For 10 days in November, London swings and gyrates to the strains of a scintillating medley of international jazz. The annual London Jazz Festival offers an exciting menu of jazz performances from around the world. World-renowned jazz instrumentalists and vocalists will flock to the capital to perform in a city which delights in music and performance. Venues across the capital will be hosting over 250 gigs featuring some of the brightest international stars in the jazz business. From the Barbican in the City, to Kings Cross station and neighbourhood pubs, to the splendours of the Royal Naval College in Greenwich strains of trumpet, piano, jazz and soul will be the dominant melody.
The 2012 festival (9 – 18 November) offers a multi-faceted programme including Imelda May at the curtain-raising opening Barbican concert; jazz-soul diva Juliet Roberts; Byron Wallen, innovative trumpeter and Oren Marshall, acoustic and electric tuba player together exploring the brass tradition legacy; pianist Tigran Hamasyan with his fusion of jazz and Armenian folk, and innovative French/Serbian pianist Bojan Z and singer songwriter Amira with their hybrid of Balkan music and jazz.
Originally part of the Camden Arts fest, the Jazz Festival became a solo feature in 1992. Since then it has forged a high profile as London’s premier jazz event. Its history is impressive having hosted Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra’s first ever concert. Wayne Shorter’s festival appearance was another London first. Today the Festival offers jazz of a variety and quality to rival New Orlean’s Bourbon Street. Visit www.londonjazzfestival.org.uk for the full programme of free and ticketed events.
So if you’re a jazz aficionado, a November booking for a London Loving Apartment is a MUST. Wherever you choose to stay, a jazz venue will surely be around the corner. Enjoy, and as they say, let the trumpets sound
Would you ever imagine that a Royal residence could be described as ‘wacky’? Most likely not, but the newly re-opened Kensington Palace could be described as exactly like that. The Palace has just undertaken a 2 year £12 million restoration project.
The building has an ancient and distinguished architectural and historical lineage. The earliest part dates from the Jacobean period and was a remodelling of Nottingham House in 1689 by William and Mary, who wanted to escape the dampness of Whitehall, for the sake of the asthmatic king. Extended and partially re-built from 1718 by George I, our first Hanoverian King, the Palace continued to play an important role in the life of many of our best known royals.
Kensington Palace was the lonely childhood home of Queen Victoria, who was actually born there in 1819. The restored Palace has a permanent exhibition, Victoria Revealed, which provides an intimate portrait of her life. Her passionate love for Prince Albert is revealed through personal objects, journals and early photographs. In more recent years, it has been best known as the London home of Princess Margaret, and Lady Diana and Prince Charles during their marriage in the 1990s. The next most famous residents will be the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who will also make the Palace their London base.
So Kensington Palace breathes and shimmers with history. It is this history which is re-told in a highly imaginative albeit whimsical way. ‘Whispering walls’ quite literally murmur stories of the secret and public lives of previous residents. Relax on a window cushion, and the walls will speak to you, re-telling stories of the past as they’ve seen it parade through the building and all is slowly, subtly revealed by the whispering spirits of this ancient building. Intrigued? Well you might be, so do visit this stylish palace which offers a very modern take on its illustrious historical past. But be warned, you need to listen carefully or you’ll miss the plot!
Open daily, 10:00 – 1:00 until 31st October (1000 – 1700 from November onwards). Tickets can be booked online and children under 16 go free with a paying adult. A combined historic Royal palaces ticket is also available. On two Fridays in June and July, the Palace will be open until 10 pm for an especially atmospheric visit. Go to www.hrp.org.uk for more information.
Outside the Palace further delights await with the restored sunken garden, created in 1908 after a 17thcentury Hampton Court garden much admired by Pepys. Queen Ann’s Orangery, dating from 1704, is also a highlight, where you can now eat lunch in style! On the doorstep of Kensington Palace lies Hyde Park, 350 acres of open parkland also steeped in history. Acquired from Westminster Abbey by Henry VIII, the park has featured prominently in the history of London ever since.
Exhausted? Retire to Patisserie Valerie’s in Kensington High Street for a well-earned cup of tea and a delicious cake. And then home to your London Loving Apartment to relax, and refresh for the evening ahead.
With the start of the thrilling London 2012 Olympic Games getting closer and closer, those lucky enough to have tickets to the events might like to take the opportunity to combine it with an exciting London apartment city break. Whether you’ re the holder of a ticket for the Opening Ceremony, the diving, cycling, equestrian jumping, beach volleyball or any one of the amazing sporting events taking place, after the excitement of the day what better place to relax and reflect than a comfortable, convenient London apartment?
Everyone has heard about the Olympic Park at Stratford but did you know that there are many other London venues for specific sports events. Earls Court, in West central London is home to the Volleyball events. Also close to other famous museums such as the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science museum. The Earls Court Exhibition centre is used throughout the year for shows, and events.
Greenwich Park is usually a haven of tranquillity in the urban centre of London, however is being transformed during the London 2012 games for the equestrian events. Right by the River Thames in South East central London this area is great for exploring the historic East London and City of London.
Hyde Park will be hosting two exhausting events – the Triathlon and Marathon Swimming. Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London, popular with Londoners and tourists alike it is a great place to sit with a picnic, stroll by the Serpentine, check out the contemporary art in the Serpentine Gallery, or listen to the opinions of the orators at Speakers Corner.
The famous Mall, leading from Admiralty Arch to Buckingham Palace will be on the route for the Olympic and Paralympic Marathon, Road Cycling and Race Walk. What’s even better is that Marathon events are free, so do not delay, book a London apartment and spend some time on The Mall, admiring the stamina and determination of the athletes competing in these events.
Lords Cricket Ground, the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club will be temporarily taken over by the competing Archery teams. Howzat! The Royal Artillery Barracks, fittingly, will host the Shooting, Paralympic Shooting and Paralympic Archery. Wembley Arena in North West London will see the Badminton and Rhythmic Gymnastics competitors battle it out for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.
Talking of Wembley, the Games would not be complete without football, many games being held at the stunning new Wembley Stadium. This will also see the gold medal events for Men and Women’s football.
Finally, the much talked about Beach Volleyball will take over Horse Guards Parade in the very centre of London, normally known for Trooping of the Colour attended by the Queen on her birthday. A temporary beach will be constructed – let’s hope the rain stays away!
For all these venues, for ease, comfort and the convenience of a home away from home, check out a great choice of London apartments now taking bookings from 1 night upwards.
With London being such a diverse and glamorous city, it’s no surprise that most people excitedly plan their holiday well in advance and are clear in which of London’s iconic attractions they want to visit. However, doing so can mean you miss out on some of London’s most entertaining, interesting and exciting things to do that perhaps you may not have heard of. As such, our list is to help enlighten you to some of London’s most underrated and often overlooked activities. These gems may not be on most people’s minds initially, but as anybody who has visited them can testify, there is a whole heap of entertainment and culture bursting out of London just waiting for you to enjoy. What’s more, all of them are completely free to visit, meaning you can still save your money for the other attractions you have a desire to see.
One of the largest and busiest markets in London, the Borough Market is home to a tantalising array of food that will delight and amaze you. There is a huge, diverse range of foods ranging from cakes, cheeses, fruit & vegetables, pastries, bread and fish from countries such as Morocco, Portugal, Brazil and Mexico, giving you some truly one of a kind dishes. The market is perfect for people with a passion for food, whether you’re an accomplished chef or an amateur when it comes to cuisine. However, besides the weird and wonderful food, the atmosphere it what sets Borough Market apart, giving you an insight into the market culture London is so famous for. It is free to roam around the markets and there are plenty of free samples to try, with the market open Thrusdays 11am-5pm, Fridays 12pm-6pm and Saturdays 8am-5pm. The nearest tube stations are London Bridge and Borough, so if you are a foodie a visit to the diverse Borough Market is an absolute must.
Whilst Hyde Park is the most famous in London, Victoria Park is one that is close to the hearts of many Londoners. Covering a huge area, the park has various sporting facilities and activity playgrounds for children, but what makes the park so special is the tranquillity of the fields and the divine flowers garden, home to some truly stunning and radiant flowers. There are also several historic monuments, such as a piece of the original and iconic London Bridge that sits proudly in the park and war memorials to honour fallen soldiers. The lake also offers a serene backdrop for a relaxing stroll, showing that there truly is something for everyone in this popular park. The nearest tube station is Hackney Wick, which will allow you to enter Victoria Park south-side.
The Victoria and Albert Museum, commonly abbreviated to the V&A museum, is one of the fienst collections of art and culture in the world. Incredibly, it has approximately four million exhibits from around the globe, some dating back thousands of years. The museum’s collection of fashion, history and art provides some truly unique pieces and a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, the architecture of the building itself is just as impressive, boasting some beautiful Victorian architecture and distinctively devine designs. The museum is open every day from 10am to 5.45pm (8.00pm on Wednesdays and the last Friday of each month), with its nearest tube station being South Kensington. However, the fact that this incredible museum is completely free makes it a must-visit and a great way to spend an afternoon for all culture vultures.
Located in between St Pancras and Euston tube stations, the British Library has the largest number of items for a library in the world, with some dating back to 2000 BC. Containing a mind-blowing 150 million books, articles, drawings, magazines and prints, its sheer variety will ensure you certainly find something that interests you. However, with manuscripts from original classic literature such as Shakespeare’s plays and hand-written manuscripts of songs from artists such as John Lennon, what makes the British Library so special is the value and importance of its unique pieces. Complete with its own café and restaurants, the British Library truly is a wonderful and interesting way to spend an afternoon or evening in London. The library is open daily from 9:30am-6pm except for weekends when its hours are shortened, with it being a very short walk from two of London’s busiest tube stations, King’s Cross and Euston.
Although the likes of the London Eye and Big Ben are instantly what you think about when it comes to London, the city’s rich diversity is what really sets it apart from other cities in the world. There is so much to see and do when you’re here renting London Apartments, some of its most enjoyable wonders are often overshadowed. Hopefully by reading this blog, you are now more aware that, although these gems may not appear on any postcards, they are still as rewarding as any others attractions London may proudly boast.
Christmas shopping can be a stressful activity at the best of times. If we’re not worrying about whether our loved ones will like their present, we’re fretting about how much money we’ve spent. Thankfully, the vacation rentals in our city destinations have shopping centres to ensure you don’t have to pay over the odds this year and can make this humdrum affair a thoroughly enjoyable one.
Known for being one of the most fashionable cities in the world, it’s no surprise to see some of London’s shopping outlets being a tad on the expensive side. Our London vacation rentals allow you to be within walking distance of some of London’s most famous shopping districts for maximum convenience. Although Oxford Street is the most lavish place to shop with the best variety and biggest stores, it can be rather chaotic at times which won’t be for everyone, particularly when it comes to the transport of the area. The Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford is a modern shopping environment with 3 levels of stores, sheltering you from the winter weather thanks to the security of its roof. King’s Road is a scaled down version of other London shopping areas and has many cafés to stop off at for a rest, whilst the Kensington High Street is a great location for its open spaces and upmarket retail chains. However, there are also a number of side streets you can take a detour down to truly appreciate the culture of London, turning your shopping trip into an experience. Our London vacation rentals are throughout the city, so you can ensure your accommodation is as close to any shopping centre as you desire.
The most romantic city in Europe, Paris is a great place to do some Christmas shopping and buy that extra special gift. Although there is a fantastic range of shopping malls in Paris, some of them can be rather pricey, but the hypermarket Les Quatre Temps offers an incredible amount of boutiques for you to visit, with around 250 stores within its proximity. If Val d’Europe is your choice for some festive shopping you can enjoy the mall’s shops that span over two floors, ranging from the popular brands of today’s fashion to exclusive and independent chains for that distinctive present this Christmas. If you’re selecting Paris vacations rentals near Disneyland Paris, the mall is also within walking distance of the iconic theme park, providing a welcome distraction from all the rides and attractions.
No matter what time of the year it is, Berlin vacation rentals are always a popular escape, but there is something particularly special about the city’s atmosphere at Christmas. Besides the famous Christmas markets in Berlin, it also has a number of shopping malls that are all different in their own way. The Gesundbrunnen Center isn’t the biggest outlet, but it does have a great range for its size with a number of cafés to relax in after a hard day’s shopping. The Potsdamer Platz Arkaden has some of the biggest brands of the modern world, and can boast an impressive array of eateries and fast food chains. But the main shopping palace in Berlin is the Europa Center, famous for its tall building that towers over many of the other buildings in the city, giving you some fantastic views through the glass windows. At the front of the mall is the World Fountain, which is a particularly popular hotspot for street performers including acrobats and pantomimes, giving you a unique atmosphere within a shopping centre completed by its entertainment.
A highly desirable city, Barcelona has its own style that allows you to purchase some truly unique items this Christmas. The Passeig de Gracia is a long street of stores that includes a number of brands and cafés you will adore, allowing you to see some of Barcelona’s architecture and landmarks as you make your way down the street. The Diagonal Mar outlet is the biggest in Spain, giving it some of the biggest stores of the largest brands of modern fashion and even its own cinema. However, there isn’t a great deal of Spanish stores that give it that Catalan feel, yet this is very apparent in the Maremagnum shopping mall. The variety of Spanish stores and restaurants will allow you to get a taste of the local culture and experience something new, yet there is still a selection of popular retail brands to ensure you have a great mixture, giving you a happy medium as you can reside in one of our Barcelona vacation rentals after a long day’s shopping, finally completing your Christmas shopping for another year.
Do you live and breathe fashion? Then London is the place to be in September for one of the most significant events in the fashion diary. Rub shoulders with some of the most established international top designers and emerging talent in the industry. If you’re lucky enough to work in the Fashion industry you may have the privilege of attending the week event, open only to the trade. London Fashion weekend is a public event taking place on the 22nd – 25th, with tickets available to purchase. This glamourous event is sure to impress, with visitors flocking far and wide in the name of fashion, eager to discover the latest trend developments for the autumn and winter season.
Now in its 27th year, London Fashion week continues to entice visitors, not just for the catwalk shows, fresh designs and shopping, but also for the glamour, prestige and social atmosphere that comes hand-in-hand with attendance. Although the main venue is Somerset House, after-show parties and networking extend much further into some of the capitals’ classiest bars and clubs.
London Fashion Week is a hot spot for celebrities, with the front seats often filled with musicians, actresses and socialites. And, in previous years, with top designers in attendance, it won’t be just be the famous faces in the audience that has you star-struck. In addition to the catwalk performance, make sure you allow time to explore the other areas of interest including the Vintage area, Shoe Studio and Boutique Street. It’s not all female-focussed so why not bring your man along too? New for this year is a dedicated menswear section on the catwalk, plus top male designer brands available to purchase. Once you’re exhausted by all the catwalk action, shopping and trying-on (yeah right), you can treat yourself to a pamper session at The Retreat, with massages, manicures and pedicures on offer.
Daily admission to the event starts from £16 for entry into the shopping area only, with tickets including access to the catwalk from £31.50. For more information on ticket prices and opening times visit visit the official event website.
There are many central London apartment rentals close to Somerset House. The venue is located across the Thames from Waterloo station with the closest tube station being Temple. When planning your visit to the London Fashion Weekend, click here to check out London Apartments close to Somerset House.