Eltham Palace

Medieval meets modern

Eltham Palace is an art deco mansion on the site of Henry VIII's childhood home. On the one hand, the Palace boasts a Tudor great hall and 19 acres of gardens, including London’s oldest working bridge over a moat. On the other, it is one of the finest examples of art deco architecture and design surviving in Britain today.

The stunning interiors and furnishings reflect a masterpiece of design, glamour and allure of 1930s fashionable society. The Palace is reflective of the eccentricities and tastes of its millionaire residents, Virginia and Stephen Courtauld, whose family established the Courtauld Institute of Art. It even comes complete with a room dedicated to the family’s pet lemur.

Beyond its roots as a medieval royal palace, Eltham has entertained many royals, politicians and socialites over the years and boasts state-of-the-art-modern conveniences for its time.

It is hard to think of another building in London that is such a study in contrast – a truly unique and unusual place to visit!

Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, London SE9 5QE

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London's Modern Architecture

30 buildings in 3-1/2 hours

London is made up of a stunning array of buildings — ranging from 17th century to present day and everything in between. Insider London’s comprehensive walking tour covers London’s hidden architectural wonders and its most iconic buildings.

The tour goes through three architectural hotspots and covers thirty buildings, skyscrapers and developments — all in 3½ hours. Learn how the city has been planned and built and get a glimpse of what is in store for London’s skyline.

Highlights include:
1) London’s tallest and most cutting edge skyscrapers
2) the latest addition to Tate Modern
3) the controversial eco-building loved by some but also named the “Worst New Building”
4) futuristic walkways intended to cover all of London
5) the influence of Roman London, St Paul’s Cathedral and WWII on London’s current layout, and St. Paul’s

Instead of looking down or straight ahead, you’ll quickly find it is worth looking up!

+44 2071 831055 3rd Floor, 207 Regent Street, London, W1B 3HH

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Living Lush

Bigger and better than ever

From humble beginnings in 1995 with their first store located in the small seaside town of Poole, UK, Lush Cosmetics now boasts 900+ stores worldwide. The company is known for ‘fresh handmade cosmetics’ that are 100% vegetarian and cruelty-free.

Despite the growth and popularity of the brand, Lush has maintained their no frills packaging and try before you buy sales approach. It is probably not surprising that the company also endorses a Pay-It-Forward scheme that invites staff to give away products to customers at their discretion.

To keep ardent fans (also known as ‘Lushies’) wanting more, Lush offers a customizable bath bomb subscription service and incentivizes customers to recycle used black pots (for every five empty pots returned, customers can claim a free Fresh Face Mask). Not to mention, true to their ‘fresh’ slogan, all their products have a limited shelf life.

If trying out products in their oversized sinks and labs is not enough, you book in-store and after hour parties at their various store locations. Adult gatherings can include skincare consultation and massage, foot or arm treatment. While kids parties involve interactive activities, such as a scavenger hunt, trying a face mask and making your own bath bomb. Of course, there will be time and money (included in the cost / person) to spend on the shop floor at the end of the event. You’ll head home refreshed, revived and ready to replicate part of your experience at home.

Exactly 20 years to the day, the flagship Oxford Street store was opened in 2015. At the time, it was the biggest Lush store in the world, complete with hair lab, listening booths and dedicated party area. Not to be outdone, the Lush Liverpool store opened last month is now the largest and its expanded offerings include an in-store florist, perfume library, salon and spa — along with exclusive products not available in other stores or online.

If history is any indication of what the future will bring — my guess is Lush will only get bigger and better with time!

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Sony World Photography Exhibition

800+ images from around the world

Somerset House will once again host the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition April 18 - May 6. The 12th annual display will include over 800 award winning, shortlisted and commended images selected by photographers in four categories (professional, open, youth and student).

The Awards are free to enter and drew a record-breaking 327,000 entries from around the globe. The images cover a diverse range of categories including architecture, culture, documentary, landscape, portraiture, sports, street photography, travel and wildlife. The judging is done by industry experts with the goal of recognizing the best in contemporary photography. 

Beyond the $30,000 total prize fund, photographers have had their works featured in major publications and gone on to be represented by major galleries and institutions.

Some of my favorite images from 2018 included the large scale, expressive Horsestyle by German photographer Wiebke Haas and the humorous Like Owner, Like Dog piece by Norway photographer Krister Soerboe. US photographer Wenjie Qiao managed to capture the 'once-in-a-lifetime' Solar Eclipse Sequence while Megan Johnson's poignant image Still earned her 'Youth Photographer of the Year' honors.

Advance booking is recommended since a limited number of day tickets will be available to purchase at the venue.

Ticket Prices:
Weekday ticket (Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays) £10
Weekend ticket (including bank holidays) £14
Concession ticket £8
Lunchtime weekday ticket offer (Monday to Friday, 12 to 2pm) £5

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday 10am to 9pm (last admission 8pm)
Weekends 10am to 8pm (last admission 7pm)

After visiting the exhibition, if you think you have what it takes – submissions for the 2020 Sony World Photography Awards opens June 1, 2019.
+44 2073 060055 Strand, London WC2R 1LA

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Walk The Line

London's first sculpture walk

The Line is London’s first sculpture walk established by art dealer Megan Piper and the late urban regeneration expert Clive Dutton OBE. The outdoor exhibition of sculptures takes place along the waterways of East London (one of London’s best kept secrets) and takes around three hours to complete. It features modern and contemporary art – many that have been hidden from public view between Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The Greenwich Meridian.

Here by Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead is in fact located on the Greenwich Meridian (zero degrees longitude and the starting point of every time zone in the world) and marks the 24,859 mile distance around the earth and back.

Many of the large-scale pieces, such as Liberty Grip by Gary Hume is sited in such a way to encourage viewers to engage with the art. This bronze sculpture is based on the arm of a store mannequin and even includes pink at the end of each limb.

While others like Quantum Cloud by Anthony Gormley can only be viewed at a distance either on the foot path or from the Emirates Air-Line above.

In case you are wondering just what you are looking at, the pieces are all well-marked and labelled.  For example, Abigail Fallis' DNA DL90 is a monumental arrangement of shopping trolleys* fashioned into a DNA double-helix sculpture and alludes to how consumer culture has become part of one's genetic makeup.

There is also a handy online map and directions making it easy to start and finish from multiple points depending on what your time allows.

The Line is on track to become a world class sculpture walk (or cycle) to enjoy – a far cry from the 
pirate corpses that once hung in cages as a warning to criminals!

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Dine with Mum

Mothering Sunday March 31st

Dandelyan — Located within the Sea Containers house along the River Thames, Dandelyan at Mondrian London features a colorful and tasteful art deco interior. The award-winning bar was named the World's Best Bar and and not surprisingly home to the World's Best Cocktail Menu. With stunning views of the river, it is a perfect place to stop in for a drink or book ahead for Dandelyan's 70s inspired four course Wyld Tea complete with four botanical cocktails.
Request a table on the far end of the bar with a view of St. Paul's Cathedral
www.dandelyanbar.com+44 2037 471063
20 Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PD, UK

Portrait Restaurant — Housed within the National Portrait Gallery adjacent to Trafalgar Square, The Portrait Restaurant boasts one of the best views of London.  In addition to traditional afternoon tea and set lunch menu daily, they also offer a well-priced pre-theatre menu (Thursday - Saturday) and special pricing on restaurant and exhibition ticket packages.
Request a table for two along the bay of windows - left for a view of London Eye or right for view of Big Ben
www.npg.org.uk+44 2073 060055
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

Radio Rooftop — Situated ten floors up within ME London, Radio Rooftop offers iconic views of London's skyline. Avoid the crowds and minimum spend in the evenings by making a daytime booking. Afternoon tea is a special treat on the open air rooftop that can be cleverly covered and heated when the weather doesn't cooperate.
Request a table for two along the balcony edge
www.radiorooftop.com/london ✆ +44 2073 953440
ME London, 336-337 Strand, London WC2R

In case these don't match what you are looking for, check out Affordable Teas with a Twist and Perfect Pairings for more Mum-friendly options.

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The Watts Gallery

Tourist Destination of the Year

Recognized as the 2018 Tourist Destination of the Year by the Surrey Business Awards, The Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village is an ‘arts and crafts gem’ located in Compton, Surrey. The Gallery is dedicated to George Frederic Watts, one of the greatest Victorian era painters and considered England’s Michelangelo. It is one of the few UK galleries devoted to a single artist and features 100+ paintings and sculptures – many on a monumental scale.

G.F. Watts was married to Mary Watts an acclaimed artist, founder of the Compton Pottery and creator of Watts Chapel. The couple lived and worked an increasing amount of time away from London at Limnerslease (‘Limner' word for artist and 'lease' meaning to glean hope for the future), their home and studio located nearby.

It was here where Mary taught terracotta classes to the local villagers who created the tiles that decorate the Chapel. The Chapel itself was funded by sales of commissioned portraits painted by GF Watts.

Today, guests can visit the Gallery and Chapel and guided tours of Limnerslease. The gift shop located in the former Compton Pottery building features a tasteful collection of products ranging from books, clothing and jewellery to housewares, including replicas of Compton Pottery terracotta pots.

With so much to see and everything within walking distance, the tea shop is a perfect place to stop for homemade soups, sandwiches and salads and of course afternoon tea.

Another charming place to eat before or after a visit to The Watts Gallery is The Withies Inn — just a 4 minute drive away. Who knew such a small vilage could have so much to offer!
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