With winter, (almost) behind us and a little more warmth in the air, there is no better time to sample the delights that our fabulous capital can offer. London’s world famous parks, for example, are awash with spring blooms galore, so if you’re visiting during March, April and May it’s an absolute must to stroll amongst all the fragrant scents that are associated with springtime in London.
One great example is Richmond Park, famous also for its free roaming deer and cute baby animals. The park is adorned with cycle paths and playgrounds so is ideal for families who want to experience the great outdoors. Within the park, the Isabella Plantation is a 40 acre Victorian woodland plantation planted in the 1830's. First opened in 1953, it’s best known for its evergreen azaleas, flowering in April/May which line the ponds and streams.
As temperatures begin to rise and the days grow longer, there’s definitely more opportunities to take advantage of the plethora of London’s outdoor activities. Other examples of the city ‘springing’ to life (forgive the pun!), include;-
London’s Gardens (Throughout the Spring)
To experience a sea of crocuses and daffodils blooming in all their glory, make a visit to Kew Gardens. If you’ve never been then now’s the time – as although Kew is beautiful at any time, in spring when many of the most beautiful blooms start making an appearance. Snowdrops, crocuses, bluebells and daffodils abound and you can also enjoy a guided tour around the gardens on the Kew Explorer land train to learn about its historic buildings and flora and fauna.
Alternatively the lovely Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, originally planted in 1908, has been transformed over the years into a tranquil ornamental garden of classical proportions. There are traditional rotational flower displays in spring/summer with vibrant colours and exotic planting adding to the atmosphere.
- St Patrick's Day Celebrations (March)
St Patrick's Day in London showcases Irish culture at its best. With food, dancing and music along with
a free festival in Trafalgar Square, Many of London’s bars also host events.
Mother's Day (March)
Why not spoil your mum and treat her to a day out in the city this year? There are plenty of great things to do, from river cruises along the Thames, a fabulous musical like The Phantom of the Opera or a sophisticated afternoon tea at the Ritz, perhaps.
Oxford/Cambridge Boat race (April)
The annual clash between Oxford and Cambridge, is a uniquely British rowing race on the River Thames. Running for over 180 years, the race amasses crowds of over 300,000. So get a prime position beside the river, bring your picnic and enjoy!
Oxford Cambridge goat race (April)
Coinciding with the above race, you could opt for something rather different… with two aptly named pygmy goats (Oxford and Cambridge) racing around a prepared track at Spitalfields City Farm. With all proceeds going to the farm, witness the goats, (rather than their counterparts in the boats) going for gold! The spectacle has bands, including ‘Goat-e-oke’, (I kid you not… get it?), along with other goat-related fun. Tickets are popular, so book early.
- Easter Celebrations (April)
Easter in London is certainly a place for children and chocolate lovers alike. This year it falls on Sunday 21st April, although the run up to this date has some exciting activities going on throughout the capital. Special Easter events for young and old, from the obligatory Easter egg hunting, Easter themed afternoon teas, to a free performance of the biblical story ‘The Passion of Jesus’ held in Trafalgar Square on Good Friday.
This play commemorates the day Jesus was crucified and the run up to it. 100+ actors and numerous animals create authentic recreation of the time. Alternatively, join a London trail on the quest for chocolate Easter Eggs. Track down Easter bunnies at the National Trust property of Morden Hall Park. This is a popular event for families, where you'll search all across the park for clues that will lead you to Bunny's secret stash of chocolate.
Alternatively head along to London Wetland Centre, an urban oasis for wildlife and people, just 10 minutes from Hammersmith. Here you can stroll among the lakes, ponds and gardens, relax and enjoy coffee at the café, whilst the children let off steam in the play areas. You can also go ‘quackers’ and challenge your family to explore the wetland areas searching for the giant yellow ducks hiding amongst the reeds, trees and their real-life cousins. Special activity cards help you to find where these cheeky ducks are hiding. You may even win a delicious prize, all whilst learning about the wildlife in the area. There are also plenty of other fun activities at the centre for the whole family to enjoy this Easter, including pond dipping, wild play and nest building, where you’ll learn how birds behave in spring, handle a real nest and build a giant bird’s nest. Or you could be an Animal Track Detective, exploring animal tracks and signs and make your own footprint necklace to take home. A must do day for those with children.
Free outdoor events (April)
Experience London’s many free outdoor events this spring, including the London Marathon, where you can enjoy all the festivities and cheer on all the participants as they pass many of London’s famous landmarks. The festival of Vaisakhi, a Sikh cultural celebration, is also a real treat with performances, arts events and family activities on offer. Another great free event takes place on the Queen’s actual birthday, (21 April). There will be various gun salutes taking place in Hyde Park and the Tower of London. to mark this event.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May)
If you want to see innovative show gardens and stunning floral displays then this show is for you. Book early though as tickets sell out fast.
London Wine Week (May)
Back for its third year, with pop-up bars, alfresco parties and special tasting sessions London Wine Week is not to be missed. Celebrating the capital’s wine scene across 100 venues across the city, there are self-guided wine tours, masterclasses, supper clubs and tasting sessions.
Open air Activities
Watch plays ‘al fresco style’ in some of London's largest open-air theatres' such as Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.
Why not experience culture after dark by taking part in ‘London Lates’? A series of late openings by many London museums and galleries, featuring talks, performances, workshops and films.
FA Cup finals (May)
Watch the men's FA Cup final. If you aren’t lucky enough to have scooped a ticket for the venue then join the footie fans in pubs and bars throughout the capital and mingle with others to watch the game.
Witness the State Opening of Parliament (May)
For the royalists amongst you, why not go along to see the Queen travel in her processional carriage along the streets in Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament this month?
If you are interested in visiting any of the above attractions this springtime, or indeed any of London's iconic or historical sites and have an interest in photography or just want to see some great pictures, check out Emily Ford's blog Photographing London: Iconic Locations and Hidden Gems
Whether you’re interested in the latest in theatre and art exhibitions, the finest restaurants or experiencing the great outdoors, there is always a great variety of things to do in London during the spring. If you wish to make your visit into a longer stay, to experience more of what London can offer, then Euracom can help! We are experts in finding you the best serviced apartments, all centrally located, at very affordable prices. So forget that impersonal hotel and try something with that ‘home from home’ feeling. You won’t regret it!
Our featured apartments for this month…
Studio apartment rentals London Hyde Park, Inverness Terrace
These newly refurbished, modern studio apartments are perfect for short stay holiday rentals in the Hyde Park area of London. Within a residential street and moments from Hyde Park these apartments are set in a historic Georgian terraced building and offer close proximity to bustling shopping centres (Whiteley’s), restaurants and cafes. Each apartment is designed and decorated with warm & vibrant interiors offering an inviting space for guests. With a fully equipped kitchen, ideal for self-catering, these apartments offer compact living at an affordable price. With nightly rates starting from £96, they are certainly not to be missed!
- Central heating/ TV / Freeview/ TV / Freeview/ Wifi
- Door entry phone/ Room service available
- Fully equipped kitchen/ Laundry / dry cleaning facilities available
More about our Studio apartment rentals in Hyde Park W2 ›
Corporate serviced apartment rentals London, Stratford
These fabulous serviced apartments provide easy access into Central London and Canary Wharf. With the O2 Westfield shopping centre and the Excel exhibition centres only minutes away and excellent transport links, this splendid development consists of 111 apartments. Designed by architects to meet the increasing demand for top-quality, long-stay accommodation in London without the city price tag, these high-spec, serviced apartments provide space and comfort to suit every guest's needs. With premium quality fittings, superb soft furnishings throughout and equipped with the most up-to-date technology including broadband, wide-screen televisions and stunning kitchens and bathrooms, these apartments are a snip, starting from £93 per night.
- Balcony / Terrace (upon request)
- Bathroom/ Toiletries provided
- Concierge / security / reception/ Lifts/Lobby / waiting area
- Desk / workspace/ Dining table & chairs
- DVD player/ TV / Freeview/ Wifi
- Kitchen/ Tea / coffee making facilities/ Welcome pack available/Iron / Ironing board
- Laundry / dry cleaning facilities available/ Weekly cleaning service
More about our Corporate serviced apartment rentals Stratford E15 ›
Short stay apartments London, Earls Court Road
These beautiful, individually designed Edwardian styled serviced apartments are presented in a comfortably furnished setting with high ceilings & well-proportioned rooms. Close to the Earls Court Exhibition centre and the well renowned shopping areas of Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea, the apartments range in size from studios to spacious four bedroom apartments, that can sleep eight. Only minutes from Earls Court Exhibition Centre and the famous Albert Hall, Natural History Museum and Kensington Palace, this accommodation is not to be missed, especially for the reasonable prices, which start from £153pn.
- Concierge / security / reception/ Welcome pack available
- Daily cleaning service
- Desk / workspace/Dining table & chairs
- Door entry phone/ Lifts
- DVD player/ Telephone/TV / Freeview/Wifi
- Bathroom En suite in some
- Kitchen/ Dishwasher in some/ Laundry / dry cleaning facilities available/ Tea / coffee making facilities
More about our Short stay apartments Earls Court Road ›
Diliff [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
at 13 Mar 2019
Discover love in London this Valentines Day with a short stay in a serviced apartment, the perfect base from which to explore London.
With Christmas and New Year celebrations long gone, there seems no better way to brighten up those long dark winter nights and grey, overcast February days than spending it with your loved one.
The day that many couples crave for is looming ever closer- Valentine’s Day! February 14th (just in case those unromantic ones amongst you have forgotten!) is the time when sweethearts traditionally wine and dine in romantic settings, exchange gifts of flowers, chocolates and the like. Some couples may be looking to celebrate this ancient tradition less classically, or in more unusual ways, so this month we’ll be taking a look at just what’s out there for Valentine’s Day along with discovering a little more about its roots and origins.
So, who is this mysterious saint and where did these Valentine Day traditions start? Well, although somewhat obscure and exaggerated by legend, it would seem the most likely story behind Valentine’s Day originates in a risqué Roman festival named Lupercalia. This wildly popular, annual pagan fertility celebration took place on February 15th and involved young, naked men running around gently spanking nubile ladies with an aim to boosting their fertility! This ritual was later absorbed into Christian tradition, eventually morphing into St Valentine. Yet some scholars believe that St. Valentine was a wayward priest who was apprehended and put to death by Emperor Claudius II after defying him by secretly performing illegal marriage ceremonies. Claudius had apparently decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine deemed the decree an injustice, defying Claudius by continuing to marry young lovers in secret. For his misdemeanour, Valentine was executed on February 14, henceforth to be known universally by lovers and sweethearts as St Valentine’s Day.
Whichever version you believe, I’m sure the truth is hidden there somewhere!
Over many centuries Valentine’s Day has evolved, and by the Victorian era exchanging hand-made gifts and cards was commonplace in England. Today it has developed into a huge commercial success, where at least a quarter of the annual total of greeting cards, are sent as Valentine cards. In fact over 150,000,000 Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.
Ideas for Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is now synonymous with romance, flowers and candlelight and is loved so much that we dedicate a whole day to celebrating it. Whether you want to celebrate in the classic, traditional way or do something more outlandish, there is certainly something for everyone in our great capital city.
Here are a few suggestions…
- Visit London’s Romantic Restaurants
Whether you’re seeking the perfect place for a first date or a table for a special Valentine's Day dinner, you can’t go wrong in London. There are cuisines to suit all tastes and budgets. Here are just a few……
a) The Hutong Shard where you’ll enjoy stunning views of the city, along with their signature dumplings, perfect for sharing, and their own specialty roasted Peking duck. Complete your evening with cocktails in the high ceilinged atrium bar above London's twinkling lights.
b) Galvin at Windows fuses 1930s decor with modern French cuisine. A Michelin-starred restaurant with views to match from the 28th floor, this is the perfect place to woo your loved one.
c) OXO Tower Restaurant. - On the eighth floor of this unmistakable Tower you’ll discover alluring views of The City and beyond, plus a menu of modern British classics and an intimate atmosphere, it's the ideal romantic Valentine's restaurant.
d) Bateaux London – Romance on the Thames. Some say the Seine is the place for lovers! Not so, as Bateaux London can do romance which is second to none. Go down on one knee whilst passing London’s iconic landmarks on this superb dinner cruise along the Thames. With floor-to-ceiling windows, dinner, cooked on board and live entertainment, it will certainly be a night to remember.
Visit the Rivoli Ballroom
If you want glamorous surroundings to woo your beloved why not watch Shakespeare’s classic love story Romeo + Juliet?
If you want to get starry-eyed, then an evening at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich is for you. The night includes a planetarium show about the romantic sights the night sky has to offer, a chance to do some stargazing through the 18-tonne Victorian telescope and a glass of bubbly whilst standing on the historic Greenwich Meridian. An unforgettable evening sure to impress!
Check out the Jazz Cafe
Here you can serenade your date with Nina Simone's greatest hits. This year The Black Voices Quintet will perform the best and most powerful numbers from the repertoire of one of the 20th C greatest artists, Nina Simone.
For an unusual Valentine’s activity (11th February) head down to this vibrant space and treat your loved ones with an amazing homemade chocolate gift for St. Valentine's day. There are chocolate making classes where you can make mini chocolate truffles and filled chocolates.
Be serenaded by opera singers in the opulent surrounds of Sarastro with its flamboyant food and quirky artwork.
Take a romantic stroll
- Enjoy a spectacular sunset over London’s skyline from the top of Parliament Hill, on Hampstead Heath.
- Take a moonlit stroll along Southbank hand in hand, from London Bridge to Waterloo.
- Take in a London Park – Hyde Park is very beautiful at this time of year.
Take tea at the Barbican
Chill out with a romantic afternoon tea in the Barbican’s conservatory, which homes tropical plants, trees and fish.
Go to bed at the Electric Cinema
Watch a movie from the comfort of a front row red velvet double bed at the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill.
Check out Belowzero Ice Bar
If your partner is chilly- Cosy up to them at Belowzero Ice Bar, where the walls, bar and tables are made of ice.
There is certainly a vast range of things to do with your one and only in our lovely city. If you choose to extend your Valentine visit to London to take advantage of the wealth of romantic activities on offer, then Euracom can help. We have a plethora of serviced apartments within the capital to suit every budget. Our three featured properties this month are…
Serviced apartments in Chelsea Cloisters, SW3
Located in one of London’s most fashionable areas, these apartments are within a three star property and vary in size, from studio apartments to 1/2 bedroom apartments all available. Each apartment has en-suite facilities, a fully fitted kitchen & come furnished. Reasonably priced from only £98pn for a 1 bedroom studio, they are perfect for corporate business travellers or for short stays. Their central location offers easy access to the West End, London’s main entertainment centre.
- Concierge / security / reception/ Door entry phone/ Lifts/ Safe
- Daily or weekly linen change/Daily cleaning service/ Laundry / dry cleaning facilities available
- TV / Freeview/ Telephone/ Wifi
More about our serviced apartments in Chelsea Cloisters ›
South bank serviced apartments London SE1, Tower Bridge
These wonderful apartments are situated on London's South Bank, with easy access to the many of London's iconic landmarks & attractions. For a nightly fee from only £117p/n they make an ideal base for short stay holiday. The apartments are based around the original Sarsons brewery and are complemented by a stylish new development that includes a gym and onsite café pleasantly located in the atrium area, - a great place to have breakfast. With separate living and sleeping areas and a fully fitted kitchen and complimentary Wi-Fi, there is plenty of room to entertain guests. With scenic walking routes around London’s South bank, these apartments are close to many bars, restaurants and cafes, along with other amenities like Borough Market.
- Central heating
- Concierge / security / reception/ Lifts
- Dining table & chairs
- Fully equipped kitchen/ dishwasher in some/ Iron / Ironing board
- Laundry / dry cleaning facilities available
- TV / Freeview/ Wifi
More about our South bank serviced apartments ›
Studio apartment rentals London Hyde Park, Inverness Terrace
Our Inverness Terrace studio apartments have recently undergone a superb refurbishment and are perfect for a short holiday in the Hyde Park area of London. Located on a residential street and moments from Hyde Park, the area is bustling with shops, restaurants and cafes nearby. Entertainment venues are also close-by, making these quality apartments ideal for those who enjoy the high life! With an affordable price tag starting from £96 p/n, these great apartments are set in an historic Georgian terraced building with warm & vibrant interiors. With a kitchen which includes a fridge, hob, oven, microwave, kettle and all necessary cooking utensils, along with high speed Wi-Fi, these short stay, budget, self-catering apartments are hard to beat.
- Central heating
- Door entry phone
- Fully equipped kitchen/ Laundry / dry cleaning facilities available
- Room service available
- TV / Freeview/Wifi
More about our Studio apartment rentals London Hyde Park ›
By Johntex - Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1676458
at 4 Feb 2019
Most people visiting our wonderful capital city will probably take in London’s most famous sights. The London Eye, Buckingham Palace and The Tower of London are just 3 of the superb attractions on offer to the discerning tourist, enabling them to experience the very best of London. People visiting London for the first time may find it difficult to stray off the beaten track and will understandably stick to all these famous haunts.
Yet aside from the glorious crown jewels within The Tower, there is a vast array of less well known, hidden gems throughout the capital that will interest you just as much. These often beautiful places are sometimes off the main tourist paths, so you may have to discard the guide book and start exploring! From underground tours of London’s disused tube stations, to ancient, well hidden ‘Roman’ Baths; from a labyrinth of man-made caverns at Chislehurst Caves to a former Victorian toilet, now lovingly transformed into a unique eatery. These are just a few of the places which will thrill and delight you by their quirkiness!
Below, you'll discover some of the secret corners of London, often hidden-away amongst the side streets. They probably aren’t part of the traditional tourist agenda for the most famous London attractions, but they won’t stay relatively unknown for much longer, so visiting them now is a must, before they become too touristy! So to discover more of the capital, why not check out these fun things to do in London, and experience a different side to the city with our guide to the secret and hidden spots in London?
West London Hidden Gems
Scale an ice cliff
The Vertical Chill ice climbing wall, WC2E 7HA will thrill both beginners and the more advanced climber. Here you can brush up on your mountaineering skills and become a master climber, all in the centre of London. There are lessons for beginners, or you can just turn up on the day and climb your personal Matterhorn. Not quite as good as Everest, but as near as.
See the last remaining ‘fart-powered’ lamp, WC2R 0EU
Hidden behind the Savoy Hotel in Carting Lane, you’ll discover the last remaining Webb Patent Sewer Gas Lamp. These lamps were, during the 19th C, widespread throughout London, and provided low-cost street lighting. Also used as a means of clearing the noxious, unpleasant smells coming from London’s sewers, this replica takes you back to a bygone age.
Have lunch in a toilet - Attendant Fitzrovia, W1W 6DY
This quirky coffee bar, where you can rest for coffee, breakfast or a light lunch, is (wait for it), situated in in a restored Victorian public convenience. Built in 1890, this unique space has been lovingly transformed and restored from a gent’s toilet into one of the most unexpected gems of London. With urinals (clean, obviously), providing some of the seating, this compact eatery, has everything…good food, great atmosphere and the quirkiness that only Britain can offer. I’d go on to make a joke about the Attendant’s previous functions, but I think you may get ‘peed off’! (Get the pun?) Whilst on the subject of toilets, why not try the London Loo Tour? According to the website, the route ‘explores the potty politics of public loos. From stories of intrigue to practical tips, this tour is an investment in your bladder future! Never be caught short again!’ Sounds interesting huh!
Discover Ancient 'Roman Baths' WC2
Head off towards The Strand, and you could be taken in, as Victorian Londoners were, by the Ancient 'Roman’ Baths. Hard to find, they’re situated halfway along Surrey St, so keep your eyes peeled for an old National Trust sign above a gated archway. This leads into Surrey Steps, from which you emerge into Strand Lane. Turn right and then look for number 5. Interestingly, the baths are probably not Roman. In fact they probably date back to the 16th/17th C, but the gullible Victorians believed they were much older when ‘discovered’ in the 18th C, especially when the owner of a little-known plunge pool promoted it as being Roman in origin. Nearly everyone was duped, including respected writers, who soon claimed that it was “without doubt a veritable Roman structure”.
Certainly, the brickwork bears resemblance to Roman architecture, and although we’re now certain that the bath dates from the early 17th C, there was little evidence at the time to contradict the story of its ancient beginnings. These 'Roman Baths' were used by the Victorians for their health benefits and remained operating throughout the 19th C. This is a great piece of hidden London history, and well worth exploring.
Visit Kyoto Garden, W11 4UA
For a lovely, tranquil setting, this 55 acre paradise boasts an array of beautiful trees, stone lanterns, winding paths, trickling waterfalls, peaceful ponds with koi carp and splendid statues. This garden, situated within Holland Park, was a gift from Kyoto in 1991 and is hidden within busy Kensington. So why not experience a little piece of Japan and visit one of the most beautiful places in London? With free entry it’s a paradise at any time of year, but particularly in the Autumn, when the garden’s foliage is stunning.
Visit Stafford Terrace - A house stuck in a time warp, W8 7BH
If you’d like to visit a house which has been frozen in a time warp, then this is it! From the outside it looks pretty unremarkable, yet as you enter the house it’s like travelling back in time to the late Victorian period. Going into this freeze frame of Victorian middle class elegance, you’ll realise the house has been largely untouched since Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne lived there from 1875 with his family, until he died in 1910. The entire original decoration still exists, along with many of the family’s personal possessions and furniture. Original diaries, bills and papers make up a huge archive of daily life during the period. The house is open on various afternoons for guests to visit.
Take a trip to Venice! W9 2PF
For a peaceful walk or boat trip, away from the hustle and bustle of the Thames, try Little Venice. Situated where the Grand Union and Regent’s canals meet, this lovely area is where you’ll discover quirky waterside cafes, charming pubs and eateries and even puppet shows! This is London’s answer to Italy’s famous city. The area comes alive in the Summer, when people meander along the riverside to nearby Camden or Regent's Park. If you want atmosphere in a very gentle setting, then this is for you.
Where to stay in West London?
To get the most out of all the above attractions, Euracom have a range of serviced apartments within this area of London. One example is our Luxury serviced apartments Green Park, London W1.
Luxuriously furnished and finished to a high standard, these superb serviced apartments are located near to Piccadilly. They form part of a five-star hotel, offering all the amenities of a luxury London hotel whilst also providing all the benefits of having your own self-contained, fully equipped luxury serviced apartment. For a nightly fee of £765p/n , you’ll get an opulent marble bathroom, spacious lounge/dining area, and fully fitted kitchen. These apartments also have access to a gym and spa and also have the option of a private garden or penthouse! They are a perfect base to explore all London’s hidden gems, as well as the more famous ones.
- Bathroom/ central heating Concierge / security / reception/ Laundry / dry cleaning facilities available/ safe
- Daily or weekly linen change/ daily cleaning service/ room service available
- Dining table & chairs/ tea / coffee making facilities
- Fully equipped kitchen/ breakfast available/ dishwasher in some apartments
- Lifts / lobby / waiting area / telephone / satellite TV / Wi-fi / radio / alarm clock
- Onsite restaurants / bars/ spa / health club in building or nearby
More about our Green Park Luxury serviced apartments London ›
North London Hidden Gems
The Parkland Walk Finsbury Park N4 3EY
Stroll along the course of the old railway that once ran between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace. If you want a decent walk, in a serene setting and the chance to experience some greenery at the very centre of London, then this local nature reserve is for you. The walk boasts a huge variety of habitats and wildlife, with 200+ species of wild flowers. Here you’ll see orchids alongside dandelions, hedgehogs, foxes, butterflies and a plethora of bird species, along with muntjac deer, which can occasionally be seen.
Head to Chin Chin Labs’ Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream parlour, Cambden, NW1 8AF,
This ice cream parlour is a must for connoisseurs who like something more unusual than the Mr Whippy! Here you can indulge in original ice cream mixtures, thanks to the use of liquid nitrogen! You’ll watch the process unfold while waiting for service, savouring the mystical chemical clouds in the shop’s laboratory. Served in many different flavours, such as red velvet and water melon, Chin Chin Labs’ delicious creations are not to be missed.
Visit Camden Passage, Islington, N1 8EA
If antiques are your passion then a novel place to browse is hidden away from the bustling streets of Islington. Camden Passage hosts regular street antiques markets, selling curios and bric a brac, along with superb antique shops where you could bag a bargain. Unusual cafes abound, along with a range of other quaint shops.
Relax at London’s only bookshop barge, N1C 4LW
If you enjoy a relaxing read, whilst gently idling on the canal bank, then head to London’s only second-hand bookshop barge, Word on the Water. The barge moors at several sites and has a range of excellent novels to peruse. This welcoming venue boasts a wood-burning stove to toast those toes, live music and you may even get to cuddle the resident cat!
Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross, N1 9AP
Harry Potter fans will be overjoyed at this little gem. Situated at Kings Cross Station, you may not think this next feature could be included as a hidden gem. Yes, this station is a busy, bustling area, although many travellers aren’t aware of Platform 9¾. Thanks to the recently revamped railway station, it now boasts a new platform, nestled snugly between platforms 9 and 10. It’s easy to find, as there are always queues of muggles waiting for photo opportunities. Luckily, if you want to replenish your wizard supplies and wands, then there is also a wonderful souvenir shop!
Central London Hidden Gems
Churchill’s Secret Station and other Most of our Hidden London tours
If you’re uninspired by a visit to the London Eye or Buckingham Palace, there’s a new experience below the London streets that could appeal. The London Transport Museum has devised the very popular Hidden London tours, including a ‘secret station’ used by Churchill during the war, a World War II shelter, a disused underground station at Aldwych and a tour taking you along the disused rail lines. Tours are in great demand so often sell out quickly, but these are a rare opportunity to take an intimate peep into London’s hidden historical past, where the warren of tunnels were often used to save the lives of many during the Blitz.
East London Hidden Gems
Chislehurst Caves, BR7 5NL
Slightly further afield, but worth the effort, are Chislehurst Caves, a maze of man-made caverns, dating from the Druids, Romans and Saxons. They have had varied uses over the years, including serving as an air raid shelter during WW2, when people travelled daily from the bomb ravaged East End of London, to a safer place to sleep. For a brief time, they have also been a successful music venue, hosting artists like David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix.
Encounter a Soviet tank, Old Kent Road, SE1
Bringing Russia into London, a rather novel piece of social history can be seen. This materialised due to an argument between a prospective developer, Russel Gray, and Southwark Council. Denied planning permission for his house, the resident waged war on the council by buying a decommissioned T34 Soviet tank for his child and plonked it on the disputed plot! Prior to this act, this canny local had the forethought to apply for new planning permission, not for a building but for a 'tank'. The council granted this request, mistakenly thinking that it was for a storage container of some kind. The council’s error is to our benefit, as the tank is now a popular attraction for graffiti artists, who regularly change its facia. Legend has it that the tank’s turret is aimed towards the council offices! So should you fancy climbing over a part of cold war history, you can make a visit to this symbol of two great struggles, the first between communism and capitalism, and another between a local man and a council planning department.
St Dunstan in the East, EC3R 5DD
An excellent picnic spot, this area boasts a church dating from 1100. It has seen significant damage in past times, the first being inflicted during Great Fire of London in 1666, whilst more recently during the heavy bombing during the Blitz. Some parts survived though, in particular the steeple built by Christopher Wren. This is certainly an atmospheric place to have lunch.
Wilton’s Music Hall
If culture is what you crave, then look no further! Taking a trip to the oldest surviving music hall in the world, tucked within London’s East End is an experience you won’t forget. Wilton’s Music Hall hosts a wide range of theatrical and musical events is being gradually restored from its dilapidated state, whilst retaining its classic, original features.
Originally a traditional Victorian music hall, parts still lie crumbling, which add to its appeal. The ‘shabby chic’ effect also contributes to its character and intimacy, enabling you to either enjoy a drink in the Mahogany Bar, or take a tour around this great historic venue.
Enjoy lunch in a power station, E1W 3SG
For something which may give you a buzz, (another pun), you may fancy lunching in the unique and eccentric setting of Wapping Hydraulic Power Station. Situated in the old hydraulic power station and surrounded by original disused machinery, pumps and turbines, you can experience the quirkiness of this laid-back restaurant. After lunch remember to visit the impressive art gallery.
Where to stay in East London?
After a hard day’s sightseeing, you’ll want to rest your weary heads. We have a range of delightful serviced apartments within this area of London. One example is our superb, beautifully furnished apartments at Bishopsgate Liverpool Street, Corporate Serviced Apartments London, EC2
These corporate serviced apartments offer both studios and 1 or 2 bedroom apartments. Starting from £138p/n, these apartments feature modern furnishings and lovely solid oak flooring. They are equipped with the latest technology, including individual internet access, ISDN and digital telephones, making your stay more ‘home from home.’ They’ll provide the perfect spot for some peace and quiet from hectic city life.
- Baby cot / high chair (upon request)/ welcome pack available//daily cleaning service/
- Concierge / security / reception/ air conditioning/ door entry phone/lifts/lobby/waiting area/safe
- Fully equipped kitchen/breakfast available/laundry/dry cleaning facilities available
- Satellite TV/ telephone/ wi-fi
More about our Bishopsgate Liverpool Street corporate serviced apartments London ›
South London Hidden Gems
Fulham Palace, SW6 6EA
For a range of art, architecture and history, this beautiful palace is an unsung gem within London. With free entry, Fulham Palace has and a varied programme of events throughout the year. Paintings, archaeology and an array of artefacts trace the history of the Palace site from prehistoric times.
Mercato Metropolitano and Maltby Street
Two markets off the tourist trail that tend to appeal more to locals, yet are close to the bustling Borough Market, are those of the Mercato Metropolitano and Maltby Street. With their tantalising food selection, the Mercato Metropolitano food court specialises in dishes from Venezuela to Italian favourites. Within the 2 courtyards there are also regular cinema screenings. Alternatively Maltby Street lies under the railway arches in Bermondsey and is close to Tower Bridge. Here, street food is enjoyed by Londoners and visitors alike. With its ‘low-key’ atmosphere great food producers combine with craft brewers. So pick up a beer from The Southwark Brewing Co whilst dining. It’s a real treat.
Discover the House of Dreams, SE22 8RG
If you love discovering forgotten and previously unloved objects, then The House of Dreams is the place to go. This museum has been dedicated to those objects that would usually be thrown away. As you step over the threshold you’ll be treated to a home transformed into an extraordinary environment that is a shrine to….junk! Each surface, wall and ceiling is covered with every object imaginable, from such things as old Christmas crackers, china, broken toys and other odds and ends. There are intricate mosaics and life-sized sculptures of incredible characters which add to the amazing atmosphere of this wonderful place.
The King of Ladies Man, London, SW11 1HG
You’ll find this ‘speakeasy-style’ bar The King of Ladies Man, hidden at the back of a café behind a false wall in a launderette, believe it or not! Based on a 1970s bachelor pad, it is filled with golden light, pink flamingo wallpaper, gold lamé curtains and specialises in “beer, cheese and disco drinks”. The laundrette is a nod to the iconic 80’s advert for Levi Jeans and was transformed into a dining and drinking area. The proprietors will even allow you to perch on the washing machines! Then on sliding back the false wall, you’ll discover the hidden bar with its cocktail shaking staff in Hawaiian shirts!
Old Operating Theatre Museum, SE1 9RY
To see how our ancestors coped with 19th C surgery, and to recognise just how lucky we are to have today’s NHS, for all its faults, the 32 steps up an ancient, spiralling staircase are the stairway to an unmissable spectacle. This museum boasts a frightening array of implements for amputating body parts, reflecting the rather ruthless way that surgery was practiced during the 19th C. Each Saturday they even have a special demo of Victorian speed surgery at its best, a sight definitely to behold!
Where to stay in South London?
Should you decide to visit any of these great venues in South London then Euracom have a range of very affordable serviced apartments for both long and shorter stays.
The Luxury serviced apartments South Kensington Collingham London SW5 for example, have recently been stylishly refurbished as self-catering apartments for rent. Here there is space to relax, unwind and even entertain in luxurious accommodation. At £186p/n for a studio apartment, this Edwardian styled house will make you feel truly at home. They are perfect for families who are seeking all the comforts of home.
- Cot / high chair (upon request)
- Central heating/ concierge / security / reception/ lifts/ safe
- Daily or weekly linen change/ daily cleaning service
- Desk / workspace/ dining table & chairs
- DVD player/ telephone/ tv / freeview/wi-fi
- Fully equipped kitchen/ dishwasher in some/ iron / ironing board/ laundry / dry cleaning facilities available
More about our South Kensington Collingham luxury serviced apartments London ›
So there’s our pick of venues of secret London – a treasure trove of places that currently fly under the radar despite being really amazing. So why not try a few of these hidden gems for that ultimate day out? You won’t regret it.
For information on when & where to stay in London and which serviced apartment is right for you & your stay contact us today.
Kbthompson at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Nigel Chadwick [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Wiltonsfan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
at 16 Oct 2017
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!
- The London Eye
- The Tower of London
- The Shard
- Buckingham Palace
- The London Dungeon
- Madam Tussauds
- Take a walk
- Science or Natural History Museums
- Explore the Parks
- Stroll the Markets
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
at 4 Aug 2017
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 © 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 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 © 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.
at 1 Apr 2016