30 days to Christmas: 7 sights every visitor to London has to see this Christmas

A unique Christmas tree at Kew GardensIt’s hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago we were talking about all the things there are to do in London during the summer months. Now we’re in the home stretch to Christmas with little over four weeks to go until the big day is here.

Undoubtedly one of our favourite times of the year, London comes alive at Christmas. There’s so much to see and do in the city right the year round, but at Christmas we see a whole host of new sights and attractions to visit and experience.

With many of our guests exploring everything the city has to offer on the run up to Christmas before cosying up in DUKES Bar for the evening, let’s take a look at seven sights you really should be adding to your list of things to visit in London this Christmas. Continue reading “30 days to Christmas: 7 sights every visitor to London has to see this Christmas”

How to treat your dad to something a little different in London this year

The London skyline from aboveThe time of the year when it’s time to treat your father to something a little special, Father’s Day 2018 is taking place on Sunday 17th June and we’re getting ready to help you mark the occasion.

Continue reading “How to treat your dad to something a little different in London this year”

Getting ready for Royal Ascot? Come and stay with us at DUKES LONDON!

The Queen's procession at Royal AscotIn a few short days Royal Ascot 2018 will be upon us. One of the most famed and favourable events on the horse racing calendar, it’s no real surprise that it’s such a popular event – not only do its roots stretch back to the early 18th century when it was founded by Queen Anne, but it’s still attended by often a large number of our Royal family today (including the Queen herself, who is known to be particularly fond of the occasion).

Being also one of the most valuable meetings in the horseracing calendar, over £7 million is available during the period of Royal Ascot in prize money. Spread over 18 races, it’s undoubtedly one of the most attractive for competitors, but similarly, one of the most competitive.

Continue reading “Getting ready for Royal Ascot? Come and stay with us at DUKES LONDON!”

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

The Mayor Thames Festival 2013 returns to London

London's River Thames at duskIf you’re stopping by London this September, why not take a trip to the iconic Mayor Thames Festival, a free celebration of the history of the famous river and the city that sits on its banks? With a whole host of activities taking place across the 10-day spectacular, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Displays of river-related art, music and educational activities make it a gala of cultural diversity. What’s more, 2013 marks the first year the festival has been extended to 10 days, so you don’t want to miss out on the jam-packed line up of festivities and fun.

The highly anticipated annual Great River Race is due to take place on the 7th of September. 300 crews from across the globe gather to compete in this river-based marathon of speed and endurance, spanning a 21 mile distance that passes many of London’s most popular tourist attractions. Stand by the finish line at Ham House and cheer in the winning competitors.

As night descends upon the river on the 15th, stand witness to a maritime opera performance like no other. The main performers of the symposium are described as “an armada of historic vessels from the age of sail, steam and diesel”, gathering and exploding in a collective concerto of booming ship horns and blasting cannons. The river becomes the stage with the stunning O2 Academy lighting the performance against the darkness. The heady musical elements and outstanding display of historic vessels of long ago will culminate in a truly unique performance.

After all this cultural enrichment you’re going to need a place to relax, ready for what the rest of the festival has in store. Therefore, take time to enjoy delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a choice of patisserie – all served with a choice of tea – here at DUKES.

Image courtesy of Elliott Brown