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!

  • For more: Download the London via Surrey Book App

    Snag Sunbury Antiques soon

    Next Tuesday will only be the sixth time Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park has welcomed guests since last March.

    For 40 years  the country’s most popular antiques fair has offered free admission and parking — until now that is.  To control the number of guests, they have had to introduce a staggered admissions fee (6.30 am — 8.30 am: £10, 8.30 am — 10 am: £5).  Free admission to all after 10 am and free parking is still available.

    If Covid restrictions were not enough, there are added complications.  This includes limiting operations to primarily outside and a smaller indoor building.  Stallholders are also dealing with the fallout of Brexit, including custom declarations.  These are slated to go into full effect January 2022.

    While it is still unclear how this will impact the 700 stallholders, it is likely prices will go up.  A summer visit to Sunbury may be your best bet for unique new and vintage goods. In addition to the first and last Tuesday of the month, Sunbury Antiques has added an extra date at Sandown Race Course (admission and parking remains free at this venue) on Sunday, August 15th.

    No better time to visit — rain or shine!
    www.sunburyantiques.com+44 1932 230946
    Kempton Park Racecourse, Staines Road East, Sunbury-on-Thames TW16 5AQ
    Sandown Racecourse, Portsmouth Road, Esher KT10 9AJ

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    May flowers bloom into June

    While the last few weeks have been wet in the UK, a heat wave is on its way. Catch the flowers while you still can:

    The Valley Gardens Punch Bowl (Windsor) — The 250-acre Windsor Great Park features thousands of azaleas and rhododendrons in every color, shape and size.
    The Royal Landscape, Valley Gardens, Wick Road, Englefield Green TW20 0HNN

    — As a protected species and nearly half of ancient bluebell woodlands are the UK, there is a good chance you can still spot some fields.

    — Considered the new 'British olive oil' and commonly known in
    the US as canola oil can be seen on the side of highways and from above in case you take to the skies this bank holiday.

    Just like the weather, it is hard to predict just how long these will last!

    Cozy and covered dining

    Book now for May 3rd bank holiday

    Despite the easing of coronavirus rules on April 12th, pubs and restaurants are still not able to serve people inside. Between this and given the unusual weather lately, cozy and covered al fresco dining will be at a premium for the upcoming May bank holiday. Six weatherproof options in London and Surrey:

    Chiltern Firehouse (London) — Chiltern Firehouse operates on a walk-in only basis and features an outdoor fireplace. To beat the crowd, head in for a reasonably-priced breakfast early (7 am on weekdays and 9 am on weekends).
    www.chilternfirehouse.com+44 2070 737676
    1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, W1U 7PAG

    Coq d’Argent (London) — This popular French restaurant features panoramic views of London complete with heaters. Ala carte menu available Monday to Friday noon to 4 pm for lunch and 5 – 9 pm for dinner and Saturday 5 – 9 pm.
    www.coqdargent.co.uk+44 2073 955000
    No. 1 Poultry, City of London, EC2R 8EJ

    The Ivy Cobham Brasserie (Cobham) — The upmarket brasserie has a beautiful covered garden terrace with heaters. Their all-day seasonal menu (ala carte, vegetarian and vegan) includes light snacks and starters.
    www.theivycobhambrasserie.com+44 1932 901777
    48 High St, Cobham KT11 3EF

    The Mitre (Hampton Court) — Located on the banks of the River Thames, the riverside terrace is covered by a stretched tent, including blankets, fire pits and heated lamps.
    www.mitrehamptoncourt.com+44 2089 799988
    Hampton Court Road, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9BN

    Radio Rooftop (London) — Situated ten floors up within ME
    London, Radio Rooftop offers iconic views of London's skyline. The open air rooftop can be cleverly covered and heated when the weather doesn't cooperate. Avoid the crowds and minimum spend in the evenings by making a daytime booking.

    www.radiorooftop.com/london+44 2073 953440
    ME London, 336-337 Strand, London WC2R

    The Wheatsheaf
    (Esher) — A family-friendly (four-legged ones too!) 200 year-old pub close to Esher Green offers array of ales, daily specials and pub classics.
    www.wheatsheafesher.co.uk+44 1372 464014
    40 Esher Green, Esher KT10 8AG

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    Fit for a Prince

    Of the 800 Royal Warrant Holders, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has granted 35 of them. A Royal Warrant of Appointment can be made to businesses who have supplied highly quality goods or services for at least five years. Once an application is accepted, royal warrants are issued for five years. Those granted a warrant are responsible for displaying the relevant coat of arms of the Royal Family member.

    Among them include Jaguar Land Rover
    — the company that collaborated with the Duke over the past 18 years to customize the vehicle that transported the Duke of Edinburgh's coffin at his funeral.

    If a Land Rover or custom suit by a Saville Row
    tailor are beyond your reach, here are a few more affordable options:

    Boots Opticians
    — Commonly located on High Streets, Boots Opticians has 600 locations throughout the UK.
    Hunters Boot 
    — Established in 1856, Hunter is known for their popular classic boot originally introduced in 1956. www.hunterboots.com

    — Founded in 1860s by William Henry Penhaligon, a barber and perfumer to Queen Victoria.

    With Prince Philip’s passing, his Royal Warrants are now void and the company has two years to discontinue the Royal Arms.  However, since many are also favored by other royals, there is a good chance the affiliations will endure.

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