Great alternative theatrical dining experience. It's had sell-out performances across South Africa over the past two years. The show combines performances from contortionists, comedians and circus actors with a four-course meal and it would be a great Christmas experience.
Battersea Power Station - a 5 minute walk from Vauxhall tube station
We went to El Torero Loco for a quick after work drink - we ended up staying there all night! It really is a tapas place with a difference - stylish with a glamorous sofa area at the back. Great happy hour 5-7pm, with amazing cocktails. The tapas were divine - try the chorizo stew and gambas.
351 Fulham road, London (Chelsea)
Gloucester road or Fulham Broadway
The ice rink at Somerset House is surely the most romantic place to go on a winter's night. Enjoy the mulled wine and the good music in a twinkling winter wonderland. Don't bother with the skating unless you've been practising. Spectating is much warmer.
The Strand, nr Waterloo Bridge nearest station Covent Garden, Charing Cross, Waterloo.
For more travel tips and holiday advice visit www.bitesandblisters.co.uk
Clink in King’s Cross is one of the most interesting hostels I’ve stayed at and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wants to stay somewhere different. It’s a very cool building, as it has been converted from a courthouse, and they have even kept some of the courtrooms intact, which is pretty cool.
It’s really centrally located in London and the staff were helpful and friendly. Breakfast was included in the price and fares much better than other places I’ve stayed at! All in all, a great stay and modestly priced too for a hostel in London.
If you’ve never attempted ice-skating before then this is a great time to try it out – on an outdoor rink. A few places in and around London, most notably the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Somerset House, have converted large areas into makeshift rinks over the festive period and it’s a great place to take the family, partners or just a bunch of mates.
I’ve been three Decembers in a row and it’s such great fun and very reasonably priced too which is always a bonus! Just make sure to pack a scarf, thick socks and some warm gloves...
Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Just a short walk away from the Camden Lock and the tube station is the buzzing Jazz Café. You can enjoy a perfect evening either dining upstairs, or chill out with friends, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the bands and performers that play here every few days.
I have been on a number of occasions and never had a bad time, mostly due to the music! They play a variety of genres, from jazz to hip-hop to blues, and for some of the bigger nights you may have to book in advance, but it's definitely worth it. Drop by if you fancy a night of relaxing with a few beers and some melodic jazzy tones.
5 Parkway, Camden, London, NW1 7PG
If like me, you are totally into everything anime/animation related, then you should check out this kooky little shop right around the corner from Carnaby Street. They sell funky Japanese-style figurines and play things – great for children and as gifts for adults.
Although the majority of what they sell seems to be of the ornamental persuasion (for show), they also sell books, magazines, games and posters – my personal favourite being a huge Pixelation City, complete with people, cars, buildings and river, all presented in a space invaders-esque design. Very niche, but oh-so-funky.
19 Beak Street, London, W1F 9RF
This is a truly new way to eat out, if you want to take a break from exploring the city. I stumbled upon this place while out and about in Soho with some friends. The food is Eastern-Asian and tastes fantastic, but instead of ordering all of your drinks and food from a waiter, you use Inamo’s special gizmo. It projects a virtual menu onto your table and by using your fingers you can navigate through the food and drinks and it will even show you a picture of what it is that you are eating!
You don’t need a waiter at all (but they are still around to help), you can take your time ordering and eating, and you can even play battleships and order a cab home. It’s something that I’ve not seen anywhere else before and definitely worth a look!
134-136 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 8ZP
This independent boutique is a treasure-trove of modern gifts and homeware inspired by Oriental designs. The products are truly unique and it is a must for someone looking for the distinctive piece. The mix of decadence and girlieness is one of a kind!
1st floor in Kingly Court; the haven for independent boutiques off Carnaby Street.
I often get jibes from my American workmates about the size of five-star rooms in London. Now, it's only the Wyndham who've bigger hotel rooms in London from any other hotel I've been to! If you're flying into Heathrow, it's the first five-star within distance so, if you've got to get the top cheeses into a room somewhere across the pond, I recommend the Wyndham!
I liked the harbour views. Having breakfast al fresco before braving the District line, as anyone will attest, you need to calm yourself before you get into the big squeeze! Otherwise, take a taxi!
Prancing around London in the middle of the night with a bunch of old men in fancy dress. No, this is not some kind of post-modern theatre, but an ancient ritual which has taken place pretty much every night for the past 700 years in this great old city. The Ceremony of the Keys involves an ornate and complex set of rituals to ensure that the Tower of London is locked up good and proper. At exactly seven minutes to 10 o'clock each and every night the Chief Warder in his regal red coat and somewhat bonkers Tudor bonnet, carrying the Queen's Key and a giant lantern, marches around the perimeter of the Tower of London locking up the gates, accompanied by Foot Guards, sentries and various other characters straight out of the history books.
Complete with archaic greetings, a bugler and the best costumes you're ever likely to see. Having lived in London all my life, I can honestly say that I've never spent such a magical and unforgettable 10 minutes in London and urge everyone to accompany the procession at least once. It's free, but to go along you need to go through the hassle of writing a letter (no emails of course!) -
Tower of London
For more information visit their website here: www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/WhatsOn/ceremonyofthekeys.aspx.
Lurking in the hinterland that is Hack-Hack-Hackney, this little bit of east has most definitely missed out on the regeneration, but it's also missed out on the outlaw years of estates, grime and crime. It's a beautiful spot offering tranquillity amongst the sprawl, where you can stroll along the river, watch the wildlife scuttle by, catch a real odd (but truly unique) pint at the Hope and Anchor, or pick up a fry-up at the cafe opposite Lea Valley Marina. Beautiful, chilled and totally hidden.
A new purpose-built children's theatre (2006) with two auditorium just behind the London Assembly Building by Tower Bridge. It consists of a main stage and studio theatre.
The Unicorn Company was founded by Caryl Jenner in 1947 to promote theatre of the highest standard for young people. They are presenting their own productions with their ensemble company and productions from other children's theatre companies from the UK and places like Japan and Sweden.
Box office 020 7645 0560
Great area especially on a Thursday and Friday when they have a food market that attracts the local workers. Also has some great restaurants: Moro, Medcalf and The Ambassador.
Exmouth Market, just off Farringdon Road. 10 minutes' walk from Farringdon and Angel tube stations
The Little Angel Theatre is a marionette (or puppet) theatre. It's a little gem hidden away in Islington behind the bustle of Upper Street and Essex Road. It's a tiny building on Dagmar Passage.
The puppet masters are just that - masters of their art. I used to go with a friend and we were often the only adults there without children, but many shows have two levels of interpretation and you certainly don't have to be a child to enjoy them.
Before or after the show have a stroll along the New River Walk, running between Canonbury (The Marquess Estate) and the Angel. It's a lovely linear park based around the river that used to bring water to London from the country. It's beautifully peaceful, and there are ducks to watch (or feed) and benches to sit and contemplate. You could do a round walk down the park and back up Upper Street to Highbury and Islington tube and get the best of shops, cafe, theatre and park for a day's entertainment.
14 Dagmar Passage, off Cross Street, London N1 2DN
Highbury and Islington or Angel tube
020 7226 1787 (Box Office)
020 7359 8581 (Admin)
It's a delightful surprise behind the hustle and bustle of The Strand with a beautiful courtyard for fountains or movies, a museum of Russian artifacts from St Petersburg (The Hermitage Rooms) and a wonderful collection of paintings and other pieces of artwork at the Courtauld Gallery. There is a basement cafe at the Gallery, or a terrace restaurant overlooking the Thames, or The Admiralty for finer dining.
Bistro restaurants - excellent value for money, for example two-course lunch for £6.90; dinner for £7.90; three-course lunch for £9.90 and dinner for £10.90. Delicious Mediterranean food and good, quick, informal service.
3 branches: 1 on Southampton Street, 1 on Beak Street and 1 on Frith Street.
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