Best of 2019 — Part II

Top 10 posts — Part II

The best of the best from 2019

5. 4 Top Wimbledon Tips— Four top tips on getting to see Wimbledon champions

4. St Paul's Lit Up — Best views of one of London's most famous landmarks

3. Seven Sisters Cliffs — UK natural wonder

2. Hamilton tickets starting at £20 — While the release of £20 tickets caused quite a stir, tickets for £37.50 are available on select dates through May 2020

1. Chelsea in Bloom — Free record-breaking display that coincides with the famed Chelsea Flower Show

It is not too early to mark your diary with things to do in London and Surrey in 2020!

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Best of 2019

Top 10 posts — Part I

This year's top 10 could not be more eclectic — ranging from architecture and art to sports and theatre. What was your favorite?

10. Downton Abbey Returns — Three years in the making, Downton Abbey finally hits the big screen.

9. MLB Bound — London Stadium hosts the first Major League Baseball (MLB) games in Europe

8. Eltham Palace — An art deco mansion on the site of Henry VIII's childhood home

7. London's Modern Architecture — 30 buildings in 3-/12 hours

6. Walk the Line  — London’s first sculpture walk along the waterways of East London

Best of 2019  Part II will feature the best of the best from 2019.

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Give the Gift of Theatre

Tickets starting at £10/seat for over 50 shows January 1 -  February 13

If you are looking for the perfect gift, look no further than the 'Get into London Theatre' New Year Sale.  They will once again offer top London shows starting as little as £10/seat. Gift giving guide, for the . . .
. . . jokester:
  • The Comedy about a Bank Robbery
  • Dick Whittington
  • The Play that Goes Wrong
  • Potted Panto
. . . music lover:
  • Girl From the North Country
  • Thriller Live!
  • Tina - The Tina Turner Musical
. . . theatre connoisseur:
  • Come From Away
  • The Phantom of the Opera
. . . young theatre goer:
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea
. . . whole family:
  • Disney's The Lion King
  • Matilda The Musical
  • Wicked
or pick from 40 other shows.  BONUS : No booking, postage or transactions fees!

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Mayflower & Brunel River Walk & Boat Trip

While the origin of the Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving is not entirely clear, the epic Mayflower voyage from England to America in 1620 is well-documented. Located in the London Borough of Southwark, the Brunel Museum is less than 300 feet from the docking point of the Mayflower ship.

The Museum is hosting a number of activities in conjunction with Fantastic Feats : The Building of London that celebrates the city's architecture, invention and engineering, including:

Mayflower & Brunel River Walk – 10:45 am November 17th and 18th
Meet at Rotherhithe tube station for a guided walk to the Brunel Museum before descending below into the Grand Entrance Hall. This walking tour goes through the historic village of Rotherhithe. Highlights include a mortuary, a palace, pilgrim’s and pirate’s pubs and a tomb. The Hall is the world’s first underground theatre and half the size of Shakespeare’s Globe.
Cost: £10 per person (£8 seniors)

Brunel’s London Boat Trip — 10:30 am Daily until November 18th
Meet at Embankment tube station for the guided boat trip under three Brunel bridges (Hungerford, Blackfriars and Tower Bridge) on the river before descending into the Thames Tunnel – one of the oldest tunnels in the oldest undergrounds in the world. The Tunnel is Brunel’s first project and considered one of London’s great wonders of the Victorian age.
Cost: £10 per person (£8 seniors) plus transport (Zone 2 rail journey and £5 for the riverboat)

Even if you are not able to get by this weekend — you can visit the Brunel Museum year-round or get lunch or a pint at the famous Mayflower Pub, located at the original docking point of the Mayflower ship.

Fun Fact #1: The Mayflower is the only pub licensed to sell US and UK stamps
Fun Fact #2: If you can prove a family connection to The Mayflower 1620 voyage you can request to sign The Mayflower Descendants Book 2072 313840
Railway Avenue Rotherhithe, London, SE16 4LF

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St Paul's Cathedral Lit Up

October 25-27

St Paul's Cathedral is one of London's most famous landmarks. The Grade 1 listed building sits on the highest point of the City of London and the dome of the Cathedral is one of the highest in the world. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren who was charged with rebuilding churches lost in the Great Fire of London.

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of since the start of World War II, St Paul's will be honoring those that risked their lives to save the Cathedral by illuminating the building with projections poetry entitled Where Light Falls. Free viewing outside the Cathedral will take place October 24th-26th 6:30-10 pm and October 27th 8-10 pm. There is also a unique opportunity to visit the Cathedral after-hours that includes reading from the Poetry Society October 25th 6:30-8:30 pm (Adults £10, Seniors 60+ Children 6-24 £5).

The event is part of the Fantastic Feats : The Building of London that celebrates the city's architecture, invention and engineering. Events include an array of activities, including exhibitions, performances and tours and will conclude December 1st.

To make the most of your visit to St Paul's, take this path:

Walk over the Millennium Bridge from Tate Modern on the south towards St Paul's Cathedral on the north.  Look carefully as you walk over the bridge for 400+ miniature pieces of chewing gum art created by Ben Wilson.

After crossing the bridge head to One New Change, a retail and restaurant building and take a lift* to the terrace. Here you have a chance to enjoy a stunning unobstructed view of St Paul's Cathedral from 6 am - midnight at no charge.

While inside St Paul's, it is worth climbing 528 steps up to the Golden Gallery of the Cathedral for breathtaking panoramic views Shakespeare Globe, Tate Modern and the Thames. Through November 30th, there is a special exhibition entitled The Great Restoration of the 1920s that recounts how St Paul's dome was restored after receiving a notice requesting its removal.

BONUS : Kids Go Free through November 2nd 2072 468350
The Chapter House, St Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD

Stay tuned for more Fantastic Feats . . .
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Spooked in Surrey

Historic haunted houses and more

Surrey is home to two well-known haunted historic houses. They are worth visiting — if you dare:

Chartwell House (Westerham) — Sir Winston Churchill made Chartwell House his home for more than 40 years.  He is credited with his own ghostly sighting while  painting a portrait of his father.  Churchill recalled that he appeared in front of him, they proceeded to have a conversation and then he disappeared after lighting a cigarette.  Today, visitors have noted the scent of cigar smoke while touring the home. 1732 868381
Mapleton Road, Westerham TN16 1PS

Ham House (Richmond) — With at least 15 resident ghosts, Ham House is said to be one of the most haunted in Britain.  The Grade I listed building considered “unique in Europe as the most complete survival of 17th century fashion and power” was home to the Duchess Lauderdale.  The presence of the late Duchess is said to be particularly strong - from the sounds of footsteps, her rose scent and appearance of figures in her mirror.

Bonus : Fireside Ghost Stories (Fridays October 11-December 13), Evening Ghost Tours by candlelight (Daily October 21-25 and November 5-8) and Spooky Storytelling (Daily October 26-November 3) 2089 401950
Ham Street, Ham, Richmond TW10 7RS

With Halloween falling on half-term, there are plenty of kid-friendly options, including:

  • Claremont Landscape Garden : Spooky Walk (Esher)
  • Denbies Wine Estate : Spooky Train Ride & Storytelling (Dorking)
  • RHS Garden Wisley : Wisley After Dark (Woking)
  • Skywalk Adventure : Scary Skywalk (Esher)
Happy Haunting!

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London Restaurant Festival

World Class Dining October 1 - 31

Since 2008, the capital city has hosted the London Restaurant Festival (October 1-31). This year's month-long festival will feature 60 events and exclusive menus at 250 restaurants.

Highlights include Chef-hosted Lunches, Restaurant-Hopping Tours and Champagne Gourmet Odysseys. While many of these are already sold out, there are still reservations available at some of the best restaurants in the city. In partnership with OpenTable, the restaurants have been cleverly grouped by themes, including London Legends, Amazing Spaces, Avant Garde, Flights & Pairings, London with a View and Talk of the Town.

Some my favorites with specially-priced menus include:

  • Coq d’Argent Restaurant - Game Tasting Menu 5 courses £60
  • Floral by Lima - 8 dishes to share & a pisco sour £40
  • Galvins at Windows - 3 course Menu Prestige & a glass of Bellini £82
  • Hakkasan - 2 courses & glass of wine £30
  • Hawksmoor - 2 courses & a choice from 3 cocktails £30
  • Hotel Café Royal - Champagne Afternoon Tea £55
  • Inamo - 4 dishes & 2 drinks £29
  • Launceston Place - 8 course tasting menu & wines for 2 £298
  • Leicester Square Kitchen - Lunch & Pre-theatre menu 3/4 dishes £22/£27
  • Sanderson - Tipsy Evening Tea: £58
  • Skylon - Pre-or Post-theatre 2 courses £25, 3 courses £30
  • Ting Restaurant - 4 course menu & a glass of champagne £40
Even if you managed to eat out three times a day - it would take you over 2-1/2 months to get to all the restaurants on the list. Regardless of how many you get to, at least you'll have fun trying!

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