Kew Gardens bloom


Since the spring equinox (March 20th), the weather has been unpredictable at best. Despite the gray skies and April Arctic blasts, the mild weather has flowers blooming four weeks earlier than usual. There is no better place to visit than Kew Gardens, a World Heritage Site and one of London's top attractions that is home to over 50,000 plants.





Kew is offering a free Spring awakening walking tour that highlights the best blossoms and runs daily at 12:30 and 2 pm until April 30th. Register with the guide at Victoria Plaza 15 minutes before the tour starts (maximum capacity 15 people).

Note : The Temperate House will be closed until May 1st to install artworks for an upcoming exhibition
www.kew.org+44 2083 325655
Kew, Richmond TW9 3AE


Once you get your fill of flowers (allow between 3-4 hours), exit the Victoria Gate and walk 5 minutes to
The Original Maids of Honour, a tea room and bakery. Afternoon tea starts at £24.50 and can be booked beginning at 10 am (prosecco and champagne add-on beginning at 11 am). Their High Tea comes with tea or coffee (unlimited refills), traditional tea sandwiches (5 quarters), two scones with clotted cream and choice of patisserie from their case or their famous Maids of Honour Tart.

It is believed that Henry VIII came across Anne Boleyn and her Maids of Honour (young ladies who attend the Queen) eating cakes. The story goes that he liked them so much that he put the recipe under lock and key at Richmond Palace. Maids of Honours are similar to Portuguese custard tarts, but are lighter, crispier and melt in your mouth. To this day, this bakery is the only one that makes them.
www.theoriginalmaidsofhonour.co.uk+44 2089 402752
288 Kew Road, Kew Gardens TW9 3DU


It is hard to imagine a better day out to usher spring in!

Tube Strike Signtseeing

Tube strikes have been announced for April 8th and May 4th. While a typical strike usually lasts for 24 hours, there may be additional disruptions the day after the strike. Two ways to sightsee during the strikes:

Routemaster Bus 
— Number 11 route from Victoria Station and ending at Waterloo Station goes by several landmarks, including:
  • Victoria Station — Buckingham Palace, T
    he Gherkin, Spitalfields Market
  • Westminster Cathedral / Victoria Station — Westheimer Cathedral
  • Parliament Square / Westminster Abbey — Churchill War Rooms, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben
  • Westminster Bridge / County Hall — London Eye
  • www.tfl.gov.uk

Uber Boat
— Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is the fastest and most frequent boat service on the River Thames with 17-stops starting at Putney Pier to Royal Arsenal Woolwich Pier.  Major attractions along the route include:
    • Plantation Wharf — Battersea Power Station
    • London Eye (Waterloo)
    • Westminster Millenium Pier — Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey
    • Embankment — Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, West End, South Bank, Golden Jubilee Bridge
    • Black Frairs / Bankside — St. Paul's Cathedral, Shakespeare Globe, Tate Modern, Millenium Bridge
    • London Bridge City — Borough Market, Sky Garden, The Shard
    • Tower Pier — Tower Bridge, Tower of London
    • Canary Wharf — Financial District
    • Greenwich Pier — Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory
    • North Greenwich — O2, Emirates Cable Car
    • www.thamesclippers.com

      NOTE : The DLR, Elizabeth line, and Overground lines are expected to operate as usual.  Use CityMapper to make alternate travel plans. 
    With a bit of planning (and a lot of patience), it is still possible to get around!

    London Theatre Week

    £15-£35 tickets for over 60 shows

    While the sale officially ends March 3rd, like similar other promotions, discounted tickets can actuallhy be booked past this date. Here are a dozen of London's top shows at these low prices:
    £20 or less
    • Harry Potter & The Cursed Child, Part I & II (£15 ticket for each part)
    • Witness for the Prosecution
    £25
    • Back to the Future
    • Book of Mormon
    • Matilda the Musical
    • The Mousetrap
    • The Play that Goes Wrong
    • Wicked
    £30-£35
    • Frozen the Musical
    • Les Misérables
    • The Lion King
    • Tina - The Tina Turner Musical
    At these prices you can see more than one!
    www.londontheatre.co.uk

    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!