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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.

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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!

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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.

28
Feb
Four old (and famous) London pubs
by Harley Nott

Four old (and famous) London pubs.

Pubs (short for “public houses”) are a British institution, there are over 7,000 of them in London. Here are details of four of the oldest and most famous.

Ye Ode Mitre

Built in 1546 for the servants of the Bishops of Ely, The Ye Olde Mitre is famous for having a cherry tree, (now supporting the front) that Queen Elizabeth I once danced around. Set in a part of London steeped in history, it’s near where William Wallace was hung, drawn and quartered at Smithfield, along with martyrs and traitors who were also killed nearby. More details and here.

The Lamb and Flag

When the building now known as The Lamb and Flag was built, in the mid-17th Century, Covent Garden was a relatively new urban area – a smart and desirable address. But a century later, the gentry had moved away and the area had become a red-light district. Records from 1772 show that The Lamb and Flag – or Coopers Arms as it was known then – was trading successfully, but the clientele was drawn from the lower levels of society.

A century later, and the venue was a popular location for unlicensed bare-knuckle fights. Great London pubs don’t get more historic than this! More details.

The Prospect of Whitby

The Prospect Of Whitby in Wapping is London’s oldest riverside pub dating back to 1520. The pub has an illustrious history. Regular visitors included the writers Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys and Samuel Johnson – and the venue was known for its bare-knuckle and cock fights. It’s thought the pub’s strange name derives from the fact that a collier – a ship carrying coal – from Whitby in North Yorkshire used to moor regularly beside the pub. More details.

The Flask

The pub’s name – The Flask – comes from the tradition of selling flasks from the pub, which were then used to collect water from the springs around Highgate and nearby Hampstead heath. A natural spring to the rear of the pub may also have been used for this purpose.

Every good historic pub should have a haunting or two, and The Flask is no exception. You might run into the ghost of a Spanish barmaid who hanged herself in the pub’s cellar (now a seating area), over an unrequited love for the publican. Look out also for a chap in Cavalier uniform occasionally seen crossing the room in the main bar and vanishing into a pillar. And while he doesn’t haunt the pub (as far as we know) Dick Turpin is reputed to have spent some time in our wine store while on the run from the authorities. More details

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

26
Jan
How to afford a family trip to London
by Harley Nott

How to afford a family trip to London.

This year you CAN afford a family trip to London!

How?

1. Because the British Pound is at its lowest rate ever against the USD (GBP/USD 1.22) and many other currencies, and

2. Because if you stay in a vacation rental, rather than in a hotel, it’s much much cheaper especially for 3 or more people travelling together

A vacation rental is also better because:

• preparing some of your own meals or getting take-aways is much more cost effective than always eating in restaurants,

• with a vacation rental you get more space

• there’s no need to dress up or “put on a face” to go out of your room.

And, as an added bonus, you get to experience the city like a local.

Here are some of our best value properties.

Property THD. Spacious modern open-plan house in picturesque old London – sleeps 8 (3 doubles, 1 twin, 4 bathrooms) £330 (USD400) / night, or £41 (USD50) per person per night.

Property WML. Large family house in trendy Pimlico – sleeps 8 (2 doubles, 2 twins, 3 bathrooms) £265 (USD320) / night, that’s £33 (USD40) per person per night.

Property VAU. Modern Pimlico apartment boasting views across the London skyline, with aircon – sleeps 5 (1 double, 1 single, 1 double sofa-bed, 2 bathrooms) £195 (USD235) / night, £39 (USD47) per person per night.

Property BSH. Classic “English style” flat close to the river in Fulham – sleeps 4 (2 doubles, 1 bathroom) £135 (USD165) / night or £34 (USD41) per person per night.

Property ETW. Great value, modern 7/8th floor flat with private balcony and view of Battersea Park – sleeps 4 (2 doubles, 1 bathroom) £125 (USD150) / night, £31 (USD38) per person per night.

These are really nice properties, not crummy hotel rooms that you’d be paying at least twice as much for.

What’s more, unlike Airbnb, we look after you with a full concierge service as well. We’ve been in business and looking after our London guests since 2001, read the reviews on the property pages.

We only have a small number of these great London rentals, when they’re gone, they’re gone so you need to move fast if you don’t want to miss out.

Coach House Rentals
W: chsrentals.com
E: mail@chsrentals.com
T: +44 20 8355 3192

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

22
Nov
Christmas in London
by Harley Nott

Stop Press. Owning to cancellation of a long-standing booking, The Coach House (London’s best B&B!) has just become available over Christmas / New Year. This is ideal family accommodation: sleeps 5, 2 bed, 2 bath £160 (US$200) / night for 2/3, £200 (US$250) / night for 4/5.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve in London

With the British pound at a 30 year low against the US$ (£1=US$1.24), NOW is the time to get the most bangs for your bucks.

We still have some availability over the festive period but it’s going fast. Here’s a selection of what’s still available today, but it might not be tomorrow…..

Ref: ETW: sleeps 4, 2 bed, 1 bath, £125 (US$155) / night. Great value, modern 7/8th floor flat with private balcony and view of Battersea Park. (Available to 27 Dec).

Ref: QSC2: sleeps 4, 1 bed, 1 bath, £130 (US$160) / night. Modern apartment located minutes from Kensington Gardens.

Ref: LSS4: sleeps 2/4. 1 bed, 1 bath, £165 (US$205) / night. Spacious quality apartment in excellent Chelsea location.

Ref: CWN: sleeps 2, 1 bed, 1 bath, £180 (US$225) / night. Modern, top floor, riverside apartment with stunning views.

Ref: DNE: sleeps 4, 2 bed, 2 bath, £235 (US$290) / night. Charming and elegant pied-à-terre in smart Chelsea location.

Ref: SGW: sleeps 4, 2 bed, 2 bath, £240 (US$295) / night. Modern 9th floor, riverside apartment with great views.

And remember, when you book with Coach House Rentals you get our full concierge service.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks

There’s still time to get tickets for the famous London New Year’s Eve firework display. This spectacular event takes place on the River Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament. It’s 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 it really is something not to miss. Click here for ticket information.

15
Oct
Thanksgiving / pre-Christmas shopping trip to London
by Harley Nott

Thanksgiving / pre-Christmas shopping trip to London

Trump v Clinton getting you down? Give your partner a surprise Thanksgiving or pre-Christmas present – a shopping trip to London!

Air fares at the end of November and the first 3 weeks of December are low, save money by staying in one of our rentals and have more to spend on Christmas shopping. These links Shopping in London and Essential London Shopping Guide will help you find the right stores. And no visit to London is complete without a trip to the theatre, go to www.whatsonstage.com to see what’s on and to book your tickets.

£/$ exchange rate

This time last year each £ cost US$1.50, at the time of writing a £ now costs US$1.20 – that means that each US$ buys 25% more in the UK than a year ago. Prices here have yet to feel the effect of this currency movement – they haven’t gone up yet but, inevitably they will. So now is the time to get the best value.

London New Year’s Eve Firework Display

There’s still time to get tickets for the famous London New Year’s Eve firework display. This spectacular event takes place on the River Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament. It’s 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 it really is something not to miss. Click here to get tickets.

Somewhere to Stay

If you’re planning on being in London over the festive period you’ll need somewhere to stay, and a vacation rental is so much nicer than a hotel. Why?

1. With a vacation rental you get more space.

2. There’s no need to dress up or “put on a face” to go out of your room.

3. It’s cheaper – especially for a party of 3 or more people and for a group.

4. It’s more practical, preparing some of your own meals (Christmas dinner?) or getting take-aways is cheaper than always eating in restaurants. You can buy and sample the local specialities.

5. To summarise – you get to “live like a local”.

Why book with Coach House Rentals?

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

Book now! We’ve already taken a number of bookings for Christmas / New Year. We still have reasonable availability for smaller groups but it won’t be there for much longer.

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.

 

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.

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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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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.

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