Keep the Kids Happy This Summer Holiday

The school summer holidays are nearly upon us, and scarily, six weeks sounds like a pretty long time to keep your little darlings busy!

Kids of school age (and maybe even university level) require attention and solid holiday plans to fill their days with adventure, excitement and engaging activity that they can tell their friends about on their long-awaited return to school.

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No matter where you are or what you have planned, try to schedule a visit to the wonderful capital in your calendar! London offers plenty to see, do and enjoy and is the perfect pit-stop for family day trips, offering great and good-value-for-money options for all ages and all personalities.

Go on, give your children (and you!) something to be excited for this summer and fill your holidays with these fun and fantastic day out options!

The Making of Harry Potter, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, WD25 – OPEN DAILY

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 Warner Bros. Studios is the home to the fabulous Harry Potter tour that everybody has been talking about since it opened. Whether you are lucky enough to have already been or have planned to go since it first began, the summer holidays are definitely the time to fill your little pumpkin’s day with magic and Hogwarts-fun (even if they haven’t yet read the books!)

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The tour offers an enchanting look into the wonderful wizarding world, sharing production secrets and allowing all visitors to walk the eerie streets of Diagon Alley, enjoy the wonders of the Great Hall and even have a cheeky Butterbeer or two! To book your family ticket or for more information please visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour website.

Thorpe Park, Surrey – OPEN DAILY

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The UK’s most respected and enjoyable theme park offers a fantastic range of rides and attractions for all ages and personalities! Whether you love rollercoaster speed, or enjoy a casual mooch around the fairground games – Thorpe Park has something to suit you and your family!

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Thorpe Park offers a fantastic day out for the whole family, with affordable prices and saver deals on family tickets! Thorpe Park is also home to the newly-opened Angry Birds Land! For further information please visit the Thorpe Park website.

The London Dungeons, Next to the London Eye, SE1 – OPEN DAILY

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Visit one of London’s most popular attractions, offering history, fear and culture under one roof. The amazing and fascinating London Dungeon explores historic events and discovers the secrets behind some of Britain’s most notorious crooks, including Guy Fawkes, Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper.

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Discover the gruesome tales of London’s streets whilst sitting in a pub and hearing the landlord relay the terrors, or wander the streets and visit the locations of crimes and famous rebellion with re-enactments and an eerie atmosphere in the air. The London Dungeons are a must for anyone interested in the history of some of London’s most infamous events – for further information please visit The London Dungeon website.

Coram’s Fields, Guildford Sreet, WC1 – OPEN DAILY

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Coram’s Field is a free park, open all year round from 9am until dusk to children and young people under 16. No adult can enter Coram’s Fields without a child, and the friendly on-site staff ensure that everyone enjoys their visit. Coram’s Fields is quite like no other, and provides activities, sports and daily games completely free of charge to all.

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Set in the heart of London, between King’s Cross and Holburn it also offers toilets and nappy changing facilities, as well as a small farm with plenty of furry friends including goats, chickens and rabbits! Coram’s Fields provides a fun day out for all the family, and is the ideal option if on a budget! For further information please visit the Coram’s Fields website.

Here at the Swinton Hotel, we are dedicated to providing the perfect hotel accommodation for any London adventure. Whether you are visiting for just a night or have a jam-packed summer holiday planned and are looking for cheap kings cross hotels – we are perfectly situated in the heart of the capital, situated in close distance to all transport links and attractions. For further information, to make a booking or to check availability, please give our friendly team a call on 020 7837 1451 or email us at swintonhotel@hotmail.com!

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What’s On in London This Week…

Extend your cultural horizons this week in London! Celebrate homegrown talent, or rejoice for the land of the free…

Skylight at Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DA (until Saturday the 23rd of August)

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Bafta award-winning actress Carey Mulligan and Golden Globe winner Bill Nighy grace the stage of Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End to star in David Hare’s 1995 psychodrama Skylight, about a schoolteacher who receives unexpected visits from her former lover and his son.

The play won the 1996 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play & the 1997 Theatre World Special Award for Ensemble Performance, and was nominated for four Tony awards in 1997. This performance is not to be missed!

 

4th of July, Independence Day U.S.A

If you’re celebrating Independence Day in the capital this year, you may wish to check out where and when the best celebrations are taking place!

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Benjamin Franklin is known as being one of the Founding Fathers of the USA, as well as a scientist, diplomat, philosopher and inventor. Franklin lived at a Charing Cross address for 16 years between 1757 and 1775, and today the house is a dynamic museum and educational facility.

If you visit the Benjamin Franklin House on the 4th of July, you can expect cake and champagne in honour of both Franklin and the USA’s Independence Day.

Alternatively, at Portman Square Garden you can join in with the Democrats Abroad UK American Independence Day Picnic! There will be plenty of American-style burgers, hotdogs and barbeque food at this annual Independence Day picnic. There will be a tug-of-war, face painting, crafts for kids and live music. Everyone is welcome at the celebration but only US citizens can buy tickets.

 

If you are looking for Kings Cross hotels this July, please do not hesitate to contact us here at Swinton Hotel by emailing swintonhotel@hotmail.com or by telephone at +44 20 7837 1451. Swinton Hotel is a friendly and relaxed hotel located in the very heart of London, with a reputation as one of the top London hotels, and is perfect for all those who are wanting to have access to tourist attractions, shopping areas and transport connections.

 

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As Seen on TV

London is a fascinating city, and as such it has been featured in film and television more times than you can count. If you’d like to follow in the footsteps of such famous actors as Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Radcliffe, and Hugh Grant, here are just a few of the capital’s most recognisable locations.

Speedy’s Cafe – Sherlock

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When the BBC brought Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective into the 21st century, they couldn’t actually film his famous 221b Baker Street address for exterior filming – there’s far too much Sherlock Holmes memorabilia on the street.

Instead, they took their cameras to the other side of Regent’s Park and filmed on North Gower Street, where you can visit Speedy’s sandwich bar and cafe – yes, it’s real – and enjoy some good fresh food. And yes, that includes specials named the Sherlock and the Watson!

Platform 9 ¾ – Harry Potter

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For Harry Potter fans, this is a big draw, and one of the first sights they’ll see in the capital. At London’s Kings Cross station, you can find a railway luggage trolley embedded in the wall beneath a sign for Platform 9 ¾ – and often, a queue of Harry Potter fans waiting to take their picture with it!

Other Harry Potter sights can be seen in London, too – exterior shots of the Ministry of Magic were filmed at Scotland Yard, and both Borough Market and Leadenhall Market offered filming locations for Diagon Alley.

Black Books – Black Books

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In Channel 4’s cult favourite sitcom Black Books, the bookshop above was run by Bernard Black (played by Dylan Moran) and his assistant Manny (played by Bill Bailey). In real life, it’s called Collinge & Clark, and it offers an impressive array of rare and secondhand books.

You can’t get a wine ice lolly here, but you can get some really interesting and beautiful books that’ll look great on your coffee table back home.

St Mary’s Garden, Regent’s Park – About a Boy

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The lake in St Mary’s Garden is a lovely place for a picnic, where you can enjoy the sunshine and feed the ducks. Just don’t throw an entire loaf of dense bread at them, as the titular boy does, as we can’t guarantee that Hugh Grant will step in to save you from the law.

Whether you plan to tour film and television locations, go shopping or take in a show, if you’re looking for Kings Cross hotels we at the Swinton Hotel would be more than happy to welcome you. For more information, to check availability or to make a booking, call us on 020 7837 1451.

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Wimbledon: Two Weeks of Strawberries, Pimm’s & Tennis

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Ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of year again! Dig deep in your wardrobes for an all-white ensemble, put ‘strawberries and cream’ on the shopping list, and get a pitcher of Pimm’s No. 1 and lemonade at the ready, because Wimbledon is just around the corner…

Getting a Ticket
The ticket queue for this year’s Wimbledon officially opens at 8am on Sunday June 22. Around 500 tickets every day are available at the Gate 3 turnstile for Centre Court (except for the last four days; tickets for those days are like gold dust) and court numbers 1 and 2, plus several thousand grounds tickets. If you are wanting to turn up to The Championships after work, the late entry queue opens at 5pm daily. You can often pay a reasonable rate for the seats of spectators who have left the venue earlier. Please note that tickets can only be purchased by cash.

It is worth noting that the queue does not commence in Wimbledon Park before 8am on Sunday 22nd June 2014.

History of Wimbledon

The Wimbledon Championship, commonly referred to as simply Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and is widely considered the most prestigious. Wimbledon is one of the four worldwide ‘Grand Slam’ tennis tournaments and has been held at the All England Club in London since 1877.

Traditions

The Championships are famously free from advertisement and sponsors, and they instil a strict dress code for all participants. Rest assured this dress code does not extend to the audience (so feel free to wear that terribly subtle I heart Andy Murray t-shirt from last summer). The players are instructed to wear all white (or as much white as is humanly possible).

Each year, approximately 250 ball boys and girls are employed at Wimbledon. Potential ball boys and ball girls must pass a series of fitness, mobility and tennis rules tests.

Each year, tennis fans at Wimbledon consume more than 28,000kg of strawberries and 7,000 litres of cream.

The English Royal family has supported and attended Wimbledon since 1907 and the players are supposed to bow down when either Her Majesty the Queen or His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales are present at the court.

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The best way to get to Wimbledon is by shuttle bus from Southfields tube station, which is on the District Line. If you are looking for Kings Cross hotels please do not hesitate to contact us here at Swinton Hotel, by telephone at +44 20 7837 1451.

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Three Must-See Sights of London

The capital is a hectic and busy place, with literally hundreds – or thousands – of things to see and do. If you’re travelling for a short break, you may find it difficult to choose what to see and what to miss out on – but if you’re pressed for time these three quintessential sights of London are a good place to start!

St Paul’s Cathedral

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The dome of St Paul’s is one of the most famous images of London. It’s so important, in fact, that views of the cathedral from various vantage points around the city are protected, limiting development of tall buildings within these sightlines so that you’ll always get a clear view.

Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament

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One of the most recognisable sights of the city, the Palace of Westminster – and for ceremonial purposes it is indeed still a royal palace – is not a sight to be missed. Interestingly, although many people refer to the clock tower as “Big Ben” it is in fact called the Elizabeth Tower – Big Ben is the name of the bell within.

Piccadilly Circus

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When people talk about the “bright lights of the city” surely it’s Piccadilly Circus that comes to mind, with its iconic illuminated signs – it’s the heart of an exciting area of the city, by day or night, with shops, clubs and theatres all around.

If you can’t make it to all the sights of London, or if you’d like a preview of what’s in store when you come, this beautiful time-lapse video offers a wonderful insight into the city.

London from Louis Theodossiou on Vimeo.

Whatever you choose to see or do when you’re in the capital, staying at a London Kings Cross hotel gives you an excellent base. This area puts you within easy reach of both main line rail and tube links, it’s convenient for bus routes and ideal for those driving in, as it’s right at the border of the congestion charging zone so that you can easily park your car outside the boundary and use the excellent public transport to get around. For more information on our hotel, to check availability or to make a booking, call us on 020 7837 1451 today.

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What’s on in London this June?

Field Day

Saturday the 7th to Sunday the 8th of June

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Over the last few years Field Day has become one of the best festivals in London, including the UK’s  best alternative acts, ranging from pop and indie rock to underground dance and folk musicians. Headlining the festival this year is American alternative rock band The Pixies, with other acts including; Metronomy, Jamie XX, The Horrors, Temples, Pond, Drenge, Neneh Cherry, Sky Ferreira, The Temper Trap, Warpaint, East India Youth, Erol Alkan/Daniel Avery, and many more! Please note that Field Day is not a camping festival, and all attendees will be asked to leave the site at the end of the event, being 11pm. Tickets for Field Day are priced at £45 for Saturday, £38.50 for Sunday, and £73.50 for the whole weekend.

 

Dogs Unite for Guide Dogs

Saturday the 14th of June

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Animal lovers and dog owners alike will enjoy the Dogs Unite charity dog walk in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with all proceeds going to guide dog charities. The event promises dog shows, demonstrations, Scruffts heats and opportunities to meet some super guide dogs and their trainers – there will even be a few surprise celebrities and their canine companions. Plus, each participating pup will receive a superhero cape and a goody bag!

 

Trooping the Colour: The Queen’s Birthday Parade

Saturday the 14th of June

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Are you a proud patriot? You can watch the Queen’s Birthday parade along the Mall, or from the edge of St James’s Park for free! This patriotic pageantry doesn’t take place on Her Majesty’s actual birthday (which is on April 21), but on her official birthday, a Saturday in June more likely to provide decent weather for the proceedings. Take a picnic, take your camera, and take your Union Jack memorabilia!

If you are looking for hotels in Kings Cross from which to tour these fantastic events, please do not hesitate to contact Swinton Hotels at +44 20 7837 1451.

 

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Father’s Day in London: Treat Your Dad on a Budget!

 

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On Sunday the 15th of June Britain will celebrate and honour fathers and paternal figures alike. If you think your father will appreciate a change from the trusted combination of a new tie and pair of socks, there is plenty to do in our vivacious and diverse capital city. Don’t let the recession stop you from treating your dad to a well deserved break, as there are many free events and attractions in London. Plus, if you’re looking for cheap London hotels, look no further than the Swinton Hotel!  Read on to see what you could treat yourself, your family and your father to this Father’s Day.

Art

Until Sunday the 27th of July you can enjoy free access to American artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel’s new exhibition, ‘Every Angel has a Dark Side’. Famous for his ‘plate painting’s (large-scale paintings set on broken ceramic plates), Schnabel’s exhibition is on show at the Dairy Art Centre, which is a ten-minute walk from both King’s Cross station and the Swinton Hotel (bonus!)

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK

Are you or your dad avid comic book aficionados? Why not take a trip to the British Library and see an exhibition which features  some of the biggest names in comics, including work from Alan Moore (‘Watchmen’, ‘V for Vendetta’), Neil Gaiman (‘Sandman’), Mark Millar (‘Kick-Ass’) and Grant Morrison (‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’).  The exhibition runs until Tuesday the 19th of August.

Sport

If your dad is into sport, why not take him to one of London’s sport museums? There’s the Chelsea Football Club Museum, where alongside all the history, you can enjoy many child-friendly, interactive exhibits. A great choice for tennis fans is the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and Tour, and for rugby fans there is the World Rugby Museum at Twickenham (which includes a visit to the England changing room!) Dads who love cricket will enjoy a trip round the Marylebone Cricket Club Museum at Lord’s Cricket Ground where you can trace 400 years of cricket history. As well as the static displays, this museum includes footage of some of cricket history’s greatest moments in the Brian Johnston Memorial Theatre. Sporty dads may also enjoy the Arsenal Museum, which includes a visit to the changing rooms, director’s box and players’ tunnel.

Food and Drink

Treat dad to a delicious meal, or a drink, at one of London’s gorgeous riverside pubs. The Dove at Hammersmith is in the Guinness Book of Records for having the smallest bar in Britain. It serves highly recommended food and beer, and is extremely popular because of this. Located on South Bank there is the Anchor Bankside pub, conveniently situated between Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Sir Francis Drake’s world-famous ship, The Golden Hinde. The Anchor Bankside was originally built in 1615, and has a terrace bar overlooking the river Thames. For a more modern vibe, there is The Narrow, Gordon Ramsey’s riverside gastro pub, which has been called one of the most picturesque pubs in London.  The Narrow is located on the river at Limehouse, with panoramic views of the Thames river.

Wait… There’s More!

On Sunday the 15th of June, you can take your dad on a trip he can really boast about, with a climb up to The O2′s 52m-high viewing platform. Got a dad who loves to garden? Why not take him to some of the 200 private gardens opening their gates to the public, at the Open Garden Squares weekend on Saturday the 14th and Sunday the 15th of June. Is your dad a history buff? Why not take a trip down to the Waterloo Festival at Hyde Park on the weekend of Father’s Day, where you can relive the drama of the Napoleonic War and come face to face with Wellington’s Troops at this Apsley House festival, all for less than £10!

There are so many diverse and engaging events suitable for a Father’s Day treat in London. If you’re travelling to the capital for one of these fantastic events and are looking for cheap London hotels, please don’t hesitate to contact the Swinton Hotel by telephone at +44 20 7837 or by email at swintonhotel@hotmail.com.

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JUNE 2014: WHAT’S GOING ON LONDON

Summer’s nearly here, and of course, the capital is absolutely buzzing with goings on and plenty of lovely things to do that will put a big smile on your face for the sunshine season! Summer is a time for parks, beer gardens and good food, but just in case the good old British weather lets us down (again!)  Here are a few of London’s best kept secret events to add something different to your summer calendar:

Rooftop Film Club: Queen of Hoxton, Sunday 1st – Wednesday 18th June 2014

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It was only a matter of time before an outdoor cinema would be created, and The Rooftop Film Club have perfected the art of outdoor cinema beautifully! Located on the roof of the fashionable Queen of Hoxton pub, visitors are supplied with comfy chairs, blankets for the chillier evenings and wireless headphones to avoid those annoying cinema folk who just love to open that bag of sweets at the most crucial parts. Thirsty? There’s a bar! Hungry? There’s a BBQ, so this really is the perfect evening out for any film lover or the perfect first date destination. A wide mix of film genres are being shown at 9pm each evening throughout the event programme. Film showing highlights include Breakfast at Tiffanys, The Goonies and American Psycho, so don’t miss this unique event! For more information, future events or to purchase tickets please visit The Rooftop Film Club website.

London Zoo Lates, London Zoo, Friday 6th June – Friday 25th July 2014

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London Zoo’s annual late-night openings are set to return with unique events taking place every Friday during June and July. Zoo Lates offer visitors the chance to visit the animals after-hours as well as enjoying a programme of physical theatre, acoustic music, entertaining talks, fairground rides and comedy shows. London Zoo is the UK’s largest and leading zoo, being home to over 175,000 animals including exotic reptiles, sea life and land creatures. Zoo Lates offers yummy wine-tasting opportunities, pop-up bars and street food stalls serving global cuisine to cover at least the human’s feeding time. For more information on this wildly fantastic programme of events please view the London Zoo website.

Open Garden Squares Weekend, Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th June 2014

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YES, it’s back! OGSW has returned once again with yet another outstanding line up of the capital’s best kept gardens being public for one weekend only. This year celebrates the 16th birthday of OGSW and the 2014 programme does not disappoint! OGSW sees London’s most luxuriously green and always locked-down gardens open their gates and invite the lovely people of London to come and have a nosey at their posh and perfectly kept plant pots and lawns. This year’s programme includes Number 10 Downing Street and Highbury Square, home of the Arsenal Football Club back in 2006, who have recently scrapped their customary VIP policy and allow just about anybody off the streets to come and have a gander at their flower beds. Weekend highlight gardens to keep an eye out for also include MaRoCoCo Garden, Garden Barge Square and the Roof Gardens. For further information, including tickets and how to make sure your name is in the draw for entry into Number 10 please visit the Open Garden Squares Weekend website.

Festival of Colours, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th June 2014

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2014’s Holi-inspired Festival of Colours is set to paint the city of London red, green, yellow and blue, filling the air with explosions of Technicolor beauty to provide only feel-good vibes for this carefree and fun-filled event. Apart from the license to throw coloured powder at your friends and nearby strangers, the event will also be home to live music and DJ’s – giving you a soundtrack to party late into the night. Last year the event was held at Battersea Power Station which is an incredible venue, however this year, to enhance festival-goers enjoyment the venue will be held on the comfort of soft green grass. The event is part of a running collection of Hindu-inspired events that will be happening around London and various music festivals throughout the year. For further information or to book your ticket now please visit the HOLI FESTIVAL website.

London has lots going on that will make you smile and help you enjoy the sunny season in style! If you are heading to London for an exciting event or just visiting during the summer, here at Swinton Hotel we offer high quality cost-effective accommodation close to all transport links for easy access around the lively capital. For more information regarding our Kings Cross Hotels, please feel free to call our friendly and helpful team on 020 7837 1451 or make a booking online.

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Rain or Shine: London Fun

London is a favourite destination for many visitors, drawing in over 16 million visitors last year, and it’s no surprise; whatever time of year you visit, and whatever the British weather throws at you, there is always plenty to see and do.

Rain: The British Museum

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With free entry and a collection of over eight million items, the British Museum is perfect for a rainy day in London. Although you’ll often find crowds around the most famous items, such as the Rosetta Stone and the Egyptian mummies, there is such an astonishing array of fascinating displays that you’ll easily be able to spend a whole day browsing. There’s also a restaurant and two cafés on site, for when hunger strikes.

Shine: Regent’s Park

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Perfect for outdoor activities, Regent’s Park offers the largest grass area for sports in central London, as well as the Outdoor Theatre, boating lake (with both boats and pedalos for hire) and a range of gardens. Queen Mary’s Gardens display London’s largest collection of roses – over 12,000 – whilst the Allotment Gardens are great for anyone who wants to learn about growing their own food. You also have the option, of course, of simply enjoying a stroll in the sunshine or settling down in a deckchair with a good book!

Rain: Hamleys Toy Shop

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Whether for the kids or for the young at heart, the seven floors of the famous Hamleys toy shop on Regent Street provide plenty of shopping fun for a grey day. From traditional toys to modern lines like Harry Potter, there is plenty of temptation for children of any age, as well as events in store. On the lower ground floor, there’s a new Hamleys Underground experience, which includes the opportunity to have your picture taken in the driver’s cab of a real-life underground train.

Shine: Chin Chin Laboratorists

Pouring liqui nitrogen at Chin Chin On a hot sunny day in London, there’s nothing better than ice cream – and the Chin Chin Laboratorists in Camden Lock Place offer a truly unique experience. It’s made completely fresh, right in front of you, using liquid nitrogen to freeze the mix instantly into ice cream. This is said to produce a smoother and denser ice cream, with next to no ice crystals. Available flavours change all the time, based on available produce, so you’ll often be able to try something entirely new.

Whatever the weather may have in store for you when you visit London, you’re bound to have an unforgettable experience. Conveniently located for easy access to all the sights and attractions, as well as fantastic transport links, the Swinton Hotel is a great choice for anybody looking for King’s Cross hotels for their stay. For more information, call us now on 020 7837 1451 or make a booking online.

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A Concert For Every Pair Of Ears

If you find yourself travelling to England’s beloved capital and want to find the perfect concert to enjoy this year, this post should provide you with an event you can’t resist attending. Discover the right concert for you then spend the night in our London Kings Cross Hotel, The Swinton Hotel.

Pop

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Hyde Park, one of the Royal parks of London, will host the second British summer time festival this year. This totally unique event entertained over 350,000 music enthusiasts last year and it is back with yet another impressive line up.

This remarkable event takes place over the first two weekends in July, and welcomes massive names in the popular music world such as, The Libertines, Tom Jones, Black Sabbath and McBusted. These events only last a day each so head to Swinton Hotel to relax after a full day of dancing at these incredible events.

Classical

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The beautiful terracotta-coloured Royal Albert Hall is one of the finest concert venues in London.  It still remains popular due to its selection of classical music and the annual Prom concerts but in recent years has played host to a number of pop and rock concerts.

On May 18th, the Vivace Chorus will join the world famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to perform “Requiem”, by Giuseppe Verdi. This powerful and moving piece is one of the most adored pieces in the whole choral repertoire.

Rock/Metal

DragonForce

For those of us who enjoy some guitar driven rock music, British power metal band, DragonForce, are coming to town. Known for their long, fast guitar solos, electronic sounds and fantasy-based lyrics DragonForce will come to London on the 11th October and perform at the Bush hall in Shepherds Bush.

Hopefully now you will be able to find a music event to suit you when you come to spend a night in the fantastic and inexpensive London Kings Cross hotel, The Swinton. Call us on +44 207837 1451 or book online here to reserve your room for your musical getaway.`

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