Culture in the sun: The best outdoor events in London this summer

Jazz saxophonist playing on a bridge in London over the Thames with a view of Big Ben in the backgroundLondon is an exciting place in the summer, with endless festivals and performances providing the perfect excuse to enjoy an outing with family and friends. The longer days and warmer weather allow many of these events to be staged outdoors, and what better way to while away a sun-drenched afternoon than by lounging on the grass, listening to music or being entertained with theatre or dance?

To help you make the most of the fine weather and London’s cultural happenings, we’ve rounded up some of the best outdoor events in the capital this summer. Pack a picnic, bring your sunscreen or a jumper, and prepare to enjoy the best of London’s outdoor arts scene in 2014. Continue reading

Best places to play tennis in London

Two arms with hands holding a tennis racquet ready to playAs London heats up with Wimbledon fever, many of us are feeling inspired to dust off that old racquet and take to the courts. Fortunately, tennis is a popular sport in London year-round, so there are lots of places to practice hitting a ball around – even if you don’t have the right connections to qualify for the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, where Wimbledon is held (you need to be endorsed by four current members just in order to join the lengthy waiting list).

From expensive private members clubs to neighbourhood courts where all can play for free, there’s something for all tastes and levels of ability when it comes to tennis in London. Here are a few of our favourite London tennis courts with drop-in access available to non-members – perfect for anyone who fancies a match while visiting the capital: Continue reading

Unsung Heroes of London: Your Favourite Hidden Gems

View of Tower Bridge in LondonAmongst social-media savvy travellers, the travel “selfie” is now an established part of any city experience. Skim through any holidaymaker’s Instagram feed and you’re almost certain to find multiple self-portraits painstakingly snapped in front of the most famous local monuments.

Earlier in the year it was announced that Tower Bridge was the sixth most-Instagrammed landmark in London, on a list headed up by Big Ben, The London Eye and Harrods. The good news for intrepid travellers in search of the perfect Tower Bridge selfie is that The Tower Hotel offers an extraordinary view of this legendary monument – in fact, the hotel was chosen by Trip Advisor to feature on its recent list of 10 hotels around the world with stunning views.

London has also become known as one of the top selfie destinations in the world, with locals and visitors alike hopping aboard the mobile phone pic bandwagon. Yet aside from grabbing those prize photos in Hyde Park, Oxford Street or Covent Garden (other London locations that made the list), locals in particular are taking selfies in a number of their favourite – yet relatively unknown – places in London… Continue reading

Celebrate Father’s Day 2014 in London

A speedboat takes sightseers for a ride along the Thames with the London skyline in the backgroundDads are often the forgotten hero in our lives – a constant figure who can be relied on to step up with advice, affection and support throughout the year. Father’s Day is a brilliant opportunity to show your dad how important he is and thank him for everything he’s given over the years.

Fortunately there are many ways to make your dad feel special, and a day out in London is one of the best. No matter what your father’s tastes and interests, there’s an activity that’s sure to bring a smile to his face. Here are some of our favourite Father’s Day activities in London – from adrenaline-fueled adventures to laid-back pampering, there’s a treat for every dad. Continue reading

Introducing “The Farm”: The Tower Brasserie’s new signature dish

The Farm – The Tower Brasserie's new signature dish, featuring beef steak, lamb shoulder, duck ravioli and pancetta

The Farm – The Tower Brasserie’s new signature dish

Good news for London foodies eager for a fresh dining experience – The Tower Hotel’s Brasserie Restaurant has introduced a tempting new à la carte menu just in time for the summer season, featuring a unique signature dish – ‘The Farm’. It’s a perfect excuse to visit this stylish brasserie for a relaxing lunch or dinner, and if the weather’s on your side, enjoy dining on the outdoor terrace with its fabulous views of Tower Bridge.

‘The Farm’ is a dream come true for anyone who has ever struggled to choose between the various main courses on a menu. This sophisticated dish combines grilled beef steak, duck ravioli, pulled lamb shoulder and pancetta with pumpkin purée, sautéed spinach and three-grain risotto – creating an intriguing taste experience that really does capture the richness and variety of the British larder.

We caught up with The Tower Brasserie’s head chef Kamaldeep Singh to discuss the inspiration behind the new menu and its signature dish… Continue reading

Theatre hacks: how to find the best deals on London theatre tickets

Posters for London theatre showsLondon is renowned for the quality and variety of its theatre, so it’s not surprising that most visitors to the city are keen to squeeze in a show or two during their stay. However, show tickets can be expensive and if you plan to see some of the big-name musicals, then your theatre budget can quickly add up.

Fortunately, there are many ways to secure top London theatre tickets at a fraction of the original price – it’s all about knowing where and when to look. So if you’re trying to stick to a budget or simply love a good bargain, these tips could help you see several shows for the price of one; there’s also handy advice for finding good seats at the last minute for shows that are mostly sold out.

Read on for our top tips for finding great deals on tickets for shows in London: Continue reading

Planning a trip to the Chelsea Flower Show

Visitors view flower displays at the Chelsea Flower Show in LondonFor gardening fans in Britain, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show is one of the highlights of the year. The flower and plant-packed extravaganza is among the most prestigious gardening shows in the world, and each year attracts upwards of 150,000 visitors over the course of its five-day run.

Even if you’re not particularly keen on gardening yourself, you can hardly fail to be amazed at the elaborate gardens created especially for the show by some of the world’s top designers and up-and-coming new talent. Read on to learn more about the history of this venerable show, as well as some useful tips for those planning to attend the event… Continue reading

London’s summer food festivals

Plates of food on a picnic table at Taste of London festivalSummer is a brilliant time for foodies. Not only are there countless opportunities to eat and drink outdoors, but food festivals and markets really come into their own at this time of year, adding to the many delights of London’s food scene. A fresh crop of produce means lots of variety on offer, and the relaxed mood of summer lends itself perfectly to sitting back with friends and sampling the best of London’s larder.

Read on for a taster of some of the top food festivals taking place in London this spring and summer, and starting planning a season of snacking… Continue reading

London Marathon: a runner's guide to London

Runners in the London Marathon, some in fancy dress costumesIt’s one of the most exciting events on any London runner’s calendar, and indeed for thousands of runners from around the world, the London Marathon represents a unique opportunity to race through the streets of this diverse and historic capital. Sponsored by Virgin Money, the 26.2-mile (42-kilometre) course takes in many of the city’s top attractions – and for participants and spectators alike, it’s an inspiring spectacle of determination, athleticism and sheer, hard work.

Whether you’re running the marathon this year or perhaps still dreaming of future challenges, London is a city with a lot to offer runners. If you’re new to the city (or just new to running), we’ve put together a list of London’s top running shops and a few great running routes to try – plus a few tips for those who’ve come to watch the marathon, to make sure they get as much out of the day as do the runners… Continue reading

A guide to London etiquette for visitors

A sign on an escalator in the London underground reading Like all cities, London has its own customs and (often unwritten) codes of behaviour that can sometimes be confusing for visitors. While you won’t be outright shunned for being unaware of London etiquette, it can certainly help you to fit in with the locals and feel more at home if you know some of the more commonly observed rules of London life.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of some fundamental London social customs. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or are in London every second week, have a look through and see how many you recognise: Continue reading