London

London

Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park

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London’s annual Winter Wonderland spectacular opened this year on 21 November. Back for the 13th time, this Christmas feast offers something for thrill seekers of all ages!

Fun abounds in this oasis in London’s Hyde Park.

Thrilling fairground rides, dozens of winter stalls and a whole host of entertainment make Winter Wonderland the go to destination for families with children in London. Open from 10am to 10pm every day except Christmas Day.

Attractions this year include a huge open air ice rink (the biggest in the UK!), two circuses, an observation wheel and the Magical Ice Kingdom. Whilst for the adults there are themed bars serving beer in steins. Street food is plentiful. Riding the 70m observation wheel will take you up over the treetops and give you spectacular views of the London skyline.

The illuminations are absolutely dazzling.

Adults will enjoy the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club. And for those keen to learn there are ice sculpting workshops. For beer lovers the German-style Bavarian village offers a great atmosphere where you can down steins of beer to the sounds of live music. If you find that too hot to handle then you might enjoy the Ice Bar. Sounds chilly for the winter months – even the glasses you drink from are made of ice!

Streetfood includes hot dogs, smoked salmon (smoked on the spot!), hot chestnuts, churros, pasta, corn and the list goes on…..

Entry into Winterland is free of charge. You can enjoy brightly illuminated fairground rides, and child-friendly Santa Land with its own Santa’s grotto. As well as some 150 Christmas market stalls offering a huge variety of gift items, produce and Christmas fare. The sounds of Christmas can be heard throughout the site as you stroll around with both piped and live music playing continuously. You can warm up with a glass of mulled wine. And snack on a delicious hog roast or hot dog. Whilst the children feast on doughnuts and hot chocolate.

Paddington™ on Ice

This year’s spectacular features cutting edge choreography, stunning costumes and toe tapping music for all ages! This fabulous ice show has already enjoyed enormous success in Germany. Now, to the great delight of fans, the show can be seen for the first time here in the UK. Join Paddington™ as he travels by ship from the jungles of Peru to our very own London. The performance features award-winning international figure skaters, vibrant costumes and lively music. Sure to delight the whole family. Advance booking is recommended.

Magical Ice Kingdom

New attractions this year include the Magical Ice Kingdom’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol. This is a walk-through attraction that lasts approximately 30 minutes. This fabulous snow experience has been sculpted from over 500 tonnes of ice and snow. Wrap up warm – it’s very cold!

Mr. Men & Little Miss – The Show

Specially for the little ones, this 45 minute show is fabulous! Join your favourite Mr. Men and Little Miss characters as they leap off the page into Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Puppetry and music bring Happyland to life in a burst of colour.

Ice Skating

The ice rink is stunning – built around the Victorian grandstand. Skate hire is included in the ice skating ticket price at the open air ice rink which glistens under the 100,000 lights illuminating skaters from above.

The atmosphere

The ambiance at Wonderland is fabulous – guaranteed to get you in the mood for the Christmas season! This is a fun winter festival for all ages. Being adorned with so many thousands of lightws, the Wonderland at night is a beautiful sight. Feative sounds permeate the Park and visitors leave the area having overdosed on Christmas spirit!

Advance booking is recommended for shows etc. to save queueing on the day.

How to get there

Very conveniently located in Central London with lots of access options by underground and by bus. The nearest tube stations are Marble Arch, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, Victoria and Knightsbridge. Hyde Park Corner is best avoided as it is so busy – we recommend you use the other stations – particularly at weekends.

Although there is car parking nearby, there is not much availability and it is expensive so travel by public transport is recommended.

And if it’s been raining, don’t forget the wellies!

Winter Wonderland is on until 5 January 2020.

Accommodation nearby

If you wish to stay in the vicinity, you  might like to rent an apartment for the weekend for your weary revellers.

London

Sunday morning along the Southbank

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London’s Southbank is a great place for strolling and people watching.

Breakfast

We got out of the train at Waterloo and made our way along the side of the Royal Festival Hall and settled on Le Pain Quotidien for our breakfast. Lovely aromas of croissants and coffee welcome you as you enter the cafe. We were taken downstairs to a charmingly rustic dining space set in one of the arches supporting the railway above. The French style is unmistakable as coffee is served in bowls rather than cups or mugs. The menu is extensive and we settled on ham and cheese croissants. Absolutely delicious and highly recommended.

Even though the day was dull and drizzly, we wandered along the Southbank past families and children and sheltered for a while under Waterloo Bridge and browsed the books for sale. A large, eclectic mix of books (old and new) and posters are on offer.

Southbank is a great place for photographers and Instagrammers to visit. There is so much to see!

Street theatre

We then headed back towards the London Eye past the Underbelly Christmas market and on to see the street entertainers and buskers along the way. Whatever the weather this part of London is popular throughout the year. Tourists and Londoners alike enjoy the friendly buzz that characterises this area of London. And there are plenty of places to enjoy a coffee or a meal. Street artists are fun to watch. They are well into the technology of the 21st century now and even take contactless payments! We watched acrobats and singers – a lively, colourful display in sharp contrast to the grey skies above.

Then back over Westminster Bridge…. Where gambling “stations” abounded that morning. Young guys offering punters the chance to try their luck on “chase the ball” under one of three cups. Money was changing hands fast. And so were the balls! These huddles add to the local colour in the area….. And on Sunday there was not a policeman in sight!

The sound of music

As we came over the bridge the sound of bagpipes filled the air. Then just round the corner past the entrance to the Houses of Parliament we were treated to the view of a bagpiper in all his glory! Dress from head to toe in traditional Scottish clothing including a kilt and a sporran.

We skirted round the side of Parliament and, by then, were ready for a cup of coffee. Fortunately we spotted a cafe sign opposite the House of Lords and enjoyed a coffee in the old Jewel Tower. A nice quiet spot for a Sunday coffee in a very ancient building.

Our wander back to the station took in the Field of Remembrance outside London’s magnificent Westminster Abbey where poppies are on display to commemorate the fallen. A sobering scene.

Then past the many fascinating statues in Parliament Square including Millicent Fawcett, Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill to name but a few.

And finally back onto the underground at Westminster to the sound of the bagpiper’s serenade.

Accommodation nearby

If you want to stay in this lively hub, there are a number of good apartment residences in the area.

Business TravelLondon

A London apartment – the corporate solution

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Corporate apartments in the City of London are the ideal accommodation solution.

You may be coming to London on business – even for just a week – and you need somewhere to stay. We recommend an apartment for your visit. More spacious than hotel rooms, serviced apartments offer a home from home in the middle of the City.

Our apartments offer comforts and conveniences for corporate travellers. Financial savings are ideal for relocation, long term assignments and project work. Short and long term serviced flats provide increased flexibility, space, independence and privacy over traditional hotel accommodation.

Amenities

Our corporate serviced apartments meet the needs of the discerning executive in individual and private surroundings. Furthermore, you can use the apartment as an office and for meetings. You can use a larger apartment for entertaining. You will be able to prepare meals and dine in your flat as they all have kitchens.

Our London corporate apartments are fully furnished and offer WiFi, TV’s and regular maid service and weekly linen change.  Also, extra security and reception services are offered at many of our apartments.

We cater for relocating corporate executives, interim housing for business travellers and long term assigned projects.  Our range suits all budgets so we are confident we have something for you.

Whether you are on a business trip, moving or relocating there are great advantages to taking an apartment.  Also, you can book for the duration you require; a few nights or a few months. Corporate apartments in the City of London are very competitively priced.

You have plenty of options with Go City Apartments. We offer locations across the capital both in heart of the City and quiet residential areas.

Our clients

We work with a wide range of companies from Fortune 500 and FTSE250 corporations as well as SME’s across a wide range of industries. We offer solutions to our clients both in the UK and globally. Our clients come to us for our expertise, experience and in-depth knowledge of the apartment industry.  We guarantee consistency and high standards  in modern contemporary city apartments.  We help businesses find the most cost-effectve acccommodation solutions for their directors and employees.

London is one of the busiest hubs around the globe.  If you are visiting for business, attending a conference or working on a short term placement, it is important to be able to settle in a homely environment.

London

Stratford’s sporting venues

Stratford Centre

Stratford’s sporting venues offer a huge range of options for both spectators and participants alike.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Whether you’re into sports, arts, culture, fresh air, adventure playrounds, shopping or just relaxing with a coffee, the Park has something for you. A lovely venue to bring children – iconic parklands to wander through, playgrounds for them to run around and let off steam. Charming waterways with relaxing boat tours and swan pedalos and magical lighting illuminating the water at dusk. The Park is adorned with and array of inspirational world-class artworks. Interestingly, the park is known as Europe’s biggest outdoor classroom! With plenty of serviced accommodation in the area, this is a great family location for days out and weekends away.

The Copper Box Arena

The “box that rocks” offers gym, sports hall, exercise classes and badminton courts. The Copper Box is also an international netball venue. The arena has up to 2700m2 of divisible, flexible space that can be hired for sporting events. It is particularly suitable for badminton, basketball, handball/futbal, volleyball and netball. The Copper Box is now home to the London Lions basketball team.

The London Stadium

A magnificent arena – the only venue in the UK able to host both world class football matches and international athletics events and competitions. Forthcoming events include Premier League 2018/19 football matches featuring West Ham United. The Stadium was the first venue in Europe to host Major League Baseball, when the New York Yankees played the Boston Reds Sox in June 2019.

The Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre

State of the art facilities at this contemporary complex include tennis on both indoor and outdoor courts.  Extensive adult tennis programme and disability tennis available at The Centre. The Centre works closely with England Hockey, local clubs, schools and community organisations to run a range of hockey programmes. This is the ideal venue for groups and clubs who enjoy hockey on the two Union Jack fringed pitches.

London Aquatics Centre

Enjoy a swim in the pools of champions, the most technologically advanced swimming facility in the world – the home of the 2012 London Legacy. There are three pools to choose from and the Centre offers a range of swimming and diving opportunities for adults and children alike. Lane swimming, family swimming, lessons, women-only and disability swimming are accommodated. Popular state-of-the-art gym on-site.

Lee Valley VeloPark

Thrills for the cyclist whether you’re into track cycling, road racing, BMX or mountain biking.  Superb venue. You can cycle the track in the velodrome, race on the road circuit, tackle mountain bike trails and jump and bump on the berms of the BMX track. This is a venue that offers something for the whole family.

The Arcelormittal Orbit

Come and ride the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide and enjoy superb views of London from the UK’s tallest sculpture – a landmark to remember! This magnificent red tower of twisted metal  is an iconic symbol of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the London 2012 Games. Whizz down this giant slide at speeds of about 15mph in a 40 second descent. But if speed is not your thing then take the lift (and your camera) to the viewing platforms. Enjoy the sweeping panorama of London with views extending as far as Wembley Stadium, St Paul’s Cathedral and Canary Wharf! The ArcelorMittal Orbit is bookable for receptions, dinners and corporate events, not to mention weddings!

London

Mayfair’s Garden Squares

Berkeley Square Sculpture

Mayfair’s Garden Squares offer a lovely retreat from the hustle, bustle and traffic of the Mayfair area.

Grosvenor Square

Developed by Sir Richard Grosvenor in 1720, Grosvenor Square has been one of London’s most attractive public spaces, the second largest square in London. It boasts six acres of pristine lawns surrounded by neo-Georgian houses and embassies. Having housed the US Embassy since 1938, the square reveals it’s longstanding connection with the United Nations. It has a central statue to Franklin D Roosevelt and a 9/11 memorial garden. Former US President John Adams lived at No. 9, and it was the site of General Eisenhower’s headquarters during the Second World War. A charming place for a lunchtime stroll. Grosvenor House Suites offer discreet 5* serviced accommodation very close by. Mayfair, London W1K 2HP.

Mount Street Gardens

The beautiful Mount Street Gardens are a haven for birds such as robins and tits who inhabit the gardens’ plane trees, dawn redwood trees and Canary Island date palms. Nestled behind red-brick mansion blocks and the neo-Gothic Church of the Immaculate Conception, these gardens are a peaceful urban sanctuary. A focus for nature conservation in Central London, the gardens offer many benches for visitors to spend some quiet time. As well as other sculptures, the gardens feature a bronze drinking fountain in the shape of a rearing horse, designed by Sir Ernest George and Harold Peto. Mount Street Gardens, Mount St, Mayfair, London W1K 2TH

Brown Hart Gardens

Just off Duke Street, Brown Hart Gardens is one of the city’s best kept secrets: an elevated paved terrace space that, at street level, you might never know existed. In a fascinating location on the roof of the old Duke Street electricity substation, built in the early 1900’s,  today the garden provides residents, shoppers and local office workers with a sunny, lofty space to escape the hustle and bustle of nearby Oxford Street, and visitors can enjoy a coffee at it’s own café – The Garden Café. Brown Hart Gardens, Duke Street, London W1.

Berkeley Square

You will be lucky to hear a nightingale sing in Berkeley Square these days – this is not a tranquil haven – but nevertheless offers a charming retreat from the buzz of the city under an amazing canopy of 220 year old plane trees, with mottled trunks and giant foliage. Originating from the 1700’s some Georgian houses still remain and – beware – some of the houses are said to be haunted!  Previous occupants include two British prime ministers, namely Winston Churchill and George Canning. Berkeley Square, London W1.

 

Grosvenor Square

A lovely large square – the centrepiece of the Mayfair property empire of the Duke of Westminster.

London

Changing the Guard

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On a crisp autumn morning, strolling along to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is a great way to enjoy the sunshine. You can leave the underground at Embankment and skirt round the south side of Trafalgar Square. And if you’re lucky Nelson’s Column will be in sharp relief against a deep blue sky!. On the day I ventured there, the Extinction Rebellion campaigners were camped in force in the streets, parks and Trafalgar Square. I weaved my way round their tents to avoid tripping over and came face to face with a large octopus full of protesting humans.

Into The Mall…..

Just wander through Admiralty Arch and you will see The Mall open up right in front of your with Buckingham Palace at the far end. Security is very much in evidence when the Changing of the Guard is imminent. You will see, and be reassured by the fact, that policemen and women abound. Many are on horseback, most are on foot and a smaller number are pedalling on pushbikes! As you walk along the Mall the trees are starting to turn to their beautiful autumn colours. And the sun shines brightly through the foliage in St James’s Park. It is a beautiful stroll. In the far distance, the >>> statue shines brilliantly with Buckingham Palace in the background.

Where to stand

I was puzzling about where to stand and decided to just go with the flow. I reckoned that with such a forest of selfie-sticks in view it was not going to be easy to see the proceedings. So I wandered along, winding round the barriers and crossings and made my way to the Buckingham Palace fence. Just half an hour before it was due to start the crowd was already 3/4 people deep.  Not only were there hordes of people, there was a forest of selfie sticks being held aloft so I decided that wasn’t a good idea. I made my way over to the +++ and wandered round the statue. I took some nice pictures down the Mall and some of Buckingham Palace and waited. The regiment then came along the south side of the mall and my patience was duly rewarded.

The Pageantry

Because most of the viewers were opposite the front of the palace it was possible to take some nice shots of the band marching along. British pageantry is at its best at the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. It happens every day of the week but it’s still a thrill. On a lovely sunny day the brass instruments reflected the late summer sun.  As traffic is stopped in the area for the changing of the guard, the music echoes out through the forecourt and surrounding area.

After the pageantry

The crowd dispersed once it was over and many of the viewers made their way through St James’s Park.  I was lucky to see one of the famous pelicans, as well as a host of other waterfowl. The __ lake is a joy at this time of the year and the autumn flowers are still beautiful. You can enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat at the various kiosks and ___ cafe dotted around St James’s Park. It’s a lovely way to spend a morning in London.

We have some lovely family apartments close to Buckingham Palace…..

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