London
Hotels
Best Bar
Keston Lodge
Sit down for cocktails and music at the trendy Keston Lodge (131 Upper Street, Islington).



Best Restaurant
Rodizio Rico
Try London's only authentic Brazilian cuisine at Rodizio Rico (Greenwich Peninsula, London). Here you'll find a vast array of Brazilian hot dishes and exotic salads all freshly made to order.
Best Kept Secret
Thames River Adventures
Get yourself into a kayak and bob along the River Thames or one of London ’s canals courtesy of London Kayak Tours. A truly unique and relaxing experience in London.

Start DateEnd DateEventVenue and distance
from Jurys Inn
31 August

London Bikeathon

Cycle race through London, features three routes: City Ride, Scenic Route and Challenge Ride.

Various venues
12 September16 September

Vodafone London Fashion Week - s/s 2015

Major British biannual fashion industry showcase where international fashion press and buyers preview designers' work for the spring/summer 2015 season.

Various venues
8 September

BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park

BBC Radio 2 hosts musical concert.

Hyde Park

45 min by train from Jurys Inn London Croydon

18 September12 October

London Oktoberfest

UK version of the traditional German celebration.

Kennington Park & Millwall Park

42 min by train from Jurys Inn London Croydon

01 September30 September

iTunes Festival

Features exclusive gigs performed by both international superstars and fresh new bands.

Roundhouse Studios

49 min by train from Jurys Inn London Watford

28 September

NFL Wembley fixture - Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins

NFL teams play each other in annual London fixture.

Wembley Stadium

37 min by train from Jurys Inn London Watford

26 October

NFL Wembley fixture - Atlanta Falcons v Detroit Lions

NFL teams play each other in annual London fixture.

Wembley Stadium

37 min by train from Jurys Inn London Watford

9 November

NFL Wembley fixture - Jacksonville Jaguars v Dallas Cowboys

NFL teams play each other in annual London fixture.

Wembley Stadium

37 min by train from Jurys Inn London Watford

12 November19 November

London Science Festival

One-week celebration of science across the capital, bringing together ideas, engaging the public, and fusing the arts and the sciences.

Various venues
14 November23 November

London Jazz Festival

One of the UK’s landmark musical celebrations, the EFG London Jazz Festival has long been acclaimed for delivering a mixture of world-class artists and emerging stars.

Various venues
21 November4 January 2015

Winter Wonderland

Major family event and one of the UK's largest outdoor winter festivals.

Hyde Park

45 min by train from Jurys Inn London Croydon

06 December

London Santa Run

Around 2,500 joggers dressed as Santa Claus compete in a 5km run.

Battersea Park Events Arena

33 min by train from Jurys Inn London Croydon

31 December

London's New Year's Eve Celebrations

Features a fireworks display that is visible over much of central London.

London Eye

51 min by train from Jurys Inn London Croydon

Buckingham Palace

The official London residence of The Queen, Buckingham Palace is a very popular London attraction.  The Changing of the Guard takes place daily at the front of the Palace from 1st April to Early July and on alternate days at other times.

Hyde Park

One of London's finest historic landscapes covers 350 acres. There is something for everyone in Hyde Park - with over 4,000 trees, a lake, a meadow, horse rides and more it is easy to forget you're in the middle of London.

Visit Fulham

Find out more about events and attractions in this fashionable and stylish yet still refreshingly down to earth part of the London at www.visitfulham.co.uk Tower of London Historic former palace and prison, home to the Crown Jewels and Bloody Tower. Open Tuesday to Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday and Monday 10am-5pm.

Westminster Abbey

Site of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation and burial place of many British monarchs. Open Monday to Friday 9.30am-4.45pm and Saturday 9.30am-2.45pm.

Museums

Huge variety from the British Museum, the Tate Britain and Modern, Victoria and Albert, Natural History, Science to smaller ones like the Dickens House Museum.

Changing the Guard

The Queen's personal bodyguards, in the guise of the Household Cavalry, change on even dates at 11.30am outside the front of Buckingham Palace.

Theatres

There are many shows and plays to see in London from the long-showing Mousetrap to Mamma Mia, Lion King, We Will Rock You and hundreds more.

Shopping

With Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Dickens and Jones, Bond Street, Oxford Street, antiques markets, designer emporiums and many more, London is the premier location for all your shopping needs.

St Paul's Cathedral

Built after the great fire of 1666, the cathedral is open daily 8.30-5pm.

City tours

Open-top bus, guided walking tours, cruises down the Thames, black cab tours - all designed to get you the best of London in a short time.

Night time

Whether you want traditional fare or a trip around the cuisine world, from Michelin-starred to Chinese, there is a huge choice of restaurants. Follow this with a drink in one of many traditional English pubs or designer bars. Then, complete the perfect night at one of many clubs.
If you’re planning a day out in London but aren’t sure how to spend your time, consider heading to the South Bank. One of the great things about making this the base for your day is that you won’t need to constantly hop on and off trains and buses to move between attractions - there’s more than enough here to keep you busy all day and, in fact, night.

We’re going to run through some of the top attractions in this pretty part of London on the Thames, to give you an idea of how you can enjoy a varied and fantastic day out in the capital.

Hayward Gallery

The Hayward Gallery is just one part of the Southbank Centre - a Brutalist concrete building you really can’t miss. This venue is constantly changing its exhibits, which means you can visit it over and over again, discovering something new each time. At the moment, there are two installations on show here - Martin Creed’s What’s the point of it? (open until April 27th) and Jananne Al-Ani’s Excavations (running until May 11th).

Entry to the Excavations exhibit is free of charge, while it costs £11 for a ticket to Martin Creed’s spectacular set of installations. The Hayward Gallery opens at 10am, so head here first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds.

Coffee break in the Southbank Centre

Within the Southbank Centre are several restaurants, bars and cafes. We’d recommend that you visit one of the latter mid-morning to grab a cup of coffee and recharge your batteries. One of the most unusual venues is Concrete, which displays a selection contemporary artworks, as well as a concrete mixer illuminated by pink strip lights - a creation by David Batchelor. Sip on your coffee, nibble a pastry and just enjoy the quirky ambience.

For something less alternative, make a beeline for the Riverside Cafe which, as its name suggests, boasts wonderful views of the Thames and the city on the other side. This is the perfect spot for a mid-morning pick-me-up.

See the capital from on high

It’s just a short walk from the Southbank Centre to one of the city’s most iconic landmarks - the London Eye. This hugeferris wheel boasts incredible views over the capital, allowing you pick out a host of monuments including St Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin and Big Ben.

You can book a ‘flight’ on the wheel from 10am everyday, so whenever you’ve had your fill of art in the SouthbankCentre, wander over and hop on. It’s worth pointing out you can save money by booking your ticket online - if you pay on the day it will cost £29.50 per adult.

A full rotation takes around 30 minutes and will give you plenty of chances to admire London’s skyline before you return to the ground.

Tate Modern

Although this is technically in Bankside, not the South Bank, it’s still well worth a walk to visit this amazing, free London gallery. Among the artists whose works are displayed here are Cezanne, Picasso, Dali, Warhol and Matisse.

What makes this venue so great is the variety of art forms on show - paintings, sculptures, films and conceptual art are among the things you will come across within this fantastic space. Check out what paid-for exhibits are on too, as there might just be something that catches your eye.

Lunch stop: OXO Tower

Wander back along the Thames in the direction of the Southbank Centre and pop into the OXO Tower for lunch. This high-end eatery run by Harvey Nichols offers its lunch service from 12-2.30pm Monday to Saturday, with the restaurant open a little later (until 3pm) on Sundays.

You can enjoy three courses for as little as £36.50, with the restaurant specialising in classic British foods with a twist, such as pheasant pie, which is offered as a starter, and guinea fowl breast and lasagne, almond and lemon, braised wild rice - one of the mains. As well as the food being delicious, the views from here are wonderful.

London Aquarium

The Sea Life London Aquarium is a fantastic place to head to after lunch - and an especially good choice if you’re exploring the city with youngsters. Wander back along the river bank, past the London Eye, to find it.

Its exhibits showcase fish and sealife from all over the world, including jellyfish, giant Japanese spider crabs, zebra sharks, clownfish, seahorses and plenty more besides. The vast Ocean tank with its underwater tunnel is particularly impressive.

Hit the theatre

If you want to take in a show while you’re in London, you won’t have to stray from the South Bank. In addition to the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room in the Southbank Centre itself, there are also the National Theatre, Old Vic and Young Vic within easy walking distance - not to mention Shakespeare’s Globe over inBankside.

Another option, if theatre isn’t your thing, is to head to the BFI London Imax Cinema, which is also on the South Bank.

Wine and dine

Should you have tickets for a show, it’s a good idea to book a table at one of the many restaurants that offer pre-theatre dinners. There are various places in the Southbank Centre (likeWagamama, Ping Pong, Canteen and Skylon), in addition to numerous other eateries situated close by, such as Benugo Bar & Kitchen, Ozu and Troia.

On top of all of this choice for dinner, there is also a host of bars where you can indulge with a few drinks before or after you’ve been to the theatre or cinema.

London is a wonderful place to bring your mum for a special treat this Mother’s Day, with the city home to every kind of attraction you can think of and then some. We’ve come up with a few suggestions to give you a bit of inspiration.

Afternoon tea at The Berkley

While there are lots of places in London that offer the iconic Afternoon Tea, there are few quirkier than the Berkley. The hotel’s stylish Caramel Room serves up delicious, fashion-themed afternoon delicacies, with the menu changed every six months to keep up with the latest trends.

You really do have to see - and taste - this one to believe it, although all the cakes, biscuits and treats look so beautiful, make sure you admire their style before devouring them. It’s bound to put a smile on your mum’s face.

Pamper package at the May Fair Spa

The May Fair Spa, at the prestigious hotel of the same name, will certainly provide a real escape for your mum - indulging with a luxurious treatment could be just what she needs to relax and unwind. It’s a wonderful way to show your appreciation for all her hard work over the years.

There are many packages on offer here, some of which also include an afternoon tea for two, so you can enjoy the opulent surroundings together. There are also deals that are designed for two people, which could prove ideal if you want to spend some quality time with your mum.

Watch Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre

The concept of Mamma Mia! might be a little cheesy and the ABBA chart-toppers might not be your thing, but your mum will probably love it. Whether you’ve seen the film or have somehow missed out on the hit, it’s bound to leave you with a smile on your face.

You can make the evening even more special by booking a pre-theatre dinner at one of the many lovely restaurants London is home to.

The beginning of February 2014 saw the start of the Year of the Horse in the Chinese calendar, and there were colourful celebrations in many of the UK’s Chinese communities to mark the event, especially in London.

If you missed out on the dragon dances and firework displays don’t worry, because you can still enjoy a taste of the Orient at one of London’s excellent Chinese restaurants. We’ve picked out three for you to consider.

HKK

Where: Broadgate West, 88 Worship Street

Positioned within walking distance of Liverpool Street and Shoreditch High Street stations is HKK, a fine dining restaurant that’s a wonderful choice if you want to sample a variety of oriental dishes. The best way to experience all that HKK has to offer is to make the most of one of the tasting menus, which are available for lunch and dinner, where you’ll be served anything from eight to 15 courses, depending on your choice of menu. What’s really great about HKK is that it has an exclusively vegetarian set of meals, as well as meat and fish options.

Sichuan Folk

Where: 32 Hanbury Street, Brick Lane

Sichuan Folk is relatively easy to find and is close to Shoreditch High Street, Whitechapel and Aldgate East stations. As its name suggests, this restaurant specialises in dishes from the Sichuan region and it does them very well. The food here is very reasonably priced and those with big appetites can take advantage of the ‘eat as much as you like’ hotpot deal. There’s a good selection of seafood on the menu, as well as some more unusual options, such as fragrant and hot frog legs and dry-fried pig intestines.

Hakkasan

Where: 8 Hanway Place, Tottenham Court Road and 17 Bruton Place, Mayfair

Hakkasan was one of the first Michelin-starred Chinese restaurants in London and now has two branches in the city, both of which serve up excellent cuisine. In addition to its sumptuous food - with the menu featuring signature dishes like Peking duck with caviar - it also offers an outstanding range of cocktails, so this is the place to come if you want a glamorous Chinese dinner. It’s worth booking a table for one of the Dim Sum Sundays sittings, which take place every week. The menu on Sundays is different to what you’ll see at other times of the week and, for £58 per person, you also get a cocktail and wine with your food.

When half-term or summer holidays roll around, it can sometimes be hard to know how you’re going to keep the kids entertained. A day out in London is the ideal option as there’s just so much to see and do. What’s more, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, as there are plenty of free attractions in the capital, as well as the ones you have to pay for.

We’ve put together a selection of options for you, so you can mix and match to make your perfect family day, regardless of your budget.

Natural History Museum

Price: free (although there are some paid-for exhibitions)
Getting there: take the Tube to South Kensington, or take the train to Victoria/Paddington

The Natural History Museum is one of the ultimate family-friendly attractions, where kids and parents alike will be enthralled by the varied exhibits and you can be certain little ones will learn something whether they want to or not!

The most famous exhibits are undoubtedly the dinosaurs, where you’ll not only find a variety of incredible skeletons, but also animatronic dinosaurs and interactive games to give your children a true overview of these amazing reptiles and what the planet was like when they inhabited it.

Another favourite with youngsters is the Power Within gallery, where you can step inside a simulator to find out what it’s like to experience an earthquake and learn about how life on Earth has evolved over the centuries.

You’ll probably want to spend at least half a day here, although there’s so much to see and do, you could easily spend much longer discovering its varied galleries.

Science Museum

Price: free (although there are some paid-for exhibitions)
Getting there: take the Tube to South Kensington, or take the train to Victoria/Paddington

Right next to the Natural History Museum is the equally wonderful Science Museum, so combining these two attractions is an obvious choice and cuts down on travelling time with the kids.

As you can probably infer from its name, this is the place to get your youngsters interested in science, with a wide range of hands-on exhibits that will really help them engage with this fascinating subject. Launch Pad is the place to start, as this is where most of the interactive exhibits can be found, while it also plays host to demos and live shows to introduce children to the world of physics.

Another installation that is bound to inspire your kids is 3D: printing the future, where you can see a wall covered with more than 600 printed objects, as well as learn about the technology behind 3D printers and find out more about their practical applications.

Although you could spend an entire day here, it’s a good idea to do half a day, split between the Science and Natural History museums.

Covent Garden street shows

Price: free (unless you want to leave a tip for the performers)
Getting there: take the Tube to Covent Garden

Covent Garden is one of London’s most famous shopping areas, but the charming square by the market is also renowned as a hotspot for street performers and there are always incredible shows going on during the day.

Your kids will no doubt be entertained by the human statues dotted along the pedestrianised street between the Tube station and the market, but that’s just the beginning. You’ll never be quite sure what you’re going to see at Covent Garden, but all the performances are family-friendly. You can have a magician one day, a unicyclist the next and musicians a day later.

Grab a seat at one of the nearby cafes and sit down with a drink and a snack to watch what’s going on in the square - it’s a wonderful way to break up a day of sightseeing and keep the kids amused while you and your partner get a short rest.

Sea Life London Aquarium

Price: £25.20 for adults and £19.50 for children over three, although family tickets are available and you’ll receive a discount if you book your tickets online
Getting there: take the Tube to Westminster or Waterloo

The Sea Life London Aquarium may not be the cheapest of London’s attractions, but it’s an amazing place for a family day out. The exhibits here will bring you and the kids closer to a variety of incredible creatures that live in the world’s oceans.  

Among the highlights here are the Penguins: Ice Adventure, where you can see a group of gentoo penguins in a habitat that resembles their native Antarctic, and Shark Reef Encounter, where you can walk above the tank on a special glass walkway and appreciate these beautiful predators in the Pacific aquarium that is some three storeys high.

Other marine creatures that you’ll encounter during a day here include turtles, jellyfish, seahorses and lobsters, among many, many more. You can comfortably see all the exhibits at the aquarium in about half a day.

Hamleys Toy Store
Price: free (as long as you don’t buy souvenirs for the kids)
Getting there: take the Tube to Oxford Circus and walk the short distance along Regent Street

Hamleys is the oldest toy store in London, having first opened in 1760. It has grown considerably since its early days and the five-storey shop on Regent Street is an absolute paradise for kids. Each floor has a different theme, with many of the toys displayed according to the age they’re suitable for. The top floor is one of the most exciting, as there are some amazing Lego models on show, in addition to plenty of boxsets of the building blocks to take home with you.

As well as the incredible array of toys, there are displays of how some of the most exciting new additions work, which will no doubt keep your children entertained. The staff are very friendly and helpful and if you end up spending a couple of hours here, don’t be surprised.

London is home to many great attractions, which can make it tricky to know exactly where to begin if you’re in the city for your first sightseeing trip. A great option - especially if you’re pressed for time - is to visit its four UNESCO World Heritage sites.

These are Maritime Greenwich, the Tower of London, the Palace of Westminster and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. Our guide will give you a bit of information about each of these, as well as some tips on how to travel between them, and a suggested route for seeing all four in a day.

Maritime Greenwich

We’re going to begin in Maritime Greenwich, which is the most easterly of the four sites. It comprises a series of buildings, all within Greenwich Park. The most famous of these is probably the Royal Observatory, where you can see the Greenwich Meridian Line running across the courtyard.

Other features of the observatory include the 17th century rooms that were built for the first Astronomer Royal and a selection of the earliest clocks that were used to establish Greenwich as the world standard for accurate timekeeping.

There are also several museums within the Maritime Greenwich complex, including the Queen’s House, the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark, all of which are worth exploring if you can make the time.

Another notable building is the Royal Hospital, which was constructed according to a plan laid out by famous architect Christopher Wren.

Tower of London

The journey from Maritime Greenwich to our next site, the Tower of London, is very straightforward and there are several transport options open to you. The first, and possibly the most fun, is to take a boat from Greenwich Pier to Tower Pier, which is near the Tower of London.

Alternatively, you can travel on the DLR from the Cutty Sark station to Tower Gateway, which is also adjacent to the Tower of London.

The Tower of London is one of the most iconic buildings in the city, with its imposing White Tower the most striking feature of the fortress. This was constructed by William the Conqueror and the rest of the fort was built around this.

There are some fascinating exhibits at the Tower of London, not least of all the Crown Jewels, although the armoury is also worth exploring, as is the exhibition dedicated to the various animals that have been housed at the tower over the centuries.

Palace of Westminster


Travelling from the Tower of London to the Palace of Westminster is easiest on the Underground, with both the District and Circle lines providing a direct connection. The journey takes a little under 20 minutes from Tower Hill to Westminster.

The Palace of Westminster heritage site includes the world-famous Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church. Westminster Abbey is particularly symbolic, as it is where every British monarch since the 11th century has been crowned.

Westminster Palace is a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture and well worth admiring. Although not as large or impressive as the other monuments, St Margaret’s Church is still beautiful and rather important, given that it remains the parish church for the House of Commons.

Royal Botanic Gardens


Our final stop is the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. The easiest way to travel from Westminster is to hop back on the District line and ride it to the Kew Gardens Underground stop. It’s just a short walk from here to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Just as a note, this journey takes close to an hour.

What makes the Royal Botanic Gardens so special is that they feature such a wide variety of species and showcase a range of garden designs from the 18th through to the 20th centuries. Many world-famous garden designers, including Capability Brown, have created areas within the botanic gardens.

Its most famous features are the two iron-framed glasshouses, which are truly spectacular. These are known as the Palm and Temperate houses and are well worth exploring, although you should note that the Temperate House is undergoing restoration until 2018 and is therefore closed to the public.

There are many other interesting features at Kew, such as the Princess of Wales Conservatory, the Rose Garden and Waterlily House. Spending an hour or two here wandering around the stunning surroundings is the perfect way to relax after a busy day of sightseeing.

Afternoon tea is a quintessentially British tradition and one that you simply must indulge in when visiting London.

The Goring Hotel

Where: Beeston Place, Grosvenor Gardens
Nearest tube: Victoria

The Goring Hotel won the Top London Afternoon Tea Award 2013 that’s handed out each year by the Tea Guild. The hotel was praised for its elegant setting and its excellent menu, with each afternoon tea comprising of sandwiches, homemade scones with Devonshire clotted cream and jam, and a selection of homemade pastries.

To really push the boat out, you can opt for the Bollinger Afternoon Tea, which is the same as the standard option except that it begins with a glass of champagne and strawberries and cream.

 

The Berkeley

Where: Wilton Place, Knightsbridge
Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner

The Caramel Room in the Berkeley Hotel is the perfect place for afternoon tea with a twist. The Pret-a-Portea option is themed around the latest fashions, with all the sweet treats on offer inspired by some of the latest designs and trends.

The menu even changes every six months to keep up with the industry and its various seasons. Your afternoon tea will look so good you may have trouble eating it!

 

Orange Pekoe

Where: White Hart Lane
Nearest train: Barnes Bridge

Orange Pekoe is a delightful tea room that comes in at the more affordable end of the spectrum and still delivers a fantastic afternoon tea. It’s a bit less formal than the other places we’ve mentioned so far, but the quality of its food speaks for itself.

Time Out has given the establishment a five-star rating, to give you an idea of what to expect. Its standard afternoon tea consists of a selection of finger sandwiches, a warm scone served with jam and clotted cream and a piece of cake of your choosing from the cake counter.

You can also have your pick of its more than 50 loose-leaf tea varieties to accompany your food.

London is well known for some of its haunted buildings so if you’re planning a trip to the capital why not take yourself on a tour of the city’s spookiest sites.

We’ve put together some suggestions of places to visit if you’ve got an interest in the macabre - and we’ve tried to pick spots with a ghostly past that you may not have heard about before.

Drury Lane Theatre Royal

On Catherine Street, nearest tube stop Covent Garden

Drury Lane Theatre Royal has an illustrious past, with a performance venue having stood on this spot since the early 17th century. It should come as little surprise, then, that several ghosts are said to haunt the theatre.

We’re going to relate the story of the most famous of these spectres, though - the Man in Grey. No one knows his identity, but he has frequently been seen in the upper circle by staff in the theatre, actors and even audience members. He usually walks across the circle and disappears into the wall.

The only clue about the ghost - and what has caused him to haunt the theatre - was uncovered during renovations in 1870, when workmen found a skeleton with a dagger in its ribcage behind a wall on one side of the upper circle. It’s thought a young man who won the heart of an actress at the theatre was murdered by her jealous actor lover and his body hidden in the recess.

Seven Dials

Close to Covent Garden, nearest tube stop Covent Garden

Seven Dials is a road junction where seven alleys and back streets converge. It’s nestled between Shaftesbury Avenue and Longacre and sightings of ghosts have regularly been reported here.

The area was designed by Thomas Neale in the 17th century with the aim to create an affluent area to rival Covent Garden Piazza. He commissioned a sundail pillar, which was placed at the centre of the development and still stands today. Unfortunately, Neale’s vision wasn’t fulfilled and the district became poverty-stricken and home to pubs and gin shops.

In the 18th and 19th centuries a story began circulating that the Earl of Bedford - who was behind Covent Garden - had been buried under the sundail with a haul of gold. The ghosts of Seven Dials are thought to be drunks and treasure hunters who were hit by carriages while looking for the infamous stash.

Figures are sometimes seen rising up out of the road and disappearing into the shadows by drivers passing through the area on dark, moonless nights.

Charterhouse

On Charterhouse Square, nearest tube stop Barbican

Charterhouse is the only surviving town house from the Tudor period in the capital and it has a dark and scary history. As far back as the 14th century, this was a monastery for Carthusian monks. It flourished until the time of the reformation, when Henry VIII named himself head of the Church of England.

The monks refused to recognise his authority and as a result their prior was hung, drawn and quartered. The king even had one of his arms nailed on to the monastery’s gate to act as a warning to the remaining monks. Despite this, they held fast and 16 more of their number were executed before the king finally dissolved the monastery.

It was then awarded to Lord North, who converted it into a splendid mansion, which you can still see today. It’s said that the shadowy figure of a monk can sometimes be seen drifting aimlessly around the cobbled courtyards and streets that surround the house.

Meanwhile, the house itself is haunted by one of its former owners - Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk - who was beheaded after his involvement in a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I was uncovered. His ghost, carrying its head under its arm, is said to have been seen on the main staircase.

St Bartholomew Church

In West Smithfield, nearest tube stop Barbican

St Bartholomew Church is often named as the most haunted church in London and is said to be inhabited by several ghosts. When you think that the place is from the Norman period and dates from the 12th century, that probably comes as little surprise.

A monk called Rahere is one of the most frequently spotted spectres in the church. His tomb is located here and he has been seen walking near the Lady Chapel. Other ghosts to have been observed here include a clergyman giving a sermon from the pulpit and the 18th century satirical painter William Hogarth, who was baptised here.

It’s not just ghosts you may encounter if you pay a visit to St Bartholomew Church though - there have also been reports of people hearing screams, which are thought to belong to a priest who was burned to death in an iron cage at the behest of Henry VIII during the reformation.

Adding to its haunted reputation is the fact that it’s located near a place where executions were carried out centuries ago.

London Fashion Week is one of the "Big Four" fashion weeks and an unmissable event in any fashionistas calendar. So if catwalk shows and daring outfits inspire you to do a bit of shopping during your next trip to London, check out our guide to some of the best places to pick up on-trend fashion items.

Dover Street Market
Where: 17-18 Dover Street, Mayfair
Nearest tube stops: Green Park and Piccadilly Circus

For a wide selection of designer clothing you can't do much better than Dover Street Market where many of the world's top brands are represented. However, what makes it really stand out is that in among the familiar names you'll find collections from up-and-coming designers too, so it's a fantastic place to pick out some future talent.

To give you an idea of what to expect, the brands available here include Thom Browne, Chalayan, Givenchy, Alexander Wang, Comme de Garcons and Lene Lumelsky. There's also an entire section dedicated to jewellery on the ground floor.

After you've had your fill of designer collections here, make your way to the Piccadilly Circus tube station and take the Bakerloo line for just one stop to reach Oxford Circus and London's most famous shopping area - Regent Street and Oxford Street.

Liberty
Where: Regent Street
Nearest tube stop: Oxford Circus

Liberty is easy to spot with its distinctive Tudor-style exterior. This is a store to come to if you've got some serious cash to splash on fashion, with items from designers like Biba, Burberry, Orla Kiely and Vivienne Westwood among the things on sale here.

Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos from the Peter Pilotto label love Liberty, stating that what appeals most to them about the store is its "unabashed Britishness and heritage". Another good thing about Liberty is that it stocks men's, women's and children's wear, so no matter who you're shopping for you'll find something outstanding.
It's just a short walk to our next suggestion - Topshop on Oxford Street.

Topshop

Where: 214 Oxford Street
Nearest tube stops: Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road

If you're looking for something more affordable yet still bang on trend, you need to visit Topshop. The flagship store of the high street chain is truly huge and you should set aside a decent amount of time to browse its rails upon rails of clothing.

Head for the Unique and Boutique sections to find the quirkiest and most fashionable pieces and don't forget to have a good rummage in the sale racks - you never know what gems might be hidden there.

Hop on the tube at Oxford Circus and take the Bakerloo line three stops to reach Marylebone and our next suggestion: Alfie's Antique Market.

Alfie's Antique Market
Where: 13-25 Church Street, City of Westminster
Nearest tube stops: Marylebone and Edgware Road

This little treasure trove is a recommendation from two of London Fashion Week's designers (Danielle Scutt and Emilio de la Morena) and is a fantastic place to pick up quality vintage clothing.

There are 75 dealers in this indoor market selling all manner of furniture, antiques, collectables and clothes. Among the vendors to look out for if it's fashion items you're after are Lauren-Nicole Boutique, June Victor and Sheila Cameron. Many of the stores in here also have jewellery among their pieces, so it's a fantastic place to shop for some timeless vintage accessories too.

Once you've finished browsing, make a beeline for the Edgware Road tube station and take either the Circle or District line two stops to Bayswater, from where you can walk to Wolf & Badger.

Wolf & Badger
Where: 46 Ledbury Road, Kensington
Nearest tube stop: Bayswater

This boutique store is the place to come to pick out the next big thing in fashion, with up to 70 emerging designers holding a spot in this outlet at any one time. The shop has been running since 2010, when brothers Henry and George Graham decided to create a space for up-and-coming talent, as well as offer advice to the designers who showcase their pieces in the store.

According to Time Out, this is a favourite spot for London fashion blogger Jackie Dixon, who describes the store as having "an exquisite eye for designers" - definitely not one for fashionistas to miss.

Jump back on the tube at Bayswater and travel one stop north to Paddington. From here, take either the Hammersmith and City or Circle line to Liverpool Street, which will put you within walking distance of our final recommendation: Old Spitalfields Market.

Old Spitalfields Market

Where: Brushfield Street, Spitalfields
Nearest tube stop: Liverpool Street

Before we talk about the fashion on sale here, it's worth pointing out that the Victorian market hall itself is an attraction, being one of the best examples of this kind of building from this period. Back to the fashion, though; Old Spitalfields Market is an excellent place for bargain hunting, as you can find some real gems tucked away on its racks. Although there's a selection of fashion retailers who are permanently based here, it's best to try and visit on a Friday if you can, as this is fashion day at the market.

There's a good mix of well-known designers, vintage pieces and affordable brands on offer across the stalls, so there's something to suit every budget.
The Great River Race is one of London's top rowing events of the year, taking place every September. For the uninitiated, it's a gruelling 21 mile race along the Thames and, due to its length, it's sometimes called London's River Marathon. The atmosphere along the river banks is electric during the event, but the best spots to watch from are London's bridges.

Here are a few suggestions of the top places to cheer on the Great River Race competitors.

Tower Bridge


This is a popular spot among spectators of the race, with fantastic views of the boats if you can get to the railings to look down on the river. This is one of the first bridges the teams pass, so you can see them while they've still got plenty of energy.

Westminster Bridge


Another great place to set yourself up to see the crews in action is Westminster Bridge, with the currents in this part of the river making it a particularly challenging section of the course. You'll often see boats battling it out for position here, so it's an exciting place to be.

Battersea Bridge


This is at roughly the halfway point of the course and is a lively spot for spectators hoping to boost the crews as they power on. What's great about watching from here is that there's loads of space on the riverside promenades, as well as the bridge.

Hammersmith Bridge


Hammersmith Bridge isn't one of the most famous or popular viewing spots, but at the business-end of the race it's a great place to be. Tricky currents make it a thrilling section of the course.

Kew Bridge


This is a great option if you want to watch in more rural surroundings out of the city. The greenery on either side of the river makes Kew Bridge a picturesque spot and it's good to give the weary crews a boost as they get closer to the finishing line.

Richmond Bridge


Just before the finishing line is Richmond Bridge, so you can see the tired rowers pulling out all the stops to hold their position and cross the line, hopefully for a winning finish. This is a busy spot on the Great River Race, with crowds lining the bridge and riverbanks to give some final encouragement to the athletes. As a quick tip, don't just watch the first of the boats come past your position and then disappear - the teams have staggered starts, so you should stick around for a while to make sure you see most of the crews.
There's no better time to discover some of London's beautiful parks. These oases of green space in the bustling capital give you somewhere to escape to if you're in need of some peace and quiet.

We're going to take a look at Hyde Park - and give you a suggested walking route that will take in some of its most famous sites.

Starting point: Hyde Park Corner

Nearest underground station: Hyde Park Corner on the Piccadilly Line

The entrance at Hyde Park Corner is a rather grand archway made from Portland stone and adorned with Elgin marble sculptures that originally stood in the Parthenon in Athens. It was designed for King George IV in the 19th century and its grand design makes it easy to spot from the underground station.

Follow the main track that branches off to your left (this is also shared with cyclists) and walk for around 10 m until you reach a path that turns to your right - take this and you'll end up at the Rose Garden.

The Rose Garden


The Rose Garden is a beautiful spot in Hyde Park that, as its name suggests, boasts numerous rose bushes, as well as a host of other plants. The garden was designed by Alexander Munro in the 19th century, while the fountain by Countess Fedora Gleiched was added in 1906.

What's particularly great about the Rose Garden is that it has been planted in such a way that there is always a splash of colour in the borders no matter what time of year you're visiting. The roses are particularly spectacular in the early summer, though.

As you come out of this enclosure, take the path that bears to the right, as this will lead you past the Holocaust Memorial Garden.

Holocaust Memorial Garden

This is a simple tribute to those who lost their lives at the hands of the Nazi regime during World War II and has the distinction of being Britain's first public memorial to victims of the Holocaust. It was created in 1963, with the centrepiece four boulders surrounded by gravel, the largest of which bears an inscription from the Book of Lamentations.

As you leave the Holocaust Memorial Garden, take the path that leads to the right and joins the Serpentine Road. When you reach this trail, turn to your left and follow it along the banks of the Serpentine Lake.

The Serpentine


This lake is one of Hyde Park's most prominent features and it was created by Queen Caroline, who was the wife of King George II. The lake is a popular place to come during the summertime, with the Lido on the opposite bank to your path a favourite spot for hardy swimmers.

If you don't feel like taking a dip, consider instead going boating. As you follow the path that runs beside the lake you'll come to a boating centre where you can hire a rowing or pedal boat and spend some time exploring on the water. You can pay for your vessel by the hour or half hour, so spend as long as you'd like here before continuing your walk.

Once you've finished rowing around the lake, head back to shore and follow the path that sticks close to the water. Towards the end of this track you'll meet the road that crosses the famous Serpentine Bridge - a stunning structure that was built in the 1820s by brothers John and George Rennie.

Cross the bridge and walk to your left, following the opposite bank of the lake. This will bring you to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain


This is one of the latest additions to Hyde Park, having been opened in 2004. The fountain in the centre is surrounded by a stream that flows in two directions from the highest point, gently cascading down until it meets in a pool at the bottom. There are various bridges crossing the water to allow you to sit in the centre and enjoy the scenes around you - feel free to dip your toes in the stream if you're feeling a little warm.

From here, you need to head back the way you just came and cross West Carriage Gate and take the trail that leads to the right, directing you back to the water's edge - this time alongside the Long Water. You're now technically in Kensington Gardens, rather than Hyde Park!

If you want to, you can turn away from the water here and head across Kensington Gardens to reach the beautiful Kensington Palace (which is less than a 20 minute walk away). However, we're going to continue on the path beside the Long Water.

Peter Pan Statue


After a short while you'll reach the Peter Pan statue - a charming sculpture designed by Anne Marie Briscombe to capture the spirit of JM Barrie's famous children's tale. The author lived close to Kensington Gardens and used it for inspiration when he was writing the Peter Pan story.

Continue following the tree-lined walkway and you'll reach the end of the Long Water, coming to the beautiful Italian Gardens.

Italian Gardens


This ornamental water garden is dotted with intricate sculptures carved out of marble and Portland stone. There are four main basins here and each is as elaborately decorated as the last.

Prince Albert is believed to have commissioned the gardens as a gift for Queen Victoria and the 150-year-old attraction is still as beautiful now as it must have been then. Spend some time admiring the delicate carving on the stone, some of which has been renovated recently to ensure it remains in good condition.

From here it is just a short walk to Marlborough Gate, where you can rejoin the hustle and bustle of the city!

Finishing point: Marlborough Gate
Nearest underground station: Lancaster Gate on the Central Line

On October 9th, the 57th British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival will get underway, with an exciting programme of screenings planned until its close on October 20th. To mark the event, we’ve come up with a few cinematic attractions in the capital that movie fans shouldn’t miss.

 

The Cinema Museum

Where: 2 Dugard Way, Kennington

The Cinema Museum is home to a wonderful collection of memorabilia and equipment relating to the early days of cinema, from the 1890s, right through to pieces from the present day. Among the items in its varied exhibits are movie posters, uniforms worn by cinema staff, film projectors, furnishings from theatres and signage.

It also holds 17 million feet of film in its archive, along with numerous publications like fan magazines and periodicals relating to the movie industry. It offers a fascinating insight into cinema through the ages.

 

London Film Museum South Bank

Where: Queens Walk, South Bank

This is one of two London Film Museum locations in the capital and it’s home to an amazing set of exhibitions that movie fans will love. One of its permanent installations looks at the life and work of Charlie Chaplin, while another examines the career of Ray Harryhausen - a renowned writer, producer and visual effects creator.

The venue also hosts temporary exhibitions and is well worth a visit if you’re keen on learning more about the film industry.

 

London Film Museum Covent Garden

Where: 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden

London Film Museum Covent Garden is the newer of the two sites and in this exhibition space you can delve into the history of film making. Its permanent exhibition Capturing the Shadows looks at some of the oldest forms of visual entertainment - like shadow theatre, the optical lantern, photography and kinetic animation - and explains how these elements came together to help create cinematography.

Explore the exhibits in the Lights, Camera, London! installation and you can get a glimpse into the role the capital has played in the development of the movie industry over the years, as well as see numerous examples where it’s featured in famous films.

The Notting Hill Carnival is one of the biggest street festivals not only in London, but also in Europe. This extravaganza of colourful costumes, upbeat music and lively dancing is a real feast for the senses, but where can you go to escape the crowds if you want to relax for an hour or two?

We'll give you the lowdown on some of the best pubs in Notting Hill where you can grab a quick drink and recharge your batteries before jumping back into the festivities. All of the places we mention are within easy reach of the main carnival route, so if you'll be heading down, check out one or two of our recommendations.

The Fat Badger
310 Portobello Road (about 2 minutes from Ladbroke Grove, part of the carnival route)

The Fat Badger is a great place to come if you want to chill out with a couple of drinks before or after you've watched the carnival. The decor is light and open, while the menu offers a good selection of dishes - including some very unusual options like pigs trotter sausage - and reasonable prices.

There are plenty of comfy sofas and armchairs where you can rest up ahead of more dancing in the streets when you rejoin the crowds.

The Cow

89 Westbourne Park Road (about 3 minutes from Great Western Road, part of the carnival route)

This pub is a real favourite among the locals and is particularly well known for its gastropub menu that serves up some real treats, albeit at more expensive prices than the previous option. The dining room is above the main bar downstairs, so sit back with a pint and chat to the locals if you're not feeling too hungry.

A word of advice - because of the quality of The Cow's food, it's essential to book a table in advance, so make sure you plan ahead if you want to eat here, especially while the carnival's on.

The Grand Union

45 Woodfield Road (about 5 minutes from Great Western Road, part of the carnival route)

Just a quick walk over the canal will take you away from the main focus of the carnival and allow you to unwind with a quick drink by the water. The Grand Union is a restored Victorian pub with a good reputation for food and a wonderful outdoor terrace right next to the canal - ideal if the weather is kind and you want to soak up a bit of sunshine.

There’s nowhere quite like London in the festive season, with the city’s streets decked out in sparkling lights and elaborate decorations. Christmas markets pop up all over the place and, of course, you’ve got the allure of some of the world’s best shopping destinations, namely Oxford Street and Regent Street.

We’re going to have a look at a few of the best places to find the perfect gifts - we’ve got the old favourites in our list, as well as a couple of spots you may not have thought of.

Oxford Street
Getting there: take the tube to Oxford Circus

Christmas has well and truly arrived on Oxford Street, with all the stores filling their windows with festive displays and countless twinkling lights hanging over the street - you really need to stay until darkness falls to fully appreciate them.

Although the lights are beautiful, it’s not really these that you’re here for - it’s the host of amazing shops. There really is something for everyone along Oxford Street, with the likes of Accessorize, Debenhams, Selfridges, Next, Disney Store, the Body Shop, Urban Outfitters and Marks and Spencer all having outlets here.

If you’ve got children to buy for, head to nearby Regent Street and visit Hamleys, where there are five floors of toys, books and a host of fun stocking fillers that are just perfect for little ones.

Covent Garden
Getting there: take the tube to Covent Garden

Covent Garden is another of London’s most famous shopping destinations, but it’s one that offers a much more quirky retail experience. The market is full of individual stalls that are manned by craftsmen and women who have some stunning goods to sell - if you’re after a unique gift, this is the place to come to.

Surrounding the market is an array of shops - although these are typically not your standard high street names either. Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop specialises in wooden toys, while the Moomin Shop is full of items relating to the cartoon. Tea Palace is a great place to pick up an unusual brew or two, while Hope and Greenwood stocks a huge variety of sweets - wonderful for a festive treat.

The great thing about doing your Christmas shopping in Covent Garden is that there are some delightful little cafes, restaurants and bars close by where you can grab some refreshments - there are even special stalls for the season. For a festive treat, head to one of the mulled wine stalls for a mug of the warming tipple, as well as a mince pie or roasted chestnuts. Covent Garden is also a wonderful choice for families, as there are plenty of things to keep children entertained. This year there’s a giant Lego snowglobe in the centre of the square, with the scene inside featuring various London landmarks.

Southbank Centre Christmas Market
Getting there: take the tube to Waterloo or Embankment

This Christmas market is one of London’s most picturesque, with the quaint wooden stalls running along the banks of the Thames. There are 80 stands this year selling unique hand-crafted products, as well as delicious food and drink.

You can indulge in the likes of mulled wine, hot chocolate, bratwursts, gingerbread and mince pies as you browse the stalls. This is a wonderful place to find unique gifts, as all of the vendors work alone or are part of small businesses.

There’s a wonderful festive atmosphere in this part of London, with the smells of the food and drink wafting along the cool air and plenty of festive cheer to go around. The market is open well into the evening too - 9pm or 10pm depending on the day of the week - so it’s ideal if you only have your evenings free.

Portobello Road
Getting there: take the tube to Ladbroke Grove or Notting Hill Gate

Portobello Road and its market is one of London’s most fun and quirky shopping areas. As well as the permanent shops, there are dozens of stalls that line the streets, providing a varied array of items for you to buy as Christmas presents.

Among the things you’ll find here are clothing, jewellery and music, as well as antiques, vintage items and tasty food products. This is a great all-round shopping experience and, if you look carefully, you could come home with a real bargain or two.

The Christmas lights here were switched on in mid-November, so it’s definitely feeling festive along Portobello Road.