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Things to Do

Tennis World Tour Finals
by Cedric

The ATP World Tour Finals will once again take place at the O2 Arena in London between the 13th and the 20th November. Since 2009 London has hosted this end of season showdown featuring the world’s best eight qualified men singles players and men’s doubles teams in the ATP ranking list. If you wish to see players such as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka in action, tickets are still available.

The British number one, Andy Murray, is currently world number two but has a chance to overtake Noval Djokovic and secure the number one slot prior to the World Tour Finals. He needs to win the current tournament in Vienna and the following in Paris to achieve this goal. In any event the rivalry between the two will be very intense at the O2.

Originally called the Millennium Dome, the O2 Arena was constructed on the bank of the River Thames in Greenwich, South East London to celebrate the advent of the new millennium in 2000. With a seating capacity up to 20,000 the O2 is now the world’s busiest music arena as well as hosting numerous sporting events.

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Thanksgiving / pre-Christmas shopping trip to London
by Harley

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 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 –, 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.


Sea Life London Aquarium
by Cedric

The Sea Life London Aquarium can be found on the south bank of the River Thames near the London Eye. It is the largest aquarium in London and is located on the ground floor of County Hall, which was the former administrative centre for London. It first opened in March 1997 and now hosts about one million visitors each year.

The visit starts by walking over a glass window with incredible views into a magnificent Pacific display. This is a massive tank two stories high where some of the most majestic creatures in the ocean are swimming just inches beneath one’s feet.

There are many smaller tanks as one walks around but the aquarium is divided into the following major displays:-
Atlantic Depths showing the mysterious depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Cold and deep, it is full of creatures such as a sparkling silver shoal of sand eels and the common octopus.
Ray Lagoon which is rippling with these graceful creatures. Through the window below the water surface it is possible to see the mouth and gills on the underside of their bodies as they pass by.
The Dive Discovery where hundreds of gorgeous tropical fish are flitting around the replica bones of a great grey whale.
Rockpool illustrating the fascinating world of micro-habitats and the incredible creatures that thrive in them such as starfish, sea anemones and crabs.
Pacific Wreck where spectacular sharks cruise serenely past and weave around Easter Island Heads.
Seadragon Kingdom where seahorses grip at seagrass with their curly tails and suck up tiny shrimp with their straw-like snouts while brightly coloured seadragons bob slowly past the window.
Thames Walk where one can learn about the iconic river and what is being done to keep it clean and also about the surprising animals that live in it.

There are animal feeds taking place throughout the day in different areas of the attraction so visitors can see for themselves just how sharp a Piranhas teeth are, what a Seahorse eats and how many fish it takes to satisfy a hungry Gentoo Penguin.

Conservation is also an important aspect of the Aquarium with projects covering ray breeding, coral propagation and shark & marine conservation. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about the threats facing marine life.

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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.

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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 and for a map showing these routes go to

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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.

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London New Year’s Eve Firework Display
by Harley

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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Attention all Foodies and Football Fans
by Harley

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 ……

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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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