The Frieze Art fair is here once more – and it’s one of our favourite annual exhibitions.

Frieze Sculpture Park

This month the Frieze Contemporary Art Fair will be held once again in Regents Park between the 15th – 18th of October.  Traditionally an event that is organised for the art world, it has become so popular with the public that it can expect to attract up to 60,000 visitors over the course of the 3 days.   Based on the highly – acclaimedFrieze magazine, the fair was started in 2003 and is now one of the world’s leading contemporary art fairs.

This year the fair will exhibit works by 159 artists. As well as the indoor exhibitions the fair also includes the outdoor sculpture park in the English Garden in Regents Park, located just three minutes’ walk from the indoor exhibition.  The sculpture park is free to the public and will be displaying the work of 20 artists. The event also includes the Frieze Masters Fair, which offers a “contemporary lens on historical art” and features leading galleries showcasing art made before the year 2000.  The Frieze Masters Fair runs from 15th – 19th October. A new feature of the 2014 fair is Frieze “Live” which will be featuring active or performance based works by a number of artists, and the organisers describe its purpose as, “ … giving galleries the opportunity to realise works that create moments of interruption or immersion within the fair’s environment.”

If you like and appreciate contemporary art, then this fair is definitely something for you. Regents Park is only a short walk away from us here at DUKES London, and as the fair takes place in just a couple of weeks from now there’s still time to take advantage of our Autumn Flutter offer on the weekend of 18th and 19th October. If you book with us our concierge will be happy to organise some tickets to see the Fair. It definitely sounds like an event not to be missed!


Big Lover Of Films? The BFI London Film Festival Is For You.

BFI London Film Festival
BFI London Film Festival

October sees the 58th BFI London film Festival. The dates are the 8th to 19th October and 248 films will be shown across 17 different venues in London, including BFI Southbank, the Empire Leicester Square, the Odeon Covent Garden and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Our concierge will be able to give you more comprehensive information about timings and venues, some are very close to us here at DUKES.

The London Film Festival has a long history. It began back in 1953 as it was felt that the London event would complement the events already being held in Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Edinburgh.

In order to make it easier for the film going public to choose which films they would like to see, the films are categorized and most fall into one of the following groups; love, debate, dare, laugh, cold, journeys, sonic, family, experimenta and treasures. As these are films that have not yet been released to the general viewing public, it’s quite likely you’ll be able to see the stars coming to promote their films.  You may even be involved in a question and answer session after the film as producers look for immediate feedback on their work.

There are a number of awards presented at the festival including,

  • Best Film
  • Best British Newcomer
  • BFI Fellowship Award
  • The Grierson Award (presented for the best documentary)
  • The Sutherland Trophy (presented to the most original and creative film maker).

Of the 248 films to be shown, some of those that have caught our eye as ones definitely worth watching are;

  • Fury starring Brad Pitt,
  • Foxcatcher starring Channing Tatum,
  • The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Mr Turner starring Timothy Spall.

So if you haven’t already booked, and you were looking for an excuse to take advantage of our Autumn Flutter offers every weekend in October, this could be just what you’re after! Come to London, watch some great films and keep an eye out for the stars! You never know who you may meet!

Which is London’s most notable sporting venue?


So which is London’s most notable sporting venue?  There are a number of claimants to that venerable crown and it will depend on which sport your allegiances lie with. If you are a tennis fan your choice will be Wimbledon, a cricket fan will clearly go for Lords, a rugby fan would obviously choose Twickenham and for the all-round athletics fan, the choice would be the new Olympic Park, built especially for the London Olympics of 2012.

These will all be dealt with in future articles but for now we will focus on Wembley Stadium, the home of English football, located in North London in the borough of Brent.

Wembley was built in 1923 for the British Empire exhibition and was originally called the Empire Stadium. The first major event it hosted was the FA Cup final of 1923. The original structure survived until 2003 when it was demolished and waseventually reopened in 2007 as the new Wembley Stadium. While the old stadium was famous for its twin towers the new stadium is famous for its arch which, at a height of 440 feet (133 m) and with a span of just over 1000 feet (305 m), it is the world’s longest single span roof. Moreover the roof slides to ensure that all spectators can be covered yet at the same time allows direct sunlight to all parts of the pitch. The pitch itself is a mixture of synthetic and natural grass ensuring a high-quality playing surface all year round.

The stadium contains 90000 seats and boasts 98 kitchens, enough to be able to feed 90000 hungry spectators!! Wembley has seen many famous visitors. As well as being the venue for many music concerts over the years including Live Aid in 1985, it also hosted the Olympics in 1948 and the football World Cup final in 1966 when England famously won in the final against West Germany … but only after extra time!

Wembley has even been host to a number of American Football matches in recent times and you might even catch a game if you are coming to see us in the next few weeks to take advantage of our Autumn Flutter offer on any weekend in September or October.  The dates are:

28th September – Miami Dolphins v Oakland Raiders

26th October – Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons

9th November – Dallas Cowboys v Jacksonville

Tickets for these events are in short supply at this late stage but if anyone can find them, our concierge can so why not set him the challenge! If you’d like an organised tour of Wembley Stadium, or if you are a football fan or even just a sports fan,next time you come to stay with us, talk to our concierge who will certainly be able to organise a Wembley tour for you.

5 Fantastic Things You Can Expect To See During The Thames Festival Celebrations

logo-totally-thamesTaking place for the first time throughout the month of September, the Thames Festival (also known as Totally Thames) is an exciting, new month-long celebration of the river across its 42 London miles.

This 30-day spectacular programme of events will feature arts, music, colourful regattas, river races, archaeology, environmental and educational activities; as well as river-linked activities throughout the 17 London riverside boroughs.

Here, we suggest five events that you definitely should try to see whilst Totally Thames is in full swing.

1.  Florentijn Hofman Commission

Something extremely large is coming to the Thames this September! (Tuesday the 2nd, to be precise). Renowned Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman will create an extraordinary new sculpture, which will be his first in the UK, and it’ll be situated at Nine Elms on the South Bank for the length of the Festival. Inspired by the fascinating prehistory of the river, the installation will be semi-immersed in the water and will rise and fall with the tide.

2.  Richmond Riverside Festival

Every weekend in September, from 11am until 6pm, you can take advantage of live music, stalls and family entertainment. Richmond can boast to having the longest single stretch of the river in London, and with its beautiful royal parks, theatres and town centre bursting with shops and restaurants, this September there’s even more reason to visit Richmond. And every weekend has a different theme, with local charities benefiting from each one.

3.  Tower Bridge: A Celebration of 120 Years

Starting on the 12th September and running seven days a week is an exhibition showcasing many different ways artists have pictured London’s most iconic bridge in its 120 year history. The show includes paintings from the Guildhall Yard Gallery’s permanent collection, contemporary interpretations and a fascinating array of ephemera and archive material.

4.  Handel’s Fireworks Music and Illuminations

The historic Royal Palaces will host what promises to be an unforgettable performance of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks. Taking place in the romantic, riverside Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace, it will be performed by Arcangelo, a 30-piece orchestra, and followed by a breath-taking Georgian fireworks display. Be prepared for a magical evening in a spectacular, historic setting.

5.  The Great River Race

The 27th September sees the London River Marathon, a race up the Thames from Millwall in the east to Ham in the west in spectacular style. The awe-inspiring scene of 300 crews racing on the river is one not to be missed! All levels of competitor are welcome, from fancy dress to serious sports people, and all will compete to become the UK Traditional Boat Champions in the process.

These are just five of the events we think you should try to take in, but there are many, many others, including screenings of some of the best films ever made – E.T., The Goonies, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to name just a few.  These are shown at the More London Free Film Festival.  But whatever it is you choose to take part in, you definitely need to be in London during the month of September to just feel a part of the celebrations and events.

And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay to make for a truly memorable visit, then please give us a call here at DUKES Hotel.  We’re very much looking forward to hearing from you.

The Notting Hill Carnival Is Almost Here – And You Really Shouldn’t Miss It

It’s summer time in the UK, which means it’s time for festivals and carnivals. And the Bank Holiday weekend towards the end of August sees one of the entire country’s biggest and best carnivals, when the streets of West London come alive as Europe’s largest street festival takes place in the city of London.

Notting Hill Carnival is a vivid spectacle representing London’s multicultural past and present, which attracts nearly one million visitors every year.

Since 1964 the capital city’s Afro-Caribbean communities have celebrated their culture and traditions with a two-day festival of live music ranging from reggae to dub to salsa, soca floats, steel bands, uplifting beats, jerk chicken and fried plantain food stalls, plus much, much more

Ever since its inception the Carnival has grown exponentially, attracting ever more revellers to its unique spectacle of floats featuring calypso, mas and pan bands and a series of sound systems for alfresco dancing.

Approximately 500 people attended the very first Carnival – which was an offshoot of the Trinidad Carnival. Today, it’s one of London’s biggest cultural attractions, with over 50,000 performers taking part in the celebrations.

You can be sure of dense crowds and a vibrant celebration of music, movement and masquerade, and there are some amazing stalls of food to accompany the cultural celebrations.

We’d recommend the family-friendly Sunday as the best day to take your children to the Carnival, as the smaller crowds and the child-friendly floats create a fun vibe.

The main parade on Monday normally takes a winding path from Great Western Road, along Chepstow Road and Westbourne Grove to Ladbroke Grove.

In the evening, after the parade has finished, the floats leave the streets and people continue the festivities at one of the many Notting Hill Carnival after-parties.

It’s worth noting that Ladbroke Grove station is usually closed on both days, with other stations in the nearby area permitting exit only; if you do plan to visit the area on either of the days, we would recommend you taking a look at the Transport for London website to plan your route.

Here at DUKES London, we can certainly provide you with an amazing base to start off your Carnival day, as we are only a short journey from the route itself.

For more information on staying with us over that weekend, or at any time, feel free to contact us here. If you’re bringing the family for the Sunday, why not ask about our bespoke family getaways, and let our experienced concierge take the hassle out of your stay and organise everything you need for a truly memorable experience with your family in London.

Designs of the Year 2014

The seventh annual Designs of the Year exhibition comes to London’s prestigious Design Museum on the 26th March. The modern museum is located on the banks of the Thames and boasts two main galleries containing collections tracing the development of design, from its origins to contemporary works.

This year’s 76 nominees include not only familiar brands and well-known designers such as David Chipperfield and Miuccia Prada, but also smaller names and student projects. The exhibition offers something to suit a variety of artistic tastes with its seven different categories, which are architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphic design, transport and product design. A high-profile judging panel will choose the shortlisted nominations, which will then be exhibited in the museum from the 26th March.  The overall champion of the competition will be announced in May, and the winner will hold the ‘Design of the Year’ title for a full 52 weeks.

The exhibition opens its doors on 28th March, and runs until 7th July.  Tickets cost £12.40 for adults, or £9.30 for students or the unemployed, and are available from the Design Museum website. Why not come over to DUKES London after checking out the finalists at the exhibition, for a luxurious meal cooked by our talented chef Nigel Mendham? Reservations can be made via the DUKES London website.

Fashion Rules in Kensington Palace

This year, the picturesque Kensington Palace has added an exciting new collection to its existing exhibitions.  ‘Fashion Rules’ is a beautiful display of regal, designer dresses worn by Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales throughout the years.   The exhibition follows the evolution of royal fashion starting from the Queen’s glamorous engagement dresses of the 50s, right up to the brightly-coloured ball gowns worn by Princess Diana in the 80’s.

The entire range of designer dresses is displayed alongside film and photography from the period to set the scene of fashion trends at the time.  Vogue covers adorn the walls alongside the 21 never-seen-before dresses showing how the outfits reflected the trends of the moment; being both fashionable and suitable for royal attire.  A firm favourite among visitors is the stunning red gown worn by Princess Diana in Saudi Arabia in 1986.

Whether fashionista, royalist or historian, this exhibition, named ‘the most interesting, elegant exhibition of Kensington Palace’ has much to offer all audiences, by giving an interesting and engaging insight into the history of royal fashion over the past 60 years.

After absorbing the art and culture of the exhibitions, come and relax in DUKES London beautiful conservatory and enjoy our delicious afternoon tea.  Or if visiting on a Sunday why not enjoy a fabulous Sunday Brunch at Restaurant Thirty Six?


BBC Proms 2013 in London

This summer from the 12th July all through to 7th September, you can enjoy one of the most popular seasons for worldwide classical music at The BBC Proms 2013. Held yearly at the Royal Albert Hall, you can become immersed in the daily orchestral classical music concerts, taking place since 1895.

This year’s season focuses on one of the greatest British composers, Benjamin Britten, in honour of his centenary birth. Highlights of the proms include the return of Doctor Who to celebrate the TV series’ 50th anniversary, the emotive and richly varied world of gospel music, and other great composers including Les Siècles and Wagner.

The world famous Last Night of the Proms is not to be missed, in which everything is brought to a thrilling finale; tickets are like gold dust! In turn, you can join in with the celebrations with Terry Wogan and thousands of others in The Proms in the Park closing party, held in Hyde Park.

Between 500 and 1,400 standing tickets are available for each Prom so you can marvel at the world’s biggest orchestras and classical performers. Alternatively, if you wish to attend a particular night, tickets are available online.

After a glorious summer evening enjoying some of the world’s finest music, why not continue the atmosphere by staying at DUKES London? We have an exclusive summer accommodation offer; including a complimentary upgrade to a Luxurious Classic room and 10% off all food in our award-winning restaurant Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham. For more information on this amazing offer please visit our website.

The Open East Arts Festival

This month the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be open to the public to hold the Open East Arts Festival, celebrating one year since the Olympic Games and East London Culture.

This festival is the perfect day out, from the 27-28th July individuals have a special opportunity to see where the Olympic Games were held, whilst simultaneously enjoying a day in the park overflowing with food, music, theatre, sport and family fun.

There is a variety of live music and performances to discover from acts such as; The Waterboys, Seun Kuti, some soul Caribbean and many other fantastic live performances. Enjoy some of the food from the real food festival, including a communal feast on one of the bridges over the River Lea or just simply relax and have a picnic along the quint-essential river bank. In the mean time young ones can enjoy the mini circus from the house of fairy tales, storytelling, art and craft workshops, puppet shows and whole host of activities to keep them smiling.

Ticket prices range from £6.00 to £9.50, and Under 5s can go for free. To check for availability of tickets please click here. The festival is set to last 2 days, from 1:30pm to 10pm and includes a spectacular finale at 9:30pm. Also keep a look out for up-coming events in the park, namely the London Anniversary Games and the Wireless festival.

After a fun-packed day in the park why not wind down and enjoy a meal at restaurant, Thirty Six? Offering a wide variety of delicious British dishes, it is the perfect way to end a somewhat perfect day.

Celebrate at the Coronation Festival

Next month you can celebrate the Queen’s 60th year on the throne in an extraordinary way at the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace.

On four exciting days, the gardens at Buckingham Palace will be taken over by the Royal Warrant Holders Association, who are hosting the event. The exclusive event will see over 200 companies, who provide for the Royal family exhibit their services. The commemoration is open to the public who can buy tickets for the daytime or evening event.

The daytime event gives attendees the chance to have a royal experience. Explore the gardens and sample the goods the exhibitors have to offer while admiring the products. If you’re attending the celebration then The Mirrored House, the catwalk show and Mosimann’s Garden restaurant are necessary visits.

The evening festivities celebrate music and dance from the past 60 years. Acts providing entertainment include Katherine Jenkins, Katie Melua, Russell Watson and The Feeling. Performances from the English National Ballet and the National Youth Orchestra will showcase even more of Britain’s home grown talent.

Taking place on Thursday the 11th of July until Sunday 14th of July, the festival is not to be missed.

The Queen’s Coronation is a special occasion, so why not celebrate in style in our fabulous Perrier Jouet Lounge and continue the luxurious Royal experience? Here you can enjoy a complementary glass of Champagne and savour some of our delicious Canapés. Check out our website for more information on this great offer!