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

British Museum

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

800px-Regent's_Park_bandstand

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

Hamleys

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

RoyalAlbert

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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London’s Best Festivals to be at this Summer 2014

After a typically British rain-filled winter, the skies are finally starting to brighten up and the sun is (sometimes) shining. That means only one thing; summer is on its way! Summer is a fantastic time of the year; everyone is happy, BBQs in the park, a few too many in your local beer garden and, of course, the upcoming festival lineups! Festival season starts earlier and earlier each year, and people are discussing what fests they are going to and starting the countdown ‘til that precious weekend away from work. London has become a haven for day festivals, both music and the arts, and gives European festivals a run for their money. Cheaper, better acts in the comfort of the capital make London a top choice for the upcoming party season.

1.       LOVEBOX, 18th – 19th July 2014, Victoria Park, London

LoveBox Festival

Lovebox is one of the most well-respected and talked about festivals of London, the first being held back in 2002, and it has grown dramatically in size and popularity year after year. A 2-day festival founded by the DJ Groove Armada was predominantly a dance festival to start with, but indie, rock and pop have expanded into the genres and stage line ups to offer a little something for every festival-goer. Lovebox is an underground and creative festival, inspired by the arts and aiming to be unique in its quality and appearance. This year’s acts include Chase & Status, M.I.A, Bonobo, Joy Orbison and Annie Mac.

2.       Wireless Festival, 4th – 6th July 2014, Finsbury Park, London

Wireless Festival

Wireless is dedicated to providing popular chart music to a large crowd. Originally held in Leeds and moved to London in 2008, it has continued to supply a respected and crowd-pleasing line-up every year. Previous acts have included Calvin Harris, Deadmau5, Pulp and Aphex Twin, and this year we see Pharrell Williams, Drake, Outkast and Basement Jaxx take to the stage!

3.       Field Day, 7th – 8th June 2014, Victoria Park, London

Field Day Festival

 Victoria Park sees the return of Field Day festival, a 2 day summer event bringing together London’s concert and club promoters, producing a jam packed day of music and dancing in the heart of the vibrant capital. Field day has a ‘village fete’ vibe and is a relaxed and carefree atmosphere; the perfect option for a first time festival’er!

4.       Calling Festival, 28th – 29th June 2014, Clapham Common, London

Calling Festival, previously known as Hard Rock Calling, is a friendly and established open air London festival, featuring international and renowned acts over the 2 day weekend. This year’s headline acts include Aerosmith and the legendary Stevie Wonder. Enjoy Calling Festival’s fantastic rock atmosphere in the perfect location.

Day festivals don’t have camping facilities, so for cheap London hotels during the festival season, check out our great deals at Swinton Hotel. We offer high quality accommodation at fantastic prices – be sure to be quick though, as we only have limited availability!

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Kings Cross Development

Kings Cross Square (c) Hufton and Crow

London, the heart of England, is always thriving with culture and excitement, whether you are a history enthusiast or thrive on modern developments there are always many things for you here. The development of the Kings Cross area is adding so much to an already exciting part of London, surrounding the Swinton Hotel, there is a bloom of development with 50 new buildings, 10 new public squares and even 20 new streets so it is a perfect time to come and explore London’s fresh hive of culture. Swinton Hotel is one of the leading hotels in Kings Cross with its cheap, friendly and relaxed reputation, making it a perfect stay to explore all the new things Kings Cross now has to offer.

Museums, Arts & Culture

With over 10 libraries and galleries, Kings Cross is bursting full of exciting things to discover, learn and enjoy, ranging from one of the world’s greatest libraries and home of The Magna Carta, The British Library, to one of the largest contemporary art galleries in London, Sartorial Contemporary Art.

Music

For the music fanatics among us, there is so much Kings Cross has to offer, if it is a classical evening you are after at the Kings Place, home of the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the age of Enlightenment. Indie and rock music fans can head towards the renowned Water Rats theatre or the Scala Club. Kings Cross has also now been developed to host numerous sized outdoor music events at a number of locations, including the beautifully done, Granary Square.

Granary Sq

Parks & Spaces

Amongst all the building of new properties and venues, Kings Cross is also home to some incredible open green spaces to take a picnic or relax in this summer’s sun. With 2 miles walk down Regent’s Canal towpath to a seven acre playground and park for the kids to play on, there are so many brilliant inner city escapes all to be explored.

With so much more to see, place

s to explore and events to attend, Kings Cross has never been so exciting. All that is left is to stay in one of the best hotels in Kings Cross, The Swinton hotel, and have a relaxing and luxurious stay in the heart of all the excitement London has to offer. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss more about your upcoming stay.

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MAY 2014: What’s Going On

London is a vibrant and exciting city, full of culture and prestigious events. Spring is a wonderful time and the capital becomes buzzing with colour, sunshine and charm. There is always something to do and something to see, however there are so many things going on, it can be difficult to make sure you don’t miss anything. To help you out, here’s a short guide as to what’s going on in the lovely city of London next month:

The Chelsea Flower Show, 20th – 24th May 2014

Chelsea Flower Show

London’s Royal Hospital, Chelsea becomes home to the world’s greatest flower show as each year the hospital’s grounds are transformed into beautiful show gardens, horticulture shows and inspiring small gardens to create the most famous and well-respected exhibition of colour and dream-like displays. Over 157,000 visitors attend each year; tickets sell out extremely quickly so it is important to make sure you purchase tickets in advance. The show debuts emerging designer’s trends and gardening tips to the public in order to inspire people to love their gardens and create a picturesque and charming outdoor haven in their own abode.

To purchase tickets for The Chelsea Flower Show or for more information please view their website.

Museums at Night, 15th – 17th May 2014

Somerset House

Forget experiencing history and heritage by day, this spring, London sees various venues open their doors after dark to allow visitors to experience the arts in a new light. The unique nationwide event offers a jam packed weekend of special events – from treasure trails, sleepovers and workshops to new unseen exhibitions and one-off presentations. Venues involved include Somerset House, Benjamin Franklin House, The Design Museum, UK Supreme Court and many more. For more information please visit their website.

The 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition, 1st – 18th May 2014

One of the leading photography competitions of the present time, the exhibition at Somerset House, showcases the shortlisted and winning photographers from over 135,000 entries from various art disciplines, such as photojournalism and fine art. On display is the best of contemporary and modern photography from the previous year, displaying works from all types of photographers means there will be something there to suit every taste and give a fresh and unique take on today’s photography world. For more information please visit their website or even submit your own entry.

FA Cup Final, 17th May 2014

Wembly Stadium

Wembley Stadium, home to the FA Cup final is one of the biggest and most famous English football competitions and attracts millions of viewers around the world. Set to return this year with Arsenal VS. Hull, it is sure to be a match that is not to be missed. People come to London from all over to attend Wembley and be amidst the action or watch it in nearby pubs and be surrounded by the atmosphere, filling London with a sense of patriotism and excitement. The streets are filled with supporters and even if you are not interested or follow football, getting amongst it is a truly enjoyable experience. If watching the match on tv; there are plenty of traditional English pubs or sporting bars to choose from, London has a wide variety of bars and pubs to enjoy, and for those not so keen on the football, there are plenty of nearby shops to have a mooch around when avoiding the celebrations.

If you are looking for King’s Cross Hotels, here at Swinton Hotel we offer high quality luxury rooms at affordable prices. Located closely to the tube, train and bus station so getting around London is easy and stress-free.  To book or enquire about a room please get in touch with our friendly team today on 020 7837 1451.

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Have a Cracking Easter Weekend in London 2014

London is a fantastic place to visit throughout the year but it gets even better this Easter weekend! So instead of spending the eating all your (or your children’s) Easter eggs, why not enjoy an extra long Easter weekend in London? There really is something for everyone to enjoy whether you’re on your own, a couple or have a family. Read on to find out all about excellent Easter activities that are taking place in the capital this year.

Ducklings at WWT London Wetland Centre - 5th April 2014 to 21st April 2014

If you’re after something cute and cuddly make sure that you head to the WWT London Wetland Centre where you will learn all about the life of a duckling. You’ll get to meet some truly adorable ducklings and even make your own duckling inspired crafts!

Berwick St Record Store Day – 19th April

All of the independent record stores and retailers of Berwick Street Soho are joining together to provide an exciting (and free!) outdoor gig. 7 artists will perform on the main stage and visitors can take advantage of an array of activities throughout the day. This is a place that all music lovers must visit.

Horniman Easter Fair – 19th April – 20th April

The Horniman Easter fair hosted by the Horniman Museum & Gardens is to be an extremely exciting event full of Easter egg hunts, arts and craft stalls, and a band stand bunny hop dance. With free entry it is a fantastic place to take the family or visit with your friends. You’ll certainly come away from this event feeling cheery!

Feast of St George – 21st April

On Easter Monday, you can enjoy the feast of St George in Trafalgar Square. This event includes; traditional English feasting, live music, entertainment, Morris dancing, juggling and more! If you’re a food lover you should certainly head to this festival as you will find an array of street food stalls and cookery demonstrations!

Go on, get down to London this Easter weekend, there is so much to see, do and experience! So if you are looking for Kings Cross hotels, here at the Swinton Hotel we can offer you high quality rooms at affordable prices – be quick though we have limited availability. London is a truly exciting place to visit, so whenever you choose to visit you certainly won’t be disappointed.

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3 of London’s Best ‘Secret’ Attractions

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Whether you have visited London a hundred times before or are considering your first glimpse into the nation’s capital, this city still has the capability to amaze you. There are thousands of attractions, from Big Ben to London Zoo, which will provide you with hours of entertainment. However, there are a lesser-known set of attractions that really let you see under the veil, and discover the hidden treasures of London. With years of experience when providing Kings Cross hotels to those that have explored the city, we thought we would highlight some of our favourites:

St Mary’s Secret Garden

Often described as a peaceful oasis, St Mary’s Secret Garden is around 0.7 acres in size, and has four interlinked areas which include natural woodland, food growing, herb and sensory gardening, and an area of herbaceous borders. You can attend therapeutic sessions in this garden, and flower shows are also held at St Mary’s.

Chislehurst Caves

With tours available for adults, children and seniors alike, Chislehurst Caves are a great place to spend the day. There is no need to book a place, as tours of this cave take place every hour.  The caves at Chislehurst are a labyrinth of tunnels which come with hundreds of years of stories, including tales of smuggling and murder. The guides at Chislehurst Caves are passionate about what they do, and you won’t fail to be impressed by the facts you find out. Also, be sure to look out for Chalky, the cave cat.

The Women’s Library

The Women’s Library is Britain’s main resource on women and the women’s movement, focusing primarily on Britain in the 19th and 20th century. There are many fascinating archives held here, including those of Emily Faithful, Elspeth Howe and Maude Royden to name only a few. The printed collection of the Women’s Library contains over 60,000 books and pamphlets, and over 3,500 periodical titles.

The museum inside this library has over 5,000 items, including at least 100 suffrage banners. Even if you only have a passing interest in the suffragettes, this fascinating museum is well worth a look.

Whichever ‘secret’ attraction you choose, you’re sure to discover a whole new world of amusement beyond the established norm of tourist attractions. One extra element that these locations all have in common is that they are off the tourist route, and are therefore much quieter; no long queues, no large crowds, just you and some of the city’s best hidden gems…

As a base to visit these great places, you should consider booking a room at The Swinton Hotel. Our hotel is conveniently located near the train station, underground and bus station. To book a room call us today on 020 7837 1451.

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A Day Out at London Zoo will be a Roaring Success

If you are coming down to London for Easter, the May half term holiday or simply as a weekend treat, there is so much to see and do in London, and you don’t have to travel far to reach the capital’s top attractions and many exhilarating days out. If you are visiting London with family, friends or even as a couple, one of the best attractions is just north of our hotel in Regents Park: London Zoo is an unmissable experience, and the recent birth of three new tiger cubs makes it even more worthwhile.

Join the Cub Fanclub at London Zoo
In February, five-year-old Sumatran tigress Melati gave birth to three healthy and adorable cubs. The cubs spent the first few weeks of their life being carefully nurtured by their mum, but yesterday, just in time for Mother’s Day, the three cubs made their way outside for the first time. After taking a cautious few steps outside, the three baby tigers were soon enjoying their new play area with some encouraging nudges from their mother. The cubs haven’t yet been given names as their gender is still unknown, but according to zoo keeper Teague Stubbington they have nicknames based on their personalities.

Explore a World Full of Wildlife
london tiger
Although it isn’t guaranteed that you will spot the three tiger cubs, they are now officially allowed into “Tiger Territory”, so it is worth a visit to spot them and they will be visible far more frequently the more they grow. Aside from the tigers, London Zoo offers 17 other exhibits, including the amazing indoor rainforest; monkey kingdom, where you come up close and personal with cheeky black-capped squirrel monkeys; the adventurous gorilla tracking trail and, from Easter onwards, you can meet the adorable pygmy hippos in their new enclosure in the “Into Africa” exhibit. There is something for everyone at London Zoo; from seeing your favourite animal to watching an amazing live animal show where certain species get to show off their moves. Visit www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo for more information and tickets.

Stay in a Top London Hotel
When you’re having a trip away to the capital, you want to save as much money as possible to do the things you want to do; such as visiting attractions and eating out. Swinton Hotel is one of the best cheap London hotels, offering good value rooms without compromising on quality and comfort. Single standard rooms start at just £54 a night, and double basic standard rooms start at £69 a night. We are wonderfully located just off Gray’s Inn Road; a five minute walk from Kings Cross Train station and the nearest underground. This is a perfect base for attractions like The British Museum, The National Gallery, Camden town and, of course, London Zoo. If you do fancy mingling with monkeys and playing with penguins at the zoo, then simply hop on a Northern line tube to Camden and you can be at the zoo in 15 minutes.

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Make London Your Mother’s Day Treat

It’s difficult to know exactly what to get your mother for mother’s day. Buying her flowers is thoughtful and sentimental, but if you have got her flowers for the past few years then the novelty of this could begin to wear off. As Mother’s Day is an extra special day, why not treat her to a few days in London by booking a room at the Swinton Hotel? You could arrange a room for your mother and father, or if you don’t want to miss the fun you could go with her for some quality time.

There are many things you can do that have ‘Mum appeal’ in London, including:

West End Show

With a variety of exciting shows available to watch in the West End, from Billy Elliot and The Bodyguard to Mamma Mia and The Commitments, you will surely find a show that your mother will remember for years to come. If you would like to see what is on at the West End then click here.

Kensington Palace

Treat your mother to an afternoon at Kensington Palace. This grand building has beautiful gardens that are perfect for springtime strolls, and there is a Georgian-style tea party in Kensington Palace’s restaurant. It is open 7 days a week all year round, except between 24th – 26th December.

Shopping

It goes without saying that London is renowned for its shopping. There really is no better way to show your mother how special she is to you than by taking her round Oxford Street, Camden and Bond Street. For more information on these areas, please look at a previous blog we have written titled ‘3 Sensational Shopping Spots in London’.

Bars

As this is a special time of the year, it is well worth arranging a visit to a champagne bar. The champagne bars in London are elegant, impressive and have extremely friendly staff. After a day of shopping the delicious champagne will be the perfect complement.

If you are looking for Kings Cross Hotels for a mother’s day treat, you can book a room at the Swinton Hotel. Call us on 020 7837 1451; our rooms are comfortable, attractive and modern, not to mention the fact that they are extremely affordable.

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