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The top 10 things to do in London

Amongst the growing trend of latest technologies and ideas, there is certainly one that has escaped my attention, (and possibly yours)… that of the appropriately named, ‘listicle!’  ‘What on earth’, I hear you ask, ‘is that?’ Well, for the uninitiated, and those who haven't been on the internet for some time, ‘listicles’ have recently become popular with people who enjoy reading lists instead of a good novel!  A "listicle," is generally defined as a phrase for any article which is presented in the form of a list.   So this month we present the top ten things to do in London as a listicle…

Let’s look at what many people would consider to be the top 10 things to do in London our wonderful capital city, also discovering a few which are free.

Unusual facts that may surprise you about the top ten things to do in London as featured in this article!

  1. The London Eye
  2. The Tower of London
  3. The Shard
  4. Buckingham Palace
  5. The London Dungeon
  6. Madam Tussauds
  7. Take a walk
  8. Science or Natural History Museums
  9. Explore the Parks
  10. Stroll the Markets

Rent a serviced apartment in London and make the most of Great Britains wonderful capital city

1. The London Eye

This iconic, giant Ferris wheel is a masterpiece of engineering, located along the Thames. Officially known as the Coca-Cola London Eye, it is over 200 times larger than the average cycle wheel and is Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, rising to 135 meters tall.  There are 32 capsules, one for each of the London boroughs, each weighing 10 tonnes. Capsules are numbered 1 to 33, with interestingly no capsule 13, for superstitious reasons!  The Eye can carry 800 passengers, (equivalent to 11 London double-decker buses), and welcomes over 3 ¾ million visitors annually.

Did you know?

It was once turned into a rotating nightclub, along with becoming a ‘pop up’ restaurant during the London Restaurant Festival! An unmissable venue!

2. The Tower of London

Despite once renowned as a place of torture and death, this 1000 year old, working monument has been a royal palace, jewel house, royal mint, fortress and armoury. Legend says that the ghost of Anne Boleyn walks the Tower accompanied by her head, placed, appropriately, under her arm.  With over 2½ million visitors each year, this is an attraction not to be overlooked.

Did you know?

For 600 years it accommodated a range of wild creatures, making it the first London Zoo.  Exotic animals, ranging from kangaroos to a polar bear, hunting for fish in the River Thames on a lead! All long gone now, although legend has it that if the Tower’s ravens leave, then this spells doom for Great Britain.  So let’s hope they stay! 

3. The  Shard

This superb vantage point is twice as high as any other in the city.  As Western Europe's tallest building, (309m), The Shard allows visitors to see up to 40 miles away.  The impressive 95 storey

structure was designed as a vertical city, enabling people to work, relax and live.  Its ‘Neo-futuristic’ design was based on the shape of a shard of glass, derived from the architect’s description during planning. Incredibly, 95% of the construction materials are recycled, and the 11,000 glass panels have a total area of 8 football pitches, around 56,000m2. It’s wiring amounts to 320km and would stretch from London to Paris, whilst the swimming pool on the 52nd floor is Europe’s highest swimming pool. An apartment in this fabulous space would set you back around £40 million, so best just to visit!

Did you know?

Near the end of construction, a fox, nicknamed Romeo, was found on the 72nd floor. Later released into the wild, it is thought it survived on food left by construction workers.

4. Buckingham Palace

This unmissable, working royal palace, gives you a glimpse into royal life.  The superb state rooms boast palace treasures and masterpieces from fine artists like Rembrandt and Rubens. Originally named Buckingham House, and the Queen’s official London residence, the house comprises of 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 main suites, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms! There are also 760 windows and 1,514 doors, 350 clocks and watches, along with a post office, police station, doctor’s surgery, ATM, cinema and pool.

Did you know?

There is an exciting set of passageways running beneath the palace, connecting it to the outside world.  Many royals, including HM Queen Mother and King George VI, enjoyed exploring these.  On one occasion, they encountered ‘a very polite man from Newcastle,’ who was living down there.

5. The London Dungeon

This thrilling attraction transports you back to Britain’s gory past.  The macabre setting lets your senses explore all the sights, smells and sounds of London’s horrifying crimes.  Not for the faint hearted and with a surprise round every corner, you’ll encounter an array of frightening characters, from torturers, judges and infamous rogues and villains, played by fine actors. So stay alert for the shocks, special effects and rides and become entwined in the world of horror.  Embark on this thrill-filled journey at your peril, through 1,000 years of London's dark past.

Did you know?

Figures like Sweeney Todd and his sidekick Mrs Lovett, are only fictional, as no public records exist which substantiate the existence of a barber named Todd. Yet stories of shocking criminal deeds were often embellished as they were told and were therefore asserted to be true.

6. Madam Tussauds

This fine museum, founded in 1835 by wax sculptor Anna Maria Tussaud, has been enthralling visitors for almost 200 years.  Typical figures included in today’s displays range from historical to royalty, film stars to sporting legends and famous murderers.  Originally holding around 400 exhibits, some of these were damaged irreparably during the war, although many have been remade using the original casts.  Each sculpture takes four months to produce, costing £227,000. Accuracy is paramount, so 250 precise measurements, along with 180 photographs are taken to ensure this.

Did you know?

The singer Ozzy Osbourne once posed in the museum as himself and scared unsuspecting visitors. Mother Teresa decreed that her ‘work was more important than her physical being.’ She was therefore one of the only people to refuse to be sculpted.

Free Activities in the Top Ten

7. Take a walk

Head off to admire the lions in Trafalgar Square and take in the famous Nelson’s Column. Cast in bronze, the lions were designed by Edwin Landseer, who worked from real corpses and the cast of a lion statue.   After this, head inside the nearby National Portrait Gallery to view some fabulous artwork and drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt.

Did you know?

Although he strove for great accuracy, Landseer made a big error. In reality, lion’s backs are convex when laying down, not concave as he depicted them. Many thought they looked more like a sphinx!

8. Science or Natural History Museums

The NH museum boasts a huge collection relating to life and earth science specimens. It holds over 80 million items within five main collections, including; botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology. It has excellent research facilities, specialising in identification, conservation and taxonomy.  Many specimens have significant historical value as well as scientific, like those collected by Charles Darwin.  The museum is particularly popular amongst younger children for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons.

Alternatively, the incredible Science Museum is another of the city's major tourist attractions, attracting 3 million visitors annually.  Major interactive exhibitions, such as ‘Exploring Space’, are always excitingly displayed and of great interest to young and old alike. The museum now holds a collection of over 300,000 items, including such famous items as Stephenson's Rocket and Puffing Billy (the oldest surviving steam locomotive)

9. Explore the Parks

Hyde Park is just one of eight Royal Parks and is well worth a visit to see such sights as the Serpentine, Speakers Corner and the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Start from Marble Arch tube and stroll around.

Did you know?

Each Christmas Day, a few mad bathers dive into the Serpentine, competing for the Peter Pan Cup.  It’s aptly named, by the Peter Pan author, JM Barrie, who donated the cup.  Worth noting though, that participation is for Serpentine Swimming Club members only, so maybe just focus on cooking the turkey!

10. Stroll the Markets

Why not feast on delicious food at the Borough Market, or watch the street performers whilst dining in Covent Garden?  These are some of the oldest and most charming London areas, with superb cheese and bread stalls, along with a memento or two to take home.

Did you know?

The name of ‘Covent Garden’ was a spelling mistake.  It was supposed to be CONVENT GARDEN, the market garden of the convent of Westminster Abbey!

So there you have it…a ‘listicle’ showing some strange facts about the top ten attractions in London.  Whilst weighing up your choices why not consider staying a while longer to tick some others off your ‘bucket listicle!’  You’ll be glad you did! 

Euracom has a range of serviced apartments to suit your every need, from budget studio flats to luxurious sprawling apartment suites.

Take, for example, the Luxury corporate serviced apartments in London E1, Bishopsgate, these stunningly spacious, recently converted, luxury serviced apartments are bright and well furnished.  Perfect for business travellers and tourists alike, they give easy access to the City and its main attractions like Covent Garden, Spitalfields Market and the Museum of London. From £1034 pw, these apartments offer a range of luxurious services & facilities that cater for everyone.  

Services & facilities include

  • Baby cot / high chair (upon request)
  • Bathroom/ toiletries provided
  • Concierge / security / reception/ door entry phone/ lifts/ telephone/TV / freeview/wi-fi
  • Daily or weekly linen change/ daily cleaning service/starter packs of groceries/ toiletries available
  • DVD player/  radio / alarm clock
  • Fully equipped kitchen/ laundry / dry cleaning facilities available/ tea / coffee making facilities
  • Gym in building or nearby

More about our luxury corporate serviced apartments in London E1, Bishopsgate ›

Slightly more expensive, at £1071pw, are the short stay apartments London, Earls Court Road, SW5.  These lovely, Edwardian styled apartments, feature high imposing ceilings and comfortable, well- proportioned rooms.  Close to Kensington Palace and the Natural History Museum, the four bedroom apartments can sleep up to 8 people, making them the perfect apartments to rent for a short stay in London.

Services & facilities include

  • Baby cot / high chair (upon request)/ daily cleaning service
  • Breakfast available/ dishwasher in some apartments/ welcome pack available
  • Concierge / security / reception/ door entry phone/ Lifts
  • En-suite bathroom in some apartments
  • Desk / workspace/ dining table & chairs
  • Ensuite bathroom in some apartments
  • Fully equipped kitchen/ laundry / dry cleaning facilities available/ tea / coffee making facilities
  • Telephone/ TV / Freeview/ DVD player/Wifi

More about our short stay apartments London, Earls Court Road, SW5 ›

Alternatively, you could opt for our corporate serviced apartments, Holborn Lambs Conduit Street WC1, which are set in a quiet street in the heart of London's Holborn district.  Close to Covent Garden, The British Museum and the City, these apartments make an ideal base for both holidaying and business.  Each apartment has been individually designed and furnished to a high standard, featuring Italian furniture, king-sized beds and comfortable living and dining areas.

Services & facilities include;

  • Baby cot / high chair (upon request)/ daily cleaning service/ welcome pack available
  • Balcony / Terrace (upon request)
  • Central heating/concierge / security / reception/ door entry phone/ lifts/ safe
  • Dining table & chairs/ fully equipped kitchen/ dishwasher in some apartments
  • DVD player/ hairdryer available
  • Grocery store onsite / nearby
  • Kitchen / kitchenette/ iron / ironing board/ laundry / dry cleaning facilities available
  • Radio / Alarm clock/satellite TV/ telephone/TV / Freeview/ Wi-fi

More about our corporate serviced apartments London, Holborn Lambs Conduit Street WC1 ›

By Bob Collowân (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Rob at 4 Aug 2017

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

There are 37 items on 8 pages.