How to end up on Centre Court

A perfect example of when queuing* works! It still floors me that you can walk in the day of the tournament without a ticket, end up on Centre Court, and see the best players in the world.

Wimbledon (July 3 - 16) remains one of my favorite quintessential English experiences. It is the only sporting event I know of where affordable premium tickets can be purchased the day of play.  Ground passes are £8-£25 per person before 5 pm (less after 5 pm). Kids under five are free but not allowed on show courts. Re-sale Centre Court tickets are £10 each and Court 1 and Court 2 tickets are £5 each with all proceeds benefiting charity. 

If you go with kids, bring lots of snacks and something to do while waiting. The good news is that you can watch the games below while queuing.  With patience and a bit of luck you can turn up without a ticket and end up on Centre Court. We have been fortunate enough to see tennis greats, including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the Williams' sisters play and even spotted Pippa Middleton in the Royal Box.

Even if you are not able to get courtside tickets, it is still fun to soak up the atmosphere of Wimbledon tailgating in the queue and seeing the game streamed live on the big screens on Henman Hill.
www.wimbledon.com ✆ +44 2089 441066
Church Road, Wimbledon SW19 5AE

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Best Gelato in London

Favorite places for this frozen treat

With England's proximity to Italy, it is no surprise that London boasts a large number of artisan gelaterias. Here are some of my favorites:

Gelateria 3Bis While wandering by Borough Market after it had closed, a bright green sign with the words Gelateria 3BIS caught my eye. It turns out this location is the only one other than two locations in Italy. Popular flavors include Italy-inspired mascarpone and fig, panna cotta and summertime favorite eton mess. They are doing something right - a second location is set to open in Nottinghill.
www.gelateria3bis.co.uk+44 2073 781977
Borough Market, 4 Park Street, London SE1 9AB

Gelupo  This gelateria and delicatessen has received rave reviews in many publications and was named the top thing to do in London. Not only are there over 20 creative flavors made fresh daily (ricotta, chocolate and black pepper and vanilla and saffron), their gelato has less fat than regular gelato. What?! Apparently, by churning the gelato slowly, as it freezes, the end product is lower fat, denser and heavier. Never mind the science, have an extra spoonful without the guilt!

La Gelatiera (Multiple)  A small, artisan gelateria conveniently located in Covent Garden has the most interesting array of gelato and sorbet flavors. Many are Good Taste award winners. With so many to choose from it is nice they offer two to three generous scoops in a cup. Being a chocolate fan, I couldn't resist Dark Chocolate Sorbet, Dark Chocolate with chili peppers and Dark Chocolate with cherries. You might also try the three star winners, Salted Caramel & Honey and Rosemary with orange zest.

Snowflake (Multiple) — 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.

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Trooping of the Colour

Queen's Birthday Parade

Trooping of the Colour is known as the Queen's Birthday Parade. Typically held the second Tuesday of June, it will take place Saturday, June 17th this year due to Prince Philip's birthday on June 10th.

This is when Her Majesty inspects soldiers from the Household Division. While the actual event takes place in Horse Guards by invitation only, the general public can catch a glimpse of the Royal family on The Mall or the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Leading up to the event, there are full dress rehearsals (The Major General's and Colonel's Review) on two Saturdays before the official Parade. For the first time, Prince William participated in The Colonel's Review as part of his role as Colonel of the Irish Guards.

During the official parade, the Queen will wave to crowds on The Mall on her way to Horse Guards Parade across from St James Park from her carriage. Her Majesty will also return via the same route to appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace along with other members of the royal family. For the best view of the Queen en route, plan on being on the left shoulder side Queen Victoria statue.

The elaborate parade of 1,400 soldiers and 400 musicians is carefully timed as follows:

10:00 am - Individual guards regiments start marching to Horseguards Parade
10:45 am - Queen leaves Buckingham Palace escorted by Household Calvary
11:00 am - Royal Procession arrives at Horseguards Parade and Queen takes royal salute
12:15 pm - Ceremony ends and all march back to Buckingham Palace together
1:00 pm - Fly pass by RAFT Red Arrow jets and 41 gun salute by the Royal Horse Artillery

Tickets for the Major General's Review, Colonel's Review and Trooping of the Colour are available by lottery. If you are unsuccessful with securing tickets ahead of time, arrive early to get the best position.


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Tasty Treats

Worth giving, savoring and exporting

As I brace myself for yet another round of 'til laters, I know these special treats will bring a smile to those near and far.

The Biscuiteers (Multiple) — The first time I heard about these biscuits* was when we were sent some from a friend who had moved from the UK. These iced biscuits taste as good as they look and are literally works of art (not surprisingly many Biscuiteers icers are artists as well). Fashionable corporate clients include Dior, Burberry and Gucci. They ship worldwide and can be found at Fortnum & Masons, Harrods and Selfridges. Their Nottinghill location (resembling one of their keepsake boxes) boasts a cozy corner for 10-12 for afternoon tea or to try their hand at icing.

Monty Bo Jangles Truffle Bar (Reigate) — There are simply no words to describe these award-winning French cocoa dusted truffles. A limited selection is available from local grocery stores, speciality shops and on-line. The full array can be found at their first and only retail shop and truffle bar in Reigate. In addition to truffle sampler selection (choice of six), they serve up decadent made-to-order truffle hot chocolate, crumpets drizzled with truffles and thin crepe-like pancakes made with melted truffles and topped with whip cream - well worth a trip!
www.montybojangles.com+44 2086 685261
57 High Street, Reigate, RH2 9AE

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Kids Week - Kids Go Free

To London theatre shows in August

Each year during the month of August, kids 16 and under go free with a full price paid adult ticket (and two additional children can go half price). In addition to shows, there are free pre-show activities and workshops — both backstage and even on stage. The shows include both West End hits and lesser known productions. With over 30 shows to choose from from - there is is something for everyone in the family.

While quite a few popular shows closing this past year, classics like Lion King and Matilda are still playing. Other shows that are part of this year's line up include:

  • Aladdin
  • An American in Paris
  • Kinky Boots
  • Les Misérables
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Stomp
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • The Play That Goes Wrong
  • Thriller Live
With the bonus of no booking, postage or transactions fees - tickets sellout fast. Booking opens June 13 - Good luck!

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