Friday, 11 December 2015

Christmas in London

There is something magical about this time of the year, especially in London.

London is a very busy city. Everybody is in a rush, all the time. Londoners spend a long time in public transport, so they try to shorten it by running everywhere. They rarely have the time to stop for a casual chat and certainly they will never have the time to talk to a stranger. Most Londoners look often grumpy due to this rush, but you can see during the Christmas period that under that always-busy look there is an actual human being.

People get excited and start wearing Christmas jumpers (the uglier, the better), reindeer antlers and put up Christmas decorations. It is the time for work parties, mulled wine, visiting the family, stuffing your face with mince pies and trying to remain sane when shopping for presents.
From the 1st of December, you can feel the excitement building up. By mid-December, Londoners go Christmas-crazy and by the 1st of January they wake up hungover and tangled in tinsel. And they will promise to take it easier next year, drink less and stop wasting money. But they won't, because this is London and we like the hustle and bustle, the crowded streets, the  never ending parties, the lights and the noise.

Anyway, what does this mean for tourists? This means that Christmas is one of the best times to visit London if you don't mind cold weather and that it's dark by 4pm. And remember, on the 25th there is NO public transport. AT ALL. I know that it sounds odd, but it is true. If you want to go somewhere, you will have to walk or take a taxi (fares more expensive than usual).

So, Merry Christmas everybody! We hope that you have a great time.
Like our Facebook page to keep updated on Christmas events all over London.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The importance of being Earnest

London is one of the best cities for those who love theatre. There are plays everywhere around the city, of all kinds, some expensive and some affordable.

Lately, we decided to treat ourselves to The importance of being Earnest.
Not only because we are great fans of Oscar Wilde's works, but also because we heard that David Suchet was playing Lady Bracknell! And we had to witness that performance.

So, under the cheap excuse that we wanted to go merely to write a review for our readers, we got a couple of tickets and off we went to the Vaudeville Theatre.

It was brilliant. Probably the best performance of this masterpiece I have ever seen. The actors, absolutely fabulous, clearly enjoyed the play as much as the spectators did. And David Suchet (he made a marvelous Lady Bracknell) surely enjoyed it more than anyone else.

Oscar Wilde would have been proud of this performance; Cecily (Imogen Doel) was at her cheekiest and Philip Cumbus (playing Algernon) almost choked on muffins.

We left with painful cheeks after so much laughter and with light hearts. We should enjoy Wilde's works more often. His wit is immortal. 120 years after the first time it was performed and it is still a success.

If you have never read (or watched) this play, we encourage you to do so. There is a recent film and of course you can find the play in almost any bookshop in London.

Picture via

What's your favourite play? Have you ever come to London exclusively to watch a play? Or to perform one?

Friday, 2 October 2015

How large is London?

Have you ever asked yourself this question before booking your flights? I encounter many tourists that are surprised by how large this city is and complain about the time spent going from, let's say, Oxford Street to Greenwich.
My best piece of advice here is to take a map (Google maps works just fine), choose what you want to visit and see how long it'd take you to arrive from one attraction to the next one.
You may think that everything is too far away, but when you come to London, you have to change your perception.

Basically, anything that is less than 30 minutes away by public transport is considered to be close. 30 minutes to one hour, average; and over one hour, far away.

Please bear this in mind or you will feel like you're wasting your holidays in a smelly underground carriage (actually, you are, same as Londoners waste months commuting). But still, it is worth it.

Image via Buzzfeed

Thursday, 24 September 2015

5 over-rated London attractions...

5 over-rated London attractions... and their alternatives.

We know that many of you are traveling on a budget and that you can't stay in London for as long as you'd like to. What to visit? What to prioritize? Well, we always try to help you out, so below you'll find a totally subjective list of over-rated London attractions that you should avoid and what you can do instead.

5) Piccadilly Circus:
Yes, you've seen hundreds of pictures of it. Ero's fountain and all the advert billboards. And you know what else? HUNDREDS of people, busy traffic, noise, selfie sticks...
Honestly, there's not much to do there, unless you want to buy a mug in M&M world. Admit it, you only want to go take a picture of the fountain. Our suggestion, download a professional picture of it and instead go to Kensington Gardens (lovely) to take a picture of the Peter Pan's statue:

image via wikipedia

4) Covent Garden:
Londoners wonder why tourists go there. Is it because of the market? Because of the boutiques? Or simply because it's mentioned in every London handbook? I'm sorry to break the news, but there is not much to see, apart from nice buildings and boutiques you will never get in because you can't afford to buy anything there (where else would you find an Apple store?).
So, our alternative: Leadenhall Market. The building is stunning!

image via wikipedia

3) London Eye:
It's expensive. You will spend hours queuing, even if you already have a ticket. £20 for a 30-minutes ride with a bunch of strangers. A waste of time? Definitely!
Our alternative: Primrose Hill. Free sightseeing from the top of the hill, for as long as you want!

2) London Dungeon:
Those who visit this place, do you really know what you're getting yourself into? No? Of course you don't. This attraction (not a museum, or a theatre) offers a pretty scary experience. Are you really coming to Europe's capital to get scared? Please, don't. If you want to know what fear means, think of a tube strike during your holidays in London! Now, THAT is fear.
Our alternative is Torture at the Tower. At the Tower of London you can visit a vast room where prisoners used to be tortured. Yeah, for real. They have replicas of the instruments used. Gross. But you like that, don't you?

image via wikipedia

1) Madame Tussaud's:
My personal undesirable no 1. I was dragged to visit it with a friend and, yes, plenty of wax figures. Interesting? Not a bit. Do you really want to get onto a stage, surrounded by famous characters? Here's our alternative: Harry Potter world.
The tour is amazing, both kids and adults love it. It's like plunging into J. K. Rowling's books.

 image via wikipedia

Do you have any other suggestions? Anything that you consider a waste of time visiting?

Friday, 21 August 2015

Redecorating Peckham III

And at last but not least, Peckhamania!
This decoration is a celebration of the arts in Peckham, how unique this neighborhood is, with so many art galleries and art spaces, with a creative and innovative population. A simple walk through Peckham resembles a visit to an art gallery.

Taken these pieces of art as inspiration, we created Peckhamania:

Bright, colorful rooms with an urban feeling.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Redecorating Peckham II

Following to our explanation of the new refurbishment, here's the next chapter: Council couture.
Rooms decorated on a retro style, celebrating the cockney accent. And how do you do that? Well, the retro part is easy, just choose a nice wallpaper and curtains, and as for the cockney... nothing better than Only fools and horses!

I think that we got to make these rooms quite bright and cheerful. I hope that you like them:

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Redecorating Peckham I

You know that we are redecorating and we'd like to give you an insight of what's going on.
The hotel is formed of three buildings, so we decided to decorate each one of them in a different style representing different chapters of Peckham's history.

The first style, called "Working memoirs" is focused on the fast growth experienced by the neighborhood when workers moved in the area looking for accommodation.
Since our main building was formerly the headquarters of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, this topic was the most adequate.

We looked into the building's and the neighborhood's history, we found a quote by Sir John Boyd, who was general secretary of the AUEW, "I always insisted that we make our large front garden as beautiful as possible for those who passed by to gaze upon an oasis in a concrete jungle"; there is where we got the inspiration for the green walls. And of course, we couldn't go without some rusty machine wheels.

So here's what we did:

Despite our love for steampunk, we didn't want to go there and I think that we avoided it.
You cannot see it on the picture, but we have hidden an inspirational Benjamin Franklin's quote in the room.

Any comments? Do you love it? Hate it?