The Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition returns to the UK

Ruins of Pompeii, ItalyRunning from 28th March to 29th September 2013, an exhibition named Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum, has been brought to the British Museum this year. Pompeii and Herculaneum are two ancient cities on the Bay of Naples which play a huge piece in Italian history. Both cities were buried as a result of the sudden explosion of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD, however the majority of artefacts and buildings were beautifully preserved by the resulting ash.

The British Museum’s new exhibition will transport you to ancient life in Pompeii and Herculaneum, where visitors will be able to see and experience the daily life of a Roman. There are over 250 ancient artefacts to examine, including some very recent finds that have never been seen outside Italy. The most fascinating – although gruesome – part of this exhibition for some may be the casts of the bodies that were preserved for almost 200 years. These casts include those of a family huddled under the stairs in their villa, and a very famous cast of a family dog.

It has been more than 20 years since the last time there was a large exhibition featuring Pompeii in the UK, and with some fantastic new finds to see, visitors will be captivated by life, and death, in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

On 18th June, Pompeii: Live from the British Museum will be released in cinemas nationwide, offering an exclusive view of the exhibition and specially made films of Pompeii on the day of the volcanic eruption. The film will also be going behind the scenes of the exhibition and exploring the ancient Roman cities and their inhabitants’ way of life. The remains of these two cities have been carefully excavated and the ruins of the roads and buildings are a sight to behold.

Tickets for the exhibition are available from £15 here and advance booking is essential. Tickets for the film can be booked via your local cinema, and you can find a list of cinemas showing the film here.

After a long day of soaking in the ancient Italian culture, what could be a better end to your day than enjoying a beautifully prepared meal at our beautiful and ever-popular restaurant?

Northern Ballet jetés to London to perform ‘The Great Gatsby’

The Northern Ballet studio in LeedsF Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ is coming to the stage from the May 14th to 18th. Just days after the UK release of Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic version, Northern Ballet will be performing their adaptation in Sadler’s Wells theatre.

‘The Great Gatsby’ is the gripping story of a young Nick Carraway coming to know his aloof millionaire neighbour with an unforgiving past; Jay Gatsby. As the glittering façade of Gatsby’s life derails, Carraway learns of the scandalous and lonely lives of the ‘new rich’ living the ‘American dream’ of the 1920s.

One of the greatest American novels of the 20th Century, the Northern Ballet is said by Jeffery Taylor of the Sunday Express to have put on a performance that will ensure you “leave the theatre with a warm glow and a smile”. With its unparalleled reputation for telling a story through dance, Northern Ballet is the ideal company to bring this novel to the stage.

The production is being held at Sadler’s Wells theatre; a modern and contemporary dance and music performance space occupying a site with a long tradition of entertaining Londoners. It is a perfect setting for a timeless novel to be performed in the 21st Century.

After enjoying the roaring and glitzy American 20s relax back into the British elegance and charm of our exclusive suites, just a short distance from Sadler’s Wells.

Image courtesy of Dancewear Central

Love horse racing? It’s time to experience Royal Ascot

A horse parade at Royal AscotThe most prestigious horse racing event in London’s sporting calendar, Royal Ascot sets off on the 18th to 22nd June 2013.

Annually attended by Her Majesty the Queen and the royal family, Royal Ascot is renowned for attracting high society, horse racing enthusiasts and thrill seekers.

Founded in 1711, the event is notorious for its heritage and tradition. The world famous, top quality horse race is held over five days in the third week of June and is steeped in pageantry and showcases British culture in its finest form.

Every year fashion steals the show at Royal Ascot and this year’s dress code is said to be stricter than ever. Formal dress is expected for all attendants with the exception of people with silver ring tickets where there is no dress code. The colourful occasion attracts a variety of well-dressed visitors for this special event.

The racehorse ‘Animal Kingdom’ is the favourite to win this year. In previous years Her Majesty the Queen has owned 20 winning horses throughout her visits at Royal Ascot. The highlight of the event is the Gold Cup Run on Thursday 20th June.

In terms of ticket availability there are three levels of tickets for each day: Silver Ring tickets, Grandstand tickets and Royal Enclosure badges.

The racecourse itself is situated in idyllic woodland surrounded by acres of beautiful countryside. Race days usually have a theme to complement the racing, such as a concert or beer festival, and race goers can wine and dine in exclusive restaurants situated around the course.

After a fun-packed day at the races, why not pay us a visit and try an exclusive spa treatment to completely relax and unwind? Go on – treat yourself to a soothing spa experience after the excitement of sun, royalty and racing!

Image courtesy of Steve Fareham

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory arrives in London!

An external shot of the Royal Drury Lane Theatre, London, with the 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' signRoald Dahl’s delicious and mysterious tale of the young Charlie Bucket and the extraordinary confectioner Willy Wonka is coming to life as a musical at the Royal Drury Lane Theatre.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the plot, the story takes place in an unknown city where Mr Willy Wonka is the owner of the greatest chocolate factory in the world. He decides to open up the doors of his factory to five privileged children. In order to choose who should be so lucky, Willy Wonka hides five golden tickets in his famous chocolate bars. These tickets are VIP access to the chocolate factory. Amongst the winners is the unsuspecting hero of the book, Charlie Bucket, who has grown up with stories about the factory. Nothing could prepare the winners for what was beyond the gates.

The story continues with incredible and astonishing sugary delights, however not everything is a sweet as it seems – unlike the theatre which is offering a sweet £10 off all prices for the preview performances taking place from 18th May to 24th June 2013.

And after a sugar-filled day, you and your family can take some time out to unwind in one of our luxurious suites here at DUKES. Enjoy!

Image courtesy of Elliott Brown