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 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 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 ✆ +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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Seven Sisters Cliffs

UK natural wonder

Seven Sisters Cliffs are often confused with the White Cliffs of Dover, a series of iconic chalk cliffs covering the narrowest part of the English Channel. The White Cliffs located at the Port of Dover played an important role during World War II by deterring invaders.

The Seven Sisters Cliffs are particularly striking because they can erode naturally, revealing bright, white chalk surfaces, while the White Cliffs of Dover are impacted by the port (the second busiest one in England) and growing vegetation. As such, Seven Sisters Cliffs has been featured in place of their more famous counterpart in films, including Atonement and Robin Hood : Prince of Thieves.

Not surprisingly, the best way to experience Seven Sisters is on foot. While the 5-mile hike is a challenging one with steep hills (look closely at the photos for the people to get a sense of just how high the cliffs are). Needless to say, you will be rewarded with spectacular views throughout.

Parking for £4 / car is available at Seven Sisters Country Park Visitor Center in Seaford (post code BN25 4AD). Towards the end of the route, there is a National Trust property at Birling Gap with toilet facilities. From there you can walk to the Crow Link Car Park and catch the #12 bus for £2 / person. The bus runs every 10 minutes back to the Seven Sisters Country Park Visitor Center. Alternatively, you can continue hiking another 3.5 miles back to the Visitor Center.

Of course, if you were really inspired (and the weather cooperated), you could continue on the South Downs Way, a 100-mile walking trail that leads all the way to Winchester!

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Sweet Valentine . . .

Sweet Tooth Tours

If you are looking for more than a box of chocolates for Valentine's Day, a Sweet Tooth Tour may be just the thing. Founded in 2017 by Le Cordon Bleu pastry chef Lynne Staartjes, Sweet Tooth Tours highlight London's best sweets (bakeries, chocolate shops, gelaterias), savories (cheese mongers) and more.

Our custom 2-1/2 hour walk featured the history and stories behind 'hidden gems' in Belgravia, a luxury residential area in southwest London. The route included stops for a savory ham and cheese waffle at a stylish café, an eclectic macaron tasting at an exclusive French pastry shop, artisan cheeses at a British cheesemonger and decant chocolates at a London chocolatier. Despite the relatively small portions along the way, we found ourselves unable to try all the varieties of chocolates on offer.

In addition to her Signature Belgravia Tour, Lynne offers a Sugar & Spice (a savory version) and even Gluten-Free & Vegan Tours. And if these are not quite what you are looking for, Lynne can arrange bespoke experiences, including:

- scone baking class in a luxury Knightsbridge apartment,
- visit to London’s bakeries by Rolls-Royce,
- and even a day trip to the best patisseries in Paris.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.  It is no surprise that Sweet Tooth Tours has received accolades from Conde Nast Traveller, The Guardian and Town & Country to name just a few.  How sweet indeed!

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Hamilton tickets starting at £20

Booking until May 25th

The annual London theatre New Year Sale promotion is popular with 40 shows starting at just £10 until February 15th. Although not part of the official list, Hamilton recently announced tickets for as little as £20 for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday matinee shows until May 25th.

Tickets are a steal compared to Broadway where ticket prices start at $235 (nearly nine times more than in the West End) – thanks in part to an innovative paperless ticket system. No physical tickets are issued ahead of time and patrons must present photo ID along with the payment card they booked with. Thus, virtually eliminating scalpers – an industry first.

Who could have known when Hamilton opened on Broadway in 2015 just how relevant the production would be today? A diverse London cast pays homage to the role immigrants play in the history of great nations. The West End production won seven Olivier Awards in 2018, including 'Best New Musical'.

Lead original cast members Jamael Westman (Hamilton) and Rachelle Ann Go (Eliza Hamilton) have continued with new cast announced in December. At 6’4”, Jamael Westman adeptly plays the larger than life, albeit lesser known, of America’s founding fathers. The story follows Alexander Hamilton’s humble beginnings to his meteoric rise; not unlike that of Westman making his West End debut.

While the set is surprisingly minimal, the carefully choreographed hip hop moves and clever rhyming rap lyrics are not. With an open run and affordable ticket prices at the beautifully refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre, Hamilton is set to continue breaking records and inspiring a new generation of theatre goers. 2078 342781
Victoria Palace Theatre, Victoria Street, London SW1E 5EA

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