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Concierge

Concierge

Passionate and knowledgeable Concierge who bring London to life. For more information, please contact a member of the team at londonconcierge@ihg.com or call +44(0)20 7409 3131

Posted by in Insider Guide to London

 

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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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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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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 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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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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Camden Beach

The Roundhouse
is one of London's most iconic music venues, but this summer, it's offering Londoners (and tourists alike) the chance to enjoy its 'Camden Beach'. With over 900 square metres of pseudo-shoreline and 150 tonnes of sand, it's the perfect way to spend an afternoon and soak up the sunshine. The best part? It's free to visit and there are also kids facilities available. 

For more information, click here. Open now until 23rd August. 

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London Microbreweries

London was once seen as the brewing capital of the world, however, owing to the emergence and popularity of foreign lagers, the city’s breweries became few and far between. With this decline saw entrepreneurship. Smaller, independent breweries began to crop up around the city, producing handcrafted artisan beers from miniature ‘micro’ breweries to larger sized brewing houses, producing up to 10,000 pints per week. Over the last 10 years or so, Londoners have really developed a taste for the capital’s bitter, with more and more varieties and brands available. Insider has rounded up the best of London’s local brews... Cheers!

Zerodegrees Logo
ZERODEGREES
Located in the green suburb of Blackheath, south east London, Zerodegrees is named after the temperature in which beer ferments. The bar has an industrial feel to give punters a true taste of being within a working brewery. Their pints contain no preservatives or additives and it’s not filtered, so you get a genuinely British taste. They also serve delicious homemade food, such as wood oven-baked pizzas.

Montpelier Vale, Blackheath, SE3 0TJ
020 8852 5619
www.zerodegrees.co.uk

London Fields Logo2
LONDON FIELDS BREWERY
Nestled within onevof London’s most culturally vibrant areas, Hackney, the London Fields Brewery has been crafting its own beers since August 2011. This Hackney institution even offers weekly tours around their famed brewery. Just £10 per person, the experience includes a full tour and tasting and runs every Saturday at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

365-366 Warburton Street, E8 3RR
020 7254 7174
www.londonfieldsbrewery.co.uk

Camden Town Brewery Logo
CAMDEN TOWN BREWERY
Located a stone’s throw from the bustling area of Camden in the north west of London, Camden Town Brewery started in 2010 and is tucked away in previously unused railway arches. Since then it has become London’s third largest brewery, and even has its own bar; the Brewery Bar so you can drink the freshest beer in town. Now you can experience a taste of all five of their beers, with their ‘Beer Flights’; five one-third pints of their best brews for just £7.

55-59 Wilkin Street Mews, NW5 3NN
020 7485 1671
www.camdentownbrewery.com

OUR TOP PICKS
• Hells Lager from Camden Town Brewery - soft biscuity malt and a light lemony, peppery hop character
• Hackney Hopster from London Fields Brewery - grapefruit, lemon zest and gooseberry hints
• Wheat Ale from Zero Degrees - fruit notes with some caramel coming through on the rich elegant finish

For more recommendations of our favourite microbreweries, please speak to Concierge

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Wimbledon 2014

The Wimbledon Championship has been held since 1877 at the All England Club in Wimbledon, South West London. The event, which starts today, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is uniquely played on a grass court. The tournament takes over the town from today and ends on 6th July. Guests fly in from all around the world in order to watch Gram Slam tennis at its best and rub shoulders with the stars from the worlds of sport and entertainment. 

The all-important question for this year is, will Andy Murray be able to hold on to his title? You can catch all the games on our large TV screens located in and around the hotel. 

For more information, visit wimbledon.com or speak to a member of our Concierge team. 

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Taste of London Blog

Theo Randall and team are at the world-renowned Taste of London again this week, held in Regent’s Park. Sample some of Theo's most iconic dishes including Cape Sante in padella, soft chocolate cake with crema di mascarpone and more. The event starts on Wednesday and finishes on Sunday, and Theo can be found at stand R38. Alongside showcasing some of London's best culinary offerings, there are also demonstrations and masterclasses from top Chefs. For tickets, please speak to Concierge

Follow #TheoatTaste to keep up to date with all the goings-on from the festival or visit Theo's Facebook page

Taste of London - Theo Randall2

 

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Brazil World Cup

FIFA WORLD CUP - 12TH JUNE – 13TH JULY

If you do not enjoy football, then it’s probably best to head to the nearest desert island and bury your head in the sand, because it’s going to be hard to avoid it this summer. The World Cup is back and this time it’s in Brazil. Expect copious samba beats, scantilyclad beauties and scenes of the Copacabana to be broadcast intermittently between matches, whilst the English bemoan their team’s inability to win a penalty shoot-out. London is normally a fabulous place from which to watch the tournament, however with the time difference this year, most matches will not be broadcast until pretty late into the evening. We recommend booking a room at InterContinental London Park Lane and making the most of our TVs and Room Service menu! Alternatively, there will be large flat screen TVs in and around the hotel (including Cookbook Cafe, Theo Randall at the InterContinental, The Arch Bar and Wellington Lounge) for you to enjoy each of the games.

Whoever you are supporting, we wish all the teams the best of luck!

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Glymdebourne Festival

The historic Glyndebourne Festival celebrates some of the most quintessential of British traditions; picnics and opera. This year, the festival takes place from 17th May to 24 August 2014 and includes three new productions: Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, Mozart's La Finta Giardiniera, Verdi's La traviata and revivals of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Mozart's Don Giovanni and Handel's Rinaldo.

For more information and for tickets visit glyndebourne.com or speak to a member of the Concierge team. 

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Summer of Sport

In our 
previous blog post, we focused on the increasing US investment into sport in the UK, with Americans now owning English football clubs and seeking franchise opportunities for the NFL and NBA. It placed the size and passion of British fan bases as most appealing to these wealthy investors. Subsequently, we’ve decided to take a look at what lies in store this summer on the British sporting agenda in the hope of finding out exactly why the Brits love their sport so much.

CRICKET

ENGLAND VS SRI LANKA ODI SERIES
22ND MAY – 3RD JUNE

England’s cricketers were on the receiving end of a series whitewash in The Ashes Down-Under earlier this year, so this Summer is all about restoring pride. In the One Day International series they won’t exactly have it easy, with the visiting Sri Lankans sitting above England in the ODI rankings and boasting some of the world’s leading cricketers, including Sangakkara, Dilshan and Malinga. There are 5 ODI matches in the series, with two in London: on 22nd May at The Oval and on 31st May at Lord’s. Tickets are priced at £70. Visit ecb.co.uk

ENGLAND VS INDIA TEST SERIES
9TH JULY – 19TH AUGUST

India is currently second in worldwide Test ranking and will be looking to make up for their narrow series defeat against top-ranked South Africa in December. England will have it all to do and much will rely on their early summer progress against Sri Lanka. Expect big hitting from India’s Pujara and Kohli and fierce pace bowling from England’s Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, whilst England’s Barmy Army attempts to out-chant the fervent India fans in the stands. This five-match Test Series takes place in Nottingham, Manchester and Hampshire, as well as two London matches at Lord’s (17th – 21st July) and The Oval (15th – 19th August). Tickets are distributed through a ballot. Visit ecb.co.uk

Cricket

FOOTBALL

FIFA WORLD CUP BRAZIL
12TH JUNE–13TH JULY

Click here to read more about the World Cup. 

FA CUP FINAL
17TH MAY

The FA Cup is steeped in history and is one of the most treasured trophies worldwide. A fixture on the footballing calendar since 1871-72 season when the Wanderers defeated the Royal Engineers at Kennington Oval in front of 2,000 spectators, the final now attracts a 90,000 capacity crowd at Wembley with additional domestic viewing figures of 8.5million. FA Cup Final day is simply unique, packed with so much tradition and folklore; just ask any man, woman or child about their greatest FA Cup memory and be prepared for a long, emotionally fuelled story. The Final is at Wembley Stadium, which is easily reached by tube from Baker Street. Tickets for the Final go on sale approximately one month in advance and are sold through the clubs directly involved in the final. For all information, visit thefa.com

Football

HORSE RACING

ROYAL ASCOT
18TH– 22ND JUNE

Royal Ascot dates back to 1711 when it was founded by Queen Anne. It is one of the world’s most celebrated race meetings and is attended by HRH Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family. It is a major event on the British social calendar, with Ladies’ Day on the Thursday being famous for some of the world’s leading designers dressing celebrities and high society in extravagant hats and posh frocks. Royal Ascot itself proclaims a promise of “Excitement, Pageantry, Fashion & Style”. Need we say more? Ascot Racecourse is about a 45 minute drive west of London and can easily be reached by train from London Waterloo. Entrance to the Royal Enclosure is strictly for members only, with tickets for the less formal Silver Ring starting at just £20 and Grandstand Enclosure tickets priced between £55 and £75. Visit ascot.co.uk

EPSOM DERBY
7TH JUNE

The Epsom Derby earns its winner a cool £1.25million, not bad for a 2,432 metre flat race. Having been founded by the 12th Earl of Derby and first contested in 1780, it has since spawned equivalent high profile races around the world, including the Irish Derby, the Derby Italiano, the Australian Derby and the Kentucky Derby. Epsom is in Surrey, directly south of London. It is easy to get there from central London by train, either to Epsom or Tattenham Corner station. Tickets start at just £10 to enter the Family Enclosure on The Hill, with Grandstand Enclosure tickets priced at £45. Early winners might like to upgrade to the Queen’s Stand for £99. Visit epsomdowns.co.uk

Horse Racing

GOLF

BRITISH OPEN, ROYAL LIVERPOOL
13–20TH JULY 

In the UK, 4 million people play golf, which equates to 8% of the adult population. Each July, all eyes turn to the world’s elite golfers as they vie to get their hands on the famous Claret Jug, the current holder of which is American Phil Mickelson. This will be the 143rd British Open, the oldest of the 4 major tournaments, (which include the Masters, the US Open and the PGA Championships). This year it will be played on the Hoylake course at Royal Liverpool, (and yes, that’s in Liverpool!) It’s the twelfth time that The Open has been on this course, the last time being in 2006 when Tiger Woods reigned supreme. £65 per adult and £25 for Concessions (16 – 21 years). Visit theopen.com

RYDER CUP, GLENEAGLES
23–28TH SEPTEMBER

Two years ago saw that ‘Miracle of Medinah’, when, dressed in the colours of the late Seve Ballesteros, Europe pulled off one of the comebacks of all time to retain the Ryder Cup. The tournament is back on home soil this year. Team Europe, captained by Paul McGinley, will take on Tom Watson’s Team America, who returns for his second stint as captain having led America to victory in 1993. This year’s Ryder Cup is at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland. Match Day tickets (Friday – Sunday) are sold out. Tickets for Practice Days (Tuesday – Thursday) cost £45. Visit rydercup.com

Golf

ROWING

HENLEY ROYAL REGATTA
2ND–6TH JULY

In comparison to The Boat Race, Henley is one of the society events of the British sporting calendar. Taking place over five Champagne and canapé filled days in July, Henley attracts competitors from all over the world. As one would expect, there are strict dress codes to adhere to for members in the Stewards’ Enclosure, whilst those that enter the less formal Regatta Enclosure tend to get into the spirit of things by dressing up even though it is not enforced. What fun! Henley-upon-Thames is about a 90-minute drive west of London and can be accessed by train from London Paddington. Regatta Enclosure badges can range from £17 to £23. The Stewards’ Enclosure is reserved for members and their guests only. Our Concierge Team can assist with ticket enquiries for Henley Royal Regatta. Visit hrr.co.uk

Rowing

RUGBY UNION

AVIVA PREMIERSHIP FINAL, TWICKENHAM
31ST MAY

The Aviva Premiership Final is, simply put, the winner of the play-offs between the top four teams in the highest division in a rugby season that runs from September to May each year. Expect lots of grunts and sweat in the oppressive heat of one of the finest rugby stadiums in the world. If you have not yet visited Twickenham stadium, this is worth the journey alone. It is best to go there by train from London Waterloo, (approximately 25 mins), which will allow you to sample some of the great pre-match atmosphere offered by many of the pop-up food stalls and classic rugby pubs such as the Barmy Arms and The Turk’s Head. Adult tickets range from £25 to £80. Visit premiershiprugby.com

HEINEKEN CUP FINAL, MILLENNIUM STADIUM, CARDIFF
24TH MAY

The Heineken Cup Final is the culmination of a season-long tournament that sees the clubs from within the Six Nations (England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales), fight it out to be the top team in Europe. It’s Northern Hemisphere rugby at its finest. Toulouse has won the competition a record four times, Leinster three times, while Munster, Leicester Tigers
and London Wasps have won it twice each. Will current holders Toulon defend their title successfully? Little effort is spared by any team to get their hands on this illustrious trophy which also serves as the finale to the professional season. The Heineken Cup Final moves each year. This year, it’s back at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Expect Welsh fans aplenty, bringing their rugby anthems from all around the valleys, irrespective of there not actually being any Welsh team in the final this year! Tickets range from £35 to £75 and can be purchased online at ercrugby.com

Rugby

TENNIS

QUEEN’S CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS
9TH–15TH JUNE

Queen’s has historically been seen as the warm-up to the Grand Slam tournament that follows at Wimbledon, but it continues to attract the biggest names in tennis since it began in 1890. John McEnroe holds the record for most tournament wins, (four singles and one double), whilst Pete Sampras has amassed a record £241,804 in prize money from his participation. The current holder is Andy murray, who captured his third Queen’s Club Championship by beating Croatian seed Marin Čilić. Queen’s Club is one of London’s oldest sporting clubs, opened in 1886 and named after Queen Victoria. The club is tucked away in an unassuming location between West Kensington and Hammersmith, easily accessible by London Underground and Overground Trains, Bus and Car. Tickets for the Aegon Championships are sold via a Ballot and then a General Sale. Ground Passes cost £19, whilst Show Court tickets start from £36. Visit lta.org.uk

THE WIMBLEDON CHAMPIONSHIPS
23RD JUNE – 6TH JULY

The oldest tennis tournament in the world, Wimbledon is the Holy Grail for any professional tennis player or fan and has been a fixture on the international sporting calendar since 1877, pausing just for the World Wars. In 2013, the prize money totalled £22.25million with Andy Murray and Marion Bartoli walking off Centre Court as Champions with a cool £1.6million each. The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, (to give it its full name), is a short walk from Wimbledon Village and Southfields. Regular shuttle services run from Wimbledon Station during the tournament. Getting your hands on a Wimbledon ticket is the equivalent of winning one of Willie Wonka’s Golden Tickets. Each year, tickets are distributed by ballot, which opens on 1st August and closes on 31st December. So unless you get lucky in the ballot or are prepared to line up for endless hours in searing heat or driving rain, we suggest you head for one of the live Wimbledon Screening zones dotted around the capital.
Visit wimbledon.com

Tennis

 For more information or to speak to Concierge about tickets to any sporting events, please contact us

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 Chelsea Flower Show

Taking place on 20th - 24th May, the world renowned Chelsea Flower Show is back for its 101st year.  The event is held by the Royal Horticultural Society in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea and has a long history attached to it. It is perhaps the most famous flower show, and one of the most highly regarded events in the British social calendar, in the world attracting visitors from all continents, all enticed by the showcase of trends and the launching of new plants. Click here to speak to Concierge about tickets and transport.

For your chance to win tickets to the event, why not try InterContinental London Westminster's limited edition 'Edible Garden Afternoon Tea'. 

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Away Days - Insider

This bank holiday, why not take a break from the Big Smoke and see what else England has to offer. We've selected our pick of the best places for an away day, all of which are located just a couple of hours away from the capital. 

BESIDE THE SEA
With more than 350 miles of coastline, Essex has the longest of any English county. From traditional seaside resorts to historic maritime towns, Essex has a plethora of unspoiled coastline to explore. Just a stone’s throw from London, explore some of its lesser-known gems. Take a trip to one of the county’s many beaches, such as Southend-on-Sea, and check out the world’s longest pleasure pier or pay a visit to one of the town’s fish and chip shops for an old fashioned British classic. Head to Leigh-on-Sea and sample some of the seafood on offer from the rickety cockle sheds and finish the day by watching the boats come in from the warmth of one of its cosy pubs, (try the Crooked Billett). For something different, and totally delicious, head to Company Shed in West Mersea for no-frills, freshly caught seafood. Opened over 30 years ago and one of Jamie Oliver’s favourite places too. 

PICTURE PERFECT
A short train ride from London lies the picturesque county of Sussex. From stunning coastline and rolling hills to cosmopolitan cities such as Brighton, historic Chichester and the picture-perfect village of Rye and Pevensey Bay, Sussex is the perfect place or a day away from the bright lights of London.

Sussex

RYE
The historic town of Rye features picturesque alleys, cobbled streets and Tudor architecture. It lies at the confluence of three rivers; the Rother, the Tillingham and the Brede. Complete with its own harbour and fishing fleet, Rye has quickly become one of Sussex’s biggest draws. Take a stroll through the narrow lanes, having a drink in one of its many traditional pubs, (our favourite is the 15th Century Mermaid Inn), and stop for lunch at The George. Whilst there, be sure to check out the Rye Marshes and the rather surreal Dungeness.

THE WITTERINGS
Located a short way from the historic Roman city of Chichester lies the Witterings; a collection of harbour villages and naturally sheltered beaches. Stretching from West Wittering Beach to Bracklesham Bay, the area is known locally as ‘God’s Pocket’ thanks to the fact that it enjoys more hours of sunshine than the rest of the UK. After a stroll along one of its famed beaches, head to one of the nearby pubs for a drink and enjoy the oldworld charm of a traditional British boozer.

THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND
Kent is described as the Garden of England for good reason. Inside its sea-lined borders you’ll find a fragrant landscape of gentle hills, fertile farmland, cultivated country estates and fruit-laden orchards. It could also be described as the beer garden of England, producing the worldrenowned Kent hops, some of the country’s finest ales and award-winning wines from its numerous vineyards. Kent lays claim to some of the country’s leading wine producers with many wines punching well above their weight in national and international markets. Whilst there, head to Stodmarsh and try The Red Lion; a traditional British pub set amongst the vineyards and hidden away in the countryside. It’s famed for having some of the freshest produce around, as much of it comes from its garden.

Kent

DISCOVER THE DOWNS
One of the easiest trips to take out of London is down the A3 into leafy Surrey, home to millionaire footballers, celebrities and city financier commuters. The county is full of Roman and medieval history, much of which has been incorporated into visitor attractions and municipal buildings.  One of our favourite away days is the historic county town of Guildford. Guildford Castle was built shortly after William the Conqueror’s invasion in 1066. The castle started off as a Royal residence until the 14th Century when it fell into such a state of disrepair and decay that it became only good for holding common prisoners. However, the tower and walls were restored and opened to the public as pleasure gardens in 1888 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and now the surrounding gardens are extremely popular, not least for the life-sized statue of ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’, which is a memorial to Lewis Carroll who lived nearby until his death in 1898.  

Just 5 miles from Guildford is Shere, one of Surrey’s hidden gems and referenced in the Doomsday Book. It’s a pretty little village with some decent pubs for lunch, (try Surrey Pub of the Year 2013, The William Bray), and a handful of shops full of local craft and art. Shere has had its moments in the limelight too, being the setting for the film The Holiday, starring Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Kate Winslet. Try asking the locals where the snowy cottage was located and you’ll uncover the real secret of the silver screen… 

Bringing you back into London, no trip should be complete without a stop off at the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley. Wisely is the second most visited garden in the UK, after Kew Gardens, and was gifted to the RHS in 1903 by Sir Thomas Hanbury, a wealthy Quaker who had founded the celebrated garden of La Mortola, on the Italian Riviera.

For more information on the perfect away day from London, speak to a member of the Concierge team.  

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Covent Garden May Fare Festival

The 39th annual Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival brings together Punch and Judy puppeteers from around the country. Taking place on Sunday 11th May, the festivities include a brass band procession, puppet shows, workshops and traditional maypole dancing.

The event begins at 11am with the Grand Procession held at St Paul's Church Garden, Covent Garden. 

Speak to the Concierge team for more details. 

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Fish and Chips

In the last few decades Britain has undergone a gastronomic revolution, with some of the world’s finest restaurants now found on these shores. But, we’re also still famous worldwide for good old Fish and Chips – a very British culinary institution! Could there be anything more rewarding than the crunch of golden batter to reveal the flakey white flesh of a succulent cod or plaice. Then all of those chips – chunkily cut, slathered in salt and vinegar and ready for the chip fork to prod. Insider has put together our list of the best chippies out there.

THE FISH & CHIP SHOP
189 Upper Street, Islington, N1 1RQ
thefishandchipshop.uk.com
This new offering from the former Head Chef of The Ivy is located on Upper Street, Islington. It fuses contemporary style with one of London’s oldest dining traditions, and done it jolly well if we do say so ourselves. 

THE GOLDEN HIND
73 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2PN
This year, The Golden Hind will celebrate 100 years of providing some of London’s best fish and chips. This no-frills London institution even has a vintage fryer to boot.

POPPIES
6-8 Hanbury Street, E1 6QR
poppiesfishandchips.co.uk
Located in the vibrant area around Spitalfields Market, Poppies comes complete with a jukebox, mini red telephone box and waitresses in retro diner uniforms. Fun for all the family, and cheap as chips too, (if you’ll pardon the pun!) 

SEAFRESH RESTAURANT
80-81 Wilton Road, SW1V 1DL
seafresh-dining.com
Established in 1865 and located a stone’s throw from Victoria Station, Seafresh use the freshest seafood from world-renowned Billingsgate Market as well as the Scottish coast. Be sure to ask for their house special which changes daily.

For more suggestions, please speak to a member of the Concierge team. 

 Image courtesy of the Fish & Chip Shop.

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David Bailey Stardust
Image: Kate Moss by David Bailey, 2013 © David Bailey

David Bailey ‘Stardust ‘ Exhibition - until 1st June 2014

Bailey’s Stardust is a landmark exhibition of portraits by one of the world’s most distinguished and distinctive photographers, David Bailey. Over 250 images, personally selected and printed by Bailey, will be presented thematically across a series of contrasting rooms and will illustrate the extraordinary range of subjects that he has captured throughout his career.

For more information, visit www.npg.org.uk/whatson/bailey/exhibition.php

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 Korean Food London


This is an exciting time for food in London. In addition to growing pride 
in our home-grown talent and produce, the city is enjoying styles from all corners of the world. Korean food is one of the fastest growing imports and restaurants can be found all over London. From street to modern and refined, there is a choice for all tastes.

Insider spoke to Kim Mouflier, Front Office Manager at InterContinental London Park Lane, native Korean and our in-house specialist, about the growing appeal of Korean culture here in the capital. "The Korean communities in London are small and very close knit" says Kim. "We love to celebrate any occasion with lots of great food; as a nation, we love food! Our culture is celebrated in this same way in London, with lots of great restaurants and street food offerings which Koreans share with their friends and family." 

"There are some really interesting events around the capital, from film festivals to sporting events and dance. As a film lover, I would definitely recommend the London Korean Film Festival happening in November this year. It showcases some upcoming film makers and this year has even expanded outside of London too, with events around the UK."

KIM’S GUIDE TO LONDON’S BEST KOREAN RESTAURANTS

Korean cuisine really centres around the barbecue concept and the idea of customising and creating your own dish. The cooking is traditionally done at your table, so it’s a fun way of enjoying dinner with friends and family. For anyone not familiar with Korean cuisine be sure to try Kimchee; one of our most popular dishes made with vegetables and spicy seasoning. It’s like bread and butter to the Koreans!

CENTRAL LONDON

KIMCHEE
71 High Holborn, WC1V 6EA
020 7430 0596
kimchee.uk.com

Located in the heart of vibrant Holborn, Kimchee (named after its famous national dish), is a sleek, stylish and bustling restaurant with an open-plan kitchen so you can watch the chefs prepare your meal. Definitely one of the best in London!

KOBA
11 Rathbone Street, Soho, W1T 1NA
020 7580 8825

Be sure to try the delicious meats like beef kalbi or bulgogi. They also have some great Korean beers and soju, which are well worth trying.

ARANG
9 Golden Square, W1F 9HZ
020 7434 2073

Arang has some fantastic classic dishes with traditional ingredients. Just off Regent Street, the location makes it easy to walk to from the hotel.

A LITTLE FURTHER OUT

DOTORI
3A Stroud Green Rd, N4 2DQ
020 7263 3562

Since opening in 2008 (near Finsbury Park station) Dotori has been treating guests to a blend of Korean and Japanese dishes. Make sure you get Concierge to book you a table in advance as it is always packed with locals.

CAH-CHI
34 Durham Road, Raynes Park, SW20 0TW
020 8947 1081

With two locations in the south of the city, Cah-Chi offer some of the best Korean offerings in the capital. Make a day of it and explore the leafy suburbs of Wimbledon Common and Raynes Park. 

For more information on how you can discover a taste of Korea in London, speak to our Concierge team or visit london.korean-culture.org

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