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Lifestyle

Liberty of London

Liberty of London – the fabulous department store whose building is now a heritage listed London icon. The store is renowned throughout the world for its directional design, cultural collaborations and inspiring curation.

Their dedicated in-house design studio is still at the core of the business, and painting and creating their  beautiful prints and reworking finds from their massive archive.

Beautiful luxury fabrics abound. And you will find the renowned Liberty prints on a vast array of stylish homeware designer fashion items and sumptuous beauty products.

Address

Liberty of London, Regent St, Soho, London W1B 5AH

Nearest public transport

By tube:

Oxford Circus – Central, Bakerloo and Victoria lines
Piccadilly Circus – Piccadilly and Bakerloo Lines

By bus:

Accessible from the following buses: 3, 6, 12, 13, 15, 23, 53, X53, 88, 94, 139, 159 and C2

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Lifestyle

Columbia Road Flower Market

A lovely place for a Sunday morning jaunt.

The street is transformed into a stunning oasis of flowers, foliage and folk. You can buy bedding plants, flowers and plants of every possible type imaginable. Some are being sold by the actual growers whereas others are imported from all over the world.

Flower sellers abound and the city village atmosphere is compounded by buskers and musicians on the streets. The perfume of flowers pervades the area – a treat for the senses. And the backdrop is completed by the sound of the London barrow boys offering their blooms.

Stall after staff offer a fabulous array of colour and beauty at this fabulous market.

In addition to the flowers on offer, there are some 60 independent shops in the street too. You will see art galleries, cake shops, antique shops and vintage clothes stores. Delis and cafes serve delightful English fare. And there is a wealth of restaurants and pubs.

Columbia Flower Market is well worth a visit. A great place to meander on a Sunday.

Address

Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG

How to get there

By underground: Bethnal Green

Nearest train stations: Bethnal Green, Cambridge Heath, Hoxton

Plan your journey by visiting the TFL website.

 

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Lifestyle

New Year’s Eve 2019

If you are coming to London to see in the New Year there is only one place to be and that is the Southbank.

The best viewing spots are sectioned off and only available to visitors who have tickets so it is best to buy tickets in advance. You can choose from several viewing areas along the Thames and on Waterloo and Westminster Bridge.

Tickets are essential for this amazing spectacular. Click here >

Location

Thames Riverside, Central London, SE1, United Kingdom

Accommodation nearby

There are some lovely family apartments close to the Southbank but you need to book early to avoid disappointment.

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Lifestyle

The National Gallery

Address

The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DN

Nearest underground stations

Charing Cross, Leicester Square

Nearest train station

Charing Cross

Accommodation nearby

It’s great to stay near where it’s all happening in London. There are some excellent apartments close to Trafalgar Square.

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Lifestyle

Westminster Abbey

Initially built by Henry III in 1245 Westminster Abbey is one of the most important Gothic buildings of England. At first home of Benedictine monks, the coronation church since 1066 and the final resting place of 17 monarchs. It contains a treasury full of paintings, stained glass, pavements, textiles, books and various other artefacts plus the most significant collection of monumental sculptures of the UK. In the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries in the Abbey’s Triforium you can explore over 1,000 years of history in this truly unique space, high above the Abbey floor.

Address

Westminster Abbey, 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA

Accommodation nearby

See apartments close to Westminster Abbey…..

23
Lifestyle

The London Eye

Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, a flight on the iconic Coca-Cola London Eye is an essential journey for all visitors to London – whatever their ages. The Eye resembles a spoked bicycle wheel rising high above the river.

You will be able to enjoy a 360 degree view round the London skyline from your pod! Bring your camera with you and spot London’s major landmarks from on high. The wheel offers great opportunities to take breathtaking shots of London. As it moves so slowly you will have plenty of time to take photos and videos from many different angles. At 135m this stunning cantilevered observation wheel is the tallest of its kind in the world!

And the wheel is operational throughout the year; the times vary according to season. Therefore we recommend that you make a reservation in advance. The slow rotation of the 32 capsule wheel takes approximately 30 minutes and gives you an ever changing perspective of London. Capsules are bookable for special occasions. You can even get married in the London eye! They are ideal for spending time with family and friends and you can even arrange to dine in private in the seclusion of a capsule.

Address

The London Eye, Lambeth, London SE1 7PB

How to get there

By tube: Underground stations nearby include Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth North.

By riverboat:  There are a number of services which stop at Coca-Cola London Eye Pier travelling from the O2, Bankside, Embankment, Blackfriars, London Bridge, Tower, Canary Wharf, Hilton Docklands, Masthouse Terrace, Greenwich, Royal Arsenal Woolwich, St. Katherine’s or Westminster Piers.

By bus: Various routes including the 211, 77 and 381.

By train: The closest rail stations are Waterloo and Charing Cross. Waterloo is about 5 minutes walk. Charing Cross is about 15 minutes walk across Hungerford Bridge.

By car: Please note that The London Eye is in the Congestion Charging Zone.

Accessibility

The London Eye welcomes guests with accessibility needs. Please click here for full details before making your reservation for this amazing attraction.

Where to stay nearby

If you would like to stay nearby we have some lovely apartments for you…..

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Lifestyle

Hyde Park

With its thousands of stunning trees and plants, London’s beautiful Hyde Park is a wonderful place to stroll with your family and friends throughout the year. So with the adjoining Kensington Gardens, these two magnificent spaces form one of London’s largest green areas. Perfect for jogging and strolling, you can escape the hustle and bustle in Hyde Park and go back to nature.

Sports

Boating on The Serpentine: in Hyde Park there is a fleet of rowing and pedal boats for visitors to enjoy gliding across the lake. A great way to spend an afternoon.

Sports:   The Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre is at the western end of the Sports Field at the junction between West Carriage Drive and South Carriage Drive.  There are 6 tennis courts, a 6 rink lawn bowling green and a 9 hole putting green, a cafe and changing facilities.

Tennis: There are 6 high-quality tennis courts at the Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre. Visitors to the park are encouraged to turn up and play and a range of membership options are available. And coaching courses are run for children and for adults. Tournaments are organised and teams can also play in local tennis leagues.

Lawn Bowls: The Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre has a well-maintained 6 rink flat green bowling green. The bowling green is available from May-October (weather dependent) to individuals, families, groups of friends or established clubs to hire and can be pre-booked.  Bowls of all sizes are available for hire.

Putting Green: The Centre also has a challenging and well maintained 9 hole putting course, popular with both groups and families.

Refreshments

The Serpentine Bar & Kitchen, inspired by English country living, is a retreat for both Londoners and visitors alike. They serve tasty hot meals and snacks, sandwiches, salads, cakes, puddings and drinks.

The Lido Bar and Cafe offers stunning views of The Serpentine and has a large alfresco dining area. It’s a great space to relax and enjoy Hyde Park with your family.

In Memory of Princess Diana

The Diana Memorial Fountain: Built from 545 pieces of Cornish granite, the design aims to reflect the mercurial Diana’s life. Its water flows in two directions, cascading, swirling and bubbling before meeting in a calm pool.  There are three bridges where you can cross the water and go right to the heart of the fountain.

In the Kensington Gardens area, The Serpentine Galleries comprise two contemporary art galleries – The Serpentine Gallery and The Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Usefully, they are linked by the bridge over the Serpentine Lake from which the galleries get their names. 

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground children’s wonderland opened on in June 2000, in memory of the late Princess Diana. Located next to the Kensington Palace home she occupied during her marriage, a huge wooden pirate ship is the amazing centrepiece of this fitting tribute to the child-loving Princess. Inspired by the stories of Peter Pan, the design includes an area where less able and able-bodied children can play together.

The playground encourages children to explore and follow their imaginations and learn through play. Some 70,000+ children enjoy this free playground each year, playing, exploring, dashing about and letting their imaginations soar. There is a sensory trail, teepees, a beach, various toys and play sculptures; all set against a lush backdrop of trees and plants. There’s plenty of seating so the grownups can relax too. You can enjoy a coffee in the playground while their children rush around and use up their energy in imaginary games!

Hyde Park – a natural habitat

Wildlife: Hyde Park provides a unique habitat for a diverse variety of species of flora and fauna and positive changes in management practices have encouraged new species to adopt the park as their home! The meadow area gives a flavour of how Hyde Park once looked in the past and this area has become more diverse year on year since its creation and of special delight to visitors is the sight of butterflies feeding from the native wildflowers in the meadow.

Birdlife

Trees, shrub beds and and an abundance of herbaceous plantings provide rich habitats for song birds including robins, dunnocks and tits. Look out for small groups of long tailed tits that hop around from tree to tree looking for insects and nesting materials. Sadly, over feeding of aggressive feral pigeons and squirrels threatens the native song birds as they are not able to compete with these robust pests.

Goose Duckling: The Serpentine attracts many wildfowl, many of which are winter visitors to the park. Look out for the exotic looking great crested grebes and their spectacular mating rituals. The lake also attracts a large number of insects providing a perfect feeding ground for bats. The best place to view bats is on Dell Bridge around dusk and also close to Serpentine Bridge.

Much of the wildlife in the park goes unnoticed by the majority of visitors. Keep your eyes peeled for a large number of ‘minibeasts’ such as beetles, bees and ground foraging insects. These insects are a vital component of the park ecosystem and the creation and protection of their habitats is very important for the health of the park.

Look out for other exotic and unusual visitors which descend on Hyde Park from time to time. Recent sightings have included a black swan, a buzzard and egyptian geese.

Opening Times

Hyde Park is open from 5:00 am until midnight all year round.

Where to stay

We offer some great family apartments close to Hyde Park.

Getting to Hyde Park

London’s beautiful Hyde Park is highly accessible by public transport, both by underground and by bus. There is limited car parking available but we recommend that visitors come by public transport. The general postcode for the park is W2 2UH, but it covers a large area so we suggest you plan your journey carefully.

By Tube

Tube stations close to Hyde Park are:

Lancaster Gate (Central Line), Marble Arch (Central Line), Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line), Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line).

By Bus

North : C2, 6, 7, 10, 16, 19, 23, 36, 52, 73, 82, 98, 113, 274, 390, 414
South : 2, 36, 137, 148, 159, 436
West : 9, 10, 14, 19, 22, 52, 74, 94, 148, 414
East : 8,15, 23, 30, 38,274

Hyde Park – make sure you visit when you come to London!

On a Sunday

Speakers’ Corner: a famous, traditional site for public speeches and debates since the 1800’s when protests and demonstrations took place in Hyde Park.  Historic figures such as Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and George Orwell used to speak to the gathered crowds and exercise their right to free speech.  So on a Sunday morning, it is not unusual to find hordes of people converging on Speakers’ Corner to listen to enthusiasts expounding their views.  Anyone can turn up unannounced to speak on any subject, as long as the police consider their speeches lawful.

23
Lifestyle

Buckingham Palace

The official London residence of Her Majesty The Queen is open to tourists during a couple of months each summer whilst she and Prince Philip are spending time in Balmoral in Scotland. Buckingham Palace is one of the world’s few remaining working palaces and the Buckingham Palace Tour gives you a window on the world of British royalty in the 21st century. This magnificent building is an amazing 108 metres wide and an imposing 24 metres high. And it boasts 775 rooms!

Palace tours

You can take a tour. Highlights of the Buckingham Palace tour include the 19 beautiful State Rooms which are lavishly decorated and used for receiving guests and official ceremonial functions. See the regal splendour of the Throne Room often used as a backdrop for royal photos. Marvel at the magnificent Grand Staircase. And enjoy seeing the fine art including works by Canaletto, Rembrandt and Vermeer.

Special exhibition

A new special exhibition is housed in the Palace every year. The special exhibition for 2020 will feature the Royal Family’s love of animals. Notably, the Queen has been a lifelong dog lover. She was given her first corgi, Susan, for her 18th birthday and has since owned more than 30. The exhibition will feature photographs of many royal pets through the ages.

The Palace also boasts a magnificent garden in which you can stroll. It is a walled oasis in the middle of the capital. It has over 350 different species of wild flowers and a beautiful lake. Her Majesty the Queen hosts annual garden parties in this “largest private garden” in London as well as large functions to celebrate major royal milestones. Jubilees and “big” birthdays are celebrated in style. There is a helicopter landing pad as well as a tennis court in the garden.

A standard entry ticket will give you entry to the State Rooms and Buckingham Palace. Or, the slightly more expensive option available which allow you to visit the Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery.

The Royal Mews is located just adjacent to the Palace and houses the royal carriages including the Gold State Coach. The coach was built in 1762 and has been used for every coronation since George IV. The coach horses used on ceremonial occasions are also housed here.

If you are visiting London outside the summer months then you might like to go along and watch the Changing of the Guard. You will hear the band playing and the soldiers marching. The pageantry is stunning. It is a great place to take photos and people watch.

Enjoy a visit to Buckingham Palace – it will give you memories to treasure.

Address

Buckingham Palace, Westminster, London SW1A 1AA

Getting there

Travel by underground: The nearest tube stations are Victoria, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner.

Take a bus: Several buses stop nearby.

By coach: To Victoria Coach Station which is only 10 minutes’ walk away.

The Palace is generally accessible but please visit the accessibility section of the royal website for further details before you plan your journey.

Accommodation

Family apartments nearby. Accommodation close to Buckingham Palace…..

 

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Lifestyle

Tower Bridge

One of the timeless London landmarks of the city skyline you need to visit! Take a walk across the upper walkway (with its glass floor) and enjoy magnificent views along the Thames and across the City of London from St Paul’s Cathedral to Canary Wharf and beyond. And also see the pedestrians and traffic some 42metres below! Inside the bridge you can enjoy the magnificent Victorian Engine Rooms that house the beautifully maintained coal-driven engines that once powered the Bridge Lifts. If you get your timing right you can view the Bridge Lifting below from the overhead glass floored walkway to allow the River traffic to pass through. Tower Bridge is a great experience.

Yoga lovers can participate in a monthly yoga session on the glass walkway! A unique sunrise experience.

Built in 1894, Tower Bridge celebrated it’s 125th anniversary this year in 2019.

It is one of London’s leading tourist attractions with visitor numbers in excess of 2 million every year.

The Tower Bridge Engine Rooms

Explore the new exhibition and learn about the unsung heroes who kept the icon in motion over the decades. See the original steam engines, coal burners and accumulators that once powered the majestic Tower Bridge. And hear the fascinating histories of cooks, coal stokers and engineers. In its heyday, some 80 people were required to operate and maintain the bridge. And when first built, the bridge was raised some 20-30 times a day.

The ambiance is very atmospheric. You will be able to have fun with interactive display exhibits, watch newly commissioned films and see never before displayed photographs.  This carefully curated exhibition explores and explains the role of this dynamic workplace at the heart of the iconic Tower Bridge.

Address

Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP

How to get there

The main entrance and ticket office is located at the North West Tower of the Bridge. The entrance to the Victorian Engine Rooms is located on the south side of the Bridge on Shad Thames. Follow the painted blue line on the ground to connect the two parts of the attraction.

By underground:
Tower Hill station (District and Circle lines) to the north side of the Bridge.
London Bridge station (Northern and Jubilee lines) to the south bank of the River Thames a short walk away.

By bus:
The following bus routes will take you to Tower Bridge: 15, 42, 78,100, 343

By train:
Reach Tower Bridge from London Bridge, Fenchurch Street or Tower Gateway DLR Station.

By boat:
Just a short walk from Tower Bridge riverboats stop at St Katherine Pier and Tower Pier on the north bank and at London Bridge City Pier on the south bank.

By bicycle:
Cycle hire docking points available nearby. See docking station map >

Accessibility

The bridge is an accessible venue. Please click here for full details of accessibility before setting off.

Accommodation nearby

Some of the most luxurious apartments overlook London’s tower – imagine enjoying lovely views from your own terrace as the glowing evening sun sets over the River…. See apartments nearby >

 

23
Lifestyle

Richmond Park – London’s largest Royal Park

Richmond Park – London’s largest Royal Park where deer have roamed freely since 1637.

Richmond is a lovely place for a family visit. You can witness nature in the raw during the rutting season which takes place from September to November. But beware – those lively stags have been known to show a bit too much interest in park visitors. You can drive through large parts of the park but its 2,500 acres are also a great place to walk, hike and cycle.

Wildlife aplenty

Well deer are plentiful – but they can be shy so keep your eyes peeled. The stags in Richmond Park are magnificent. If you choose to visit in the autumn during the rutting season you will see their massive antlers draped with lichen, moss and leaves when they are trying to attract females. Red stags and fallow bucks compete for the females and the sound of roaring males barking and clashing antlers is frequently heard at this time. Equally you will learn where the phrase doe eyes comes from!

From May to July the young appear but they tend to be hidden amongst the bracken and long grass, carefully protected by their mothers.

Over the three centuries that the deer have grazed in the park they have contributed to an evolving landscape. See if you can spot the distinctive “browse line” of the trees where grazing deer have eaten all the leaves and twigs growing below about 1.5metres. They devour young seedlings and saplings and this contributes to keeping the grassland open

Please be aware that deer are wild animals. You are advised to keep at least 50 metres away from the deer so that you do not threaten rutting stags or a mother and her calf…

Wildlife Conservation

Nature abounds thoughout the park with its huge range of flora and fauna.

Food and Drink

Richmond is a great place for a picnic. Bring your own and sit beside one of the lakes and enjoy being at one with nature.

Pembroke Lodge

Enjoying a great vantage point overlooking Richmond Park, this stunning listen Georgian mansion provides a range of refreshments and meals – ideal after a long walk round the park. The Lodge is a great place to hire for an event and has become one of London’s leading wedding venues.

You can also enjoy ice creams, tea and snacks at the Roehampton Cafe. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Open daily.

Cycling

Richmond Park is a great place for cycling. You can either bring your own or rent a mountain bike from the Parkcycle centre near the Roehampton Gate. There are some lovely traffic free trails in the park so it’s a great place to bring the family for a cycle. The rides are graded – some are hilly whereas others are flat – so you can choose the terrain and pace that suits you.

Children’s playgrounds

For pre-school children the Kingston Gate Playground is the ideal place to go. Designed for younger children, it is located adjacent to the Kingston Gate Car Park and features timber sculptures (fairy pergola and tractor are two favourites), a bark pit, a hammock and children’s tables and seats.

For children of all ages the Petersham Gate playground is great. Featuring a sandpit area, bark pit with climbing frame and jumping lily pads, balancing blocks, a hammock, an elephant piano (xylophone), a see-saw and a water play feature. A timber pergola provides shade. Seating provided.

Travelling to the park

By public transport: Richmond Park is easily accessible by public transport so we suggest you plan your journey by visiting the Transport for London website.

Driving to Richmond Park: There are car parks available in Richmond Park, although they do get rather busy at time. See Parking in Richmond Park.

If you are using a mobile device, the park covers a large area so the postcode for guidance is TW10 5HS.

Travelling by tube/train: Richmond Station – National Rail or District Line (and then catch the 371 or 65 buses to the pedestrian gate at Petersham).

Arriving by bus:
190, 391, 419, R68. Northside – 33, 337, 485. Southside 85/N85, 265, K3, Eastside 72, 493, Westside 65, 371.

Accommodation nearby

You may like to stay close to the park with your family.  See apartments nearby…..

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