Join us for St Patrick’s Day!

Two people in Irish-themed outfitsOn Saturday 17th March, the world will come together to celebrate the annual event that is St Patrick’s Day – and there are few better places to do so than right here in London.

Traditionally celebrating the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, the event has evolved into a celebration of the entire Irish culture; the points, intricacies and all things wonderfully enviable about our neighbour from across the Irish sea.

With a wave of green so often seen throughout the streets of London, a stay in the city when it’s St Patrick’s Day can make for a fantastically memorable experience for a whole host of reasons.

The annual St Patrick’s Day parade

And one of the most popular has to be the brilliant St Patrick’s Day parade that happens every year right in the centre of London. Into its sixteenth year, the parade regularly attracts crowds of over 100,000, and this year it’s been speculated that it could be the largest ever.

Whilst the event is known as a ‘parade’, most would agree it’s most like a festival now – especially as this year it’s stretching over three days and extending out of the original Trafalgar Square location to include all 33 London boroughs in some way, shape or form. It’s going to be almost impossible to not get caught up in the St Patrick’s Day spirit over the three days!

One of our favourite parts of this year’s parade, there’s going to be a dedicated family zone in Pall Mall all afternoon from 12pm to 6pm on Sunday 18th. Including everything from games and stilt walkers through to workshops and stories of traditional Irish tales, just like the event in its entirety, the zone is completely free for families to make use of.

With the parade itself taking place on the Sunday from 12pm, the procession of floats, bands, dancers and more will make the 1.5 mile journey from Piccadilly to Whitehall taking in numerous locations and landmarks along the way.

Always a fantastic event, add into this the parade’s focus on women this year (‘#BehindEveryGreatCity’ is the hashtag being used throughout the event for people to share stories of their own about inspirational Irish women) and it’s definitely one not to be missed – and one that’s sure to satisfy your needs for a bit of Irish culture!

Six Nations Rugby

Whilst the parade is undoubtedly one not to miss, it’s hard to argue against the fact the last match of the Six Nations will be a highlight of the weekend for many – not only is it on St Patrick’s Day itself, but it’s between England and Ireland!

Taking place at Twickenham Stadium, the stadium has a long reputation as being one of the most favourable locations for rugby fans. Able to hold 82,000 people (it’s second only in size to Wembley), and whilst England have more wins over Ireland on their Test record, at the time of writing this the odds are very much even for either team to win.

Whether you’re watching live at Twickenham or on TV, you can expect an electric atmosphere to ripple through the city until the very last kick of the game (at least!).

Staying with us at DUKES

St Patrick’s Day is a brilliant time to visit London; getting a taste of Irish culture whilst in one of the most visited cities in the world is definitely an enviable experience

Being a short walk from the centre of the St Patrick’s Day parade activities at Trafalgar Square and with it only 30 minutes from nearby Green Park tube station to Twickenham Stadium, however you’re planning to celebrate St Patrick’s Day this year, we’d love to see you staying with us at DUKES London.

And with our current 3 for 2 offer giving you the ability to stay for an extra night for free – and that includes in our suites – along with our special selection of Irish beer, whisky and Irish coffees at GBR, you could be close to all of the action whilst knowing you can retreat to a little piece of luxury every night (and always start and finish it with an Irish tipple or two!).

Image courtesy of Garry Knight

What’s on in London during March?

The St Patrick's Day parade in LondonWhenever you visit London, you can make it a truly fantastic time. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter or the height of summer, there’s so much to see and do that in many ways, when you visit is almost irrelevant.

With this understanding, it’s therefore paramount that you know what’s going on. And so with March here, let’s take a look at some of the varied events happening in the capital for you to enjoy this month.

Garden of Light

The Great Daffodil appeal happens every year in support of the Marie Curie charity. A wonderful charity that supports terminally ill patients and their families, to raise awareness of the appeal, there is a fantastic installation in Paternoster Square.

With over 2,000 daffodils on display, you can walk through the installation and hear letters written to Marie Curie nurses thanking them for the work they have done. Lit up at night, you can leave your own thoughts on the memory wall, too.

The installation is only a small one, it’s very worthy of a visit (especially being only a little over 30 minutes from DUKES London when walking along the Thames).

The Garden of Light will be in place until Sunday 11th March.

Mother’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Easter

Three great events that happen in the space of a few weeks, we kick things off with Mother’s Day on 11th March, St Patrick’s Day on 17th and whilst Easter Sunday and the following Bank Holiday may well be in April, Good Friday falls on 30th March!

The reason we’ve grouped these together is you can almost guarantee there’ll be something happening in relation to them wherever you are in London.

For example, crowds will flock to Trafalgar Square on Good Friday to watch the free, full reenactment of The Passion of Jesus that happens every year, whilst the West End will undoubtedly be buzzing on Sunday 11th as doting children take their mothers to see one of London’s famed theatre shows (and vice versa on Easter Sunday as our guests joining us for Easter can take their children to Regent’s Park for an Easter egg hunt!).

Throw in every Irish-themed bar in London tipping their hat to St Patrick’s Day on 17th (never mind the three day extravaganza for St Patrick’s Day that’s expected to see 125,000 people turn out between 16th and 18th March) and it doesn’t matter where you turn, if you’re here to sample Mother’s Day, St Patrick’s Day or Easter treats, you’ll find them easily in London!

Come stay with us this Mother’s Day. Book to stay between 9th March and 25th March 2018 for tickets to a West End show, a Floris London Hyacinth & Bluebell candle, and afternoon tea with champagne. See the details and book.

London Beer Week

Taking place from Monday 12th to Sunday 18th, London Beer Week has become an annual tradition, organised by the same fantastic minds behind London Cocktail Week and London Wine Week.

Giving fans of beer the ability to get involved with everything from tours of breweries through to specially-dedicated ‘beer pairing’ dinners (yes, they’re definitely a thing – it’s not just about wine pairing!), the festival is celebrated right throughout the capital. Very much an enjoyable week if you love beer!

Stargazing

A truly awe-inspiring evening can be had at the Spitalfields pub ‘The Culpeper’, as they are hosting a number of stargazing evenings this month, dedicated to the person who gave the pub its name – astrologist Nicholas Culpeper.

Serving up an enviable meal and drinks to kick start the night, you’ll head up to the pub’s rooftop greenhouse with astronomer Seb Jay, looking through the telescopes to see the wonderful night sky above London (and sampling a hot alcoholic beverage or two at the same time!).

The sessions are running at various times from Monday 12th March to Monday 23rd April. Tickets cost £35 each.

Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008 to 2018

No one can argue against the fact there’s been a huge amount of activity in the political landscape over the past decade. From the financial crisis of 2008 to the more recent vote on Brexit, some of the most notable elements of these events have been portrayed through design.

And to explore exactly this further, the London Design Museum in Kensington is looking at everything from posters to placards that have been created as a result of the events.

Starting on Monday 28th March and running throughout the spring and summer months, as a fan of politics and/or design, this will be a must-see exhibition.

London really is a city that never sleeps. There’s always something happening no matter when you come to visit, and with a little planning and understanding of what’s taking place during your stay, you can rest assured you’ll have a brilliant time.

Image courtesy of Garry Knight

The Frieze Art fair is here once more

A sculpture in Regents Park as part of the Frieze Contemporary Art Fair

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 its three day stay. Based on the highly–acclaimed Frieze 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, and 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, with the event also including the Frieze Masters Fair. Running from 15th to 19th October, it offers a “contemporary lens on historical art” and features leading galleries showcasing art made before the year 2000.

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.

Plus, if you book with us our concierge will be happy to organise some tickets to see the Fair – it’s definitely set to be an event not to be missed by any contemporary art fan!

 

Love films? The BFI London Film Festival is for you

The BFI London Film Festival logo
BFI London Film Festival

This October sees the 58th BFI London film Festival take place between the 8th and 19th October. 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.

A firm favourite with the team at DUKES, if you’re staying with us do feel free to speak to our concierge – they’ll be only too happy to give you more comprehensive information about timings and venues (some of which are particularly close to us!).

The London Film Festival has a long history, beginning 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 categorised and most fall into one of the following groups:

  • Love
  • Debate
  • Dare
  • Laugh
  • Cold
  • Journeys
  • Sonic
  • Family
  • Experiments
  • 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 heading to town to promote their films. It’s also not unusual to be involved in a question and answer session after the film is screened, as producers look for immediate feedback on their work. A truly memorable moment for any film fan!

There are a number of awards presented at the festival, some of the most notable being:

  • 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 include:

  • ‘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!

5 fantastic things you can expect to see during the Thames Festival

The Totally Thames logoTaking 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!

On Tuesday 2nd, 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.

Plus, every weekend has a different theme, with local charities benefiting from each one. Perfect.

3.  Tower Bridge: A Celebration of 120 Years

Starting on the 12th September and running seven days a week is an exhibition showcasing the 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

Throughout the festival 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 individuals, and all will compete to become UK Traditional Boat Champions in the process.

These are just five of the events we think you should try to take in throughout the Thames Festival, 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 being 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. It’s going to be a fantastic atmosphere!

Looking for somewhere to stay to make for a truly memorable visit? Check out our latest offers and give us a call here at DUKES Hotel to find out more.

The Queen’s birthday parade – a Royal reason to stay in London

The Palace Guards at Buckingham PalaceDid you know that each and every year, the Queen celebrates two birthdays?

And it is soon to be one of them – on the 14th June (at the time of writing), the Queen will celebrate her official birthday, even though her ‘actual’ birthday is on the 21st April.

Interestingly, her official birthday doesn’t have a fixed date (hence our ‘at the time of writing’ comment above!), but it is always a Saturday in June, so that there is good weather (hopefully!) for an outdoor event. Continue reading “The Queen’s birthday parade – a Royal reason to stay in London”

The Vogue Festival 2014 is at the Southbank Centre this March!

A cover of Vogue Magazine from 1957One of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year for fashionistas, The Vogue Festival will this year be held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre. The festival offers a chance to see the glossy pages of Vogue up close and personal, and to experience the whirlwind world of fashion first hand.

This year’s event is sponsored by fashion powerhouse Harrods, and will include everything from interviews to panel discussions, makeovers to careers masterclasses, and an opportunity to see and hear from the most influential figures of the fashion industry to date.

Amongst the highlights of the festival are 10 talks which you can book to see, including titles such as: ‘Valentino: King of Glamour’ and ‘Fashion Legends’ with Naomi Campbell. Guests confirmed for this year’s event include Manolo Blahnik, Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton, Victoria Secret angel Karlie Kloss and Vogue Italia’s editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani.

The Vogue Festival takes place on the 29th and the 30th March and tickets are available from the Southbank Centre website.

After spending the day mingling with fashion’s elite, why not call in to DUKES London for dinner in our fabulous restaurant? You can book online quickly and easily here.

Image courtesy of Classic Film

Matilda the Musical is coming to London!

The theatre sign for Matilda The Musical in LondonRoald Dahl’s classic children’s novel, Matilda, comes to the West End this spring, courtesy of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Originally performed at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2011 to sold-out audiences, it was then transferred to the Cambridge Theatre in the West End in October 2011.

Matilda the musical is written by esteemed playwright Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics being provided by much-loved Australian comedian and musician, Tim Minchin.  The performance is directed by Matthew Warchus, with choreography by Peter Darling.

Described by the Guardian as “an evening of unadulterated bliss”, the show follows the story of a very intelligent young girl named Matilda who possesses special powers.  Her unloving parents treat her awfully, and her sadistic teacher Miss Trunchbull is just as terrifying as she rules the school with cruelty and fear.  Eventually, Matilda decides that the grown-ups should be taught a lesson and with the help of her good friends, she succeeds.

Matilda the musical is running from now and tickets for the performance range from £20 to £65, available from both The Cambridge Theatre website and the RSC website.

To finish off your evening, why not visit DUKES London and embrace our range of special offers?

Image courtesy of Broadway Tour

The Designs of the Year exhibition 2014 is on its way to London

An external shot of the London Design MuseumThe 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 River 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 and £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? The restaurant’s menus are all available online, and you can book online easily, too!

Image courtesy of Aurelien Guichard

A Whistler exhibition is coming to the Dulwich Picture Gallery

An external shot of Dulwich Picture Gallery, LondonThis winter, the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London will be exhibiting a variety of paintings by American-born, British-based artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler, in a special exhibition entitled ‘An American in London’.

Born in America and raised in Russia, Whistler came to London in 1859, and his early paintings of this period marked one of his most successful and profound impacts on the art scene.

Whistler is best-known for his attitude of adversity towards morals and sentimentality in art, and was in favour of the principle ‘art for art’s sake.’  The artist is best-known for the portrait of his mother named ‘Whistler’s Mother’ and his signature, which is signed in the shape of a butterfly – a reflection of his love of Asian art.

Deemed “captivating, erudite and unexpected” by the Financial Times, the ‘An American in London’ exhibition includes a variety of paintings of Chelsea and the Thames as well as prints, drawings, watercolours and pastels.  The exhibition provides a detailed examination of Whistler’s composition, subject and technique and how it developed over the years.

The highlight of the exhibition is a number of Whistler’s iconic Nocturnes, including Blue and Gold – Battersea Bridge (1872-1877.)  Although the selection is small, with a widely varied selection of his works, the ‘American in London’ exhibition contains something for all types of art-lover.

After soaking in the cultural offerings of the Whistler exhibition, why not come over to DUKES London and spoil yourself with our plentiful array of offers!

Image courtesy of tpholland