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Things to Do

Queen’s Birthday Parade – First Rehearsal
by Gill Chris

May 30 – The Queen’s Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour), First Rehearsal

The Queen’s Birthday Parade is a colourful ceremony and parade with music, pageantry and the massed bands and troops of the Household Division to celebrate the official birthday of Her Majesty The Queen. The parade starts at 11.00am. and lasts approximately one hour. This is the first rehearsal with the Major General commanding the Household Division taking the salute.

The wonderful atmosphere of this uniquely British occasion make this an event not to be missed.  Over 1400 officers and men are on parade along with 200 horses. Over 400 musicians from 10 bands and corps of drums march and play together. It is a real spectacle!  The Parade route extends from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and back again

Tickets (free) are available to the public by ballot – applications before 28 February 2015 . Click here for further ticket information.  If you are not successful with your application for tickets, the procession can also be seen from The Mall; get there early to find a good spot!  Events begin at approximately 10am.

More information about Trooping The Colour can be found here.

The event is well served by public transport so if you’re staying at any of our London vacation rentals it is easy to reach by tube or bus.   Properties ref: EBY and VAU are a 10 or 20 minute walk away respectively.

The Courtauld Gallery
by Gill Chris

Fine art lovers (particularly those who love Impressionism) have few better places to spend an afternoon than the Courtauld Gallery in central London. In just a few rooms of this compact gallery, visitors will encounter such iconic works as Cezanne’s “The Card Players”, Manet’s “A Bar at the Folies-Bergere” and Van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear”.

Fans of other works of art will not be disappointed. Although the compact gallery specialises in Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, the gallery does cover a range of art styles from Renaissance to Modernism. Other highlights include marble and ivory sculptures and a stunning silver collection from the Courtauld family.

One tip when exploring the gallery is to always look up – the ceilings themselves are works of art! You may get a stiff neck, but the Courtauld Gallery shows that not all beautiful art are enclosed in frames.

If you’re still keen to keep the cultural theme after your visit, you can continue your explorations by wandering London’s Museum Mile.  A dozen other museums (most of them free) are waiting for you to discover them.

This article was originally published on Spotted by Locals London.

The Gallery is well served by public transport so if you’re staying at any of our London vacation rentals it’s easy to reach by tube or bus.

You can find out more about The Courtauld Gallery here.

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
by Gill Chris

May 15 until September 12

Regent’s Park has a long association with drama, there have been performances in the park since 1900, although this theatre wasn’t erected until 1932. The Open Air Theatre is a particular favourite for productions of Shakespeare plays. With a capacity of over 1000 this venue is also popular for musical and theatrical performances. A delightful and informal venue, it’s ideal for families. This year’s productions are: Peter Pan, The Seagull, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Lord of the Flies.

The Open Air Theatre is located in the heart of Regent’s Park, and the astonishingly capricious nature of outdoor theatre makes every visit unique and a6we-inspiring.  Despite having one of the largest auditoriums in London with 1250 seats, visitors say it is one of the most intimate.

Each evening provides a special and unique ambience and, before the performance, theatregoers often enjoy a picnic on the lawn or a Pimms in the bar as the fairy lights sparkle in the trees.

The performances themselves are bold and vibrant with wonderful storytelling, and the unpredictable nature of the weather adds an exiciting element and makes the rapport between performer and audience uniquely special at every performance.

You can find out more about the Open Air Theatre here.

The nearest station is Baker Street so if you’re staying at any of our London vacation rentals it’s easy to reach by tube.  If you stay at  CVN – Craven Hill Gardens, QSC2 – Queens Court or SSG – St. Stephens Gardens you are within a 15 minute walk.

Details of many other events in London can be found here:


Borough Market
by Gill Chris

Borough Market – Wednesday to Saturday, Weekly

Borough Market is London’s most famous food market; a joy for any food-lover.  This delightful gourmet experience consists of up to 70 stalls selling a wonderful array of artisan produce, including cheeses, breads, cakes, ciders, cakes, meats, vegetables and fish.

The vibrant atmosphere of bustling market stalls with mouth-watering displays, along with a cornucopia of wonderful aromas make this a must-do for any food-loving visitor to London.  You are positively encouraged to try before you buy so go with an empty stomach!

The market dates from the time when the Romans built London Bridge.   It has moved from its original site since then but has occupied its current site for the last 250 years making it London’s oldest market.

The nearest tube station is London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee lines) so if you’re staying at any of our London vacation rentals it’s easy to reach by tube.  If you stay at our property THD – Theed Street it’s just a short walk.

You can find lots more information to plan your visit to Borough Market here.

Tip: Go with empty bags to carry your purchases home!

The London Marathon
by Gill Chris

April 26 – The London Marathon

The London Marathon is one of the great sporting events of the year. The 26-mile race through the streets of London attracts competitive runners from all over the world, as well as those running for fun or charities.

If you’ve never joined the hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the streets of London to cheer on the runners in the London Marathon before, you’re in for a treat!  It is a wonderful experience with live bands along the route and plenty of places to grab a bite to eat and a drink.

There are lots of vantage points from which to watch the action whilst taking in some of London’s greatest sights including the The Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, the Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament.  The race finishes on The Mall with Buckingham Palace and Admiralty Arch at either end.

You can find lots more spectator information here.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay when visiting for the London Marathon please take at a look at our website where we have some 60 hand-picked London vacation rental properties at prices to suit most pockets.


Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
by Gill Chris

2015 Season at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

The 2015 Season at The Globe Theatre kicks off on April 23 with The Merchant Of Venice, starring Jonathan Pryce as Shylock.  The Season continues through the summer with As You Like It, King John, Measure for Measure, Richard II, Romeo & Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing, amongst others, before finishing off with a production of Nell Gwynn which closes on October 17.  Public booking opens 9 February 2015.

Sam Wanamaker’s faithful reconstruction of the Globe Theatre was opened by HM the Queen in June 1997. Here you experience Shakespeare’s plays in the round and in the open air – just as it was over 500 years ago – a unique experience!

More information about The Globe Theatre can be found here.

Details of many other events in London can be found at

The Boat Race
by Gill Chris

April 11, The Boat Race

The Boat Race is an annual contest between two rowing crews from Oxford and Cambridge universities. This world famous sporting event was first held in 1829 and is as British a sporting occasion as you will ever see as the two university crews battle it out to the roars of the crowds lining the river banks. The Boat Race is one of the oldest sporting events in the world; this year will be the 161st contest.  Cambridge lead the series with 81 victories to Oxford’s 79, with one dead-heat in 1877.

The Boat Race is one of the biggest free sporting events in London. See it from one of the many vantage points along the riverbank such as Putney, Hammersmith, Barnes or Chiswick.

The event is broadcast live on big screens in Bishops Park, Fulham and Furnival Gardens, Hammersmith.  In the UK, the Races are shown live on BBC1.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay when visiting London for the Boat Race, these properties are all within walking distance of the Thames and the Boat Race course:  BKV, BSH, PRX, RTV2, LAT and TMR .

Details of many other events in London can be found at


Chelsea Flower Show
by Gill Chris

May 19, Chelsea Flower Show

This is one of the events of the year – not just for garden enthusiasts but for socialites and anyone who loves beautiful things. See the very best in modern garden design, themed gardens, extravagant plantings, plus outdoor furniture and greenhouses. On the last day, there’s the opportunity to buy some of the magnificent exhibits.

The Chelsea Flower Show has been held in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital, London every year since 1913, apart from gaps during the two World Wars. Once Britain’s largest flower show (it has now been overtaken by RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show), it is still the most prestigious.

Details of many other events in London can be found at

Chinese New Year in London
by Harley Nott

Sunday February 22nd. Chinese New Year in London.

Chinese New Year in London is one of the most spectacular in the West with over 300,000 people taking part in the celebrations across the capital last year.

This year, the Year of the Sheep, Chinese New Year falls on 19 February and the London celebrations take place on the Sunday following, the 22 February.

Highlights of the event include a lively parade and a main stage in Trafalgar Square on 22 February from 12pm until 6pm, featuring visiting artists from China. Lion teams, performances from local artists and traditional food and craft stalls can be found in various locations. Join the throng in a stall-covered Chinatown for fun and firecrackers on and around Gerrard Street, Lisle Street and Shaftesbury Avenue where there are impromptu parties, food stalls and lion dancing.

Details of this and events in London throughout the summer can be found at

Unusual London bus tours
by Harley Nott

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 (and the future!).
  • 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 Chicheley Street SE1, which is just behind 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.

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