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Department stores in London – Shopping

Department stores in London

Department stores are truly a shopper’s paradise.  This is where you can find anything from shoes to fashion, homewares to toys; all under one roof.  London has an absolutely brilliant selection of department stores perfect for finding that elusive present or gift for yourself.

The largest number of department stores are centered around Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and Bond Street. This is where you can find Selfridges, John Lewis, Fortnum & Mason, House of Fraser, Liberty, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Fenwicks, and Dover St Market. Book your stay at Presidential Marylebone Mayfair and pay a visit to the above-mentioned department stores.  Their presence explains why this is one of the premier shopping areas of London!

Top quality fashion can be found at all these department stores. Typical brands include Jasper Conran, DKNY, Jacques Vert, Ted Baker, Max Mara.  All have really good restaurants and cafes providing excellent refreshment stops for when you need a break from shopping.

Travel southwards to Knightsbridge for two more key department stores: Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Apart from Fenwicks, these are definitely the most upmarket of all department stores in London.  Harrods is one of the most iconic names in upmarket, exclusive retailing. The store has become legendary for its sheer level of service and extensive range of products covering 330 different departments from clothing to pet products. Even strolling through its Food Hall and admiring the displays is an event in itself.  At night the exterior of the store is illuminated by over 11,000 electric lights.

You can also read: Top art exhibitions in London - Art / Exhibition

Fortnum & Mason are slightly different from other department stores as they are also the Official Grocers to HM the Queen.  For nigh on two centuries, Fortnum & Mason have been renowned for their teas, coffees and food hampers which have been sent to all corners of the globe.  Visiting this store is an experience in itself, as you can find blends of tea and coffee that you never dreamed existed.

Liberty of London

You can choose to book your stay at any aparthotels in London and have an easy access to Liberty of London that is another unusual department store.  It stands out from all the other buildings around it due to its magnificent mock-Tudor black and white design. Much of the wood came from two former Naval ships – HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan.  The weathervane high above the store is a model of the Mayflower, which took a group of English migrants to the USA in 1620. This was the heart of the Arts & Crafts movement, with beautiful exclusive art fabrics and decorative furniture designs.  Walking into this store is like walking into another world as the majority of the products cannot be found anywhere else in London. With its distinctive style and architecture, this is a shopping experience to be savoured and enjoyed.

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Totally Thames Festival – One of the oldest river races in the world

Totally Thames Festival

September sees the start of the Totally Thames Festival.  It has much to offer visitors, from underground concerts to archaeological river tours, free exhibitions, talks, art installations and boat races. This is the Thames in its full glory.

Boat racing has always played a part in life on the river Thames.  One of the oldest river races in the world is being held during the Festival.  It tests the skills of young people seeking to join the ranks of London’s select watermen.  This is the Doggett’s Coat & Badge race.  It has been held every year since 1715, and participants have to row under eleven bridges in London following a traditional route. Book a stay at any of the serviced apartments in Mayfair to have an easy access to the route that starts at London Bridge and ends at Cadogan Pier in Chelsea.  Most participants take around 25 minutes to complete the course. Over in Guildhall Yard in the City of London, you can find out more about the history of the race by taking a look at the special outdoor exhibition.

The Great River Race is much bigger and is effectively the river equivalent of the London Marathon.  Crews are attracted from all over the world and have to row 21.6 miles from London Docklands to Ham in Surrey.  Around 300 crews are taking part this year. These include many top athletes intent on being among the first to finish, while yet others are doing it for charity and are likely to include colorful stunts and fancy dress.  It will definitely be entertaining! With such a long river bank involved, there are lots of places you can watch the race including the Embankment, the bridges, and the South Bank. Or take a day trip out to Ham to watch the end of the race from the water meadows adjacent to the Thames Path before visiting the historic Ham House believed to be the most complete example anywhere in Europe of seventeenth-century fashion and power.

Totally Thames Festival, London

If you are really serious about visiting London this September, don't miss to check out brilliant London Garden Pubs that you need to visit.

Other activities during the Totally Thames Festival includes classical music, vocal and spoken word events held within the unusual subterranean spaces within Tower Bridge and river inspired artwork created by young people from around the world.  Listen to storytelling inspired by the myths of the River Danube, or join a guided tour of the foreshore immediately below the Tower of London.  There are special archaeological walks being held all along the river highlighting the history of the waterfront from Roman to Victorian times. So make sure to book any of the affordable aparthotels in London in order to enjoy this festival to its fullest.

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Brilliant London Garden Pubs That You Need To Visit

London Garden Pubs

It’s hot, it’s sunny and you want to relax in a pub with a drink. We have the answer – try one of the many pubs with outdoor gardens or outdoor seating.  Here’s some of the most popular and easy to find.


Book a stay at Presidential Marylebone Mayfair and stroll across London Bridge and down into Borough for one of the most historic inns in London.  Look for a little alley off Borough High Street that leads to the busy George Inn.  Walking through the alley brings you out into an amazing courtyard which was once used by coaches when changing horses.  Even earlier than that, it was used by actors in Elizabethan times to hold theatre performances, as people could watch from the galleries at the front of the Inn. It was also a popular drinking place for actors from the neighbouring playhouses like the Globe and Rose. Shakespeare himself may well have come here.  Nowadays, this is the only galleried inn of its kind in London.


Not far away on the banks of the River Thames is another pub with a long history.  The Anchor has become a popular tourist destination offering views across the river from its beer garden and roof terrace.  The modern building gives no hint of its history. There has been a pub on this spot for over 800 years, and for much of the time it has been known as The Anchor


If you fancy entertainment while relaxing with a drink outside, the Punch & Judy in Covent Garden is worth a try.  The outdoor seating area on the balcony is a fantastic way to watch the street performers in the piazza below. Alternatively, you can head over to Battersea Park for an evening’s entertainment at the Magic Garden. This pub is gaining a great reputation as the place to go for a ‘festival in a pub’.  At weekends, and several weekday nights it houses live entertainment from local and international artists offering a wide range of music styles from jazz to world music. Sit back in the comfy garden chairs and enjoy the music, a few cocktails and some brilliant food. Also, there is large selection for tourists to choose from cheap to luxury self-serviced apartments London near to the place.


The Troubadour on the Old Brompton Road near Earls Court is a much smaller, intimate venue with a little garden enveloped in trellis and trees.  Getting here early is a good idea if you want to enjoy the music.  The cellar bar has been the venue for many well known musicians over the years including Jimi Hendrix, Elton John and Bob Dylan. 


In addition, if you are hunting for somewhere stylish to eat then you must visit Kingly Court.

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London’s Biggest Birthday Party – Smithfield 150

Smithfield 150

Giant puppets, roller disco, bands, DJ’s, Henna art and much more can be enjoyed at Smithfield’s 150 year birthday celebrations while a resident at London holiday rentals.


This giant spectacular birthday party takes place around Smithfield Market, in the City of London between 25 and 26 August.  It offers a great opportunity to enjoy the party while exploring this superb historic Victorian building, along with the maze of surrounding streets and lanes.


Smithfield and its market go back much further, over 800 years.  This is one of the oldest spots in London, as the legendary Bartholomew Fair was held nearby beside St Bartholomew’s Hospital.  It was the site of executions and horse trading.  As time went on, and the area became more built up, the decision was made to create an imposing building to contain the meat market.  The result is the Smithfield Market we see today. 


There are lots of guided walks that can be booked in order to discover the history and stories behind this fascinating area.  City Guides have a walking tour starting at 7am which looks around Smithfield Market when the meat traders are busy about their work for this is a place that is best seen early in the morning.  By lunchtime, trade has come to an end, and all is quiet. 


Alternatively, if you want to focus on the history of the area, then the Museum of London tours are worth considering.  These tours have to be booked in advance and highlight places like Bart’s Hospital, Golden Boy at Pye Corner and St Sepulchre-without-Newgate as well as Smithfield market.  There are tales of body snatching, of executions, of Henry VIII, Hogarth and even Sherlock Holmes! 


Smithfield 150 promises to be the City’s biggest birthday party with activities appealing to all ages.  There will be lots of children’s activities especially on the Saturday.


Expect giant fairground rides, a lively carnival parade, brass bands, giant puppets and birthday cake!  There are cooking demonstrations, pop up markets and a Bartholomew’s Carnival of Delights.  Fancy your skills on roller skates? Then spend some time at the lively Roller disco


Watch archive film on the centenary of women’s suffrage in the Kino Van, a travelling cinema on wheels.  Or relax with a more tongue in cheek version of history with Horrible Histories.  Try out some Henna art in the Henna House which offers a wide range of designs including intricate florals and bold tribal art.


There is also lots of music on offer. Bands of all kinds from across London will be playing sets. Try some Electropop, cowbells and funky brass.  Watch Stealing Sheep’s percussion procession, enjoy a sing-a-long or dance on the main stage.


So book any of the short stay apartments London and head for Smithfield this August Bank Holiday and enjoy the party!

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Relax with a film in stunning sites of London

Outdoor Films

Kensington Palace, Greenwich Park, Kew Gardens, Somerset House are just a few of the amazing locations in which you can relax and watch a film this summer. There are a host of locations across London offering evening films, outdoors so that you can enjoy the summer weather as well as a film.  If you choose carefully, you may not even have to pay anything for the privilege! 


Not too far from Presidential Marylebone serviced apartments London, you can spend an evening at London Bridge City Scoop auditorium and watch films like The Greatest Showman and Guardian of the Galaxy free of charge.  The setting is definitely spectacular as you are beside the River Thames, and surrounded by Tower Bridge and the Tower of London!  The Summer by the River programme also gives access to food and drink while you enjoy a film.


Luna Cinema offers other opportunities to enjoy stunning historic surroundings during an evening film.  With venues that include Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace, it makes a very atmospheric way to watch films like Dunkirk, Shaun of the Dead and Four Weddings and a Funeral.


Another popular outdoor cinema is The Nomad which turns up at a whole host of locations including St Paul’s Cathedral, Allianz Stadium and Paddington Street Gardens.  Also popping up in parks like Corams Fields near Holborn, and Greenwich are giant inflatable Pop UP Screens showing Logan, Baby Driver, Dirty Dancing, Get Out and Cool Runnings.


By far one of the most sought after outdoor cinemas is Film 4 Summer Screenings in the massive courtyard of Somerset House.  It is extremely accessible, as it is located just off the Strand near Trafalgar Square. There is an ever changing range of films on offer, including some red carpet premieres.  Among the screenings this year are Inception, labyrinth and Blue Velvet. You can really have a full evening’s enjoyment here as music inspired by the film being shown is played beforehand for a couple of hours.  You can bring a picnic, or buy food and drink from the various food vendors scattered around.  Bring a cushion – the cobbles can be uncomfortable!


For something a little different, it is worth considering a film based river cruise.  City Cruises are running various Movies on the River cruises from Tower Pier. Spaces are limited, so booking is essential.  The film schedule includes  Casablanca, Jaws and Top gun.  It is a great way to enjoy a film, while cruising down the River Thames. Just try not to be diverted from the screen, by the twilight scenes along the river bank!


Alternatively, book a stay at any of the serviced apartments Covent Garden and head over to one of the many special rooftop cinema venues where you can admire London from on high, while watching a film.  Good options include Lost Format Cinema in Croydon complete with DJ, bars and street food; and the Rooftop Cinema Club found in Peckham, Tobacco Dock, Stratford and Shoreditch.  Booking is essential and you are guaranteed comfy chairs and blankets!



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