Be a part of the Notting Hill Carnival this year!

London hosts some wonderful public festivals and events annually, but very few match up to the Notting Hill Carnival in terms of the numbers of spectators that join in the revelry.

It figures right up there with the top things to do in Notting Hill. The entire atmosphere is one of unbridled festivities with tourists from all over the globe joining in the celebrations with gusto. Of course if you do plan to be a part of the fiesta you will need to make your reservations in advance, as finding suitable accommodation for the London premier Notting Hill Carnival can pose a challenge, at short notice.

When you are part of the biggest street party in the whole of Europe with visitor’s numbers crossing a million, you need to plan in advance. The event has been an annual fixture from 1966 onwards and generally lies on the bank holiday weekend in the month of August. This year it is being held on the 24-25 of August, 2014 and is slated to surpass earlier records set for attendance.

Kid Day Special
Whether you want to eat or drink, shop or play you could have a blast during the event and could snap some really special moments of the festivities. It initially began as a native West Indian festival for the West Indian expats living in Britain, but gradually grew to include other communities as well. You could wander around the numerous stalls that serve some of the finest Caribbean delicacies and dishes and feast your heart out.

You will see inhabitants dressed in the most colourful of costumes and traditional attire and bedecked with trinkets of all types. There is a great deal of Caribbean music and a traditional steel band contest that sets the mood for the festival. With its musical background it serves as a platform for many a famous musician to give an adrenaline filled performance and has in the past had stars like Jamiroquai and even Eddie Grant grace the occasion.

There is even a special event for kids with the Carnival organising a Kid’s Day Special which would be just great for anyone travelling with youngsters to enjoy. At the Notting Hill Carnival you can be assured of never having a dull moment!

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Finding the ideal conference venue in London

When it comes to the best of business facilities available in the UK, London tops the list of cities. Location plays a key role in organizing a successful business meet or conference and the hotels in Kensington London offer facilities comparable to the best in the city.

Kensington hotels being centrally situated offer a great location, with fabulous food and top notch conference facilities, all the requisites needed to organize a splendid meet. It is because of these features that business facilities at Kensington London hotels are a preferred choice of most companies and businesses.

The city of London itself is an excellent choice in the UK as it is extremely well connected and easily accessible to delegates both from the UK as well as Europe and overseas. With excellent facilities to commute such as a well developed rail and tube network, great motorways and 5 of the top international airports catering to foreign travellers, you will not find a more ideal destination.

You will find venues of all sizes that can host conferences on a large scale or a mid-sized or even small scale event very successfully. Hotels are fast becoming a popular choice with most businesses, because of the convenience of offering accommodation as well as having conference facilities, all at the same location, which saves considerably on travel time and is extremely convenient for those attending.

A few aspects to consider when choosing a conference venue are:

  • Make Central London your choice of location when searching for a venue, as it will make it relatively easy for those delegates who need to travel from the North and South of the city. It will make commuting a much more pleasant experience.
  • The key areas to look for in a conference venue are the facilities available at the venue itself and its surroundings. It should have cafes and restaurants which are easily accessible to delegates, if they want to step out during breaks to grab a bite or enjoy a relaxing glass of wine.
  • Choose a venue that has a proven track record of having hosted similar conferences successfully in the past. This will ensure that they have the necessary skills, manpower as well as equipment and facilities to make your business meet a great success.
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Royal landmarks to visit when staying at a Hyde Park hotel

When you plan a visit to London there are numerous places to sightsee and explore and it becomes all the more imperative to find a suitable location to stay.

When it comes to hotels the places to look out for are in Hyde Park London, which has some of the finest hotels at a most affordable cost. Staying at any of these hotels offers easy access to most parts of the city and its manifold tourist attractions and events. So if you are planning a trip to London the place to stay at are hotels in Hyde Park London, which would offer you unparalleled comforts at a reasonable price and offer convenient access to other parts of London.
Once you have settled into one of the hotels in the Hyde Park area, three of the most prominent attractions are:

When it comes to parks and gardens, there are none finer than Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, both of which are easily accessible if you stay at a Hyde Park hotel. Besides these two are Green Park, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park, St. James’s Park and Kew Gardens but they do not match the former two landmarks in popularity, which are just a stone’s throw away from any Hyde Park hotel. Both Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park are out of the most popular tourist destinations in terms of sheer volume of tourists that visit them and are perfect places to visit to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Then there is Buckingham Palace that offers a most unique spectacle in the form of Changing of the Guards. The palace is home to the reigning monarch and currently is occupied by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

Buckingham Palace Hyde Park
With its magnificent architecture and historical background, it is probably one of the biggest tourist draws in the whole of London. If you visit this historic landmark you could also drop in at the Royal Mews which houses probably the finest stable and collection of racehorses in the whole of the UK.

Staying at a Hyde Park hotel offers you easy access to Kensington Palace, where the Late Princess of Wales, Lady Diana spent a considerable amount of time. It is now home to other members of the Royal Family and its State Rooms are accessible to the general public. If you have your young ones with you they will be absolutely delighted to play in The Princess Diana Memorial Playground which is popular with kids.

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An event not to miss – The Chelsea Flower Show 2014

If you have planned to visit London on or around 20th May this year,you will be just in time to visit the annual Chelsea Flower Show which is scheduled to be held from 20th to 24th May, 2014. It is one of the most popular flower shows in the world and is a horticulturist’s delight. The show began way back in the spring of 1862 and was organized by the Royal Horticultural Society which has been the patron of the event ever since. It originally was held in Kensington from where it was relocated in 1888 to the Temple Gardens near the embankment.This gained it greater popularity and visitors,until in 1912 a Royal International Horticultural Exhibition was planned and the need felt for even a larger area to accommodate exhibits as well as visitors to the event.

The renowned horticulturist Sir Harry Veitch decided to choose a new venue for the exhibition. The eleven acres of the Chelsea Royal Hospital Grounds was considered to be the ideal location. The exhibition became an overwhelming successwith more exhibits being on display than ever before. The event and venue was such a success, that a decision was made to shift the Great Spring Show in 1913 to this location. Since then it has gained in popularity and has become one of the most sought after premier London social events on the calendar.

Chelsea Flower Show
Since then it is an annual event with visitors flocking from all over the UK and even overseas to see the floral displays. The only time the Spring Show had to be cancelled was during the two World Wars,otherwise it has enjoyed a steady run over the century. Of all the events on the UK horticultural calendar this is the top draw with scores of visitors being thoroughly captivated with the floral extravaganza on display.

Who knows – if you drop in, you might even catch a glimpse of a Royal family member, as it enjoys the patronage of the Royal Family, members of which are given a special preview of the show. If you are in London during this period, this is one event not to be missed!

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London a shopper’s dream come true

If you are a shopaholic London is just the perfect city to indulge yourself. You could go ahead and take one of those well known London breaks from a busy business schedule, when in the city and check out the latest in fashion trends and haute couture that the city has to offer. When it comes to retail therapy London has loads of eclectic offerings to choose from. In fact the city itself is renowned for its diversity in all spheres from culture to cuisine, music to languages. It is this singular aspect that gives the city its vibrancy and own identity.

If you plan to shop then some of the main districts where you could shop till you drop are Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Kensington, Piccadilly and Regent Street among others. It will keep you busy during your trip and all you need to ensure that you have rather deep pockets to splurge on shopping. If you do plan to shop for toys for the kids then your one stop destination ought to be Hamleys of London, which offers an amazing array of toys for kids of all age groups. You will be amazed with the variety of toys on sale and you can bet the kids will love it!

shopaholic_london
Then of course there are those iconic landmarks which make London a shopping haven. Harrods and Selfridges the names are synonymous with shopping in style and the best bit is you will gt some incredible deals here, especially during the festive season when promotional offers and discounts are galore. With scores of boutiques and retail outlets you will be overwhelmed with options to choose from and places to buy from. London is the epicenter of high fashion and no better place to experience it than Oxford Street with its upscale and trendy shopping outlets.

While you are in the area if you feel like taking a break after a long spell of shopping drop in at Carlyle’s House in London which was home to Thomas and Jane Carlyle. Thomas was a brilliant essayist and historian while his wife was an accomplished woman of letters with their charming home being host to Dickens, Tennyson and Chopin among other celebrities of that era. You will love the quaint and cosy atmosphere of the place with all its original Victorian furniture, belongings and interiors.

A welcome diversion, before you catch up with your shopping spree once again!

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London’s pride – The Shard

London, with its historical buildings, palaces and tourist attractions is the hottest tourist spot, perhaps in the whole of Europe.

What makes the city all the more exciting is that it is a perfect blend of the modern with the medieval and this makes it a magnet to tourists from all over the world.

One of the most breathtaking modern architectural additions to the London landscape has been The Shard. The name is befitting because at first glance the edifice looks like an agglomeration of the shards of glass clumped together. Some other rather interesting facts of this brilliant architecturalmasterpiece are:

It stands an impressive 310 m and has 95 storeys, which help it qualify as one of the tallest structures in Western Europe. It was the brainchild of the renowned architect Renzo Piano who wanted a structure to reflect the changing London vista. The most intriguing part is that it is made of recyclable material with over 95% of construction material and approx 50% of recyclable steel. Its three layers of glass skin minimises heat while allowing light to filter in. This leads to a fall in carbon emissions and makes it one of the most eco-friendly buildings in London.

the-shard-london
Despite its positive features it did not find favour with local planners and English Heritage, who were highly scathing and even stated it would be akin to “a shard of glass through the heart of historic London” whence the name was derived. With amazing views of up to 40 miles on a clear day, it offers a most spectacular sight of London’s skyline. There are 72 floors inhabited with offices, shops and restaurants, residential apartments and even a 5 star hotel. Some of the best London hotels cannot offer the unparalleled views that the Shard offers its residents and visitors.

Its pyramidal shape that has approximately 11,000 panes of glass, gives it a most distinct and ritzy look quite unlike any other structure in its surroundings. It embraces a futuristic look that would make it contemporary even in the next century. Although entry fee to the building is a bit steep it is well worth a visit.

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Enjoy an amazing weekend at Hyde Park

If you are in London on a business trip and are on the lookout for suitable accommodation, then the hotels at Hyde Park London are out of the best places to stay.

One of the biggest advantages is that they are centrally located, so travel to different parts of the city is relatively easy. In terms of food, drink and entertainment there are ample restaurants, bars and places to explore so you can have a most enjoyable trip to the city. If you have time to spare on weekends you could spend time exploring the following places:

When you tour Hyde Park you will find the Serpentine, a placid lake that is located spot in the middle of the Park. It was the venue for all the swimming events of the 2012 Olympics and is accessible to the public for swimming as well as boating. The provenance of the lake is a natural spring. For those who are keen about modern art there is the Serpentine Gallery which is located at Kensington Gardens. You will be thoroughly impressed with their vast collection of Modern Art that rivals many of the top galleries in the city.

weekend at Hyde Park
If you feel like indulging yourself you could go in for some luxury shopping at one of the most exclusive districts in London, Mayfair which is synonymous with luxury. It is a short stroll away to the east of Hyde Park and can be accessed via Park Lane. For sheer opulence you can drop in at Harrods, where you can spend the entire afternoon admiring its elegant displays and visiting the numerous shops, boutiques and retail outlets in this most iconic of shopping centres. Its post-Christmas sale is out of the most renowned in the world with some terrific discounts to be had. It lies to the South end of the Park and lies on Brompton Road.

There are other prominent landmarks in the area as well such as Knightsbridge, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Roof Gardens and Constitution Hill among other tourist attractions that will ensure that you will never have a dull moment on weekends.

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Be a part of the Museums at Night Events

For those who are in London this summer there are a wide variety of events lined up, with one of the most anticipated being the Museums at Night events in 2014.

For all those who love to visit museums, this is a once in a lifetime event to experience, especially if you are new to London!

We all have visited a museum at some time or the other during daylight, but visiting it after twilight has a totally different feel to it. It makes things come alive and the experience can be totally unbelievable bordering on the surreal for some. You can take along the kids to what would be a most unique experience and the events that will unfold will leave them mesmerized to say the least.

The Museums at Night Events opens on the 15th of May and is on up to the 17th of May 2014. It has become an annual festival held all over the UK and was started with the idea of promoting the public to visit galleries, museums and heritage sites. It has gained popularity with a large segment of the population who find it extremely convenient to drop in at the events in the evening after-hours as it does not require them to skip work.

London museums night events
The event is mainly supported and funded by the Arts Council of England while additional funding is provided by Grants for the Arts for the special Connect 10 competition that is held.What makes the event period all the more special is that falls just before 18 May which is celebrated as International Museums Day.

From art to architecture, music to archeology there is a vast range of areas that are covered with events lined up for all. A great way to spend one’s evening learning about British heritage and culture and the diversity of cosmopolitan Britain. You could make reservations in a Paddington hotel for your trip, as it will offer you convenient access to different venues in the city and spend a glorious evening enjoying the panorama unfold in a vibrant and cerebrally stimulating atmosphere.

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Making the Most of London

Making the most of a trip to London means planning your days out very carefully, making sure that you’ll be visiting the landmarks, museums and historic places that you truly find fascinating, and seeking out those unusual places off the beaten track. If you’re visiting London for the first time, then the chances are that you’ll want to visit places like Buckingham Palace, the British Museum and Trafalgar Square – the famous landmarks and attractions that are certain to feature on any tourists ‘must see’ list. If you’ve been a few times, however, or even if it’s your first visit and wish to avoid the crowds of tourists, then there are lesser known but equally fascinating places to seek out, places that give a real feeling for the multi-layered life of a city the size of London, and the following are just a few of them:

The Hunterian Museum – this museum is based in the Royal College of Surgeons, at Lincoln’s Inn and offers something a little bit different to the average museum. The displays consist of surgical and anatomical specimens in jars, surgical instruments and, perhaps most bizarrely of all, a set of Winston Churchill’s dentures. Admission to the museum is free.

Davenports Magic Shop – just around the corner from Charing Cross Station lies this fascinating celebration of all things magical – a real life Harry Potter shop would be an accurate way to describe it. Not only is it crammed with magic tricks, props and items, but the members of staff will happily perform tricks to let you see how they work.

Secret Cinema – the Secret Cinema isn’t a place, it’s a concept. When you buy a ticket, you don’t know what film you’re going to see, but what you do know is that seeing it will be an unforgettable experience. The organisers will tell you where to go, and when you turn up you’ll be watching a film in a venue which has been themed to match it. For example, prison drama The Shawshank Redemption was screened in a disused school which had been transformed into a prison for the night.

Angels Costumiers – this theatrical costume agency has been providing costumes for stage and film productions since 1840. An indication of their prestige is the fact that, over the years, their costume design skills have garnered no fewer than 34 Oscars. Contact them to book an in-depth behind the scenes tour, taking in a selection of more than 2 million items.

Chiselhurst Caves – situated outside central London, these caves are a 30 minute train journey from London Bridge, but are more than worth the effort.  The 22 miles of cave were created by man, digging out the chalk and stone used to construct the original buildings of London. During the Second World War they were used as air raid shelters, and in the 1960’s were a somewhat unusual venue for rock and pop concerts, with artists such as Pink Floyd, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones playing concerts there.

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Being a Tourist Needn’t Stop You Eating Well

Eating and drinking when you’re staying in London can be an expensive business. The bulk of every day you spend in the city will be spent exploring the various tourist spots, landmarks and attractions, with stopping to refresh yourself becoming almost an afterthought. As a result, visitors often resort to making use of a museum or gallery café – often excellent but almost always very expensive – or, through sheer force of habit, a big high street franchise, which is reliable, but a little bit dull. The truth, however, is that London is packed with excellent cafes serving delicious food from all around the world at highly affordable prices. The following is a list of a few which, conveniently, are placed just around the corner from some of the capital’s most popular tourist attractions:

The British Museum
Abeno, 47 Museum Street. A Japanese restaurant serving delicious and authentic dishes, often frequented by young Japanese people looking for a taste of home.

The Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum
Casa Brindisa, 7-9 Exhibition Road. Tapas restaurant on the same road as all three of the museums.
Le Bistrot, 17 Queensberry Place. French café which offers a huge self-service buffet offering 15 different salads, soups, quiches and so on.  Prices start at just £6.75.

 

Buckingham Palace
Goya, 34 Lupus Street. This may be a short walk away from the Palace, but it’s worth the effort thanks to the menu of delicious Spanish tapas.
L’Arco, 79 Buckingham Palace Road. Traditional Italian family restaurant offering pizzas, pasta and much more besides.  With starters from £6, pizza and pasta from £8 and fish and meat from £12, you can feed the family without breaking the bank.

Tate Modern
The Table, 83 Southwark Street. Modern, canteen style café which is excellent for families looking for lunch.
The Refinery, 110 Southwark Street. Sharing boards and salads are the best things on offer here, along with a highly impressive cocktail menu. Mains start at just £10.

London Eye
Skylon Grill, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road. Offers the same kind of stunning views you’ve just been enjoying on the London Eye, as well as a menu which includes delicious burgers and excellent options for children.

Westminster
Inn the Park, St James Park. As well as the food – simple dishes prepared using local produce – this café offers a relaxed scenic setting and a tranquil atmosphere.

Trafalgar Square
Da Polpo, 6 Maiden Lane. This restaurant, in the heart of Covent Garden, is a Venetian bacaro café, which means that it serves small plates of foods such as meatballs or mini pizzas, for approximately £5.

British Library
Eat St Market, Kings Boulevard. This is a selection of mobile food stalls which pops up weekly between Wednesday and Friday. The food available includes delicacies such as burritos, slow cook pork yum buns and bahni mi, all for around £5.

St Pauls
Exmouth Market. The market is about a 30 minute walk from St Pauls but well worth the effort on a Monday to Friday when there is a food market from 12 noon to 3 pm, serving food from all around the world from just £5.

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