate off Carnaby Street, you’ll be faced with staff dressed in 1940s attire – while others involve opening a large Smeg fridge door or flushing a toilet to gain entry! Still not hungry enough for a full-blown dinner? Then head to Bubble Dogs, on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia. Meeting the current trend for posh junk food, this bar serves 17 different styles of hot dog alongside champagne and posh wine. If you fancy something a little more substantial, however, then head to Duck and Waffle on the 40th floor of The Heron Tower at 110 Bishopsgate for dinner in the highest restaurant in the UK with fabulous views of the city including landmark buildings, such as The Gherkin. Inspired by broad European and British influences, the restaurant’s menu places emphasis on local, rustic, seasonal and sustainable British ingredients, manifested in daily inspirations created from Bishopgate Market’s freshest offerings. It’s also open 24 hours a day so you can sample dishes, however late you happen to stay out exploring London’s nightlife. q

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“THIS INDULGENT PASTIME COMES IN VARIOUS GUISES ACROSS LONDON, FROM CLASSIC TEA TO QUIRKIER VERSIONS”

YOU’RE IN LONDON


TRAVEL

GETTING HERE & GETTING AROUND! Getting to – and around – the UK’s capital city couldn’t be easier

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Access to and from these airports from the capital is, however, incredibly easy. Terminals at Heathrow have their own stops on the London Underground, at the western end of the Piccadilly line, while the Gatwick Express rail service runs in and out of London Victoria overground station 24 hours a day. Express train services also run from Stansted Airport Station (two minutes walk from the terminal) into London, running to Liverpool Street and Tottenham Hale within 47 and 36 minutes respectively. Train services from the airport run four times an hour, with services running from 5:30am through to 12:30am. Alternatively, National Express runs coach services from both London Stansted and London Luton directly into Victoria Coach Station. At peak times up to eight trains an hour run from Southend Airport Station to London with services to Liverpool Street (Hammersmith & City Line, Circle Line, Metropolitan Line and Central Line) taking 53 minutes and 44 minutes to Stratford (London Overground, Central Line, DLR and Jubilee Line).

ADOBESTOCK; TUDOR PANAIT/UNSPLASH

ondon is a leading world city and, thanks to its fantastic transport links, over 30 million tourists visit here every year. Navigating the streets of this fantastic capital city is also incredibly easy – so what’s stopping you? BY AIR Once rated by Business Traveller magazine as having the best public transport links in the world, London City Airport is a favourite with business travellers, partly due to its convenient location slap bang in the middle of London’s Royal Docklands and its incredibly speedy boarding times. The airport, which operates over 40 routes to destinations across Europe as well as business flights to and from New York, is easy to reach by public transport; the fast Docklands Light Railway service links to London’s Underground and National Rail stations. It’s also easily accessible by road and is located outside the London Congestion Charge zone. London City Airport is also the only ‘London’ airport that is actually located within the city centre. London has five other airports to its name; London Gatwick in Sussex, London Heathrow in Hillingdon, London Luton in Luton, London Stansted in Essex and the most recent to open, London Southend, which is also in Essex.

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BY CAR London is easy to reach using the UK’s motorway network with major roads including the M1, M2, M3, M4, M11, M20, M23, M25 and M40 all heading p121

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TRAVEL

“TERMINALS AT HEATHROW HAVE THEIR OWN STOPS ON THE LONDON UNDERGROUND, AT THE WESTERN END OF THE PICCADILLY LINE”

HEATHROW AIRPORTS LTD; ING IMAGE; SONGQUAN DENG/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Friday, excluding public holidays and between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and the zone is clearly marked by traffic signs and road markings. You can pay in advance on the day of travel or by midnight the following charging day and the easiest (and cheapest) way is to visit the Transport for London website and set up Auto Pay online. London is a busy city and parking here can prove quite difficult if you’re unsure of your bearings. However, there are a number of car parking companies that operate throughout the city, such as National Car Parks (NCP), which has more than 100 car parks in the capital. Most hotels also offer their own parking so, once in London, it’s probably easier to park up at your base and use public transport to get around the city. BY RAIL Getting to and from London by rail is not only easy but also civilised! Trains from most of the UK’s major cities, including Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds, Nottingham and York, run into Kings Cross Station, while the Eurostar from Paris and Brussels arrives into St Pancras International. These stations are an experience in themselves and are worth exploring if you have the time before you venture on to your next destination – the British Library is located next to St Pancras, displaying some of the world’s most famous written works, and you’ll also find Europe’s longest champagne bar here. Kings Cross as a whole has gone through a period of dramatic regeneration recently. Google recently chose the area as the home for its new UK HQ and 50 new buildings and p123

directly into London or very near it. Each of these roads also intersects with the M25 orbital motorway, making travel into London from across the south and further afield, incredibly easy. All London’s points of arrival are well served by car hire companies, which you can book in advance. However, there are a few things that motorists must bear in mind when driving in London; for starters if you’re arriving from outside the UK, remember to drive on the left hand side of the road! The London Congestion Charge applies to drivers of most vehicles in central London although motorcycles and electric cars are exempt from the charge, as are disabled drivers but they must apply in advance. The charge runs between 7am and 6pm, Monday to

kingfishervisitorguides.com

121

YOU’RE IN LONDON


TAXIAPP UK

DOWNLOAD THE APP

DRIVEN BY KNOWLEDGE TAXIAPP.UK.COM

Look for the light – the future’s bright – the world’s first ethical taxi app.

To this day, The Knowledge, by which drivers must learn 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks across London before being granted a coveted green badge, remains largely unaltered.

The London black cab is quintessentially British, so much so, it is as if they are woven into the very fabric of the city itself. For over 300 years black cabs have been faithfully serving both Londoners and visitors alike. TAXIAPP has been developed to help ensure a thriving future for a truly iconic means of transport. The amber glow of a black cab’s ‘taxi’ sign has become a symbol of London, representing familiarity and safety in equal measure. Black cabs have evolved considerably since the first black cab – a Hackney carriage that made an appearance in the early 17th Century. In 1625 there were twenty ‘hackneys’ available for hire, operating out of drinking wells. The name derives from a hacquenée, the French term for a general purpose horse – literally translated it means ‘ambling nag’. In 1636 the former owner of four hackney coaches brought them together outside the Inn at the Strand, thus forming the first taxi rank.

What makes TAXIAPP different? Co-founder Scott Wolsey explains, “We want the availability of taxis to our customers. We are proud to say that licensed taxis offer the safest transport option in London and the easier they can be accessed, the better. We say, take the taxi that is the most convenient, be it the one at the front of the taxi rank, the one that can be hailed on the street, or the one located using the app”. TAXIAPP is a non-profit organisation run by a cooperative of taxi drivers committed to helping support London’s black cab trade. The app is dedicated to creating fair transport in London and is exclusively focused on sharing the benefits of new technology between cab drivers and their customers.

The Knowledge – the world’s toughest taxi test! It wasn’t until the Great Exhibition of 1851, when thousands of visitors converged on London’s Crystal Palace, that The Knowledge – the three year training that every budding taxi driver has to pass – first came big. Authorities were bombarded with complaints about the quality of the city’s cabmen, promoting them to implement a new licensing process. By 1884 city records show 1,931 applicants for the ‘examination as to the knowledge of principal streets, squares and public spaces’.

And, in case you’d forgotten, licensed taxis are the only transport option that offer a door-to-door service that doesn’t need to be pre-booked. If hailed using the app, TAXIAPP guarantees a driver committed to providing an efficient, professional service. Crucially, his or her knowledge of London is second to none. So sit back, relax and enjoy being part of a great British institution.

www.taxiapp.uk.com


TRAVEL

The Night Tube now runs weekend overnight services on the Central, Victoria, Jubilee, Northern (Charing Cross branch) and Piccadilly lines.

ING IMAGE; PAUL STEPHENSON MEDIA

HOW TO PAY FOR TRAVEL

There are a number of ways you can pay for travel in London. If you’re planning a number of journeys in one day then a London Travelcard is your best bet, allowing unlimited journeys across the city’s transport network within any 24-hour period. If you’re in a group of 10 or more fare-paying passengers, you can also get Group Day Travelcards, which will save you even more. Oyster cards, which hold pre-paid credit, are valid for all travel within zones one to six of the rail, tube and bus network (they can also be used on clippers and cable cars) and do not have an expiry date. If you’re arriving from outside the UK, you can order an Oyster card online so it’s ready to use as soon as you arrive in the city. Journeys taken using an Oyster card are cheaper than buying single tickets and mean you can avoid endless trips to the ticket desk. You can buy and top up Oyster cards from all Tube, London Overground, TfL Rail, and most National Rail stations, as well a visitor centres and over 4,000 local shops across the city – just look out for the Oyster Ticket Stop sign in the window. UK-issued contactless credit or debit cards can also now be used for travel across London and most taxi drivers now carry credit card machines on board.

“IF ALL ELSE FAILS, THEN THERE’S ONE MODE OF TRANSPORT YOU CAN ALWAYS RELY ON IN LONDON – THE BLACK CAB!”

kingfishervisitorguides.com

10 new public squares have popped up, making this a destination to visit, not just pass through. Once you’re in London, the overground rail network is a great way to get from one side of the city to another for those who prefer to keep their heads above ground level but want to avoid the busy London traffic. The new Crossrail service, due for completion in 2018, will also make getting in and out of London from destinations across the south east even quicker. Running from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, the project is building 10 new stations in and around the city and upgrading 30 more. BY TUBE By far the quickest and easiest way to get around London is on the tube. This network of underground shuttle trains can get busy but services run every couple of minutes so peak-time crowds disperse pretty quickly.

123

BY BUS Gone are the days when you could hop on and off London’s renowned, open-backed, red double decker buses. While the famous Routemaster buses are still in service, the new versions have electric doors on the back, operated by the driver. Conductors have all but been abolished on most bus services in London, meaning you can no longer buy a ticket on board either so make sure you have a valid travel or Oyster card before you attempt to board. Despite losing some of its quintessential characteristics, the London bus is a great way to see the city – particularly if you travel on the top deck. BY BIKE If the weather is fine and you have time on your hands then the humble bicycle is a great way to explore the city above ground, without having to worry about getting caught in a jam. Don’t worry, you don’t need to bring your own bike with you, there are 11,500 pay as you go bikes available at various spots across the city. In fact, London’s public bike hire scheme, Santander Cycles, has 750 docking stations where you can literally hop on a bike and head off to explore. If peddling about town sounds too much like hard work, then you can always climb aboard a rickshaw for a sightseeing tour of the city. You’ll find them gathered at the edges of most tourist hotspots, such as Leicester Square and Covent Garden, even in winter. BY BOAT One mode of transport that is becoming increasingly more popular in London is boat. MBNA Thames Clippers depart from major London piers every 20 minutes with services stretching from Putney to Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. BY CABLE CAR One way to cross the Thames is via the Emirates Air Line cable car, which glides above the river between the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks. The cars, which accommodate 10 people, arrive every 30 seconds and the trip takes approximately five minutes during peak times (between 7am and 9am Monday to Friday) and at other times around 10 minutes. BY TAXI If all else fails, then there’s one mode of transport you can always rely on in London – the black cab! l

YOU’RE IN LONDON


ON FOOT

WALK THIS WAY! If you want to see this city close up, try it the old-fashioned way

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hile London is incredibly easy to navigate via its public transport system, often the nicest way to soak up all this fabulous city has to offer is on foot. Whether you just want to take in the capital’s landmark sites, explore its open spaces, learn about the city’s famous faces (dead or alive) or uncover some of its little-known secrets, there are plenty of walking tours to take part in. One of the best ways to get an overview of London is to walk the Jubilee Walkway, a self-guided walking route created in 1977 to mark the Queen’s 25th anniversary. The 14-mile route connects all the main places of interest in central London from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London and you will be guided along the way by circular silver plaques set into the pavement at various stages of the walk and information panels describing the buildings in the area. For those who don’t think they can manage the entire route, which is likely to take a full, long day, the walk is divided into five ‘loops’, which take between one and four hours. The Jubilee loop (one hour) and Western loop (five hours) take in some of the city’s most important sites including Buckingham Palace, St James’s Park, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral. Dedicated to another member of the royal family, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk takes visitors through the four royal parks and within sight of famous buildings and locations associated with the Princess during her life and celebrates the Princess’s affection for the city’s open spaces. Set up in her memory in 2000, the seven-mile walk tours St James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and travels past the three palaces and two mansion houses which figure in Diana’s life; Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, St James’s Palace and Spencer House, the one-time London house of the Spencer family. In contrast to the finely manicured gardens of London’s palaces, Hampstead Heath nature reserve offers a wilder walking p126

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Azkaban. There are various tours which start from different locations in London, check with your hotel for details. Alternatively, you can see the various locations in London associated with James Bond on a Spies & Spycatchers walking tour, which includes stops like the wartime offices of MI6, where Kim Philby rose through the ranks, and Ian Fleming’s birthplace in Green Street, Mayfair. One of London’s most notorious characters is of course Jack the Ripper and the Jack the Ripper Walk is one of the most popular walks in the city. The walk, which takes place every night at 7.30pm (except on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), setting off outside Tower Hill underground station, is led by Ripper expert Donald Rumbelow and will take you past sites including Jack the Ripper’s famed local, The Ten Bells on Commercial Street. In fact, if you want to soak up some homicidal history between pints there’s a tour of East End boozers with bloody pasts. There’s the Spaniard’s Inn, one of London’s oldest pubs and a drinking spot of infamous highwayman Dick Turpin. His ghost (and that of his horse) are said to haunt the pub, and it has a bar named in his honour. The Spaniard’s Inn is also mentioned in Bram Stoker’s Dracula! Or for those who fancy a ride to London’s dark side, hop on a Ghost Bus and uncover forgotten tales of intrigue and murder in the capital – just be sure to ring the bell when it’s time to leave or risk joining your creepy conductor for good! Ghost walks in general are in abundance in London, so if that’s your cup of tea, you’ll be spoilt for choice. l

“THE JUBILEE LOOP AND WESTERN LOOP TAKE IN SOME OF THE CITY’S MOST IMPORTANT SITES INCLUDING BUCKINGHAM PALACE”

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experience although still with great views across the city. Discover the Heath’s 30 ponds and a vast variety of wildlife as you meander through just some of the almost 800 acres of woodland and meadows. It’s impossible to ignore the Thames when in London and a river walk can be a great way to take in London’s most famous architecture. Extending from the Thames Barrier to the river’s source in the Cotswolds, the Thames Path would take some time to conquer in its entirety. However, broken down into bite-size sections, it’s much more manageable. For example, the six miles from Albert Bridge to Tower Bridge takes in the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe, while the five miles from Tower Bridge to Greenwich includes a variety of sights from Canary Wharf to the Cutty Sark and the Thames Barrier. Literary lovers might want to retraces the steps of Charles Dickens with a walk through Southwark, taking in the routes and views he would have known as a young man living in the city such as Guy’s Hospital, the White Hart Inn which appears in The Pickwick Papers, Horsemonger Lane Gaol, where he watched Maria Manning hang in 1849, and the St George’s Circus obelisk which features in David Copperfield. Those into more modern fiction can sign up to a Harry Potter film location guided tour, which take in various film locations from the famous franchise including the entrance to the Ministry of Magic, the flight path of the Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of

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LET’S EXPLORE! If you have some time to spare, then why not head slightly further afield and explore some of what lies on the capital’s doorstep?

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o matter how long your visit to London, you’ll never tire of things to do here but if you want a change of scenery from fast-paced city life, there are plenty of places within easy reach. London is surrounded by its home counties; Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex, which are all worth a visit if you have time and can be reached in less than an hour by train or car. To the west London borders Berkshire, giving easy access to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Walk the Long Mile up to Windsor Castle and then tour the palace known as the Queen’s second home. Windsor is also home to Legoland – the second most visited theme park in the UK and a great day out for families with younger children – while just six miles away, in the village of Ascot, Ascot Racecourse, which although famous for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes held in July, hosts race meetings throughout the year. The River Thames runs all the way into Berkshire, right past Windsor Castle, and a boat trip from London offers an altogether different viewpoint. Make a stop at the 13th-century and picturesque market town of Henleyon-Thames, now famous in over 100 countries as one of the locations for the fictional county of Midsomer in the classic TV show Midsomer Murders. Each June/July the town is taken over by visitors thanks to the Henley Royal Regatta – one of the most famous in the world – but if you’re not in town at that time of year then you can get a flavour for its history at “SURREY, ONE OF the River & Rowing Museum. LONDON’S HOME If you cross across Berkshire’s COUNTIES, IS WORTH A north border you’ll find yourself in Buckinghamshire – a place many VISIT IF YOU HAVE TIME, Londoners migrate out to thanks AND CAN BE REACHED to its bountiful countryside, IN LESS THAN AN HOUR excellent education offerings and general high quality (and slower BY TRAIN OR CAR” pace) of life. p130

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The county is well known for its ornate country homes and manor estates. Waddesdon Manor, an opulent 19th-century mansion, in Aylesbury, built for Baron de Rothschild and styled like a Neo-Renaissance French chateau, is worth a visit, even if only to see its famous wine cellar, where over 10,000 bottles of wine are stored. Meanwhile, the unusual Palladian double colonnade of West Wycombe Park dates to the late 1700s and is home to the Premier Baronet of Great Britain. You can also visit Missenden the home of writer Roald Dahl, who set many of his whimsical stories, such as Matilda and Fantastic Mr Fox, in a Buckinghamshire-like setting, and take a trail through the countryside to see the sights that inspired him. Pinewood Studios, one of Britain’s largest film and TV studios, is also located in

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Buckinghamshire – in Iver Heath – and is currently undergoing a £200 million expansion, which will see it double in size. You can visit the studios famous for productions such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Da Vinci Code, The Bourne Ultimatum and the Harry Potter series. Unfortunately you can’t tour the studios but you can sign up for free tickets to be in the audience of live shows filmed there. If you head east out of London you’ll get to Essex; the setting for long-running TV show Birds of a Feather and – in more recent years – reality show The Only Way is Essex. The county combines modern facilities, fascinating towns and villages and an ever-changing coastline to create the perfect day trip out of London. For shopaholics, Lakeside, in Thurrock, has

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more than 2,600,000 square feet of shops, bars and restaurants all under one roof, while those who like a flutter can head to Chelmsford City Racecourse, which opened in 2015. If you’re into your history then head to Audley End House in Saffron Walden, where you can catch a glimpse of working life in the Victorian service wing and nursery, while those who prefer more modern activities should head to the cutting-edge Rafael Viñoly-designed Firstsite gallery, in Colchester. The up-and-coming town of Leigh-on-Sea, on the coast near Southend, is worth a visit for a traditional day out by the seaside but with a modern twist; the town has become a bit of a haven for Londoners priced out of the city and, with its plentiful bars and restaurants, Broadway is where the cool kids hang out. Known as the Gateway to England thanks to

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its close proximity to mainland Europe on the south east coast and also the Garden of England, thanks to its abundance of orchards and hop gardens, Kent can be reached by train from London in less than 40 minutes. From the Victorian walled garden at Quex to the rose gardens at Hever Castle, there’s a secret garden to uncover around every corner, as well as a whole host of historical adventures from discovering how Tunbridge Wells became Royal to the secrets of Chatham’s historic dockyards and medieval misadventures at Canterbury Tales. Kent is also known for its shopping and is home to Bluewater, the largest shopping centre in the south east of England outside London. Built in a disused chalk quarry just off the A2 in Greenhithe, the centre has more than 300 stores and over 60 bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as a 13-screen multiplex cinema – it’s no wonder it attracts 28.1 million visitors a year! Heading immediately south from London is Surrey which, no matter what part you want to visit, is never more than 45 minutes from the city by train. The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty spans more than a quarter of the county and contains some of p132

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“HISTORY BUFFS CAN VISIT THE 500-YEAROLD HAMPTON COURT PALACE, WHICH IS TUCKED AWAY IN THE VILLAGE OF EAST MOLESEY”

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the south east’s most beautiful and unspoilt countryside and quintessentially English villages, which have inspired some of England’s most influential writers. Jane Austen spent holidays at Great Bookham with Box Hill providing the setting for the picnic scene in Emma, while Sherlock Holmes creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, resided in Hindhead for 10 years and EM Foster in Abinger Hammer for over 20 years. History buffs and those interested in the country’s royalty can visit the 500-year-old Hampton Court Palace, which is tucked away in the village of East Molesey and is home to the only surviving royal chocolate kitchen in the country. If you’re more of an adrenaline junkie then don’t miss Mercedes-Benz World, on the famous Brooklands site in Weybridge, where you can put your driving skills to the test on the handling circuit or sit in the passenger seat and let the Silver Arrows Display Team show you how it’s done. The city of Chichester in West Sussex, with its cathedral and famous Festival Theatre, is just a 90-minute train ride from London and there are plenty of interesting pit stops along the way, from pretty Petworth with its stately house to Midhurst where you can stop off and watch the polo at Cowdray Park.

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London also makes a great base from which to head to the coast. Perhaps one of the most popular seaside destinations frequented by Londoners when the sun comes out is Brighton. Designated a city despite its lack of a cathedral, the cosmopolitan centre of Brighton & Hove should not be missed; its winding lanes offer a diverse shopping experience and its nightlife rivals that of the capital. While most beaches on the south edge of the British Isles are pebble, Camber Sands, also in East Sussex is known for its seven miles of dunes. Stop at the nearby Medieval town of Rye and wonder at its charming cobbled streets or head to the traditional seaside resort of Hastings for fish and chips at the famous Blue Dolphin Fish Bar and a bit of crazy putting at the National Centre of Miniature Golf, right on the seafront. West Sussex also has its own stretch of sandy beach at West Wittering – a Blue Flag award-winning beach set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the entrance to Chichester Harbour. However, the county of Kent has more Blue Flag beaches than anywhere else in the UK; from the wonderful white sands of Botany Bay and fabulous surf at Joss Bay in Broadstairs to the shingle shores in Folkestone – there’s a reason the county was recently

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named the best place in Europe for a family holiday by Lonely Planet. So if you fancy a day away from the city by the coast, then this is a particularly good option. Portsmouth, in Hampshire, is hugely accessible from London via the A3 and, while it isn’t famous for its beaches, there are plenty of fun things to do. Home to around 100 retail outlet stores, restaurants and a 14-screen cinema, Gunwharf Quays is a great destination if the weather isn’t on your side, while the 170-metre tall Spinnaker offers far reaching views across The Solent to the Isle of Wight. Talking of the Isle of Wight, ferries head there from Portsmouth every 30 minutes so it’s easy to make a day trip to the island. In the summer months you can enjoy events including Cowes Week Regatta, the Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival, while in the quieter, winter months popular tourist attractions, such as The Needles Park, Godshill Model Village and Blackgang Chine remain open to visitors. If you want to head even further afield then London is a great base from which to explore a host of other UK and European cities. From Euston and Kings Cross stations you can catch fast and direct trains to the Midlands and the north including cities such as Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle, while catching the

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Eurostar from St Pancras station places the likes of Brussels, Lille and Paris within easy reach. Flying is also an option thanks to London’s many airports – wherever you’re staying in the city, an airport is within easy reach. London City Airport is not only great for business travellers but delivers flights to a host of European city and beach locations and is accessible directly off the District Light Railway (DLR). Each of Heathrow’s five terminals are accessible via the under and over ground rail network, while the Gatwick Express allows travellers to reach London Gatwick (which is actually located in Sussex) from London Victoria Station in just 30 minutes. If you’d rather take the car with you to travel across to Europe, however, then Kent’s harbour towns of Folkestone and Dover provide a gateway to the continent, with ferries travelling to Calais and Dunkirk up to 23 times a day or – if travelling by sea is not your thing then the Eurotunnel also enables tourists to cross the Channel in as little as 35 minutes with Le Shuttle trains leaving Folkstone for Calais up to four times every hour. But whichever direction you head in from London, you will find plenty to see en route, ensuring the journey is just as pleasurable as the destination. l

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SPORT

OUR SPORTING LIFE! Whether you want to watch or take part, there’s always plenty on offer here

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hen it comes to sport, London is high up in the league tables; its stadiums, grounds and arenas are world-renowned, it’s home to more professional football teams than any other city in the world and it was the first city to host the Olympics three times – in 1908, 1948 and 2012. Football is no doubt London’s most popular sport, with 13 professional teams in the city including England’s national team. Wembley Stadium – England’s home ground – is the largest venue in the capital with 90,000 seats. The most striking feature of this stadium is its 133-metre tall, steel arch, which sits above the north stand and makes it possible for the roof over the south stand to retract, allowing light and air onto the pitch. At 315 metres long it’s the longest single roof structure in the world and is visible across London and beyond.

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As well as the FA Cup Final and Semi Finals, the Football League Cup Final, the FA Community Shield and the Football League Play Off Finals, the stadium also regularly hosts other major sporting events including a regular season NFL game and epic music concerts so there’s bound to be something happening when you’re in town. If there are no games or events taking place while you’re here, then why not follow in the footsteps of legends by taking a tour of the stadium? You can get access to some of Wembley’s historical treasures, such as the 1966 World Cup crossbar, the Jules Rimet Trophy commemorating England’s World Cup glory and the original flag from the 1948 Olympic Games, which were also held at the stadium. You’ll also get to sit inside the England changing rooms, take Gareth Southgate’s hot-seat in the press room, experience the p136

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tension of the players tunnel and even get your hands on the FA Cup. Of course, there are also six Premiership football team grounds in London, too, including Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham, most of which offer behind the scenes tours to enable fans to get their fix. While football is a firm favourite, rugby has seen a surge in popularity in recent years with both League and Union codes played in London. The capital boasts a healthy number of domestic teams including London Broncos, London Irish, Harlequins and Saracens, although you may have to travel out of London to watch them play as most of their home matches are played at stadiums on the outskirts of the city and in the surrounding home counties. Each spring, however, Harlequins and Saracens host a premiership rugby clash at Wembley Stadium, which attracts record-breaking crowds with a large number of tickets sold at dirt-cheap prices for an affordable family day out. Cricket is very well organised and established in London and is the second most popular sport after football. There are two major cricket grounds here; Lord’s, in St John’s Wood near Regent’s Park, is one of the most famous in the world and is home to Middlesex County Cricket Club, while The Oval, in Kennington, south London, is home to Surrey County Cricket Club and witnessed England’s Ashes win of 2005. If you’re not in London during the cricket season,

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which runs from April to September, then you can still take a guided tour at Lord’s to see the Grade II-listed pavilion and legendary Long Room, sit on the seats usually occupied by the England team, soak up the award-winning architecture of the J.P. Morgan Media Centre and view the iconic Ashes urn. Thanks to London winning the bid to host the Olympics in 2012, the city has a host of relatively new sporting arenas and facilities across the city. Since then, The Olympic Park, where most of the action took place during the Games, has been transformed into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where five of the venues remain; the Stadium, Aquatics Centre, Lee Valley VeloPark, Copper Box and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. The Olympic Stadium hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Games, as well as the athletics and paralympic athletics, and is now home to West Ham United Football Club having been transformed into a UEFA Category 4 venue with 54,000 seats. The Copper Box, which hosted the Handball, Modern Pentathlon Fencing and Paralympic Goalball during the games was the first venue to reopen to the public and now houses a gym and state-of-theart sports hall. It’s also home to the London Lions basketball team and is a major venue for everything from premiership basketball to pop concerts. The dramatic moment that Chris Hoy won gold in the Keirin and then again in the Team Sprint event took place in the Lee Valley VeloPark. This striking

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“IF YOU’RE NOT IN LONDON DURING THE CRICKET SEASON, THEN YOU CAN STILL TAKE A GUIDED TOUR AT LORD’S TO SEE THE GRADE IILISTED PAVILION AND LEGENDARY LONG ROOM”

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indoor velodrome is the fastest track in the world but everyone, from beginners to elite riders, are able to ride it. From cycling on the same track that Team GB won gold seven times during the Games, to exploring five miles of mountain bike trails, getting pumped on the BMX track or speeding around the one mile road circuit, the VeloPark caters for every type of cyclist and taster sessions are available for those who just want to give it a try. Also at Lee Valley, you’ll find a hockey and tennis centre, the state-of-the-art athletics venue that trained gold medalists like Greg Rutherford and Jonnie Peacock for London 2012 and a riding centre with an indoor arena and two floodlit outdoor arenas. Queen Elizabeth Park is also home to the London Aquatics Centre, which in April 2016 hosted the LEN European Aquatics after a 78-year break from London. And then there’s the ArcelorMittal Orbit – Britain’s tallest sculpture at 114.5 metres, and acclaimed landmark of the park. Situated next to the Olympic Stadium, the structure has two viewing platforms giving unrivalled views of London from the east and now features a huge helter-skelter-style slide – the world’s tallest tunnel slide – which is also open to the public. p138

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While the 2012 Olympics has brought a new appetite for sport to the city – particularly athletics – London’s most famous running race, the London Marathon, is decades old and has become a sporting institution since it was introduced to the capital by former Olympic athlete Chris Brasher 35 years ago. Each April approximately 36,000 people run the 26.2-mile route through the streets of London (many in outrageous fancy dress) and in turn raise thousands of pounds for charity. Described as a “historical jog around London” by the organisers, the route takes in some of London’s most iconic landmarks; the first half of the route runs just south of the Thames through Greenwich and Blackheath before crossing the river at Tower Bridge, passing the Tower of London and London Eye and finishing on The Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace and next to St James’s Park. The streets of London are lined with thousands of spectators on Marathon day; the most popular places to watch are the start line, halfway mark and, of course, the finish line so these can get quite busy but there is a downloadable map of the circuit on the marathon website page so you can plot your viewing

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spot, as well as a live tracking page so you can keep track of your favourite runner’s progress. Back to ball games and, whether you’re a legitimate tennis fan or just in it for the Pimm’s, strawberries and cream, Wimbledon Tennis Championships are a must in the London calendar. For two weeks at the end of June/beginning of July this tantalising tennis tournament grips the city. But if you’re not lucky enough to win ballot tickets and cannot be bothered to queue, there are plenty of open-air big screens showing all the action across London. Making the most of the river that slices through its centre, The Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race has been held annually on the Thames since 1856 (with the exception of the First and Second World Wars). The race takes place every March on the Thames between Putney and Mortlake and there are plenty of places to cheer on the rowers along the route. The best spots, however, are Putney Bridge and Embankment near the start, Fulham Football Club’s home ground Craven Cottage, Hammersmith and Barnes for the mid-race action and Chiswick Bridge to see them cross the finishing line. A more recent addition to London’s sporting calendar is Prudential’s Ride London – a festival of cycling which takes place across the city and beyond

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SPORT

“WHETHER YOU’RE A LEGITIMATE TENNIS FAN OR JUST IN IT FOR THE PIMM’S, STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM, WIMBLEDON TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS ARE A MUST IN THE LONDON CALENDAR”

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each July as an annual legacy of the Olympics. The festival is made up of six cycling events which take place over one summer weekend. RideLondon FreeCycle offers a great opportunity for people of all ages to experience the fun and freedom of cycling on traffic-free roads in central London and takes in many of the capital’s worldfamous landmarks including the chance to cycle past Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral. In addition, there are six festival sites offering cycling-themed activities and, what’s more, it’s free to participate. The RideLondon Grand Prix sees the best elite women cyclists compete on a central London circuit as part of the UCI World Tour and attracts big names, such as World and Olympic Champion Marianne Vos and double Olympic and five-time World Track Champion, Laura Trott. Celebrating the legacy for cycling created by the

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the RideLondon-Surrey 100 is a challenge for amateur cyclists. Starting at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, it follows a 100-mile route on traffic-free roads through the capital and into Surrey’s stunning countryside. With leg-testing climbs and a route made famous by the world’s best cyclists at the Olympics, the challenge finishes – in style – on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. Immediately after, RideLondon-Surrey 46 takes place, a slightly shorter route created specifically for newer and younger cyclists to take part. Entries for both London-Surrey races are by ballot only but are an incredible spectacle to watch, whether you want to stay in London and travel slightly further afield. The final race of the weekend is the RideLondonSurrey Classic, which involves 150 of the world’s top cyclists from 25 teams taking on a 200km route through central London to the Surrey Hills and back, with a sprint finish on The Mall. So whether you’re a football fanatic, crazy about cricket or tickled by tennis, London has no shortage of both indoor and outdoor sporting activities for all ages and abilities to enjoy, whether they want to take part or simply cheer participants on from the sidelines. The trick is to be prepared for everything the weather may throw at you and to do a little advance research to check that the activities you are planning are suitable for those travelling in your party. If you need some help or just want to find a local sports club or fitness class to attend, then check out the Get Active London website, which has information on all sorts of sporting activities across the city. l

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PROPERTY

LIVING FOR THE CITY! Love this city? Buy or rent a home here and become a part of London’s diverse residential market

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hether it’s the well-known and established residential areas of Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Chelsea, Kensington, Victoria and Westminster or the newer urban quarters being created in the city’s historic Docklands, Vauxhall, Stockwell and Elephant and Castle, London remains a hotspot for property. For many, the prestige of a London address is an influential motive when considering making a home purchase or investment in the UK and although prime central hotspots attract rather conservative capital growth and rental yields, investors are rewarded with resilient property values. Worldwide economic concerns mean there’s no firm assurance that current prosperity levels can be sustained. Indeed, price growth in prime London has slowed over the short-term; the increase in stamp duty for higher value properties and tighter mortgage regulation has constrained the prime market, resulting in price falls in high value locations, while concerns over the EU referendum have also created uncertainty in the market. However, London is still regarded as a safe place to do business and faith in its professional services – be it our accountants, lawyers or bankers – continues to be upheld. Recent forecasts by estate agent Savills suggests house prices in the capital will rise by more than 15 per cent over the next five years and by even more (up to 20.4 per cent) in prime areas. In fact, the Council of Mortgage Lenders reports that cash buyers accounted for a third of transactions in England and Wales in 2015 (the highest since the end of the Second World War) and for those with cash to splash, there are good deals to be had, particularly in the new homes market. Located in the heart of Westminster, the UK’s cultural and economic heartland, is Abell and Cleland, the latest standout development from Berkeley Homes, which – with a plush leisure suite a comprising swimming pool, sauna, steam room and gym and even an in-room dining service offered by the Double Tree by Hilton hotel opposite – offers luxury living on the north side of the River Thames, just moments from the Houses of Parliament from upwards of £1.8 million. Also offering views of the Houses of Parliament is Taylor Wimpey’s Westminster Quarter and The Courthouse, on the site of the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in Horseferry Road, by Barratt. Remaining north of the river but in the heart

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of London’s popular West End, 190 Strand by St Edward is making its own architectural impact just yards from the city’s famous law courts. With its stone, glass and laser-cut metal filigree façade and dynamic ground-level colonnade, this project is bridging the gap between past and present. If being close to where this country’s laws are passed or near where those who disobey them are punished isn’t enough, then how about having none other than Her Majesty The Queen as your neighbour? Luxury developer, Northacre, is carrying out a part refurbishment/part re-build of the former grand hotel building at No. 1 Palace Street, where – from some of the 72 luxurious

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apartments – you can see into the wider grounds of Buckingham Palace. Prime central London is, of course, always going to hold its price and so those not able to stretch to a royal-sized budget should look slightly further afield, where you will find new residential quarters literally popping up across the city. While these areas are not in the aforementioned established addresses, they are no less remarkable. For example, South Quay Plaza, another Berkeley Homes’ development in the heart of Canary Wharf, is not only transforming this financial district into a vibrant waterside community, it is leading the way in design with its slender 220m, 68-storey glass and steel tower. p142

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Designed by the renowned architects Foster and Partners, it is set to be one of the tallest residential towers in Europe and will completely change the city’s skyline. The first phase, where prices start from £490,000, is due for completion in 2020, when the new Crossrail service will link Canary Wharf to Heathrow airport in under 40 minutes. Areas like Canary Wharf and the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area – where 481 acres of former industrial land is being transformed into a new London district featuring key sites such Riverlight by St James, the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station and Ballymore’s Embassy Gardens with its show-stopping Sky Pool – are dominated by ultra-modern, high-rise buildings. Buyers looking for more traditional styles of living should look west and particularly to the suburbs, where developers are redeveloping historically important-buildings and adopting a more traditional architectural approach in their new build schemes. Just nine miles from Heathrow and in the sought-after Royal Borough of Richmond upon Thames, London Square is currently redeveloping The Star and Garter, a Grade II-listed landmark overlooking the River Thames and Richmond Park – a view so famous it is the only one to be protected by an Act of Parliament. Prices range from £1.3 million to £2.45 million. Just around the corner, Berkeley Homes has

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started construction on the redevelopment of Latchmere House, a former MI5 detention and interrogation centre for enemy agents, while just a short distance away in Putney, Oakhill Park, is a new development by London Realty, which is also bucking the ‘tower’ trend with a collection of mansion-style apartments starting from £850,000. North of the river, in Chiswick but still just under nine miles from Heathrow, both Chiswick High Road by Redrow and Berkley’s Chiswick Gate offer a choice of apartments and traditional town houses. In the latter, striking, new warehouse-style buildings are set around a stunning landscaped garden square, which pays homage to the historical legacy of the area and its past as a former shoe polish factory. With London now exceeding the half a million price tag for the average property – and less than half (46%) of the stock listed across the capital coming in at £500,000 or less – living in the city is by no means cheap. If you’ve got a limited budget, the best place to get on the ladder is in the borough of Barking and Dagenham, which has the lowest average house prices in London but – according to research by online estate agent eMoov – will have increased by about 80 per cent in 15 years’ time. Other boroughs that offer hope for those with a budget of half a million or lower are Hounslow, Bromley, Waltham Forest, Enfield, Hillingdon, Lewisham, Redbridge, Greenwich, Newham, Croydon, Sutton, Havering and Bexley, where there

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“WITH LONDON NOW EXCEEDING THE HALF A MILLION PRICE TAG FOR THE AVERAGE PROPERTY, LIVING IN THE CITY IS BY NO MEANS CHEAP”

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PROPERTY

are more homes listed on the market for lower than £500,000 than there are over. It is estimated that 64,000 homes per year are needed in London to keep up with demand and population growth (according to research by Savills) so its no wonder that key regeneration projects and transport improvements are also creating new property hotspots and buying opportunities in areas that were once avoided. However, with no ‘insider knowledge’ it’s often difficult to establish where the next hotspot will be and bag yourself a good deal before it’s too late. If you want to get ahead then search out areas that are benefiting from infrastructure improvements and large investment and chose a location slightly outside that which is in the immediate spotlight. For example, Oval and Stockwell, close to the new district being built at Nine Elms, is already benefitting from the ripple effect, as is the North End Road in Fulham, which borders the huge Earls Court redevelopment. Buying somewhere which is set to benefit from either of the Crossrail lines is also a good tip. Property values in Ealing, on the Reading to Shenfield line for example, jumped 25.5 per cent during the 12 months to July 2015, more than twice the London average, according to Land Registry figures, and the market in Southall is also tipped to outperform this year. It is thought Crossrail 2 – the line which runs from Hertfordshire to Surrey – will

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“BY OPTING FOR AN AREA A LITTLE FURTHER ALONG A TUBE LINE, YOU CAN GET MUCH MORE FOR YOUR MONEY AND BUY INTO A DISTRICT WHERE PRICES HAVE YET TO REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL”

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also unlock 200,000 new homes, particularly in the Upper Lea Valley in east London. Crossrail will also integrate with HS2, the high-speed line between London and Birmingham, the first phase of which is set to be operating by 2026. As well as the overground train lines, there’s also improvements to the underground to consider when choosing where to buy a home in London, such as the Northern line extension from Kennington to Battersea which is due to open in 2020 and the Bakerloo line extension from Elephant & Castle through south east London to Beckenham in Kent. Many property developers are also switching their attention away from zones 1 and 2 to zones 3, 4 and 5, of the underground network. By opting for an area a little further along a tube line, you can get much more for your money and buy into a district where prices have yet to reach their full potential. For example, average house prices in Colliers Wood – three stops on from popular Balham on the Northern line – are more than £250,000 cheaper, while Temple Fortune is a much cheaper alternative to Hampstead or Highgate in north London. In zone 3 a number of previously dull districts, such as Walthamstow, Lewisham and Stratford, have already seen huge levels of investment, while a £4 billion redevelopment of railway land at Brent Cross and Cricklewood is bringing 7,500 homes, three new schools, four parks, and a new Thameslink station giving locals a 12-minute commute to central London. Zone 4 sits between the inner city and you can buy close to some of its underground stations for around £300,000, while in zone 5, which is 32 minutes from central London, average house prices are as little as £242,000. Transport for London has also recently unveiled proposals for 13 new River Thames crossings, where current connections are poor and population growth is biggest. Many are being built in east London as part of the wider master plan for a new “City in the East”, stretching from London Bridge to Ebbsfleet, which is being pushed by the Mayor’s Office. They include a pedestrian and cycle link between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe, a crossing between Royal Docks and Charlton Riverside, and a new road bridge between Beckton and Thamesmead, as well as a new tunnel which is part of an overground extension to Barking Riverside. Developers have already rubber-stamped plans for more homes in these areas; Berkeley has been selected for a new 3,500-unit housing development at the disused parcel depot right next to the DLR line between Canning Town and Star Lane, for example, so there are plenty of opportunities to buy. While some of these projects are longer term, you’ll find they quickly become part of the wider London property story and should be seriously considered when reaching a decision about where to buy in the city. If you do your research and buy smartly, you could not only find yourself the perfect home to live in but also reap the financial benefits in years to come. l

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FESTIVE CITY

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A CAPITAL CHRISTMAS! Christmas in London is a truly magical experience

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rom the famous lights on Regent Street to the dozens of ice skating rinks and markets which pop up across town, London is an amazing city to spend time getting into the festive spirit. One of the most iconic and longstanding Christmas traditions in London is the installation of the 60ft Christmas tree, which takes pride of place in Trafalgar Square each December. A mark of friendship between Britain and Norway, the tree has been given annually to the citizens of London since 1947 as a token of gratitude for the UK’s support during the Second World War and is lit each year with the help of the Mayor of Oslo in a joyful ceremony with carols and a torch-lit procession. Once the tree is in place, usually during the first week in December, carols are sung beneath its pines every day in the afternoon/early evening all the way up to Christmas Eve. Of course, Christmas trees aren’t the only thing to light up London during the festive season, whether you love or loathe Christmas shopping, London’s high streets and shopping centres are well worth a visit in the lead-up to the big day, even if just to see the stunning lights and window displays. Perhaps the most famous of the city’s decorations are in Regent Street; dating back to 1954, they have become a highlight of the year with thousands of visitors flocking to the Piccadilly Circus area to view the lights and – in particular – department store Liberty’s show-stopping Christmas windows. Across the circus in Oxford Street, more than 1,700 decorations light up the sky each year with 750,000 twinkling lights and, never one to stick to tradition, Carnaby Street usually goes for an alternative display, such as giant disco balls or glitter earphones, marking its musical heritage. The borough of Kensington & Chelsea is also renowned for its yuletide window displays at this time of year, particularly at Harvey Nichols and Harrods, both of which also have dedicated departments, where you can pick up some festive trinkets to add to your Christmas decorations collection. As is always the way in Britain, you can never count on the weather and, while we hope for snow to fall at this time of year to add to the winter wonderland setting, it’s more likely to be rain that falls. If you need to head undercover, then there’s still plenty of Christmas delights to enjoy in London’s shopping malls, such as Westfield London and Westfield Stratford, where you can get your gifts all under one roof.

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However, if you want a more traditional festive shopping experience, then head to one of London’s many Christmas markets. A 22-foot tall silver reindeer and a huge Christmas tree welcome visitors to Covent Garden Market at Christmas. The piazza and cobbled streets sparkle with 150,000 lights and 320 metres of garlands, while 40-ish stalls sell all sorts of festive treats. South of the Thames, as part of the wider South Bank Winter Festival, the Southbank Centre Christmas Market combines 50 cosily-lit wooden chalets selling warming products such as sheepskin rugs, hats and scarves, mulled wine and cider. There’s also a special Christmas edition of the weekly food market, which showcases some of the best street food and produce in the capital. Along the river outside Tate Modern, things get a bit of a European twist at the German Thameside Christmas Market, where you can buy hand-made wooden toys, unique jewellery and intricate Christmas decorations before sampling bratwurst, crêpes, roasted nuts and warming cups of glühwein. Night owls should head to StockMKT at Spitalfields or Bermondsey. Inspired by the night markets of the Far East, with their plethora of delicious cheap street food from nearly every continent and opportunities to shop for unique finds long into the night, these markets take that buzz and atmosphere and give it a distinctly London feel. There is also p147

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“WHY NOT PICK UP SOME FESTIVE TRINKETS TO ADD TO YOUR CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS COLLECTION FROM DEDICATED DEPARTMENTS AT HARVEY NICHOLS AND HARRODS?”

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YOU’RE IN LONDON!

If you’re planning your next visit, or you want some reminders of this one, visit:

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“THERE’S PLENTY HERE TO KEEP BIG KIDS ENTERTAINED, TOO, FROM THE GIANT OBSERVATION WHEEL AND MAGICAL ICE KINGDOM TO THE CAPITAL’S BIGGEST ICE RINK”

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live music, art installations and street theatre. Of course, Christmas is really all about the kids – or at least it should be – and you simply cannot visit London is this time of year without taking the little ones for a visit to Santa’s grotto. Perhaps the most famous place to meet Father Christmas in London at the world’s oldest toy store, Hamleys on Regent Street, which gets booked up sometimes months in advance, but don’t worry if you miss out as there are plenty of other places to meet Saint Nick and his merry elves. In upmarket Chelsea, just off Sloane Square, you can take the children to meet Father Christmas in his grotto while you marvel at the Christmas tree and lights in Duke of York Square. Shops lining the square – formerly home to the Duke of York’s army barracks – offer a complimentary gift wrapping service during the Christmas period too so that ticks another festive chore off the list! Or you could dress up warmly and take an evening hike through Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where Santa Claus takes over the Princess of Wales Conservatory each year and you can also experience how the Victorians celebrated Christmas with rides from the era. You can even meet Santa at London Zoo! Kids can explore the temporary town of Elfville, where they’ll have the chance to make festive treats for some of the zoo’s furry residents, write letters to Santa and have a sing-song with the elves, before getting to meet the big man himself.

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At Hyde Park Winter Wonderland they’ll be spoilt for choice. As well as meeting Father Christmas, they can explore his toy factory and jump on board the Santa Express. There’s plenty here to keep big kids entertained, too, from the giant observation wheel and Magical Ice Kingdom to the capital’s biggest ice rink. Ice skating under the twinkling lights is a bit of a tradition at this time of year so it’s a good job London has an abundance of ice rinks to choose from. Positioned directly beside the London Eye and facing the Thames, Eyeskate is one of the bestlocated rinks in the city and there are packages available if you’d like to combine your skate session with a rotation on the Eye. Set against the tower’s floodlit walls and with the Thames gushing past, the ice rink at the Tower of London is another which makes the most of its surroundings, while The Natural History Museum also provides a rather magnificent backdrop for ice skating. Eternally elegant, Somerset House provides one of the most grown-up ice-skating experiences available in the capital, and its “Club Night” sessions are particularly popular with dating couples. There’s a Skate Lounge café and bar overlooking the ice for drinks after and a dedicated training space for newcomers. Whatever your festive traditions you’re bound to find something that gets you into the spirit in London – there really is nothing quite like it at this time of year. H

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Q&A

MY KIND OF TOWN! No-one knows London like a cabbie. London black cab driver Tina Palmer takes us on a (free!) tour of the city where she lives and works

How long have you been a black cab driver? For seven years now. I used to work in the City of London – I’ve always wanted to be a cabbie since I was a youngster but the timing was never right. Finally, I took the plunge and I’ve never looked back – it’s the freedom it gives me that I love.

What’s your earliest memory of London?

I was born on City Road, near Angel, and later lived in Islington. But my first real memory of London was being taken by my grandmother to Oxford Street at Christmas to see Santa at Selfridges. There’s nowhere like London at Christmas, especially for a child – magical!

What’s your favourite view of London?

It has to be Waterloo Bridge – from either side of the river, and not just at sunset! It is beautiful at any time of day. Whenever I’m about to cross the bridge I always say to my passengers “the best views, St Paul’s and the City of London (Square Mile) to the east, and Westminster to the west!”.

What is the Knowledge?

The Knowledge is a test which prospective black cab drivers have to take before they’re granted a licence. To become a London cabbie you have to know hundreds of routes, and all of the 25,000 to 30,000 landmarks located within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. It took me about three and a half years to complete which is about average. I started off thinking it couldn’t be that bad, but I soon realised the work and studying that was expected of me. It takes determination and fortitude. This is recognised when you are awarded your license. I am proud to be a black taxi driver and proud of my colleagues, other black taxi drivers. I love my job, and would encourage anyone to take ‘the London Knowledge’, it’s the best job in the world, every day is different and you have the pleasure of meeting so many interesting and lovely passengers.

Where do you stop for lunch?

I sometimes stop at the Regents Cafe on Inner Circle of Regents Park, they do delicious cakes and sandwiches there, and it’s easy to park, also I can stretch my legs for a lovely walk in the park.

Has anyone asked you to “follow that car”? Not yet! I think that only happens on TV. But

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it’s true that London cabs are the fourth emergency service – I’ve had a few women in labour in the cab!

a nice atmosphere. The Wolseley in Piccadilly is also a favourite.

What’s your favourite route?

I’m married, so it’s a long time since I’ve had a first date, but if I was going on one, a good spot would probably be the Radio Rooftop Bar in the Strand. It’s buzzy, there are lots of lively young people around, and the views are superb. Another contender would the Rosewood Hotel in Holborn – the live performances in the jazz bar are very pleasant.

From Admiralty Arch down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. When the flags are out on the mall it still always gives me a buzz. But London is so lovely – there are so many great sights along the routes I drive.

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Which celebrities have you had in your cab recently?

John Partridge, the ‘Eastenders’ actor, and the Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita – hard to miss! Also the former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband – he seemed very nice, and he gave me a tip!

What’s your favourite walk?

Around St James’s Park – it’s so beautiful, very Royal, well kept, lovely views. I never get tired of it.

Favourite place to eat?

I always like to try our different places – there’s a never-ending choice of great restaurants in London. My current favourite is the Hakkasan in Mayfair. The food there is always lovely and it’s

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Best place in London for a first date?

What’s your favourite London night out?

That would have to be Ronnie Scott’s in Frith Street, Soho. We’ve been going there for a long time, taking in a different restaurant at some point in the evening. Dishoom and Hawksmoor restaurants in Covent Garden are favourites at the moment.

Favourite London pub?

Gordon’s in Villiers Street, although it’s more of a wine bar than a pub. It’s reputed to be the oldest wine bar in London, and it’s like walking into a Dickensian cave. It’s quaint and lovely, and there’s an excellent selection of wine and ports to choose from! They also do a wonderful cheese board.

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What’s your favourite shop?

Selfridges and Harvey Nicks – mostly for the clothes and shoes!

If you could buy one building in London, which would it be?

Tricky one! If I had to choose one, it would be the Supreme Court Building in Parliament Square. It’s an iconic, ornate building – the stonework is just beautiful. I could see myself living there!

If you wanted to show someone the essence of London, where would you take them?

The Shard for a view of London from up in the clouds, Waterloo Bridge for a stunning view on the ground. However St Paul’s would be essential, it’s just such an iconic building. During the bombing of London in World War 2, Winston Churchill ordered that St Paul’s must not be lost, because it would effect the morale of the British people and would be disastrous. I have just completed a history tour exam – St Paul’s had its own army of volunteers called ‘St Paul’s watch’. Every night they guarded St Paul’s Cathedral. They stayed on the roof and perimeter, and when incendiary bombs fell they threw them off the roof and they were then extinguished. l

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SUMMER TIME

SUMMER IN THE CITY! Get the sun cream at the ready, because summer in London is a real scorcher


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n a warm summer’s day, London is perhaps the greatest place on Earth; its luscious green parks and open spaces are buzzing with people relaxing and enjoying the sunshine, as are its beer gardens and riverside walkways. Whether you want to catch an open-air film or a show at an outdoor theatre, dive into one of the city’s lidos or just relax with a pint on a roof top bar or on the banks of the Thames, there’s plenty to do during the summer in the capital. Believe it or not, almost 50% of London is green space – that’s more than any other major city in the world – so wherever you are in the capital, you’re never far from an open park to escape and enjoy the summer sunshine. What’s more, spending the day exploring London’s many parks is absolutely free. London has eight royal parks, which include Bushy Park, Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park and St James’s Park. At 1.5 miles long and about a mile wide, Hyde Park is one of the largest of the royal parks and is home to London’s oldest boating lake, the Serpentine, which you can explore from a rented rowing boat or pedalo, should you wish, while Green Park is famous for its alluring stripy

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deckchairs which dot areas of the triangle-shaped park. St James’s Park was originally founded as a deer park for the royal occupants of St James’s Palace. Its central lake is home to numerous species of wildfowl including pelicans, which are fed daily between 2.30pm and 3pm, and from the bridge over the lake you can get great snaps of Buckingham Palace. Regent’s Park, in north west London, is one of the city’s most popular thanks to its variety of attractions making it a great day out in the summer months. You’ll often find food or music festivals on but, if not, the bandstands, beautiful rose gardens, tennis courts, ice-cream stands and eateries are more than enough to keep young and old entertained for hours. London is also famous for its garden squares but not all are open to the public. For one weekend each June, however, more than 200 private gardens, spread across 27 of London’s boroughs unlock their gates – from traditional squares to roof terraces and allotments, as well as gardens belonging to historic buildings, such as All Saints Vicarage Garden, which was part of Fulham Palace until 1935. When the sun gets a little too hot to handle, there’s nothing like an open-air dip to cool off. Many of the city’s parks have p153

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pools, ponds and lakes where you can go for a swim or paddle, such as the aforementioned Serpentine at Hyde Park, Pools on the Park at Richmond and the three swimming ponds on Hampstead Heath, two of which are open all year round. Then, of course, there’s an abundance of lidos. At a generous 60 metres by 28 metres, the Grade II-listed Parliament Hill Lido, at Dartmouth Park, is probably the biggest and is the only outdoor pool in the UK to have a stainless steel pool liner, giving the water a metallic shimmer. London’s newest outdoor public swimming pool is technically an art installation in the middle of a development site and is the UK’s first ever manmade fresh water public bathing pond. King’s Cross Pond Club was designed by artist Marjetica Potr to give visitors a fresh perspective on the urban area in its vicinity. The 40-metre, naturally oval-shaped pool is surrounded by hard and soft landscaping and planting that will evolve with age. Taking a dip isn’t the only way to cool off in summer; there’s nothing better than taking the edge off a sticky afternoon by quenching one’s thirst with a pint or two. There are literally hundreds of pubs with beer gardens dotted across central London – the most pleasant are perhaps those which line the River Thames, such as Anchor Bankside, situated next to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and Gordon Ramsay’s The Narrow at Limehouse. However, look up and you’ll find an altogether different way to make the most of the sunshine. Rooftop bars are in abundance here from Kensington Roof Gardens, famed for the flamingoes which happily wander among the gardens, to Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden on the South Bank, which was designed by Eden Project and features a wildflower meadow, mini allotments and a woodland garden. In the north of the city, you’ll find a fantastic early evening suntrap (albeit small) at the Faltering Fullback, just down the road from Finsbury Park station. The owners of this ivy-clad pub didn’t let a small yard get the better of them and built upwards, creating lots of decked levels with plenty of seating. Down the road in Islington, the Canonbury used to be a regular haunt of local resident George Orwell while he lived at 27b Canonbury Square in the 1940s and is one of three pubs that provided him with inspiration for Moon Under Water, an essay on the criteria for the perfect London watering hole. Despite its history, however, it’s far from a period pub and its enormous walled garden has an outdoor bar and plenty of modern rattan sofas to lounge on. Head south and Grand Union, on the border between Clapham and Brixton, has one of London’s biggest beer gardens, seating 300 people, and is renowned for its good value Sunday barbecues in summer.

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It wouldn’t be summer in London without a festival and the good thing about festivals in the city is that you don’t have to worry about camping if you don’t want to, as all are easily accessible by public transport. Finsbury Park plays host to a number of festivals over the summer months, but only Wireless, which takes place every July, promises the biggest international chart-smashing acts. In recent years it’s ramped up its roster of rap, hip hop, and R&B acts, and upgraded the atmosphere with fairground rides and street food. It might not be Glastonbury but it’s as close as you’ll get within Zone 2 of the Underground network. Meanwhile, those who are into the dance scene should head to Lovebox at Victoria Park in South Hackney, which caters for the party monsters. London’s most famous festival – and Europe’s biggest street festival – is the Notting Hill Carnival, which takes place each year over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Ever since 1964 the capital’s Caribbean communities have celebrated their culture and traditions during this two-day event, which comprises live music including reggae, dub, salsa and steel bands, a colourful parade to rival that of Rio’s Mardi Gras and a whole lot of jerk chicken and fried plantain. So, whether you like to party until dawn or just want to chill in the sunshine, summer in the city is awesome! l

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“IT WOULDN’T BE SUMMER IN LONDON WITHOUT A FESTIVAL AND THE GOOD THING ABOUT FESTIVALS IN THE CITY IS THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT CAMPING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO”

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CYCLING CAPITAL

ON YOUR BIKE! Jump on two wheels and explore the city at a pace to suit you

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ver since the former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, launched the London cycle hire scheme – affectionately known as ‘Boris bikes’ – in 2010, the humble bicycle has become an increasingly popular way to get about in the city. Boris himself even suggested the bike had become a “fifth limb for everyone under 30” in certain parts of the city when he unveiled plans for a proper network of cycle routes as the main cross-London physical legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games. It makes sense in some respects, seeing as the first ever bicycle (in something like its modern form, with a curved metal frame and metal spokes for the wheels), was created at Denis Johnson’s Covent Garden coachworks in 1818. The Boris bikes initiative means it’s even easier to explore the city overground, without having to worry about getting caught in a jam, and get some exercise at the same time! Available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, there are now more than 10,000 bikes at over 700 docking stations across London, with docking stations every 300 to 500 metres from Canary Wharf to Camden Town and from Wandsworth to the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush. Prices start from £2 for 24-hour bike access, which includes all journeys under 30 minutes; there’s no limit to how many trips you can take in a day and you only have to wait five minutes between docking a bike and taking out another one. However, if you keep a bike for 30 minutes or longer, extra ride charges apply and if you damage or fail to return a bike, you could face a fine of up to £300. If you want to use the scheme, you don’t have to be a member either – you can just hire a bike with your credit or debit card and there is even an app you can download to make renting the bikes and finding available docking stations easier, as well as to look up routes. The only downside is that you do need to be over the age of 14 to ride the bikes. Sports fans can enjoy a tour of some of London’s most famous sporting sights with a cycle route, which sets off from Bridge Avenue in Kings Street and passes by Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham FC, and Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea FC. Running adjacent to the River Thames, the ride also follows part of one of the oldest and most famous boat races in the world and it takes cyclists along a section of the 2012 Olympic Road Race before finishing at one of London’s famous cricket grounds, The Oval. Spending a day exploring London’s gardens is a great way to unwind and while the Royal Parks are the city’s most famous, there are dozens of secret gardens – both private and public – tucked away that are well worth a peak as you cycle through the capital. If you hire a bike from the Ladbroke Grove central

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docking station you can immediately cycle to Rosmead Gardens, the famous London Square garden which Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant sneak into in the film Notting Hill. From here, pedal across to Holland Park, where, in the centre, you will find Kyoto Garden which was created as part of the 1991 London Festival of Japan. A tiny oasis of Asian charm within an English setting, the park is carefully designed to reflect key traits of Japanese gardens, including stone lanterns, tiered waterfalls and plenty of fish. Afterwards, pedal through Hyde Park and towards Chelsea Physic Gardens – the oldest botanical gardens in the UK. You’ll need to dock your bike on the King’s Road in front of the Royal Avenue House and take a short walk down to the gardens, which features 5,000 different edible, medicinal and historical plants. The Royal Hospital Grounds and the National Army Museum are also nearby and worth a visit if you have time to spare. Cycling along London’s canal and river towpaths is also a sure fire way to see London’s many sites. Several sections of the Thames Path are open to cyclists and follow the National Cycle Network, making for a lovely and safe waterside ride. One of the nicest is the 14-mile route from Putney to Greenwich, which starts on Putney Bridge and heads through Battersea to Westminster – passing the Tate Gallery and the Houses of Parliament on the way – before continuing along to Bermondsey and Rotherhithe and finishing at the iconic Cutty Sark. Those who would rather step away from the

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“THE INITIATIVE MEANS IT’S EVEN EASIER TO EXPLORE THE CITY OVERGROUND, WITHOUT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT GETTING CAUGHT IN A TRAFFIC JAM, AND GET SOME EXERCISE AT THE SAME TIME!”

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tourist clichés and discover another side to the city should cycle the ‘Quirky London’ bike route, which takes in the city’s ancient burial grounds and brightly-coloured squares. Start the ride by hiring a bike from Hop Exchange docking station, near London Bridge, and travel the short distance down Southwark Street, taking a left at Redcross Way. Here you’ll find the Cross Bones Graveyard for prostitutes and paupers who were refused burial in church grounds on account of being judged as sinners. The otherwise unnoticeable graveyard is today marked by ribbons and other notes of sympathy that have been placed by locals and is said to contain the bodies of over 15,000 people. Cycle across the river and you will come across the church of St Bartholomew the Great, which was founded in 1123 and is London’s oldest church. Near here you will also find the statue of the Golden Boy, which marks the spot where the Great Fire of London ended back in 1666. It was long believed that the fire was God’s way of punishing the citizens of London for their gluttony and the golden statue of a fat boy is a reminder not to commit this sin again. The tour ends at Neal’s Yard (the nearest docking station is on Drury Lane), a colourful little square in the heart of London, which is home to a number of quirky shops. With cycle routes all over the city, there are literally hundreds of bike rides to choose from. Ask at your hotel reception or visit the Transport for London website for more information. l

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THE THAMES

TAKE ME TO THE RIVER! To experience London’s heart, head down to the river

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sneak a peek at Traitor’s Gate – the infamous water-gate entrance to the Tower of London. Although originally designed for King Edward I in the 1270s to provide a way in which he could arrive at the tower by river, it acquired its nickname because of the prisoners accused of treason, who were also bought to the Tower by river, to be executed. Another of the capital’s most famous attractions, the London Eye, is one of the most obvious landmarks to visit but no less worthy of your time as the 443ft wheel offers perfect picture opportunities of London’s breathtaking skyline so you can catch even more of London’s famous landmarks from one spot on the Thames. For something even more spectacular, ride the wheel at night and see the city illuminated. Across the river, directly opposite the Eye, are three of the most famous buildings in the UK; Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. While you can get a fantastic view of this iconic cluster of buildings from the wheel, it’s well worth wandering across Westminster Bridge to see their stunning architecture close up. It’s also worthwhile making the investment of a guided tour of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, where you can explore their interiors and learn more about their history – you’ll get to see King Edward I’s Coronation Chair and the seats where the UK’s leading politicians argue over how the country should be run. There’s no shortage of attractions for art enthusiasts p158

or those who live here, the river that runs right through the heart of London is often taken for granted, while many who visit the capital only see the Thames from the South Bank, while crossing one of its many bridges or on a boat tour. However, that is just a mere glimpse – and a bit of a clichéd one at that – of what this mighty waterway has to offer. Running 215 miles – it’s the longest river in England – the River Thames boasts hundreds of attractions on its banks, from the historical to the brand new and everything in-between. Each September there is even a festival, Totally Thames, which celebrates everything it has to offer. However, if you’re only in the city for a short time, there are a few points of interest and experiences along the river that just shouldn’t be missed. There are over 100 bridges which cross the Thames, from its source in the Cotswold Hills to the open sea near Southend in Essex, but Tower Bridge has become one of London’s most iconic landmark since it was built 130 years ago. You can just walk along the bridge itself or go inside and experience one of the exhibitions that take you through the high-level walkways 42 metres above the Thames and down to the Victorian engine rooms. The bridge still opens almost every day to allow ships to pass through, so check the times online before you head there to make sure you catch the famous suspension bridge in action. While you’re in that neck of the woods, you can also

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THE THAMES

“YOU CAN CAPTURE AN ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT VIEW OF LONDON’S LANDMARKS FROM THE RIVER AND THERE ARE A VARIETY OF TOURS AND VESSELS AVAILABLE”

YOU’RE IN LONDON

along the river, either. Formerly Bankside Power Station and the newest of the famous Tate art galleries, Tate Modern is dedicated to showcasing modern and contemporary art within its walls and is one of the UK’s top three attractions. It also has a restaurant on the sixth-floor, with some mighty fine views of the city, in particular St Paul’s famous dome. The museum, which is free to enter, is now even bigger and better thanks to a new Tate Modern building just behind the Giles Gilbert Scott-designed ‘power station’, providing 60 per cent more space for visitors to explore. Europe’s largest arts centre, The Southbank Centre, is famous across the globe for its celebrations of music, art, dancing and theatre and spans an impressive 21 acres across three main buildings; the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Hayward Gallery. There’s also outdoor venues,

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restaurants, bars, shops, cafés and other facilities, all making the most of their riverside location. But it is at Skylon, on the third floor of Festival Hall, that you will find some of – if not the best views – of this section of the Thames, thanks to its impressive double-height windows offering panoramic vistas as you dine. On the stretch of the river between Tate Modern and The Southbank Centre is where you’ll find the Oxo Tower, which also commands spectacular views across to the north bank, as well as a delicious Mediterranean cuisine and a range of over 800 wines from across the globe. If you don’t fancy a refreshment but want to sample the views, head to the free viewing gallery on the eighth floor. Back on ground level and continuing east along the river, past Tate Modern and near the elegant steel Millennium Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe provides a captivating insight into the life and works of William Shakespeare and London during the early 1600s and is a must see for any thespian. Based around the original Globe Theatre that first opened in 1599 and showed many of ‘The Bard’s’ productions, this year-round exhibition enables you to take a tour around the Globe’s grounds and watch a Shakespearean theatre performance. If you’re feeling a little peckish before or after your visit then Anchor Bankside, a 17th century watering hole, where Samuel Pepys is rumoured to have watched the Great Fire of London from, provides the perfect place for a pit stop but the waterside terrace is popular so if it’s a warm day, make sure you arrive early if you want to bag a prime position! Of course you cannot say you’ve truly experienced the River Thames without actually travelling on it. You can capture an altogether different view of London’s landmarks from the river and there are a variety of tours and vessels available from sightseeing trips with commentaries to themed cruises and dining experiences. The part of the River Thames where the Cutty Sark, which was recently refurbished after a devastating fire and now sits on land illuminated from beneath by glass walkways, is particularly thrilling to approach by boat so if you plan on visiting this magnificent ship then make sure you travel there by catching the clipper service to Greenwich Pier. If you’re looking for something a bit more exhilarating, then try out a Thames RIB Voyage, which depart hourly from outside the London Eye and speed you down the river – just beware, you’re likely to get a little wet! Not a boat person? Then there are a number of moored vessels along the banks, which are open to the public for refreshments, so you can still get that boating experience without actually having to set sail! l

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You're in London – Capital of the World!  

Unique, beautifully designed, high-quality visitor guide, which is available in leading hotel bedrooms. For those enjoying a break, or stayi...

You're in London – Capital of the World!  

Unique, beautifully designed, high-quality visitor guide, which is available in leading hotel bedrooms. For those enjoying a break, or stayi...