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

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

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

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

Treat your mum in London this Mother’s Day

A mother and her child walking hand in hand down a street in LondonWhether your mum lives in London, or you’re treating her to a weekend away as a Mother’s Day gift, the capital offers plenty of options for treating this most important woman in your life. Indeed, there are so many great ways to spend quality time with your mother that you may decide not to confine it to Mother’s Day, but in fact to make it a regular practice throughout the year! Continue reading