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Zeitgeist Poltergeist: London’s Haunted Houses…

In any 2,000 year-old city, there will always be stories of ghosts, spirits, gruesome murders and a whole host of spooky gongs-on that would give the writers of Scooby-Doo ammunition for years. London is no different. If you’re not wearing socks, go and put a pair on because we’re about to scare them right off. Enter here if you dare….

First off, it’s important to note that at Euracom, we keep an open mind on most things. We live in an inclusive and pluralist society where within reason, people can do and say what they like however where ghosts, ghouls and spirits are concerned it must be noted that there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to prove their existence. The evidence is almost entirely anecdotal so when we talk about London’s most haunted places, we cast no aspersions as to whether there is truth behind the story, we just think they are cracking tales!

So where are London’s most haunted places?

50 Berkeley Square in Mayfair has long been honoured with the title of London’s most haunted house. In 1913, Charles Harper wrote a book uninventively titled ‘Haunted Houses’ and he said ‘The haunted house in Berkeley Square was long, one of those things that no country cousin come up from the provinces to London on sightseeing bent, ever willingly missed.’

50-berkeley-sq

50 Berkeley Square

Sadly, original stories get bastardised, twisted and sensationalised but this particular one started with the tenancy of a Mr Myers, a jilted bridegroom, in the 1860s. He moved into a small room at the top of the house and became a recluse. He emerged from his room in the night hours to wander through the rooms and it is said that his ghost haunts the house.

Another tale is that of a man who moved in with his teenage daughters. The fiancé of the elder daughter, a Captain Kentfield, visited his betrothed and when the maid was preparing the room, a series of blood-curdling screams were heard. She was found contorted on the floor muttering ‘don’t let it touch me’. She died the next day.

Unconcerned by the fate of the maid, the Captain decided to spend the night in the room. Thirty minutes after retiring for the night, similar screams were heard, followed by a gunshot. He was found dead on the floor, his face contorted in unimaginable terror.

Just by the way, you can use this list and do your own research to do a tour of your own or you can join a, ahem, ‘frightfully’ good organised tour from London Ghost Walksand Ghost Bus Tours!

Here’s a list of some of London’s most haunted places…

Where: The Queen’s House, Romney Road, Greenwich, London SW10
What: Two ghostly figures were seen ascending the stairs in a photograph taken by a Canadian couple in 1966. The couple confirmed the staircase was empty and despite close scrutiny by photographic experts, no explanation was forthcoming as to the two figures in the picture, other than that they must have been there when the pic was taken…
Scare Factor: 6/10

Where: Sutton House, 2 – 4 Homerton High Street, London E9
What: Dogs can be heard wailing in the middle of the night and when dogs are brought to the house hey often stop rigid at the foot of the painted staircase, their hackles raised, apparently transfixed by something they can see on the stairs but which remains invisible to humans…
Scare Factor: 7/10

Where: The Grenadier Pub, Wilton Row, London SW1
What: A soldier was caught cheating at cards and was punished with such severity by his comrades that he died. A solemn, silent spectre has been seen moving slowly across the low-ceilinged rooms, as well as objects moving or disappearing and an icy chill that lasts for days…
Scare Factor: 7/10

Where: The Viaduct Tavern, Newgate Street, London EC1
What: The City’s last gin palace was undergoing renovations in the 1990s and as workmen took up the floorboards, one felt a tap on his shoulder. His mate was on the other side of the room and minutes later it happened again. As he was about to return to his chores, both men watched as the heavy carpet, that lay rolled up by the window, was lifted into the air and dropped heavily onto the floor…
Scare Factor: 8/10

Where: The Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London EC4
What: In 1811, a bank employee was found guilty of forgery and hanged. The news was kept from his devoted sister who turned up enquiring on her brother’s whereabouts. A clerk blurted out the grim news by mistake. It freaked her out.  Dressed in a long black veil, she became known as the ‘Bank Nun’ and turned up every day asking for her brother. She was treated with respect but in time, she was offered a sum of money to stay away. She did in life, but in death, a different story. Every so often, a weary woman dressed like a nun approaches bankers on their way home on Threadneedle Street and with sad eyes, politely asks ‘have you seen my brother…’
Scare Factor: 8/10

Where: St. Botolph’s Church, Bishopsgate, London EC3
What: In 1982, photographer Chris Brackley was inside St. Boltoph’s with his wife and he took a picture of the altar. When it was developed, he noticed a shrouded figure standing in the top right corner on the balcony. The image was scrutinised by experts who determined there was no double exposure and his kit was fully functional. The only possible explanation was that there was actually someone up there. Some years later, Chris was contacted by a builder who was doing some restoration work and inadvertently disturbed a pile of coffins. One opened to reveal a well-preserved body of a woman who face bears an uncanny resemblance to the ghostly figure in the picture taken years before…
Scare Factor: 9/10

ghost_picture_st_botolph_church

Sleep well tonight…

By Rob at 29 Apr 2016

What To Do In London In Summer…

We say the same thing every year around this time – summer time in London is as good, if not better, than anywhere else the world! It’s a time when the city bursts at the seams with activity and it comes alive with people and languages and food and culture from all over the globe. Here’s our guide to what’s happening in London this summer…

OK, so it’s no secret that London (and indeed the rest of our little island) isn’t blessed with perfect or even predictable weather. It’s not like going to Australia or Los Angeles where, barring a disaster, you’re pretty much guaranteed sun. Here? Not so much.

If all you’re after is 30°C (or 85°F if you’re of a certain age), we suggest Googling ‘holidays to Portugal’ but if you want some world-famous events and a city teeming with excitement and happiness, make sure you contact us now to book your London apartment.

The real kick-off to summer in London is Wimbledon. It runs from June 27 – July 10 andtickets for the world-famous Grand Slam event sell out quickly but you’ll always find some on the ticket exchange websites like StubHub or Seatwave. If you do get hold of a ticket, it’s an amazing experience and you may even get to see one of the top stars.wimbledon

Wimbledon © Pete Edgeler

Who’s going to win though? Are Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams going to hold onto their crowns or maybe, just maybe can our Andy do it again? Whatever happens, you’re assured of an incredible day out and don’t forget the most British of British things to do – have strawberries and cream!

Talking of Britishness, the Chelsea Flower Show is a highlight of our summer cultural calendar. Between the 24th and 28th May, the Royal Horticultural Society hold a world-class array of stunning flowers and plants, innovative, eccentric garden designs from around the world.

chelsea

Chelsea Flower Show © Herry Lawford

There’s also a host of special events such as twilight jazz concerts, a celebration of HM The Queen’s 90th birthday, interactive exhibits and one of the most talk-about exhibits of recent years – the poppies from the Tower on London. Tickets are available here.

Since we’re on a roll, we may as well cap the British thing off with possibly one of the most uniquely British things there is – Trooping of the Colour. If you didn’t already know, HM The Queen has two birthdays – the day she was actually born (21st April) and her State birthday in June.

trooping-the-colour

Trooping the Colour © Jon’s Pics

To celebrate, more than 1,400 officers and men alongside almost 400 musicians from the massed bands of the Household Division take to Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall in a magnificent display of pageantry, troop movements timed to absolute perfection and the bands play as one. It really is a sight to see and you can apply for tickets here.

As well as the tennis, the flowers and the soliders, London is jam-packed with things to do. Stay outdoors at any one of dozens of rooftop bars, hundreds and hundreds of beer gardens and amazing green spaces all over the city for picnics, kite flying, boating, throwing a Frisbee or kicking a ball around!

Places like the South Bank, Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus teem with awesome street performers and there are loads and loads of open-air gigs, drive-in cinemas, performances, art exhibitions and one-day music festivals to choose from.

What about the traditional tourist sights? Well the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben and London Zoo aren’t going anywhere, nor are the amazingly eclectic choice of restaurants, cafés and bars.

For more information on what to do in London this summer, have a look at Time Out for their list of great events in London this summer as well as lastminute.com’s 50 Brilliant Things To Do In London In Summer and Visit London’s events calendar.

You’re only problem will be deciding what to do first! Either way, whatever you decide to do, make sure you base your stay at a fantastic Euracom apartment. Call us now for some great deals on London vacation apartments.

By Rob at 1 Apr 2016

What Is It About London?

London is one of the world’s great cities. There’s so much to see and do that even if you were here for five years you still wouldn’t cover everything, but more and more people are trying! The latest stats from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on the UKs visitor numbers back up what we have claimed for years – London really is one of the best cities in the world.

The ONS 2015 tourist data represents a real boon for the UKs tourism industry – inbound visitors topped 35.8m for the sixth consecutive year of growth.

Here are the headlines stats:

  • 8m equates to a 4% year-on-year growth
  • There were 6m more visits than in 2010
  • 9m came from America – up 8% y-o-y
  • EU visitors equalled 19.9m – up 2% on 2014

tower-bridge

Tower Bridge © Günter Hentschel

The director of visitbritain.org Patricia Yates said ‘this growth is really fantastic news for the UK economy and shows we’re on track to realise our ambition to grow international visits by more than 20% to 42 million by 2020, which could see an additional £4.5bn in visitor spend, as well as driving tourism across all our nations and regions with benefits felt across the whole of Britain.’

London will always attract the majority of visitors to the UK but there is a fear that the capital’s visitor numbers will decline, says Euromonitor travel analyst Wouter Geerts;‘with London airports nearing capacity, the capital risks losing out to European rivals. To remain competitive in the international city destinations landscape, ensuring connectivity and innovation is key.’

The arguments for additional runways at Heathrow and Gatwick seem to be a political hot potato no-one wants to touch but it’s an issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Geerts points to the success of the London 2012 Olympics as a driver for the rise in tourism but we’re not going to be able to dine out on that particular triumph for ever.

london-skyline

London Skyline © murphyz

Of course if you are going to be one of the (estimated) 37m tourists to the UK in 2016, you’re going to need somewhere to stay. Here at Euracom, we have a selection of great apartments in London including corporate apartments in or close to the City and in the major commercial areas to budget apartments and vacation apartments in the heart of the bustling metropolis.

Don’t forget to call us on 020 8420 7666 or email info@euracom.co.uk to book your apartment in London for your summer holiday!

By Rob at 31 Mar 2016

Easter in London – What’s Happening?

It’s the first bank holiday of the year! At the time of writing the weather seems to be showing the first shoots of warming up, the nights are a little longer and if you’re in London, there’s a basket-load of things to do, all you have to do is choose one!*

*It’s not as easy as it looks…

Being Easter, the focus is, as it should be, on chocolate eggs, more specifically finding them! There are loads of Easter Egg Hunts all over London and some of the best ones are organised by the National Trust. 

easter-eggs

Easter Eggs © RichardBH

Before we forget, it’s a four-day weekend and most of London’s attractions are open but if you’re going out and about on Easter Sunday, it’s worth checking first, both with the attraction and with your preferred mode of transport because the tubes and buses can often run reduced services.

Here’s a selection of Easter events in London – please note that some are over Easter and some start over the next few weeks but it’s a great list and we promise you won’t be stuck for things to do!

Land of the Lions at London Zoo – From 25th March
It’s the zoo’s newest permanent exhibit where you can get up close and personal with a pride of endangered Asiatic lions just a few metres away and the Lion Temple has been ‘refurbished’ to look like the lions’ home in the wilds of Gujarat in India.

lion

Lion, Colchester Zoo © Martin Pettitt

Willy Wonka Comes To Life – 25th March – 9 April
The clever chaps at the Coca-Cola London Eye have created The Views of Pure Imagination where families can take to the skies in an interactive experience full of story-telling and craft workshops. Look out for lollipop trees and a purple and gold world which is truly scrumdiddlyumptious!

Everybody Loves Lego! 2nd April – 10th April
The Bricks in the Sky exhibition is at the ArcelorMittal Orbit at the Olympic Park in Stratford.You’ll see the Eiffel Tower, the BT Tower and the Empire State Building; professional Lego artists will be building London’s skyline and of course there’s tons of Lego for everyone to play with!

Butterflies, Butterflies Everywhere! 24th March – 11th September
There’s a fantastic interactive butterfly exhibition at the Natural History Museum – now in its 8th year – where some of the world’s most beautiful flying creatures fly free right in front of your very eyes and kids can see the full lifecycle of butterflies, from a tiny caterpillar into a beautifully colourful butterfly coming out of its chrysalis.

butterfly-1

Butterfly © Jdmour

Shhhhh, It’s A Secret! 26th March – 10th April
If you like secrets, you’ll find plenty at the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace, once the home of King Henry VIII. There are mythical beasts and fire-breathing dragons in this wonderfully imaginative and interactive play garden in the King’s former tiltyard where real-life knights used to joust more than 500 years ago!

Whatever you’re up to, have a fantastic time, stay safe and don’t forget, if you’re coming to the city and you’re looking for a fantastic apartment in London that’s a stone’s throw from the action, Euracom is the place to come!

By Rob at 23 Mar 2016

The Euracom Guide to Monopoly – The Purples!

So this is it! We’ve circled the Monopoly board and we’ve come full circle, from the cheapest browns of Old Kent Road and Whitechapel Road to the most expensive purples of Park Lane and Mayfair. Interestingly, as far as we can tell, Mayfair is the only square on the Monopoly board that isn’t a specific street but that has never stopped us all from enjoying one of the world’s most famous board games and we’ve loved telling the stories of these iconic London streets so for the last time, sit back, relax and read the tales of the purples…

Park Lane (£350) Rent £35; 1 House £175; 2 Houses £500; 3 Houses £1,100; 4 Houses £1,300; Hotel £1,500

Park Lane is one of London’s most iconic thoroughfares. Running from Hyde Park Corner to Marble Arch, on one side is Hyde Park and on the other are some of the world’s best hotels including The Dorchester, the Four Seasons and the Grosvenor House as well as showrooms for Lamborghini, McLaren and Aston Martin.

You can smell the money as you walk up and down but it wasn’t always like that.

When Hyde Park opened in 1536 by King Henry VIII, Park Lane (then known as Tyburn Lane) was nothing more than a track separating farm boundaries. The village of Tyburn had existed since the 11th century (although it declined in the 14th) and became synonymous with hanging. For hundreds of years, it was the principal location for the execution of close to 50,000 of London’s criminals until 1783 when public executions ceased and for the next half-century or so, ownership of the land changed hands a number of times until around 1820 when Decimus Burton built Hyde Park Corner.

hyde-park-cornerHyde Park Corner, September 1969 © Leonard Bentley

The Grosvenor Estate constructed grand family mansions to attract the wealthy to the area and the road became lined with some of the largest private homes in London as well as fast becoming the city’s most fashionable address. Famous residents included the Dukes of Westminster, philanthropist Moses Montefiore, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Fred Astaire and black market fraudster Sidney Stanley.

In the early years of the 20th century, residential Park Lane started to make way for commercial Park Lane as residents began to complain about the growing noise and smell from cars and buses.

The Marriott opened in 1919, the Park Lane Hotel in 1927, the Grosvenor House in 1929 and The Dorchester in 1931 which became the haunt of choice for the legendary literary figures of the age such as Cecil Day-Lewis and Somerset Maugham.

lambo-dorchester© Spanish Coches

Park Lane is the second most expensive property on the Monopoly board and it’s paired with Mayfair that were designed to be the equivalents of Park Place and Boardwalk from the American version and as a final Park Lane fact, the World Monopoly Championships were held there in 1988!

Mayfair (£400) Rent £50; 1 House £200; 2 Houses £600; 3 Houses £1,400; 4 Houses £1,700; Hotel £2,000

As with the vast majority of London before the 17th century, Mayfair as it became known was predominantly open, muddy fields swamped by the River Tyburn but in 1686, King James II granted permission for a fair to be held there in May. The May Fair allowed those who had survived the plague to let their hair down and indulge in dancing, music and general merriment (which the authorities branded ‘lewd and disorderly practices’).

The May Fair was banned in 1764 because the moneyed classes who had moved in felt that it lowered the tone of the area. Suffice it to say, the area now had a name.

claridgesClaridges Hotel © Dave Hunt

The unusual story of how the seeds of modern-day Mayfair were sown is down to a 12-year old girl called Mary Davies.

She was the daughter of a wealthy financier and she inherited 100 acres of swampland to the east of Park Lane and to the south of Oxford Street. As she grew up, she married Sir Thomas Grosvenor and their son, Sir Richard Grosvenor developed Grosvenor Square and then branched out to Hanover Square, Clarges Street and Brook Street and they became the residences of choice for England’s minor royals and of the first 277 homes in the area, 117 had titled owners.

Other families were developing to the south and Mayfair quickly became the most desirable residential location in London. So much so that it prompted the canon of St. Paul’s, Reverend Sydney Smith to proclaim ‘the area contains more intelligence and human ability – to say nothing of wealth and beauty – than the world has ever collected in one space before.’

 During World War II, the City came under heavy fire and a large number of businesses relocated to Mayfair. In 1939, close to 75% of the homes in the area were used as offices and it took 50 years for those commercial premises to revert back to private homes.

berkeley-squareBerkeley Square © Herry Lawford

Famous residents have included Lord Nelson, composer Handel, statesmen Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden and Benjamin Disraeli, guitarist Jimi Hendrix and eponymous shopkeeper Harry Gordon Selfridge.

To end, here’s a fun Mayfair fact – HM The Queen was born at 17 Bruton Street, the home of her maternal grandfather and Prince Philip had his stag night at The Dorchester!

By Rob at 17 Mar 2016

There are 57 items on 12 pages.