Visit Turner Prize winner Martin Creed at Hayward Gallery!

An external shot of the Hayward Gallery, LondonIf you’re a fan of contemporary art, the Hayward Gallery in 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 that 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 base yourself in beautiful surroundings from which you can enjoy a full weekend of sightseeing in one of the world’s most cultural capital cities?

Image courtesy of Sheila Thomson.

Explore New Order II at Saatchi Gallery

The Saatchi Gallery in LondonLondon’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, pop over to DUKES London for a delicious three-course lunch cooked by the brilliantly talented Nigel Mendham – or our wonderful afternoon tea!

Image courtesy of Jack Gavigan

Ready for Vodafone’s London Fashion Weekend?

An external shot of Somerset House, LondonSomerset 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 to 24th February 2014 and tickets range from £20 to £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, why not continue your time in London with a drink at our famous DUKES Bar? We’ve got drinks of all variety, including our ever-popular martini – said to be the inspiration behind James Bond’s favourite tipple!

Image courtesy of Elliott Brown

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.

Van Gogh in Paris

Eykyn Maclean, one of London’s prestigious private art galleries is hosting a new and exciting exhibition entitled: ‘Van Gogh in Paris’, exploring the artist’s life throughout the period in which he lived and worked in the city, 1886-1888.  Appropriately, the ‘Van Gogh in Paris’ exhibition will be held amongst the works of his contemporaries, including key pieces by French masters: Monet, Pissarro and Gaugin, many of which are privately owned and rarely displayed in public.

It is noted that Van Gogh’s distinct style was formed from the influence of these major contributors to the impressionist and post-impressionist eras.  Van Gogh’s transition from living in the Netherlands to France is clearly demonstrated through his paintings, from his sombre Dutch style works, to the more colourful pieces like Sunflowers, for which he is renowned.

Highlights of the exhibition include a self-portrait of the painter which co-owner Maclean states is: ‘Essentially the first proper self-portrait he produced.’  Deemed ‘A small but perfectly formed exhibition’ by The Independent, the event is not to be missed by art and history enthusiasts alike.  After soaking up the culture at Eykyn Maclean, why not drop into DUKES London to relax and enjoy our delicious afternoon tea.

London Jazz Festival

Marked ‘one of the best jazz festivals in the world’ according to the Guardian, London’s Jazz Festival returns to mark its 21st birthday from 15th to 24th November.  Consisting of more than 250 shows over a ten-day period, the festival takes place in a variety of beautiful venues across the city, including London’s hub of cultural arts, the hip Southbank Centre.

The festival offers a perfect mix of classic artists who have helped to write the history of jazz, and new, exciting talent shaping the future of the genre.  The London Jazz Festival will be showcasing amazing artists from all over the world, including some of the very best talent the UK has to offer.  The event does much to showcase the city’s network of different cultures and communities, all of which are united by the electric atmosphere.

This event is not to be missed by all ardent jazz fans.  Highlights of this year’s programme include the opening night gala, Stan Sulzmann’s Neon Orchestra, and Madeleine Peyroux.  For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit: www.londonjazzfestival.org.uk .

Why not extend the experience by dropping into DUKES London after a show, to relax and recharge with 20% off all Classic and Superior rooms on weekends in November. Or to really get into the swing visit DUKES Bar beforehand for one of our famous Martinis!

 

London’s Frieze Art Fair

This October, London welcomes the return of the Frieze Art Fair.  The event is a contemporary art fair held in London’s Regents Park, which draws in over 60,000 visitors; some looking to buy, others just to spectate: “A must-see event” as described by The Guardian.

Originally staged for the purpose of selling works of art, the fair has become much more of a culturally stimulating entertainment event; including 152 of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries, specially commissioned artists’ projects, and an artist-led education schedule.

This year will be the 11th edition of Frieze London and the event aims to be better than ever with a complete redesign of its layout.  This change in design will introduce more sizable public areas and wider aisles along with a new and innovative layout of galleries. This year’s gallery list includes establishments from international territories such as: Brazil, China and Columbia.

Those looking to buy or simply browse should not miss out on the Frieze Art Fair. Tickets can be purchased from http://frieze.seetickets.com/event/frieze-london/regent-s-park/724064.  If visiting at the weekend, why not drop into DUKES London for our delicious Sunday Brunch, priced at just £35.