5 Unforgettable Views of London

A view from above without the high ticket price

Admission for a family to The Shard's 72nd floor viewing platform is steep — unless you go when they offer 'kids go free' specials. Here are some other options:

Aqua Shard (London) — Breakfast is served on the 31st floor until 10:30 weekdays and 10 am weekends (when brunch available until 3:30 pm). Tables of two can be seated by the floor to ceiling windows. For a real treat, add a morning cocktail to the reasonably priced breakfast.
www.aquashard.co.uk+44 2030 111256
Level 31 The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY

The Monument (London) — If you aren’t a UK resident to climb Big Ben or don’t want to shell out the cash to go up The Shard, The Monument to the Great Fire of London is a perfect alternative. Tower Bridge offers a joint ticket to climb The Monument, the world’s tallest column for £11/adult and £5/child under 16 (to climb the monument itself is just £4/adult and £2/child). You’ll climb 311 spiral steps to enjoy views of the city and given a certificate as a memento of your ascent.
www.themonument+44 2076 262717
Monument Street, London EC3R 8AH

St. Paul's Cathedral (London) — There are two options of good views from and of St. Paul's Cathedral. Climb 528 steps up to the Golden Gallery for breathtaking panoramic views Shakespeare Globe, Tate Modern and the Thames. Also, closeby you can take lift* to the terrace of One New Change retail and restaurant building. Here you have a chance to enjoy a stunning unobstructed view of St. Paul's Cathedral from 6 am - midnight at no charge.
www.stpauls.co.uk+44 2072 468350
The Chapter House, St Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD

Sky Garden (Multiple) — Open last year, there is no admission fee, but you have to pre-book a time to visit. City Garden Bar and Sky Pod Bar are both located on the 35th floor with seating available at scattered chairs and coaches. Book Darwin Brasserie restaurant on the 36th floor for a reasonably priced breakfast. Small parties of 2-3 work best so you can request a table in the corner with the best view. Fenchurch on the 37th floor is open for lunch and dinner and serves both an ala carte and tasting menus with wine pairings.

Tower Bridge (London) — Visiting the Tower Bridge Exhibition, seeing the engine rooms and taking in panoramic views above the River Thames towards the East and West of the Thames are great ways to explore the most famous bridge in the world. To make it truly memorable, plan your visit to coincide with the Bridge lift times.
www.towerbridge.org.uk+44 2074 033761
Tower Bridge, London SE1 2AA

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Favorite Salads

Three favorite places for summertime salads

Summer has certainly taken its time to arrive.  Whether the good weather is here to stay, I find myself craving summer salads. Three favorites to enjoy (even with a hot cuppa*) include:

Cafe Menta (Esher) — Both the warm goat’s cheese and sweet chili chicken salads are delicious. The cafe is a great place for breakfast too. The owner is friendly and has a knack for remembering customer's preferences. On my second visit he already knew the variations to my omelette and fresh squeezed juice combination.
+44 1372 467559
64 High Street, Esher, Surrey KT10 9QS

Muriel's Kitchen (Multiple) — We stopped in for a quick bite after visiting an exhibition at the V&A. We shared a seasonal salad plate that consisted of four salads, including market roasted beets, roasted butternut squash and feta, smokey Surrey aubergine and spicy mixed bean salads. The slow roasted BBQ pulled pork sliders was a generous and tasty portion too.

The Old Plough (Cobham) — Gastro pubs with the same menu include The Crown in Twickenham and The Wheatsheaf in Esher are consistently good. While they maintain traditional wood floors, the decor is lighter, airier and updated than conventional pubs. The only difference between their tasty bang bang peanut satay chicken salad and grilled hallomi salads found at their locations is the plates they are served on.
www.oldploughcobham.co.uk+44 1932 862244
2 Station Road, Stoke D'Abernon, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3BNS

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Buckingham Palace Summer Opening Times

Only time of year to go inside Buckingham Palace starts next Saturday

Buckingham Palace is the administrative headquarters for The Queen where official events and receptions take place. The only time to get inside Buckingham Palace is during summer opening times (July 23rd and October 2nd). In addition to seeing the 19 State Rooms and Garden, the Palace features a limited edition exhibition.

As part of our private State Room & Garden Highlights Tour, we had a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation for state visits. We left with a true appreciation for the meticulous planning and attention to detail for these lavish occasions. While there is little chance to get a glimpse of the Royal family (they are on holiday* at this time) and few changes to the State Rooms and Garden themselves annually, the themed special exhibition is worth a return visit. The 2016 exhibition is Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from the Queen's Wardrobe. As with most attractions, book* early to avoid disappointment.
www.royalcollection.org.uk+44 3031 237334
Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA

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Hampton Court Flower Show

In case you missed Chelsea Flower Show, plan a visit to 
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (July 5-10), the world’s largest annual flower show.

Close by, the small village of East Molesey boasts quite a few antique shops, boutiques, independent stores and a surprising number of good places to eat, including:

  • Cocum (Multiple) — Save yourself a trip into the city and visit this small unassuming South Indian restaurant that has earned Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence. Cocum serves authentic, tasty Kerala fare at affordable prices.
  • www.cocumrestaurant.co.uk
  • Mada Deli — This is one of our favorite breakfast / brunch places, and features consistently good food. Outdoor seating for people watching is a premium on Saturdays and Sundays – so you will need to go early to get a seat in the sunshine.
  • +44 2089 797553
    11 Bridge Road, East Molesey KT89EU
  • The Vineking (Multiple) — While a wine shop by day, The Vineking turns into a pop-up restaurant at night, serving multi-course meals with wine pairings on select evenings. The sommelier was friendly, knowledgeable and on this occasion, the delicious four-course meal was prepared by chef Max Mckenzie, formerly of Marcus Wareing @ the Berkeley.
  • www.thevineking.com
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