The London Marathon traditionally heralds the change in weather as much as the spring flowers and bird song and this year is no exception. On Sunday 24th April 38,000 runners will descend on South London for the start of the race. Starting in the Royal Park at Greenwich they will weave through Blackheath, Woolwich and Greenwich before heading off in to London’s City areas.
Where to watch the London Marathon
- The Start to mile 6: Blackheath – Woolwich – Greenwich
- Miles seven to 22: Greenwich – The Tower – The Isle of Dogs
- The home stretch, Miles 23 to the Finish: London Bridge – The Mall
The most popular areas to watch at the start and at Greenwich Cutty Sark, so we would recommend avoiding these areas. See here for more visitor information:
Wondering what to do with the kids in the evening once all the shops and other attractions are closing down? How about experiencing London Zoo at Sunset! See the animals like never before as they are preparing for bed or getting ready for a nights entertainment!
New to 2016 the British Museum brings you the lost cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus.
Having laid undiscovered under the water at the mouth of the Nile until discovered in 2000, the lost cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus revealed a wealth on new information on the people living there at the time, as well as countless artifacts.
19th May – 27th November 2016
As of the 6th of July London Buses will no longer accept cash payments to the driver. In stead passengers will have to either have a bus pass, a paper ticket or an Oyster card.
An Oyster card is the most practical method for visitors to London as it means you can travel as much as you like without having to worry about have enough change to get the whole family on a bus or tube.
Each member of your party will need one. You can either buy a “pay as you” go version, which involves you guessing how much you will need and adding extra if you run out or a travel card which allows unlimited travel for a day, week or month. (Any unused “pay as you go” credit can be refunded.) The maximum an oyster will be charge per day is £8.60.
Buying Your Oyster Card When Visiting London
When arriving in London you have several ways of purchasing an Oyster card.
- Any major underground station
- Gatwick Express – from the Gatwick Express ticket office or terminal desks
- Stansted Express – from the ticket office at the airport rail station
- Eurostar – on board trains to London
- Oxford Tube coach service – from ticket offices at Gloucester Green Coach Station and Thornhill Park and Ride in Oxford
- National Express coaches – from ticket offices throughout the UK, including those at major airports such as Gatwick, Stansted and Luton
You can buy your card even before you leave by visiting an overseas agent.
As if we didn’t already know it but London has been found to be the best City in the world. According the accountancy firm PwC Cities of Excellence awards. It won points on factors such as health, ease of doing business, education and as a city gateway for tourist.
From what appears from the outside to be a members only club that only the highly connected could enter or at least a special handshake, is actually the entrance to the latest buzz amongst carnivores.
Upon visiting their Seven Dials restuarant you would be excused for missing the entrance altogether, as it is the most unassuming entrance, in a non discript side street just off Covent Garden.
But once inside you are transported to a bygone era of green tiles, brass fittings and black and white floors, it immediately feels like something special.
The starters, which are actually just an inconvenience delaying the arrival of the main, consist of an array of lobster, oyster, crab and cheese dishes. We had six oysters to share and I had Tamworth Belly Ribs. All very nice but considering we had already ordered the main, our minds were already there.
Now just imagine this, there are two choices to the way your chips are prepared, either cooked in beef drippings or TRIPLE cooked chips! Now after about 5 minutes of arguing about which to get, sharing etc., we decided to get one of each per person to settle any disputes. Now couple this with a Chateaubriand and I am in heaven. The steak was the best I have tasted outside the US, as the meat was so tender you could almost cut it with a fork.
We never did decide which was the better of the two style of chips, but we have decided that another visit is in order to make our minds up! However you can not just arrive at these restuarants and expect a table so book ahead.
The good news is that there is now three of these in the captial:
Guildhall – 10/12 Basinghall St. 0207 3978120
SEVEN DIALS – 11 Langley St. 020 7856 2154
SPITALFIELDS – 157Commerical St.0207 247 7392
Long before discrete dining became the norm, with restaurants blending into their surrounding and easy to miss due to the nondescript entrances, Hakkasan was blazing a trail in modern restaurant design. In 2001 their first restaurant opened in Hanway Place W1 and quickly got itself noticed as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Europe and within two years was awarded with a Michelin Star and is regularly ranked in the top 50 restaurants in the world according to Restaurant Magazine.
A decade after the first was established they opened a second restaurant in Mayfair in the West End which was awarded a Michelin Star within its first year of opening. Both restaurants are set inside with minimal distraction from the outside world and perfect for romantic liaisons or business lunches but they also have an edge with a cocktail bar that means business and bar tenders who know their stuff and have the accolades to prove it.
At first glance the menu can seem a little overwhelming to even the most seasoned traveller, with many items not appearing on your average chinese takeaway menu and very little detail given, but the staff there are fabulous and available for a grilling on whats what and recommendations. There is a wide selection of “small eats” or starters which could easily constitute a main course due to the size of some of them, especially their sesame prawn toast and then a wide selection of mains to suit any pallet, be it fish, meat or indeed vegetarian. Their “vegetarian chicken” may sound odd on reading it but you would have to be on your game to spot the difference between their tofu chicken creation and real chicken.
With careful planning and self-control one could enjoy a meal at Hakkasans for a fairly modest amount, but you will struggle once you see the selection on offer and starter around the £14 mark and mains averaging £22-£30 your budget could soon run away with itself. The wine menu is very well stocked and marked as one of the best in town with something to fit all budgets and tastes from around the £30 per bottle upwards.
Booking is a must with tables for the business nights being booked weeks in advance, however less popular nights and lunch times you do stand a chance of a walk in.8 Hanway Place London 020 7927 7000 Nearest tube Tottenham Court Road 17 Bruton St London, Greater London 020 7907 1888 Nearest tube Green Park http://hakkasan.com/contact/
One of London’s newest attractions is the Shard, an 87 storey skyscraper consisting of offices, restaurants and a hotel, which together form Europe’s tallest building. For £25 for adult or £19 for children you can travel to the 68th floor to experience a 360 degree view from 800ft above the city.
However there is another way to enjoy the view from the shard as part of a night out. The shard currently has three restaurants, the Oblix and Aqua shard, both modern European styles with grilled meat and fish and Hutong a top end Chinese restaurant. Tables for these can be booked in two hour slots, with tables by the windows.
Oblix and Hutong are the premium restaurants with a three course meal plus wine costing over £100 per person, while Aqua Shard is slightly cheaper coming in at around £60-£75 person inc. wine.
These restaurants are fairly new and still experiencing teething problems, but the service is outstanding and very professional. Customers are asked at every stage whether things are ok with your evening, but we were advised that Saturday nights were “hectic” and that Sunday was much calmer.
The food at Aqua was expensive for what it was and the drinks were also pricey, but it must be remembered that you are paying for the overall experience and that is hard to beat with a street level venue. Their rib eye steak was £33 without sides, but was very well cooked and a good cut, however the rest of the menu was overly fussy and he steak was the most simple dish by far. Also a lack of side options was a disappointment.
If you do want to experience the restaurant but do not fancy paying the inflated food prices you could always get there early and grab a table by the bar and share a bottle of wine or comfort one of their cocktails, which will set you back around £14 per person and being on the 32nd floor you still get some of the best views in town!
To book the restaurants:
+44(0)20 7268 6700
HUTONG AND AQUA SHARD ARE NOW OPEN
+44(0)20 7478 0540
Views from the shard viewing platform:
£24.95 for adults
£18.95 for children
Following the two weeks quick turn around to allow the paint on Prince George of Cambridge’s name to dry the first Royal Baby Souvenirs are hitting the shelves.
Some with just the name of the new prince and others with pictures of the happy couple leaving the hospital and showing off the new Prince to the world. See Fancy That of London for all your Royal Baby Souvenirs.