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Blog
28
Sep
The Lord Mayor’s Show
by Cedric

This year the Lord Mayor’s show will take place on Saturday 12th November. The day starts with a River Pageant featuring an impressive array of traditional Thames barges and small boats bringing the Mayor to the City. Tower Bridge opens in salute. This is followed by the Lord Mayor’s Procession through the streets of the City featuring thousands of participants, many bands and horses, along with hundreds of other carriages, carts, coaches and other vehicles including vintage cars, steam buses, tanks, tractors, ambulances, fire engines, unicycles, steamrollers, giant robots, helicopters, ships, penny farthings, beds and bathtubs. The day will end with a firework display over the River Thames

For those unfamiliar with London, a distinction must be made between the Mayor of London and the Lord Mayor.

The City is London’s historic core. Today it is the main financial district of London where the headquarters of numerous banks, insurance companies and the Stock Exchange are located. It is often referred to as the square mile.

The original walled city was constructed by the Romans, By medieval times the number of gates leading in and out of the City had increased to a total of seven. The gates, although now long gone, are remembered by the areas or roads being named where the gates had stood – Ludgate, Newgate, Aldersgate, Cripplegate, Moorgate, Bishopsgate and Aldgate. It was also in medieval times that London started to expand beyond the walls of the original city.

During medieval times the governance of London was administered by a Court of Aldermen and one of their number was chosen to be Lord Mayor. This practice has continued for some 800 years into modern times. However Lord Mayors now only hold office for one year and they perform many ceremonial duties during their term of office.

In contrast the Mayor of London is a political appointment and is based on elections every 4 years. The post role can only be held for 2 terms by any one individual. The Mayor manages the running of Greater London with an area of some 600 square miles and a population of some eight and a half million citizens. London’s Mayor has a huge budget. The role includes the management within London of the police, the fire service, transport plus the stimulation of business development in the capital. The next mayoral elections are scheduled for May 2016 but needless to say no special pageants take place with the election of a new mayor.

For further details go to: https://lordmayorsshow.london/

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

23
Sep
London Bus Routes For Sightseeing
by Cedric

Whilst it is possible to use special sightseeing hop-on/hop-off open top buses operated by private companies to explore the major tourist attractions in London, the tickets are quite expensive although one has the benefit of a tour guide pointing out the places of interest. However, many people do not realise that they can use regular London buses to see and to visit all London attractions. Such journeys are free even with multiply use for those visitors who have travel cards or oyster cards.

The London public transport system comprises over 700 bus routes and many pass some of the iconic sights of London. The following are a couple of examples. The Number 73 Bus as a part of its journey passes Buckingham Palace Gardens, the Wellington Arch, Hyde Park, Marble Arch and travels along the entire length of Oxford Street. The Number 11 Bus passes through the City of London (the financial centre of the capital), St Pauls Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

For details of some of the suggested routes go to http://golondon.about.com/od/London-Bus-Routes/tp/London-Bus-Routes-For-Sightseeing.htm and for a map showing these routes go to http://content.tfl.gov.uk/bus-route-maps/key-bus-routes-in-central-london.pdf.

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

21
Sep
Famous London Pubs – The Barrowboy & Banker
by Cedric

Located at 6-8 Borough High Street close to London Bridge and adjacent to the famous Borough Market, the pub’s odd name The Barrowboy & Banker represents two separate parts of its history. The ‘barrowboy’ part refers to the barrow boys or costermongers who used to ply their trade at the nearby market, carting their produce in barrows. The ‘banker’ part refers to the origins of the Grade II-listed building, which was a bank. Following the merger of the National Provincial Bank and the Westminster Bank, the building claims to have been the first ever branch of the new National Westminster Bank – now known just as the NatWest. The branch opened in 1970.

You can still see many of the original features of the 19th century building such as the large windows and double height ceiling. Beneath the bar is a labyrinth of the original bank vaults, which are now used to store and condition all the beer but they are not open to the public.

The pub belongs to Fuller’s, the last remaining traditional family brewery in London. The cask ales are brewed just 8.8 miles away at Fuller’s in Chiswick The pub is known as an Ale & Pie House, one of several similarly styled pubs owned by Fuller’s. As the name suggests, it are famous for selling fantastic homemade pies and perfectly conditioned award-winning ales.

Over many years Fuller’s believe that their team of chefs have perfected the British tradition of pie making. All the food is freshly prepared and cooked in the kitchen using the finest quality ingredients, locally sourced where possible.

For further details go to http://www.barrowboy-and-banker.co.uk/

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

18
Sep
London New Year’s Eve Firework Display
by Harley Nott

London New Year’s Eve Firework Display

You need to act NOW if you want tickets to the famous London New Year’s Eve firework display.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve and welcome 2017 with a bang at London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks. This spectacular event takes place on the River Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament. Get ready for 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’s it really is something not to miss.

Read more

4
Sep
Attention all Foodies and Football Fans
by Harley Nott

Attention all Foodies and Football Fans.

Two good reasons to visit London in October.

Foodies

The London Restaurant Festival runs from October 1-31.

This month-long festival is a city-wide homage to great food in London, and the perfect excuse to try out some of the capital’s world-class restaurants. Enjoy great value special menus, amazing one-off chef-led events and a special series of gastronomic activities including restaurant tours and wine tasting. More information and sign up for special menus and events here.

Football

For American Football fans with an itch to try something different, the NFL returns to London in October 2016 with three International Series Games.

The Jacksonville Jaguars host the Indianapolis Colts on October 2 at iconic Wembley Stadium – the home of English football (soccer), followed by a clash between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams on October 23 in the first NFL International Series match at Twickenham Stadium – the home of British rugby football. The Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals round-off the series in style on October 30 in the second match at Wembley.

The three game series is heralded on Sat Oct 1 with a spectacular fan-zone in London’s famous Regent’s Street. This was last year’s festival.

Looking further ahead, November 5 is a date to note ……

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16
Aug
Churchill War Rooms
by Cedric

The Churchill War Rooms is a museum in London and one of the five branches of the Imperial War Museum. The museum comprises the Cabinet War Rooms, a historic complex of basement offices in Whitehall that served as the British government command centre during the Second World War. They were occupied by leading government ministers, military strategists and Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. The museum also houses the Churchill Museum, a biographical museum exploring the life of British statesman Winston Churchill.

Following the experience of the First World War and fears of large scale bombing in a future war, plans to evacuate the prime minister, cabinet and essential staff from London were drawn up as early as the 1920s, However it was considered that this would be publically unacceptable and  a search for an emergency shelter in central London began.

Being near Parliament and having a strong steel frame and a large basement, the New Public Offices building (now the Treasury building) was selected in June 1938. The basement was adapted to provide meeting places for the War Cabinet during air raids and also housed a military information centre based around a Map Room, The Cabinet War Rooms became fully operational on 27 August 1939, a week before Britain declared war on Germany. In total Churchill’s War Cabinet met here 115 times, most often during the Blitz and the later German V-weapon offensive.

During the entire course of the Second World War the Map room was in constant use and manned around the clock by officers of the Royal Navy, British army and Royal Air Force. These officers were responsible for producing a daily intelligence summary for the King, the Prime Minister and the military Chiefs of Staff. Only on the 16th August 1945 were the lights turned off in the Map Room for the first time in six years.

After the war the historic value of the Cabinet War Rooms was recognised. In the early 1980s the Imperial War Museum was asked to take over the administration and the Cabinet War Rooms were opened to the public in April 1984 Subsequently they were renamed the Churchill War Rooms.

For more information go to http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/churchill-war-rooms

For your London Vacation Rental go to chsrentals.com

9
Aug
Marble Arch
by Cedric

Although it was built on a much smaller scale than the Arc de Triomph in Paris, Marble Arch is a 19th-century triumphal arch faced with white Carrara marble. Today it is one of the iconic landmarks of London. It stands on a large traffic island at the junction of Bayswater Road, Edgware Road, Oxford Street, and Park Lane. Oxford Street is the Mecca for shoppers not only from the U.K. but also for tourist from all over the world. Consequently, standing at the western end of Oxford Street and close to the nearby Marble Arch underground station on the Central Line, it is seen by millions of people every year.

However its isolated and incongruous position was not the original intention. The structure was designed by John Nash in 1827 to be the state entrance to Buckingham Palace. Construction began in 1827 but was cut short in 1830, following the death of King George IV. In 1829, a bronze equestrian statue of George IV had been commissioned with the intention of placing it on top of the arch. Work restarted in 1832. As the rising costs were unacceptable to the new king, William IV, Nash’s planned attic stage, decorative friezes and the statue were omitted. The arch was completed in 1833.

Originally the arch stood as the ceremonial entrance near the well known balcony of the Palace. However, it had to be relocated due to the enlargement of the Palace. When the palace building work began in 1847, the arch was dismantled and rebuilt as a ceremonial entrance to the northeast corner of Hyde Park at Cumberland Gate. The reconstruction was completed in March 1851. Three small rooms inside the rebuilt arch were used as a police station from 1851 until about 1968. It firstly housed the royal constables of the Park and later the Metropolitan Police.

In the early 1960s the scheme to widen Park Lane forced a second relocation to its present site. The arch actually stands close to the former site of the Tyburn gallows, a place of public execution from 1388 until 1793.

For map and reviews go to http://www.visitlondon.com/

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

 

 

6
Aug
Royal Hospital Chelsea
by Cedric

Until the 17th Century the state made no specific provision for old and injured soldiers. Care for the poor and sick was provided by the religious foundations. Most of this provision ended following the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of King Henry VIII.

In 1681 King Charles II issued a Royal Warrant authorising the building of the Royal Hospital Chelsea to care for those ‘broken by age or war’. The provision of a hostel rather than the payment of pensions was inspired by Les Invalides in Paris.

Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to design and erect the building. The chosen site was adjacent to the River Thames at Chelsea. In 1692 work was finally completed and the first Chelsea Pensioners were admitted in February. By the end of March the full complement of 476 were in residence. In March 2009, the first women in the Hospital’s 317 year history were also admitted as Pensioners.

Within the hospital and in the surrounding area, Chelsea Pensioners are encouraged to wear a blue uniform but for ceremonial occasions the distinctive scarlet coats are worn. Then the pensioners wear their medal ribbons and the insignia of rank they reached while serving in the military. In general the Pensioners are entitled to come and go from the Royal Hospital as they please when they are permitted to wear civilian clothing wherever they travel.

The Royal Hospital Founder’s Day takes place close to 29 May each year, which is the birthday of Charles II and also the date of his restoration as King in 1660. It is also known as Oak Apple Day, as it commemorates the escape of the future King following defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, when he hid in an oak tree to avoid capture. On Founder’s Day, the pensioners of the Royal Hospital are reviewed by a member of the British Royal Family.

The on-site museum details the history and life of the Royal Hospital and its Pensioners together with displays of artefacts, documents, medals, cap badges and uniforms. Daily walking tours of the site and museum, led by Chelsea pensioners themselves, can be booked in advance. The South Grounds of the Royal Hospital are also used for large-scale public events including the world famous Chelsea Flower Show.

For further details go to http://www.chelsea-pensioners.co.uk/

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

 

 

4
Aug
Reality and Virtual Reality in London
by Harley Nott

 Reality and Virtual Reality in London.

August and September are good months to visit London, it’s quieter, the visitor peak has passed and many Londoners are away on holiday. The weather is generally warm and pleasant.

Here are a few other good reasons for coming then.

Real

You can visit the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace – they are open to visitors in August and September. Sorry, you won’t meet the Queen, but don’t let that deter you, this magnificent palace alone is worth coming to London to see.

Have you ever wanted to sail on a Tall Ship? You can between 15-18 September. Greenwich, a must see for many London visitors, has an added attraction then. A number of these majestic Tall Ships will be at historic Greenwich and available for you to have a 2-2½ hour cruise down and back up the Thames.

Surreal

The much acclaimed Rolling Stones Exhibition – Exhibitionism is at the Saatchi Gallery on The Kings Road until 4 September. A must for old and young rockers alike!

The Notting Hill Carnival 28th-29th August. Join London’s biggest street party as the Notting Hill Carnival fills the streets of West London with Caribbean colours, music and flavours.

Unreal

London is the hangout for the rarest Pokémon. Tentacool, Dratini, Electabuzz, Hitmonlee, Kabuto, Mankey, Snorlax, Mr. Mime and even the occasional Dragonite have been found at places like the Tower of London, inside Regent’s Park, at London Zoo and in the flowery gardens of Kensington Palace. Here are several guides: Time Out, Attaction Tix and Evening Standard.

Reality Check

For a family of four, the cost of two rooms in a good 4 star London hotel is a minimum £400/night. For half that sum they can stay in one of our comfortable rental properties with much more space and benefit from our full concierge service. Check it out.

29
Jun
Saatchi Gallery
by Cedric

The Saatchi Gallery is a London gallery for contemporary art, opened by Charles Saatchi in 1985 in order to exhibit his collection to the public. Having previously occupied two other premises, the gallery was transferred in October 2008 to its current location at the Duke of York’s HQ on the Kings Road near Sloane Square. This has been called one of the most beautiful art spaces in London having an area of 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2). Thanks to commercial sponsorship the gallery is the only completely free-entry contemporary art museum of its size in the world.

Saatchi’s collection has had distinct phases, starting with US artists and minimalism and moving on to young British artists including Damien Hirst. As a result the gallery has been an influence on art in Britain since its opening. It has also had a history of media controversy, which it has actively courted. Its exhibits have earned extremes of critical reaction. Many artists shown at the gallery were unknown not only to the general public but also to the commercial art world. Showing their work at the gallery has provided a springboard to launch careers. In 2010, it was announced that the gallery with over 200 works of art had been given to the British public, becoming the Museum of Contemporary Art for London.

Charles Saatchi is a British businessman and the co-founder with his brother Maurice of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, which in the 1980s was recognised as the world’s largest advertising agency.

The Duke of York’s Headquarters is a building completed in 1801 to the designs of John Sanders, who also designed the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. For many years it was known as the Duke of York’s barracks. However in 2000 it was sold by the Ministry of Defence and all military connection ceased. The site was redeveloped, The main building was preserved as it had been declared a Grade II listed building in 1969 due to its outstanding historic and architectural interest.

For more information go to www.saatchigallery.com/

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

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