Month: June 2015
by Gill Chris
The Science Museum’s Lates are a series of free nights for adults that take place on the last Wednesday of every month. Each ‘Late’ has a different theme, with forthcoming themes including: Childhood, Cravings and Maths. This is an opportunity to explore the Science Museum, beer in hand, with themed talks, workshops, activities and installations. Regular highlights include a silent disco, a comedy show and a pub quiz.
Friday Lates at the Victoria & Albert Museum bring you an ever-changing, curated programme of live performances, cutting-edge fashion, film, installations, debates, special guests and DJs, with bars, food, and late-night exhibition openings.
As these events are so popular you may have to queue so we suggest you arrive early to ensure you have the best chance of getting in.
Based in South Kensington, both museums are easily reached by public transport from any of our London vacation rentals. South Kensington is the nearest tube station (District, Circle & Piccadilly lines). Our properties: EMP, LAU and MPW are all within walking distance.
by Gill Chris
You can’t come to London without enjoying a world class West End show, so take a look at the best London musicals this year, based on ticket sales.
1. The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre
2. The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre
3. Wicked at the Apollo Victoria
4. Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre
5. Thriller-Live at the Lyric Theatre
6. Billy Elliot: The Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre
7. Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre
8. The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre
9. The Commitments at the Palace Theatre
10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane
You can buy your tickets online before you arrive in London but while you’re here you can visit the tkts booth in Leicester Square where you can get half-price and discounted theatre tickets on the day of the show, and up to a week in advance. If you want to see a specific production, you can also go directly to that theatre’s box office for the chance to buy standby theatre tickets or returns.
A word of warning though, please make sure you buy your tickets from legitimate agents, such as STAR members (The Society of Ticket Agents & Retailers) and always ask to see the “face value” of the ticket (the price printed on the ticket) as ticket agents always charge a booking fee which should be no more than 25% of the face value.
London’s theatres are easily accessible by tube or bus from any of our London vacation rentals.
by Gill Chris
You can discover London’s canals, once described as “the loveliest inland waterways in England”, on foot or by taking a canal cruise.
To discover the canals on foot is to slow life down to 18th century speed; there are no speedboats on the canal and the leafy, tranquil setting gives a glimpse of London not normally seen. The towpaths are particularly beautiful when canopied with mature plane trees in the summer.
If you would prefer to discover the canals by boat, there are several canal cruise companies; one even has a gate with access to London Zoo to cruise past some of the animal enclosures.
Camden, Islington and Little Venice can all be discovered on a canal cruise.
by Gill Chris
Opening July 2015
London’s County Hall on the South Bank will become home to this landmark attraction which is based on the most successful animated film series of all time – Shrek.
It will feature a Shrek interactive walkthrough adventure, a character courtyard where visitors will be able to meet Shrek and his swamp friends, along with characters from Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. The adventure promises to be a fully immersive experience, with cutting edge technology including new Dreamworks 3D animation.
Tickets can be purchased from the edible ticket office which has been made from 700 real gingerbread biscuit tiles, 100kg of icing and decorated with almost 250 giant candies. Alternatively online tickets can be purchased here.
The nearest tube station is Waterloo on the Northern, Bakerloo and Jubilee lines so the venue is easily accessible from any of our London vacation rentals, whilst a stay in property ref: THD will put you within a short walk from the attraction.
by Gill Chris
Portobello Road Market is the world’s largest antique market attracting visitors from all over the world in search of every kind of antique and collectible. With over 1000 dealers, the market is one of London’s best loved landmarks and home to the most extensive selection of antiques in Britain.
2015 marks the 150th birthday of the market which, though most famous for antiques, is also a haven for lovers of fashion, food, books and music.
On the busiest days, market stalls stretch a mile along Portobello Road and round the corner into Golborne Road. Hundreds of traders sell all sorts of everything, old and new, and there’s plenty of delicious food for re-fuelling.
A visit to the market is real London and not at all like mall shopping. Tips for first time visitors include: bring some cash as most street traders do not take credit or debit cards; use a bag with a shoulder strap to keep your hands free for shopping; come early – the market usually sets up around 9am and the Saturday antique dealers open around 7am so why not have breakfast there too?
Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park and Notting Hill Gate are the nearest tube stations but bear in mind that Notting Hill Gate station can get very busy so consider coming another way to avoid the crowds. The market can be easily reached from any of our London vacation rentals and is within walking distance from property ref: ALD.
by Gill Chris
Standing at almost 310 metres, The Shard is one of the tallest buildings in Western Europe. Taking inspiration from the spires of London churches and the masts of tall ships depicted by the 18th-century Venetian painter Canaletto, Renzo Piano designed The Shard as a spire-like sculpture emerging from the River Thames.
London’s highest and best view is from the top of The Shard, on floors 68, 69 and 72. At almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in the capital, it offers unparalleled 360-degree views for up to 40 miles. Guests ascend to the first triple height viewing platform on Level 69 in high-speed ‘kaleidoscopic’ lifts. State-of-the-art interactive touchscreen telescope enable visitors to explore the views in greater detail
On Level 72 is the open-air viewing gallery where visitors can gaze up to the very top of the building as the shards of glass that form the spire disappear into the sky. Exposed to the elements, they can take in the atmosphere and sounds of the city.
You can plan your visit and purchase tickets here.
The nearest tube station is London Bridge which can be reached easily from any of our London vacation rentals.
by Gill Chris
There are over 100 world-class attractions to enjoy at Kew Gardens, from iconic buildings and glasshouses, to inspirational gardens and landscapes. Discover 250 years of history at the world’s most famous Gardens.
Amongst the attractions is the iconic Henry Moore sculpture of “Reclining Mother and Child” situated within a tranquil part of the Gardens.
The Princess of Wales Conservatory, opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1987 is the most complex conservatory at Kew and recreates ten climatic zones under one roof. The climate zones include the ‘dry tropics’ and the ‘wet tropics’ along with sections for carnivorous plants, ferns and orchids.
The Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway is an 18-metre high, 200-metre walkway which enables visitors to walk around the crowns of lime, sweet chestnut and oak trees. Supported by rusted steel columns that blend in with the natural environment, it provides opportunities for inspecting birds, insects, lichen and fungi at close quarters, as well as seeing blossom emerging and seed pods bursting open in Spring.
There is something for everyone at Kew Gardens. You can find out more here.
Kew Gardens Station (District Line – Richmond branch and London Overground) is the closest London Underground station and can be easily reached from any of our London vacation rentals.
by Gill Chris
July 2 – October 18, 2015
This photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery will celebrate the fascinating life and career of Audrey Hepburn. It will showcase an extraordinary collection of both classic and rarely seen photographs of the much loved British actress, film star, fashion icon and humanitarian.
The exhibition is timed to coincide with the 65th anniversary of Hepburn’s little known, career-changing performance at the celebrated night club Ciro’s. It will follow her career from the early years in Holland and as a chorus girl in London’s West End, to her fame as a stage and screen icon and, in later life, her philanthropic work.
Visitors will be able to see photographs from the Hepburn family’s private collection as well as those by leading photographers of the twentieth century. Alongside these, an array of vintage magazine covers, film stills, and extraordinary archival material will complete her captivating story.
Leicester Square and Charing Cross are the nearest stations and are easily reached from any of our London vacation rentals.
You can find out more and book your tickets here.