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.

Turner Prize Winner at Hayward Gallery

If you’re a fan of contemporary art, the Hayward Gallery on London’s iconic Southbank Centre is currently playing host to one of the biggest names in the industry. Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed is the main attraction at the Gallery until April, where the exhibition displays his take on playful contemporary art.

Creed has been one of the most significant names in British art since his 2001 Turner Prize win, in which his Work No. 227 centred around an empty room in which the lights went on and off. The Wakefield born artist has seen his success advance since the 2001 win, and for the past 13 years his exhibitions have been seen all around the globe.

Taking everyday materials and transforming them into surprising new forms, his artistic pieces aim to challenge the standard perceptions of run of the mill events and objects. The current exhibition displays pieces which incorporate a running theme of exploration of the invisible structures that run through our lives.

The exhibition is currently on display and runs until 27 April at Southbank’s Hayward Gallery, with tickets costing £11 per person. If you’re making the trip to London to sample some of the world’s best contemporary art, why not check into DUKES London and enjoy a full weekend of sightseeing in one of the world’s most cultural capital cities.

New Order II at Saatchi Gallery

London’s favourite one-stop destination for contemporary art, the Saatchi Gallery, is introducing its exciting new exhibition for Spring 2014, New Order II: British Art Today.

The Saatchi Gallery was opened in 1985 by Charles Saatchi to exhibit his extensive collections to the general public.  The Gallery hosts a variety of artwork genres; from minimalism and US artistry, to examples of contemporary Chinese art and works by Young British Artists. For 25 years, the Saatchi Gallery has strongly supported emerging artists and aims to make contemporary art as widely available as possible to both a British and an international audience.

The much-praised exposition is a sample of works from 13 of the most promising and talented up-and-coming artists of the moment. Highlights of the display include Virgile Ittah’s ‘Regarding the Pain of the Other’ – a wax and marble powder figure, portraying the concept of isolation by using the human body as a canvas.

New Order II: British Art Today is appearing at The Saatchi Gallery from the 24th January to the 23rd March 2014 and entry is completely free. After the exhibition, why not pop over to DUKES London for our delicious three-course lunch cooked by the brilliantly talented Nigel Mendham, for just £25 per person.

 

 

Vodafone’s London Fashion Weekend

Somerset House is preparing itself for one of Britain’s biggest consumer fashion showcases: Vodafone’s London Fashion Weekend.  Designers such as Welsh favourite Julien Macdonald will be showcasing their latest collections ahead of next season. Amongst masses of designer shopping and expert fashion talks, the catwalks will take centre stage.

Designs from more than 100 of the top UK and universal designers will be showcased in four trend sections, each highlighting 40 minutes of fabulous fashion. Vodafone’s London Fashion Weekend offers a unique opportunity to see the best upcoming trends and exclusive first-class fashion advice from the experts. London’s Somerset House, located in The Strand at the heart of the city, will be host to the fashion extravaganza.

The show is running for a long weekend from 20th- 24th February 2014 and tickets range from £20 – £130 depending on your chosen package. A variety of extras will be offered, including tote bags with “luxe” treats to provide that VIP edge, including samples from fashion favourites Kurt Geiger and St Tropez.

After enjoying the show with the girls, why not continue your experience with our Ultimate girl’s night in package at DUKES London. Our exclusive offer includes relaxing beauty treatments and a complete goody hamper to share. For more information, or to book, visit our website or call +44 (0)207 491 4840.

The National Theatre’s ‘Light Princess’

Known by many as the most anticipated production of the year, the National Theatre’s Light Princess is the ultimate modern fairy-tale with a twist.  The Daily Express has declared ‘The Light Princess’ an ‘entrancing, dreamlike show’ and many others have been astounded by its stunning visual effects.

The story contains both traditional fairy-tale components, as well as some much more sinister undertones.  The premise of the story is a prince and princess living in conflicting kingdoms who are both suffering from losing their mothers.  Althea, played by the enchanting Rosalie Craig, is unable to cry so floats with grief and is imprisoned as a result.  Meanwhile, Digby (Nick Hendrix) is trained as a warrior and one day, declares war on Althea’s kingdom.   Althea is forced out of hiding, but later escapes and meets the prince beside a lake, where they begin an affair.  But for Althea to find real love, she must confront the world’s darkness and face her own deepest fears.

Whether young or old, this visual extravaganza is, without a doubt, a must-see for all theatre-goers and play-lovers.  Performances are showing now until February 2nd.  For more information or to book tickets, visit the National Theatre’s website.

DUKES London is the perfect retreat to unwind and recharge after your day at the theatre – especially with the introduction of our new Winter Warmer offer.  Our fabulous promotion includes a complimentary room upgrade, full English breakfast and free Wi-Fi, and is available from the 1st January 2014 until 31st March 2014.

Christmas at Kew Gardens

This year, Kew Gardens’ annual seasonal makeover is not one to be missed. Take a stroll through the illuminated gardens as they are transformed with a series of lighting installations created by prestigious artists from all across the UK. As twilight falls and the magic begins, take in the enchanted gardens and beautiful winter landscape as you explore all that Kew has to offer. An enjoyable stroll through the gardens should take around one hour and 15 minutes.

Once you’ve explored the enchanted gardens, it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy one of the many festive family attractions. Take a ride on the charming Victorian carousel and other vintage fairground rides, or visit the boutique Christmas market which promises foodie treats and festive music for all. There’s something for old and young alike and you can even visit Santa’s Grotto and meet the man himself. Kew Gardens promises to be a magical visit this Christmas and offers fun for all of the family.

The winter trails at Kew Gardens will take place from 4.30-10.00pm on a range of different dates between 28th November – 4th January. Visit http://www.kew.org/ for more details. Why not make the day really special and treat a loved one to festive afternoon tea at Dukes Hotel before whizzing on to Kew Gardens for the winter trails? Accompanied by a glass of champagne, it’s the perfect toast to the happiest season of all!

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland returns to London’s Hyde Park this winter, transforming the vast park into a festive fairyland.

This free event offers a range of fun, festive activities for the whole family, including an illuminated ice rink, magical Santa’s grotto and a plethora of fairground rides. Visitor’s favourites include the Christmas market with a traditional Bavarian theme running through its cafés and bars as well as the undercover restaurant, Spiegel Saloon.

One of the main attractions of this year’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is the Magical Ice Kingdom which will be returning with its breath-taking ice sculptures. The Kingdom is the largest of its kind in the UK, and was created exclusively for the Winter Wonderland.  Zippos’ evening circus spectacle Cirque Berserk pushes the boundaries of traditional circus entertainment with a death-defying knife throwing act, and daring high wire performance. The Winter Wonderland starts on the 22nd November and runs until the 5th January. Booking in advance may be required for some of the attractions and events, so check out www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com for more information.

After embracing the winter weather in Hyde Park, why not come and warm up at DUKES London in our gorgeous PJ champagne lounge, which serves the finest Perrier Jouet champagne and champagne cocktails, or treat the family to an overnight stay at reduced rates in one of our Luxury Suites?

 

Spirit of Christmas Fair

During the festive period, Olympia exhibition centre in London will be playing host to the veritable home of Christmas shopping, the Spirit of Christmas Fair.  The popular annual event includes new collections of independent boutiques, which have all been approved by domestic powerhouse, House and Garden.

Branded ‘the home of Christmas shopping’, the Spirit of Christmas Fair comprises of more than 600 companies presenting their giftware and festive products to the eager shoppers of London, which can’t be found on the high street.  Offering a wide range of seasonal products, from festive accessories and interior decorations, to gorgeous bespoke gift items, all under one roof, the fair is the perfect place to combine a day out and tackle the yearly festive shop in one.

Highlights of the fair include the House and Garden workshop and Designer Guild’s gorgeous homeware and accessories collection.  Tickets cost £17.50 and can be purchased online.  After your trip to the fair, why not prolong the Christmas atmosphere with a trip to DUKES London to take advantage of our amazing Christmas 2013 packages.

Nour Festival of Arts

The Nour Festival of Arts reflects on the best contemporary art, film, literature, music and performances from the Middle East and North Africa. Running for four consecutive years, the Nour Festival challenges preconceptions, sparks debate and provides insight into culture from across the MENA region.

Taking place from the 1st October – 30th November, this year’s Nour Festival is offering a remarkable range of attractions, including art exhibitions, film screenings and thought-provoking talks. Highlights of this year’s festival include performances across the areas of dance, drama and music.

Nour, which means ‘light’ or ‘illumination’ in various Middle Eastern languages is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s most significant annual showcases of contemporary arts and culture.  Taking place at more than 20 venues across Kensington and Chelsea, Nour has welcomed new partners such as the Royal Albert Hall, Chelsea Theatre, Kensington and Chelsea College, the Gate Theatre and the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha to its venue list.

After an unforgettable journey into the MENA region, why not visit DUKES London to expand your experience with Champagne and Canapés for just £19 per person.