March 2016 - CHS Rentals

Month: March 2016

Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival
by Cedric

On Sunday 8th May at Covent Garden Piazza and St Paul’s Church there is the opportunity to enjoy a day of traditional British entertainment. The annual Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival celebrates its 41st anniversary this year. This fun festival, which marks Mr Punch’s birthday, is a popular annual treat for families.

In 1662 on 9th May Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary a reference to a performance held at Covent Garden. This has gone down in history as the first ever written record of a Punch and Judy Show. Samuel Pepys was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament during the reign of King Charles II. However Pepys is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man

The festival begins at 11am with a grand procession led by a brass band. There is a birthday toast to Mr Punch. At noon a special service takes place in St Paul’s Church, during which Mr Punch usually makes an appearance in the pulpit. Between 12.30pm and 5.30pm in the afternoon a series of puppet shows and workshops take place. Puppeteers travel from all over England, taking turns to perform in their colourful booths around the piazza. Expect slapstick, mayhem and boisterous humour. There is also folk music, maypole dancing, clowns and refreshments provided by the Food Chain who are raising funds for Londoner’s living with HIV.

St Paul’s Covent Garden was built in the 17th century to designs by the celebrated architect Inigo Jones. It was the first new church to be built in London following the Reformation. Due to the large number of theatres in the area, as well as the puppet shows held in its grounds, it quickly gained the nickname the Actor’s Church. It contains memorials to many famous theatrical personalities, including Charles Macklin, Dame Ellen Terry and Vivien Leigh. You may also recognise the church’s portico from its appearance in the Audrey Hepburn film My Fair Lady.

For further information go to

For your London Vacation Rental go to

Apsley House
by Cedric

Apsley House is a Grade I listed building and is the London townhouse of the Dukes of Wellington. It stands alone at Hyde Park Corner facing south towards the busy traffic roundabout in the centre of which stands the Wellington Arch. It is perhaps the only preserved example of an English aristocratic town house from its period. The house was given the popular nickname of Number One, London, since it was the first house passed by visitors who travelled from the countryside through the toll gates at Knightsbridge.

The house is now run by English Heritage and is open to the public as a museum and art gallery. The practice has been to maintain the rooms as far as possible in the original style and decor. It contains the 1st Duke’s collection of paintings, porcelain, the silver centrepiece made in Portugal for the Duke, sculpture and furniture. It also houses 83 paintings from the Spanish royal collection.

The house was originally built in red brick by Robert Adam between 1771 and 1778 for Lord Apsley, the Lord Chancellor, who gave the house its name. Some Adam interiors survive. namely the semi-circular Staircase, the Drawing Room, and the Portico Room. Wellington employed the architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt to carry out renovations and the red-brick exterior was clad in Bath stone.

After Wellington became Prime Minister in 1828, the ‘Waterloo Gallery’ was added on the west side of the house. It was named after the first Duke’s famous victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. A special banquet is still held annually to celebrate the date of the victory on the 18th June 1815.

A collection of 200 paintings were acquired by the first Duke after the Battle of Vitoria, in 1813. The paintings were in Joseph Bonaparte’s baggage train and were part of what was called ‘the biggest loot in history’, The Duke of Wellington decided to return the paintings, which included works from the Spanish royal collection. King Ferdinand VII of Spain answered by presenting some of the paintings to Wellington, as it was ‘well deserved’.

For more information go to

For your London Vacation Rental go to

Culture for the Kids
by Harley Nott

 Culture for the Kids.

Now could be the ideal time to introduce “old world” culture to “new world” kids.

London with all its history and culture is waiting to be revealed to your young! And there’s no need to pay for two or more rooms in an expensive hotel, you can be all under one roof and “live like a local” in one of our vacation rentals. We have many London short stay rental properties, you should be able to find one that suits the size of your party and your budget.

These are, officially, London’s Top Ten Attractions.

10. Madame Tussauds
Rub shoulders with royalty, film stars and sporting legends.

9. National Maritime Museum at Greenwich
Explore Britain’s naval past, visit the Royal Observatory and stand astride the Prime Meridian.

8. Tower of London / Crown Jewels
Discover 1,000 years of history – gaze at the fabulous crown jewels.

7.Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
3,000 years of fashion and design.

6. Science museum
Steam trains to Space Rockets.

5. London Eye
More visitors than the Taj Mahal or the Great Pyramids – great views up to 25 miles.

4. Tate Modern
Contemporary art on a spectacular scale.

3. National History Museum
Come face to face with animals from the past and present. Watch out for the dinosaurs!

2. National Gallery
Over 2,000 of the world’s finest paintings

1. Top attraction at the number one spot is
The British Museum
Over 2 million years of human history

You can find more details about these and 141 other London attractions, with links to their sites at our 151 things to do in London.

Why use Coach House Rentals?
Because we’re cheaper! Unlike Airbnb and HomeAway we don’t charge a hefty booking fee
AND we look after you with our full concierge service.

Now view what you’ll be coming to London to see.


Famous London Pubs – The Old Bell Tavern
by Cedric

Since medieval times Fleet Street has been renowned for its profusion of taverns. Located in Fleet Street not far from Ludgate Hill you will find The Old Bell Tavern. Stepping into The Old Bell you will discover a traditional pub of unique character offering an eclectic range of real ales and quality pub food.

The Old Bell Tavern has a long history. For more than 300 years it has been a licensed tavern. The original building was destroyed in 1666 during the Great Fire of London. However Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt the inn for his masons, who were working on St. Bride’s Church. The church looms over the pub. Wren was the architect responsible for rebuilding much of London including St Pauls Cathedral. St. Bride’s Church itself is thought to have been the inspiration for the traditional tiered wedding cake.

Prior to Wren’s rebuilding, the Tavern had several other names. In 1500, when it was known as the Sun, Wynkyn de Worde installed a printing press there. Wynkyn de Worde was a former assistant to England’s first printer William Caxton. Books printed there were ‘emprynted at the sygne of the Sun Flete Strete’.

The tavern soon attracted reporters and printers working in Fleet Street’s burgeoning newspaper industry. Newspaper men had a reputation for drinking and many may have scrawled out their copy in the tavern. The hacks have long-since vanished and have been replaced by office workers.

At one time the tavern could only be reached via an alleyway from Fleet Street. The front has colourful stained-glass windows and a stone floor, which gives it an appropriate medieval feel. By the bar, a framed copy of a Daily Mail proclaims ‘St Paul’s stands unharmed in the midst of the burning city’, which was published on the morning after the Blitz.

For more information go to

For your London Vacation Rental go to

Vacation rentals with a concierge service?
by Harley Nott

Vacation rentals with a concierge service – surely a contradiction in terms?

Not if you stay in London, New York or Rome with Coach House Rentals.

Unlike other vacation rentals services where you’re on your own, often at the mercy of the non-resident owner, Coach House Rentals provides a full concierge service from the moment you arrive at the airport to the moment you depart.

Our “service with a difference” starts with the booking process: an excellent web site –, 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.

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.

National Portrait Gallery
by Cedric

The National Portrait Gallery is an art gallery in London, which houses portraits of historically important and famous British people. These have been selected on the basis of the significance of the sitter rather than that of the artist. The collection includes photographs and caricatures as well as paintings, drawings and sculpture.

When it opened in 1856 it was the first portrait gallery in the world. In 1896 the gallery moved to its current site at St Martin’s Place where it adjoins the National Gallery, which is on Trafalgar Square. The National Portrait Gallery has been expanded twice since that date and also has three regional outposts in the UK at Beningbrough Hall, Bodelwyddan Castle and Montacute House.

The three people largely responsible for the founding of the National Portrait Gallery are commemorated with busts over the main entrance. At centre is Philip Henry Stanhope, 5th Earl Stanhope. On his left side is Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay and to his right is Thomas Carlyle.

As a Member of Parliament Stanhope first proposed the idea of a National Portrait Gallery in 1846. It was not until his third attempt after he had been elevated to the House of Lords, that the proposal was accepted in 1856. With the approval of Queen Victoria a sum of £2,000 was set aside by the House of Commons to establish the gallery. As well as Stanhope and Macaulay, the founding trustees included Benjamin Disraeli and Lord Ellesmere. Carlyle became a trustee after the death of Ellesmere in 1857.

One of its best-known images is the Chandos portrait – the most famous portrait of William Shakespeare. Lord Ellesmere had donated the portrait to the nation as the gallery’s first portrait. However there is still some uncertainty about whether the painting actually is of the playwright.

The Gallery regularly stages special exhibitions. For example between 17 March and 26 June 2016 an exhibition entitled Russia and the Arts is being held. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see masterpieces on loan from the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. The exhibition will focus on the great writers, artists, composers and patrons, including Tolstoy, Chekhov and Dostoevsky. Their achievements helped develop an extraordinary and rich cultural scene in Russia between 1867 and 1914.

This exhibition will also show how Russian art during that period was developing a new self-confidence. Visitors will see the penetrating Realism of the 1870s and 1880s. Later on this is complemented by the brighter hues of Russian Impressionism and the bold, faceted forms of Symbolist painting.

For more information about the gallery go to

For your London Vacation Rental go to



IMAX Cinema Waterloo
by Cedric

Located in the centre of a roundabout just south of Waterloo Bridge, there is a large circular building. This is an IMAX cinema with a screen, which is the largest in Britain being 20m high and 26m wide. The cinema is owned by the British Film Institute but is currently operated by Odeon Cinemas. Odeon will maintain the film programmes, and booking of tickets online and by telephone. Customers can also have the opportunity to watch Operas on the giant screen. However, the BFI will retain a great deal of power over the cinema’s operation including parts of the film schedule and the technical operation

The cinema has a seating capacity of just under 500. There is a 12,000 Watt digital surround sound system. The combination of a perfectly tuned integrated sound system and the precise speaker orientation ensures that the audience can hear a pin drop and be able to tell exactly where it landed.

Although the site is surrounded by traffic and has an underground line just four metres below, the architects and engineers accounted for this in their design and the entire upper structure sits on anti vibration bearings to prevent noise propagation. The cinema won several awards at the time of opening, including a Design Council Millennium Product Award in 1999 and a Civic Trust Award in 2000.

IMAX, which is an acronym for Image MAXimum, is a motion picture film format and a set of cinema projection standards created by a Canadian company IMAX Corporation. This format has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems. Since 2002 some feature films have been converted or upgraded into the IMAX format for display in IMAX theatres and some have also been partially shot in IMAX. The format is the most widely used system for special-venue film presentations including 3D. At the beginning of January 2016, there were 1061 IMAX theatres in 67 countries.

For information about films and to book tickets go to

For your London Vacation Rental go to

Imperial War Museum
by Cedric

First opened to the public in 1920, the Imperial War Museum (IWM) was intended to record the civil and military war effort and sacrifice of Britain and its Empire during the First World War. In 1936 the museum acquired its present permanent home on the Lambeth Road in London.

The scope of the museum has now expanded to include all conflicts in which British or Commonwealth forces have been involved since 1914. As from 2012 the aim of the museum has been defined as the provision for and encouragement of the study and understanding of the history of modern war and the ‘wartime experience’. To this end IWM has become a group of five museums. The others are IWM North in Manchester, a museum of aviation history at Duxford in Cambridgeshire, the Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall, London and HMS Belfast moored on the River Thames in London.

The museum’s collections include archives of personal and official documents, photographs, film and video material, and oral history recordings; an extensive library, a large art collection. There are also examples of military vehicles, aircraft, military equipment and other artefacts. Visitors can see exhibits from the First World War including trench warfare and the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle during that war. There are items and film archive from the Second World War including the ‘Blitz’ in London. Later conflicts such as the Korean War and more recently the war in Afghanistan are also covered.

The current building was previously the Bethlem Royal Hospital, which was completed in 1815. Commonly referred to by its nickname Bedlam, the hospital was designed to house patients suffering from mental illness.

Many special events and tours take place throughout the year. For further information go to

For your London Vacation Rental go to


Muhammad Ali Exhibition
by Cedric

An exhibition entitled ‘I Am The Greatest’ opens today, Friday 4th March, at the O2 Arena in London. The exhibition is devoted to life and career of Muhammad Ali. Considered by many to be the greatest boxer of all time, Ali was unique in holding the world heavyweight championship on three separate occasions. The exhibition includes more than 100 pieces of memorabilia including Ali’s world championship belts and unseen archive footage of the boxer and it will run until the 31st August.

The former heavy weight champion of the world is now 74 years of age and was due to open the show himself but could not travel to London as a result of his on-going battle with Parkinson’s disease. However it is still hoped that he might be able to visit London and the exhibition later in the summer.

Born on the 14th January 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, the then Cassius Clay first came to prominence by winning the 1960 Olympic heavyweight gold medal in Rome. In 1974 he controversially converted to the Muslim religion and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. In 1967 after refusing conscription into the US military during the Vietnam War, Ali was stripped of his world title. He was arrested and did not fight again for four years. His conviction was later overturned by the US Supreme Court.

Big-screen films of almost all the great fights are included, the first against Cooper, the Liston sensation, the Joe Frazier epics ‘The Fight of the Century’ and the ‘The Thrilla in Manilla’, and the immortal ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ with George Foreman.

Constructed in celebration of the new millennium and originally called the Millennium Dome, the O2 Arena is the second largest indoor arena in Europe and is used to stage many large music events. It is situated on Greenwich peninsular on the River Thames in South East London.

For more information go to

For your London Vacation Rental go to

Good news for visitors to London
by Harley Nott


Good News!

In the last 2 years, the British Pound has lost 20% of its value against the US Dollar. That means NOW is the time to come to London as everything is 20% cheaper (in Dollar terms) than 2 years ago. This, of course, includes accommodation and there are some real bargains to be had. For example:

Read More

Be in the know.....Keep informed about what's happening in London and our special offers.

Join our e-mailing list for free newletters - you can unsubscribe at any time!