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Attention all Foodies and Football Fans
by Harley Nott

Attention all Foodies and Football Fans.

Two good reasons to visit London in October.


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.


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 ……

Read more

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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Spencer House
by Cedric

Spencer House is a mansion in St James’s and is one of the last of the many private palaces which once adorned central London. Eight State Rooms are open to the public for viewing on Sundays throughout the year (except August).

The 1st Earl Spencer decided that he required a large London house to cement his position and status. In 1756 he commissioned the architect John Vardy to design the house. Vardy is responsible for the facades of the mansion that we see today. However Vardy was replaced in 1758 by James Stuart, who had studied the Arcadian values of Ancient Greek architecture. As a direct result of this, Spencer House was to have authentic Greek details in the internal decoration. Thus it was to become one of the first examples in London of the neoclassical style, which was to sweep the country.

The first Earl Spencer and his wife were prominent figures in London society and during their lifetime Spencer House was often the setting for lavish entertainments frequented by London high society. Their descendants, notably the fourth and sixth Earls, both of whom served as Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household, continued this tradition. The Spencer family lived at the mansion continuously until 1895, when the house was let. The Spencer family returned for a brief while in the first quarter of the 20th century. Thereafter the house was again let at various times being either a club or offices. During the Blitz of World War II it was stripped of its few remaining authentic treasures, which included specially made furniture and the fireplaces.

Spencer House remains in the ownership of The Earls Spencer, the current titleholder being Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, brother of Princess Diana. Since World War II, the house has been continuously let out. In 1986, RIT Capital Partners, the family company of Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild, secured a 96-year lease with an option of an additional 24-years. In a highly acclaimed restoration the state rooms and garden were returned to their original appearance.

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HMS Belfast
by Cedric

Permanently moored in London near Tower Bridge on the south side of the River Thames is HMS Belfast, a Royal Navy light cruiser. In 1967 a campaign began to avert Belfast’s expected scrapping and preserve her as a museum ship. She was first opened to the public in October 1971 and is now operated by the Imperial War Museum. She has become a popular tourist attraction.

The construction of HMS Belfast began in December 1936. Being one of a class of ten  cruisers, the ship was launched on St Patrick’s Day 17th March 1938 and named after the capital city of Northern Ireland. The completed vessel had an overall length of 187m, a beam of 19.3m and a draught of 5.3m. Her standard displacement during her sea trials was 10,420 tons. She was propelled by steam turbines, driving four propeller shafts and was capable of 32.5 knots. Carrying 2,400 tons of fuel oil she had a maximum range of 9,970 miles at 13 knots.

HMS Belfast’s main armament consisted of twelve six-inch guns in four triple turrets. With a rate of fire of up to eight rounds per gun per minute, her main battery was capable of a maximum rate of fire of 96 rounds per minute. Her secondary armament consisted of twelve 4-inch guns in six twin mounts. Her initial close-range anti-aircraft armament was sixteen 2-pounder guns in two eight-barrel mountings, and two quadruple Vickers machine guns. She was also equipped with six 21-inch torpedo tubes in two triple mounts, and fifteen depth charges. The ship’s main armour was 4.5 inches (110 mm) thick in places. HMS Belfast was also equipped with two catapult-launched amphibious biplanes.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. She then saw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943, and in December 1943 played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst. In June 1944 Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings. In June 1945 Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving shortly before the end of the Second World War. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950–52 during the Korean War.

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Unusual London Bus Tours
by Harley Nott

 Unusual London bus tours and two special holiday rentals.

Every major city has open-top city bus tours, but here are a few unusual London bus tours.

See London by Night makes all the famous landmarks of London all lit up in the night sky look even more outstanding than during the day.

The London Time Tour Bus is London’s only alternative city sightseeing tour. Join one of Professor Quantum’s guided sightseeing tours aboard the time travelling bus as you are shown around the city sharing an amazing knowledge of the past.

Harry Potter Bus Tour of London Locations is a 3 hour mini coach tour includes many of the film locations and inspirations from all 8 films in the series including Kings Cross Station which was used to film Platform 9 ¾, 12 Grimmauld Place and the sites used for the Leaky Cauldron.

Duck Tours. Departing from the Duck Stop, close to the London Eye, the amphibious vehicles drive past famous London landmarks such as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square before a dramatic launch into the River Thames from a slipway by MI6. All this on vehicles used for the D-Day landings in 1944.

The Ghost Bus Tours. The spooky London Ghost Bus Tour takes you around the sites of some of London’s most grisly and murderous events – on board a black 1960s Routemaster bus. Enjoy jumps (and laughs), and discover the dark side to top attractions such as the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London.

Speedboat Tours of London. Take an exhilarating ride along the river Thames on a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) tour. These high-speed boat tours are one of the most exciting things to do when you want to see the city in a different way. Pick one of the tours and set off on an adrenalin-fuelled tour of London!

London Helicopter Tours. For a spectacular journey around London, a London Helicopter Tour is hard to beat. On these amazing rides you’ll get a bird’s eye view over the capital’s most famous landmarks, and see the city from a totally new, unique perspective. And with prices starting at £150 per person, it’s not as expensive as you might think.

Two Special Holiday Rentals

Coach House Rentals has been lucky enough to add these special high-end apartments to our listings. They’ve only just “gone live” so are still available for summer lets.

Property ref: CLI. The comfortable ground and garden apartment is just off Sloane Square, the centre of the universe for many in the upper levels of London’s social hierarchy. On the edge of Belgravia, with The King’s Road and Chelsea within 5 minutes walk, here you have the best of both worlds. The apartment sleeps 4 in two double bedrooms, each with their own bathroom.

Property ref: WLB. This fine, high-end apartment will be appreciated by those accustomed to the finer things in life. It’s owned by a very successful lawyer and her husband who do not compromise with second best. The location is excellent, just off Marylebone High Street with its boutique shops, patisseries, cafés, restaurants and pubs. The flat is on the first floor (there is a lift if you’re feeling lazy) and sleeps 4 people in two double bedrooms, each with their own bathroom.

The Proms
by Cedric

For music enthusiasts, one of the highlights of the musical calendar is the Proms. Presented by the BBC, the Proms is an eight-week summer season of daily concerts of orchestral classical music. This year the season opens on Friday 15th July and ends on Saturday 10th September and 91 concerts will be presented in 58 days. The majority of these take place in the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington, London. The Proms has been described as ‘the world’s largest and most democratic musical festival’.

Prom is short for promenade concert, a term which originally referred to outdoor concerts in London’s pleasure gardens. The audience was free to stroll around while the orchestra was playing. In the context of the BBC Proms this now refers to the use of the standing areas inside the hall. As a consequence ticket prices are much lower than for the reserved seating. Tickets for either the Arena or Gallery in the Royal Albert Hall can only be purchased on the day of the concert. This can give rise to long queues for well-known artists or works. Those who stand are often referred to as ‘Promenaders’.

The opening concert features works Tchaikovsky, Elgar and Prokofiev with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo. Many guest soloists and orchestras perform during the season but the last night of the Proms is a very special experience. Tickets for last night seating are subject to a ballot, which can only be entered if tickets to a number of other concerts have been purchased. Needless to say Promenaders queue all day or even through the previous night to obtain standing room in the arena.

The concerts were inaugurated on 10 August 1895 in the Queen’s Hall with the British conductor Sir Henry Wood as the sole conductor. However in May 1941 the Queen’s Hall was devastated beyond repair during an air raid and the Royal Albert Hall is now the permanent venue.

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