Scent of a city: London's best perfumers

Close-up of a bottle of Jo Malone perfume.When it comes to personal style, fragrance can make almost as big an impact as your clothing. Intimately tied to emotion and memory, scents evoke times, people and places in each of our lives, and a skilful blend is worth its weight in gold when it comes to making an impression.

Fortunately, London boasts an excellent group of home-grown perfumers to complement the city’s dynamic fashion scene. From timeless, traditional collections to edgy, modern scents, London’s top perfumers make fragrances for everyone. Here is our pick of the top perfumers in London, plus some of their predictions for autumn 2014′s top scent trends: Continue reading

London’s best classical music venues

A view of the interior of the auditorium at the Royal Albert Hall in London, with orchestra, choir and audienceLondon boasts a vibrant classical music scene, regularly hosting world-class performances by leading soloists and orchestras from both Britain and around the globe. Whether you prefer intimate chamber music, grand orchestral compositions or perhaps an evening at the opera, there’s bound to be a performance in London you’ll enjoy.

For those visiting the capital, it’s worth doing a bit of research as classical performances are staged in a number of diverse concert halls and other venues. To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve listed some of the top venues for classical music in London: Continue reading

Explore London's architectural gems with Open House London

View of modern architecture along London skyline from the river.London is known for its fabulous architectural heritage, and this weekend (Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st September 2014), visitors and locals alike have an rare opportunity to glimpse inside some of the capital’s best-known structures during Open House London 2014.

From cosy Victorian pubs and grand neoclassical structures, to impressive church buildings and modern eco-friendly houses, there’s something to satisfy every architectural taste and interest. Read on to learn more about this exciting celebration of architecture and design, as well as some of the fascinating locations you can visit… Continue reading

Autumn fashion events in London

A model walks the runway in the Jasper Garvida show at London Fashion WeekSeptember in London is all about style, as designers, models and the world’s press roll into town for the annual London Fashion Week (12th to 16th September 2014), closely followed by London Fashion Weekend (18th to 21st September 2014). The good news for London fashionistas is that both events have plenty of offerings open to the general public – so if you’re craving a close-up look at the latest from the world of high fashion, this is the perfect time to plan a short break to London.

Read on to find out more about fashion events you can attend this September in London, as well as some stylish happenings in some of the capital’s top shopping districts this month. Continue reading

The Best Sunday Carveries in London

Close up view of roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, gravy, peas and mashed turnipWhat better way to wind down the weekend than sitting around the table with friends and family for a traditional Sunday roast?

While this has always been a popular ritual in Britain, more recently there has been a renewed interest in traditional carvery menus as chefs all over London take the classic menu and add their own unique take on the flavours and ingredients used.

Dating as far back as 17th-century England, what started as a roast beef supper after church has evolved into a much-loved family meal featuring exciting seasonal combinations of meat and vegetables, along with time-honoured staples such as gravy and Yorkshire puddings. Today the Sunday roast has evolved even more, and you can now find everything from traditional favourites to a more eclectic offering.

If you’re looking for a hearty meal in central London, we’ve rounded up some of the best pubs and restaurants on the cutting edge of the carvery comeback: Continue reading

Totally Thames – celebrating London's river

Racing boats approach Tower Bridge on the River Thames in London during the Great River RaceThe River Thames has always played a central role in the life of the capital, from London’s founding right through to the present day. From trading and shipbuilding through to transport, defence and leisure, there are few aspects of London’s development that have not centred in some way on this winding body of water.

Totally Thames (the rebrand of the former Thames Festival) celebrates London’s river, its ecology and history in a month-long festival of river-themed events. Held from 1st to 30th September, the 2014 festival includes everything from races and regattas to live gigs, fireworks, art exhibitions, educational talks, archaeology and more – plus the appearance of a giant floating hippo sculpture by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, previously best-known for creating a massive inflatable rubber duck. Continue reading

Reasons we love London in the summer

Fountain in the centre of Trafalgar Square, London, with crowds sitting around the edge on a summer's dayWhile many visitors envision London as a city of perpetual drizzle and fog, in summer the capital often experiences spells of glorious weather that rival warmer climes. Locals and tourists alike are lured outside to bask in the sun and enjoy the many summertime delights London has to offer, from outdoor cinema, concerts and cultural events, to bustling vintage and food markets.

As temperatures rise, London’s outdoor bars, cafés and restaurants come into their own, especially those located on rooftops or along the banks of the Thames, such as The Lawn, the brand-new pop-up bar at The Tower Hotel. Street food vans do a booming business on every corner, and many residents take to the city’s stunning parks and gardens to enjoy a picnic, game of tennis or simply to relax in the sun.

It’s these simple joys that make locals love London in the summer, despite the heat and crowds that can sometimes make city life a challenge during hotter months. To inspire you in planning your next visit, we asked some top London bloggers to tell us what they love about London in the summer. Here is what they said: Continue reading

World War I centenary events in London

Almost 900,000 bright red ceramic poppies pouring out of a window at the Tower of London and filling part of the Moat in honour of the World War One centenaryAs the world marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I this month, London is commemorating the event with a variety of special activities taking place over the summer months. It’s a perfect opportunity to take some time out and reflect on the legacy of this world-changing event, as well as to learn something new about the Great War and the people who fought in it.

Whether you’re interested in artistic depictions of war, period artefacts or first-hand accounts of ordinary life, there’s something to pique your interest amongst the First World War centenary events being held in London. Here is a selection of those taking place during summer 2014: Continue reading

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