Blog - CHS Rentals
Blog
23
Jul
Two famous London Palaces- not to be missed
by Harley Nott

Two famous London Palaces- not to be missed

If you’re in London in August or September don’t miss the chance to see the inside of these famous palaces.

Buckingham Palace, 21 July – 01 October 2017. Annual public opening of State Rooms and Gardens at Buckingham Palace, The Queen’s official residence in London. If you are in London at this time, a chance to see these magnificent rooms and the palace gardens is not to be missed. Find out how people are welcomed to Buckingham Palace and what goes on behind-the-scenes to create the magic and magnificence of a State Visit – from the dresses designed, to the ingredients and porcelain chosen for a State Banquet.

There are 3 options available:

1. The State Rooms, Buckingham Palace. This includes the exhibition Royal Gifts, which tells the story of The Queen’s reign through a wide-ranging display of official gifts presented during the past 65 years.

2. The State Rooms and Garden Highlights Tour (really recommended) and

3. Royal Day Out. This ticket gives admission to The State Rooms, Buckingham Palace, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews, but no tour of the garden.

Find out more here.

Palace of Westminster, August/September 2017 (and on most Saturdays throughout the year). Public tours of The Houses of Parliament are available for overseas visitors, who will be able to see the historic building, including the Chambers of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Find out more here.

And if you’re in London in September you’ll be here during Totally Thames, an annual month long season of surprising, diverse and accessible arts and culture with activity taking place on, beneath and along the River Thames.

Where To Stay?

Coach House Rentals has the solution. Unlike other vacation rentals services such as Airbnb, HomeAway etc. 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 a 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 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.

We’ve been in business since 2001 and, although we’re a small company, we have a very high reputation with over 35 % of our bookings being repeat or recommended by friends.

And we do still have some avaiability for both larger and smaller parties in August and September!

To ensure you don’t miss more useful tips about London, sign up to our monthly newsletter – you can unsubscribe at any time.

30
Jun
London for Free (part2)
by Harley Nott

London for Free (part 2)

Unlike the museums and art galleries of most capital cities, in London, among other attractions, they are free!
Well known among these gems are The Science Museum, Tate Britain and Tate Modern, The V&A, The British Library, The Changing of the Guard, and St. James Park.

Here are some lesser known, but just as interesting, free attractions:

National Maritime Museum – Greenwich
Explore the history of life on the sea – the adventures, the battles, the bravery and the discoveries – through the vast collection of art and objects at the world’s largest maritime museum. The National Maritime Museum is situated in beautiful Greenwich Park and is part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. It is walking distance from the Royal Observatory, the Queen’s House, Cutty Sark and the River Thames. The historic building includes 10 galleries, a shop, café, interactive displays and is fully wheelchair accessible.

Read more

30
May
Eating Out in London
by Harley Nott

Eating Out in London

London visitor surveys have shown that food, surprisingly, only gets a 46% satisfaction rate. This, despite the fact that London has some of the best cuisine in the world, certainly the most diverse.

Many London visitors choose a vacation rental so they can self-cater for some of their meals. But whether you eat out only one or twice, or you go out for every meal, some prior planning will make for a much more enjoyable experience.

London has over 7,000 restaurants covering all styles, cuisines and price ranges. Invariably some will disappoint, some will be over-priced, some will have poor service, some will be over-crowded.

So, rather than take pot-luck and dive into the nearest establishment to where you happen to be at the time, plan ahead, look for the hidden (or not so hidden) gems that will give you a memorable experience rather than just provide fuel. These places need not be expensive, just good.

How to find them? Use a good restaurant guide, here are a few:

Hardens – The Gastronome’s Bible! Generally very reliable, you can search by location, price, type of cuisine facilities, number of reviews.

Square Meal – also searchable by price and cuisine.

The Evening Standard Guide

The Time-Out Restaurant Guide

You will of course sometimes get good fare from a fast food operator, but you’re more likely not to be disappointed if you do some prior research remembering the old axiom: “Time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted.”

29
May
Changing of the Guard
by Cedric

ROYAL BRITAIN – CHANGING OF THE GUARD

The sentries that look after Buckingham Palace are called The Queen’s Guard and are made up of soldiers from the Household Division’s five regiments of Foot Guards. The guards are dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats. Although undertaking such ceremonial duties, these are regular soldiers in the British Army, who serve normal tours of duty in parts of the world such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the minds of the majority of people, the ceremony of Changing the Guard is associated solely with Buckingham Palace but it actually takes place between three locations – Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Palace and Wellington Barracks.

Also known as Guard Mounting the ceremony takes place outside Buckingham Palace from 10.45am and lasts around 45 minutes, with the actual handover taking place at 11am. The Buckingham Palace Old Guard forms up in the palace’s forecourt from 10.30am and is joined by the St James’s Palace Old Guard at around 10.45am. The New Guard then arrives from Wellington Barracks and takes over the responsibilities of the Old Guard in a formal ceremony accompanied by music. The Old and New Guards ‘Present Arms’ before the Captains of the Guard ceremoniously hand over the Palace keys. This symbolic gesture represents the transfer of responsibility for the security of the Palace’s from the Old to the New Guard who will then be The Queen’s Guard until relieved.

The ceremony is free to watch and currently takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, weather permitting. There is no ceremony on days when large events are held in the city centre. The ceremony schedule should be checked on the Household Division’s website before planning a visit. Being a very popular event, it is also necessary to arrive early to secure a spot with a good view.

To check the schedule go to www.householddivision.org.uk/changing-the-guard-calendar

For your London Vacation Rental go to www.chsrentals.com/london

27
May
London for Free (part 1 of 2)
by Harley Nott

London for Free (part 1 of 2)

Unlike the museums and art galleries of most capital cities, in London, among other attractions, they are free!
Well known among these gems are The National Gallery, The Natural History Museum, The British Museum and Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens.

Here are some lesser known, but just as interesting, free attractions:

The Bank of England Museum
It may not explain how the banking profession got into the mess it’s in now, but the museum dedicated to the profession is still worth a visit. Vintage bank notes, art work and antique furniture from the bank make for a small but dense collection. Current exhibitions include one on Gold – and the opportunity to lift up a solid gold bar!

Read more

16
May
The Coach House – London, looking its best
by Harley Nott

Visiting a foreign city is always fun but so much more enjoyable if you have people to stay with, who will look after you well, give you advice on anything you are interested in doing or seeing, but leave you alone to do your own thing. But finding a good and friendly bed and breakfast with a kitchen in London can be a nightmare – you can easily end up in a cheap and nasty down-market hotel, or find yourself living embarrassingly close to the owners of a private house and your fellow guests.

The Coach House, which is in a quiet, safe, fashionable part of town is a bed and breakfast with a difference.

There’s still some summer availability at The Coach House, but you’ll need to be quick.

 

11
May
Tate Britain
by Cedric

LONDON FOR FREE – TATE BRITAIN

Tate Britain is the national gallery of British art from 1500 until the present day. Some of  the Gallery’s more modern works from the start of the twentieth century were transferred in 2000 to the new Tate Modern Gallery, which was established in the converted power Bankside Power Station.

The Tate Britain collection was first opened to the public in 1897 in a specially constructed gallery, which is situated on the banks of the River Thames at Millbank and which is about ten minutes walk from the Houses of Parliament. The Gallery was originally named the National Gallery of British Art but from the start it was commonly known as the Tate Gallery after its founder Sir Henry Tate.

Housing a substantial collection of the art of the United Kingdom from Tudor times, it is the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world  Works in the permanent Tate collection, which are usually on display in the Gallery, include works by Constable, William Blake, Millais and Whistler. In particular there is a large holdings of the works of J. M.W. Turner, who bequeathed to the nation all his own paintings, which were still in his possession at the time of his death. More recent artists include David Hockney, Peter Blake and Francis Bacon.

The Gallery also stages many specialist exhibitions, for which entrance fees are charged. It is recommended that any special exhibition is pre-booked. Currently there is an exhibition devoted to the works of David Hockney, which ends on 29th May.

Another  exhibition entitled Queer British Art 1861 – 1967 will run until 1st October. It features works relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans identities. On display are paintings, drawings, personal photographs and film from artists such as John Singer Sargent, Dora Carrington, Duncan Grant and David Hockney. These works celebrate the diversity of  ‘queer’ British art as never before.

For further information go to www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-britain

For your London Vacation Rental go to www.chsrentals.com/london

18
Apr
Famous London Restaurants
by Harley Nott

Famous London Restaurants

With some 8,000 restaurants and over 70 different world cuisines, London has the most diverse choice of dining in the world. Use the Hardens Guide to explore what’s on offer.

But this post is just about the most famous.

Rules

In the year Napoleon opened his campaign in Egypt (1798), Thomas Rule promised his despairing family that he would say goodbye to his wayward past and settle down. No sooner said than he opened an oyster bar in Covent Garden. To the surprise and disbelief of his family, his enterprise proved to be not only successful but lasting. Rules still flourishes and is one of the oldest and most celebrated restaurants in London, serving the traditional food of this country at its best – and at affordable prices. It specialises in classic game cookery, oysters, pies and puddings.

Wiltons

Since 1742 Wiltons has been synonymous for the finest oysters, wild fish and game and traditional, courteous, hospitality. The British menu aims to offer the freshest fish, game and meats from the very best fleets and farms the United Kingdom has to offer. Wiltons still very much recognises and respects its origins, serving the finest oysters from the British Isles since gaining their first Royal Warrant for supplying oysters to the Royal Household in 1836.

Simpson’s-in-the-Strand

For a true taste of all that is best in British cuisine there is no finer dining establishment than Simpson’s-in-the-Strand. Only the finest seasonal ingredients are used by Master Cook Gerry Rae in a Bill of Fare that offers a wide range of classical dishes, including the best Roast Beef and Lamb in the country, and game in season. Roasts are carved at guests’ tables, from antique silver-domed trolleys, by Simpson’s Master Carvers in a perfect example of restaurant theatre. Simpson’s-in-the-Strand is one of London’s most historic landmark restaurants and has been offering classic British dishes to its delighted patrons for over 185 years.

During World War II, meat rationing interrupted the generous servings of beef at Simpson’s, and regulars overcame the dwindling portions by tipping the Carver to ensure they received their usual sized portions! The tradition of tipping the Carver is still observed to this day, although the portions have returned to their generous pre-war proportions

Bentley’s

Bentley’s has been serving its fish and chips and feeding the hungry shopping masses for over 100 years, a haven for fresh oysters, grilled fish and steaks from around the British & Irish Isles and has been under the watchful eye of Michelin starred Chef Richard Corrigan for the past 10 years.

For over 100 years the foremost and the fashionable have been dropping in for a light lunch of langoustines or a dozen oysters and a flute of fizz with friends before the theatre.

The Savoy Grill

Home to hundreds of years of history, the Savoy Grill restaurant has seen some of the world’s most famous faces pass through its gilded doors at the world famous Savoy Hotel.

For lunch, try the daily special from the traditional trolley: featuring the Salt-baked Leg of Lamb on Mondays through to the Rib of Beef with Yorkshire pudding on Sundays. Dishes on weekly rotation include roast Suckling Pig, the restaurant’s iconic Beef Wellington and Salmon Coulibac. On Sundays, be sure to try something from the traditional trolley gliding between tables: the braised Berkshire Pork Belly, confit Herdwick Lamb Shoulder or stuffed Rabbit Loin.

The Goring

London’s last remaining family-owned luxury hotel. Crafted over a century by one family, this is the genuine article – a grand hotel with impeccable manners and a subtle streak of wit and wonder. With its Michelin star, the food at The Dining Room at The Goring is a really pleasing mix of British classics and lighter, more modern dishes, all prepared with great skill and understanding.

The Ritz

“London’s most beautiful dining room” (decorated in the style of Louis XVI) never fails to work its magic (you can also eat out on the terrace overlooking Green Park for a lovely treat). Historically the exemplary service has tended to outshine the traditional British cuisine, but current reports say that it is “exceptionally good in every way”. Top Tip – the dinner-dance on Friday and Saturday is a great experience.

If you stay in one of our rentals you don’t have to eat out every meal, and it will make the pleasure of dining in one of these great restaurants even better. And you’ll be better able to afford it as you won’t have wasted your money on an expensive hotel!

And if you’re looking for a truly English experience and a chance to meet and get to know some locals – try The Coach House.

5
Apr
Natural History Museum
by Cedric

LONDON FOR FREE – THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

The Natural History Museum is recognised as the pre-eminent centre for studying natural history and for research in related fields. It is home to some 80 million specimens, which are divided between five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology and zoology. The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons. The most famous is a large Diplodocus cast. This used to dominate the vaulted central hall but it has been moved to another large hall and has been replaced by a Blue Whale.

The museum is a world-renowned centre of research specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin. The museum library contains extensive books, journals, manuscripts, and artwork collections linked to the work and research of the scientific departments.

The foundation collection belonged to Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753), who allowed his significant collection to be purchased by the British Government at a price well below their market value at the time. Sloane’s collection, which included dried plants, and animal and human skeletons, was initially housed within the British Museum. The museum was moved to a new building in South Kensington near the V&A and the Science Museums. Due to its ornate architecture it is sometimes dubbed a ‘cathedral of nature’. It was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and construction of the new museum building began in 1873. It was completed in 1880 and opened in 1881. However the move from the old museum was not fully completed until 1883. Both the interior and exterior of the Waterhouse building make extensive use of terracotta tiles to resist the sooty atmosphere of Victorian London. The tiles and bricks feature many relief sculptures of flora and fauna, with living and extinct species featured within the west and east wings respectively. The Darwin Centre is a more recent addition, partly designed as a modern facility for storing the valuable collections.

For further information go to http://www.nhm.ac.uk/

For your London Vacation Rental go to https://www.chsrentals.com/london

21
Mar
National Gallery
by Cedric

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

Search