London: A Guide To January Events

The New Year offers plenty of opportunities to discover the many delights of London, and there are a wealth of exciting events happening in the city in early 2015. So here we give a quick guide to our top picks of some of the best upcoming events in London this January, which are not to be missed.

Hogwarts in the Snow

Why not experience the magic of Hogwarts for yourself this January, by visiting the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London. Here you can experience first-hand, and take a look inside, some of the sets and film locations, used in the Harry Potter Films. The sets have undergone a rather impressive festive makeover for the winter season, complete with realistic snow, fantastic special effects, and a variety of other winter inspired treats. Hogwarts in the Snow will be running until Sunday the 1st of February, so these still plenty of time to experience it for yourself.

hogwarts

London Short Film Festival

Now entering its 12th year, this year’s London Short Film Festival is set to be bigger and better than ever, offering a wide selection of cinematic gems. The festival is considered by many to be one of the best showcases of the UK’s cutting edge, independent film-making talents. The festival, which is renowned for its bold cross-arts programming, will be running from the 9th until the 15th of January, and you can find the full line up of events here.

film

The Art of Brick

A real treat for art lovers, and Lego enthusiasts alike, is the exhibition The Art of Brick by Nathan Sawaya, which is currently in residence at the Old Turman Brewery on Brick Lane. Sawaya’s colourful sculptures, are made entirely from millions of Lego bricks, and reportedly took a painstaking 4,188 hours to build. The exhibit includes recreations of iconic works of art, such as Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa among a number of other spectacular original pieces.

brick

These are just a selection of some of the fantastic events happening in London this January. So why not kick-start the New Year, by experiencing, some of these fantastic attractions for yourself. If you’re planning a trip to London, and are looking for cheap Kings Cross hotels, then here at the Swinton Hotel we can help. We’re one of the best, affordable hotels in the Kings Cross area, and can provide you with the perfect place to stay during your visit. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us today, by giving us a call on +44 20 7837 1451 and we’ll be happy to help you with your enquires.

 

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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

 Harrods

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 swintonhotel@hotmail.com.

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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

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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

bibimbapsoho.co.uk

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

pizzapilgrims.co.uk

Fish in a Tie, Clapham

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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

fishinatie.com

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

honestburgers.co.uk

 

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 swintonhotel@hotmail.com.

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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 swintonhotel@hotmail.com.

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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

Harrods

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.

harrods

 

Hamleys

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.

hamleys

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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