Thanksgiving Day

Celebrate in and around St Paul's

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.

In addition to daily services, St. Paul's hosts special services throughout the year. The annual Thanksgiving Day Service will take place November 23rd beginning at 11 am. The service is free and no tickets are needed.

St Paul's connection to Americans dates back to 1903 when JP Morgan donated funding to provide electricity in the Cathedral. When the American Memorial Chapel within the Cathedral was damaged following World War II, the British people raised funds to have it replaced and it was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II in 1958.

The Cathedral will open for sightseeing beginning at 1 pm following the service. Introductory 15-20 minute talks on the history and architecture of the Cathedral and guided 90-minute tours (Typically 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm and 2 pm daily, including areas not usually open to visitors) can be booked at the guiding desk. Both are included at no extra cost of your admission.

While at St Paul's, there are two picturesque views from and of St Paul's Cathedral worth taking in. Climb 528 steps up to the Golden Gallery of the Cathedral for breathtaking panoramic views Shakespeare Globe, Tate Modern and the Thames.

Also, close by you can take lift* to the terrace of One New Change, a 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


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Countdown to Christmas

Creative Calendars for less than £20

Gone are the days of advent calendars filled only with pieces of chocolate.  While extravagant ones fill the shelves of high-end stores, there are ones that are equally fun and frivolous for a lot less:

BeanBoozled (£15) — BeanBoozled popular Russian Roulette candy game has been made into a Naughty or Nice? calendar.  The advent calendar features 24 packages of randomly mixed jelly bean flavors.  The tasty (and not so tasty) combinations, include: buttered popcorn / rotten egg, caramel corn / moldy cheese, chocolate pudding / canned dog food and tutti fruitti / stinky socks to name a few.  Only for those that are up for a dare!
www.jellybelly.co.uk

Kellogg's (£4) — Kellogg's has released the UK's first breakfast calendar.  The limited edition Variety Advent Calendar features '24 bowls til' Christmas' and is only sold in Tesco stores.  The pack includes classics like Coco Pops, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and more.  Considering my parents wouldn't buy us sugary cereals growing up — I have a feeling I am more excited by this one than my kids are.

Mad Beauty (£19.99) — There are 24 mini beauty gifts in all.  The set includes one compact, eye liner and lip liner, two blushers, eye shadows and lipsticks along with five lip glosses.  It even has numerous applicators, brushes, decals and more — everything you need to fill up a makeup bag.  
www.madbeauty.com

Wax Lyrical (£19.99) — Wax Lyrical's Night Before Christmas Calendar features 24 tea lights and tea light holder.  Their popular holiday fragrances Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh, Toasted Cinnamon and Vanilla and Cranberry are included.  With combined burn time of 150 hours, this set will last throughout the holiday season. 

Last, but not least is the world's first Cheese Advent Calendar (£8) featuring 24 individually wrapped cheeses and sold by ASDA.  Flavors include Applewood, Jarlsberg, Mature Cheddar, Red Leicester and Wensleydale varieties.  So far I haven't had luck getting my hands on one let me know if you do!

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Remembrance Sunday

Poignant Poppies

Remembrance Sunday (November 12) is held on the second Sunday in November and honors members of the armed forces. The official national ceremony takes place at Whitehall in London. The ceremony includes two-minutes of silence at 11 am, representing the eleventh hour in which World War I came to end. 

Traditionally, the Queen lays the first poppy wreath. However, this year Prince Charles will perform this duty, while Her Majesty and Prince Phillip watch from a balcony. Other members of the Royal Family, key political leaders and representatives from the armed forces will also lay wreaths.

Nearly a century later, the red poppy remains a popular symbol of remembrance. During World War I, red poppies grew and flourished throughout the war-torn countryside. The flowers were featured in the famous 1915 poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ written by a Canadian Doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae after losing a friend in battle.


In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly...

His poem inspired American, Monia Michael and French woman, Anna Guérin to make and sell red silk poppies — interestingly they were first sold in the US to support disabled veterans. In 1921, the Royal British Legion held its first ‘Poppy Appeal’ and sold nearly 9 million poppies to support World War I veterans. The following year, The Poppy Factory was established and continues today to employ disabled veterans to produce millions of poppies a year.

The Poppy Factory in Richmond offers free 2-hour tours. The presentation covers the history of 
the factory and includes a visit to the production floor where wreaths for the Royal Family along with millions of other remembrance products are made by hand. You will also have a chance to help the charity make paper poppies — particularly popular this time of year. 
www.poppyfactory.org +44 2089 391837
20 Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 6UR

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Bonfire Night English Style

Festive Fireworks & More 

Remember, remember, the fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot...

Bonfire Night (November 5) commemorates the anniversary of the failed plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Ironically, Guy Fawkes was not the ringleader of the plot. However, Fawkes was the one found in the cellar of the House of Lords with 36 barrels of gunpowder. 

Traditional Bonfire Night food and drink, includes Parkin Cake and Mulled Wine. Parkin is a traditional sticky oat, spiced cake (somewhat of a cross between gingerbread and sticky toffee pudding). With the cooler temperatures, mulled wine is one of my favorite winter warmers. Mulled wine is usually made with red wine that is heated, spiced and sweetened.

Of course, the highlight of the national holiday is fireworks  representing the gunpowder. With Bonfire Night falling on Sunday, there will be fireworks (you have likely heard them already!) leading up to and through the weekend. The biggest fireworks shows in London and Surrey are:

Alexander Palace (London) — The Ally Pally’s Fireworks Festival will take place Friday and Saturday. In addition to fireworks, the festival includes a bonfire, family area, DJ / live music, German bier festival and parade. Advance Tickets: Adult £8, Child £6.
www.fireworks.london+44 2083 652121
Alexander Palace Way, London N22 7AY


Imber Court Sports Ground (East Molesey) — Fireworks Live takes place Sunday and features a fireworks display, bonfire, DJ / life music and fun fair. Bonfire 6:30 pm, Live music 7 pm, Fireworks 7:30 pm.  Advance tickets: Adult £8.50, Child £4.50, Family £20.
www.fireworkslive.co.uk+44 2034 411688
Imber Court, Ember Lane, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 0BT

Even if you don’t have a chance to go to a fireworks show, you can set off your own at home. Unlike the US, which limits fireworks to holidays and rural areas, the UK allows fireworks (including those of the aerial and explosive varieties) year-round and in many parts of the country.

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Spirit of Christmas Fair

800+ independent boutiques under one roof

With each passing year the signs of the holidays seem to arrive earlier and earlier.  The Christmas shops of both Harrods and Liberty opened in early September and it is not uncommon to see Christmas and Halloween decor located within the same aisle.

As a matter of principle (and a bit of denial too), I cannot get on board with the trend of holiday shopping until at least the end of October.  The Spirit of Christmas Fair in London running October 30 through November 5 has figured this out.

While it may not be as charming as fairy-lit, traditional holiday markets and comes with an admission fee, there is something to be said of having over 800 vendors displaying their wares, complimentary masterclasses and interactive workshops and tastings too  all indoors no less!

The Food Hall located upstairs features independent artisans, including Royal Warrant holders and Great Taste award-winners along with exhibitors new to the Spirit of Christmas fair. If you have the time, take a break from festive shopping at a sit-down restaurant Mosimann's, royal caterers and private dining club, or enjoy a glass a champagne at one of the Louis Roederer Champagne Bars.

Book tickets in advance to receive 20% off admission. Also, your November 2 - 5 Spirit of Christmas ticket also gains you entry into the Luxury Travel Fair presented by Condé Nast Traveller.
www.spiritofchristmasfair.co.uk+44 1483 229136
Olympia Grand, Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX.

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Half-Term Halloween Specials

Beyond pumpkin patches and trick-or-treating

With Halloween falling on a Tuesday and during half-term, there are more activities than usual over the weekend and even after Halloween itself. Here are three unusual ways to celebrate:

echo7 Recording Studio (Ewell) — Kids 9 to 16 can dance, sing or just chill out at echo7 Recording Studio. They have full use of a professional recording studio with 4,000+ songs to choose from complete with disco lights and microphones (including ones used by stars like Michael Jackson for Thriller and Taylor Swift). The two-hour session for up to 10 is £10 / person Monday - Friday (minimum £50) and £15 / person Saturday or Sunday (minimum £75). Extras like UV lights and paints, chocolate fountain with dips, pizzas and music video can be added. The Studio is open beginning at 8 am, parents can choose to stay or dropoff and best of all no need to worry about the weather!
7 Rosebery Parade, Kingston Road, Ewell, Surrey, KT17 2EJ

Edible Cinema (Multiple) — Intrigued by the idea of seeing and tasting a film at the same time? When you get to your cinema seat, there will be a tray of small numbered boxes that are to be opened at specific times during the film. The menu is based on an interpretation of what is happening on the screen. The team behind the creative menu includes experimental chefs, food designers and mixologists. Past films include Grosse Point Blank, Trading Places, and When Harry Met Sally. Just in time for Halloween, Beetlejuice makes a return screening October 31 and November 1 at select Everyman theatres in London. Tickets are £35 and includes Bombay welcome cocktail, eight bite-sized canapés / mini cocktails.
www.ediblecinema.co.uk

Skywalk Adventure (Esher) — Located at Sandown Sports Club, Skywalk Adventure features two treetop adventure courses, including bridges, swinging logs, tightropes and zip wires landing into nets. The minimum age is 8 years and minimum height is 1.3 metres tall. There is an on-site cafe with hot pots, salads, sandwiches, snacks and wraps along with a fully stocked bar. They will be open extended hours October 26 - 31 as part of their SPOOKtacular Skywalk experience complete with supernatural sightings.  For a less Scary Skywalk adventure, they will be open as usual during the daytime. Admission is £15 for kids and £20 for adults for both courses (over 40% off regular prices). Booking by October 22 required.
www.skywalkadventure.co.uk +44 1372 701107
Sandown Sports, More Lane, Esher, Surrey KT10 8AN

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Mix it up

Making fitness fun again

Let's face getting older means it is much harder to maintain (much less lose) weight. Four ways to have fun trying:

Anti-gravity Yoga (Godalming) — The Fitness Hangout was the first studio in the UK to feature this New York City craze.  If you want to learn how to fly, flip and invert — this is your chance.  Using a silk hammock it combines traditional yoga poses and principles with elements from aerial arts, dance, gymnastics, Pilates, and calisthenics.  As well as being fun, it’s a complete workout that is certain to get you in shape while realigning you — we walked away an inch taller and smiling.
www.thefitnesshangout.co.uk +44 7779 110773
14, Woodside Park, Catteshall Lane, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1LG

Clubbercise (Multiple) Clubbercise® is one of the fastest growing workouts in the UK – burning up to 500 calories in 45 minutes. It combines simple, fun routines set to 80s, 90s and today’s hits. It is aimed at all abilities with high and low impact options — whether you are a beginner or a fitness fanatic. It is fun if you are a bit shy too — the main lights are turned out, disco lights go on and flashing glow sticks add to the fun. You’ll leave feeling you like you had a night out on the town without hangover or headache!
www.clubbercise.com

Paddleboard (Sunbury-on-Thames) — If you are looking for for a new challenge while enjoying the review landscape, this is worth a try.  Fortunately, the board was remarkably stable and I quickly found a sense of calm and focus&nbsp – different from that of being in a studio. The session included an introduction to paddle boarding, paddleboard yoga and core yoga moves.  Be prepared to work your core and experience a bit of an adrenaline rush from being just a little scared too.
www.facebook.com/deeoppyoga

Parkour (Multiple) — Originating in France, this is a form of fitness training that improves strength, speed, agility, coordination, stamina, endurance and precision. Parkour became popular after the famous jump scene in the James Bond movie Casino Royale. Learn how to overcome obstacles as quickly and efficiently as possible using your body. They also boast the UK's first dedicated parkour centre in Canary Wharf. All you need is a pair of tennis shoes and a sense of adventure.
www.parkourgenerations.com +44 2036 513364

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The Legend of Silent Pool

Award-winning Surrey Hills gin

We first came across Silent Pool, a spring-fed lake, while hiking the Surrey Hills. It is located at the foot of North Downs on the Albury Estate just outside of Guildford.

Legend has it that a woodcutters daughter who regularly bathed in the Pool is said to have drowned while being pursued by none other than King John.  It is said even today you can sometimes hear her screams at night or see her image floating on the surface of the water.

Fast forward to 2014 and the filtered spring water taken from the Silent Pool is used to make handcrafted Silent Pool Gin.  The recipe also calls for 24 botanicals  four of which come from the North Downs area, including chamomile, elderflower, honey and pear.  Apparently, they developed a winning floral blend as evidenced by a silver award at the International Wine and Spirits Competition just after its launch in 2015.

Beyond the gin itself, the botanicals are beautifully featured in cooper on the teal blue bottle (similar to the moss in the pool itself). Even if you are not a gin lover, it is hard not to be drawn to the bottle once the gin is gone you can just add water. 

The company offers 90-minute tours of their distillery complete with tasting session.  While the legend behind Silent Pool will remain a mystery, it is clear that the success of Silent Pool Gin will not.

www.silentpooldistillers.com+44 1483 229136
Silent Pool Distillery, Shere Road, Albury, Surrey GU5 9BW

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Downtown Abbey Fans

Who knew that the historical period drama, Downton Abbey, would become such an international hit? The award-winning show became the most watched television series in the world by its third season. Access two famous filming locations:

Highclere Castle (Newbury) — Despite Downton Abbey ending after six seasons, Highclere Castle, used for exterior and most of the interior shots is still open to the public. Tickets book up quickly. However, they have a limited number of 'walk-up' tickets on each Public Opening day. I haven't known anyone who hasn't been able to purchase these. It is worth a try - even if it means seeing the 'country house' set on a 5,000-acre estate at a distance.
www.highclerecastle.co.uk+44 1635 253210
Highclere Castle, Highclere Park, Newbury RG20 9RN

Byfleet Manor (West Byfleet) — Located closer in is Byfleet Manor, also known as Dowager Violet's house in the Downton Abbey. Book afternoon tea in the Downton Room, the Drawing Room of Lady Violet. The traditional tea includes a selection of homemade finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and selection of cakes and pastries. Our visit included a talk about the filming that takes place there and a walk around the gardens, complete with a river and island.
www.byfleetmanor.com
Byfleet Manor, West Byfleet, Surrey KT14 7RS

For the ultimate Downton Abbey fan, both venues now offer opportunities to stay overnight!
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Fondant-Free Cakes

Shows like Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss have popularized the use of fondant icing (also known as sugar paste). While the cakes look amazing, I find myself picking the icing off to be able to eat the cake on its own. For cakes that taste as good as they look, visit:

Bachmanns Patisserie and Chocolate Creations (Multiple) — The award-winning cakes at Surrey-based Bachmanns 'taste gorgeous and looks stunning'. The display case is always filled with beautiful and tasty individual desserts (particularly helpful if you are indecisive or just want to try more than one). If you find something you like, they can be adapted to feed large parties of 70+ for special occasions. Other items made fresh and onsite include breads, chocolates, croissants and pastries.
www.bachmanns.co.uk

Choco Cake (Weybridge) — A Weybridge newcomer, Choco Cake makes unique cakes, chocolates and pastries.  Daily cake selections include carrot, lemon, Malteser and orange and almond.  Our favorite is passion fruit cake - available by special order only.  Other treats include chocolate bark, bars and hot chocolate spoons.
10 Baker Street, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 8AU

Hummingbird Bakery (Multiple) — This famous bakery bills itself as baking ‘authentic American cakes and desserts’. Indeed the portions are US sizes. They have huge cupcakes with black bottom and red velvet varieties being family favorites.  Red velvet is also available as a full-size cake.  The colorful six-layer rainbow cake topped with chocolate or vanilla whipped icing is a perfect addition to any celebration.
www.hummingbirdbakery.com

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London Fashion Week Festival

London Fashion Week (LFW) is one of the highest profile fashion events in the world and one of the ‘big four’ (New York, London, Milan and Paris). 

London Fashion Week is limited to members of the press, buyers or if you are a celebrity. However, tickets for London Fashion Week Festival September 21-24, which follows directly from LFW, uses the same exhibition and catwalk venue. The event features expert talks and designer shopping event, including emerging to high profile designers. You can also add 'catwalk' shows and a designer tote bag. Go to soak up the atmosphere and inspire your wardrobe with the latest trends before they appear on the high street.
www.londonfashionweekfestival.com
The Store Studios, 180 The Strand, London WC2R

More fashionista fun:
  • The World of Anna Sui (Fashion & Textile Museum) — For the first time an American designer is featured as part of a retrospective exhibit.  Anna Sui was named one of the "Top 5 Fashion Icons of the Decade" and awarded the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).  The exhibition runs through September 30th.
  • www.ftmlondon.org+44 2074 078664
    St Martin's Place, London WC2H 0HE
  • Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion (V&A Museum) — This exhibit highlights the work of Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. Balenciaga is considered a master couturier of high standards and admired by fashion icons, including Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. Over 100 pieces are featured in the exhibition that runs until February 18, 2018.
  • www.ftmlondon.org+44 2074 078664
    183 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF

7 Scrumptious Soho Stops

Conveniently located in London's theatre district

Clustered over a few blocks on Warder Street, there are good places to eat that do not require a lot of time.

Starter (or for a light meal)
Hummus Bros No reservations needed for this establishment just walk-in and be seated family style at their Soho location. Hummus is served with a range of toppings from chicken and falafel to beef and aubergine - all served with fresh pita bread.  Nothing fancy just excellent, healthy and filling. Enjoy!
www.hbros.co.uk+44 2077 341311
88 Wardour Street, London W1F 0TH

Princi— This location in London is the only one outside of Milan. Think Italian bakery and pizzeria of the Ottelenghi variety – glass cases full of focaccia sandwiches, pastas, and pastries. The cafeteria style service works well for a quick bite before or after the theatre*.
www.princi.com+44 2074 788888
135 Wardour Street, London W1F 0UT

Main
Inamo — Inamo is considered London's only interactive restaurant where guests control their dining experience.  The digital projections on your table surface can be changed with a swipe of a finger, including selecting a tablecloth, ordering, watching the chefs and playing retro games.  The Asian cuisine meant to be shared includes award-winning fresh sushi.
www.inamo-restaurant.com
+44 2078 517051
134 - 136 Wardour Street, London W1F 8ZP

Pho — Pho is London's first Vietnamese street food restaurant and has grown to include locations throughout the UK.  Their authentic dishes are made fresh and in-house.  Their famed Pho (rice noodle soup) dish is served 15+ ways and is accompanied by basil, chili, lime and other items so you can season to your own taste.
www.phocafe.co.uk+44 2074 343938
163-165 Wardour Street London W1F 8WN

Wahaca — Mexican street food selections include burritos, quesadillas, tacos and tostadas. The portions are a bit on the small side so you may need to order more than one, a starter or a drink. My favorite location is still the Southbank location one located in large, reclaimed shipping containers, including a take away* option below with picnic table style seating.
www.wahaca.co.uk+44 2077 340195
80 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 0TF


Dessert
The Hummingbird Bakery — Hummingbird Bakery bills itself as baking ‘authentic American cakes and desserts’. Indeed the portions are US sizes. They have huge cupcakes with black bottom, cookies and cream and red velvet varieties being family favorites.  You can even have them delivered to your door.
www.hummingbirdbakery.com+44 2078 511795
155a Wardour Street, London W1F 8WG


Snowflake Luxury Gelato — Winners of 25 Great Taste gold stars, the largest gelato bar in London has as its motto 'serving happiness'. They have 50+ flavors of Italian gelato and sorbets all made daily depending on what is available and freshest. Even gluten-, dairy- and sugar-free versions of some of their flavors are available.
www.snowflakegelato.co.uk+44 2072 471045
102 Wardour Street, Soho, London, W1F 0TN

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Big Ben Alternative

Where to visit while tours have been suspended

Climbing Big Ben is one of the must do activities and limited to residents. Unfortunately, tours have been suspended while the Clock and Tower are under repair until it reopens again in 2021.

So if you haven’t been, don’t have that long to wait or have visiting guests –
The Monument to the Great Fire of London is a perfect alternative. Designed by famous English architect, Sir Christopher Wren (who also designed St. Paul's Cathedral), The Monument is the world's tallest column.

Standing 202 feet high, it is located 202 feet from where the Great Fire is said to have been started. After climbing 311 steps up a spiral staircase (only 23 steps less than Big Ben), you'll enjoy panoramic views of the city and given a certificate as a memento of your ascent before you depart.

The Monument offers joint tickets with Tower Bridge where you can visit both attractions for £12/adult and £5/child (to climb The Monument itself is just £4.50/adult and £2.30/child).

As an added bonus, the joint ticket is valid for seven days so you can visit each attraction once during this time-frame – ideal for taking in two of London's most popular attractions and landmarks.

www.themonument.info+44 2076 262717
Monument Street, London EC3R 8AH

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Afternoon Tea Week Continues

Save on Four Fantastic Teas until August 31st

Visit AfternoonTea.co.uk to receive up to 30% off regular-priced teas in honor of Afternoon Tea Week.

The Berkeley (London) Prêt-à-Portea features Spring/Summer 2017 fashions that have been made into biscuits, cakes and other sweets.  These include Dolce & Gabbana's midi dress, Gucci's Breton jumper*, Miu Miu's retro bikini and Mulberry's Pembroke bag.  Tea with champagne is priced at £52 per person.
www.the-berkeley.co.uk+44 2072 356000
Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RL


Cinnamon Soho (London) — For a savory, Indian take on afternoon tea give High Chai at Cinnamon Club's Soho location a try. This affordable tea (£22.50 for two) includes bite-size portions of lamb slider and tandoori chicken with chutney sandwich accompanied along with delicious Masala spiced chai tea.
www.cinnamonsoho.com +44 2074 3716640
5 Kingly Street. London W1B 5PF

Hotel Café Royal (London) — Hotel Café Royal offers an award-winning glamorous and glitzy in the Oscar Wilde Bar, where Oscar Wilde himself once dined regularly. Dating back to 1865, the room has been restored to its original Louis XVI gilded splendor. Their tea was named the Best Traditional Afternoon Tea in the UK at the Afternoon Tea Awards 2017.  Afternoon Tea is available for £41.25 this month.
www.hotelcaferoyal.com/afternoon-tea+44 2074 063310
68 Regent Street , London, W1B 4DY

Warren House (Kingston-upon-Thames) — Enjoy afternoon tea in this Victorian Grade II listed home surrounded by beautiful gardens set on four acres.  If you are lucky (and the weather cooperates), afternoon tea can be taken on the outside terrace tables.  Afternoon tea is discounted to £20.25 per person in August.
www.warrenhouse.com+44 2085 471777
Warren Road, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey KT2 7HY

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Wet and Wild Rides

Where to enjoy the last days of summer

Lee Valley Water Centre (Hertfordshire) — Lee Valley is a white water slalom centre that was used during the 2012 Olympic Games and has played host to the 2015 Canoe Slalom World Championships.

The white water rafting session includes basic paddling skills, safety and how to conquer the same rapids used by Olympic canoeists. To say the least, I am far from a confident swimmer, but did manage to pass the activity assessment. This was just the beginning of the workout. Unlike traditional white river rafting where you pass one rapid after another, they have the ability to send you back through the grade 4 rapids you just completed (often times more than once).

Given the risk of tumbling in and the need to move quickly and work as a team, I came to appreciate that rafters needed to be at least 14 years of age to raft on the Olympic course. Other water sports include canoeing, a 
floating obstacle course, hydrospeeding, kayaking, paddle boarding and tubing.
www.gowhitewater.co.uk+44 3000 030616
Station Road, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire EN9 1AB

Liquid Leisure (Berkshire) — Liquid Leisure boasts Europe’s largest aqua parks and one of the most comprehensive cable parks in the world.

Our first time out, we made the mistake of going when the cable was running at regular speed. Being new to wakeboarding, I ended up spending the entire session just trying to make it around the first corner. On a return visit with the cable set at slow speed, we were much more successful - making it around the park multiple times.

Unlike snowboarding or skiing where you have to get off and go back up the lift, once you master getting off the dock and negotiating corners you can continue to go around the park on your own as long as you can stay on and within your allotted time.

Other activities include banana boat rides, paddle boarding, 
water skiing and zorbing.  If you get a bit cold or need a break, you can head to the hot tub or the heated glass room to warm up. They also offer on-site camping with lake views, shower facilities and even BBQ complete with a bar.
www.liquidleisure.com+44 1753 542500
Horton Road, Berkshire SL3 9HY

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Entertaining Food

Seven places where food and entertainment go hand in hand

Chin Chin Labs  (Multiple)— As Europe's first liquid nitrogen ice cream shop, Chin Chin Labs makes each scoop from scratch. In addition to their version of chocolate and vanilla, the menu changes weekly with creative flavors like Basil Chocolate Chip, Blueberry Marshmallow, Gin Fizz Sorbet and Pink Guava and Pepper Crack to name a few. If you are not adventurous to try these, the Brown-wich (Pondicherry vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two cookies) is an easy go-to favorite.
www.chinchinlabs.com

Fat Duck (Bray) — For true foodies or those that want to experience food as performance art, this Heston Blumenthal three Michelin star restaurant has been previously recognized as Best Restaurant in the UK and World. Each course is beautifully presented and made memorable as evidenced by the many diners taking photos. It is too bad that their lunch is now priced the same as dinner and on the expensive side.
www.thefatduck.co.uk+44 1628 580333
High Street, Bray, Berkshire SL6 2AQ

I Falafel (London) — While wandering Petticoat Lane Market, we were given a free, hot full-size falafel sample. This is apparently how they get you to join the queue. However, the line goes quickly with prep time of less than 20 seconds per wrap. So fast, I only managed to record the last seconds of my delicious order.
+44 7479 865005
3-40 New Goulston Street, London E1 7TP

Inamo  (Multiple) — Inamo is considered London's only interactive restaurant where guests control their dining experience.  The digital projections on your table surface can be changed with a swipe of a finger, including selecting a tablecloth, ordering, watching the chefs and playing retro games.  The Asian cuisine meant to be shared includes award-winning fresh sushi.
www.inamo-restaurant.com

Jin Go Gae  (New Malden) — This local, family-run restaurant serves up authentic Korean BBQ grilled at your table. Order the two-portion marinated meats which include beef, chicken, duck, pork or squid. Your meal comes with traditional Korean small starters known as 'banchan', including kim-chi (spicy preserved cabbage), seasoned beansprouts and pickled raddish. No reservations are taken for lunch so prepare to queue.
www.jingogae.co.uk+44 2089 492506
272 Burlington Road, New Malden KT3 4NL

Milk Train (London) — Who can resist soft serve ice cream served on a cloud of candy floss*? After selecting from vanilla and green tea flavors hojicha and matcha, you can add extra toppings and sauces for a truly unique concoction. There is always a queue, but everyone ends up leaving a with a smile.
44 Bedford Street, London WC2E 9HA


Yo Sushi (Multiple) — Yo Sushi is an affordable and efficient sushi place. They have a wide selection of items and kids will enjoy watching the chefs make the sushi and selecting items from the conveyor belt as it goes around. Hot items such as dumplings can be ordered too.
www.yosushi.com


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