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30 Aug 2011

Thames Festival at the Southbank Centre

The festival of Britain continues its 60th anniversary celebrations at the South Bank Centre with a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a British seaside holiday right here in the capital. A temporary urban beach has been set up along the Queens Walk on the banks of the River Thames which is part of the outdoor attractions taking place during the festival. The Festival of Britain has been celebrating British art and culture since 1951 and has planned a series of exciting events this year infused with a touch of British nostalgia including live performances, interactive talks, themed weekends, retro fun-fairs, intriguing landscapes and creative exhibits.

The South Bank Centre is divided into four 'lands', which take as their inspiration themes from the 1951 South Bank exhibition - People of Britain, Land of Britain, Sea and Ships, Power and Production -and feature work by artists, designers and curators including Andy Holden, Michael Marriott and Colette Bailey. Amongst the favourites are The "Appearing Rooms" fountains by Jeppe Hein's, a huge straw fox, a giant seagull and the delightfully bright and colourful artist-commissioned beach huts (seen in the above picture) lining the Thames in front of the Royal Festival Hall.

There is also a chance to listen to live music at the new band stand at the South Bank Centre Square and eat some authentic Indian street food brought to you by Dishoom Chowpatty Beach pop-up cafe within the Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall Terrace.

With tonnes of sand and so many free and fun activities, this is surely a great day out for the whole family to enjoy. So Soak up the sun while you still can and don’t miss a chance to feel the sand between your toes.

The Thames Festival events run until the 4th September 2011 at the Southbank Centre in Waterloo, south of the River Thames. If you are visiting London to attend the Thames Festival and looking for a convenient and affordable accommodation solution for your stay why not book a Serviced Apartment in the area. Check-in-London offers a great range of self-catering serviced apartments in nearby areas like Westminster, Covent Garden, Mayfair, Holborn and Blackfriars that are within easy reach of the South Bank Centre and other popular sights and attractions.

Speak to a customer advisor now to enquire or book a Serviced Apartment in Central London. Call us on +44 843 289 8820 or email us at for rates and availability.

26 Aug 2011

Pearly Kings & Queens of London

Pearly Kings & Queens of London

The city of London has always been a trading centre with unique and famous markets that have laid the foundations for its commercial growth and thriving economy. Markets like Covent Garden, Spitalfields, Portabello, Borough, Billingsgate, Smithsfields all supplied a lifeline to the city by providing the basic necessities for every household. The Pearly Kings and Queens or “The Pearlies”, played an important role in daily London market life from as early as the 11th Century.

Having originated in the 18th Century from the “Costemongers’ or street vendors, these traders used to sell fruit, veg and a variety of wares from their barrows to the poor and faced a gruelling fight for survival in the marketplace usually harassed by authorities. Business was never easy, so in an effort to stand out from the other market traders, the costermongers wore a distinctive style of attire that involved decorating their trousers, seams and waistcoats with rows of pearl buttons that, at the time, arrived by cargo from Japan (so it is believed). It was these “flashie” costumes along with their cheeky banter and infectious flamboyance that won them custom. As the city grew, costermongers began to choose leaders of the pack or “Coster Kings & Queens” who were elected to stand up for their rights and safeguard their territory. This new class of royalty were highly regarded for their strength and endurance and continued their legacy by passing on their inherit titles to their children.

However The “Pearly Suit” of the Costermongers really underwent a complete transformation when it was discovered by Henry Croft, a road sweeper and rat-catcher in the 1880s, who was inspired by the crowd pulling power of the accessory clad outfits and used this inspiration to create a costume completely adorned in pearls to raise money to help the poor and underprivileged. It was an instant success and combined the goodwill gesture of helping others with the pearly spirit and hearty entertainment.

The Pearlies went on to raise funds for many more institutions and honourable causes and are today fondly admired for being one of London’s long standing traditions, having contributed significantly to society, tourism, heritage and fashion. Pearly Kings and Queens are often seen fundraising around Covent Garden Market in Central London. Covent Garden Market is in the heart of the city moments away from top attractions like Trafalgar Square, London Eye and The National Gallery.

Check-in-London features a wide range of serviced apartments in and around the Oxford Street area that are within walking distance from Covent Garden Market. Nearby areas like Holborn, Bloomsbury, Mayfair and Marylebone offer affordable and self-catering serviced apartments that are perfect for short stays, vacation breaks or corporate stays and provide a great alternative to expensive hotel rooms.

Speak to a customer advisor now to enquire or book a Serviced Apartment in Central London. Call us on +44 843 289 8820 or email us at for rates and availability.

17 Aug 2011

Visiting the Old Bailey Criminal Court

Old Bailey London

If the processes of law and justice take your fancy or you are just curious about the subject of criminal intent then head down to the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in High Holborn for a chance to witness one of the 1500 serious cases being tried every year from the restricted access of the public viewing galleries.

The Old Bailey is one of the most famous criminal courts in the world and has been London’s principal criminal court for centuries. Located between Holborn Circus and St Paul's Cathedral, the Old Bailey is named on the road on which it stands which follows the line of the City's fortified wall (bailey). In medieval times, the site where the Old Bailey stands today was home to the Newgate Goal Stood, and until 1868 hangings took place in public outside Newgate itself. The original Old Bailey was built in 1539 and before being destroyed by the Great Fire was designed as an Italianate Brick Building with a open-air courtroom to minimize the spread of gaol fever which took the lives of many prisoners, judges and even the Lord Mayor at the time.

The Old Bailey we see today was designed by Edward Mountford and was opened in 1907 by King Edward VII. Inspired by St Pauls Cathedral nearby, the inside features magnificent marbled halls and a muraled dome above the court resides the statue of Lady Justice holding a sword in her right hand and weighing scales in her left.

The Old Bailey is steeped in history and has dealt with some of the most severe and high profile cases in the history of London. The oldest courtrooms of the Old Bailey are number one, two and three, and it is in within these walls that many famous people have stood trial including the likes of Oscar Wilde, The Krays and the Yorkshire Ripper.

While it is not publically a tourist attraction, the Old Bailey provides an intriguing insight into the past and present workings of the London courts and has also made an appearance in popular literature, television and film making it a very notable point of interest in the city’s heritage. In Charles Dicken's Tale of Two Cities, the Old Bailey is the courthouse named in the book where Charles Darnay is put on trial for treason.

Opening times are Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm and 2pm to 5pm. No reservations are held and visitors must be over the age of 14 years old.

The Old Bailey Central Criminal Court is situated near St Pauls Cathedral in the heart of "The City" of London. Often referred to as 'Square Mile', this area is the main financial and commercial district of London and has a history that dates back to the middle ages when it was first established as a prime trading port. A popular demand for convenient and cost-effective accommodation from business and corporate clients who work in this area has lead to the increased availability of Serviced Apartments and Short Stay Apartments.

Check-in-London offers a fantastic range of modern self-catering serviced apartments in St Pauls, Blackfriars, Farringdon and Holborn that are ideal for short term accommodation or corporate housing and within easy reach of the Old Bailey Court House as well as many other top sights and attractions around London.

Speak to a customer advisor now to enquire or book a Serviced Apartment in Central London. Call us on +44 843 289 8820 or email us at for rates and availability.

12 Aug 2011

Argentine Tango in London

Alfresco Tango

Alfresco Tango - Regents Park - 14 August 2011

Be seduced by the dramatic moves of the Argentine Tango amidst the serene landscapes and gorgeous surroundings of Regents Park. With its African-argentine roots, the Tango dance is said to have spread across the world around the 1920s during the Golden Age of Argentina becoming a fundamental expression of Argentine culture and national pride. Today, it is loved for its passion, beauty and drama and enjoyed by both dancers and spectators alike.

This summer, Dance Alfresco is brining you a series of outdoor dance events that are taking place over the weekends covering a wide range of styles like the Ballroom, Latin, Salsa, Line Dancing and the Argentine Tango. Hosted by the Argentine Tango consultants for BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Kele Baker and Ralf Schiller, these classes are sure to inspire and excite you and get your confidence soaring on the dance floor. So put on your (leather soled) dancing shoes and show us your moves and don’t forget its all for a good cause. Tickets cost £10.00 and all proceeds are donated to The Royal Parks Foundation for tree planting in Regent's Park. Each session starts at 1pm with a beginner’s trial followed by a general dance between 2-6pm.

The events will take place at The Broadwalk, Avenue Gardens, Outer Circle, Regent's Park, London NW1 with the nearest tube being Regent’s Park. Click Here for more information.

Regents Park and neighboring primrose hill covers around 410 acres of stunning green landscape including a beautiful rose garden with over 30,000 roses of 400 varieties. Located towards the north of London, this royal park is the largest outdoor sports area in Central London enjoying a wide range of facilities and amenities including gardens, a lake with a heronry, waterfowl and a boating area, sports pitches, and children's playgrounds. The northern side of the park is the home of London Zoo and the headquarters of the Zoological Society of London.

Check-in-London offers a great selection of self-catering serviced apartments around Regents Park. Nearby areas like Camden, Hampstead, Kings Cross and Maida Vale are easily accessible and only a short distance from Regents Park and other top sights and attractions around London.

Speak to a customer advisor now to enquire or book a Serviced Apartment in Central London. Call us on +44 843 289 8820 or email us at for rates and availability.

8 Aug 2011

London Street Photography at Museum of London

London Street Photography
London Street Photography – Museum of London – Until 4th September

London Street Photogrpahy is one of the major exhibitions going on at the Museum of London showcasing an exceptional collection of photographs of everyday life on London’s streets dating back to 1860. Capturing a diverse and vibrant city, these street photographs exemplify London’s character through its ever-changing street-culture. This collection of local historical photographs reflect momentary inspirations and chance encounters amidst the bustling city streets caught on camera by the likes of Valentine Blanchard, John Thomson, Henry Grant and Roger Mayne.

The exhibition displays an organic timeline of 150 years of how London and its inhabitants have developed and progressed over the years through these, sometimes humorous and symbolic occasions as seen in the days gone by. From the nostalgic sepia memories to digital visions of the city and its residents today that have been so gracefully portrayed in these thoughtful photographs.

The Museum of London is open daily and free to visit. It is located near St Pauls and Barbican and can be easily accessed by underground or bus services. Nearby accommodation includes a wide range of affordable and comfortable serviced apartments. Check-in-London brings you a great selection of Serviced Apartments close to the Museum of London in areas like Farringdon, St Pauls, Blackfriars and Bloomsbury. Serviced Apartments offer so much more independence and flexibility with the benefits of spacious and relaxing living areas, self-catering facilities, convenient locations and hotel-style services.

Speak to a customer advisor now to enquire or book a Serviced Apartment near the Museum of London. Call us on +44 843 289 8820 or email us at for rates and availability.

Image by John Galt, circa 1900 © John Galt/Museum of London John Galt was a missionary whose powerful photos captured life in the East End of London at the turn of the 20th Century.

3 Aug 2011

M&Ms World comes to Leicester Square

M&Ms London

M&Ms World comes to London - Leicester Square

This Summer, London welcomed to Leicester Square, the first ever M&Ms store in Europe. The chocolate mega store is set to become one of the capital's “tastiest attractions” according to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, selling everything to do with the M&M confectionary and merchandise from clothing, toys, kitchenware, bedding, jewellery and of course all sizes and flavours of M&M chocolates.

Spread over four levels and covering an area of 35,000 sqft in the heart of the capital’s central district, the store is designed to mesmerise and draw you in with attractive rainbow coloured installations and interactive visual displays including a London double-decker bus, giant union jack M&Ms and even an M&M Chandelier.

What can appear to be a cross between London’s Hamleys toy store and a candy shop, is not entirely targeted at chocoholics and sweet fanatics but is also a celebration of the M&M brand coming to London, offering a fun and exciting experience for the whole family with a walk-through history timeline of the famous chocs.

A special feature that is not to be missed is the giant “Wall of Chocolate” where customers will be able to create their own custom blended M&M selection from an assortment of 22 colours and flavours while being entertained by the brand's lovable mascots, Red & Yellow.

Leicester Square is one of the main tourist hot-spots in central London and is usually the main backdrop for movie premiers and celebrity red carpet moments making it a very popular and crowded location. It is only walking distance from Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Soho and Charing Cross.Accommodation in the Leicester Square area can be expensive and the choice is usually limited to international hotel chains which is why more and more visitors are preferring to stay in Serviced Apartments that are a short distance away but offer greater value for money with the same freedom and flexibility to explore the city.

Check-in-London offers a fantastic range of serviced apartments in Mayfair, Marylebone, Bloomsbury & Covent Garden that are within easy reach of Leicester Square and many more of the city’s main sights and attractions.

Speak to a customer advisor now to enquire or book a Serviced Apartment near Leicester Square. Call us on +44 843 289 8820 or email us at for rates and availability.

1 Aug 2011

Notting Hill Carnival Festival 2011

Notting Hill Carnival 2011

Notting Hill Carnival - 28 - 29 August 2011

The Notting Hill Carnival is the largest multi-cultural festival of its kind in Europe, setting the streets of Notting Hill in West London alight with an unmissable parade of outstanding costumes, party smashing music and delicious Caribbean food.

Over 1 Million visitors from all over the world come to enjoy this spectacular two day event, organised over the august bank holiday by the West Indian community of the Notting Hill area with a fantastic variety of shows including live masquerade bands, steel pan symphony orchestras, calypso music, blaring DJ sound systems, street food, dance performances and much more.

Celebrating ethnic diversity and cultural richness with a world-class act of events, this unique and vibrant festival originated in Trinidad back in 1833. Today the spirit of arts, colour, music and cuisine lives on and is enjoyed by people from different races, ages and backgrounds during this highly-anticipated weekend of festivities.
Visit the Notting Hill Carnival over the August Bank Holiday Weekend on 28 -29 August 2011 for an unforgettable and truly cultural experience. If you would like to book a serviced apartment for your stay consider nearby areas like Notting Hill, Bayswater, High Street Kensington, Holland Park and Paddington.

Speak to a customer advisor now. Call us on +44 843 289 8820 or email us at for rates and availability.