Month: February 2015
by Gill Chris
June 5 – Ladies’ Day at The Derby
One of the two major horseracing events that take place just outside London is The Derby. Run at Epsom, it is one of the oldest – and greatest – horse races in the world. Nowadays it is a two day Friday/Saturday festival, with Friday designated “Ladies Day” – a chance for the women to dress up in their finery and show off their good taste in fashion!
The Derby brings excitement, thrills and the best in horse-racing. If you are new to it all why not buy a race card when you buy your tickets and everything will be explained.
You may wish to head to The Paddock to see the horses led around having been saddled, immediately before their race. Jockeys mount the horses here too. Unsurprisingly this tends to be the centre of activity and is a great spot to soak up the atmosphere. Here you will also see some of the most famous jockeys, trainers and owners having a final chat before the race, or being interviewed by television reporters. Please note that only guests in the Queen’s Stand and Duchess’s stands have access to the Paddock but all of the enclosures have a view of the racecourse, so it’s easy to get a good view of the races.
You can find out more details about The Derby and purchase tickets here.
by Gill Chris
5 June to 8 August 2015
Opera Holland Park is a much loved London institution and generally considered to be one of the most original, exciting and talented non-state opera companies in the UK. With an astonishing record of bringing to life less well known productions as well as the more popular favourites, Opera Holland Park has something for everyone, seasoned opera lover or not.
The productions all take place under a large canopy which is surely one of the most beautiful covered spaces in the city. The British weather being what it is, you may need extra layers on cooler summer evenings but you will be dry! It is relaxed, informal and great fun for families.
This year the productions include: Il trittico (Il tabarro, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi) – Giacomo Puccini, Flight – Jonathan Dove, Aida Giuseppe – Verdi, Lakmé – Léo Delibes, L’amore dei tre Re – Italo Montemezzi, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Will Todd.
Tickets go on sale on 20 April 2015 but be sure to book quickly as it is very popular and tickets go fast! More information can be found here, along with the link for tickets.
by Erin Mara
Come hungry and leave with money in your pocket!
New York City Restaurant Week only happens twice a year, and each summer and winter we look forward to its return. Restaurant Week is now upon us! The name is deceptive, because it lasts for 3 weeks not just 1, and believe me, we are not complaining about it. Over 300 of the city’s top restaurants offer 3 course, prix fixe meals for lunch and dinner. Prices are a steal, with a leisurely lunch at $25 and decadent dinners at only $38. Each year this event adds trendy newcomers to a long list of regular participants, many well-known and well-loved fine dining establishments are among those participating. This is not a ploy for struggling restaurants to find new customers, it is a much celebrated event that inspires and excites restauranteurs and diners alike! Many of our favorite spots are on this list, and like many New Yorkers we only make our reservations at those favorite, but oh so pricey places during these lucky few weeks.
One of those places is Barbetta,the oldest restaurant in New York still owned by its founding family, and also New York’s oldest Italian restaurant. It’s also the oldest restaurant in the Theatre District. It has even earned a landmark status by the Locali Storici D’Italia for these distinctions. In a glittering interior decorated with 18th century Italian antiques Barbetta serves the cuisine of Piemonte, Italy’s northwestern most region, known for hearty, complex and satisfying meat and pasta dishes such as “agnolotti,” pasta made with eggs stuffed beef, pork, or rabbit, flavoured with sausage, parmesan cheese, eggs and herbs. “Risotti” or rice dishes are another speciality, often covered with truffles – yum! This is the perfect food for this time of year and with Restaurant Week upon us everyone can enjoy it.
Need a place to stay close by? We’ve got you covered! Our new properties YMidWest1 and YMidWest2 are each within walking distance and both currently have availability, so whether you are looking to get away for some romance or you’d like to bring your family and friends to enjoy the deals that are on right now we would be happy to take care of you!
It’s not just the “fancy” restaurants participating either – we have a list as long as your arm of very interesting and wonderful eateries with a vibe and décor to suit any tastes – here is a small list of others we are crazy about:
Acme 9 ,Blue Water Grill , Beauty and Essex , BLT Bar and Grill , Blue Smoke , Butter , Casa Mono , Colicchio&Sons , Dovetail , Fig&Olive , I Trulli , Indochine , Les Halles , Lure Fishbar , Mark Joseph Steakhouse , The Mercer Kitchen , Morimoto , Morrell Winebar and Café , Perry St. , The Red Cat and Red Rooster Harlem
This list is by no means complete, in fact I encourage you all to make NYC Restaurant Week an annual (or bi-annual!) excuse to come and explore all of the culinary opportunities our fair city has to offer. Still need convincing? Well NYCGO is holding a photo contest – you could win a $300 gift card to many of these very restaurants just by taking a pic and posting it with #NYCRESTAURANTWEEK . So come visit the Big Apple today and take a big bite!
by Gill Chris
Kitty Fisher’s Restaurant (Tuesdays – Saturdays)
In a little corner of London between Piccadilly and Park Lane, in historic Shepherd Market, a bijou new restaurant has opened up which is fast becoming the hottest table in town! Kitty Fisher’s, named after the infamous 18th Century courtesan, is a small and uniquely atmospheric bar and dining room with a well-defined character that makes it feel like it has been around for years.
The kitchen, led by a chef who won the title of Young British Foodies’ 2014 Chef of the Year, produces food which is fashionable without trying too hard: English Salt Cod Croquettes & Aiol; Cornish Crab with Barbecued Cucumber, Dill & Seaweed; Beef Sirloin, Onion, Pickled Walnut, Pink Fir & Tunworth to name a few. Their signature dishes are the Beef Tartar with Nigella Seeds and Nasturtium Root; and the Galician Beef to share.
Whilst tables are fully booked months ahead, there are places at the bar available every day and with the relaxed, charming welcome from the hosts you will feel instantly at home.
You can find out more here.
Kitty Fisher’s is well placed for public transport from any of our London vacation rentals.
by Gill Chris
Visitors to London could be forgiven for overlooking the Liberty department store in favour of the more renowned Harrods or Selfridges but it is definitely worth adding a visit to this remarkable retailer to your ‘to-do’ list. Situated in the heart of London since 1875, it is the destination of choice for the savvy and sophisticated shopper.
The tudor facade was made from the timbers of two ships: HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan. The frontage at Great Marlborough Street is the same length as the Hindustan. Arthur Liberty, the founder, wanted to create the feeling of walking around your own home, so the interior comprises lots of smaller rooms around 3 light wells which are the main focus to the building.
This is a unique shopping experience and it is well worth spending an hour or two getting lost in its labyrinthine rooms.
Finish off your visit with a visit to the Cafe Liberty on the 2nd floor where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.
A few minutes walk from the nearest tube station, Liberty’s can be reached very easily from any of our London vacation rentals.
You can find more information about Liberty’s here.
by Gill Chris
May 30 – The Queen’s Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour), First Rehearsal
The Queen’s Birthday Parade is a colourful ceremony and parade with music, pageantry and the massed bands and troops of the Household Division to celebrate the official birthday of Her Majesty The Queen. The parade starts at 11.00am. and lasts approximately one hour. This is the first rehearsal with the Major General commanding the Household Division taking the salute.
The wonderful atmosphere of this uniquely British occasion make this an event not to be missed. Over 1400 officers and men are on parade along with 200 horses. Over 400 musicians from 10 bands and corps of drums march and play together. It is a real spectacle! The Parade route extends from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and back again
Tickets (free) are available to the public by ballot – applications before 28 February 2015 . Click here for further ticket information. If you are not successful with your application for tickets, the procession can also be seen from The Mall; get there early to find a good spot! Events begin at approximately 10am.
More information about Trooping The Colour can be found here.
The event is well served by public transport so if you’re staying at any of our London vacation rentals it is easy to reach by tube or bus. Properties ref: EBY and VAU are a 10 or 20 minute walk away respectively.
by Gill Chris
Fine art lovers (particularly those who love Impressionism) have few better places to spend an afternoon than the Courtauld Gallery in central London. In just a few rooms of this compact gallery, visitors will encounter such iconic works as Cezanne’s “The Card Players”, Manet’s “A Bar at the Folies-Bergere” and Van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear”.
Fans of other works of art will not be disappointed. Although the compact gallery specialises in Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, the gallery does cover a range of art styles from Renaissance to Modernism. Other highlights include marble and ivory sculptures and a stunning silver collection from the Courtauld family.
One tip when exploring the gallery is to always look up – the ceilings themselves are works of art! You may get a stiff neck, but the Courtauld Gallery shows that not all beautiful art are enclosed in frames.
If you’re still keen to keep the cultural theme after your visit, you can continue your explorations by wandering London’s Museum Mile. A dozen other museums (most of them free) are waiting for you to discover them.
This article was originally published on Spotted by Locals London.
The Gallery is well served by public transport so if you’re staying at any of our London vacation rentals it’s easy to reach by tube or bus.
You can find out more about The Courtauld Gallery here.
by Gill Chris
May 15 until September 12
Regent’s Park has a long association with drama, there have been performances in the park since 1900, although this theatre wasn’t erected until 1932. The Open Air Theatre is a particular favourite for productions of Shakespeare plays. With a capacity of over 1000 this venue is also popular for musical and theatrical performances. A delightful and informal venue, it’s ideal for families. This year’s productions are: Peter Pan, The Seagull, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Lord of the Flies.
The Open Air Theatre is located in the heart of Regent’s Park, and the astonishingly capricious nature of outdoor theatre makes every visit unique and a6we-inspiring. Despite having one of the largest auditoriums in London with 1250 seats, visitors say it is one of the most intimate.
Each evening provides a special and unique ambience and, before the performance, theatregoers often enjoy a picnic on the lawn or a Pimms in the bar as the fairy lights sparkle in the trees.
The performances themselves are bold and vibrant with wonderful storytelling, and the unpredictable nature of the weather adds an exiciting element and makes the rapport between performer and audience uniquely special at every performance.
You can find out more about the Open Air Theatre here.
The nearest station is Baker Street so if you’re staying at any of our London vacation rentals it’s easy to reach by tube. If you stay at CVN – Craven Hill Gardens, QSC2 – Queens Court or SSG – St. Stephens Gardens you are within a 15 minute walk.
Details of many other events in London can be found here: chsrentals.com/london/plan-your-stay/
by Gill Chris
Borough Market – Wednesday to Saturday, Weekly
Borough Market is London’s most famous food market; a joy for any food-lover. This delightful gourmet experience consists of up to 70 stalls selling a wonderful array of artisan produce, including cheeses, breads, cakes, ciders, cakes, meats, vegetables and fish.
The vibrant atmosphere of bustling market stalls with mouth-watering displays, along with a cornucopia of wonderful aromas make this a must-do for any food-loving visitor to London. You are positively encouraged to try before you buy so go with an empty stomach!
The market dates from the time when the Romans built London Bridge. It has moved from its original site since then but has occupied its current site for the last 250 years making it London’s oldest market.
The nearest tube station is London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee lines) so if you’re staying at any of our London vacation rentals it’s easy to reach by tube. If you stay at our property THD – Theed Street it’s just a short walk.
You can find lots more information to plan your visit to Borough Market here.
Tip: Go with empty bags to carry your purchases home!