West End Eats

10 stops in 35 minutes
Screenshot by Author of Google Maps
Now that theatres are open at full capacity and restrictions on social contact have eased, it is the perfect time to visit (or re-visit) London’s theatres. There is truly no shortage of places to eat in the West End.  Here is just a taste of places for afternoon tea or pre-theatre dinner:

BONUS : These stops also follow the Art of London digital art trail on display until September 30th.
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London Digital Art Trail

Must-see art experience of the year

Art of London has teamed up with National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Academy and broadcast partner Sky Arts to present the Augmented Reality Art Gallery. From now until the end of the month, some of the most popular paintings can be viewed outdoors through a free augmented reality app.

To get started download the Art of London : AR Gallery on iOS or Android. In the app you will find a map detailing the trail throughout the West End, from Orange Street to St. Martin’s Lane, Leicester Square through to Piccadilly Circus, around St James’s towards Piccadilly. Once you locate an Art of London plaque, scan the QR code with your phone and you’ll be able to view the painting on the wall through augmented reality.

The 20 stops include Malala Yousafzai by Shirin Neshat (Orange Street), Bathers at Asnieres by Georges Seurat (130 Jermyn Street) and Sunflowers by Vincent Van Gogh (Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly) from the National Gallery and Sir Tom Jones by Duncan Shoosmith (114 St. Martin’s Lane) and Sir Ian McKellen by Christian Hook (Wyndham’s Theatre) from Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year. There is also a digital map to explore other arts and entertainment offerings in the area.

Screenshot by Author of Art of London

Catch these classic paintings before they disappear!
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Organic September

September 1 — 30
Organized by the Soil Association, Organic September is a month-long British campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of organic food and farming, which include: 1) supporting biodiversity and wildlife; 2) helping to combat climate change; 3) the highest standards of animal welfare; 4) reduced exposure to pesticides; and 5) food as it should be, and food you can trust.

Some of the healthiest places to eat in London and Surrey are:

  • Borough Market (London)
  • Daylesford (Multiple)
  • Farm Girl Cafe (Multiple)
  • Orangery Tea House at Garsons (Esher)
  • Ottolenghi (London)
  • Petersham Nurseries (Multiple)
No better time to de-tox from the summer and have something delcious to eat at the same time!

BONUS : Watch the eye-opening Netflix documentary, 'Kiss the Ground', to learn about newfarming practices designed to combat climate change and perserve the planet.

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Bank on holiday fun

Despite the unpredictable UK weather, three ways to enjoy the last days of summer:

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to . . .
...Picnic at a palace
Buckingham Palace — Buckingham Palace is once again open to the public this summer. While tickets to get inside have long been sold-out, tickets are still available to visit Buckingham Palace Garden and picnic on the lawn. Refreshments can be purchased on-site or bring your own.

Book before 3:45 pm and add-on a Garden Highlights Tour, includes guided visit of the the rose garden, summer house and wildflower meadow. Tickets are £16.50 adults, £15 student / senior, £9 children under 16 (5 and under free) or a family ticket £42 (2 adults and up to 3 children). Garden Tours are an additional £6.50 / person. Limited availability through September 19th

www.royalcollection.org.uk+44 3031 237334
Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA

Try your hand at . . .
...Sketching like the masters
National Gallery — As part of London's Inside Out festival, National Gallery is displaying life-size replicas of some of its most famous paintings, including Botticelli's Venus and Mars and Van Gogh's Sunflowers outdoors on Trafalgar Square.

They are also offering free drop-in Sketch on the Square drawing sessions. While all the artist-led sessions are booked, daily drop-in sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. No need to worry about inclement weather either, since sessions are moved inside the Piggot Education Centre, as needed. www.nationalgallery.org.uk
+44 2077 472885
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

And should the forecast change, you can still . . .

...Sing in the rain without getting wet
Singin' in the Rain — Following sellout runs at Chichester Festival Theatre and London’s Palace Theatre, this is the last chance to catch the special summertime return of the classic Singin' in the Rain at Sadler's Wells Theatre. With tickets as low as £15, it's a perfect way to stay cool, dry (unless you are in the first few rows) and sing your heart out. Through September 5th
Rosebery Avenue, LondonEC1R 4TN

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Hampton Court Flower Show blooms on

The world’s oldest and largest flower show, RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival, runs through Sunday July 11th. The summer showcase takes place for the first time since 2019 during its usual time-frame, while the more widely recognized Chelsea Flower Show shifts to September for the first time in its 108-year history.

During the pandemic, gardening has been the second most popular lockdown activity behind watching TV and one of the most searched terms in Google in the UK. With many citing health and well-being benefits, it is not surprising that nearly half (45%) of the UK population are gardeners. In addition to highlighting innovative gardens and featuring stalls selling plants, tools and gardening accessories, the event will focus on the impact of environmental changes.

Visitors will need to be fully vaccinated or show a negative covid test and practice physical distancing. In case you can’t make it to the show or get a ticket (starting at £63.75) since attendance is limited, here are this year’s medal winning gardens.
www.rhs.org.uk+44 2031 666000
A308, East Molesey KT8 9AU

Two more ways to get your flower fix:

Save the Date : September 20th — 25th

Chelsea in Bloom, ‘Extraordinary Voyages’, Chelsea

Save the Date : September 21st — 26th

Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Hospital, Chelsea
Tickets starting at £66.75
www.rhs.org.uk+44 8452 605000
Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4S

Mark your diary and book now to avoid disappointment!

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Wimbledon returns

What to expect this year and next

After being cancelled in 2020, Wimbledon is back. It is the only Grand Slam played on grass and the only one to be on hiatus for two-years. Coupled with the tournament being on track to be the wettest in 15 years, this year’s event has certainly been different and full of surprises — especially on the women’s side where most of the top-seeded players have been eliminated.

Attendance has been limited to 50% for Centre and No. 1 courts (expected to be at 100% for semifinals and finals), 75% for other show courts and iconic Henman Hill is limited to 50% too. Ticket holders have been required to show proof of covid status upon entry and wear face masks while moving about.

There is no overnight camping out for tickets or the famous Queue, nor reselling of tickets within the grounds. With players staying in London and no courtside autographs allowed, spectators will not have a chance to interact with players or celebrities that usually stay in Wimbledon village.

Regardless, the return of the first, oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament is a welcome.  On-site, strawberries and cream is being served in sustainable cardboard containers and reusable cups are being introduced — hopefully the few changes that will remain.

If you were not fortunate to get tickets, you can still catch the elaborate displays in Wimbledon and enjoy other special offerings in honor of the tournament:

— Wimbledon Afternoon Tea £90 (served with Laurent-Perrier Brut NV or PimmsRoyale)
www.claridges.co.uk+44 2076 298860
Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR 

The Ivy Café Wimbledon
— Wimbledon Cocktails £9.75 (three different Pimm’s infused cocktails), Tennis-inspired melting bombe £8.95
www.theivycafewimbledon.com+44 2030 96933
75 High Street, Wimbledon Village SW19 5EQ 

. . . And then there is always next year

In anticipation that Wimbledon will be fully back to normal, enter the Wimbledon Public Ballot for the 135th anniversary tournament by joining myWIMBLEDON for tickets June 27-July 10, 2022:

It is not too early to save the date!

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Kids Week is back

Tickets on sale June 30th

After a year off, Kids Week is back. This year's promotion will be for kids 17 and under since theatres were closed due to covid last year. Also, instead of one full price ticket and one free kids ticket; it will be two half price tickets (additional children will still go half-price).

Organized by the Society of London Theatre, the promotion will extend the entire month of August for 35 shows, including:

  • Disney's Lion King
  • Les Mis : The Staged Concert
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Singin' in the Rain
  • The Play That Goes Wrong
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea

    For the best selection, pre-pick your show dates and be online Wednesday, June 30th at 10 am when the tickets are released. After a year off, tickets are likely to sellout fast!

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