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Spring London

CELEBRATE SPRING IN LONDON

London in spring offers visitors and locals alike the chance to get out and about amongst the Royal Parks, along the River Thames and into the lesser-known but vibrant neighbourhoods of London. Whether you have planned a trip to London in the next few months or not, we are here to add a little Insider inspiration for your future plans.

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN 'SAVAGE BEAUTY' - until 19th July
'Savage Beauty', by the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, became one of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's (New York) top 10 most visited exhibitions. See it for yourself at London's V&A Museum this year.

V&A Museum, until 19th July, vam.ac.uk

SHAUN IN THE CITY ART TRAILS - 28th March - 25th May
A flock of 50 five-foot tall sculptures of Shaun the Sheep will be arriving on the streets of London for the ‘Shaun in the City’ art trail. Visit them at London's famous Covent Garden for some great photo opportunities! 

Various, 28th March - 25th May, shauninthecity.org.uk

THE BOAT RACE - 11th April
This year, the world-renowned Boat Race will be taking place on Saturday 11th April and sees Oxford and Cambridge battle it out. First started in 1829, the race attracts over 250,000 spectators in South West London. For our recommendations on where to watch it, speak to the Concierge team. 

Putney Bridge, 11th April, theboatraces.org

LONDON BOOK & SCREEN WEEK - 13th - 19th April
Taking place from 13th-19th April, it’s the capital’s biggest ever celebration of books, and the films, TV programmes and virtual worlds they’ve inspired. The week unites readers, writers, gamers and film fans, with hundreds of events taking place across the capital that celebrate stories and the written word in all its forms.

Various, 13th - 19th April, londonbookandscreenweek.co.uk 

CHELSEA ART FAIR - 16th - 19th April

This annual hidden gem on the International Art Fair calendar will once again bring together 30 of the leading UK and international galleries to the historic Chelsea Old Town Hall. 

Chelsea Old Town Hall, 16th - 19th April, chelseaartfair.org

LONDON MARATHON - 26th April 
One of the world's biggest long-distance running events, the London Marathon has been held every year since 1981 and sees over 35,000 participants. The race starts in Greenwich Park and passes outside the hotel, finishing on the Mall. 

Various, 26th April, virginmoneylondonmarathon.org

MUSEUMS AT NIGHT - 14th - 16th May
The 'Museums at Night' weekend is a once-a-year opportunity to discover museums, galleries and heritage sites in London as they open their doors after hours for a weekend like no other. 

Various, 14th - 16th May, museumsatnight.org

CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW - 19th - 23rd May
See Chelsea in full bloom as the area transforms itself and celebrates the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Enjoy creative window displays, pop-up shops and exclusive events. Speak to Concierge about tickets. 

Royal Hospital Chelsea, 19th - 23rd May, rhs.org.uk

For more information and inspiration about what's on this season, speak to a member of our Concierge department, or follow #InsiderGuidetoLondon. 

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Berry Bros and Rudd

With two Royal Warrants, more than 300 years of history and eight Masters of Wine, Berry Bros. & Rudd is Britain’s original wine and spirit merchants. The shop's rich history includes secret meetings held by Napolean III during his exile in the 1840s. We speak to London store manager Francis Huicq to find out more about this London gem...

In the 17th century, the Widow Bourne started a grocer’s business at No.3 St James’s Street. In the 1690s, selling wine was almost certainly not on the agenda: instead, the Widow was a purveyor of goods such as tea and the era’s most fashionable beverage, coffee. To this day, the sign of the coffee mill remains outside the shop at No.3 in tribute to our roots.

Over three centuries later, the family business continues to flourish, with its heart still very much at No.3. The company’s colourful history encompasses London’s last duel to the death with swords, supplying smugglers running alcohol into Prohibition-era America, and sheltering Napoleon III in the cellars beneath our shop.

While much has changed over the years, we are still owned and managed by members of the Berry and Rudd families and we continue to supply the British Royal Family, as we have done since the reign of King George III. We continue to weigh customers on a giant set of coffee scales, a tradition which began in the 1760s, with Lord Byron, William Pitt and Beau Brummell among those who have had their weights recorded in our ledgers.

With services including a Wine Club, Cellar Plan, Tutored Tastings, Private Wine Events and a Wine School, we provide the closest link between those who make the wine and those who drink it. Most importantly of all, we continue to hold to the simple belief that wine is meant to be enjoyed and that all wine knowledge can be distilled to one simple question: “Is it good to drink?”

Find out more about Berry Bros. & Rudd or speak to a member of our Concierge team.

Berry Bros cellars

 

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Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year - 19th February

2015 is the Chinese Year of the Goat and London's thriving Chinese community will be celebrating in style. Join one of the capital's largest and most colourful festivals with an abundance of activities, restaurants and celebrations to choose from. Speak to our Concierge team for ideas to celebrate Chinese New Year in London. 

 

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InterContinental London Park Lane Secrets of the City

The true beauty of a city lies in its untold stories. At InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, we know that the most enriching and rewarding travel comes through authentic, unique experiences that truly allow you to feel like an insider. Watch the film below and embark on a journey to discover our Insider Experiences and unlock the Secrets of the City



Find out more about our bespoke Made in Mayfair Insider Experience, giving guests a behind-the-scene tour through Mayfair’s rich history of custom-goods to see how the area has evolved to create a ‘Best of British’ showcase, which blends tradition with contemporary talent.

Discover more #InterContinentalSecrets and follow the conversation here.

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Start your new year with a bang and enjoy some of the abudence of events and experiences that London has to offer with our guide to what's on this month:

The Knicks vs The Bucks - 15th January
The New York Knicks return to London and play a regular season game against the Milwaukee Bucks at The 02 as part of the NBA Global Games 2015. For more information, visit nba.com

New Guiltless Tea - available now
The award-winning team at Wellington Lounge have launched Guiltless Tea, a new Afternoon Tea free of refined sugar and carefully created with all natural nutrient-filled ingredients. The menu, which shows that guiltless should still be delicious, can be tailored to any dietary requirements including gluten and dairy free. Available now, visit royalcollection.org.uk

Rembrandt: The Late Works - until 18th January
London's iconic National Gallery displays arguably some of the finest collections of paintings. This exhibition displays four of Rembrandt's self-portraits created in the last years of his live. A must for art lovers. Visit nationalgallery.org.uk for more.

For more ideas, please speak to a member of our Concierge team.

 

 

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Meet the Craftsmen

Next in our Meet The Craftsmen series we meet William Skinner, managing director of family-run tailoring house Dege & Skinner. Located in the world-famous Savile Row and established in 1865, Dege & Skinner is the only tailors to have a permanent shirt-cutting service based in the shop and celebrates its 150th anniversary next year. We spoke to William to find out more about his Christmas traditions....

William-Skinner-small1

Christmas is all about the children and family values; keeping the children's imagination going with Father Christmas, log fires, champagne for the grown-ups, eating heartily and enjoying board games. The Queen's Speech is a must..wrapping paper everywhere..the look of excitement on the children's faces as they unwrap the best gift ever! Church and falling asleep with a full tummy of food and goodly amount of Claret.

My Mayfair Christmas highlights has to be the Christmas lights. I love shops that are colourful and festively decorated, a beautiful sight and most definitely gets me in the Christmas mood..the bustling streets of people doing their Christmas shopping..the bars and restaurants busy with customers celebrating the Christmas Season as they take a break from shopping.

Every year, the time consuming, but nevertheless necessary and appreciated sending of Christmas cards to all my supportive customers and suppliers is a must..and on a personal note..the one way of touching base with old friends. A Christmas card continues the friendship.

My top Christmas tip? Always make sure the fridge and wine rack is well stocked, just in case of friends dropping in unexpectedly.

After a long day in the office, I like to relax, spend time with the family..enjoy a slower pace of life for the days surrounding Christmas..walking the dogs, having a pint by the fire at the local pub, jigsaw puzzles, fire burning and resting after a busy year travelling and on Savile Row. Watching a James Bond Film and nearly always, The Great Escape!

Dege

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Festive Season

With Christmas just around the corner, here is our guide to some of London's top festive attractions to check out. 

1. Ice Skating
Ice skating is one of London's favourite winter pastimes, so get your skates on! Take your pick from the many ice rinks across the capital, some of which pop-up at iconic locations; from the historic Hampton Court Palace and the stunning surrounds of Somerset House to top shopping destinations such as Westfield London. Ask our Concierge team for more details. 

2. Carols by Candlelight – Royal Albert Hall
If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to get you in the festive mood, it’s a Christmas carol service – and there’s nowhere more impressive than one by candlelight at London's iconic Royal Albert Hall. Enjoy a range of seasonal classics from Rutter’s ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ to Gruber’s ‘Silent Night’ – all performed by the Mozart Festival Orchestra in full 18th-century period costume. Find out more

3. Lapland UK
LaplandUK is the UK’s award-winning Christmas family theatrical experience that recreates Father Christmas’ arctic homeland for one month every winter. Enjoy 3 hours of festive fun, helping the elves in the Toy Factory, decorating gingerbread with Mother Christmas, ice skating, meeting husky dogs and reindeer, visiting the elves’ village and writing letters from the North Pole post office. Find out more.

4. Christmas lights 
There's nothing like the sparkle of London's Christmas lights to give the city an instant festive makeover. The snowball-shaped lights in Oxford Street, the sprays of peacock-inspired decorations in Bond Street and the twelve days of Christmas represented in Regent Street's classy display create a glittering setting for shoppers; while there are so many other decorations to look out for in Soho, Covent Garden or Greenwich.

5. The Giant Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square
If you're looking to find the best Christmas tree in London, be sure to head to Trafalgar Square. Every year a massive Norwegian spruce tree is on display as a token of thanks for England's help during WWII. 

6. Christmas at Kew Gardens
New for 2014, London's famed Kew Gardens are opening their doors after dark for guests to enjoy it's Christmas Trail. Guided by snowflakes, you follow a new one-mile glittering trail as it winds its way through the world-famous botanic gardens in a magical after dark experience. Find out more

7. Charles Dickens Museum - A Very Dickensian Christmas Eve
Explore Dickens’s home after dark, dressed lavishly for Christmas, followed by a special candlelit reading of A Christmas Carol at the Charles Dickens Museum. Find out more

8. Winterville
Until January 1st, a magical town has popped up in Victoria Park in East London. This alternative winter wonderland features an outdoor Ice Rink, Horse-Drawn Carriages, a Fairground, Ferris Wheel, an On-Site Pub, a Wall of Death, a Food Hall, a Christmas Market with a twist, Street Food traders, a Craft Beer area and more. Find out more

For more festive events and inspiration, please speak to a member of our Concierge team. 

 

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Meet the Craftsmen

Floris, the world’s oldest family run perfumers, have created scents for Oscar Wilde, Eva Perón, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe and every monarch since George IV. Next in our 'Meet the Craftsmen' series we speak with Edward Bodenham, 9th generation of the Floris family and company director, to find out more about his favourite Christmas moments. 

Edward Bodenham

About Floris

Since 1730 my family business has been creating individual British fragrances for men, women and the home, which are sold in our original shop at 89 Jermyn Street in the heart of Mayfair and St James’s. The premises used to serve as the family home back in the earlier days of Floris and is still very much the heart of the company. We hold all our original formula books dating back to the 1700s, which have been carefully handed down over generations and are a constant source of knowledge and inspiration. We also experiment with new raw materials and techniques to create exciting scents for the next generation of Floris customers.

What are your Christmas highlights in Mayfair?
We are lucky to be located opposite St James’s church in Piccadilly and it's wonderful to listen to the carol singers who gather in the lead-up to Christmas. Mayfair becomes quite magical at this time of year and you can’t help but to get into the festive spirit, especially on an clear cold evening when all the lights are on show. The market in St James’s churchyard is a great source of stocking fillers and unusual Christmas gifts.

What you make sure you do every year?
I always make sure that I have a look at the Fortnum & Mason Christmas windows as they are always beautiful and so creative. I like to stroll along Jermyn Street and Bond Street in the evening to soak-up the festive atmosphere and then look at the lights in St. Christopher’s Place before a meal with friends. As a family we visit the West End to see a show at the theatre. 


What are your family Christmas traditions?
I do love Christmas and we tend to get festive early with the Christmas tree going up at the beginning of December. There’s nothing like all the family dressing the tree together with Phil Spector’s Christmas album on in the background, a glass of good cheer, and of course one of our Cinnamon & Tangerine scented candles to set the mood. We always try and see a carol service on Christmas Eve and then the children are allowed to open one present before they go to bed. 

Is there anything you like to do closer to home?
At home we gather on our local village green to see the lights turned on before singing Christmas carols with the rest of the village and to have a festive ale or two in our local family pub. It’s always a wonderful atmosphere and lovely to see everyone getting into the festive spirit. My daughter really enjoys baking so we tend to make a few batches of mince pies and share them with our neighbours over a drink and a chat. Chestnuts are always a big part of Christmas at home and make sure we are well stocked-up so we can enjoy them in front of a roaring fire.

Floris

To find out more about Floris, click here

 

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Meet the Craftsmen

Mayfair's rich history of custom-goods has evolved to create a ‘Best of British’ showcase, which blends tradition with contemporary talent. Some of the world's oldest family run business still create from their original unassuming workshops while new craftsmen use the same traditions, but with updated twists.

As part of our ongoing Made in Mayfair experiences, we have asked local artisans (old & new) for their favourite Christmas traditions as well as what to do, see and buy in the area.

Natalie Melton from The New Craftsmen starts this December series... 

Natalie Melton

The New Craftsmen works with a selection of Britain’s finest craft makers to showcase the materials, skills and craft products of the British Isles. Natalie, who is one of the founding partners, created the Mayfair organization in 2012. They currently represent a network of over 75 makers working in textiles, silverware, furniture, ceramics, jewellery, glassware and beyond. The New Craftsmen showcase and sell a carefully selected range of products, limited editions and exclusive collaborations via their Mayfair shop & online.

Prior to The New Craftsmen, Natalie spent 5 years as Commercial Director of Arts & Business and managed Crafted, a mentoring scheme pairing skilled craftsmen with leaders from the luxury sector.

Natalie says " We present objects that are deeply connected to culture and place. Our distinct position is to forge collaborations with designers and makers to give a contemporary take on specific skills and materials. From this we offer our customers, interior designers, and architects a range of services that enable them to customise, commission and collaborate with us on developing bespoke pieces".


Christmas gifts suggestions
We’re bursting at the seams with beautiful, hand-crafted Christmas gifts. Some new favourites include potter Iva Polachova’s glazed stoneware candlesticks, festive coloured hand-blown glass from Michael Ruh, exceptional quality Irish linen from 31 Chapel Lane, Scottish cashmere from ESK, & finely carved chopping boards by Tim Plunkett which are as much a work of art as functional pieces of beauty. For unique stocking fillers look to Stephanie Tudor’s ‘Opposite Attract’ Coasters which combine an innovative use of jesmonite with glass, stones & resins – or for something playful, our beech & elm slingshots by Geoffrey Fisher Design are great fun & useful for launching ‘seedbombs’ or fish bait.

Where is the best place to buy British craft outside of London?
2 great days out to learn about and be inspired by the traditions of British arts and crafts would be Kettles Yard in Cambridge and Turner Contemporary in Margate. Both can easily be done in a day and offer a fascinating perspective some of our greatest artists. Kettles Yard is the home of a former curator of the Tate, through which he amassed an extraordinary collection of work from some of our leading artists and set it alongside beautiful craft, objects and personal memorabilia. Turner Contemporary is a beautiful space designed by David Chipperfield that plays host to a exceptionally well curated series of exhibitions. Jermey Deller's English Magic is on until March.; an exploration of mysterious acts and ‘magical’ transformations in British society - its people, myths and folklore as well as its broad cultural, socio-political and economic history. both offer a lovely selection of gifts, prints and books to purchase.

Any craftsmen to watch?
Aimee Betts stands out for her truly innovative use of traditional braiding & knotting techniques, which reference the great maritime knotting & rope-making skills found in Britain. She marries design, colour and texture, and technical adaptivity with brilliance, & we're incredibly excited about the different applications of her craft – for instance we have just launched her ‘Colour Wheel’ mirrors - a collaboration with John Jones picture framers. For Xmas we also have a small but perfectly formed collection of Aimee's braided necklaces and bracelets - perfect for stowing away in a suitcase.

It is also worth investing in Eleanor Lakelin’s modern & contemporary carved wooden vessels, which she sandblasts, bleaches & scorches to conjure up a world of fossilized landscapes or gnarled fruit-wood. We particularly love her new & limited edition vessels carved from 7000 year old bog oak – sourced from one of a group of ancient oak trees discovered by a potato farmer deep ploughing in the Cambridgeshire fens.

1  3  4

Parents and children can enjoy an exclusive hands-on class directly with Aimee Betts, thanks to the new Crafty Kids Insider Experience. To find out more visit: http://parklane.intercontinental.com/craftykids.html

 

 

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From London's famous Winter Wonderland to Taste of London, this is your guide to what's happening this week. For further ideas and suggestions, please speak to a member of our Concierge team. 

1 1Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
For many Londoners and tourists alike, Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park marks the start of the festive countdown! Enjoy rides, ice-skating and mulled wine all housed within London's most famous park. 

Free, until 4th January 2015, Hyde Park
hydeparkwinterwonderland.com


2 1'A Bear Called Paddington' Exhibition, Museum of London
Paddington is set to be one of this year's biggest releases when it opens on 28th November. Find out more about the much-loved bear in this exhibition charting the story of the cherished character from the page to screen. 

Free, until 4th January 2015, Museum of London
museumoflondon.org.uk/london-wall/whats-on/exhibitions-displays/bear-called-paddington/

3 1
 
Taste of London - Winter
Taste of London Winter is a chance for food enthusiasts to taste a variety of dishes from the very best of London’s restaurant scene and see some of its top chef's in action, including our very own Theo Randall. The theme this year is 'Forgotten Foods' with each chef and restaurant looking at ingredients, skills and techniques that are often ignored in the restaurant scene today.

20th - 23rd November, Tobacco Docks
london.tastefestivals.com

4 1 
The Enchanted Woodland, Syon House and Park
One of London's last great houses, Syon House and Park is again illuminating the gardens and Great Conservatory for the 9th Annual Enchanted Woodland. 

Adults £7, children £3. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from Friday 21st November to Sunday 7th December.
syonpark.co.uk

5 Eyeskate at the London Eye
Until 4th January, get your skates on at one of London's most popular attractions; the London Eye. Book your tickets through our Concierge team to save time! 

Until 4th January 2015, from £6.75
londoneye.com

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 Made in Mayfair4

Mayfair is an incredibly exciting place to be and is a shopper’s paradise. Whether you are looking for fashion, food art or craft; we are surrounded by the best international and British design that blends age-old artisans with contemporary talent. Mayfair is a truly unique place, situated at the heart of the city, but operating at its own pace. Spend an afternoon wandering through the streets and shops of  Mayfair and you will find a treasure trove of history, aged-old artisans, and new names, which have become a ‘Best of British’ showcase. Here's a round-up of some of our favourite stores... 

FLORIS

On Jermyn Street you will find Floris, the world’s oldest family run perfumers who have created scents for Oscar Wilde, Eva Perón, Winston Churchill and Marilyn Monroe for every monarch since George IV.

89 Jermyn St, London SW1Y 6JH
florislondon.com

FOSTER & SON

Foster & Son have been custom making shoes for clients since 1750. The shoes, which are painstakingly created to last a lifetime, have been worn by Paul Newman Clark Gable, and Charlie Chaplin, and you can still see the original lasts.

83 Jermyn St, London SW1Y 6JD
foster.co.uk

JOHN LOBB

John Lobb has been making the finest shoes and boots for gentlemen since 1866 in London and 1902 in Paris. Its rich heritage is reinforced by timeless qualities of craftsmanship, service and style - attributes that are now available to a wider international John Lobb audience. The company continues to maintain its bespoke shoe-making tradition in Paris, while also retaining core bespoke principles in the manufacture of its expanding ready-to-wear collection of shoes and leather goods.

The ultimate John Lobb bespoke service is still available from the Paris atelier, now based on 32 rue de Mogador. Meanwhile the ready-to-wear collection retains the core bespoke qualities of John Lobb in its 190-step manufacturing process for each pair of shoes. The collection includes all the iconic classics, as well as fresh seasonal additions and new models, such as the Driver by John Lobb, which reflect contemporary lifestyles and international audiences.

88 Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6JD
johnlobb.com

BOODLES

Established over two centuries ago, Boodles is an exciting British fine jeweller with a truly individual personality and a committed focus to achieving excellence in all facets of design, craftsmanship & service.

178 New Bond Street, London, W1S 4RH
boodles.com

NICOLAS KIRKWOOD

Luxury shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood is renowned for his sculpted, architectural shoe designs and catwalk collaborations with emerging labels like Rodarte, Erdem, Roksanda Ilincic and Peter Pilotto. His shoes are carried at about 150 stores across the world, including directional retailers like Dover Street Market and 10 Corso Como, and his own flagship stores in London, New York and Las Vegas.

17-18 Dover St, London, W1S 4LT
nicholaskirkwood.com

FORTNUM & MASON HATMAKER

On the Second Floor at Fortnum’s, amidst a glorious array of hats and jewellery, there is a rarity among department stores – an in-house milliner, trained in the traditional art of hat-making. Adrian Phillip Howard, Fortnum's own milliner is a well-known figure in Mayfair.

181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER
fortnumandmason.com

BERRY BROTHERS WINEMAKERS

With over 315 years of history, Berry Bros. & Rudd is justly proud of its past. In 1698, the Widow Bourne established a shop at No. 3 St James’s Street. Over three centuries later, with two Royal Warrants and eight Masters of Wine, the family business continues to flourish, with its heart still very much at No. 3. The company’s colourful history encompasses wines on board the Titanic, supplying smugglers running alcohol into Prohibition-era America, and sheltering Napoleon III in cellars beneath the shop. Nowadays, Berry Bros. & Rudd continue to supply wines and spirits to royalty, have a successful presence in Asia, and lead the world of wine with a philosophy of constant innovation.

3 St. James Street, London SW1A 1EG
bbr.com

Foster and Son

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Halloween

With Halloween rapidly approaching, here's our guide to the spookiest things to do around the capital. 

1. Find the perfect costume

Get your disguises at Mad World Fancy Dress (69-85 Tabernacle Street EC2A 4BD): Staff will help you navigate some 35,000 costumes, and make sure you have a bespoke outfit to take away. If you are looking for incredible special effects, Screenface (48 Monmouth Street WC2H 9EP) is the perfect place to buy fake blood, adhesives and removers, plus all types of facial hair, from handlebar moustaches to mutton chops. Charles H Fox (22 Tavistock Street WC2E 7PY) is renowned for creating and applying make-up, wigs, latex and lashes in the film and theatre industries.

2. SCREAM at Madame Tussauds
Located deep in the Chamber of Horrors at Madame Tussauds, SCREAM is a scary place where your worst nightmares come true. Here, visitors are taken into a maximum-security prison taken over by the unhinged inmates. A terrifying experience!

3. Jack the Ripper Tour
At nightfall, you can take a Jack the Ripper walking tour and discover one of the most infamous serial killers in history. Jack the Ripper was never caught, and to this day his identity is still unknown. Keep away from the shadows and visit many of the locations where his victims were found. Thrills guaranteed!

4. The London Dungeon
The London Dungeon allows visitors to delve into the ancient capital’s most horrible history experience. Featuring live actors, thrilling rides and exciting special effects, the Dungeon recreates various frightening and macabre historical events in a gallows humour style.

5. Chills in the Chapel: Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, the mother" of all modern horror suspense films, returns to the big screen at the Gothic-revival Union Chapel. There'll be fancy dress, creepy cocktails and few other surprises along the way to make this a truly immersive cinematic experience. Booking recommended - find out more

6. Grant Museum of Zoology - Late night opening
Where better to spend Halloween than in a room of scary skeletons and skulls at the Museum of Zoology? On Friday 31st October, jump at the opportunity to discover the Museum after dark and learn some creepy animal facts along the way. Tickets are sold on the door and include a free glass of wine.

7. Nightmare Festival
Taking place across 13 venues in Camden and Chalk Farm, this new one-day Halloween festival by the organisers of Camden Rocks sets to honour the horror of Halloween like it has never been celebrated before! The terror and nightmares will feature a host of cutting edge rock, indie, metal and punk bands. Fancy dress is will be VERY much encouraged so be as horrific as you possibly can be!

8. All Dogs Matter Devilish Dog Walk
You may well need to trick and/or treat your dog to get them into a Halloween costume, but those whose pups don't mind fancy dress will be rewarded at this charity walk in aid of All Dogs Matter on Sunday 26th October at the historic Hampstead pub The Spaniards Inn. Post-walk there are prizes for the best dressed dogs, but if your pooch is having none of it, there are prizes for owners too.

9. Halloween Late: Death in the Archives
Come and discover stories of the gruesome deaths and mysterious disappearances of explorers at sea from the archives of the Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum. You will also be able to attend a 'death drawing' session run by London Drawing Room and observe live taxidermy demonstrations.

10. Take part in a pumpkin carving competition at Fortnum and Mason
Pumpkin lanterns are an integral part of Halloween so why don’t you take part in a pumpkin carving competition this Halloween at Fortnum and Mason? Kids aged 10 and under can take part in the children's competition from 3pm - 5pm on Friday 31st October 2014. 

 

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Elizabeth Street

Set in the heart of Belgravia, just a short walk from InterContinental London Park Lane, is historic Elizabeth Street. With a trading history that dates back to the 1860’s, the area is now a unique combination of high fashion boutiques, niche luxury brands and speciality foods – a great meeting place for locals and visitors alike, with the potential for a celebrity sighting or two. 

Elizabeth Street, which runs from Buckingham Palace Road to Eaton Square, underwent an extensive regeneration at the end of 2010, after several months of construction work to improve accessibility for pedestrians and traffic. The unveiling and relaunch was officially opened by His Grace, the Duke of Westminster. The wide tree-lined Victorian street is home to many great
independent retailers, from international fashion designers Jenny Packham, Cleo B and Allegra Hicks, to Perfumery Les Senteurs, luxury bakery Peggy Porschen and cigar house Tomtom Cigars. All perfect for finding something a little bit different to take home.

CLEO B
Named as the ‘shoe brand to watch’ by British Vogue, The Financial Times and Grazia, Cleo B is a luxury British footwear brand
creating shoes that embody a unique fusion of girly charm with quirky sculptural shapes and eye catching details.
147 Ebury Street, London, SW1W 9QN
020 7824 8666
www.cleob.com

Allegra Hicks
International luxury lifestyle brand Allegra Hicks is the place to find sophisticated eclecticism, from a silk jersey jumpsuit in orchid pink to a dainty aqua blue print silk scarf, the Allegra Hicks signature style ticks all the boxes.
42 Elizabeth Street, London, SW1W 9NZ
020 7730 3275
www.allegrahicks.com

Tomtom Cigars
Tomtom Cigars has become one of London’s leading cigar merchants. In a relaxing atmosphere that welcomes anyone who wants to indulge a taste for real tobacco you will find a wide range of cigars – from limited edition Havanas, (including Cohiba), to aged Cuban cigars. Also in stock are all kinds of accessories and gift ideas from humidors and cigar cutters to Dupont lighters and hampers.
63 Elizabeth Street, London, SW1W 9PP
020 7730 1790
www.tomtom.co.uk

For more recommendations, please speak to our Concierge team

Tom Tom

 

 

 

 

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Umbrella Shop London

Britain has a long-term love affair with the trusty umbrella, owing both to the unpredictability of our weather and our fixation for talking about it. Whether it’s April showers, festival season or our so-called ‘Indian summer’, you should never leave home without one. These days, it’s possible to get a weather report immediately from your handheld device or laptop relating to your exact location. But in days gone by, the Brits have had to rely on a mixture of physics and superstition to judge the need for an umbrella.

Whether it’s red sky in the morning, a seagull sitting on the sand or cows with tails to the east, the chance of the onset of rain is genuinely high, according to meteorology. However, there is little to be said for it being ‘clear by eleven if it rains before seven’ and certainly no meteorological truth behind ‘cats and dogs eating grass before rain’. Perhaps the most fabled day in the British calendar for weather forecasting is St. Swithin’s Day (15th July) on which day “…if thou dost rain, For forty days it will remain, … if thou be fair, For forty days ‘twill rain nae mare.” We’ll let you be the judge of that one! Our advice is to take a brolly with you whatever the forecast – consider it a fashion accessory as much as a way of protecting you from the elements!

Get ready to face London’s unpredictable weather and check out our selection of the very best umbrellas that London can offer:


James Smith & Sons Umbrella Shop – the oldest umbrella shop in London. 
53 New Oxford Street, London, WC1A 1BL

Billionaire Couture’s Umbrella– the world’s most expensive umbrella ($50,000).
9 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9LE

Swaine Adeney Brigg – for the classic, elegant umbrella.
54 St James’s Street, London, SW1A 1JT

Fox Umbrellas – the first nylon umbrella producer.
240a Wickham Road, Shirley, Croydon, Surrey CR0 8BJ

Squid London – the most creative, these umbrellas change colour when it rains!
squidlondon.com

 

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Shelter in a Storm

This week, the team at No. 1 Park Lane have been running, biking, walking and baking their way to raise money for IHG®'s Shelter in a Storm's fundraising initiative, Race Around the World.

IHG Race Around the World is about raising funds and awareness for the work that Shelter in a Storm, our global disaster relief programme, does. So whether it's financial help, vital supplies or somewhere warm and safe to stay we can support our colleagues, guests and the local community when they most need it. Click here to see our pledges. 

This week, the team have participated in a range of events including:
- A morning 'Wheelie' bike ride with Director of Engineering, Paul Carr
- Keep Fit Bike Challenge - whereby associates took part in a race to see who could cycle the furthest in 5 minutes
- Specially designed lunches in our Park Lane Cafe
- Inter-departmental walking competitions
- A morning jog around Hyde Park with HR Manager, Anja Henschel
- Cricket match in the park
- Football match in the park
- Sales & Marketing charity bake sale

Congratulations to all the team for their hard work!

Bake Sale     20140923 080752

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Top 10 Things To See in Hyde Park

Summer might technically be over, but with temperatures hitting 26c this week in the city, why not explore some of our favourite parts of the world-renowned Hyde Park. Located just a stone's throw from InterContinental London Park Lane, the park offers over 350 acres to explore and is home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers' Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. 

The grand gateway into Hyde Park, designed by Decimus Burton, stands tall opposite the hotel. The 25-year old built the royal entrance for King George IV and decorated the Portland stones with copies of the Elgin Marbles sculptures that were originally on the Parthenon in Athens. Read on to find out the key things to see when taking a stroll in Hyde Park.

1 – Rose Garden
This collection of roses, shrubs and herbaceous plants has colour all year round but the scents are particularly strong in June. Look out for the Boy and Dolphin statue on your left as you enter the garden. This was designed in the 19th century by Alexander Munro, a friend of the Alice in Wonderland author, Lewis Carroll. There is an interpretation panel explaining its history. Also on the left is the bronze figure of the Greek goddess, Artemis, shooting an arrow. The fountain was installed here in 1906 and the designer was Countess Feodora Gleichen, the first woman member of the Royal society of British Sculptors.

2 – Holocaust Memorial Garden
This garden of four boulders set in gravel was the first public memorial in Britain to victims of the Holocaust. It was constructed in 1983 and paid for by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The largest boulder has an inscription of text from the Book of Lamentations: “For thee I weep / streams of tears flow / from my eyes / because of the destruction / of my people.

3 – The Serpentine & Queen Caroline
The stone urn is a memorial to Queen Caroline (wife of King George ll) who created the Serpentine in Hyde Park and the Long Water in Kensington Gardens from 1726-1730. Her gardeners joined together six existing fish ponds and dammed the Westbourne Stream which flowed through the park.

The Serpentine was used for a mock sea battle during celebrations in 1814 to mark 100 years of the Brunswick royal family. In 1826, Henry Hunt drove his company’s coach and horses across the frozen lake and won a bet of 100 guineas. Today the lake is used for boating and swimming and is a good place to watch water birds.

4 – Royal Route
Rotten Row is the remains of a royal carriage route from Kensington to Westminster. It was built in the 1690s for King William ll, who lived at Kensington Palace because the air in what was then the edge of London was better for his asthma than the smoke of Westminster. The road had 300 oil lamps and was the first road in Britain to be artificially lit. Its original name was the French Route du Roi but this became corrupted to Rotten Row. The sandy track alongside is a horse ride and is used by the Household Cavalry based at Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge.

5 – The Lido
People have swum in the Serpentine for more than 250 years. The Serpentine Swimming Club, formed in 1864, is the oldest in Britain. The creator of Peter Pan, James Barrie, established the Peter Pan Cup in 1904 for the winner of a 100 yard swim on Christmas Day. The race is still held and club members continue to swim all year round. When the lake is frozen they break a hole in the ice. (Public swimming is from June to September.) The Lido with its columns and clock tower was built in 1930 as a changing room and is now a restaurant.

6 – Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain
This unique fountain was opened by Her Majesty The Queen in July 2004. From a distance, it looks like a necklace of moving water. The design, by Kathryn Gustafson and Neil Porter, reflects Diana’s life. Water flows from the highest point in two directions, cascading and swirling until it meets in a calm pool at the bottom. Diana’s quality of openness is symbolised by three bridges where you can cross the water and enter the heart of the fountain. The memorial contains 550 pieces of Cornish granite shaped by traditional hand skills and computer-generated technology. Please feel free to sit on the edge and dip your feet in the water but we ask you not to walk on the Memorial.

7 – Serpentine Bridge
The bridge has good views to the right over the Serpentine, Hyde Park and beyond to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. To the left, you look over the Long Water and Kensington Gardens. The level of the Long Water was originally higher than the Serpentine and water poured in a great cascade into the lower lake. When the bridge was built in the 1820s, the level of both lakes was equalised. The designers of the bridge were John and George Rennie, sons of John Rennie, who built Southwark, Waterloo and London bridges.

8 – Boating & Peter Pan
People have sailed boats on the Serpentine throughout its history. The Ordnance Survey map of 1894 has a pier near the boat houses. The second boat house was built in 1903 by the Royal Humane Society. The island in the lake beyond the boat house, although made from sludge dredged out of the lake in the 1860s, has a romantic tale attached to it. In the Peter Pan story, this is Bird Island where Peter Pan lived after he flew from home one night as a baby. He later sailed from the island in a boat made from a thrush’s nest and landed in Kensington Gardens.

9 – Speakers’ Corner
In this corner of Hyde Park, people are free by law to speak publicly about anything they want, as long as they don’t use indecent or obscene language. Since an act of parliament in 1872, Speakers’ Corner has been a symbol of free speech throughout the world and thousands of people have used their right to put forward their ideas. Speakers have included writer George Bernard Shaw and the Methodist minister, Lord Soper. Karl Marx, Lenin, Marcus Garvey and George Orwell all stood here to listen to speeches. On Sunday mornings, you can still hear many different subjects discussed.

10 – Marble Arch
The Marble Arch was erected here in 1851 as another grand entrance to the park but it was built 20 years earlier outside Buckingham Palace as the main gateway. It was moved to Hyde Park to make space for a new front wing at the palace. The design, by John Nash, is based on the Arch of Constantine in Rome and it is the first British building to be clad in white Carrara marble. There are three small rooms inside which were used as a police station until 1950.

 

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 Theo Randall Dishes

What inspires award-winning Chef Theo Randall in the kitchen? Alongside his passion for ingredients, travel and wine, music helps Theo get his mojo working. We asked Theo about his top tunes to cook to and the reason behind each song…

Spaghetti alle Vongole
When the clams pop open, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville is the perfect accompaniment. The piece adds drama, life and excitement and makes cooking even more enjoyable. As Figaro, the barber himself, arrives on the scene and launches into the classic Largo Al Factotum, it’s as if the clams themselves are calling his name.

Fish Stew
Fish stew is a labour of love and Places & Spaces by Donald Byrd is a great song for sitting back, relaxing with a glass of wine and watching the stew cook. And if the stew needs longer cooking time, just rewind and start the track all over again – and pour another glass! 

Amalfi Lemon Tart 
Hang Up Your Hang Ups by funk and jazz legend Herbie Hancock is the perfect match for my signature dessert. Hancock’s legendary synthesizer and horns combination is as zesty as that delicious Amalfi lemon. Both help brighten my day so it makes perfect sense that they would go together.

Risotto
Smooth, a bit luxurious and to be enjoyed with a good bottle of wine, cooking Risotto means that it’s time for the so called Walrus of Love, Barry White and his classic It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me. I don’t think I need to go into too much detail on this one!

Ravioli di Erbette
Finally, no top tune list should be complete without a Stevie Wonder track. Sir Duke and Ravioli di Erbette are a great combination as both are lively, fun, and exciting, and the welcome end to a long day.

Get more music and food pairing advice from Theo by joining him on Twitter (@theorandall) and see Theo in action in his weekly video recipe series for the Huffington Post. Be sure to catch Theo at this year's Taste of London Winter too, held from 20th - 23rd November. 

 

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 Autumn Events London

From a celebration of London's waterways, to a sneak peek into some of the city's most famous buildings, this is your guide to what's happening this season.... 

Totally Thames Festival - Throughout September
The first event of its kind will run throughout September, and is an exciting new, month-long arts and cultural celebration of London’s river. From the Tall Ships Festival in Royal Greenwich to The Great River Race, there are over 100 river-related events along its entire 42 mile course through the capital.
totallythames.org

Visit the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace - 1st - 28th September
During the summer, the public are welcomed into one of the world's most famous residences; Buckingham Palace, where the State Rooms are opened for the world to see.  The term ‘State Rooms’ is applied to those rooms that were designed and built as the public rooms of the Palace, in which monarchs receive, reward and entertain their subjects and visiting dignitaries. The rooms are used extensively by Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family to receive and entertain their guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions. After your visit, why not join us here at No. 1 Park Lane, located on the site of the Queen's former childhood residence, for Afternoon Tea?
royalcollection.org.uk/visit/the-state-rooms-buckingham-palace

London Design Festival - 13th - 21st September
The 12th London Design Festival aims to showcase why London is dubbed one of the design capital's of the world, through its innovation and the very best in creative talent, with a range of exciting events and exhibitions across the city. 
londondesignfestival.com

London Open House - 20th - 21st September
Open House has been active for over 10 years as an organisation designed to promote public awareness and appreciation for architecture in the city. For one weekend only, some of the capital's most famous buildings are open to the public.
londonopenhouse.org

London Restaurant Festival - throughout October
Running throughout October, the London Restaurant Festival celebrate the city's world-class restaurants. The festival offers diners the chance to experience some of London's most famous names in gastronomy as well as discover up-and-coming Chefs and eateries, including our very own Theo Randall at the InterContinental.
londonrestaurantfestival.com

Best of Britannia - 2nd - 4th October
For three days only, Best of Britannia, Britain's largest pop-up department store is returning to London's iconic Farmiloe Building (in Farringdon) for its third year. The store will be home to over 200 brands who will be exhibiting current and future collections of fashion, art, furniture, grooming and cosmetics, lighting, food and drink and much more. 
Find out more 

Gin & Jazz Dinner - 3rd October
On 3rd October, to celebrate the 3rd birthday of Gin & Jazz, InterContinental London Park Lane is throwing an all-evening extravaganza. Gin & Jazz favourite Benoit Viellefon will play with a big eight piece band while revellers enjoy a three-course sit-down supper followed by a chance to Breakaway, Charleston, or Lindy Lop. 
Find out more

The Royal London Walk
The Royal London Walk by walklondon.com offers tours for all abilities. See the best of London's Royal heritage by foot, taking in London's iconic landmarks from St. James's Park to Kensington Gardens.
walklondon.com

London Jazz Festival - 14th - 23rd November
First launched in 1992 as Camden Jazz Week, the London Jazz Festival has evolved to feature jazz legends such as Johnny Dankworth, Herbie Bandcock and Ornette Coleman, with live jazz locations throughout the city.
londonjazzfestival.org.uk

Taste of London Winter - 20th - 23rd November
Located a stone’s throw from Shoreditch in Tobacco Dock, Taste of London Winter (formerly known as Taste of Christmas) will be a winter feast for the senses and will celebrate the thriving, diverse and truly exciting London restaurant scene. This year’s festival theme is ’Forgotten Foods’ and will celebrate the city's culinary heritage. Be sure to watch out for exclusive demonstrations from our very own Theo Randall. 
london.tastefestivals.com

Somerset House Ice Skating - November - January
Somerset House is one of London's most cherished cultural institutions. The stunning 18th Century building hosts world-class exhibits and dining. In the winter months, the courtyard is transformed into a spectacular 900m2 skating rink with daily-changing events.
somersethouse.org.uk

For more information about how we can help bring London to life, speak to the Concierge team. 

 

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 Londons Bees

International concern sparked a grass roots urban beekeeping community that spread from city-to-city gathering pace, support and momentum as it went. Paris, Toronto, San Francisco and New York have all placed it high on their environmental agendas and in London, Mayor Boris Johnson has launched a Capital Bee campaign to encourage bee-friendly behaviour and community beekeeping throughout the city. Bees are dependent on flowering plants for resources and flowering plants often depend upon bees for pollination. Being surrounded by the Royal Parks, InterContinental London Park Lane and the Natural Beekeeping Trust have joined forces to install our very own hives on the roof of the hotel. 

Under the tutelage of the Trust, the hotel’s ‘Bee Guardians’ care for colonies housed in Golden Hives on the hotel roof; in exchange, the Natural Beekeeping Trust will receive support from the hotel to develop a Bee Garden at its base in Sussex and to launch a bursary programme. According to Miranda Hansen Lise, a trustee at Natural Beekeeping, practices such as leaving much of the bees’ honey for them to eat during the winter rather than harvesting it all are crucial to the fight against the health concerns facing bees globally. “We encourage the practice of sustainable guardianship, allowing bees to express their instincts fully through building their own comb, swarming and overwintering on their own honey, (rather than refined white sugar syrup)”. As Professor Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate and Patron of the Natural Beekeeping Trust,  counsels in her poem Virgil’s Bees, “bees are the batteries of orchards, gardens, guard them”. To find out more on the Natural Beekeeping Trust, visit www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org

THE BUZZ AROUND THE GLOBE

In addition to many other environmentally responsible initiatives, a number of InterContinental properties have started on-site apiaries. 

InterContinental Hotels in North America

InterContinental Boston’s ‘Miel Brasserie’ was one of the first to install a rooftop apiary and appropriately so. Miel means ‘honey’ in French, and many of its wonderful culinary concepts feature organically harvested honey taken right from the hotel’s own hive.

InterContinental New York Barclay has had four colonies of honeybees on the hotel’s 15th floor rooftop garden since June 2010. The ‘Barclay Bees’, as they are affectionately known, play an important role in the pollination of the hotel garden, flying between its rooftop and treetops as far away as Central Park.

In May 2012, InterContinental New York Times Square sent midtown Manhattan buzzing with the installation of its first rooftop beehive. Located on the hotel’s green rooftop, the hive is expected to produce 20-30 pounds of honey in 2013. 

InterContinental Berlin 

Berlin‘s beekeeping boom recently came to public attention when one of the city’s leading hotels, the InterContinental Berlin, installed beehives on their roof. Many other large buildings, like the Berlin legislature’s offices, have also have become home to bee colonies. A pro-bee initiative, ‘Berlin Buzz’, was recently awarded a federal grant to equip prominent buildings in Berlin with beehives.

The Buzz on Park Lane

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Bank Holiday London

1
For Sun-Seekers: Camden Beach
In a previous post, we told you about The Roundhouse’s brilliant Camden Beach; where you can soak up sunshine on their 900 tonnes of pseudo shoreline. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy the last of the summer weather as it closes on Saturday!

Until 23rd August. Free entry. Visit www.roundhouse.org.uk/whats-on/2014/camden-beach-2014/camden-beach/ 

2For Families: Sensational Butterflies

Learn about the sensory world of these beautiful fluttering creatures. The Natural History Museum's exhibition returns for its sixth year and is housed in a specially constructed tropical enclosure on the Museum's east lawn. Visitors can come face-to-face with tropical butterflies, including the Swallowtail, Blue Morpho, the Moon Moth and many others originating from Africa, Southeast Asia and North and South America.

Natural History Museum, Sensational Butterflies, until September 2014. Visit www.nhm.ac.uk

 

3For Outdoor Enthusiasts: Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park
Located in Hyde Park, just a stone's throw from the hotel, is the Serpentine Lido; one of the oldest running lidos in London. A haven for swimmers for over 100 years, the Serpentine Lido swimming pool is one of the best for both swimming and sunbathing in the city and it is open until 12th September. 

The lido and paddling pool are then open daily from 1st June - 12th September 2014, 10am - 6pm. Visit www.royalparks.org.uk

 

4For Party Goers: Notting Hill Carnival

Europe’s biggest street festival, and one of the capital's most famous events, Notting Hill Carnival celebrates London's multicultural past and present. The two-day festival celebrates live music, from reggae to dub to salsa, with special parades, soca floats, steel bands, uplifting beats, jerk chicken and fried plantain food stalls and more. Not to be missed! Speak to Concierge about planning your day.

Sunday 24th and Monday 25th August 2014.  

5For Foodies: Urban Food Fest

Nominated for Best Street Food Event, the Urban Food Fest is a must this bank holiday weekend. Located in a car park in trendy Shoreditch in the East End of the city, the event sees 15 street food trucks and stalls serving gourmet global street food, craft beers, urban cocktails, entertainment and more.


Every Saturday until 25th October. Visit www.urbanfoodfest.com

 

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