The Christmas Lights of London

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and the streets of London – like many other towns and cities across the country – are bedecked with beautiful sparkling lights and decorations. If you’re visiting during the festive period, whether it’s to get your Christmas shopping done or to enjoy a festive break, you should be sure to make some time to see the lights. To help you, here are a few of our favourite festive locations…

Bond Street

This fashionable area has a reputation for offering elegant displays; they tend towards crystalline displays of pure white lights which create a sense of magic and wonder. This year, the displays include stunning peacock-feather displays, arcing gracefully over the streets. The Bond Street lights are up until the 6th January.

Bond Street

Oxford Street

Not only famed for its shops but also for its festive displays, Oxford Street will once again be decorated with 1778 glowing white orbs along its full length, floating as if by magic above the traffic. It’s the fifty-fifth year that Oxford Street has been lit up for the festive season, and it looks just as impressive as ever! The Oxford Street lights are up until the 4th January.

Oxford Street lights

Southbank Centre

It’s a bit of a trek away from us, but we have to recommend the Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival – if only because of the rabbits! As part of the festival, artist Amanda Parer has brought her piece “Intrude” which consists of giant illuminated rabbits, frozen within the Winter Festival grounds. The Winter Festival is already on, but the rabbits should be present from the 6th December to 11th January.

Southbank Centre Rabbit


The famous department store is well known for the Christmas lights that decorate its Knightsbridge store every year – as well as for the luxury shopping inside and a special Christmas Grotto for their rewards members (sadly already sold out). This year, they have a released a sweet animated video about their lights! The Harrods lights will remain on throughout the festive season.

If you’re coming to London to see the bright lights and do some festive shopping, here at the Swinton Hotel we offer a comfortable, welcoming but cheap Kings Cross B and B so that you can save your money for presents! For more information or to make a booking, contact us on +44 20 7837 1451 or email

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4 Great (But Cheap) Places to Eat in London

There are thousands of places to eat at in London, so it’s hard to know where to start when you’re looking for a restaurant. Some of the best eateries are not as widely known as they should be, so without being told about them you’d probably just walk right past. Just because these restaurants serve excellent food, doesn’t necessarily mean they have high price tags. We’ve hand-picked 4 of the best, and yet cheap, places to eat in London.

Bibimbap, Soho


Korean cuisine is probably not something you’d seek out, but this little restaurant is one of London’s hidden gems. Bibimbap is named after the Korean national dish and has two locations, one on Greek Street, Soho and the other at Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia. The restaurant is very quirky and the walls are covered with K-Pop posters and Polaroid pictures of the customers. The bibimbap dish can have many variations, including a delicious vegetarian option, and is served in a piping-hot stone dish that continues to cook your food as you eat! The bibimbap dish costs around £7 and all the portions are very generous, so Bibimbap has definitely earned its place on this list.

11 Greek Street, W1

10 Charlotte Street, W1

Pizza Pilgrims, Soho

Whether you are a pizza connoisseur or just a fan, Pizza Pilgrims will certainly not disappoint. The pizzas are based on southern Italian recipes, so have thin and crispy bases and plenty of delicious options for toppings. The restaurant even serves a cheese-free pizza made with house-blitzed San Marzano plum tomato sauce, so if you want to try an unusual pizza then this is the option you should choose! Pizzas can be bought from £6 if you want a takeaway or £7 if you are eating in, so it certainly won’t break the bank.

11 Dean Street, W1

Fish in a Tie, Clapham


Fish in a Tie is another hidden gem, located a little way behind Clapham Junction station. This is certainly a quirky little restaurant, as the name would suggest. The rooms are full of gold gilted mirrors, chandeliers and candles, giving the restaurant a lot of character. The food is excellent too, with plenty of special meals on offer each day. Better yet, all the food is surprisingly cheap, so your wallet will still be happy when you leave! You can expect to get a two course meal from the set menu for just £10.

105 Falcon Road, SW11

Honest Burger

The Honest Burger in Soho is home to a burger that is famous across all of London. The thick and juicy burgers are made from 35-day aged beef and are cooked to perfection. The burgers are served with Honest Burger’s legendary chips, that have a delicious rosemary taste and still have their skin on. The burger may not be the cheapest in London but, for what you get, the £9.50 price is great value!

4a Meard Street, W1


If you’re staying in London and are looking for great and cheap Kings Cross hotels then look no further. Swinton Hotel is one of the best low-price hotels in the London area, and our staff are dedicated to providing the perfect accommodation for any London adventurer. We are located right in the heart of the capital, close to attractions, restaurants and transport links. For further information or to check availability, don’t hesitate to give our friendly team a call on 020 7837 1451 or email us at

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London’s Most Famous Bear Returns

This month sees the triumphant return of London’s most famous bear – Paddington. The well-meaning and well-loved bear created by Michael Bond stars in a new film which is due to reach cinema screens on the 28th of November.

However, you won’t just find Paddington on the big screen. If you’re in London between now and the 30th December, you’ll be able to search for 50 unique statues of the famous bear, designed and decorated by famous names and scattered throughout the city close to the capital’s favourite sights and attractions. By following the Paddington Trail, you can discover all the bears – and the city, too!

Our favourite bears on the trail include:

  • Sherlock Bear – Designed by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch and in place at the Museum of London, this Paddington has adopted the famous detective’s deerstalker hat.
  • Paddington Who – Designed by Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi, this Paddington’s duffel coat is painted to look like the Doctor’s TARDIS. Fittingly for a time-travelling bear, he’s in place at Greenwich on the Prime Meridian line – the point from which time is officially measured.
  • The Journey of Marmalade – Designed by Hugh Bonneville, who stars in the new movie, this Paddington is a tribute to the bear’s love of marmalade. He’s in Hyde Park, keeping a nose out for marmalade sandwiches.
  • Gravity Bear – Designed by Sandra Bullock, star of the award-winning film Gravity. This Paddington is ready to explore space from his position inside the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.
  • Paddington – The classic Paddington Bear, as designed by his creator Michael Bond. He is found, naturally enough, at Paddington station, the place where he was found and from which he took his name.

Whichever Paddington you prefer, there is also an opportunity for you to own one – the 50 bears will be auctioned off by Christie’s at the end of the event with bids starting at £500 and all proceeds going to the NSPCC.

If you’re planning a trip to London this November, the Swinton Hotel is one of the best cheap Kings Cross hotels available, giving you affordable and comfortable accommodation for your stay. For more information, to check availability or to make a booking, call us on 020 7837 1451 or email

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Christmas Shopping

There’s no denying that Christmas is coming and with the Christmas retail campaigns now in full swing it’s time to start thinking about those all important Christmas gifts. When it comes to Christmas shopping you cannot beat London for the perfect shopping experience, and there’s so much on offer you’re sure to find something for even the most difficult people to buy for. So here we take a quick look at some of the best Christmas shopping spots in London worth visiting this winter.

Christmas Markets

London is famous for its many amazing Christmas markets. For example the South Bank Centre Christmas Market is a traditional German-style affair featuring some great wooden chalets. You can enjoy some great mulled wine and festive mince pies as you explore the array of unique hand crafted gifts on offer, which make the perfect individual gifts for friends and family members alike.

christmas shopping1


No London Christmas shopping trip can be complete without a visit to one of London’s most iconic stores, Harrods, which is in many respects a London institution. It’s worth a look round this store just to admire its legendary interiors, even if you don’t actually buy anything, and it has become something of a tradition to visit Harrods to take a look at its amazing winter displays. The store has already been transformed ahead of the festive season, revealing its world famous festive displays, which this year follow the theme of “the land of make believe” and is sure to be a real treat.




If you’re planning on making your London shopping trip a family affair, then a trip to the iconic toy store Hamley’s is a real treat for kids. The store is home to 7 floors to explore with everything from traditional wooden toys to the latest toy trends, and is worth visiting for the experience alone, especially at Christmas time.


Oxford Street

Oxford Street is renowned for being one of the best and biggest shopping streets in London, and when it comes to Christmas shopping there is no better destination. Oxford Street is home to an array of stores, including all your favourites such as House of Frazer, John Lewis and many, many, more so you’re sure to find whatever it is you’re looking for.

oxford street

If you’re planning a Christmas shopping adventure in London and are looking for somewhere to stay then here at the Swinton Hotel we are the perfect choice. We are a cheap Kings Cross B and B located in the heart of London, and are the ideal destination for a restful night’s sleep after a hard days shopping. For more information please do not hesitate to contact us by giving us a call on 020 7837 1451.

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London: A November Guide

London is a great city to visit at any time of the year, and there’s so much to see that often the hardest part can be deciding where to visit first. So here we give our guide to some top picks and November highlights worth visiting in London this November.

Ice Skating

With the growing chill in the air there’s no denying that winter is almost here. A great iconic winter activity is ice skating, and London is home to a number of great ice rinks, indeed you will almost be spoilt for choice. However undoubtedly one of the best venues for ice skating is the Somerset House ice rink which will open later this month .This is a truly magical location and the perfect spot for a bit of winter fun.

Ice skating

The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red 

This summer saw 888,246 poppies (one for each British fatality during World War I) take up residence at the Tower of London to commemorate the Great War and those who fought and died in it. The poppies are a truly amazing spectacle to behold and it is estimated that as many as 4 million people will have visited the site by the time of its closure. The installation will close following Remembrance Day on the 11th November, so it’s not too late just yet to visit the installation for yourself.


Winter Wonderland

A trip to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is a great way to get into the festive spirit. The hugely popular festival will be returning again this November and will be opening from the 21st of this month. Winter Wonderland has plenty to offer, from Christmas markets to roller coasters and stunning frozen sculptures, so there’s plenty of fun and entertainment to be had, for adults and children alike. The great thing is entry to Winter Wonderland is free too!

winter wonderland

These are just a few of the many amazing things to see and do in London this November, and there are plenty more for you to discover too. If you’re looking for cheap Kings Cross hotels in London then here at the Swinton Hotel we can help. We are a cheap hotel located in the heart of the city of London in the Kings Cross area. For more information or to speak to a member of our reservations team please do not hesitate to contact us by giving us a call on +44 20 7837 1451.

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