Wednesday
Feb052014

Valentines Day 2014, Save Vs Splurge!

Now that January is a distant memory it is the perfect time to start planning Valentines Day treats for the 14th of February – and what better way to spend it than in London.

With Valentines Day falling perfectly on a Friday in 2014 what better reason is there to spend a weekend with your loved one?

How best to say those 3 little words?

Written Valentines didn’t begin to appear until after 1400.  The oldest known Valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the battle of Agincourt.  In 2014 we have…Moonpig.com!

Moonpig.com is a one stop shop for all Valentines needs.  All for a very good price you can personalise and add pictures to cards for that extra special touch, and this Valentine’s Day they are offering a free card with any purchase of flowers and selected gifts.  Best of all, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home or apartment to purchase and deliver your gifts!

How best to celebrate Valentines Day?

Whether you are on a tight budget or want to spend that bit extra on Valentines Day, London is your perfect romantic destination.  Below is  listed the top 5 London Valentines Day attractions; Save Vs Splurge!

Save

  1. Take a romantic stroll on London’s Southbank – For Free!
  2. Take a romantic walk through the Royal parks, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens – For Free!
  3. Visit the Tunnel of Love at Vauxhall Village – Only £7.50 at http://vauxhallvillage.com/whatson
  4. Visit the London Museums and Galleries such as: The Natural History Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, and the National Gallery – For Free!
  5. Visit Little Venice, just north of Paddington and enjoy the sights, walks, and waterside cafe’s – you could even hire a bike!

Splurge

  1. The Aqua Shard Bar and Restaurant – perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! http://www.aquashard.co.uk/
  2. EDF Energy London Eye Valentines experiences http://www.londoneye.com/ – From £22.50 per person
  3. Valentines Dinner Cruise along the River Thames – Bookable with EDF Energy, or http://www.bateauxlondon.com/cruises/valentines-day/
  4. Valentines Films at The Roof Gardens, at 99 Kensington High Street! http://rooftopfilmclub.com/kensington-program.html
  5. Chocolate Making Valentines Workshop – Book online with http://www.mychocolate.co.uk

With accommodations throughout the City of London, we would love to help you perfect your Valentines weekend in one of the luxurious apartments available!  For more information and to make a reservation contact us now!

www.refreshaccommodation.com Central London Serviced Apartments

Tuesday
Feb042014

The Ideal Home Show 2014

This March join Laurence Llewlyn – Bowen, Melinda Messenger, Diarmuid Gavin, George Clarke, Suzi Perry, Gregg Wallace and Martin Lewis at the biggest and most iconic British Home Show!

The award winning Ideal Home Show comes to Earls Court Exhibition Centre for its 106th year from the 14th – 30th of March 2014.  Seven dedicated areas will be showcasing interiors, home improvements, food and housewares, woman, technology, gardens, and shopping.  Whether you are looking to buy a treehouse, a pair of leggings, or just immerse yourself in the vibrancy and creativity of the exhibition you will be sure to find exclusive offers, new product launches, and items not to be found on the high street!

Have a special talent?  Three spectacular competitions will be running; Ideal cake decorator of the year 2014, Ideal wallpaper design of the year 2014, and Ideal young gardeners of the year 2014.  On the subject of cake...the exhibition will also be hosting a large variety of Cafes and Restaurants for you to enjoy at your leisure or on the go as you make your way around.  This year special features will include fully built show homes and gardens, and many interactive theatres.

Opening Times

14th – 30th of March 2014

10am until 6pm daily.

Thursdays: 10am – 9pm

Tickets

Currently tickets for the biggest Ideal Home Show to date are on sale for the same price as 2013 at: http://idealhome.seetickets.com/Tour/Ideal-Home-Show/

Weekday Adult: £12.00

Weekday Concession (60+): £10.00

Weekend Adult: £14.00

Weekend Concession (60+): £12.00

Child: £0.00

Group bookings please call the groups hotline on 0844 412 4650 for special offers!

Travel

Walking: Exit at the Warwick Road exit of Earls Court Station and the entrance to the venue is directly opposite

By Tube: Earls Court Station is on the District and Piccadilly lines, only 10 minutes from the West End.

By Rail: Southern Trains run direct services to West Brompton station for Earls Court.  Direct services run from Clapham Junction, Gatwick Airport, East Croydon, Watford Junction, Willesden Junction, and Stratford.

By Bus: The nearest bus stops are Warwick Road and Lillie Road.  Buses available on this route are the 74, 328, C1, C3, 190, and 430.  When travelling from the south of the venue buses will stop on Warwick Road.  When travelling from north of the venue buses will stop on Earls Court Road.

Accommodation

With so much on offer at the Ideal Home Show you may want to spend more than a day at the exhibition, or whilst in London experience more of what it has to offer!  Refresh Accommodation offers wonderful serviced apartments in Earls Court, Kensington, and South Kensington which are all very close by to the Exhibition Centre.  For more information and to make a reservation contact us now!

www.refreshaccommodation.com Central London Serviced Apartments

Tuesday
Nov192013

Alternative Christmas Events in London

I love Christmas time, especially in London; the whole city is decorated beautifully and there are so many amazing things to see and do. While there are lots of classic shows and shopping destinations to enjoy, I like to do things a little bit differently, seeking out the capital’s more alternative festive gems:

Christmas at Covent Garden

Covent Garden is the perfect alternative to the buzzing hoards of shoppers on Oxford Street, with beautiful decorations centred around the piazza, including a huge Christmas tree and thousands of pretty fairy lights.

There are lots of interesting things going on until 22nd December, including reindeer petting (every Saturday) and a really enjoyable Christmas pantomime by the Look Left Look Right theatre company. The Mulled Wine Hut, designed like a huge Christmas present, has hot apple juice, minced pies and traditionally roasted chestnuts on offer too.

I love to combine a trip to Covent Garden with some shopping; there are lots of boutique craft shops and Apple Market is great for artwork, antiques and jewellery.

The Couture Christmas Ball

The Fashion and Textile Museum opens its doors for a 1950s themed Christmas ball on December 12th, allowing you to take a step back in time for an authentic night of ball gowns, gin and tonics, slicked back hair and doo-wop hits.
Give yourself a true 50s makeover using as much creative flair as you can; it’s best enjoyed with a group of friends before heading out for Christmas drinks or dinner afterwards. This night promises to be something really special!

The Couture Christmas Ball takes place on Thursday 12th December, 6.30-9.00pm; tickets are £40 including drinks and nibbles.

Christmas Past 2013

Geffrye Museum is a really interesting little gem of East London, nestled behind beautifully-lit trees in a converted alms-house building. It traces middle-class interior design from the present day back to the 1600s, using mock bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens.

At Christmas the Geffrye’s period rooms come alive with festive touches, decorated with baubles, trees and tinsel, providing a really enjoyable insight into how Christmas was enjoyed in middle-class homes over the past 400 years.

You can discover the origins behind traditions like kissing under the mistletoe or the hanging of Christmas stockings: it’s like going back in time and reliving all your childhood Christmases at once, but better!

Christmas Past will take place from Tuesday 26th November 2013 – Sunday 5 January 2014.

American Psycho - Musical

With a wealth of Christmas shows this December, the opening of American Psycho might be overlooked had it not been for such a high billing.

For those that haven’t seen the film, it is a shocking yet satirical tale of a Wall Street banker turned sadistic serial killer who takes pleasure in expensive suits, naked rampages and chainsaws.

Largely a critique of the shallow and viscous aspects of capitalism, it’s the perfect antithesis to Christmas spirit, allowing you to appreciate what you do have that little bit more.

This highly awaited musical will open on Tuesday 3rd December at Almeida Theatre, starring former Doctor Who’ s Matt Smith as the infamous Patrick Bateman.

E17 Designers Christmas Market

This East London Christmas market is amazing for handmade silver jewellery, beautiful stones, designer ceramics, pots and plates. I love their artwork collections from local designers and homemade leather key rings; they make really nice presents.  

Added festive cheer is provided with Christmas music, mulled wine, cakes, chutneys and festive smells; this is a really nice way to browse and buy without the usual last minute stressing!

E17 Designers Christmas Market can be found on Forest Road, Walthamstow on 28th November 7-10pm.


If you fancy an alternative trip to London this Christmas, why not have a look at our extensive range of fully-serviced apartments at Refresh Accommodation!

Thursday
Jul252013

London's Royal Parks

Make the most of the summer sunshine and celebrate all things Royal, by visiting one of the Royal Parks, with  going on for everyone to enjoy throughout the summer and autumn -

Enjoy guided walks in Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Kensington Gardens; Relax and listen to some music in Greenwich Park, where the South London Jazz Orchestra and Concert Band will be performing; Or, for the more energetic visitors there's the Gorilla Trapeze School in Regents Park, or "Ride London" cycling festival in St James' Park.

Richmond Park:
Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit Richmond Park, the largest of the capital's eight Royal Parks and the biggest enclosed space in London. Once a month join the Friends of Richmond Park for a free guided walk around Richmond Park, London's largest Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation.

Bushy Park:
Located near Hampton Court Palace, Bushy Park's mixture of woods, gardens, ponds and grassland makes it a fantastic place to enjoy wildlife with roaming herds of Red and Fallow Deer.
Enjoy pond dipping, fungal foraying or one of many botany workshops for artists.

Kensington Gardens:
Kensington Palace, the Italian Gardens, Albert Memorial, Peter Pan Statue and the Serpentine Gallery are all located within its 242 acres. Planted with formal avenues of magnificent trees and ornamental flower beds, the gardens are also home to the popular Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.
On the 9th and 16th August, follow in Peter Pan’s footsteps from Hyde Park to Kensington Gardens experiencing the magic that inspired J.M. Barrie’s wonderful tales.

Greenwich Park:
Greenwich Park hosts the Prime Meridian Line and Royal Observatory as well as being part of the Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site which is home to The National Maritime Museum and Old Royal Naval College. The oldest enclosed Royal Park, Greenwich dates back to 1427 and offers spectacular views across the River Thames to St Paul's Cathedral and beyond.
On 28th July, South London Jazz Orchestra will perform on the Bandstand in Greenwich Park - enjoy their performance for free!

Regents Park:
The Regent's Park, designed by John Nash, covers 395 acres and includes Queen Mary's Gardens which features more than 30,000 roses of 400 varieties, as well as the gloriously restored William Andrews Nestfield's Avenue Gardens. With excellent sports facilities spanning nearly 100 acres it includes the largest outdoor sports area in central London, and the park also boasts the Open Air Theatre and London Zoo amongst it's many attractions.
Gorilla Circus returns for a summer of Flying Trapeze in Regents Park, until 2nd September. Anyone can come and learn to fly in one of our two hour classes, if you're brave enough! 

St James Park:
The park includes The Mall and Horse Guards Parade and is at the heart of ceremonial London, providing the setting for spectacular pageants including the annual Trooping the Colour.
The annual cycling festival takes place on 3rd August and promises to be an action-packed weekend with something for spectators and cyclists of all abilities. 

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RefreshAccommodation.com provides serviced apartments throughout Central London with easy access to all of London's Royal Parks. Contact us via our website, or call 08456 800 080 for more information.

www.refreshaccommodation.com Central London Serviced Apartments

Thursday
Jul252013

Buckingham Palace Summer Opening!!



You might not be able to get a glimpse of baby Prince George Alexander Louis, but as Buckingham Palace
 opens it's doors once again this summer, you will be able to observe the spleandour of the State Rooms and some of the monarchy's spectacular treasures!

Today the State Rooms are used extensively by The Queen and Members of the Royal Family to receive and entertain their guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions. During August and September when The Queen makes her annual visit to Scotland, the Palace's nineteen state rooms are open to visitors.

Visitors are able to experience the spectacle of the Palace’s Ballroom set up for a State Banquet - for centuries magnificent banquets have been an integral part of royal ceremonial and the traditional way to mark significant events. Among the most important of these occasions is the State Banquet, held in honor of a visiting Head of State. This is the occasion when Her Majesty and other members of the Royal Family entertain specially invited guests on the first evening of a State Visit. During the course of her reign The Queen has held 97 State Banquets.

Also to mark the 60th anniversary of theCoronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a major exhibition for the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace will bring together for the first time since Coronation Day, a spectacular array of dress, uniform and robes worn by the principal royal party. Works of art, paintings and objects used on the day will also be on display to recreate the atmosphere of that extraordinary occasion.

The State Rooms are only open to the public until September 29th, so visit the online ticket office now to book your trip and see Buckingham Palace in all its glory!

Opening hours:

27 July -31 August  2013
Open daily 09:30-19:00
(last admission 16:45)

1-29 September  2013
Open daily 09:30-18:00
(last admission 15:45)

Admission is by timed ticket with entry every 15 minutes throughout the day. Tickets are valid only on the date and at the entrance time specified on the ticket. Regrettably, late-comers cannot be admitted. A visit lasts between 2 and 2½ hours.

Admission prices: The State Rooms, Buckingham Palace(includes audio guide)

Adult  £19.00
Over 60/ Student (with valid ID)  £17.50
Under 17  £10.85
Under 5  Free
Family  £50.00 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)
A booking fee of £1.25 per ticket applies.

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Although you cannot sleep over at Buckingham Palace, you can stay at one of Refresh Accommodation’s properties in Westminster or Victoria! For more information and to make a reservation contact us now!

www.refreshaccommodation.com Central London Serviced Apartments