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Posts in ‘Things to do in London’

The King and I to be staged at Royal Albert Hall

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Musical fans will be booking their London tours to coincide with a new staging of a classic show later this year.

The Royal Albert Hall will host a production of The King and I from June 12th to 28th.

Originally staged on Broadway in 1951 and turned into a popular film starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner five years later, The King and I is a tale of two people from different worlds learning about each other’s cultures.

Anna, a British governess, is brought into the court of Siam to tutor the king’s many children and slowly begins to develop a relationship with the monarch that introduces her to a world very different from her own.

The tale is told by musical pieces including Getting to Know You, Shall We Dance and I Whistle a Happy Tune, which will be performed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra in the show.

After the run of The King and I has come to an end, the Royal Albert Hall will host a gig by rock and roll star Neil Sedaka on June 30th.

London – Ride the London Eye, visit the Tower of London or take a day out of the city to see Stonehenge.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19131848-ADNFCR

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Slow Down London!

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This month, the city of London will host the ten-day Slow Down London a “Living Life in Real Time” festival for busy city dwellers. Running April 24th through May 4th, the festival focuses on taking a break from the pressures of city living (something we college students already excel at) and relaxing. The program encourages Londoners to “explore slow music and arts, to try meditation and yoga, to sample slow food and crafts, to discover ‘slow travel’ in our own city, to debate ideas about time and pace, and to find our own ways to challenge the cult of speed and to appreciate the world around us.” And with ranging from “Wine and Words,” a poetry and vino session at Foyles to free guided tours at the National Portrait Gallery, or discounted yoga and meditation sessions, just about everyone can find a reason to relax next week.

Richard Whitaker

Richard Whitaker

Even if you’re not into the events, there is no better way to tour the city then to walk around by foot, get inspired by Slow Down London and take some time out of your busy day and EXPLORE! Take your sandwich to the park, or find a new restaurant in your neighbourhood. Now that the weather outside is no longer frightful, no more excuses! continue reading

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A Walk on the “Wilde” Side Indeed: Hotspots of Literary History

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Oscar Wilde - janetmck and mukund76

Oscar Wilde - janetmck and mukund76

All of this travelling has given us all a little wanderlust (aka the desire to travel our already small savings away). Europe is packed with history than we’ll ever be able to see in just three short months, but with some great tour guides and a little organization, we’re hoping to cram as much of it in as possible! Since we’re here to study literature and culture, and Dublin was just the first stop on the journey, I can’t wait to check out these other top writing-geek destinations soon:

London: Well, this one’s a bit obvious I suppose, I am living in Kensington and heading to the theatre every week to see a play for class, but for those of you not already enrolled in a literary adventure, London’s blue circle plaques make it easy. Placed outside the doors of London sites, the plaques serve as a guide to the more famous happenings within many an ordinary-looking building). London has been home to many of the most famous authors of all time: Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Keats, J.M. Barrie, and of course Shakespeare are just a few of the city’s most recognizable names. I can’t wait to search out the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens, check out Oscar Wilde’s house in Chelsea, and see Romeo and Juliet at the Globe Theatre…luckily the blue-badge guided Literary London Tour will make it even easier! continue reading

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Check out the World Twenty20 tournament in London

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Sports fans will be booking their London tours this year to coincide with the World Twenty20 cricket tournament, which will be held from June 5th to 21st.

The competition will come to four cricket grounds across England – Lord’s and The Oval in London, Trent Bridge in Nottinghamshire and Taunton in Somerset.

Both men’s and women’s sides representing countries including England, Australia, India, South Africa and the West Indies are due to participate in the competition this year.

Twenty20 cricket, a form of the sport first introduced in England in 2003, sees each team playing a single innings with a maximum of 20 overs, a format that adds an extra element of speed and excitement to the game.

Most matches only last about two-and-a-half hours, meaning that visitors to Twenty20 tournament days will often get the chance to see two games involving four different teams.

Lord’s will be the venue for the semi-final and final rounds of both the men’s and women’s tournaments.

India are the reigning World Twenty20 champions, having beaten Pakistan in the 2007 final in South Africa.

London – Ride the London Eye, visit the Tower of London or take a day out of the city to see Stonehenge.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19129664-ADNFCR

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Experience The War of the Worlds on London tours

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Science fiction fans should fit a visit to the O2 Arena into their London tours in June to experience Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.

This stunning stage adaptation of HG Wells’ classic novel will come to the venue in south-east London on June 20th and 21st.

Wayne himself will conduct the Black Smoke Band for the multimedia show, which will also feature a guest appearance by Jennifer Ellison and other performers.

Arguably the highlight of the production is the 35-foot Martian machine that scans the audience with insect-like eyes and fires heat rays into the crowd.

Spectators will also see a hologram of the actor Richard Burton playing the role of the journalist George Herbert projected onto a 100-foot-wide screen.

The live production of The War of the Worlds is setting off on a tour this year that will also include shows in Dublin (June 7th), Glasgow (June 11th) and Holland (June 30th to July 2nd).

Visitors to London will be treated to another otherworldly experience at the O2 Arena from August 5th to 9th when it hosts the Walking With Dinosaurs show.

London – Ride the London Eye, visit the Tower of London or take a day out of the city to see Stonehenge.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19116568-ADNFCR

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They Aren’t Called French Fries? Trying Out the Local Cuisines

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I was more than a little nervous about giving up the fantastic variety of Californian cuisine for my move to London. Sure I’d be living in a fantastic neighbourhood (Kensington, ever heard of it?), taking fun classes (hi, field trips to Oxford, Parliament, the Globe), working a fun company, meeting tons of new people, and travelling like mad (read my Dublin post anyone?), but all I could think about as I jumped on that United jet was, what about burritos? Cheeseburgers? Pluto’s salads? As delightful as afternoon tea sounds, anyone who’s hopped on the “English cuisine” Wikipedia page can probably understand my hesitation. I’m sorry guys, but chip sandwiches? How does somebody even come up with that?

Chip Butty - Annie Mole

Chip Butty - Annie Mole

Which isn’t to say a chip butty isn’t one of the first things I tried when I got here (add a little ketchup and it’s not bad!), but I certainly wasn’t prepared for the richness of the culinary culture here. continue reading

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London river transport improved

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Travelling on the Thames could become a more prominent part of London tours in the future as a result of an agreement to improve transport services on the river.

Local authorities, boat operators, pier owners and Transport for London are among the organisations involved in a new accord set up by London mayor Boris Johnson to enhance river travel options.

By signing the agreement, the companies will commit themselves to cooperate on improving ticketing, pier facilities, passenger information and other aspects of the travel process.

One benefit that has already resulted from the initiative is a new Thames Clipper service linking Canary Wharf to London Bridge. In November the company will begin accepting Oyster pay-as-you-go cards.

Mr Johnson said: "With the right mixture of investment and imagination, river services can become a truly integral, as well as an extremely pleasant, part of the capital’s transport network.

"Oysterising the Thames as well as providing clearer signage to the piers and services available will make it much easier…to travel on the river."

Some of London’s most famous attractions can be seen by taking a trip on the river, including the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge.

London – Ride the London Eye, visit the Tower of London or take a day out of the city to see Stonehenge.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19112409-ADNFCR

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Approval granted for ‘unique’ Tate Modern development

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Southwark Council has granted planning permission for a development at London’s Tate Modern that will add a striking new building to the gallery.

Designs created by international architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron will see the oil tanks of the former power station in which Tate Modern is situated used as the basis for the new structure.

Announcing its approval of the project, Southwark Council said the proposed building will be "an extraordinary and unique addition to London’s townscape" that will offer further regeneration benefits to London’s Bankside area.

Tate director Nicholas Serota said: "We are delighted that Herzog & de Meuron’s revised plans have been granted approval by Southwark Council. We look forward to creating one of the most exciting cultural buildings in Europe which will bring direct benefits to Southwark and London as a whole."

Coming at an estimated cost of £215 million, the development is scheduled for completion in 2012.

From June 12th this year, travellers on London tours will be able to head to Tate Modern to see Futurism, the first major exhibition of futurist art in Britain for some 30 years.

London – Ride the London Eye, visit the Tower of London or take a day out of the city to see Stonehenge.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19107062-ADNFCR

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Brits ‘showing more interest in long-haul destinations’

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Travellers taking adventure tours and other trips abroad this year look set to head to long-haul destinations in greater numbers, according to a report by M&S Money.

The company’s currency statistics for the first quarter of the year show that destinations outside the eurozone are steadily increasing in popularity, led by the popular summer hotspots of Egypt and Turkey.

Sales of the Turkish lira and the Egyptian pound have increased by 46 per cent and 20 per cent respectively compared to the first quarter of 2008, according to the M&S Money statistics.

Orders for the Icelandic krona have risen 32 per cent year-on-year, while increasing interest has also been registered in the currencies of Mexico, South Africa and Kenya.

James Yerkess, M&S travel money manager, said: "The falling value of the pound in the past year means that holidaymakers are looking around for resorts where they are getting more for their money.

"Brits still want to enjoy a holiday, but they are being more selective about where they go."

M&S Money recently released a survey showing that more than a third (36 per cent) of British travellers consider the strength of a country’s currency before booking their holiday.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19102981-ADNFCR

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Music greats to play Albert Hall

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Music fans taking London tours in May will have no shortage of live entertainment to choose from as some of the leading artists of recent times come to the Royal Albert Hall.

First up will be the former Smiths singer Morrissey, who will perform at the famous Kensington venue on May 11th.

Morrissey, who has been described by the NME as "one of the most influential artists ever", has forged a successful solo career since the Smiths broke up in the late 1980s, with ten singles making it into the top ten of the UK charts.

The Royal Albert Hall will then play host to one of the most famous guitarists of the 20th century, Eric Clapton, who will play on May 16th following a run of sold-out shows in America, Scandinavia and Europe in 2008.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Jackson Browne will bring his tour to the Albert Hall on May 21st before George Thorogood, who found fame in the 1970s with his band the Destroyers, performs on May 27th.

People who prefer their music to have a classical feel can visit the London venue on May 8th to hear the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra play a number of well-known pieces from films.

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