What makes DUKES London a five star hotel?

A superior room in DUKES, LondonBeing a five star hotel is something we’re extremely proud of. It’s not something we take lightly or something we make assumptions about. Each and every day we strive towards ensuring we maintain the extremely high standards set out when we were first awarded five stars.

But what are the standards that are expected of a five star hotel?

Interestingly, they tend to vary all around the world; there’s no universal grading system. Here in the UK the rating is determined and provided by The AA, and the criteria to receiving five stars is particularly in-depth.

Looking at our five stars at DUKES London, here we explore some of the notable reasons we’ve been awarded the highest rating for any hotel in the country.

First-class customer service

This isn’t about ‘the customer is always right’. Anyone can do that. First-class customer service is about truly going above and beyond what’s expected of us.

Nothing is too much of an issue. Whether it’s asking for certain pillows from our housekeeping staff through to talking with our concierge to arrange a full evening of entertainment, no question is too troublesome.

And it’s so important that every single guest fully understands this. This point is actually arguably the most important – being able to deliver a first-class level of customer service is one thing, but ensuring our guests understand this is what we do is key.

We invest so, so heavily in our staff. We want people who want to go that extra mile; those people who fully understand that a guest’s experience with us can be spoilt – or made – by the service they receive.

That’s why every single member of staff is dedicated to ensuring DUKES London offers one of the highest – if not the highest – level of customer service found in any hotel.

Unrivalled amenities

Fitness and spa facilities. Butler services. 24 hour reception, concierge and room service. And something that’s particularly British – a full afternoon tea offering!

It’s not uncommon to find these amenities in other hotels that have three or four stars. So many of them offer them brilliantly.

But what makes a five star hotel just that is all of these amenities are offered under one roof. That’s so important. When you’re looking for a luxurious break to London, whilst there is so much to see and do in our wonderful city, sometimes all you want is 48 hours of being pampered, without ever needing to step out through the same doors you came in until it’s time to leave.

Suites, suites, suites

We’re particularly proud of our suites at DUKES London, largely because they attract so much praise – and from a hotel rating point of view, they play a critical role in ensuring we maintain our five stars.

With hotels in this rating needing to have a minimum of one suite, it must consist of at least one bedroom, one lounge and one bathroom, and has to be able to be booked by guests at all times (this is an interesting one – whilst four star hotels may have suites, they’re not always considered permanent or continually accessible, something that can often prevent them from receiving a higher rating).

A full service restaurant

Our hotel restaurant is open seven days a week, 365 days a year (as our hotel is – itself a requirement for five star ratings). Breakfast, lunch and dinner is available, and you can book a table as a resident or non-resident.

Without this, we wouldn’t have the rating we have today.

Our guests want unrivalled levels of cuisine. They want a breakfast perfectly suited to their needs for the day, lunch options to see them through the afternoon, and a dinner menu that has something for every taste.

Nigel Mendham does a wonderful job here at DUKES. The reviews, praise and critiques he receives are exceptional and provide a brilliant insight into the fantastic work he and his team of talented culinary masters deliver right throughout the day, week and year.

Being a five star hotel

The AA’s quality standards are in-depth (you can download the full document here if you’re interested!) at currently 43 pages long, and cover nine separate sections of which some have over two dozen subsections.

Being a five star hotel isn’t an easy feat. We completely and utterly understand, appreciate and respect that. Once it’s received, it’s not something you can rest at ease with either. You need to fully embrace it and work towards ensuring your standards never slip, as like we’re sure every five star hotel will say – once you have the rating, your dedication to ensuring every single point you’re judged on never waivers only increases.

How do you decide where to stay in London?

The city skyline of LondonWe love London. We know the 19 million people who visit us each year do, too. There’s so much to see, do, explore, taste, hear and experience, it’s hard not to fall in love with our fantastic city.

But before you even start enjoying the sights of London, you need to choose somewhere to stay – and that can be more of an arduous exercise than you might first think.

Sure, we want everyone to come stay with us at DUKES London. We love our hotel! But we also know it’s important you make a decision yourself, based on your own knowledge, research and information.

So, how do you choose where to stay when you’re visiting one of the most popular cities in the world?

Generally speaking, there are three things you need to take into account.

  1. Location

If you’re visiting London, it’s highly likely you’ll have a set reason for doing so. You’ll probably have a planned itinerary with key points that you want to check off, along with a whole host of additional things that you’ll do if you have the time to squeeze them in.

For this reason, it’s often vital that you pick a hotel based within the area you’re planning on spending the most time.

If you’re planning on being within the West End for most of it, it wouldn’t make sense to stay right over in an east borough. Sure, the Tube makes accessing our famous theatres easy wherever you are, but it’s not really ease that’s important, particularly if you’re only here for a night or two – it’s time.

A 10 minute walk is much better than a 60 minute Tube journey, especially when that’s 60 minutes back as well.

  1. Price

With that said, we fully appreciate that price is so important. You need to have somewhere that is perfect in location, but it needs to fall within your budget.

There are places all over the city at price points that vary considerably. There is, quite literally, a type of accommodation at a price for everyone.

But you need to remember that price is a direct reflection of what to expect in reality.

Paying £30 a night? You’re most likely going to be renting someone’s spare bedroom or staying in a hostel of some variety, usually in one of London’s outer zones.

Pay £3,000 a night, conversely, would get you a suite in a central location.

It’s a difficult decision to make, and very much one that needs an open mind and some personal negotiation.

  1. Amenities

And just like price is directly associated with location, the amenities you need are key to keeping mind in when you’re talking about price and making an overall decision on a hotel.

Are you planning on eating at some of the city’s culinary highlights? What about needing a relaxed atmosphere for an evening drink?

If you are, a hotel with such amenities is going to cost more than one without – but that additional cost will so often prove more cost-effective than visiting numerous different locations to achieve the same result.

Not only would you save money on travel, but it’s your time saving, too. As we mentioned above, when you’re in London, you want to achieve the most you can in the time you have. No one wants to be travelling unnecessarily across the city.

Staying in London is fantastic. We love it, you love it and the millions of people who visit each year love it.

Choosing the right place to stay is a key part of your visit. Get it wrong and it can truly impact on your time. Get it right, however, and it can turn a great break into a truly fantastic one.

Image courtesy of Colin

8 of the most romantic things you can do in London

It’s the beginning of February. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner; that one day of the year where we treat our loved ones with flowers and chocolates whilst expressing our love in written words. It’s something we’ve done for centuries, with it already a firmly established tradition in the early 1600s: Shakespeare mentions it openly in Ophelia’s lament in Hamlet by saying “To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine.”

Over the years we’ve become even more focused on dedicating the day to those we love, going above and beyond the traditional flowers and cards.

And so being in one of the most vast and varied cities in the world, where there’s something for everyone, we’ve compiled our list of eight of the most romantic things you can do in London (whether you decide to visit us on Valentine’s Day or simply want some romantic inspiration at any point throughout the year!).

1. A picnic in the park

One of our most popular requests at DUKES, there are fewer more romantic ways to spend an afternoon than a stroll to nearby Green Park, unspoilt by little and dominated by natural beauty, with a prepared picnic hamper ready for you to enjoy under the London sky.

But to add a little something extra, our picnic in the park is inclusive of your own butler service. A butler will meet you at the park, lay your rug, set up your food and serve your drinks before leaving you to enjoy your time alone.

You might need a few extra layers to enjoy it on Valentine’s Day, but in the warmer months it can be one of the most relaxing – and romantic – ways to spend an afternoon.

2. London through the Eye

Whilst it’s ‘only’ been a fixture of the London skyline for 18 years, the London Eye has become synonymous with the city. Allowing you to see unparalleled views of all of London from the comfort of an enclosed pod, the experience of being on the London Eye itself is fantastic – but it can be made all that more special for those looking for something a little more romantic.

Taking advantage of the ‘Cupid’s Capsule’, you can enjoy a 30 minute rotation of the Eye whilst sipping a bottle of champagne and nibbling on luxury chocolates. Time it for when the sun is setting and you have an ideal way to finish a day (or start an evening!).

3. Dine on the Thames

If the London Eye offers a brilliant experience of London from above, why not step out of your Cupid’s Capsule and straight onto a river cruise along the Thames to enjoy a bite to eat?

Available for lunch, dinner and afternoon tea, you can sail along the Thames, taking in some of the most notable sights that the city has to offer, at a truly leisurely pace, whilst continuing your loving indulgence with food and drink.

4. Take a trip to the USA

One of the more untraditional romantic options when in London, there’s no arguing, however, that if you’re a fan of life across the Atlantic, a visit to somewhere such as The Love Shake or The Diner can be a brilliant way to while away the time.

With the former a particularly accurate USA dinner in Shoreditch (inclusive of free coffee) and the latter having an extensive menu that could have been taken straight out of any Hollywood movie from the 1950s, you can cuddle up in a booth and chat away whilst eating, drinking and thinking you’re in that movie yourselves.

5. Get tucked away for the night

Sometimes, after busy weeks working, family commitments and everything else life throws at you, your idea of a ‘romantic break’ is one where you can fall into your hotel room and not have to reemerge for at least 24 hours.

And that’s exactly what we’ve perfected at DUKES.

Looking at our romantic escapes, you could take up residence in our Duke of Clarence Penthouse Suite, which has its own private balcony, and enjoy 24 red roses, chilled champagne and luxury Fortnum & Mason chocolates on arrival.

Including a massage for two (available in the suite itself), and breakfast in the room the following day, you only need to leave to enjoy the five course meal in our Great British Restaurant (GBR) and a wonderful romantic horse and carriage ride around Hyde Park – bliss!

6. Looking longingly to the stars

Sometimes, the stars align perfectly and everything falls into place. Whether that’s work or relationships, it can be a truly breathtaking experience to see the London sky lit up and dominated by the glorious stars.

With it possible to enjoy a spot of stargazing easily (Morden Hall Park is a renowned location for it), the Royal Observatory in Greenwich is perfect for a bit of advice and guidance – and use of their Victorian telescope – to help all starry-eyed romantics enjoy the wonders of our universe.

7. Go back to the Roaring Twenties

Whether it’s the smarter attire, formal pleasantries or the music of the time, it’s hard to argue the 1920s doesn’t have a romantic appeal to it. And whilst London can’t whisk you back in time directly, it can do a very good impression with some beautifully themed bars and restaurants.

Giving you the opportunity to get truly suited and booted, there are numerous bars and restaurants that allow you to enjoy the era, but few do so as well as The Candlelight Club.

A ‘pop up’ that doesn’t have a permanent home, it moves around London with events throughout the year that allow you to become fully immersed in the 1920s era – and that includes only being lit by very romantic and cosy candlelight.

8. Get lost and explore

One of the most alluring qualities of London for many is being such a vast city, you can easily fade into a crowd. You can be anybody you want to be and enjoy the anonymity that you simply don’t get elsewhere.

And if this is particularly appealing, holding your loved one by the hand, jumping on a Tube or into a taxi and heading to a random location can be such a liberating experience.

Whether you decide to head to a part of Central London you’ve never been to before or explore the likes of Hampstead Village a little further out, you can find shops, try food and enjoy a tipple or two in places you simply won’t have come across by sticking to a strict schedule.

It takes a little bit of an adventurous mind, but sometimes that’s what keeps a relationship as healthy as ever.

Want to stay in London this Valentine’s Day? Explore our romantic offers for something truly special and memorable.

Image courtesy of Shaherald Chia

Is spring the best time to visit London?

The green trees of spring in a London parkIt’s over a month since the festivities of Christmas. We’ve all put up with the cold weather, most people have been back into the swing of work for several weeks and at DUKES we’ve been looking forward to the year ahead.

Being located in St James’s, we know we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to visit the sights, enjoy the atmosphere and take in everything this wonderful city has to offer every single day of the week.

As Walter Besant said: “I’ve been walking about London for the last thirty years, and I find something fresh in it every day.”

From the bitter cold of late through to the blazing hot summer days, you’re never at a loss of something to do when you’re staying in London. Indoors or out, right in the middle of the City or at the very edge of the outer boroughs, it’s somewhat of a cliché now, but there really is something for all.

With that said, everyone has their favourite part of the year when they like to spend time in London; that time where everything just falls into place and you have the brilliant mornings, the best days and wonderful evenings.

And it’s hard to argue with the people who say spring is the best time to visit.

The best British weather

Kicking off the reasons why, let’s start with one of our favourite things to talk about – the weather!

Generally seeing temperatures of between 11 and 15 degrees during the day, it’s the ideal temperature for everything. You can wrap up with a jacket if you’re feeling cold, but don’t need to wear half a dozen layers to combat the icy winds of wintertime..

Similarly, with these higher temperatures comes very little by the way of rainfall (at least not of the torrential variety). A shower here and there is easy to cope with – perhaps even enjoy – when you can jump in and out of somewhere to shop, or grab a bite to eat without needing to take off coats, jumpers and hats..

But whilst the milder weather is undoubtedly an attractive part of springtime in London, it has to be the longer days that are particularly pleasing – by the time we’re into May, it’s generally light well past 8pm, making the days seem longer, which is fantastic when you’re trying to see as much as you can on your visit.

Sights and attractions for everyone

And if you’re visiting in spring, you can be certain there’ll be enough for you to see and do.

By way of an example, let’s take a look at some of the events we’re looking forward to between 1st March and 31st May this year:

  • St Patrick’s Day: 17th March
  • Good Friday: 30th March
  • Easter Sunday: 1st April
  • Easter Monday: 2nd April
  • London Marathon: 22nd April
  • St George’s Day: 23rd April
  • The Royal Wedding: 19th May
  • FA Cup Final: 27th May

And these are just eight of the most notable events that come to mind straightaway – it doesn’t include some of the others that we’re particularly looking forward to, including International Health Day on 7th April and – conversely – National Hamburger Day on 28th May!

You can make it a family break

As mentioned above, Easter falls right in the middle of spring this year. With many schools closing for two weeks, it’s this time of year when a family visit to London can be ideal.

If you’re restricted to school holidays, the summer break is a brilliant time to come, but it’s undoubtedly warmer and busier. This can bring with it a fantastic atmosphere, but we can’t get away from the fact you’ll also see more queues for most attractions.

This isn’t the case over Easter. Easter week is definitely busier than those before and after, but it seems more manageable; there aren’t as many people compared to the height of summer, but all of the attractions are open – including the ever-popular street performers of Covent Garden – and so you get all of the benefits with none of the downsides.

Plus, it can be warm enough to take a picnic along to Green Park (a very short walk from DUKES) and spend a day enjoying a part of London that’s over 400 years old and where you’ll find arguably the most ‘natural’ part of the city – unlike many of the other parks in London, Green Park is almost completely free of buildings, statues or monuments, instead dominated by towering trees and wildflowers.

Visit when you can

We love London in the springtime. It’s a truly magical time to visit this wonderful city.

But we also love it in summer, winter and autumn. Each season really does bring something new to London.

If you only have the opportunity to come and see us in the months outside of spring, we’re confident you’ll have as spectacular of time as if you were visiting in spring itself. Yes, spring in London is fantastic – but the reality is, London has so much to see, do and experience that it’s impossible to say that one time of the year is better than the other. It’s always a fantastic time when you’re walking the streets of London!

Planning a trip to London this spring? We’ve got an array of offers to make your stay as enjoyable as it can, from half term breaks through to romantic escapes!

Image courtesy of Cristian Bortes.

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!

Wembley Stadium: London’s most notable sporting venue

An external, nighttime shot of London's Wembley stadium

The discussion around London’s most notable sporting venue can be a heated one. There are a number of claimants to that venerable crown and your views will no doubt depend on which sport your allegiances lie with.

If you are a tennis fan, your choice may be Wimbledon. A cricket fan will always go for Lords, whilst a rugby fan would 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.

We’ll be providing details on each of these venues 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.

Built in 1923 for the British Empire exhibition and originally called the Empire Stadium, the first major event Wembley hosted was the FA Cup final of 1923. The original structure survived until 2003 when it was demolished,, eventually reopening in 2007 as the new Wembley Stadium.

Whilst 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 1,000 feet (305 m), 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.

Containing 90,000 seats and boasting 98 kitchens (just enough to be able to feed 90,000 hungry spectators!), Wembley has seen many famous visitors over the years, particularly when you realise it’s been so much more than a fotball venue.

For example, it’s hosted many music concerts over the years, including Live Aid in 1985, whilst also being home to 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 be able to 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 for the NFL games at Wembley are currently set to be:

  • 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!

Able to help you get the most from your time with us at DUKES, our concierge will do as much as they can to make sure you see and experience Wembley Stadium exactly as you want to, whether that’s by attending a game, simply walking past, or via the way that’s always recommended: by taking part in one of the much revered stadium tours – enjoy!

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 Notting Hill Carnival is almost here – don’t miss it!

It’s summer time in the UK, which means it’s time for festivals and carnivals!

The Bank Holiday weekend towards the end of August sees one of the entire country’s biggest and best carnivals take place, when the streets of West London come alive as Europe’s largest street festival dominates throughout 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.

Visiting the festival with family

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 taking a look at the Transport for London website to plan your route – and make sure you manage to enjoy it as much as everyone else!

Stay with us for the festival

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?

7 fantastic quotes that will make you want to visit London – again!

The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, London at nightFor hundreds of years, people have come to London from all over the world and fallen for its beauty and charm.

Some, more gifted than us when it comes to the spoken or written word, have left a legacy of quotes that have become synonymous with the city. Continue reading “7 fantastic quotes that will make you want to visit London – again!”