Sunday, 12 July 2015

Gems Of London

A guest post by my lovely friend Lucy from London Bird Lucy.



 

As my name says, I am a Londoner AKA London Bird Lucy.  I have lived in London most of my life.  The City is heaving during the day but the nights are pumped full of fun too.
The Shard at Night.
In the Shard staring up at the highest point
 

I recently found out some interesting facts, in February these figures were released;

London's population hit a 8.6m record high!  

Jeez this had me thinking what do people do? Where do they go?  I mean look in any tourist attraction book - it's full of iconic places to visit.  There is always a new iconic building attracting in the tourist crowds.  Currently the glass Shard is such an icon, It is a huge success since it's opened February 2013.  If you was not aware it's the tallest building in Europe being 306 meters tall.  It's a 95-storey skyscraper in Southwark, to be honest you can not miss it.  I had been lucky enough to go the glass Shard.  Even walking up to its highest point opened to
 the public, it's views are breathtaking, and looking over London at night is especially romantic.  This is what I would commercial London, London has so many hidden gems. With its beating heart, there is something for everyone, not just budgets, but personalities alike.  It does not matter where you come from or when you want to go, you will more then likely find what suits you. 



Where do you think Londoners go for a jolly night out? The Red Lion or Walkabout? Well that's fine if that's what you fancy.  I personally love a cheap drink out too.  

But as I said we all have different tastes and when you are coming to London to have a break, it is nice to be able to push the boat out and explore.  So what to do? Who do you ask?    

I wanted to pick the brains of someone who is fully aware of some of the hidden treasures located around this wonderful city.  So who better to ask? A lovely lady by the name of Jennifer Steain.   I have known Jennifer for years, we worked together at the Savoy.  Jennifer is the boss when it comes to London.  She has to be, it's her job, she works in a London 5* Hotel.  She is a member of Les Clefs d'Or (Golden Keys), an achievement considering there are approximately 330 members in the UK, a small percentage being woman.  This is the crème de la crème of Concierge staff. 


I asked Jennifer if she could recommend some fun but over looked places in London, and like magic she gave me a list.  I like what she suggested. 
 
The Cellar Door
Cabaret at the Spiegeltent on Southbank 

Black Cat Cabaret at Cafe Royal Hotel 
Camellia's Tea House on the top floor of Kingly Court
Brompton Oratory. 
Old Spitalfields Market
London Museum. 

Such a great selection, after a little research this is what I found out.

The Cellar Door


This is a Swanky bar hidden under ground in London's Aldwych.  It was once home to a Victorian gents lavatory.  However the gents are done and dusted, in it's place a beautiful futurist bar stands with all the glamour of the 1930s socialite life.  The bars max capacity fits no-more the 60 guests perfectly.  The Cellar Door also has an ingenious Secret DJ, this is controlled by the bars guests using a mobile phone app, they choose what they want to hear, Tah dah it plays! There is a host of Cabaret nights, Champagne Charlie's Tuesday and Open mic night.  This bar looks fun and lively.  I can see why Jennifer rates this venue.  It also has free admission each night, however you can pay to reserve your seats in advance.  

Spiegeltent on Southbank - La Soirée's 


Events Taking Place At La Soirée’s Spiegeltent - Now until Sunday 17 January 2016 


The Southbank is a haven, week after week, there are shows on of all types.  It really amazes me how this place can be overlooked.     
La Soiree is a team of artist from all walks of life, from all over the World.  It's circus, tongue and cheek, rude, sometimes nude but, most of all it's highly charged and entertaining.  This is cabaret at it finest, the reviews make this show sound unmissable.  Some awesome acts, featuring strength and balance, its filled with British Sexytime humour, offering belly laughs throughout, a wow factor not to be missed.  Standard tickets start from £47.00. Early bird tickets can be purchased from £25.00. 

Black Cat Cabaret at Cafe Royal Hotel 
Presents: 'Salon Des Artistes' 

Now until the 31st August 2015 


The Black Cat Cabaret resides at Hotel Cafe Royal, Regents Street in Mayfair.  Oscar Wilde had been known to frequent this stunning Hotel and has a bar named after him. The Oscar Wilde bar is a beautiful place to see, it's glitzy, has long chandeliers, mirrors all around, the room feels old, it's elegant, art deco and timelessly sexy.
The Black Cat Cabaret boasts no two acts are ever the same, the venue showcases a host of performances from cabaret singers, character comedians, highly-skilled performance artistes, magicians and live musicians to get your eye pulsating, reaching dizzying new heights with lashings of glitz and glamour. Dinner and show starts from £69pp, show only can be booked from £30pp.  

Camellia's Tea House


Found in the heart of London, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street.
Quintessentially English, drinking tea that is!
Camellia's Tea House is very different to regular tea establishments.  There is an art to drinking tea, there is a finer art to making the tea blends.  At Camellia's tea is blended by hand, using their own original and unique tea recipes.  This tea house is concerned how their tea to grown.  They source and import teas from specialists only who are known for their quality and pesticide free manufacturing processes.
Camellia's has tea for everyone, Health Fusions, Classic Fusions, Exotic Fusions.  If you are a keen tea lover and in need of a pit stop, sit back and relax with a fine cup of tea in this pretty tea house.

Brompton Oratory


Situated in the Heart of South Kensington, The Oratory, is a large neo-classical Roman Catholic church.

This beautiful church is open to the public.  There is daily mass and confession.  A true piece of history, not to be missed.    

   Brompton Oratory Copyright David Iliff Wikimedia Commons



Old Spitalfields Market

Spitalfields Market has been on this land, a stones throw from Commercial Road between Shoreditch and Whitechaple since 1638 when King Charles gave a licence for flesh, fowl and roots to be sold.  Back then this rural area was located on the eastern outskirts of London/Londinium.  In 1991 a new modern site was give in Leyton.  However the origin site had been modernised too and rename Old Spitalfields Market.  This market is full of fashionable shops, some designer labels and plenty of boutique shops.  If you feel hungry look no further, you will be spoiled for choice, lots of tasty nibbles to tuck into.  

Museum of London


This is a great Museum, packed to the brim with so much history.  The museum goes through time to the current day of London life.  Did you know the City of London was called Londinium, there are records dating back as far as 43AD?  The map below shows Londinium as detailed below in 1887, over the years the city has grown and grown.  
What better way to get a good understanding of what has made London the place it is these days.  I have not heard of this museum, I will definitely be taking my kids.   A great education to be had for all.    



ONL (1887) 1.013 - Part of Modern London, Showing the Ancient Wall (map)" by Image extracted from page 31 of volume 1 of Old and New London, Illustrated, by Walter Thornbury.

I have to say this was an education, I found out so much information about London.  As I said there are some great places to see, both new and old.  I hope you too have learnt something new too and next time you are in London town have a real root around.  Ask your concierge they have the knowledge.

Thank you for stopping by, please say Hi!
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18 comments

  1. A great selection of not so expensive, interesting places to visit. The Brompton Oratory looks lovely.

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    1. Lucy really does know London like the back of her hand.

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    2. Erica the Oratory is beautiful inside, I hope you get to visit soon.

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  2. What a great list of places to go, and all with some history thrown in! I love London

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    1. Yes, some ideas here off the beaten path.

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    2. I'm glad you like the post Carolynne. Thanks for your lovely comment.

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  3. I love visiting London - there's always a place we haven't seen yet and so much to discover!

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    1. I agree Joanna, always new places to explore and fabulous sights to see.

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    2. So true, I don't live in central London anymore and every time I return there is always something new to see.

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  4. You can't beat personal recommendations of places to visit from locals can you? Love the sound of Black Cat Cabaret!

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    Replies
    1. Yes that place certainly sounds like a hidden gem.

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    2. It sounds like a wonderful evening out. Definitely a night to dress-up and kick back the cocktails!

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  5. It often feels like there are more than 8.6million when you are trying to get on the tube at rush hour x

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    Replies
    1. I feel your pain! There are still some places that not many people know about though.

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    2. HAHA! Ive been there, own a suitcase of t-shirts! Its absolutely bonkers traveling on the underground at rush hour! Thankfully I don't do this anymore.

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  6. I love wandering round London during the both the day and night. In the evenings we always start off on the South Bank as I love the way all the buildings are lit up overlooking the Thames.

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    1. I love the South Bank, there is an abundance of things to do there.

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    2. The South Bank is fab. I've been on a river cruise at 1am in the morning from Greenwich to the Embankment, The River Thames looks awesome lite-up from all the surrounding buildings too.

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