Chase away the winter blues, Part II

35 minute walk to Tower Bridge

Below is the path starting from St. Paul’s Cathedral to Tower Bridge:

One New Change  Take a lift to the 6th floor of the retail and restaurant building to enjoy a stunning unobstructed view of St Paul's Cathedral 6 am until midnight.
www.onenewchange.com+44 2070 028952
One New Change, London EC4M 9AF

London Mithraeum Bloomberg Space — Touted by archaeologists as Pompeii of the North, the excavation between 2012 and 2014 was one of the most extensive in London. It revealed over 14,000 finds covering the entire period of the Roman occupation of Britain — 40s AD to the early 5th century under Bloomberg London. 
www.londonmithraeum.com+44 2073 307500
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN


Mansion House — As the home and office of London’s Lord Mayor, it is not normally open to the public. However, 1-hour weekly tours are available every Tuesday at 2 pm £9.50 (pre-booking required).
www.cityoflondon.gov.uk+44 2073 979306
Walbrook, London EC4N 8BH

Monument to the Great Fire of London — At 202 feet high, The Monument is the world’s largest column and is ocated 202 feet from where the Great Fire is said to have started. After climbing 311 steps up a spiral staircase, you'll enjoy panoramic views of the city.
www.themonument.info+44 2074 033761
Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH


Sky Garden — Free tickets to London's highest public garden are released 3 weeks in advance. Pre-booking is encouraged (especially for weekends), but day of walk-ins before 5 pm weekdays may be possible.
TIP : If you have a restaurant reservation, you don’t need a separate access ticket.
1 Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF

Tower of London
 — This historic castle has played a prominent role in English history and home to some of the royal family's most important possessions.  Entry tickets £33.60 (£16.80 children 5-15). 

Tower Bridge — This Grade I listed bridge is the most striking suspension bridge in London.  Entry tickets £12.30 (£6.20 children 5-15). Guided tours £27 (£23 children 5-15).

Even if the sun is not out — this walk will still brighten your day!

Chase away the winter blues, Part I

70-minute walk

While there are fewer crowds and queues in London between February half-term and March 'spring break', it can be cold, gray and wet. Here’s a route that includes some of London’s most popular (and some off-the-beaten-path) attractions. 

 The complete walk between Trafalgar Square to Tower Bridge takes a total of 70 minutes with stops along the way out of the elements. The first 35 minutes, includes:

The National Gallery — The Gallery holds 2,300+ of the most revered masterpieces.  Open daily with free entry (there is a charge for some exhibitions).
www.nationalgallery.org.uk+44 2077 472885
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN


National Portrait Gallery — It is home to the world's largest portrait collection.  Open daily with free entry (there is a charge for some exhibitions).
www.nationalgallery.org.uk+44 2077 472885
St Martin's Place, London WC2H 0HE

St Martin-in-the-Fields — As a working church, everyone is welcome to attend their services Tours are offered every Wednesday at 2.30 pm and/or visit the Café in the Crypt.
www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org+44 2077 661100

Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ


Somerset House Free and open to the public, but some exhibitions and events require a ticket. Tours are offered Tuesdays, Saturdays and select Thursdays £8.
www.somersethouse.org.uk+44 2078 454600
Strand, London WC2R 1LA

The Courtauld Gallery — Located in Somerset House, this Gallery features some of the most famous Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, including works by Édouard Manet and Vincent van Gogh and houses the most significant collection of works by Cézanne in the UK along with works Degas, Gauguin, Monet, Renoir, Seurat and more. Entry tickets from £10.


Twinings — The small 300-year-old Twinings shop is easy to miss, but worth stopping in for a visit to their tasting bar at the back of the shop and their mini museum.
Tip : It can get crowded – try early weekday mornings.
Royal Courts of Justice — Tours run from Monday to Friday (if at least 14 people having booked). Pre-booking required £17 (£15 children 14 years and under).
www.theroyalcourtsofjustice.com+44 2073 533511
Strand, London WC2A 2LL

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese — This Grade II listed pub that was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666 and known for its famous regular patrons, including Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.
www.ye-olde-cheshire-cheese.co.uk+44 2073 536170
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN


St. Paul's Cathedral — One of London's most iconic landmarks is located on Ludgate Hill, he highest point in the City of London.  Open daily with free entry (there is a charge for some exhibitions)
Chasing away the winter blues - Part II will cover the 35-minute path from St. Paul’s Cathedral to Tower Bridge.

Kids Eat Free Half-Term

and beyond
Five places your kids can eat for free and you won’t mind joining them:

Barbican Kitchen — The Barbican Kitchen is a family-friendly restaurant located in the Barbican, a world-class arts and learning centre. Offer : Kids under 10 receive a free kid’s meal with every adult meal over £10.
www.barbican.org.uk+44 2076 384141
Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS 7DD

Franco Manca
— Franco Manca is a sourdough Neapolitan pizza that operates 45 pizzerias in London.  Offer :  Kids under 12 get a free kids pizza with every full-priced adult main meal (select locations).
www.francomanca.co.uk

Gordon Ramsey Restaurants — Gordon Ramsey is a celebrity chef that has 11 restaurants in London (two with Michelin stars).  Offer : Kids under 8 receive a free kid's meal with adult dining from a la carte menu (select days and locations). Optional dessert can be added for £3.50.
www.gordonramsayrestaurants.com

Harvey Nichols Harvey Nichols is a luxury department store founded in 1831, at its flagship store in Knightsbridge. Offer : Every Sunday, kids under 12 can receive a free kid’s meal at the Fifth Floor Café with main course adult meal from all-day menu. Harvey Nichols REWARDS member can access this benefit Monday – Sunday.
www.harveynichols.com+44 2072 355000
109-125 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RJ

Yo Sushi— YO! Sushi has over 70 locations in the UK that feature a Japanese style 'kaiten' conveyor belt to deliver sushi to diners. Offer : Kids 12 and under (maximum of three kids per booking) receive a free kids meal deal bento box with paying adult (minimum £10) February 12th – February 23rd (select locations).
www.yosushi.com

Nice to know that some things in life are still free!

10 Must-see shows

On sale through February 29th

The Offical London Theatre Sale is one of London's longest-running promotions for top London shows. Catch these 10 must-see shows:

  • Back to the Future (£30, £40, £50) — Checkout the movie-themed bar before the show begins or during the interval / intermission.

  • Everybody's Talking about Jamie (£30) — The show is back in London after a short debut in Sheffield, followed by a three-year West End run, successful UK / Ireland tour and performances in international cities around the world.

  • Les Miserables (£30, £50) — It is the longest running London musical and has been translated into 21 languages.  Initially, there were plans for it to be a full-scale opera — luckily this didn't happen.

  • Matilda The Musical (£30 and £50) — There is a good chance you will go home with some confetti (annually 12 million pieces are used).

  • Matilda (£40, £50) — Trafalger Theatre's 630 seat auditorium recently completed a muti-million pound restoration back to its original 1930s art deco design.
  • The Mousetrap (£10, £20, £30, £40, £50) — The longest running theatre production still features one of its original cast members and props.  The pre-recorded voice of the newsreader is of the late Deryck Guyler and the clock above the fireplace in the main hall is from opening night.

  • Phantom of Opera (£40, £50) — It is the second longest running London musical and the box office revenues are higher than any film or play in history.  The chandelier is a reproduction of the Paris Opera House chandelier and is made of 6,000 beads and weighs a ton (literally!).
  • The Play that Goes Wrong (£30, £40) — Be on the look out for special guest appearance signage before you enter the theatre — just the beginning of the silliness.
  • Tina (£30, £40, £50) — The real-life musical accurately traces the life of Tina Turner since she was involved in all aspects of the creative process. With Turner’s passing in May 2023, the musical has been extended until September 2024.

  • Wicked (£30, £40, £50) — The production uses 250 pounds of dry ice to create the fog.  The song Defying Gravity has been played by NASA to wake up astronauts in space.
Tip: Even though Lion King is currently available, try Disney Magical Mondays for £29.50 tickets.

Book now before the promotion ends until next year!

Best of 2023, Part II

Top 10 posts — Part II

The best of the best from 2023

5. Beat jet lag — 4-stop route to keep you awake
www.londonviasurrey.com/2023/07/beat-jet-lag.html

4. Belgravia in Bloom — In case you miss Chelsea in Bloom
www.londonviasurrey.com/2023/05/belgravia-in-bloom.html

3. Convenient Top Theatre Eats — 5 minute (or less) walk away
www.londonviasurrey.com/2023/01/convenient-pre-post-theatre-eats.html

2. Coronation Treats, Tipples & Teas — What to buy and where to go
www.londonviasurrey.com/2023/04/coronation-treats-tipples-teas.html

1. Flowers on Film — Chelsea in Bloom is London's largest free flower festival
www.londonviasurrey.com/2019/05/chelsea-in-bloom.html

It's never too early to start planning for 2024!

Best of 2023

Top 10 posts — Part I

Checking out 'new' places or visiting old ones from a different vantage point were popular themes this year:

10. Boatloads of fun — Take advantage of these boat experiences
www.londonviasurrey.com/2023/08/boatloads-of-fun.html
9. Bright Spaces Surrey — 4 top places in Surrey as it gets darker and darker
www.londonviasurrey.com/2023/10/bright-spaces-surrey.html

8. Free Rooftop Views — 7 stops in 1-1/2 hours
www.londonviasurrey.com/2023/06/free-rooftop-views.html

7. Pancake Day Specials & More — Some of the best and most unusual pancakes worth trying
www.londonviasurrey.com/2023/02/pancake-day-specials-more.html

6. London Walks — Enjoy these four walks while you can
www.londonviasurrey.com/2023/02/london-walks.html





Best of 2023 — Part II will feature the best of the best from 2023.

London-themed Gifts

For £35 or less

Gibsons : London from Above Puzzle — £14.99
Gibson is an independent, family-owned company is one of the oldest of its kind in the UK. Illustrated by Phil Dobson, the aerial perspective includes 75 historic landmarks and sights in London (a summary of these can be found on the back of the box). Although it is only 500 pieces, the combination of small pieces and details makes it a bit more challenging the expected to put together.
www.amazon.co.uk/Gibsons-London-Above-Jigsaw-Puzzle

Fortnum & Mason : Trio of Teas — £16.95
Founded in 1707, Fortnum & Mason located in Piccadilly is considered to be London's oldest department store. Three of their most popular loose leaf teas: Afternoon Blend, Early Grey Classic and Royal Blend are included in this taster pack (25 g of each).
www.fortnumandmason.com/three-mini-fortnum-s-famous-teas


Accessorize : London Umbrella— £18
Accessorize is a fast fashion brand with 150+ stores in the UK. The umbrella features London’s iconic landmarks and transport and is both compact and lightweight. Since it is made from recycled materials, it is even environmentally friendly too.

Harrods : Landmarks Card Holder
— £22
Harrods is a luxury British retail institution known throughout the world. This card holder with intricate designs of London landmarks includes three slots - just enough for a driver’s license and a credit card or two along with a handy zippered pouch for cash.
www.harrods.com/en-pa/shopping/harrods-landmarks-zipped-card-holder


Emma Bridgewater : Union Jack Mug— £25
Established in 1985, Emma Bridgewater is the largest pottery manufacturer based in the UK. Her mantra is 'the necessity of getting the thought and design absolutely right'. The classic Union Jack mug with red and blue bunting on the inside edge is the perfect size and weight for a cuppa anytime.

Bonus : Order now for 15% off and free shopping for orders over £50.
www.emmabridgewater.co.uk/products/union-jack

Harrods : Small Logo Bag — £35
The well-designed ‘shopper’ bag from Harrod’s Signature Collection is both functional and fashionable. The outside is waterproof and wipes clean while the inside includes a magnetic snap closure and a zippered interior pouch.

Tip : Accessorize, Fortnum & Mason and Harrods all have shops at the airport that tend to stock London themed items - making it easy to pick up gifts that won’t be counted as a part of your luggage allowance.

Gift giving that won’t break the bank!