5 West End Theatre Productions You Really Shouldn’t Miss

london-royal-albert-hallThere are many reasons why people fancy visiting London, and seeing a West End show or theatre performance is one of the biggest.

There is such a wide variety of them that sometimes it can be hard to make a decision on which one would be best for you and your companions. Continue reading “5 West End Theatre Productions You Really Shouldn’t Miss”

5 Royal Sights To Visit When In London

DSCI0046.JPGAs many of you will know, London is filled with many fantastic attractions and sights – from the London Eye to Big Ben, but the Queen and the Royal family are a particularly big attraction for many people.

So, we wanted to share some information and ideas about the Royal attractions in the capital.  And there are a wide variety for you to choose from!

If you were Queen (or King) for the day, where would you spend your time? Continue reading “5 Royal Sights To Visit When In London”

Looking For A Quiet, Relaxing Break? London Can Offer That, Too!

IMAG0030.JPGAlthough there is a belief that London is a hustle and bustle type of city, which is true in many senses, it doesn’t always have to be that way.

There are a number of ways you can enjoy a quieter, more relaxed stay in our capital city; for example, do you know how many parks and open spaces there are in London?

If you count the City of London and Greater London, then you are looking at around 1,000 different green spaces to relax in.  These include Royal parks – such as those which surround DUKES – commons, public gardens and converted church yards. Continue reading “Looking For A Quiet, Relaxing Break? London Can Offer That, Too!”

3 Reasons To Visit London This Summer

wimbledonWith summer officially due to begin on the 21st June, it is just around the corner – whether the sunshine plays by the rules is another question all together.

If you want to enjoy the summer months, then London is the place to be – there is so much going on, nearly every day. Continue reading “3 Reasons To Visit London This Summer”

The Queen’s Birthday Parade – A Right Royal Reason To Stay In London

rsz_buckingham-palace-guardsDid 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, 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, 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 Right Royal Reason To Stay In London”

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

Bask in the spring air and immerse yourself in blooming flowers, whatever the weather at The National Gallery with its amazing new exhibition, Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘The Sunflowers’.

For the first time in 65 years, The National Gallery is reuniting two of the five paintings in his most celebrated series of works. ‘Sunflowers’ was created in 1888, two years prior to Van Gogh’s tragic death. The paintings are a reflection of his friendship with the French artist Paul Gauguin, for whom they were made to decorate his bedroom. The show also reveals new insights into their artistic collaboration, and offers a deeper understanding of these works of art.

‘Sunflowers’ is all the more fascinating when you consider the events surrounding its creation. Van Gogh himself described the paintings as “a decoration in which the raw and broken chrome yellow will blaze forth on various backgrounds”. These two works, one a replica of another, were produced throughout a period where his and Gauguin’s relationship dramatically deteriorated. Following it, Van Gogh suffered a breakdown and cut off his ear.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see this masterpiece, an artistic landmark, as the exhibition is in its last month, ending on 27th April. Top off your day by reflecting on Van Gogh’s genius talent with an afternoon tea at DUKES London. Just a short walk away, DUKES offers delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a varied selection of cream cakes to enjoy in our elegant drawing room and conservatory whilst overlooking a peaceful courtyard garden.

Jean Paul Gautier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

London’s most eagerly awaited fashion exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gautier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, arrives at the Barbican Centre this April.  The show will display over 150 exquisite ready-to-wear and couture pieces from various stages of his 40-year career.

Gautier is renowned worldwide for his ability to push fashion boundaries with his daring designs and outrageous statements, and it’s this facet which has earned him a firm place in fashion and design history.  Well-known for his enthusiasm in erasing the boundaries between cultures and the sexes, Gautier has developed a strong international fanbase which will certainly be rewarded by this unique exhibition.

Highlights from the show include Madonna’s infamous conical corset from her 1990 Blonde Ambition tour, a variety of bespoke pieces designed for Kylie Minogue, and stunning footage of some of Gautier’s most fabulous, theatrical catwalk shows.

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gautier is being held at The Barbican in London from 9th April until 17th August 2014, and tickets cost between £7.25 and £14.50. Whilst in London, come over to DUKES London and treat yourself to a luxury Easter break with us. Our Spring room prices include a complimentary upgrade to the next category, sweet treat upon arrival and full English breakfast. Or why not come and enjoy one of our fabulous cocktails?

Vogue Festival 2014: Southbank Centre 29th to 30th March

One 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 ten 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 Thirty Six restaurant. Our three course dinner and bottle of wine costs £48 per person. To book, simply email [email protected].

Matilda the Musical

Roald 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 all the way through to December of this year. Tickets for the performance range from £20 to £65 and are available now from either The Cambridge Theatre website, or the RSC website. To finish off your evening, why not visit DUKES London and embrace our Winter Warmer offer, available throughout March.  The offer includes a complimentary room upgrade, full English breakfast and Wi-Fi. To book, visit the DUKES London website.

 

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.