If you’re planning a visit to the English capital, you might want to have a look at some of these free events and festival taking place in the city this summer. From food and wine tasting to live music acts from all around the world, this is what London has to offer its visitors during the next couple of months.
Canada Day at Trafalgar Square (1st July)
Join the Canadian community to celebrate Canada’s birthday. An event featuring the best of Canadian music, art, sport, culture, food and drink. Head to Trafalgar Square to enjoy activities such as cooking demos, hockey matches and live concerts.
Gay Pride at Trafalgar Square (7th July)
Celebrate LGBT rights and self-expression during this day event starting with a parade on Baker Street and finishing on the main stage at Trafalgar Square. Deborah Cox, Boy George, Corey Hart and other artists will take the stage to perform some of their most popular hits. Several speakers will send their messages to support the LGBT community in between the different music acts.
If you’re planning to stay in London during the whole weekend, a good option is the Comfort Inn Victoria, located in the centre of the city and really close to Trafalgar Square and Soho, London’s gay quarter.
St Martins Courtyard Food Festival (14th July)
Discover the best of global cuisine at St Martins Courtyard , Covent Garden’s newest shopping and dining destination. Fashion, lifestyle and beauty shops mix with delicious restaurants in one of the hippest areas of the city.
Head to St Martins Courtyard on 14th July to experience the cultural diversity of London. The six restaurants located in the area will be hosting demonstrations, tastings and activities, transforming St Martins Courtyard into an exciting street food market.
Tapas Fantasticas Wine Festival at Potters Field Park (14th – 15th July)
Celebrate Spanish lifestyle and cuisine at Potters Field Park during a whole weekend of wine and food tasting. Several wine and food stalls will be offering the best variety of taps and red, white and rosé wines from the Spanish region of La Rioja.
BT River of Music Festival (21st – 22nd July)
Happening at several locations around the city, this 2-day event will showcase the best music acts from the five continents. Established, emerging and award-winning artists from different parts of the world will be performing on stages along the length of the River Thames.
Carnaval del Pueblo (18th August)
Carnaval del Pueblo is the UK’s best Latin American festival. Now on its 14th edition, the festival won’t disappoint the attendants with a wide selection of music acts, dancing events and a huge parade celebrating Latin culture.
Bookstock at Leonard Street (26th August)
This street party, taking place in London’s East End, will start at noon at go on until the late hours of the night. Live music acts, DJs, performers and dance troupes will make sure Shoreditch residents and visitors have fun during this celebration of the height of summer.
iTunes Festival at the Roundhouse, Camden (1st – 30th September)
30 nights of free music acts taking place at the Roundhouse in Camden. Established and up and coming performers such as Jack White, One Direction, Usher and Norah Jones will take the stage in September to say goodbye to the summer.
The world-famous nightlife of London has long been a magnet for royalty, celebrity and high-rolling international businessmen, and the UK capital has been a hot spot for the rich and famous for generations. However, you don't have to be a Duchess, a Rihanna or a Rockefeller to enjoy a great night out in London.
The cocktail bar scene in London is extremely popular, thanks to the sophisticated atmosphere and the best in beautifully mixed drinks. However with so many bars to choose from, you might not know where to start, so we've put together this great guide to the best cocktail bars in London.
Top 10 places
Here is a Google map of the top 10 places to have a cocktail in London.
5 places you have to have a cocktail in
Mahiki Tropical Cocktails and Island Grill
A former haunt of the royal couple William and Kate, Mahiki's tiki décor and fresh fruit cocktails are a real hit with London's rich and famous. Rihanna, Kate Moss, the Kings of Leon and Dita Von Teese have all been seen at Mahiki. Located on Dover Street, the bar promises a great night out with music, dancing, good food and delicious drinks. Plus, as Mahiki is a popular celeb hangout - you can enjoy a bit of stargazing too!
If you fancy getting behind the bar and mixing a drink yourself, then Mahiki can offer a cocktail master-class with its award-winning staff.
Mahiki is open from 5.30pm to 3am, Monday to Saturday and serves food from 5.30pm to 9.30pm.
This Knightsbridge haunt is a sophisticated cocktail bar that evokes both images of 1980s London high life and the more reserved British colonial drinking experience. Stocked full of expensive wine, spirits and liquor, the Mandarin Bar is a lavish affair that provides its clientèle generously sized cocktails, along with constantly replenished nibbles and superbly knowledgeable staff.
The Mandarin Bar is open from 10:30am to 2am, Monday to Saturday, and from 10:30am to 12am on Sunday. There is a smart casual dress code.
Reunion Champaign Bar
Having recently released a candy themed menu of cocktails, this bar is one not to miss. You have to try their Lemon Bon Bon while you're there as it will gear you up for a night out or a warm night in either way.
The bar recently blogged about their favourite London sweet shops and Lemon Bon Bon cocktail recipe and we must say we are enticed!
The Portobello Star, located unsurprisingly on Portobello Road in Notting Hill, is a recently renovated pub that has made the transition to upmarket cocktail bar. The bar offers a mix of classic and modern, with cocktails such as Mint Julep and the Dick Bradsell's Bramble, amongst others. The drink selection, combined with lively music and a relaxed atmosphere, make the Portobello Star a great place to spend the evening.
The Portobello Star is open from 11am to 11:30pm, Sunday to Thursday and 11am 12:30pm, Friday to Saturday.
Rhodes Patrón Bar
Situated in the Cumberland, a Marble Arch hotel, the Rhodes Patrón Bar is a stylishly decorated cocktail bar, named after the fine tequila brand. Offering a variety of mixes for all palettes, Rhodes is an ideal meeting place for all occasions.
The Rhodes Patrón Bar is open all week from 11am until late.
A stylish underground hang-out located in Soho, Mark's Bar opened in 2009 and features Chesterfield sofas, bar billiards, a zinc bar, a tin-panelled ceiling and a great selection of cocktails to tempt its clientèle. The bar staff can make a wide variety of cocktails, from the Hanky Panky to the rye-whisky based Scoff-Law Cocktail.
If cocktails do not take your fancy, then the bar can offer 150-strong wine list and a wide variety of beers. Drinkers will have to order food, due to the terms of the bar's licence, choosing from either menu of the Hix restaurant upstairs or the excellent bar snacks on sale downstairs.
Mark's bar is open until 1am all week.
So that's your quick guide to top cocktail bars in London.
London has long been recognised for its innovative culinary culture. Boasting top chefs like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, both who have established restaurants in the city, London has a host of restaurants and foodie hot spots well worth exploring.
Visitors to London often have an idea of one or two culinary hot spots they want to attend. Well-known chefs like Oliver and Ramsay are often the reasons curious fans books weeks or months in advance at Oliver's Fifteen or Ramsay's Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. These two top chefs have their hand in numerous other restaurants and projects, however, and fans don't always catch a glimpse of the reality TV stars. Disappointed fans though, tend to turn into satisfied customers when they bite into the mouth-watering food that was masterfully prepared for them.
Alongside Ramsay and Oliver's restaurants are countless other cherished eateries and bistros across London, and we've chosen our top five most highly recommended culinary hot spots:
1. La Gavroche
La Gavroche has influenced London cuisine. Named after the street boy from Les Miserables, La Gavroche holds two Michelin stars and is revered by fans across London. The classy but cosy atmosphere offers an unintimidating French fine dining experience.
2. The Ledbury
The Ledbury has earned two Michelin Stars and offers amazing customer experience. The decor, menu choices and knowledgeable staff make this fine dining experience unforgettable. Australia native Brett Graham began cooking at age 15. He has evidently perfected his talent and leads the Ledbury in innovation and skill.
3. The Connaught
The Connaught features chef Helene Darroze who offers luxury on a plate. This restaurant excels with its fine French menu and one bite will explain how this skilled chef has earned two Michelin Stars.
4. The Berkeley
The Berkeley has earned two Michelin stars thanks to head chef Marcus Wareing. This classy fine dining restaurant served light, fresh food. Wareing's flavour palate is said to be impeccable. This stylish restaurant is perfect for special occasions.
Sketch is housed inside an 18th century building that has been converted into five unique and quirky dining rooms and bars, each with their own menus and character. Decor includes mismatched chairs, colourful table pieces and elaborate murals painted on the walls. Sketch is one of those restaurants you need to see to believe. Come for the decor, stay for the amazing food. Sketch truly is one-of-a-kind.
These culinary hot spots all have one thing in common: luxurious fine dining. The mix of styles proves that luxury comes in a variety of packages.
While in London, why not make your entire getaway one full of luxury and romance. You'll find luxury at any London Bridge hotel, as the area is known for beautiful, classic styles and intricate designs. Complete your luxury getaway with a day at the spa or shopping at one of the city's high end shopping districts.
One visit to one of these London culinary hot spots will have you coming back for seconds.
So Mother's Day is coming up soon and you are thinking about what to get her, what about a last minute break somewhere?
All mums deserve a treat every once in a while so why not think about winter sun holidays? We have done all the thinking for you and come up with five potential destinations where you can take your mum for Mother's Day...
Why not go on a cultural trip to this beacutiful magical city. Visit the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Vatican and the Spanish Steps. There is plenty to do and see and it is a must visit at some point in your life!
With the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Chateau De Versailles, Notre Dame Cathedral and the lovely weather, what a great place to take your mum for the weekend.
Egypt is the 29th biggest country in the world and there is plenty to be seen in Egypt with the Pyramids, Red Sea, Cairo and it’s museum as well as many ancient monuments so there is enough to keep all the family happy. Read more about it on Travelwyse.
Why not take her for a theatre break to London? There is always something interesting on at the theatres and plenty of shops and tourist attractions to go to.
Or if you really fancy splashing out, whisk her off for a girly few days shopping in New York? There are great shops and thing to do and see which she will love! Go on, really treat her this year!
So we hope this has given you some inspiration on where to take your mum for Mother's Day to give her that extra special treat all mums deserve.