We recommend The London Pass which gives you free entry to over 60 attractions – including the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle, a Thames River cruise, London Bridge Experience and many more, plus a free 120 page guide book. A big bonus is that at many attractions with The London Pass you can skip the lines!
LONDON FOR FREE – THE NATIONAL GALLERY
The National Gallery is located in Trafalgar Square in Central London. It houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.
Unlike comparable museums in Europe, the National Gallery was not formed by nationalising an existing royal or princely art collection. The British Royal Collection remains in the sovereign’s possession to this day. However, dating from the second half of the 18th Century there were a number of proposals for the creation of a national collection with the purchase of private collections, which had come onto the market. A number of such opportunities were lost. It was not until 1824 that the National Gallery collection came into being when the British Government bought 38 paintings from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein for £57,000.
Angerstein was a Russian-born émigré banker and patron of the arts based in London. His collection numbered 38 paintings, including works by Raphael and Hogarth’s Marriage à-la-mode series. After that initial purchase the Gallery was shaped mainly by its early directors and by private donations, which comprise two-thirds of the collection. The resulting collection is small in size compared with many European national galleries but it is encyclopaedic in scope.
With important works most major developments in Western painting from Giotto to Cézanne are represented. Its collection belongs to the public of the United Kingdom and entry to the main collection is free of charge. However specialist exhibitions are staged regularly where an entry fee is charged. When a specific artist is the subject of a exhibition, examples of his work are loaned by other galleries around the world.
The Gallery is among the most visited art museums in the world, after the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is a must for many overseas visitors to London.
For further information go to www.nationalgallery.org.uk/
For your London Vacation Rental go to www.chsrentals.com/london
LONDON FOR FREE – THE BRITISH MUSEUM
Dedicated to human history, art, and culture, The British Museum is located in the Bloomsbury area of London. It has a permanent collection numbering some 8 million works and is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence. Exhibits originate from all continents and illustrate and document the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.
Largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane, The British Museum was established in 1753. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, which was on the site of the current museum building. Its growth over the following two and a half centuries was largely a result of British colonial expansion. There are many galleries dedicated to specific topics such as Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, Assyria, Mesopotamia etc. Some objects in the collection, most notably the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, are the objects of controversy and there are calls for their restitution to their countries of origin.
One of the most interesting exhibits is the Rosetta Stone, which is inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text uses Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek. Presenting essentially the same text in all three scripts, the stone provided the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs. It was discovered by a French soldier in 1799 during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign but fell into English hands in 1801 and has been exhibited at the British Museum since 1802.
The Greek Revival façade facing Great Russell Street is a characteristic building of Sir Robert Smirke, with 44 Ionic columns 45 ft (14 m) high, closely based on those of the temple of Athena Polias at Priene in Asia Minor. The construction commenced around the courtyard with the East Wing (The King’s Library) in 1823–1828, followed by the North Wing in 1833–1838. The pediment over the main entrance is decorated by sculptures by Sir Richard Westmacott depicting The Progress of Civilisation and consisting of fifteen allegorical figures, which were installed in 1852.
Until 1997, when the British Library previously centred on the Round Reading Room moved to a new site, the British Museum housed both the national museum of antiquities and the national library in the same building. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and as with all other national museums in the United Kingdom it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions.
For further details go to www.britishmuseum.org/
For your London Vacation Rental go to www.chsrentals.com/london
Four old (and famous) London pubs.
Pubs (short for “public houses”) are a British institution, there are over 7,000 of them in London. Here are details of four of the oldest and most famous.
Ye Ode Mitre
Built in 1546 for the servants of the Bishops of Ely, The Ye Olde Mitre is famous for having a cherry tree, (now supporting the front) that Queen Elizabeth I once danced around. Set in a part of London steeped in history, it’s near where William Wallace was hung, drawn and quartered at Smithfield, along with martyrs and traitors who were also killed nearby. More details and here.
The Lamb and Flag
When the building now known as The Lamb and Flag was built, in the mid-17th Century, Covent Garden was a relatively new urban area – a smart and desirable address. But a century later, the gentry had moved away and the area had become a red-light district. Records from 1772 show that The Lamb and Flag – or Coopers Arms as it was known then – was trading successfully, but the clientele was drawn from the lower levels of society.
A century later, and the venue was a popular location for unlicensed bare-knuckle fights. Great London pubs don’t get more historic than this! More details.
The Prospect of Whitby
The Prospect Of Whitby in Wapping is London’s oldest riverside pub dating back to 1520. The pub has an illustrious history. Regular visitors included the writers Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys and Samuel Johnson – and the venue was known for its bare-knuckle and cock fights. It’s thought the pub’s strange name derives from the fact that a collier – a ship carrying coal – from Whitby in North Yorkshire used to moor regularly beside the pub. More details.
The pub’s name – The Flask – comes from the tradition of selling flasks from the pub, which were then used to collect water from the springs around Highgate and nearby Hampstead heath. A natural spring to the rear of the pub may also have been used for this purpose.
Every good historic pub should have a haunting or two, and The Flask is no exception. You might run into the ghost of a Spanish barmaid who hanged herself in the pub’s cellar (now a seating area), over an unrequited love for the publican. Look out also for a chap in Cavalier uniform occasionally seen crossing the room in the main bar and vanishing into a pillar. And while he doesn’t haunt the pub (as far as we know) Dick Turpin is reputed to have spent some time in our wine store while on the run from the authorities. More details
If you’re looking for a truly English experience and a chance to meet and get to know some locals – try The Coach House.
A must read before you book your spring or summer holiday.
Ten reasons to come to London this summer, with Coach House Rentals.
1. Exchange rate. The British Pound is at its lowest rate ever against the US dollar (£/$ 1.23), and many other currencies, but you can be sure that this won’t last for ever.
2. Why use Coach House Rentals? Because we’ve been looking after our guests since 2001. We have many thousands of satisfied customers – read the testimonials with each property listing. Many have agreed to act as a reference – you just have to ask and we’ll put you in touch.
3. Excellent value for money. We haven’t increased our prices for 4 years, so our London vacation rentals are great value for money, especially for a party of 3 or more.
4. “Live like a local” in a hand-picked real home. You get a whole apartment or house to yourself (no sharing) and much more space and freedom to do what you want than in a cramped hotel room.
5. Flexible renting. Any day to any day with a minimum stay of 5, not 7, nights.
6. Real people to help you choose. You don’t need to rely just on a web listing. If you can’t find the answer to your question on our faqs, we are here to respond to your emailed queries or you can talk to us on the phone (+44 20 8355 3192).
7. Safe and secure booking process. When you enter your card details on our secure https payments page, the information goes directly to our in-house servers before being manually processed. There is no risk of being scammed – as does sometimes happen when using the mass market listing sites.
8. Concierge service. We can arrange a car to meet you at the airport. When you arrive at your rental all will be ready for you, we’ll be there to check you in, hand over the keys, show you how everything works and answer any questions you may have.
9. We have a 24/7 help line in case of any further questions or the unlikely event of any problems.
The spring and summer is booking up fast so book now to get the vacation rental of your choice. Join the many 1,000’s of satisfied guests we’ve looked after since 2001.
How to afford a family trip to London.
This year you CAN afford a family trip to London!
1. Because the British Pound is at its lowest rate ever against the USD (GBP/USD 1.22) and many other currencies, and
2. Because if you stay in a vacation rental, rather than in a hotel, it’s much much cheaper especially for 3 or more people travelling together
A vacation rental is also better because:
• preparing some of your own meals or getting take-aways is much more cost effective than always eating in restaurants,
• with a vacation rental you get more space
• there’s no need to dress up or “put on a face” to go out of your room.
And, as an added bonus, you get to experience the city like a local.
Here are some of our best value properties.
Property THD. Spacious modern open-plan house in picturesque old London – sleeps 8 (3 doubles, 1 twin, 4 bathrooms) £330 (USD400) / night, or £41 (USD50) per person per night.
Property WML. Large family house in trendy Pimlico – sleeps 8 (2 doubles, 2 twins, 3 bathrooms) £265 (USD320) / night, that’s £33 (USD40) per person per night.
Property VAU. Modern Pimlico apartment boasting views across the London skyline, with aircon – sleeps 5 (1 double, 1 single, 1 double sofa-bed, 2 bathrooms) £195 (USD235) / night, £39 (USD47) per person per night.
Property BSH. Classic “English style” flat close to the river in Fulham – sleeps 4 (2 doubles, 1 bathroom) £135 (USD165) / night or £34 (USD41) per person per night.
Property ETW. Great value, modern 7/8th floor flat with private balcony and view of Battersea Park – sleeps 4 (2 doubles, 1 bathroom) £125 (USD150) / night, £31 (USD38) per person per night.
These are really nice properties, not crummy hotel rooms that you’d be paying at least twice as much for.
What’s more, unlike Airbnb, we look after you with a full concierge service as well. We’ve been in business and looking after our London guests since 2001, read the reviews on the property pages.
We only have a small number of these great London rentals, when they’re gone, they’re gone so you need to move fast if you don’t want to miss out.
PS. If you’re looking for a truly English experience and a chance to meet and get to know some locals – try The Coach House.
“A truly English experience”
If you are looking for a truly English experience, a chance to meet and get to know some locals and are happy with 3/4 star comfort – read on.
Planning a trip to London this year? Before you book your accommodation check out The Coach House.
What makes it special?
You have your own little cottage with your own private entrance, all to yourself (no other guests) set in a charming garden.
You are served a delicious breakfast every day in “the big house” by your hosts – saving money by just needing a light snack for lunch.
You have real “contact with the natives”. Your hosts, Harley and Meena while serving you breakfast, are there to chat, answer any questions about London, UK – or anything else and give you an insight into their lives. They also like to hear about you!
It is excellent value for money – for 5 people it works out at £40 / US$50 per person per night. In January and February with low-season rates it is even cheaper!
The Coach House is mentioned in several London guide books and has great Trip Advisor reviews.
Already it has several bookings for next year, in January they will become a flood. There’s only one Coach House, so book early if you want to stay.
Warning. Don’t book if you are looking for 5 star hotel-style accommodation, The Coach House is not for you.
But if you’re looking for a truly English experience, a chance to meet and get to know some locals and are happy with 3/4 star comfort –The Coach House is the place to stay. View our short video.
We also have some 50 London vacation rentals, houses and apartments for 2 to 10 people.
Stop Press. Owning to cancellation of a long-standing booking, The Coach House (London’s best B&B!) has just become available over Christmas / New Year. This is ideal family accommodation: sleeps 5, 2 bed, 2 bath £160 (US$200) / night for 2/3, £200 (US$250) / night for 4/5.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve in London
With the British pound at a 30 year low against the US$ (£1=US$1.24), NOW is the time to get the most bangs for your bucks.
We still have some availability over the festive period but it’s going fast. Here’s a selection of what’s still available today, but it might not be tomorrow…..
Ref: ETW: sleeps 4, 2 bed, 1 bath, £125 (US$155) / night. Great value, modern 7/8th floor flat with private balcony and view of Battersea Park. (Available to 27 Dec).
Ref: QSC2: sleeps 4, 1 bed, 1 bath, £130 (US$160) / night. Modern apartment located minutes from Kensington Gardens.
Ref: LSS4: sleeps 2/4. 1 bed, 1 bath, £165 (US$205) / night. Spacious quality apartment in excellent Chelsea location.
Ref: CWN: sleeps 2, 1 bed, 1 bath, £180 (US$225) / night. Modern, top floor, riverside apartment with stunning views.
Ref: DNE: sleeps 4, 2 bed, 2 bath, £235 (US$290) / night. Charming and elegant pied-à-terre in smart Chelsea location.
Ref: SGW: sleeps 4, 2 bed, 2 bath, £240 (US$295) / night. Modern 9th floor, riverside apartment with great views.
And remember, when you book with Coach House Rentals you get our full concierge service.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
There’s still time to get tickets for the famous London New Year’s Eve firework display. This spectacular event takes place on the River Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament. It’s one of the most spectacular celebrations of its kind in the world. Set against the capital’s unique skyline, if you are in London over New Year it really is something not to miss. Click here for ticket information.
The ATP World Tour Finals will once again take place at the O2 Arena in London between the 13th and the 20th November. Since 2009 London has hosted this end of season showdown featuring the world’s best eight qualified men singles players and men’s doubles teams in the ATP ranking list. If you wish to see players such as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka in action, tickets are still available.
The British number one, Andy Murray, is currently world number two but has a chance to overtake Noval Djokovic and secure the number one slot prior to the World Tour Finals. He needs to win the current tournament in Vienna and the following in Paris to achieve this goal. In any event the rivalry between the two will be very intense at the O2.
Originally called the Millennium Dome, the O2 Arena was constructed on the bank of the River Thames in Greenwich, South East London to celebrate the advent of the new millennium in 2000. With a seating capacity up to 20,000 the O2 is now the world’s busiest music arena as well as hosting numerous sporting events.
For further information and the purchase of tickets go to www.barclaysatpworldtourfinals.com/
For your London vacation rental go to www.chsrentals.com/london
Thanksgiving / pre-Christmas shopping trip to London
Trump v Clinton getting you down? Give your partner a surprise Thanksgiving or pre-Christmas present – a shopping trip to London!
Air fares at the end of November and the first 3 weeks of December are low, save money by staying in one of our rentals and have more to spend on Christmas shopping. These links Shopping in London and Essential London Shopping Guide will help you find the right stores. And no visit to London is complete without a trip to the theatre, go to www.whatsonstage.com to see what’s on and to book your tickets.
£/$ exchange rate
This time last year each £ cost US$1.50, at the time of writing a £ now costs US$1.20 – that means that each US$ buys 25% more in the UK than a year ago. Prices here have yet to feel the effect of this currency movement – they haven’t gone up yet but, inevitably they will. So now is the time to get the best value.
London New Year’s Eve Firework Display
There’s still time to get tickets for the famous London New Year’s Eve firework display. This spectacular event takes place on the River Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament. It’s one of the most spectacular celebrations of its kind in the world. Set against the capital’s unique skyline, if you are in London over New Year it really is something not to miss. Click here to get tickets.
Somewhere to Stay
If you’re planning on being in London over the festive period you’ll need somewhere to stay, and a vacation rental is so much nicer than a hotel. Why?
1. With a vacation rental you get more space.
2. There’s no need to dress up or “put on a face” to go out of your room.
3. It’s cheaper – especially for a party of 3 or more people and for a group.
4. It’s more practical, preparing some of your own meals (Christmas dinner?) or getting take-aways is cheaper than always eating in restaurants. You can buy and sample the local specialities.
5. To summarise – you get to “live like a local”.
Why book with Coach House Rentals?
Our “service with a difference” starts with the booking process: an excellent web site – chsrentals.com, real people to exchange emails with and talk to if necessary to help you decide the best rental for you and a safe and secure booking system – no danger of correspondence being intercepted and money being diverted to the fraudster’s account.
We will arrange a car to meet you at the airport and will be at your rental when you arrive to greet you, hand over the keys, explain how everything works and answer any questions. And during your stay we’ll provide a 24/7 help line to call if you have any problems or have any questions about what to do and how to do it.
Book now! We’ve already taken a number of bookings for Christmas / New Year. We still have reasonable availability for smaller groups but it won’t be there for much longer.
Coach House Rentals is a well established company. We’ve been in business since 2001 and although we’re small we have a very high reputation with 35% of our bookings being repeat or recommended by friends. We have a range of properties on our books ranging from simple one bedroom apartments to houses with 4 double bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.
The Sea Life London Aquarium can be found on the south bank of the River Thames near the London Eye. It is the largest aquarium in London and is located on the ground floor of County Hall, which was the former administrative centre for London. It first opened in March 1997 and now hosts about one million visitors each year.
The visit starts by walking over a glass window with incredible views into a magnificent Pacific display. This is a massive tank two stories high where some of the most majestic creatures in the ocean are swimming just inches beneath one’s feet.
There are many smaller tanks as one walks around but the aquarium is divided into the following major displays:-
Atlantic Depths showing the mysterious depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Cold and deep, it is full of creatures such as a sparkling silver shoal of sand eels and the common octopus.
Ray Lagoon which is rippling with these graceful creatures. Through the window below the water surface it is possible to see the mouth and gills on the underside of their bodies as they pass by.
The Dive Discovery where hundreds of gorgeous tropical fish are flitting around the replica bones of a great grey whale.
Rockpool illustrating the fascinating world of micro-habitats and the incredible creatures that thrive in them such as starfish, sea anemones and crabs.
Pacific Wreck where spectacular sharks cruise serenely past and weave around Easter Island Heads.
Seadragon Kingdom where seahorses grip at seagrass with their curly tails and suck up tiny shrimp with their straw-like snouts while brightly coloured seadragons bob slowly past the window.
Thames Walk where one can learn about the iconic river and what is being done to keep it clean and also about the surprising animals that live in it.
There are animal feeds taking place throughout the day in different areas of the attraction so visitors can see for themselves just how sharp a Piranhas teeth are, what a Seahorse eats and how many fish it takes to satisfy a hungry Gentoo Penguin.
Conservation is also an important aspect of the Aquarium with projects covering ray breeding, coral propagation and shark & marine conservation. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about the threats facing marine life.
For further information go to https://www2.visitsealife.com/london/
For your London Vacation Rental go to http://www.chsrentals.com/london