The details: the summer opening of Buckingham Palace 2013

An external, front-facing shot of Buckingham Palace, LondonThis summer you can explore the royal grounds of Buckingham Palace. You can take the opportunity to see some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection, as well as The Queen’s Coronation 1953 exhibition, featuring royal dresses, uniforms and jewellery!

You may already know that this summer marked the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation in 1953. To celebrate this special occasion the palace’s ballroom will be transformed into the largest exhibition that has taken place for this particular occasion since the day of the Coronation in June 1953.

The centrepiece is The Queen’s white satin coronation dress, designed by Norman Hartnell, and the English purple silk robe worn by The Queen on the day of her coronation, which took more than 3,500 hours to complete and is more than 6.5 metres long.

Guests will be able to appreciate close-up the Diamond Diadem, one of The Queen’s most recognisable jewels, which she is pictured wearing on postage stamps and some banknotes.

For more information on ticket prices and details of the event please click here.

Enjoy afternoon tea at DUKES after your visit to Buckingham Palace, as we’re one of the closest hotels to the Palace – just a short five minute stroll across Green Park.

Image courtesy of Michael Reeve

It’s the world’s biggest: the Royal Academy of Arts summer exhibition

An external shot of Burlington House, LondonUntil the 18th of August the world’s biggest open-submission art exhibition is back presenting more than 1,000 pieces in a variety of styles. With the exhibition being held at Burlington House only moments away from St. James Place, why not marvel at the art selected scrupulously by panel of artists and architects across the board from more than 10,000 entries?

The summer exhibition allows you to view the work of well-known and celebrated artists such as Anselm Kiefer, as well taking you into the creative world of upcoming artists showcasing their paintings, structures, photography, prints, architecture and films. There will be a room dedicated only to portraiture, displaying works from established artists such as, Frank Auerbach, Alex Katz and Tom Philip RA, which takes you through the importance the portrait genre has played in both previous Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions and in contemporary art.

Other highlights will be a new large-scale sculpture from Anthony Caro RA and the series of six sublime tapestry pieces ‘A Vanity of Small Differences’ by Grayson Perry.

Tickets cost £6.00 for children and £10.00 for adults and are available here. The exhibition is open from the 10th July until the 18th August. The majority of the work that is displayed is available for the public to purchase, with the proceeds going towards the Royal Academy’s Schools bursaries scheme, as the exhibition is directly helping to support future artistic talents.

The exhibition opens from 10am Monday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday until 6pm and on Friday closes at a later time of 10pm.

So after wandering around and soaking in the beautiful art, why not treat yourself again, this time to one of our gorgeous cocktails at DUKES Bar?

Image courtesy of  Mike Peel

The Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition returns to the UK

Ruins of Pompeii, ItalyRunning from 28th March to 29th September 2013, an exhibition named Life and Death: Pompeii and Herculaneum, has been brought to the British Museum this year. Pompeii and Herculaneum are two ancient cities on the Bay of Naples which play a huge piece in Italian history. Both cities were buried as a result of the sudden explosion of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD, however the majority of artefacts and buildings were beautifully preserved by the resulting ash.

The British Museum’s new exhibition will transport you to ancient life in Pompeii and Herculaneum, where visitors will be able to see and experience the daily life of a Roman. There are over 250 ancient artefacts to examine, including some very recent finds that have never been seen outside Italy. The most fascinating – although gruesome – part of this exhibition for some may be the casts of the bodies that were preserved for almost 200 years. These casts include those of a family huddled under the stairs in their villa, and a very famous cast of a family dog.

It has been more than 20 years since the last time there was a large exhibition featuring Pompeii in the UK, and with some fantastic new finds to see, visitors will be captivated by life, and death, in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

On 18th June, Pompeii: Live from the British Museum will be released in cinemas nationwide, offering an exclusive view of the exhibition and specially made films of Pompeii on the day of the volcanic eruption. The film will also be going behind the scenes of the exhibition and exploring the ancient Roman cities and their inhabitants’ way of life. The remains of these two cities have been carefully excavated and the ruins of the roads and buildings are a sight to behold.

Tickets for the exhibition are available from £15 here and advance booking is essential. Tickets for the film can be booked via your local cinema, and you can find a list of cinemas showing the film here.

After a long day of soaking in the ancient Italian culture, what could be a better end to your day than enjoying a beautifully prepared meal at our beautiful and ever-popular restaurant?