40 Days To Christmas: 4 Things Every Visitor Needs To Know About Winter In London

The London skyline made out of snowAs it’s the middle of November, officially we’re still in autumn. Winter doesn’t technically begin until Friday 21st December, but with the dark nights, cold mornings and the fact we’re less than six weeks from Christmas, it’s no surprise that many of us are feeling like winter has arrived.

And as we’ve talked about before, it’s the summer months when so many people prefer to come to visit London, as there seems to be so much to do for all the family. From relaxing under the sun in a park through to strolling through the hustle and bustle of London late into the warm summer’s evening, visiting in summer definitely offers something for everyone.

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Join us for St Patrick’s Day!

Two people in Irish-themed outfitsOn Saturday 17th March, the world will come together to celebrate the annual event that is St Patrick’s Day – and there are few better places to do so than right here in London.

Traditionally celebrating the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, the event has evolved into a celebration of the entire Irish culture; the points, intricacies and all things wonderfully enviable about our neighbour from across the Irish sea.

With a wave of green so often seen throughout the streets of London, a stay in the city when it’s St Patrick’s Day can make for a fantastically memorable experience for a whole host of reasons.

The annual St Patrick’s Day parade

And one of the most popular has to be the brilliant St Patrick’s Day parade that happens every year right in the centre of London. Into its sixteenth year, the parade regularly attracts crowds of over 100,000, and this year it’s been speculated that it could be the largest ever.

Whilst the event is known as a ‘parade’, most would agree it’s most like a festival now – especially as this year it’s stretching over three days and extending out of the original Trafalgar Square location to include all 33 London boroughs in some way, shape or form. It’s going to be almost impossible to not get caught up in the St Patrick’s Day spirit over the three days!

One of our favourite parts of this year’s parade, there’s going to be a dedicated family zone in Pall Mall all afternoon from 12pm to 6pm on Sunday 18th. Including everything from games and stilt walkers through to workshops and stories of traditional Irish tales, just like the event in its entirety, the zone is completely free for families to make use of.

With the parade itself taking place on the Sunday from 12pm, the procession of floats, bands, dancers and more will make the 1.5 mile journey from Piccadilly to Whitehall taking in numerous locations and landmarks along the way.

Always a fantastic event, add into this the parade’s focus on women this year (‘#BehindEveryGreatCity’ is the hashtag being used throughout the event for people to share stories of their own about inspirational Irish women) and it’s definitely one not to be missed – and one that’s sure to satisfy your needs for a bit of Irish culture!

Six Nations Rugby

Whilst the parade is undoubtedly one not to miss, it’s hard to argue against the fact the last match of the Six Nations will be a highlight of the weekend for many – not only is it on St Patrick’s Day itself, but it’s between England and Ireland!

Taking place at Twickenham Stadium, the stadium has a long reputation as being one of the most favourable locations for rugby fans. Able to hold 82,000 people (it’s second only in size to Wembley), and whilst England have more wins over Ireland on their Test record, at the time of writing this the odds are very much even for either team to win.

Whether you’re watching live at Twickenham or on TV, you can expect an electric atmosphere to ripple through the city until the very last kick of the game (at least!).

Staying with us at DUKES

St Patrick’s Day is a brilliant time to visit London; getting a taste of Irish culture whilst in one of the most visited cities in the world is definitely an enviable experience

Being a short walk from the centre of the St Patrick’s Day parade activities at Trafalgar Square and with it only 30 minutes from nearby Green Park tube station to Twickenham Stadium, however you’re planning to celebrate St Patrick’s Day this year, we’d love to see you staying with us at DUKES London.

And with our current 3 for 2 offer giving you the ability to stay for an extra night for free – and that includes in our suites – along with our special selection of Irish beer, whisky and Irish coffees at GBR, you could be close to all of the action whilst knowing you can retreat to a little piece of luxury every night (and always start and finish it with an Irish tipple or two!).

Image courtesy of Garry Knight

What’s on in London during March?

The St Patrick's Day parade in LondonWhenever you visit London, you can make it a truly fantastic time. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter or the height of summer, there’s so much to see and do that in many ways, when you visit is almost irrelevant.

With this understanding, it’s therefore paramount that you know what’s going on. And so with March here, let’s take a look at some of the varied events happening in the capital for you to enjoy this month.

Garden of Light

The Great Daffodil appeal happens every year in support of the Marie Curie charity. A wonderful charity that supports terminally ill patients and their families, to raise awareness of the appeal, there is a fantastic installation in Paternoster Square.

With over 2,000 daffodils on display, you can walk through the installation and hear letters written to Marie Curie nurses thanking them for the work they have done. Lit up at night, you can leave your own thoughts on the memory wall, too.

The installation is only a small one, it’s very worthy of a visit (especially being only a little over 30 minutes from DUKES London when walking along the Thames).

The Garden of Light will be in place until Sunday 11th March.

Mother’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Easter

Three great events that happen in the space of a few weeks, we kick things off with Mother’s Day on 11th March, St Patrick’s Day on 17th and whilst Easter Sunday and the following Bank Holiday may well be in April, Good Friday falls on 30th March!

The reason we’ve grouped these together is you can almost guarantee there’ll be something happening in relation to them wherever you are in London.

For example, crowds will flock to Trafalgar Square on Good Friday to watch the free, full reenactment of The Passion of Jesus that happens every year, whilst the West End will undoubtedly be buzzing on Sunday 11th as doting children take their mothers to see one of London’s famed theatre shows (and vice versa on Easter Sunday as our guests joining us for Easter can take their children to Regent’s Park for an Easter egg hunt!).

Throw in every Irish-themed bar in London tipping their hat to St Patrick’s Day on 17th (never mind the three day extravaganza for St Patrick’s Day that’s expected to see 125,000 people turn out between 16th and 18th March) and it doesn’t matter where you turn, if you’re here to sample Mother’s Day, St Patrick’s Day or Easter treats, you’ll find them easily in London!

Come stay with us this Mother’s Day. Book to stay between 9th March and 25th March 2018 for tickets to a West End show, a Floris London Hyacinth & Bluebell candle, and afternoon tea with champagne. See the details and book.

London Beer Week

Taking place from Monday 12th to Sunday 18th, London Beer Week has become an annual tradition, organised by the same fantastic minds behind London Cocktail Week and London Wine Week.

Giving fans of beer the ability to get involved with everything from tours of breweries through to specially-dedicated ‘beer pairing’ dinners (yes, they’re definitely a thing – it’s not just about wine pairing!), the festival is celebrated right throughout the capital. Very much an enjoyable week if you love beer!

Stargazing

A truly awe-inspiring evening can be had at the Spitalfields pub ‘The Culpeper’, as they are hosting a number of stargazing evenings this month, dedicated to the person who gave the pub its name – astrologist Nicholas Culpeper.

Serving up an enviable meal and drinks to kick start the night, you’ll head up to the pub’s rooftop greenhouse with astronomer Seb Jay, looking through the telescopes to see the wonderful night sky above London (and sampling a hot alcoholic beverage or two at the same time!).

The sessions are running at various times from Monday 12th March to Monday 23rd April. Tickets cost £35 each.

Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008 to 2018

No one can argue against the fact there’s been a huge amount of activity in the political landscape over the past decade. From the financial crisis of 2008 to the more recent vote on Brexit, some of the most notable elements of these events have been portrayed through design.

And to explore exactly this further, the London Design Museum in Kensington is looking at everything from posters to placards that have been created as a result of the events.

Starting on Monday 28th March and running throughout the spring and summer months, as a fan of politics and/or design, this will be a must-see exhibition.

London really is a city that never sleeps. There’s always something happening no matter when you come to visit, and with a little planning and understanding of what’s taking place during your stay, you can rest assured you’ll have a brilliant time.

Image courtesy of Garry Knight

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.