Slice Of The City_Issue 11

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Spring has sprung and dull days of winter are giving way to higher skies, light breezes, and green shoots of optimism. Best of all, it’s a time when everybody’s thoughts turn alfresco. So, in this issue we’re mainly rediscovering the wonders of the great outdoors. With an introduction to London’s royal parks, spectacular sights of Ireland from the air and the origin story of Washington DC’s spectacular cherry blossom festival, we’re celebrating nature and sharing places for you to discover and feel the wind in your hair. We’ve also taken a good look at drinks trends for the season and enjoyed a sneak peek at the creative life of Beatrix Potter, who herself said “I cannot rest, I must draw”. THE CROKE PARK

Explore our Irish familyowned luxury hotels located in the centre of London, Cork, Dublin, Bristol and Washington DC

GET IN TOUCH Website Instagram @thedoylecollection Celebrate Irish Heritage month with a real Irish coffee at The Bloomsbury

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GREEN FOREVER With a population of just over six million people, culturally Ireland has always punched well above its weight. With so many native artists, writers, musicians and performers, Ireland’s place on the world stage isn’t just down to the likes of Joyce, Wilde, Yeats, Bono, McGowan, Brosnan, Dornan, O’Dowd, O’Hanlon, O’Riordan, Bea, Coughlan and Ronan – though that really is quite a list. For reasons most commonly of conflict and want, in the last two hundred years 10 million-plus people have left the island of Ireland, emigrating in search of a new life and often leaving with little but their identity. 2

Which is why that identity is so strong around the world – with the diaspora of those who made that (often perilous) journey and their descendants numbering 70 million people. Once a year, on the 17th of March, we all come together to celebrate the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick. Along with parties, parades and festivities all around the world, we are also celebrating our proud Irish heritage all through March with a speciality menu of food and drink. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit (Happy St Patrick’s Day) to you all. Find out more at

ON THE COVER A map of London parks by Katherine Baxter for

Slice of the City is published on behalf of The Doyle Collection by Rivington Bye Ltd. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Details correct at the time of publication.


THE TOP 5....

For all the sober curious,


alcohol avoiders and people

We polled our Concierges to

who want the taste of a

find out which were the weirdest

grown-up cocktail without that

or hardest-to-find items a guest

softening around the edges of

had requested of them. With

their evening, help is at hand.

barely an eyebrow raised - in

And it’s a garden in a glass.

true Doyle Concierge style -

Delicious herbal distillations

these topped the list.

have been gathered and spun

1. A football shirt signed by

into a Seedlip (the finest of

Cristiano Ronaldo

2. Afternoon Tea with

the faux gins) collection of botanical mocktails. Served at

the Queen

3. An elephant ride in London 4. To take to the stage and sing

The Coral Room, 108 Brasserie and Town House Kensington, Little Garden is the name and choosing your own garnish is the game.

News & Views

at the Royal Opera House

5. A tank to be chauffeured around in

IRISH HERITAGE MONTH In In 2022 we’re launching an annual celebration of The Doyle Collection’s proud Irish Heritage. Founded by hotelier PV Doyle in 1959, and today led by his daughter Bernie Gallagher, we’re very proud of our Irish roots and the warmth of our welcome to every guest. For the month of March, The Doyle Collection will launch an inaugural month-long celebration highlighting all things Irish. Revolving around our culinary customs, including our famous hospitality, creativity, storytelling and, of course, our provender. We’ll be hosting Irish whiskey tastings, serving wines of the ‘Irish Wine Geese’ (‘Wine Geese’ is the term given to those that left Ireland to produce wine in Europe), Guinness (of course), and the coastline’s legendary oysters, heavenly Irish cheeses, soda breads, short breads, an Irish poem on turn down, and more. CHAMPAGNE CHARLIE When The Doyle Collection Group Sommelier, Philip Dunne organises a pairing and tasting evening we form a (relatively) orderly queue for any last-minute returns (yes, they’re always fully booked). For April 6th excitement is especially high as this is a feast of culinary delights and incomparable champagne. An ‘exclusive Champagne dinner’ to be precise - hosted by Chef de Caves of Charles Heidsieck Cyril Brun, with commentary on every course and champagne pairings selected by Cyril and Philip. It promises to be a real treat for the mind and the senses. Book now at

DO THE DALLOWAY Our inside outside space, the eponymous Dalloway Terrace, was


Woolf’s name

novel (well,

for of






who’s titular character Clarissa spends and



story a




takes her on an inner journey. While we can’t guarantee quite such levels of introspection, we can promise a very pleasant brunch, lunch, tea, or evening out. We’ve dressed the terrace for the season, with cascades of spring blooms, new cocktails, foraged spring ingredients and fabulous afternoon tea. Sign up and be the first to hear more


CHERRY ON TOP An unlikely location for one of the biggest Cherry Blossom Festivals outside Japan, Washington DC is a city in bloom for two delightful weeks of every year


et’s get hypothetical. You wake up on the first day of your trip to the capital – surprisingly peckish considering that delicious dinner (including dessert) of the night before. A big bubbly dip in your marble bath followed by a chill burst in the shower, a short, strong macchiato and some sparkling water has only sharpened your appetite. The sun soars high in the sky, clouds are few and far between - it’s a perfect spring day in Washington DC and your idea of doing a museum or two doesn’t feel quite so fabulous as it did when you were loosely planning over an Irish Sazerac last night. No, today is a day when indoors simply will not do. So, after a hearty breakfast (Crab Chesapeake Benedict, since you ask), the outdoors awaits. Should this scenario be your reality, let’s just hope it’s sometime between mid-March and mid-April, because that’s when Washington DC comes alive in gorgeous candy cane pink clouds of cherry blossom with an actual festival to celebrate. After all that indulgence you’ll probably be well up for the walk to the Tidal Basin and Potomac River (40-45 minutes should do it), especially as it takes you directly down Connecticut Avenue, right past the White House, between the Washington and World War II memorials and across the National Mall. (If you prefer, just take the metro – or cycle, cycling’s good and there are city bikes for hire, of course.)



From late March, the sky is filled with celebratory kite-flying and fireworks as Washington DC’s 3,770 cherry trees burst into bloom Head for the Tidal Basin, on the banks of the Potomac, Ohio Drive, West Basin Drive and under the 14th Street Bridge – they are the places to go - but you’ll find pockets of cherry blossom all over the city. For the uninitiated, the question ‘why’ may well hang in the air. So, here’s a potted history of our favourite DC spring draw… While our good friend google gives the origin story of DC’s Cherry Blossom commencing with a gift to the city on March 27, 1912, of cherry trees by Mayor of Tokyo Yukio Ozaki, unsurprisingly, there was much more to it than that. And even more unsurprisingly, the real story is of one woman and her tenacity. Washington native, author, geographer, photographer and, later, first woman to sit on the board of trustees of the National Geographic Society, Eliza Scidmore first travelled to Japan in 1895. She fell in love with the cherry blossom and became convinced that it should be introduced to line the banks and the basin of the River Potomac. Upon her return to Washington DC Eliza shared her proposal with the (snappily titled) US Army Superintendent of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds, but 6

it fell on rather un-receptive ears. Undeterred, she re-submitted a Cherry tree proposal every year for the next 24-years. But Eliza’s persistence began to pay off when she focused her energies on other, more social channels. A few individuals began to order Cherry blossom trees to plant on their own land – and Eliza hosted a tea party in one such garden for the great and the good of the natural world. Botanist, David Fairchild was sufficiently impressed to order 1000 of his own, including trees he donated to every DC school. Though interest grew with these little pockets of blossom, Eliza felt further action was needed and wrote to the First Lady, Helen Herron Taft, to announce that she would be fundraising to buy enough trees to donate to the city. To Eliza’s surprise, the First Lady loved the idea, advocated to her husband, President William Howard Taft, while by chance two eminent men from Japan, renowned chemist Jõkichi Takamine (he discovered adrenaline, you know), and Japanese Consul to New York City Mr Midzuno, met with the First Lady, heard

the story, and offered the trees as a gift from capital to capital – ostensibly from the Mayor of Tokyo to the city of Washington DC. There were a few teething troubles (unwanted tree critters had to be navigated), but the rest is history and in 1912, planting commenced in earnest and the festival was inaugurated in 1934. Today, the festival marks the season, a fortnight of 3,770 trees bursting with blossom, celebrated with symbolic planting, parades, kite flying, cultural exchanges and the most spectacular fireworks. There’s a pleasing naturalness to the blossom – they appear between 20th March and 17th April – usually peaking on the 4th – however, unseasonably warm weather can see them unfurl sooner, and a chill in the air may keep them unopened for longer. You will need to check dates and festival plans before you make your own – go to


Overleaf Japanese women photographed by

After a long day of gazing upwards at blossoms and kites, smashing all your steps targets, savouring some delicious street food (there are usually fine edibles at the festival and, if that won’t suffice, the food trucks clustering L’Enfant Plaza are great for groups), and drinking in all sights and sounds, a break is in order.

Eliza Scidmore c. 1900; the Capitol Building. Above left General Rawlins presides over Rawlins park in the Foggy Bottom area of DC. Above (from top) Cocktails created by the Dupont Circle team to celebrate cherry blossom season: ‘Between two Nations’ with

This year, we’re celebrating with new cocktails made to mark the festival season – so come on home to the Dupont Circle, and enjoy a ‘Yuki’s Gibson’ or ‘Cherry Blossom Whiskey Flight’. Ohanami!!

Green tea and Seedlip (alcohol-free), ‘Yuki’s Gibson’ with plum sake and pink peppercorns and ‘The ‘Sakura’ with Japanese whiskey.


RAISE YOUR GLASS As we all take a collective deep breath at worldwide easing of restrictions and start to really spend quality time with our nearest and dearest, what’s new in the world of drinking?


fter a year or two of drinking alfresco (often kerbside), in groups of six, and mixing our own drinks at home (who hasn’t mastered a pretty good Negroni?), we can’t be the only ones re-evaluating the pleasure of an expertly shaken (or stirred) cocktail, a well-chosen glass of fine wine or a foaming microbrewed beer in heavenly surroundings. Pre-pandemic, the bar and drinking trends of the 2010s (the tenties?) were beginning to feel borderline ludicrous. For bars, it had become all about the OTT experience; from the established underwater, icewhittled and skyscraper destinations, to ball pit, speakeasy (press the fourth book from the left, and the door will open) and retro arcade bars. Cocktails, too, were under a great deal of pressure to perform, with molecular mixologists, dry ice, liquid nitrogen, aroma-filled domes and mouthpopping alco spheres upping the theatrical ante for the ‘been there, seen it all before’ customer and, of course, for the ‘gram. We’re certainly not here to judge (who doesn’t love a bit of preposterousness on an evening out?) but the simple fact that the cocktail bar in one of London’s most historic, established hotels has just been named #1 in the annual The World’s Top 50 Bars list says it all. It’s a sign of these times that a bar renowned for its perfectly


executed classics in surroundings that whisper traditional luxury wins the 2021 best bar equivalent of an Oscar. And it’s absolutely no surprise to Sidecar bar manager at The Westbury, Oisin Kelly.

TREND #1 WHISKEY GALORE While for many years whisky hasn’t just been a classic bourbon – or hied from the highlands – in the last decade we’ve seen evolutions in Japanese whisky, as well

“People were getting a little bit jaded, I think, with the quest for the really crazy experience. Every night out had to be bigger, with more drama, more theatrical. Here at the Sidecar, we’re all about the experience – but it’s more to do with glamour, absolute luxury and the certainty that every guest (whether they’re staying at The Westbury or not, they’re always guests) is delighted in an effortless way.”

as additional offerings from Germany, Sweden, India, England - and even Australia. In fact, at least 25 countries now commercially produce whisky. 2020 saw a rise in the popularity of grain whisky (the industry name for whisky made with grains other than malted barley – used in Scottish malt whiskies) over malt. American and Canadian whiskies are usually classified as grain whiskies and are

From our guests Oisin is clearly hearing a desire for a guaranteed good evening, a hum of conversation, drinks beautifully made and some elegant theatre, that is absolutely in keeping with one of the most evident trends for 2022 in action, a yearning for sophistication. As any armchair psychologist worth their salt would suggest, after two years of hit and miss, ups and downs and making our own fun, the desire is less for having our minds blown and more for opulence, extravagance, and the simpler things in life, all executed extraordinarily well. We digress! Here is our pick of 2022’s key bar and drinking trends and how they chime across The Doyle Collection…

classically distilled from corn (Bourbon always features corn), maize, barley, or rye. Irish whiskey, which uses the American spelling, the British is without an ‘e’, virtually disappeared by the 1980s, but is today the fastest growing producer in the world and source of some very fine drams.

This page - Right Cocktails at The Dupont Circle; Guinness - the brand that shaped Dublin. Overleaf - Right Oisin Kelly mixes The Sidecar’s eponymous gin at The Westbury; Classic cocktails given a theatrical twist at The Bloomsbury Club. Far right The extravagantly styled English Garden cocktail at The Kensington.



In the UK alcohol consumption has

What with taproom closures and aluminium

decreased by 16%, with 20% of the adult

shortages, 2020/21 were challenging years

population saying they don’t drink at all.

for the Craft beer sector, but it’s so

Add to that the sober curious earmarking

established that it has sub-trends of its

regular days or even months to go alcohol

own. IPA remains King of the Craft beer,

free, the social landscape really is in flux.

with customers likely to be mulling over the

No wonder we’ve seen a rise in delicious

choice between hazy and imperial styles.

alternatives to the real thing, low- and no-

Sour beer, especially fruited sours, are

alcohol drinking has evolved over a number

typically lower in calories than IPAs and

of years, becoming such an established

are busy carving a niche for themselves

aspect of bar life that it’s a surprise if you

globally. Lagers will always feature and

don’t have some really decent choices.

while they’re not grabbing any headlines, micro breweries are always developing new

58% of global customers are frequently drinking no- and low-alcohol. From the fabulous faux gins, distilled from botanicals but minus the booze, to delicious alternatives that make no attempt to imitate the real thing

According to 2021’s Bacardi Cocktail

lagers to keep drinkers happy. No and low

Trends/Futurelab Report 58% of global

alcohol ales continue to grow in popularity,

customers are frequently drinking no- and

in keeping with global drinks trends, and

low-alcohol, from all the fabulous faux

building unique brands is crucial to a

gins, distilled from botanicals but minus

brewery’s success.

the booze with perfectly balanced craft

Stout may not be a huge talking point at

tonics, to dark spirits, wines, beers and

present, but Guinness is one of the planet’s

delicious alternatives that make no attempt

most established beer brands. First brewed

to imitate the real thing.

in Dublin in 1759, the Guinness industry (you’ve no idea how hard it was not to call

While we await the invention of an

that ‘the Guindustry’) has helped shape

authentic, full-bodied Bordeaux you can

the Dublin of today and, with just shy of

drink freely while on driving duty, or a faux

two million, the brewery still attracts more

whisky that you’d genuinely confuse with a

visitors per year than any other attraction

smoky single malt, the alternatives are very

in the island of Ireland.

good. And you’ll see no alcohol wine (ask our sommeliers for help with food pairings) and beer, faux spirits, beautiful tonics, and sparkling teas across The Doyle Collection.




Sustainability runs right through the

Favourite spirits continue to be gins,

drinks sector. When it comes to wine

whiskies and tequilas – but as far as

consumers want to see biodynamic and

cocktails go, people all over the world

sustainable growing practices in action,

are re-embracing classics, ideally with a

making a positive impact on local societies

modern twist. While so many of us learned

and ecologies. Wine drinkers are open to

to make cocktails ourselves – some simple,

new flavours and processes – rather than

some more complex, all with varying levels

always coming back to the same regions

of success – the mixologist’s magic has

and styles, they’re keen to try wines

been much missed and guests everywhere

from boutique producers with a strong

have been delighted to put themselves

sustainability angle, interesting story and

once again into the hands of an expert.

unique flavour profile.

Oisin Kelly and his team have created a list of impeccable reinterpretations of

Consumers want to see biodynamic and sustainable growing practices in action, making a positive impact on local societies and ecologies 10

“You see sustainability coming through in

classic cocktails for The Sidecar Bar at

wines, but it goes deeper than that”, said

The Westbury. In The Coral Room at The

Oisin Kelly. “Guests love our Sidecar Gin –

Bloomsbury a Diviner helps guests choose

made for us by Stillgarden Distillery

cocktails to suit their mood - in perfectly

in Dublin” (a garden distillery that grows

elegant surroundings. Mixologists in the

their own botanicals). “Our guests like to

club-like comfort of The K Bar at The

see that we’ve sourced drinks thoughtfully

Kensington and The Cocktail Bar at

and they love a story. But what they don’t

The Marylebone have devised impeccably

see is how carefully we put together our

curated lists, while the Old Fashioned with

menu. We always try to choose indigenous

Guinness reduction is a star at The River

fruits and herbs – local whiskey, honey,

Lee. Across the pond at The Dupont Circle,

beeswax and fruits which we source

a spirits menu of wine-list-like proportions

regionally and juice or use to make nectar.

(featuring bourbons, gins, Scotch, tequilas,

If we offer a drink featuring lemon or lime,

rums, cognacs and more) signals serious

we add another to the list that uses zest

intent, while the cocktail list simply begs to

or oils from the peel. Then we use the pith

be sampled.

to make our own bitters – so we try not to waste anything.”



With 5,000 acres of open green space, London native and man of many the well-chosen word, Charles Dickens declared “The parks be the lungs of London”



hotosynthesis might have been discovered way back in 1772 but it’s unlikely that mid-19th century city dwellers knew much about a tree’s ability to draw carbon dioxide clean out of the air. However, what Dickens and his contemporaries would certainly have appreciated in a London prone to smog and cloaked in fumes from the capital’s booming industries was green open space and access to the clearer skies above it. The industrial revolution gave rise to intense growth in the city - the 1800s saw London’s population grow from one to 6.5 million people. Flocking from the countryside in search of work, conditions for most were unsanitary and life expectancy shockingly low at just 37 years. Nineteenth century civic philanthropists oversaw multiple improvements in housing and sanitation and the creation of many municipal parks (such as Hackney’s fine Victoria Park). Yet, prior to the industrial age, London was already well served by 5000 acres of historic royal parks.

GREEN PARK George Frideric Handel’s Fireworks Suite was commissioned for a Royal firework display in Green Park in 1749 to celebrate the end of the war of Austrian Succession. Beside the lake, Duck Island


Cottage was built by William III as a

Land for the royal parks belonged to the Crown (though today they’re owned and managed separately as a charity, The Royal Parks) and mostly evolved from hunting grounds used by the royals and their titled chums. The royal parks evolved into being in the same way as most of the glorious hotch potch that surrounds them – and today a city planner would struggle to get them into a contemporary scheme. As with Central Park in New York, it’s hard to imagine the meeting where such acres of the primest of real estate could have been kept grassed, planted, and preserved for public use. Yet without them London would be a very different place.

tea house, but today this chocolate box cottage rather prosaically houses offices of the London Parks and Gardens Trust. But little ones will happily gaze at it for some time hoping to catch a glimpse of a witch within. .

Without 33% of London’s acreage as designated green space, the city that’s home to around 9.3 million people would be markedly less tolerable. To stroll along an urban pavement and witness the buildings that line it give way seamlessly to rolling acres of green, rustling trees, rose gardens, playgrounds and bodies of water is one of London’s greatest pleasures.

GO WEST You will need to take a shortish train ride to visit the largest of the royal parks, Richmond and Bushy. But with Richmond’s famous wild deer, rolling hills, handsome lodges, ancient trees, plantation, and bronze age burial mound – not to mention activities such as cycling, horse riding, golf, and power kiting - on a mild and balmy day it’s a trip well worth taking. Naturally there are cafes and tea rooms in abundance, ducks to feed, trees to climb and ice creams to cool things down if the spring sun is unexpectedly strong. Originally created by Charles I (off with his head) in the 17th century, Richmond Park today is a national nature reserve and absolutely life affirming. Just take a map.

REGENT’S PARK When it comes to the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre the play is not the only thing. While the productions are fabulous and routinely win awards, the open-air setting (but will it rain?) with optional blankets and occasional hot toddies, seats over 1200, so the

Bushy Park has been a thing (or at least un-mucked about with, settled farmland) for over 4,000 years. Set just north of Hampton Court Palace, it was first taken possession of and named by Henry VIII. But it was Charles I who introduced the Longford River (actually a canal, built from scratch), fountains and water gardens, and its Chestnut Avenue was designed by Sir Christopher Wren (who grew up in the borough). While Richmond feels wild and ‘heath-y’, Bushy is very much a park, designed specifically to please the eye, nature nicely tamed and manicured.

atmosphere is electric. The Cumberland Basin was a working canal which fell into disuse in the 1930s, was shallowed by falling debris during the blitz, and today is home to the floating, two-story Feng Shang Princess Restaurant.


STAND AND DELIVER While an oasis of calm, tranquillity and soft breezes today, few of us would have wanted to stray into Richmond Park after dark in centuries past. Set as it was on the Great West Road (linking London with the bustling port of Bristol) the area was very popular with highwaymen, opportunistically holding up the many carriages and coaches to give those within the pauper’s choice, ‘Your money or your life’.

GREENWICH PARK Under the park snakes a water system, designed in the early 1700s to pipe

While parts of Richmond Park were famously host to all sorts of after-dark shenanigans, there were also few guarantees of safety in central London’s royal parks. Hyde Park (and Kensington Gardens) were no strangers to the terror of the highwayman – said to be the reason Rotten Row became, in 1690, the first artificially lit highway in Britain – depriving robbers of the anonymity granted by a cloak of darkness and the element of surprise.

fresh water from Blackheath to the Royal Hospital for seamen in Greenwich – you can still see brick pump houses in the park. The whole system was replaced in 1845 by a lofty (and kind of creepy) underground reservoir.

Fun fact: Rotten Row is a corruption of the French, Route du Roi (King’s Road) named for the fact that it was established by William III to offer safe passage between Kensington and St James’s Palace. So safe did it become that Rotten Row and South Carriage Drive (for driving in parallel, clue’s in the name) became the place to see and be seen in 18th century London, whether on horseback or fluttering a fan from a carriage window. Largest of central London’s royal parks, the land for Hyde Park was seized by Henry VIII from Westminster Abbey. The church’s loss was the people’s gain as the park has been open to the public since 1637. Hyde Park is like the history of the capital in microcosm. Early parades and perambulations gave way to duels between noblemen and the 19th-century chest-puffing display of Imperialism that was the Great Exhibition, with exhibits from all over the empire housed in the grand majesty of the (temporary) Crystal Palace.

HYDE PARK Following the suggestion of a softhearted park keeper to commemorate his friend’s beloved dog (Cherry) in 1881, the lodge-keeper’s garden became an unofficial pet cemetery,

SPEAK UP! Less inspiring, the north-east corner of the park was home to Tyburn – a site of execution in use since the 12th century. The reality TV of its time, public executions were a global draw and, like the French grand dames apocryphally knitting by the guillotine, sites became a magnet for social gathering. In a twist that feels ironic, the very space where for many centuries people had gathered united in schadenfreude became today’s Speakers’ Corner.

today with 300 headstones. It’s closed to the public but can be spied next to Victoria Gate Lodge and is occasionally opened as part of a park tour.

The notion originated in 1855, when masses gathered there, united against the Sunday Trading Bill banning all shopping on the Sabbath when for thousands of working people that was their only day off. In 1866/7 the same corner was appropriated by the Reform League to agitate for suffrage for men (followed some 50 years later by the suffragettes). Many the public grievance has since been amplified in Speakers Corner with freedom of speech (within the law) clearly in action (though at times observed as enthusiastically by hecklers as the speakers themselves). Sunday morning is the best time to go, just bring your own soap box.

THE PALACE ‘GARDENS’ Set between Hyde and St James’ Parks and Buckingham Palace, The Green Park is the only Royal Park without water features and, as its name would suggest, planting is grass underfoot and trees above (plus some native Narcissus).

LANSBURY’S LIDO One of London’s best known outdoor lidos - if being fully submerged in freezing cold water is your thing, the


Overleaf Hyde Park in early autumn. Right The view from the lake in St James’s Park over to Whitehall and The Admiralty. Following page Further east the Thames flows past the Naval College and the entrance to Greenwich Park



Rumour has it that Charles II’s wife, Catherine of Braganza suspected him of picking flowers for his mistress in the park and thereafter insisted on bloom-free planting. While there is no evidence to support this rumour, it’s frankly less likely that the King picked his own flowers than that he might have presented some to a lady friend. His shy Portuguese Queen would have been well aware that his dalliances during their marriage went well into double figures – with 13 illegitimate children to prove it.

Serpentine is generally happy to oblige. Boating is an infinitely preferable option. If you’re taking a Christmas walk, you can watch members of the Serpentine Swimming Club competing for the Peter Pan cup (donated in 1904 by local author, JM Barrie).

Next door St James’s Park, by contrast, includes the flamboyant flower beds set right in front of Buckingham Palace, and its waterways famously alive with pelicans. Named after a leper colony set on the same land, St James’s Park was used by Henry VIII to breed deer for shooting in neighbouring Green Park. James I drained the land and claimed it for a park and a menagerie, complete with camels, crocodiles and elephants, while Birdcage Walk dates from the same era – named for his collections of exotic birds. Today it may seem dull by comparison (no danger of a crocodile bite or an ice cream being snatched by the grey trunk of a dry-mouthed elephant) but it’s a lovely place to stroll or lounge in stripy deck chairs, while sipping coffee from the park café.



It’s no secret but really a trip to Hyde

Originally known as Marylebone Park, this land just north of the Euston Road was also liberated from the church by Henry VIII in the 1500s. Today’s Regent’s Park was named in the early 1800s for the extravagant and rather decadent Prince Regent, later George IV, who commissioned John Nash to design a proper pleasure garden. And he did.

Park cannot be complete without a visit to the Serpentine Gallery – especially during the summer when a temporary pavilion/exhibition space is commissioned annually from one of the world’s top architects.

From the manicured Italian and English Gardens to the boating lake, open parkland to the open-air theatre, Queen Mary’s Garden (with over 12,000 roses and 9,000 begonias), bandstand and, of course, London Zoo, today there is no shortage of things to do and see in Regent’s Park. After a day’s exploring, we love to take a narrow boat from Camden Lock to Little Venice for an evening’s stroll and a pint.

TO THE RIVER Just south of the river, to the west lies Battersea Park, and the East, Greenwich – the first of the Royal Parks to be enclosed (in 1433) and home to the Royal Observatory and the Greenwich Prime Meridian. Greenwich was secured the time-honoured way, from the Church – and was originally rolling heathland. Landscaped in the 1700s, it was opened shortly afterwards, admired by Samuel Beckett in 1763 and extremely popular with the public – with the steep, grassy observatory hill a destination for ‘mass tumbling’. One can only imagine.

KENSINGTON GARDENS Kensington Palace is famously home to young and minor royals (one imagines them living cheek by jowl in a curtain-

Battersea, by contrast, is set on reclaimed marshland and, opened in 1858, is the most recent addition to the Royal Parks. While today we see a lofty, rather grand neighbourhood park, the land was previously known as Battersea Fields, a patchwork of streams and ditches where cash crops of carrots, melons, lavender, and asparagus flourished, and noblemen slummed it whilst duelling (most notably the Duke of Westminster and Earl of Winchelsea who, in deference to their noble lineage, both fired off-target).

twitching, sugar-borrowing sitcom), but the gardens, an extension to Hyde Park, are open to the public. We urge visitors to seek and find The Elfin Oak, a living 900-year-old tree carved by Ivor Innes (spot the little people) in 1928. To find out opening hours, how to get

With a mini zoo, boating lake, sports facilities, nature reserve, bandstand, events space, and peace pagoda (erected in 1985 and tended daily by a Buddhist monk), the plane tree-lined broad walks feel quintessentially London.

there and what’s on, go to


GREEN LONDON Though not to scale, this map shows how, with eight stunning royal parks, over six million trees and around 110 square kilometres of parkland and gardens, London is one of the greenest capital cities in the world

18 A map of London parks’ by Katherine Baxter for


DR AW N TO NATUR E Discover Beatrix Potter’s other life as a scientist and conservationist and the places and animals that inspired her at the V&A



very child that’s ever marvelled at the little mice embroidering The Mayor of Gloucester’s cherry-coloured coat, every child that’s sympathised with Mrs Tittlemouse over Mr Jackson’s dripping coat tails or Jemima Puddleduck and her eggs has the imagination of Beatrix Potter to thank. Growing up in a leafy part of Kensington, Beatrix Potter’s family always encouraged her artistic leanings. Her grandfather, Edmund Potter had co-founded the Manchester school of design, while her maternal grandmother was a fine embroiderer. Beatrix’s father Rupert was a keen sketcher and illustrator, but his lifelong love was photography – a passion passed on to his daughter. Beatrix and her brother Bertram were obsessed with nature and art – and spent their childhoods between their menagerie in Kensington (including frogs, a tortoise, salamanders, bats, mice and rabbits) and running wild in the great outdoors holidaying in Perthshire. Back home, Beatrix was a regular visitor to the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A), busily copying the Constables on display in the library. She also studied at the National Art Training School. Her passion for botany was nurtured in the Natural History Museum where she became fascinated by

funghi, writing essays and papers on the subject. But mycology’s loss was childhood imagination’s gain as commissions for greetings cards illustrations, and the idea to turn her letters – mainly illustrated tales of her animals – into little books got picked up by a publisher. For about a decade, Beatrix completed two tales a year, starting with Peter Rabbit and finishing with Little Pig Robinson. In 1905, Beatrix moved to the Lake District where she began a second career as a sheep farmer and passionate conservationist, leaving over 4,000 acres to the National Trust in her will.

Famous for her enduring animal tales, Beatrix Potter was also an ardent conservationist, scientist and Lake District hill farmer

Throughout her life, Beatrix Potter sketched, painted and photographed animals, her beloved pets and the landscape around her. The V&A holds the largest collection of her work anywhere in the world and this exhibition features her early sketches for characters and stories, some letters and photographs – to tell The Tale of Beatrix Potter and her lifelong love of nature and animals. Stay at The Kensington Hotel and enjoy the Beatrix Potter Experience. Our offer includes: A luxurious bedroom or suite for two; A la carte breakfast; Two tickets to Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature; The exhibition book. For details: the-kensington-hotel/packages/beatrixpotter-experience

Above Beatrix Potter at 15 with ‘Spot’. Left Tailor of Gloucester endpaper, 1903. Right Early watercolours by Beatrix Potter include a ground beetle and bats, both 1887; the precursors to Mrs Tiggywinkle and Peter Rabbit; a Field Mouse Christmas card; waterlilies; and the garden of Gwaynog Hall later home to the Flopsy Bunnies.



EIREBORNE What better way to discover the island of Ireland than from above?


Above Great Blasket Island, Co. Kerry, is the largest of the Blasket Islands, 2kms from the mainland Left Cobh, Co. Cork, a wonderful seaport town set on the south side of Great Island in Cork Harbour, and final port of call for one HMS Titanic

he Irish allegedly have 20 terms for rain - including mizzle, torrent, soft and squib. So it’s unsurprising the country that benefits from all this heavens-opening is known as the Emerald Isle. For us, Ireland isn’t just about the weather. It’s the topography that makes the landscape so epic. The rolling green, the mellow farmland and heathered slopes boundaried with spare grey rock and stormy seas. From peaty bogs to oyster beds, limestone valleys to granite peaks, the sand, the gravel and the clay – every acre has a tale to tell. While in some countries the original lay of the land can only be seen lightly traced beneath the industrial present, Ireland is a paradise largely preserved from paving – beautifully unspoiled. Our first idea was to look at the land from above to give a sense of the place beneath, maybe taking as our inspiration a blog or an essay, (“the view from a hot Eire balloon” perhaps). Instead we soon realised Dennis Horgan had beaten us to it with his wonderful book, Ireland, An Aerial Journey. A Cork-based aerial photographer Dennis Horgan has authored four bestselling books and 23

The Old Head Golf Links of West Kinsale juxtapose manicured greens with dark, craggy rocks Ireland – An Aerial Journey is his love letter to the wonderful Irish landscapes as well as a celebration of the land it is today. In a series of breathtaking images, the book showcases historic structures, modern buildings and its infrastructure, but the stories it tells are of the people. While the English landscape was reshaped by the 19th century, the industrial revolution touched Ireland but lightly. Though this was partly responsible for mass migration, the landscape evolved at a much easier pace. And what Dennis Horgan has captured is the relatively leisurely impact the inhabitants of Ireland have had on the land they call their own. There’s a similarly spartan beauty in the slate grey of Cobh city, as the dramatic granite fringes of Cape Clear Island, plunging jaggedy into the sea like a half-eroded stick of gothic holiday rock. While the Old Head Golf Links of West Kinsale juxtapose manicured greens with their unhurried golfers beside dark, craggy rocks, clearly used to being crashed upon by intemperate seas. Ireland – An Aerial Journey by Dennis Horgan is published by and available from all good bookshops 24

Above Old Head Golf links, West Kinsale, Co. Cork. A spectacular, elevated, 18-hole course on a sweeping headland with astonishing views of the Atlantic Ocean Right Cape Clear Island, West Cork, Ireland’s southernmost inhabited island with about 150 human residents


Events & Happenings Step out of your hotel and into our pick of this month’s most intriguing events

The Bloomsbury FEEL REAL An immersive live music experience is about so much more than sound, as the curators of Re-Textured, London’s multi-sensory festival, well know. Returning for the second time, Re-Textured brings together electronic music with lighting amid the industrial architecture of venues such as Canada Water’s epic Printworks. Re-Textured Printworks Canada Water & other venues 23rd-27th March GAME ON Whether you’re into Fortnite, Fallout or Fruit Ninja, you’ll find something to enjoy at the world’s biggest celebration of video games. Try hundreds of gems from around the world at events across the city, including groundbreaking and experimental new releases curated by

Top The London Games Festival;

the festival’s experts.

the world’s biggest celebration

London Games Festival

of video games is a 13 day event

1st-10th April

at venues around London.

Left Immersive, multi-sensory music at Re-Textured 2022.



Top right The 18th-century

Bach’s majestic St John Passion

portrait of Haitian politician

is often performed on Good

Jean-Baptiste Belley, re-

Friday; this year, the Academy

imagined by photographer

of Ancient Music are doing

Omar Victor Diop. From

things a little differently. In

Fashioning Masculinities: The

Bach’s lesser known 1725

Art of Menswear exhibition at

version, he shifted the focus

the V&A.

from heaven to Earth, from

Right: Returning to its roots

God to man, bringing a

after Covid, The Chelsea Flower

more personal feel to this

Show blooms again in May.

great baroque spectacle.

cherish our mental health, and


passion is alive and well in the

J S Bach’s St John Passion

connect to the world around us.

Few things have captured the

contemporary art of Japan,

Barbican Hall

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

artistic imagination across

China, and Thailand - witness

15th April (Good Friday)

Royal Hospital Chelsea

the centuries, and across

it this spring in Kew Gardens.

24th-28th May

the world, as completely

Elegant and Enchanting:

as the humble flower. This

Botanical Art of Japan,


China, and Thailand

Now in her nineties, avant-

Shirley Sherwood Gallery of

garde multimedia artist Yayoi

Botanical Art, Kew Gardens

Kusama is still producing

Until 24th April

absolutely extraordinary

work. Her infinite mirror rooms must be seen to be


believed - by all accounts the

What a piece of work is a man’s

experience is unforgettable

outfit! With this three-gallery

– just don’t lose yourself.

exhibition, the V&A goes

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity

in-depth on the history and

Mirror Rooms

culture of menswear. Learn how

Tate Modern

masculinity is constructed - and

Until 12th June

deconstructed - in the design of

men’s clothing, from the cape & cravat to the humble y-front.

The Kensington

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear, V&A From 19th March


Whether you’re a die-hard fan of Jackson’s adaptations or think The Lord of the Rings could do with three fewer endings, there’s no denying that Howard Shore’s score to the trilogy is one of the great orchestral works of this century. For two nights only, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra will perform it live during screenings of The Fellowship of the Ring at the Royal Albert Hall. The Fellowship of the Ring in Concert Royal Albert Hall 27th-28th May FLOWER POWER It’s that time of year again - the world’s greatest horticultural event is back. The heavenly displays and designs of 2022’s show feature four special gardens showcasing the power of plants to help us succeed in our social and sartorial lives,


The Marylebone

the individual, tracing its


storm that reawakens past

history from Ford to Amazon.

The lives of a songwriter and

traumas. A series of personal


Art Now: Danielle Dean

a lawyer collide at a cliff-

stories revolve around guinea

You may not think the biggest

Tate Britain

top house in Cornwall. A

pigs. Independent films tell

Irish holiday would be a big

Until 8th May

reporter wakes up alone in

as rich a variety of stories

deal in the English capital,

a jeep, unable to escape a

as you will find anywhere,

but London has always

as the London Independent

embraced St Patrick’s Day.

Film Festival demonstrates.

Grab a Guinness and head to

London Independent Film

the Piccadilly parade, or to

Festival at Genesis Cinema

Trafalgar Square to see the

9th-18th April

stars of the island strut their

stuff on a festival stage. St Patrick’s Day Celebrations On and around 17th March

Bristol event/7609013-st-patricks-day

CAMERA CREATURA Though centuries of


industrialisation have


endangered much of Britain’s

The fabulous Ralph Fiennes

native fauna, there is still

stars in David Hare’s new play

plenty on these islands if

as Robert Moses, the most

you know where to look. The

powerful New Yorker you’ve

wildlife photography exhibition

never heard of. It’s a story of

at Future Leap showcases

determination, of manipulation,

that beauty, emphasising

and of what went wrong for the

the fragility of the UK’s

man who built bridges for his

biodiversity, and the work that

city, but not with its people.

is needed to safeguard it.

Straight Line Crazy

Wildlife Photography

Bridge Theatre

Future Leap

From 16th March

3rd-9th March

ON SELLING AND SOULS Ever dreamed you’re in an ad? Ever spend a day trying to shake that jingle out of your head? Danielle Dean’s new multi-channel video installation explores the complex relationship between the corporate and

Top Ralph Fiennes in David Hare’s new play Straight Line Crazy at the Bridge Theatre. Right Celebrate street art in Bedminster, Bristol. Opposite top Anything Goes at Bristol Hippodrome Opposite bottom Giacometti bronzes arrive in Dublin.



The Westbury

Take a stroll through the

preservation of Ireland’s

these four fascinating talks.

architectural and artistic

Irish Georgian Society Spring

streets of Bedminster in May,


heritage. Learn from experts

2022 Lecture Series

and you might catch some

Founded in 1958 by Desmond

on topics including historic

City Assembly House & online

unexpected splashes of colour

Guinness, the Irish Georgian

paintings of Dublin and the

8th,22nd March, 5th & 19th April

on the buildings you pass.

Society advocates for the

Irish country house garden at

Street artists will be creating murals in the weeks before Upfest, Europe’s largest street art festival - head to Greville Smyth park at the end of the month for live painting, music, and fine festival vibes. Upfest Greville Smyth Park 28th-29th May ARE YOU READY, BOOTS? The Dug Out, birthplace of the Bristol sound; Colston Hall, where The Beatles and The Rolling Stones played; The Western Star Domino club, host to Erasure’s very first gig. See the sites of all these legendary venues and many more, guided by avid rock fan John Hughes and his collection of original tickets, posters and setlists. Bristol Rock & Roll Walking Tour Once a month; private tours are also available



The extraordinary bronzes of Swiss sculptor Alberto


Giacometti, with their warped

If you’re all about the fringe,

proportions are some of the

or you enjoy serious theatre

most recognisable works

from classics to the cutting

in the world. This year, over

edge, Bristol’s vibrant theatre

50 of them are displayed

scene offers something for

at the National Gallery of

everybody. But if you’re a

Ireland for the first time -

showgirl, or boy, at heart,

including paintings, prints and

get straight to the Bristol

plaster sculptures alongside

Hippodrome where a dizzying

the famed bronzes.

programme from Madame

Giacometti: From Life

Butterfly to School of Rock to

National Gallery of Ireland

the West End production of

From 9th April

Anything Goes will make your

visit a night to remember. Bristol Hippodrome Theatre


March, April, May

Few writers can draw you

so completely into a story


of ordinary people as Maeve

Recycle, Re-purpose,


The city has some catching

Binchy. This new production

Re-imagine: Transforming

After a last-minute cancellation

up to do, so come prepared

of her 1990 novel has all the

Objects in Kilmainham Gaol

in 2020 and an online-only

for a party atmosphere -

acclaimed novelist’s warmth,

Kilmainham Gaol Museum

event last year, the St Patrick’s

with live music, plenty of

compassion, and humour. Join

Until 3rd May

Day Festival returns to the

nectar, and of course the

best friends Benny and Eve

capital with a bang in 2022.

legendary parade. Dress

on their journey from a small rural town to ‘50s Dublin and rediscover the tale of Ireland’s best-loved characters. Circle of Friends Gaiety Theatre 20th April - 14th May RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW To celebrate the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s 30th year, the entire museum presents a single exhibition for the first time. In four parts ‘Queer Embodiment’, ‘The Anthropocene’, ‘Social Fabric’ and ‘Protest and Conflict’ - this unique and revealing showcase examines the many transformations that have taken place in art and life over the past three decades. The Narrow Gate of the Hereand-Now Irish Museum of Modern Art Until 30th July code: every shade of green!

The Croke Park

St Patrick’s Festival 16th-20th March



When the Kilmainham Gaol


closed in 1924, the political

Fans of Ireland’s greatest rock

realities of Ireland were

band may finally find what

radically different from when

they’re looking for in this

it had opened over a century

dedicated exhibition at Dublin’s

earlier. The museum that

most edgy (and yes, little)

now operates out of the

museum. Behind-the-scenes

Gaol (which is fascinating in

photography, a soundtrack of

itself), is dedicated to the

rarities, a life-size

continuing recognition of

sculpture of Mr MacPhisto

the many transformations

- everything you need

associated with the site, as

for a beautiful day of

showcased in this exhibition

rock’n’roll nostalgia.

of objects that have been

U2: Made in Dublin

recycled, reclaimed, or

Little Museum of Dublin

reimagined over time.

The Dupont Circle

a disservice to miss out on

The River Lee

the atmosphere at Nationals

amid the twinkling candles of Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral,


Park. Keep an eye out for the


this performance is sure to

DC is home to over 70

famous ‘Racing Presidents’

Nearly 70 years since its

remind you why Vivaldi’s classic

international embassies,

in the fourth inning!

founding, this staple event

work is so widely loved.

making it home to a unique

Washington Nationals

in the Irish musical calendar

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by

Signature Theater

Home Opener

is still going strong. In the


1st March - 24th April

Nationals Park

days leading up to May Day,

Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral

4th April

every corner of the city rings

27th March

with a multitude of voices -

international diplomatic community. Every May, these embassies open their doors and work with some of the city’s great cultural institutions to put on a festival of food, performance, and knowledge-sharing, offering a passport to any number of culinary days out. Passport DC 1st-31st May LOVE’S LETTERS LOST Two rival sales clerks are smitten pen-pals in this classic ‘60s musical tale of anonymous love. Based on the Hungarian play that would go on to inspire the 1998 Hanks & Ryan vehicle You’ve Got Mail, the timeless toe-tapping musical comedy is back in vogue following a 2016 Broadway revival, and this Signature Theater production promises to be a real treat. She Loves Me


in the City Hall, in churches

Nationals fan or no, there’s


and schools, and on many


nothing quite like the opening

YouFilmFest is a film festival

a street corner, choirs from

From Jonathan Mayhew’s

games of the Major League

on a simple mission: to

around the world gather to

sculpture, made from “the

Baseball season. If you’re

showcase films for, about and

harmonise in choral music.

artist’s hair, dust & detritus”,

in the district at the start of

by ordinary people. With an

Cork International Choral

to Emma Roche’s work in

April, you’d be doing yourself

ever-surprising program of


knitted acrylic paint, the eighth

experimental, international

27th April - 1st May

annual Zurich Portrait Prize

and youth film, YFF is sure

features some super original

Left top St Patrick’s Day

to delight when it takes over

takes every shade of green

the new REACH theatre at


works, alongside portraiture in

to the streets of Dublin.

the John F. Kennedy Center.

You don’t have to be a Bach

more traditional media, make

Left The Broadway revival of


boffin or a Mozart maestro to

the Prize really memorable.

She Loves me at Washington’s


enjoy the work of the London

Zurich Portrait Prize 2021

Signature Theatre.

John F. Kennedy Center

Concertante, who tailor their

Crawford Art Gallery

Above U2: Made in Dublin at

2nd-3rd April

performances to first-time

From 23rd April

the Little Museum of Dublin.

classical concertgoers. Set

techniques. These experimental




It’s the Republic of Ireland’s second largest city, the country’s culinary capital and the perfect place for a packed day out in the south-west of Ireland. Go! 8.30 THE GREAT AWAKENING Nobody wants the day to run away from them but, equally, a slow start is such a treat. Time to rise up, enjoy an invigorating shower, a fine coffee and a serving of sauteed forest mushrooms and a poached egg with toasted brioche and silky Béarnaise sauce.



It’s a lovely sunny day, with a snap in the air – perfect for

When Charles Dickens was just 30,

He was deeply disappointed on arrival

taking to the street art trail, courtesy of Ardû (Irish for

and in the thick of the transatlantic

to find it more Edith Wharton than

‘rise’). It features 11 street artists, each commissioned

rock star status The Pickwick Papers

Robert Owen, and almost every bit

on a theme of nostalgia and celebration. Simply

and Oliver Twist bestowed upon him,

as socially limiting as the country he

download the map, plug in the audio tour and go off

he took a trip to the USA. With his

left behind. But though he was later

on your long leisurely adventure.

father no stranger to the debtor’s

to satirise the British patent granting

prison and an early author to make

process in Little Dorrit, Dickens was


heroes of working people, Charles

extremely impressed by the stately

Climb the tower of St Anne’s church for panoramic city

Dickens saw the USA as a superior

US Patent Office and his visit is

views, then step inside to ring the famous Shandon

social utopia and was thrilled to visit.

commemorated there to this day.

Bells. It’s got to be done.


13.30 THE FULL ENGLISH For grazing, snacking or going the whole hog (literally

Poet Walt Whitman was in agreement

an entire city block, was gifted to the

on some days), The English Market is the perfect place

with Dickens, calling the Patent Office

Smithsonian Institution by Congress in

for foodies to discover the very best of authentic Irish

the “noblest of Washington buildings”.

the ‘60s and today houses the National

cuisine from independent producers and eat (or drink)

Loosely based on the Parthenon in

Museum of Natural History, with over


Athens and designed by city planner

146 million specimens. The gallery

Pierre L’Enfant, the idea was to house

is a world away from the imposing

2.30 LOCK UP

a ‘church to the republic’. Instead,

industry of its previous life, and is used

Cork City Gaol is now a museum and a rather fine

even before building was complete,

instead for events, music, and just

one at that. Check out the refurbed cells, hear tales of

it became home to the US Patent

taking a break during an interactive,

crime, Cork and punitive justice – and breathe a sigh of

Office. Today, so much has changed

educational visit. One can’t help but

relief as you exit unrestrained.

- the majestic structure, occupying

feel Dickens would have approved.


Below Live music in the National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC, 2019



circuit, line

two taking











the Castle



Blackrock harbour and




observatory. 8.00 AND, EAT If you’re not hungry after all that, you did the entire hog thing at the English Market. We’re assuming you didn’t and you’ll want to enjoy your Irish Goodbye or your Fitzgerald Fancy on the terrace by the River Lee before a fine local Sirloin steak and all the trimmings in The Grill Room.


Above Patent Office Building, Washington DC, 1900