Portobello Road Market

Tips to navigate world-famous street market

Located in Notting Hill in London, Portobello Road Market is considered one of the world's most famous street markets and a must-see destination thanks to the popular 1999 film "Notting Hill". While the market is open daily, Saturdays are the most popular featuring 1,000+ antique vendor along with farmers, fashion and flea markets.

How to navigate the market and avoid the crowds at the same time:

- From Notting Hill Gate Station walk 7 minutes to Farm Girl Cafe (breakfast or coffee)
- Between Chepstow Villas and Elgin Cresent : Antiques & Bric-A-Brac (open at 9 am)
- Between Elgin Cresent and Talbot Road : Fruit & Vegetable

- Walk 3 minutes to Books for Cooks (lunch)
- Walk across the street to The Notting Hill Book Shop (photo opp)

- Walk 1 minute to Electric Cinema (movie) - Walk 1 minute to Biscuiteers (dessert)
- Between Talbot and Westway : New goods
- Westway : Fashion
- Between Westway and Golbourne ; Second hand goods

- Walk 2 minutes to Ladbroke Grove Station

With this combination of culinary and entertainment stops, even the most resistant shoppers will be able to endure the sensory-filled market walk.
www.portobelloroad.co.uk

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Summer Scoops

Sprinkles & Treatz

Despite a break from last week's record-breaking temperatures, there are three heatwaves and above average temperatures predicted in August. Here are two ice cream parlour* chains where you can relax and cool off:


Sprinkles Gelato This dessert parlour features over 20 flavors of gelato and sorbet that are used in 30 different sundaes, 'desserts in a jar', shakes, smoothies and floats. Other sweet concoctions include cookie dough, crepes, cupcakes and waffles. They have 16 locations, including two in London and one in Reading, Surrey.  Take a break visiting attractions in Balisdon (Balisdon Park), Brighton (Royal Pavilion), Portsmouth (Historic Dockyard) and Salisbury (Salisbury Cathedral).
www.sprinklesgelato.co.uk




Treatz Treatz dessert parlour creates shakes, smoothies, sundaes and waffle baskets using 40 gelato flavors.  Their 'epic' desserts include American pancakes, cakes, cookie dough and more. They currently have 16 locations, including London, Woking along with High Wycombe, Luton, Slough and Wembley. You can also order via Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats and they even provide gelato, crepe and waffle or cold stone ice cream carts for off-site catering events.
www.treatz.co.uk


As much as I enjoy all the boutique artisan creameries abound, there is something nostalgic (and gluttonous :) about visiting these over-the-top dessert parlours.  Sweet dreams!

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Five Ways to Beat the Heat

With temperatures set to soar, here are five ways to cool off:

While the London Underground and double-decker Routemaster buses can be warm . . .

...Take to the air
Emirates Air Line — The air conditioned cable car 90 metres (300 ft) is higher than than the O2 Arena Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks. The 10-13 minute (5 minutes 7 am - 9 am Monday - Friday) ride offers birds eye views of London and starts at 3.50 / adult and 1.70 / child (lowest prices for Oyster and contactless card travelers). If you are still hot, you can even go cable wakeboarding, stand up paddleboard (SUP), including yoga / pilates and even hydrofoiling (think kitesurfing without the kite and wind) on the Royal Victoria Dock waters.
www.emiratesairline.co.uk
www.wakeupdocklands.com+44 2039 503951
Wakeup Docklands, 1 Dock Road, London E16 1AG

...Travel by water
London Waterbus — The traditional narrow boat on the Regents Canal has is celebrating 60 years of service and stops at Camden Lock, Little Venice and London Zoo. The Waterbus and one way fares from Camden Lock and Little Venice start 12 / adult and 9 / children and one way fares into London Zoo (including zoo admission) start at 30 / adult and 22 / child. Booking online is suggested - especially on the weekends.
www.londonwaterbus.com+44 2037 639881

Thames Clippers — The MBNA Thames Clippers is the fastest and most frequent boat service on the River Thames with 17-stops starting at Putney Pier to Royal Arsenel Woolwich Pier. Major attractions along the route include Big Ben, London Eye, Shakespeare Globe, St. Paul's Cathedral and Tower of London to name a few. Similar to Emirates Air Line, discounted fares are available for Oyster and contactless card travelers. A 'hop on hop off' ticket is available along with a combination ticket offer with Emirates Air Line cable car.
www.thamesclippers.com

If you have fond recollections of running through the sprinkler like a kid, here is your chance to . . .

...Play in the fountains

King’s Cross : Granary Square Fountains — With 1,080 jets that cam be controlled and lit individually, this is one of the most popular attractions at King's Cross - especially on a hot summer day. At dusk the fountain is lit by multicolored lights for a colorful light show.
Bonus : In the winter, arrive between 4 pm - 5 pm the fountains become a video game and can be controlled using the Granary Squirt app via your smartphone.

www.kingscross.co.uk/fountains-granary-square
1 Granary Square, Kings Cross, London N1C

Southbank : Appearing Rooms — This cleverly designed, seasonal attraction sprays walls of water. You can time your entry in a way to stand in the ‘room’ without getting wet - unless of course you would like to or guess wrong! The fountain is on Noon - 9 pm Monday and 10 am - 9 pm Tuesday to Sunday.
www.southbanklondon.com/south-bank-centre-appearing-rooms
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

While you probably know that one of the coolest places in a home is the basement, but you may not know where you can . . .

...Eat underground

Cafe in the Crypt — Across the street from Trafalgar Square is St. Martin’s in the Fields Café. This 18th century building with its brick-vaulted ceilings is a great place to stop in and escape from the summer heat and stream of tourists. They offer a basic afternoon tea minus the fancy cake stand and have an affordable ‘cafeteria’ style lunch.
www.cafe-in-the-crypt+44 2077 661158
Ducannon Street, London WC2N 4JF

And if all else fails, enjoy a frozen treat at Chin Chin Labs, Milk Train, Gelateria 3Bis, Gelupo, La Gelatiera, Snowflake or Udderlicious.

Stay cool!


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4 Top Wimbledon Tips

Queuing for Show Court Tickets

‘Expect the unexpected’ should be the motto of the Opening Day of Wimbledon. First round unexpected upsets included:
- Naomi Osaka (2nd) defeated by Yulia Putintseva (39th)
- Venus Williams (44th) defeated by Cori Gauff (313th)
- Alexander Zverev (6th) defeated by Jiri Vesely (124th)
- Stefanos Tsitsipas (7th) defeated by Thomas Fabbiano (89th)

If Opening Day is any indication of the rest of the championships that runs until July 14th, it will be full of surprises. Four top tips on getting to see Wimbledon champions - old and new:

  • Rainy or Hot weather = Faster Queues and Better seats - With the option to camp overnight and queue early (beginning at 5 am), the weather plays a part in how fast the queue moves and how quickly Show Court tickets become available. Basically if it is wet or hot, morning visitors will likely leave early and you’ll have a good shot at prime seats.
  • Avoid going when British players play - Despite Andy Murray not playing singles, you can still expect long queues whatever day he does play. Other British players that may impact queues are Kyle Edmund (31st) and Johanna Konta (19th).
    Tip : Avoid Saturday altogether since Murray is slated to play a mixed doubles match with Serena Williams.
  • Go later - After 3 pm you can purchase returned Show Court Tickets (£15 for Centre Court and £10 for Court 1 and 2) from the Ticket Resale Kiosk (north of Court 18 near top of St. Mary’s Walk). We have been fortunate to see some of the top players in both quarter / semi-finals games.
    Bonus : The proceeds from resales are donated to Wimbledon Foundation.
  • Go big or Go home - If you queue for Show Court Tickets, go for Centre Court or Court 1. These courts both have retractable roofs (the latter a £70M addition this year), which means games will not be suspended due to darkness or weather. Not to mention, If matches conclude more quickly then expected an additional one may be added.
If all else fails, with a Grounds Pass (£8-£25 per person, less after 5 pm) you can watch the action on big screens from iconic Henman Hill. To complete your quintessential Wimbledon experience, add a glass of Pimm’s Cup and a serving of strawberries and cream.

Game...Set...Match!
www.wimbledon.com ✆ +44 2089 441066

Church Road, Wimbledon SW19 5AE

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London Festival of Architecture

Biggest festival in Europe Ends June 30th

Founded in 2006, the London Festival of Architecture (LFA) is the biggest architecture festival in Europe. The event runs through June 30th and features 400+ activities such as exhibitions, installations, talks and tours that explore the importance of architecture in London.

LFA is a city-wide celebration organized around four Festival Hubs - London Bridge, Royal Docks, City of London and Heart of London. Special offers leading up to and through the final weekend include:

  • Mansion House Tour (June 27) - Free tour 2 - 3 pm of the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London, including the edifice which is usually closed to the public
  • Tower Bridge Walking Tour (June 29) - 90 minute guided tours (additional £5) 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm highlights Tower Bridge art, architecture, history and legends
  • Tower Bridge 125th Anniversary Weekend (June 29-30) - Entrance will be priced at £1.25 and include a souvenir giveaway (some visitors will also get a goody bag)
In case you miss the festivities, below are some ways to see and celebrate London's architecture year-round:

With good weather finally in the forecast - the final days will be particularly worth checking out!
www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org

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MLB London Bound

Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees

London Stadium will host the first Major League Baseball (MLB) games in Europe June 29-30. The series will feature two top rival teams – the Boston Red Sox versus the New York Yankees. Prince Harry will take to the mound to throw the ceremonial first pitch and represent his charity the Invictus Games Foundation, 2019 charity partner.

There is not doubt that the MLB hopes to replicate the success the National Football League (NFL) has had in London. The NFL started with two games in 2012 and this season there will be a total of five games (a significant number considering there are only 16 regular season football games).

If British baseball fans are anything like the ones who have been attending the London NFL games, you can expect to see jerseys representing all different teams from professional to collegiate. Locals have even been known to ask for photo opps with those wearing high school jerseys.

Another difference is the usually slow-paced game may go a bit faster. By placing a baseball field on top of a soccer field and running track, the dimensions and layout of the London Stadium field are said to be ‘hitter-friendly’.

While there has been some controversy over ticket prices, it is still cheaper than purchasing a plane ticket. Not to mention with the games taking place the weekend before the July 4th – what better way to celebrate than watching America’s favorite pastime? Play Ball!

Bonus: If you miss out this year, save the date for another classic matchup when Chicago Cubs take on the St. Louis Cardinals June 13-14, 2020.


www.mlb.com/london-series
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E20 2ST


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Kids Week – Free theatre tickets

Tickets on sale June 11th

Kids Week is one of my favorite annual promotions where kids 16 and under go free to shows in August with a full price paid adult ticket (they even offer half price tickets for two additional children).  And event better yet it is not limited to a week, but extends throughout the month of August.

Organized by the Society of London Theatre, some of the participating shows offer some unique activities and workshops alongside the productions, including backstage tours, dancing and Q&As. The ‘Kids Go Free’ offer even extends to area hotels and restaurants.

There are 35+ shows to pick from, including theatre favorites:


  • Aladdin
  • Lion King
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Matilda
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • The Play That Goes Wrong
  • Thriller Live
  • Wicked

  • With the added bonus of no booking, postage or transactions fees, tickets sellout fast. For the best selection, pre-pick your show dates and be online Tuesday, January 11th at 10 am when the tickets are released. Good luck!
    www.kidsweek.co.uk


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    Open Garden Squares Weekend

    125+ gardens across 27 London boroughs

    With support from the London Parks & Gardens Trust, Open Squares Garden Weekend (June 8-9) features 125+ hidden gardens and squares – many of which that are usually closed to the public.
    The gardens range in shape, size and location from rooftops to allotments and from historic buildings to cafés. Beyond the green spaces themselves, there are special activities, including cycle, garden and walking tours, and more are on offer.

    Here are just a few of London’s most famous buildings and attractions that have a garden close by: 1) Barbican, 2) The Gherkin, 3) The Monument, 4) St. Paul's Cathedral, 5) Tate Modern, 6) Tower of London, 7) Victoria & Albert Museum, and 8) Wallace Collection

    A weekend ticket is £10 (12-18, under 12 free), £16 student (with student ID) and £20 for adults. For £4 more, £20 for students and £44 for two adults as part of a joint membership, you can subscribe for an annual membership to London Parks & Gardens Trust.


    Membership benefits include free entry to the Open Garden Squares weekend along with a monthly newsletter, London Landscapes and The London Gardener publications, access to Historic Green Spaces inventory, and discounted member rates for lectures and other events.

    What a wonderful way to support London’s gardens and green spaces! www.opensquares.org

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    Chelsea in Bloom

    Chelsea Flower Show alternative

    Despite the rain in this week’s forecast, Chelsea will once again be in full bloom. The 14th annual Chelsea in Bloom (May 20-25), coincides with the famed Chelsea Flower Show (May 21-25). Sponsored by Cadogan and the Royal Horticulture Society, this year’s event features a record-breaking 85+ displays.
    Storefronts including retailers and restaurants are creatively covered in flowers and arrangements of all colors, shapes and sizes. Best of all this show is free and open to the public. Award-winning displays are selected by an expert panel of judges along with online voting for a people’s choice award.

    Last year’s Summer of Love theme coincided with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle royal wedding included a double decker bus, cozy bistro seating and a bicycle built for two. Displays utilizing peace signs, Volkswagen buses and 70s color schemes were also popular.

    Beginning on Tuesday, free walking tours leave at 11 am and 3 pm or you can book a rickshaw departing every 30 minutes from 10:30 am-5 pm from Sloan Square. It is also just as easy to do a self-guided one by downloading the online map. If last year is any indication, this year’s Chelsea in Bloom, Under the Sea is sure to impress!


    Bonus : Floral themed drinks, workshops along with complimentary massages and skin analysis will be on offer from floral show participants.
    www.chelseainbloom.co.uk

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    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!

    www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/eltham-palace-and-gardens/
    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!

    www.insider-london.co.uk/tours/modern-architecture-tour/
    +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!
    www.lush.com

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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.
    www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/2019-sony-world-photography-awards-exhibition
    +44 2073 060055 Strand, London WC2R 1LA


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