Thursday, 14 January 2016

Ideas for Valentine’s Day in London

Celebrate at the fabulously romantic Clos Maggiore for an unforgettable Valentine’s Day in London.

The famous ‘Bob Bob Ricard’ of Soho serves a luxury British and Russian menu and is well worth a visit. Feel free to use the ‘Press for Champagne’ button as many times as you like.

Dining in the dark will open a new world of possibilities at Dans le Noir.

Fancy afternoon tea on Valentine’s Day? Why not try one of these lovely venues.

Alternative ideas for those of you who are very active
Try the ping pong at tables ‘Bounce’ or something completely different at the indoor rock climbing venue, The Castle Climbing Centre. An expedition across the roof of the O2 sounds like a challenge but could be surprisingly wonderful.

Views of the city
The view of the London skyline from the Shard is truly a breathtaking experience.

An unforgettable Champagne Experience at the London Eye will have you spinning in your own private capsule.

And lastly, one naughty little secret is the Coco de Mer. Pssst!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Essential Guide to Christmas in London 2015

There's nothing more festive as London at Christmas time. Plan well ahead to avoid disappointment. 
This year Christmas Day falls on a Friday. There are public holidays for Christmas Day and Boxing Day on the 25 and 26 December. As Boxing Day is on a Saturday in 2015, there is an additional public holiday on Monday 28 December. New Year's Day (1 January) also falls on a Friday and this is a public holiday.

London on Christmas Day

Virtually everything is closed for business on Christmas Day in London. Some places, including banks, remain closed on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). Almost all of London's attractions close for at least one day over Christmas, and many close from 24 to 26 December, as well as 1 January. There's considerable variation, so it's a good idea to check directly with specific attractions before travelling.
There is also a chance to enjoy the traditional Peter Pan Cup Christmas Day race. Since 1904, swimmers have been braving the cold for this outdoor competition in the Serpentine lake. Wrap up warm and admire all participants! 
Some pubs and bars open for a few hours on 25 December, so you can pop in and share some Christmas cheer.

Public Transport Services over Christmas

Public transport is limited over the Christmas period, so make sure you plan your journey in advance. There is no public transport running on Christmas Day. Make sure you can get home safely on Christmas Eve as there are no night buses and public transport starts to wind down from early evening.

Some taxis are available although they may charge more on Christmas and Boxing Day. You should check details before travelling and book in advance to avoid big queues. Check the Transport for London website before travelling.

Staying Safe Over Christmas and NY

Any minicab journey that isn't booked by phone or in a minicab office is illegal, dangerous and puts you at risk of attack.
Simply download the free Cabwise app on Android or Apple to your smartphone or text CAB to 60835 to access Transport for London's Cabwise service. You'll receive two minicab numbers and one taxi (black cab) straight back. Texts are charged at 35p per enquiry plus the standard text message rate. Roaming rates apply to overseas networks.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Ping Pong Bar Bounce in Shoreditch

Ping Pong Bar Bounce just opened on Old Street. Don’t worry if you can’t really play, you could always have a drink and watch!

Alongside 17 ping pong tables there’s an Italian restaurant, serving pizza, antipasti and canapes, plus a cocktail bar. A private room with three tables is also available for bookings.
If you’re keen on the whole pub games thing, there’s more good news. The Bounce team has also been working on Flight Club – a darts bar opening on Finsbury Square later this year.
What do you need to know? Bounce is at 239-241 Old Street, More info here .

Friday, 14 August 2015

How about a bike ride in London?

Wheely good days out

1. Route - Bermondsey to Angel (paradise for foodies)

Start out at Maltby Street Market
Pick up some breakfast or brunch along the Ropewalk. There is an option for every appetite but we would particularly recommend the excellent doughnuts from St John.

Head for The Gherkin
From the Tanner Street docking station cycle over London Bridge, past the Monument and into the City to take a selfie with London's favourite food-shaped building.

Next on to Whitechapel
Drop off your wheels at Fashion Street and walk north up Brick Lane, enjoying the delicious smells from its famous curry houses.

You are heading for Elys Yard
Grab some street food from the gaggle of vendors there. Mother Clucker's fried chicken is just the delicious protein hit you will be craving. Then on to Brick Lane Market docking station. 

Pedal over to Angel
Your final stop is Islington Green, where you can take your pick from the many cafes and restaurants on Upper Street. The tempting cake selection at Ottolenghi will be hard to resist.

2. Route - Hyde Park Corner to Chelsea (culture for vultures)

Pick up a bike at Hyde Park Corner
Make for the Serpentine Gallery to check out the 2015 Pavilion and Duane Hanson's disconcertingly realistic sculptures. 

Next, to the Natural History Museum
Dock at South Kensington tube to experience the museum's virtual-reality tour 'First Life', which takes you back 500 million years. Lovely David Attenborough provides the intro.

Nip into the Saatchi Gallery
Do not miss the extraordinary permanent installation by Richard Wilson, or Ethiopian artist Ephrem Solomon's works combining newsprint and woodcuts (until 6th of Sept).

Wind up at Chelsea Physic Garden
Dock your bike at Royal Avenue, SW3. Protective brick walls mean the ancient botanical garden has its own micro-climate and the Tangerine Dream Cafe is a serene spot for tea.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Beach action in London this summer

The Beach at Brent Cross Shopping Centre

100 hundred palm trees and 250 tonnes of golden sand have landed in Brent Cross (North London). What can you expect? Teacup rides with a rollercoaster and one of the last remaining traditional helter- skelters. Enjoy the fish and chips together with many summery drinks on offer and chill out in giant deckchairs next to a paddling area. Great idea after day of shopping!
What you need to know:  start from 10thof July – 2nd of September (12pm until 10pm), Tube Station – Brent Cross then 210 bus, Entry £3

Beach East at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

With 2,200 sq metres of sand to tempt weary workers to unwind with sandcastle building and balmy evening walks. A gigantic paddling pool and fairground rides will entertain the kids, and Pub Tropicana and Coconut Joe’s bar will keep adults suitable refreshed. Bring me sunshine...
What you need to know: start from 11th of July – 31st of August (10am until 10pm), Tube Station – Stratford, Free Entry

The Beach at JW3 in Jewish Community Centre

You will find all the best bits of summer including deckchairs, paddling pools, barbecues and plenty of sand. There is fun for all ages and free entry, although some events are charged and ticketed.
What you need to know: start from 5th of July – 31st of August, Tube Station – Finchley Road, Free Entry

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Possibilities are endless with Ocean London app

Possibilities are endless with Ocean London app

There is definitely such a thing as too much choice. Even deciding where to see a film on a roof could be a problem when you live in a city as large as London. We have seen a sharp rise of event planning apps recently which could recommend good nights out based on your personality. People behind this great app are two recently graduated University College London students. They are constantly on the lookout for interesting and unique places in the city so they can add them to the Ocean London app.  Then the users can search for anything they would like to do at that moment – ‘chillout’ or ‘extreme sports’ and Ocean shows the places they will suit them the best. It works for groups, too. Download the Ocean London app for free from the Apple App Store.

Best of the rest: Event planning apps

Culture Key – picture based app allows you to swipe through images of art, music, theatre, festivals and other events happening in London. Free for iPhone

Frugl – great app for people on budget, listings include events and offers in London under £10 or even free. Free for iPhone

YPlan – this app puts together all events for every spontaneous Londoner. Listings are vast and it has many collections to choose from and satisfy even the most fussy people. Free for iPhope and Android

Dice – you can book live music gigs directly through the app with no booking fees and no paper tickets, just show your phone to get in. Free for iPhone and Android

Monday, 8 June 2015

Wild places for outdoor swimming

The Serpentine
The best place to test the waters of outdoor swimming must be Hyde Park’s lake. It is open for swimming daily from 6.30am until 9pm. Until September the Serpentine welcomes all levels and is a great place to build up your confidence.

Hampstead Ponds
Hampstead Ponds offer swimming with a difference and you will definitely forget you are in the city of London. There is Kenwood Pond for the ladies, Highgate Pond for gents and Hampstead Pond for all. Absolutely addictive as long as you do not mind cold water.

King’s Cross Pond
Recently completed, King’s Cross Pond is the UK’s first man-made fresh water pond. Space is slightly limited with 40 people being able to use the lake at a time (book you place at ). Facilities such as changing rooms, lockers and loos are on offer which makes swimming outdoor much more accessible.

Royal Victoria Dock
Docks used to be popular with ships supplying London in the past. Currently, they are a place for London’s aquatic events. The Great Newham London Swim is taking place here on 18th of July in aid of Macmillan Cancer Charity. The River Rat Race on 25th of July is the wettest 10 km event in London raising money for good cause.

The Thames
This is one for strong adventurous swimmers only. Come and test your skills at The Great River Swim on 11th of July starting from Chiswick Pier. Only apply if you can swim a mile in 40 minutes. If yes, you should be able to make until the end.