London attractions

Turn again, Turn again, Dick Whittington . . .

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This immortal line is from a pantomime version of the well-known fairy tale, Dick Whittington and his Cat.  Dick did indeed turn back to London town, only to find fame and fortune as Lord Mayor of London.

Today the Lord Mayor of London’s annual election is in its way no less theatrical.  A display of traditional English pageantry, complete with fur-clad capes, gold chains of office, mace and sword-bearing Esquires and attendant City Livery company members will gather this year on 1st October at the City’s Guildhall to elect the next Lord Mayor.  Elected by the Court of Alderman, representing the City’s twenty-five wards, the new Lord Mayor will look forward to a year’s term of office where he can expect to meet over 10,000 people, to travel abroad for over 90 days and to make over 800 speeches.  His official residence is the Mansion House, an imposing 18th century Palladian style building in the City’s very heart, opposite the Bank of England and at the junction of original Roman roads criss-crossing London.

A title steeped in history, the first Lord Mayor took office in 1189 marking London’s emergence as an important trading centre.  The role today still reflects London’s global status, as the Lord Mayor’s “job” (unpaid and apolitical) is primarily to be an international ambassador for all UK-based financial institutions and professional services.  The role is separate from but complementary to that of the Mayor of (Greater) London, Boris Johnson.

But if the election was a colourful pageant, just wait to hear about the celebration for the Lord Mayor’s inauguration.  The Lord Mayor’s Show is certainly an event to be in London for!  This year the world’s largest parade of its kind will take place on Saturday 10th November.  Featuring around 6,000 participants from businesses, schools, Livery companies and charities, with over 60 floats, 20 marching bands and carriages, the procession will be like the pages of a fantastically illustrated history book. Commencing at 11 am with a flypast, the procession will wend its way around the Square Mile from the Mansion House.  En route, the new Lord Mayor will pause at St Paul’s Cathedral to be blessed before proceeding to the Royal Courts of Justice to swear an Oath of Allegiance before the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls.  The procession itself ends at 2.30 pm but the day finally concludes with a magnificent water-borne firework display.

The Procession is free to watch with the best vantage points likely to be around Queen Victoria Street and Fleet Street.  But get there early because the crowds gather quickly to see this annual spectacle.  The City is en fête for the entire day with free City guided walks, opportunities to visit the Guildhall museum, St Paul’s Cathedral or the absorbing Museum of London.

This is English pageantry at its best, so book your Loving Apartment NOW for a late Autumn trip to London to see the Show and perhaps do some early Christmas shopping.  Go on – spoil yourselves!

London ‘Firsts’

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London has long been famous as the venue for new and innovative theatrical and musical events.  Nothing changes for the next few weeks sees the launch of both British and world ‘firsts’.  These new productions span the full spectrum of the cultural range.  So London as ever, offers something for everyone!   In this year of Jubilee and Olympic celebrations, the London cultural scene is positively bursting with activity.  So why not visit the following?

The National Theatre’s Lyttleton auditorium is the venue for the first ‘London first’.  ‘CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS?’ arrives for its London premiere on March 12 after a world tour.  Time Out in Sydney wrote: ‘Every so often, a performance comes along that not only reconfigures the limits of the form, but also redefines and rearticulates how we see the world. Go.’  A co-production with DV8 Physical Theatre, the performance draws upon real voices and interviews with prominent authors, journalists, MPs and other high-profile names on major 21st century events such as the ’89 Salman Rushdie book burning and the assassination of Dutch film maker, Theo Van Gogh.   This is a highly pertinent contemporary production at a time when so many long-held assumptions and beliefs are being questioned and re-examined.  Tickets from www.thenationaltheatre.org.uk.

Bohemian and cultural Bloomsbury is next off the block with the UCOpera’s first British production of an operatic gem.  French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau’s spectacular baroque pastorale héroïque masterpiece ‘ACANTE ET CEPHISE’ explores that most universal story, the creation of a new life. Originally written as a celebration of a new heir for the Bourbon dynasty, this production fizzes with a magnificent score and fabulous dancing.   Don’t miss this unique opportunity to be uplifted and entertained by this masterly production.  March 19th, 21st, 23rd & 24th with tickets from The Bloomsbury Theatre, Gordon Street, 0207 388 8822 or www.thebloomsbury.com.

A world premiere musical will soon hit the West Endstage. ‘TOP HATS’ is a new musical comedy based on the famous Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers 1930s New York Radio City Hall production.  An immediate sensation then, the dancing pair were nominated for four Academy awards and the production smashed all previous box office records.

This new production promises to reach the same acclaim having received rave reviews in its pre-West End tour.   A cast of 31 with a live on-stage band of 15 have been wowing audiences with such Irving Berlin classics as Cheek to Cheek and Top Hat White Tie and Tails.   This scintillating and rousing musical will be just the ticket to welcome in the early months of spring!  Previews from April 19th at the Aldwych Theatre 0844 847 1712 or online with Ticketmaster.  NB this production is only suitable for 16+ years.

Book great value London apartments for your trip to the theatre.

Cameras at the Ready – Top London Lookouts for the Best City Views

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Snapping a close-up of London’s most famous landmarks can be an absolute treat, but with the impressive skyline the capital boasts, it would be a shame not to capture it in all its glory. There are some great spots in and around London that provide the picture-perfect opportunity- some free, and some that come with a charge. Whatever the weather, you’ll be sure to appreciate the spectacular views, and take some amazing photographs, for a truly memorable trip to London.

Primrose Hill – The first of our freebie locations, Primrose Hill is located just north of Regent’s Park, and provides an amazing panorama of central London. Many celebrities may have found the views appealing, having chosen to reside in the wealthy district of Primrose Hill, that surrounds the parkland. Primrose Hill is great for a picnic in the sunshine (which occasionally makes an appearance), while enjoying such sights as St. Paul’s Cathedral, The London Eye, and BT Tower.

London Eye – Rotating 360 degrees, there is not a side of London you won’t see from The London Eye. The journey takes about 30 minutes so there is plenty of time to take some photos of landmarks such as Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, and The Gherkin. On a clear day (and eyesight permitting) you can see up to around 25 miles, and can even catch a glimpse of Windsor Castle. Adult tickets start from £18.90.

Tower 42 – If you’re of the opinion that you can’t put a price on a spectacular view, then the Vertigo Bar in Tower 42 is the place for you. Walk around this exclusive 360 degree bar, admiring the spectacular birds-eye-view of London. The only thing that would the make the moment more special is a glass of fine bubbly, which is plentiful at Vertigo 42. Reservations are a must, with wine by the bottle starting from £34.

Parliament Hill –Another park, and another freebie. Parliament Hill is in the south-east area of Hampstead Heath, and is one of the highest naturally formed areas in London. Beautiful views of the city’s skyline can be admired while taking a stroll in the park, or while participating in one of the many sporting activities that are popular in the park.

St. Paul’s Cathedral – Before the construction of the London skyscrapers, St. Paul’s Cathedral was one of the tallest buildings, standing at 365ft. Take a trip up the Cathedral’s exquisite dome to the Golden Gallery, where you will find the most amazing views of the city. With St. Paul’s Cathedral being located in the heart of London, you will find yourself up-close and personal with many of the surrounding landmarks and attractions. Adult tickets start from £14.50.

We’ve got some great London apartments, and serviced apartments in London with spectacular views of the city, check out the selection for your next city break.