How to Avoid Jet lag

How to Avoid Jet Lag

Posted by & filed under Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, London, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC.

Many of our tour guests who travel from afar or from overseas have trouble to adjust to the new time difference in their destination city. Here are some tips on how to avoid jet lag.

When you travel to another time zone, your internal clock is off – that’s what you call jet lag. Usually getting over jet lag should take 3-4 days depending on how far you have traveled from. Flying eastwards will make it a bit harder to adjust to the new time zone, then when you are flying westwards. That is because our body accepts it better if you are staying up a little later, then having to go to bed much earlier than usual. In addition, if you are used to getting up rather early, flying eastwards is a little bit easier than for people who generally stay up late. And vice versa, if you are a night owl, you will have less trouble adjusting, if you were traveling westwards.

How can I avoid  jet lag or at least minimize it?

  • Start to adjust your internal clock several days before you fly, by staying up later (if traveling westwards) or getting to bed earlier (if travelling eastwards).
  • Once you are in the plane, act like you are in your destination time zone already e.g. change your clock, take a nap, eat moderately or skip a meal and avoid alcohol.
  • Be healthy and well rested. The more you rest before your big travel, the easier it will be to adjust to your new time zone.
  • If you are travelling overseas, on the day of your flight, try to sleep in or sleep as long as you can. This goes for either direction, as you will likely skip a night travelling eastwards, or you will have to stay up much longer when you arrive travelling westwards.
  • Bring a neck pillow and nap on the plane. Even if you don’t fall asleep into a deep slumber, your body will thank you later for each little 20 minute nap you do on the plane.
  • Stay hydrated. It’s best to purchase a bottle of water at the airport (after you are through security), so you don’t have to get the stewardess attention every time.
  • Once you arrive, don’t nap more than 30 minutes or go to bed immediately if it’s not bedtime yet. Stay up till at least 9 pm. This discipline on your first day of arrival, will get you over jetlag much faster.

Other things to consider when travelling to different time zones and jet lag:

When flying westwards, e.g. from Europe to New York, or from Washington DC to San Francisco: Don’t make any late evening plans the first couple of nights.  You might think you are up to it, but your body will tell you otherwise. If you are booking our walking tours, stick to the morning and daytime tours, and avoid the evening tours.

When flying eastwards, e.g. from California to New York, or from Boston to London: Don’t make any morning plans the first couple of days.  Instead plan more things to do in the afternoon and evenings. If you are booking our walking tours, avoid the early 10 am tours, and go for the afternoon or evening tours.

+++We hope you have safe and enjoyable travels without much jet lag and we look forward to having you on our famous pay-what-you-like walking tours soon.+++

London Harrods

Harrods

Posted by & filed under London.

Perhaps the most famous department store in the world, Harrods is located in the u-market London neighbourhood of Kightsbridge. Founded in 1834 the store has been an international shopping destination for decades and last year boasted revenue upwards of £691 million! Spanning a 5-acre site and holding over one million square feet of selling space, Harrods is easily the biggest department store in Europe – with over 330 different departments located inside.

Beginnings

At the age of 25, Charles Henry Harrod opened a haberdashery, draper and mercer shop just south of the Thames, in Southwark, in 1824. From this first record of business, Harrod went on to open a grocery shop in Clerkenwell in 1832, a wholesale grocery business in 1834, and finally a retail shop near Hyde Park in 1851. Originally contained inside a single room, Harrod’s son, Charles Digby Harrod, transformed the original shop into a thriving business selling medicines, perfumes, stationery, fruit and vegetables. The shop rapidly expanded and by 1880 was a place of employment for over 100 people. This shop soon faced tragedy, however, and was lost in a fire in 1883.

However, despite the fact the fire burned the shop down in early December, Charles Harrod managed to make all of his scheduled delivers by Christmas that year – becoming somewhat of a sensation around town. As rebuilding quickly commenced, the shop rapidly became known as a shop for the rich and famous, counting some of the biggest Victorian celebrities as clients: Oscar Wilde, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward, Charlie Chaplin, and the British Royal Family, just to name a few.

 

World Firsts

Harrods was home to England’s first working escalator. Known at the time as a “moving staircase” the escalator was opened to the public in November of 1898. Customers who were brave enough to make a journey up or down the moving staircase were giving brandy at the end of their trip to help relax after their risky adventure!

Today

Today, Harrods belongs to Qatar Holdings – the sovereign wealth fund of the state of Qatar. It was bought from the Al-Fayed family in May 2010. However, today Harrods is no longer just a shop. It’s an international brand that includes Harrods Bank, Harrods Aviation, Air Harrods, and Harrods Estates. Although, the original Harrods building still located in Knightsbridge is still the primary, and most well-known, part of the business.

Harrods boasts over 330 departments holding goods varying from jewellery, sporting goods, home furniture, stationery, electronics, clothing…the list could go on! In addition to the retail departments, Harrods holds food halls and numerous restaurants, personal shopping services, a beauty salon and spa, and bespoke fragrance formulations!

It’s estimated that around 300,000 visitors come into Harrods on peak shopping days – making up the highest proportion of customers from non-English speaking countries of any department store in London. Today, Harrods employs over 5,000 staff from all over the world.

The Diana Connection

When Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997, Mohamed Al-Fayed (who owned Harrods at the time) also lost his son, Dodi Al-Fayed. Nearly immediately after, Mohamed ordered the construction of a memorial to commemorate both Diana and Dodi. Unveiled in April 1998, the memorial consists of photographs of Dodi and Diana as well as a wine glass smudged with lipstick from Diana’s last dinner, and a ring that is claimed was bought by Dodi for Diana as an engagement ring.

In 2005 another memorial was unveiled. This one is a sculpture by William Mitchell, called “Innocent Victim.” The bronze work depicts Dodi and Diana dancing on a beach.

 

Visitor Information

  • Location: 87-135 Brompton Road, London SW1X 7XL
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00am – 9:00pm; Sunday: 11:30am – 6:00pm
  • Nearest Underground Station: Knightsbridge
  • Bus Routes: 9, 10, 14, 52, 74, 414, 452, C1
  • Restaurants: Harrods holds over two dozen places to eat. From afternoon teas, to sandwiches, to budget-breaking bottles of champagne, it’s always fun to make having a bite to eat a part of your Harrods experience.

Dress Code: Harrods previously had a dress code which resulted in the refusal to admit a number of people including a woman with a Mohican haircut, a 15-stone woman, a football team in track suits, a scout troop, and a soldier in uniform. Although the dress code has been relaxed, rules still apply. Visitors will be turned away if they are wearing dirty or unkempt clothing, if they are sweating profusely, if they have bare feet or a bare midriff, or if they are wearing swimwear. SO keep that in mind when you plan your shopping outfit!

London Diana Memorial Fountain

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain

Posted by & filed under London.

Few British royals have ever captured the hearts of the public as quickly and as completely as Princess Diana. From her debut on the world stage during her 1981 marriage to Charles, the Prince of Wales, to her untimely death in a Paris car crash in 1997, the world was obsessed with Princess Diana. In 2004 a memorial fountain, honouring the life of Diana, was unveiled in Hyde Park in London. Initially plagued with controversy, today the fountain offers joy – and an excellent way to cool off during the summer months – to the thousands who visit the fountain every year.

Creation

The memorial fountain was designed by an American landscape artist, Kathryn Gustafson. The artist wanted the fountain to be easily accessible to the public to reflect Diana’s “inclusive” personality and to reflect the fact that she was seen as an ‘accessible’ figure to the public. The fountain cost £3.6million to construct and was pieced together using 545 separate pieces of granite from Cornwall.

Although it is referred to as a fountain, it is actually more of an oval-shaped stream. The fountain is circular and runs around a patch of grass around 50m by 80m (165ft by 260ft). The stream itself is around 3m to 6m (10ft to 20ft) wide at different points. The stream is shallow and water is pumped from a slightly elevated part of the fountain, pushing the water down either side of the circle. The fountain is not smooth and consists of numerous cuts, elevated steps of different sizes, false ‘rocks’ and smooth pieces, but the bottom part of the fountain is a tranquil pool.

Interpretation

All of the different effects and textures built into the stream are said to represent the parts of Diana’s life: the turmoil, and the happy times. In fact, there is a lot of interpretation about the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. In addition to the above, many believe the circular formation represents the circle of life, a Mobius strip, life vs. death, or even a meaningless endeavour. The circular formation was also intended to be a path for the public to walk through to aid in contemplation and relaxation.

Controversy

The fountain also came under some criticism because of the cost that was spent. Many people questioned the will of Princess Diana – would she have wanted over £3million spent on a fountain to reflect her life? Many doubted that would be the case. Controversy also raged over the name of the fountain, with many complaining that the word ‘fountain’ wasn’t actually applicable to the memorial at all.

In addition – the fountain was the source of controversy and embarrassment within mere days of opening to the public. Unfortunately, the fact that the fountain was made to be accessible to the public meant that a number of accidents took place when the fountain was initially opened. Shortly after its debut to the public, the fountain was the cause of three hospitalisations of people who had slipped in the water – some breaking their ankles-, while walking along the circular route. It was also complained that leaves of nearby trees were floating into the water and making it unsafe for visits to tread through. The initial reaction to this was to close the fountain to the public – surrounding it with a fence and manned with personnel to keep visitors out. However, that was quickly abandoned and today the fountain is again accessible.

 

Visitor Information

  • Address: Hyde Park, W Carriage Drive, London W2 2UH
  • Nearest Underground Station: Knightsbridge Station, Lancaster Gate Station or Marble Arch
  • Nearest Railway Station: Paddington Station
  • Bus Routes: NUMEROUS – 2, 9, 10, 14, 16, 19, 22, 36, 38, 52, 73, 74, 82, 137, 148, 414, 436
  • Cost: FREE

Hours:

  • April to August – 10am – 8pm
  • September – 10am – 7pm
  • October – 10am – 6pm
  • November to February – 10am – 4pm
  • March – 10am – 6pm
London Christmas lights

Christmas Lights in London

Posted by & filed under London.

A highlight of the year for Londoners and tourists alike, London really shines during the Christmas season. Beginning in early November lights and decorations begin to pop up all over town as London is slowly draped in Christmas cheer. Check out our list of the best places to soak up the shining lights this year.

 

 

Oxford Street – The largest and most famous set of lights in London, Christmas lights on Oxford Street have been shining for 55 years. This year the street will be covered in 1, 778 sparkling white orbs. Switch On: 6th November

Duke of York Square – In Chelsea, the Duke of York Square is located just off the King’s Road. The date of the switch on will also hold a party – carols, roasted chestnuts and face painting. It is rumoured that Father Christmas will be visiting and volunteers will be on hand to offer free gift wrapping services for any purchases you may have picked up in the area. Switch On: 8th November

Covent Garden – Covent Garden always goes all out for Christmas. Decorations, a 60ft tree, topiary reindeer, baubles and ornaments, all shining with Christmas lights. This year the theme will be LEGO and LEGO creations will be included in the Christmas decorations in the Piazza. Live reindeer petting, Santa’s helpers, and Christmas pantomime can all be expected on a festive visit to Covent Garden. Switch On: 9th November

Trafalgar Square – Since 1947 Trafalgar Square as held London’s largest Christmas tree; a yearly gift from Norway as thanks for support and friendship during WWII. Each evening throughout the season there will be carollers performing by the tree and Nelson’s Column will get a festive decoration! Switch On: 9th November

Carnaby Street – This year, Carnaby Street is hosting a Shopping Party to go alongside the light switch on. The theme this year is ‘Music and Fashion’ and the event is ticketed – but tickets are FREE! Switch On: 13th November

Regent Street – Regent Street is going pedestrian-only for their light switch on this year. Celebrities will come out in the evening for a Christmas show and festivities will be held on the street throughout the day. Switch On: 16th November

Greenwich – Christmas will come to Greenwich Market this year with crafts and gifts on sale. Shoppers can listen to carols while they shop and Father Christmas will be there in his Greenwich Grotto. Date: 26th November

Jermyn Street, St. James – A classic evening of music, readings and carols, Jermyn Street in St. James will be displaying beautiful lights and decorations this year. The switching-on ceremony will be followed by a party in the nearby restaurant Quaglino’s. Switch On: 27th November

London Bridge Tower Bridge

London Bridge vs. Tower Bridge

Posted by & filed under London.

A mistake made the world over, confusing London Bridge and Tower Bridge is easily done. One of these bridges has a name famous across the globe, the other is a stunning symbol of London – but which one is which?! Obviously the best way to find out is to come along on one of our City of London Tour, but if you’d like to do a bit of research before you come along here is a guide to clarify one of the biggest London misconceptions!

 1 – Take a Look

London Bridge Tower Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

2 – What’s In a Name?

Now you’ve seen that these two bridges look nothing alike – so why is it so easy to get them mixed up? The simple answer is: THE NAME.

 London Bridge – London Bridge is likely the most famously named bridge in the entire world. It’s even got a nursery rhyme centred entirely around it (“London Bridge is falling down…”). So everybody knows the NAME London Bridge even though the majority of people don’t know what it looks like.

 Tower Bridge – Tower Bridge is clearly a more beautiful bridge than London Bridge. And when you think of bridges in London, Tower Bridge is the one that always comes to mind. It’s used as a symbol of London and is recognisable to visitors from all over the world – even if the majority of people don’t know what it is actually called.

 

3 – Know Your History

 

London Bridge – London Bridge has existed in one form or another for nearly 2,000 years now. It’s the site of the oldest crossing of the River Thames on record. The London Bridge that still stands today dates from 1973. So, despite the fact London Bridge has existed here the longest, the actual bridge standing today is one of the more modern bridges over the Thames in London.

Tower Bridge – Tower Bridge was opened in 1894 making this a purely Victorian bridge. Very little has changed over the following decades so Tower Bridge looks pretty much exactly how it would have when it first opened – aside from a new lick of paint!

 

4 – Decoration and Design

London Bridge – London Bridge is not grand in design and has very few architectural details. The most notable decoration on London Bridge is the artistic ‘spike’ sculpture sitting on the south side of the Bridge. This is a reference to the 30 spikes that used to be displayed on London Bridge, displaying the severed heads of traitors against the crown. Since the current bridge was built in the 1970’s, it’s a simplistic concrete design typical of that time period.

Tower Bridge – Tower Bridge is nearly ENTIRELY decoration! Bright blues and grey colours the Bridge is topped with two neo-gothic towers with a covered walkway suspended between the two. This bridge is actually built to look even older than it is – the huge grey stones were selected to give the bridge a medieval feeling – which partially contributes to the fact that most people believe this is the centuries-old London Bridge.

5 – Visiting the Bridges

London Bridge – No museum stands here and there is no fee to walk across London Bridge.

Tower Bridge – Tower Bridge his host to The Tower Bridge Experience which offers visitors a chance to walk in the covered walkway atop the bridge. Inside is exhibits primarily concerned with the creation and history of Tower Bridge as well as an exhibition about various famous bridges the world over. A ticket is £8.00 for adults and £3.40 for children.

6 – Nearest Underground Stations

London Bridge – To make things even more confusing, although London Bridge Underground Station is close to London Bridge, Monument Station is actually the best station to use when visiting the bridge.

Tower Bridge – Look for the word ‘Tower’ to help you remember. Tower Hill Station is the closest, although it is also possible to get here from…you guessed it, London Bridge Station!

 

Written by Margaret

View from the Tower Bridge London

Charles Dickens Museum

Posted by & filed under London.

Contained inside the previous London home of Charles Dickens, the Dickens Museum holds the world’s finest collection of Dickens-related items. Visited by Dickens enthusiasts from around the world, the Museum offers a unique perspective not only to the life of Charles Dickens, but the Victorian London society.

The Home of Charles Dickens

48 Doughty Street was home to Charles Dickens from the date he moved in – 25 March 1837 – to his departure in December 1839. Charles moved into the house with his wife, Catherine, just a year after they were married. Two of Dickens’ daughters were born in the house; Mary Dickens in 1838 and Kate Macready Dickens in 1839. In addition to the newly-married couple, Catherine’s 17-year-old sister lived (and died) in the house as did Charles’ younger brother, Frederick.

Whilst living on Doughty Street, Charles completed the Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, and Nicholas Nickleby! He also began work on Barnaby Rudge. The lease Dickens had on the property was a 3-year-lease…at a cost of £80 a year! However, as Dickens’ career took off and he became more and more wealthy, he chose to move to grander, more expensive homes. But despite the fact that Dickens lived in many houses in London, this is the only house of his that still stands.

The Dickens Museum

In 1923, the house on Doughty Street was set to be demolished but was saved by the Dickens Fellowship – a group of Dickens enthusiasts founded in 1902 as an international association of people who are interested in the life and works of Charles Dickens. The foundation bought the property, renovated the house, and opened the Dickens Museum here in 1925.

Any and all items related to Charles Dickens are on display here. The Museum boasts that it holds the “world’s most important collection of paintings, rare editions, manuscripts, original furniture and other items relating to the life and work of Dickens.” This impressive collection is carefully arranged and displayed over the three floors of the house.

Visitor Information

Location: 48 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LX

Ticket Prices: Adult – £8.00 Concession – £6.00   Child 6-16 – £4.00  Under 6 – FREE

Opening Hours: 7 Days a week, 10am – 5pm. Last Admission is 4:00pm. [Occasionally the Museum may need to close for special events and maintenance so always check the website before planning your visit.]

Getting Here:

  • Nearest Underground Station – Russell Square, Chancery Lane, Holborn, or King’s Cross
  • Nearest Rail Station – Kings Cross St. Pancras
  • Bus Routes – 7, 17, 19, 38, 45, 46, 55, 243
  • Website: www.dickensmuseum.com

What’s On:

The Museum holds various events all year round. From Costumed Tours to Halloween Events, Photography Workshops to Dickens Walking Tours, Charles Dickens’ House provides much more than a standard visit to a museum! Check their website to see what is coming up during your visit: https://dickensmuseum.digitickets.co.uk/tickets

London Eye

London Events in November

Posted by & filed under London.

When the clocks have gone back and the evenings draw in, the temperature slowly drops and London’s festive season comes to life! There’s no shortage of things to do, places to go, and fun to have here in November.

 

Regent Street Motor Show – On the day of the Motor Show, Regent Street will be closed to all public traffic. The Street will then be filled with exotic, classic, vintage, and unusual cars dating from as early as 1905 and as recent as this year. This is the largest motor show in the UK and is good fun for car lovers and families alike.

Date: 1st November 2014 from 10:00am to 16:00am

Cost: FREE

 

The Lord Mayor’s Show – Dating back to 1215 when King John granted the citizens of London to elect their own mayor, the Lord Mayo’s Show is a fabulous display of pomp and ceremony along the oldest streets in London. The newly elected Mayor of London will travel from the City to Westminster to pledge allegiance to the crown – and all of London can join the celebration. A colourful procession of pages, soldiers, horses and carriages will travel through London, finishing with a fireworks display over the river Thames.

Date: 8th November

Cost: FREE

More Info: www.lordmayorshow.org

 

Bonfire Night – Also known as Guy Fawkes Night, this is the night of the year where Brits commemorate the Gunpowder Plot. A scheme to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, the Gunpowder Plot failed and all the conspirators were arrested, tried and executed. To celebrate the failure of the Plot every year, firework displays, bonfires, and parties are held throughout the country.

London has a plethora of events and firework shows to choose from a small sampling of which are listed below.

Date: Various

Cost: Various

More Info:

Battersea Park – www.wandsworth.gov.uk

Alexandra Palace – www.alexandrapalace.com

Southwark Park – www.southwark.gov.uk

 

Remembrance Day/Sunday – Throughout the United Kingdom 11th November is known as Remembrance Day (or alternatively: Poppy Day and Armistice Day). This is the day of the year when Brits commemorate the lives of those who died in the first two World Wars, as well as subsequent conflicts. A two-minute silence will be held at 11:00am on the 11th of November – wherever you may be, you will notice those respecting this silence. All of London will fall quiet regardless of jobs to do, places to be, etc.

Remembrance Sunday this year will be on 9th November. This is the day of the year when church remembrance services will be held throughout the country. A parade will take place in London in Whitehall – a sombre ceremony of soldiers and members of the royal family. The Queen will pay tribute to fallen soldiers and attend services and events throughout the country.

Date: 9th and 11th November

Cost: Various Events are All Free

More Info: www.britishlegion.org.uk

London Jazz Festival – For Jazz lovers, or those new to the genre, the 22nd London Jazz Festival is set to get underway in London this November. All across London will be a celebration of Jazz featuring concerts and performances by newcomers and world-famous veterans like Albert Ammons, Jason Moran, and Robert Glasper.

Date: 14th to 23rd November

Cost: Various

More Info: www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk

 

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland – A more recent event on the London winter schedule, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is a fabulous and family friendly event that has quickly become a London tradition. With ice rinks, acrobats, frozen sculptures, games, rides and good and snacks galore, the Winter Wonderland is a true experience. Shop at the Market stalls, take a seat on the 60m tall observation wheel, thrill yourself on coasters, drunk mulled wine and cider, or take the kids to the children quarter.

Date: 21st November to 4th January

Cost: Free to Enter – Food, Games, Rides vary

More Info: www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

 

+++Also, check out our famous pay-what-you-like walking tours of London!+++

 

London HMS Belfast behind group

What is the weather like in London during December?

Posted by & filed under London.

What is the weather like in London during December?

London in December tends to be mostly winter-like; however, some fall-like days are still likely early in the month so it is a good time to see the Winter Wonderland at London’s Hyde Park or some of the Christmas events in Trafalgar Square.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 10.19.07 Early this month, the afternoon high temperatures tend to be mostly in the upper 40s f (9-10C) with overnight lows in lower 40s (5-6C). On a couple of the warmer days, high temperatures will reach the mid-50s f (12-13C). The highest temperature recorded here in December was 63f (17C).

As we near Christmas, daytime highs tend to be mostly in thScreen Shot 2014-11-12 at 10.21.19e mid-40s f (6-7C) and early morning lows in the upper 30s f (3-4 C). A few mornings will see temperatures dipping down to near 30f (-1 to -2C). The coldest temperature recorded here in December was 10f (-12C).

The sun is low in the sky this month with daylight averaging about 8 hours. Skies this month tend to be partly to mostly overcast with about 9-10 days seeing at least 1 mm (.04 inches) of precipitation, mostly falling in the form of light to moderate rain. Some snow is reported here in December, but only on about 2-3 days.

What to wear in London during DecemberHow is the weather in London during December

It is always best to carry an umbrella in London and during December, winter attire like hats and gloves with a medium to heavy coat will also be needed.

While in London this month why not join us for our London All-in-One Tour? If you like a little night life then perhaps our Pub Crawl with London Gone Wild might be a good choice.

Written by Fred Pickhardt

 

 

 

London thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in London

Posted by & filed under London.

A yearly tradition for millions of Americans, Thanksgiving conjures up images of family, food, feasting and festivities. For Americans who find themselves in London this coming November – it is still possible to celebrate! For the large numbers of people who have left the United States and now call the United Kingdom home, or for those who happen to be travelling through, there are numerous places and venues taking on the tradition of Thanksgiving. Our list is a helpful guide, but is only a small sample of the variety on offer here in London!

Tip

Make note that Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 27th – and to avoid disappointment you’ll need to book at most of these venues in advance.

Where to Go to Eat?

1 – The Savoy Grill (www.gordonramsay.com/thesavoygrill) – £55 – Owned by Gordon Ramsay, the Savoy Grill puts on a three-course Thanksgiving dinner incorporating traditional tastes like maple-roasted turkey and pumpkin pie with cinnamon ice cream!

2 – Bea’s of Bloomsbury (www.beasofbloomrsbuy.com) – £45 – Also on our recommendations for London Afternoon Tea [LINK HERE], Bea’s of Bloomsbury also caters to those looking for an American classic. Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts are served up alongside your choices of sauces and veg. And as a bakery, you know dessert at Bea’s is going to be amazing – choose from pumpkin chiffon pies, pecan or apple strusel, and even pumpkin cheesecake with whipped cream!

3 – Big Easy (www.bigeasy.co.uk) – £29.50 – It’s a 3-course Thanksgiving feast southern style at the Big Easy – herb-roasted turkey stuffed with bacon and leek, macaroni cheese and mashed potato, followed by a choice of triple-layer red velvet cake or traditional pumpkin pie.

4 – Riding House Café (www.ridinghousecafe.co.uk) – £35 – Keeping it family style, Riding House Café will be serving dinner at sharing tables. Start your night with a cocktail and then enjoy your two course menu – roast turkey, cornbread and sausage stuffing and all the fixin’s.

5 – Sam’s Brasserie & Bar (www.samsbrasserie.co.uk) -  No set price – Beginning the evening are Sam’s American – themed cocktails: spiced cider, cranberry cosmos, gingerbread martinis and brandy egg nog! Guests then get a choice of starters and mains: pumpkin soup or clam and bacon chowder, rack of ribs or turkey…followed by fabulous desserts including Sam’s own hybrid of a brownie and a cookie: Brookies!

Want to Eat In – Pick up traditional American ingredients!

1 – Whole Foods Market (www.wholefoodsmarket.com) With branches throughout London, Whole Foods is well stocked with American Thanksgiving favourites: turkeys, pies, cranberry sauce and more. Check out their website for top tips and recipes.

2 – Partridges (www.partridges.co.uk) A staple shop for all US ex-pats, Partridges specialises in fine foods from throughout Europe and the States. Baking goods, sweets, snacks and even a special ‘Thanksgiving Essentials’ section on their website – Partridges really delivers.

 

Dinner and a Show

1 – Jetlag Bar (www.jetlagbar.com) Also serving up a set meal of delights (including pumpkin soup and pecan pie) Jetlag Bar will also be showing back-to-back NFL matches on all the screens for guests to watch while enjoying their meals! Don’t wanna eat? Don’t worry – grab a drink, take a seat, and enjoy the game.

2 – Blues Kitchen (www.theblueskitchen.com) – £16 – Thanksgiving classics abound here: turkey, cranberry Kelly, mac n’ cheese, corn on the cob and pumpkin pie. And in addition to the good eats, live music from renowned jazz and soul artists can be enjoyed – along with London’s biggest selection of bourbons!

3 – Bodeans (www.bodeansbbq.com) – £20.95 – A popular American-style BBQ restaurant, Bodean is popular with ex-pats all year ‘round. For Thanksgiving they’ll be serving up Thanksgiving classics, alongside showings of NFL matches, throughout all their London branches.

 +++You can walk up a nice appetite on one of our famous pay-what-you-like walking tours of London!+++

London Temple Church

Temple Church

Posted by & filed under London.

A hidden gem, tucked away inside one of the Inns of Court, Temple Church is a beautiful 12th-century church. Members of the public can not only visit the church, but can often attend concerts that take place inside. Easily accessible from Fleet Street on Mondays-Fridays, it’s a bit harder to find it on the weekends as the main entrance into Temple is closed – but it’s worth the effort to eventually find your way!

 

History

Temple Church was originally built in the 1160’s, when the Order of the Knights Templar purchased the land here so that they could create a monastic complex to act as their headquarters in England. The structure of the church is divided into two: the original nave, called the Round Church, and an adjoining rectangular building called the Chancel. The design of the church was based on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and contains the first-ever free-standing Purbeck Marble columns in existence.

The church was consecrated on the 10th of February 1185 in a ceremony that had such prestigious guests such as King Henry II and Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem.

In the 23th century the church underwent extensive renovation under the command of King Henry III – and one of his sons is actually still interred into the church. Henry’s grandson, Kind Edward II seized control of the church and sold it on. The church eventually fell into the hands of a college of lawyers – founding the modern day Inns of Court that are based here: Inner Temple and Middle Temple.

Renovated in the 20th century after damage caused by the Blitz, Temple Church today now sports stone and architectural features spanning over the centuries of its’ existence. In fact, effigies of the Knights Templar dating back to the 13th century are still contained within the nave and can be seen by visitors. The last time the church was renovated and redecorated was in 1958.

 

Shakespeare Connection

In Shakespeare’s Play Henry VI, Part I the beginning of the Wars of the Roses (a dynastic civil feud that ran for centuries between the Lancastrians and the Yorkist families in England) takes place here outside Temple Church. Shakespeare wrote that a member of the House of Lancaster and a member of the House of York each plucked actual roses (the symbols of their Houses) in a symbolic gesture of the beginning of this decade-long feud. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s play, red and white roses were planted in the gardens here at Temple, commemorating this fictional event.

 

Usage

Originally Temple Church was where the initiation ceremonies of Knights Templar members were held. However, today Temple Church is an active house of worship and holds regular services on Sundays.

Regular organ music and choir recitals are held here which the public can attend. In fact, the Temple Choir is a well-known and respected institution. The all-male choir, made up of 18 boys, not only performs but also broadcasts and records their performances.

 

Modern Notoriety

Temple Church came to the publics’ attention a number of years ago at the publishing (and subsequent film) of Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code. In fact there is a scene set inside the Temple Church in the story that was also filmed for the screen. It is here that the main characters Langston and Sophie, along with Leah Teabing come when trying to solve the riddle: In London lies a knight a Pope interred. His labour’s fruit a Holy wrath incurred. You seek the orb that out be on his tomb. It speaks of Rosy flesh and seeded womb.

The characters believe the stone effigies of the Knights which still lay in the church are actual tombs – but they are proved (and accurately so) incorrect. The trio then realise the riddle is leading them to Westminster Abbey – not Temple Church.

 

Visitor Information

  • Address: Temple Church, off of Fleet Street, London EC4Y 7HL
  • Nearest Underground Station: Temple
  • Cost: There is no cost to enter but a donation of £3 – £5 is recommended.
  • Hours: Vary throughout the year in accordance with Church services and maintenance, so ALWAYS check the website before your visit!
  • Website: www.templechurch.com