4 historical occasions that shaped London

A London Tube trainNow we all know that London is one of the greatest places on Earth, with some of the most incredible attractions and hotels, including us here at DUKES Hotel and DUKES Bar (we are known as the ‘James Bond Martini Bar!’), of course.

But London isn’t famous only for the here and now – the long legacy of historical events plays a huge role in why the city is loved so much and is such a huge attraction for visitors. Continue reading “4 historical occasions that shaped London”

5 Royal sights to visit when in London

Buckingham Palace on a bright summer's dayAs 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

A look down a path in Greenwich Park, LondonAlthough 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 us at DUKES – commons, public gardens and converted church yards. Continue reading “Looking for a quiet, relaxing break? London can offer that”

3 reasons to visit London this summer

A view of Wimbledon tennis courtsThis was was written for summer 2014 – we’ll be updating it for summer 2018 soon!

With 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 every day! Continue reading “3 reasons to visit London this summer”

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”

10 things you didn’t know about London – Part 2

A view of St Paul's Cathedral, London, from across the ThamesFollowing on from the first blog post in a two part series, which can be read in full here, today we’re providing another five things you probably didn’t already know about London. Continue reading “10 things you didn’t know about London – Part 2”

10 things you didn’t know about London – Part 1

A view of the clock on Big Ben, LondonWhen it comes to London, there will be hundreds of things you – and the majority of people – will know.

Things such as London being the capital city of England, where Buckingham Palace and Big Ben are and being a city that’s packed full of history. All three of these are great examples of things that a lot of people are already aware of, regardless of where they are from. Continue reading “10 things you didn’t know about London – Part 1”

How to get around London quickly, easily and effectively

A moving London Tube trainWe all know London, England’s beautiful capital city, is a large place.  We also know there are always a lot of people travelling right across the city, whether they’re visiting, living or passing through.

And if you have ever visited, you’ll know that getting from one location to another can be ‘interesting’ at times – especially at rush hour or if you’re not entirely sure of the best way to get around. Continue reading “How to get around London quickly, easily and effectively”

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is now at The National Gallery!

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.