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May 19, 2022
There’s no such thing as “off season” as far as London is concerned. It’s an all–year city. From London Zoo to the Houses of Parliament, from The Skyline Bar to street food on the South Bank, London is a treasure trove of DIY sightseeing and unique events.
Nevertheless, this Summer is a bit special, thanks to Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne, the longest reign in British history. So here in London we’re celebrating big time, and we’d very much like you to join us. And do it in style.
Given the unique Platinum Jubilee events taking place in May and June this year, we thought we’d point out that our affordable luxury hotels in London are blessed with the best locations, as well as offering great service. Which means less time and money spent travelling, and reassurance that you can relax and enjoy yourself when you get back to your hotel.
And while London is the second largest metropolis in Europe, its centre is quite compact and easy to walk around. It may be packed with endless sights, shops, monuments, museums and entertainments but it’s actually quite human in scale.
Take, for instance, just one iconic landmark that features in so many photographs and movies: Tower Bridge. Due South is Bankside with its replica of Francis Drake’s Elizabethan ship The Golden Hinde. Further along is Tate Modern, an art showcase housed inside a post-war power station – it sits opposite the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral. Nearby is the oak and thatch replica of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, a cultural icon that stages open air performances just like the Bard did in the 1600s. Then there’s historic Borough Market with its many stalls, eateries and street life.
Blue Orchid hotels are located in the midst of all this history and activity. Tower Suites on Minories is a short walk from Tower Bridge and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 11th century Tower of London. It combines contemporary five star apartments with spectacular views of the Norman Tower, Tower Bridge, and the city skyline.
These boutique suites suit groups of friends, solo travellers, or families. Indeed some of the ‘family sized’ apartments come equipped with washer–dryer and cooking facilities. There is a rooftop bar and restaurant for relaxation or romance. And everything is a stone’s throw from the big Summer–long attraction: Superbloom at the Tower of London, when the once manicured lawns of the vast moat are permanently re-wilded with native flowers and enhanced with soothing soundscapes. It’s part of an ongoing commitment to bring the natural world back into the city. It should be a delight to walk through and as popular as The Tower’s famous poppy installation that commemorated WWI. Royal Time at the Tower
On the other side of town is a relative newcomer in the shape of Buckingham Palace (it only dates back to 1703). But 2022 is THE year for Buck House, as it’s affectionately known. It is one of the focal points for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, particularly the Trooping of the Colour on June 2nd (flags, fancy uniforms and marching bands on Pall Mall) and the Platinum Jubilee Pageant which parades around Buckingham Palace and the streets of Westminster on June 5th (street art, circus acts, music, theatre, carnival time).
Once again, Blue Orchid’s Buckingham Palace hotels are close to the action. The Wellington and The Rochester hotels nestle side by side on Westminster’s leafy St Vincent Square, only a short distance from Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Tate Britain or Harrods. They offer dignified luxury in a peaceful setting, but close to London’s most powerful addresses, the greenest parks and a stone’s throw from the London Underground.
They also benefit from being two excellent hotels near Victoria station, which is one short stop from Sloane Square, the nearest tube to the much loved RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May 24th to 28th). Handy for Belgravia in Bloom too, see What’s On.
It’s also easy to walk up from Victoria station to St James’s Park and the palace itself. Alternatively, there’s Eccleston Yards with its post-industrial warehouses complete with cafes, bars, studios and independent small businesses. There’s an outdoor yard here with picnic tables and seats, murals on the wall, pop up events and a Sunday farmers’ market. Seven minutes from Victoria station, between Eccleston Place, Eccleston St and Ebury St.
The Wellington Hotel, with its tree–lined entrance and gardens in the heart of Westminster offers discreet, personal service with its five spacious deluxe apartments and 84 elegant guest rooms. There’s 24 hour concierge service, onsite bar, restaurant and gym as well as private gardens and outdoor patio for drinks and dining al fresco.
The Rochester, with its proximity to London’s cultural, retail and arts attractions, offers affordable luxury with marble ensuite bathrooms, laundry and dry cleaning service, bar and restaurant.
Both hotels are close to the Royal Parks in the centre of town, which are a tourist attraction in their own right. St James Park alone boast 57 acres of parkland, plus cafe, food kiosks, Horse Guards Parade (handy for the Trooping of the Colour on June 2) and The Mall. Plus a big lake with lots of birdlife including pelicans (the legacy of a gift to Charles II, about 400 years ago).
As you face Buckingham Palace, St James’s Park is on the left, while Green Park and Constitution Hill lie ahead and to your right. Behind you is the The Mall and beyond that Nelson’s Column and the West End. It’s that easy.
If you have your walking shoes on, you can follow Constitution Hill all the way through Green Park to Hyde Park Corner; from there navigate this busy traffic intersection via its broad pedestrian crossings and underpasses to enter Hyde Park with its Serpentine River and gallery.
Whether you favour the contemporary chic of Tower Suites’ boutique apartments, or the Arts and Crafts charm of The Wellington with its delightful chapel space complete with columns and Juliet balconies, both make for memorable event venues in London. In their different ways they adapt to contemporary technical demands, providing attentive service and appropriate decor, whether you are organising a wedding, a business conference or a birthday celebration
Until August 27th
My Fair Lady
St Martin’s Lane
English National Opera goes for the Cockney flower seller.
May 13th to July 2nd
Legally Blonde The Musical
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
BBC 100: Queen Elizabeth, the Coronation
BFI Southbank Centre
BFI screening of the Queen’s Coronation. The original, ground-breaking BBC TV broadcast re–edited for the big screen (11.45am)
May 22nd to June 19th
FIH Pro League
Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre
World class hockey at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
May 23rd to 29th
Belgravia In Bloom
Shops, restaurants, cafes and other businesses create floral sculptures and arches outside their doors, many made by local florists Neill Strain and Moyses Stevens. Coincides with RHS Chelsea Flower Show. But it’s free! Seek out Elizabeth St, Motcomb St (a Beefeater bear), Pimlico Road and Eccleston Yards (a floral Teapot). See link for map. Peggy Porschen Parlour is a must.
May 24th 28th
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022
Royal Hospital Chelsea
Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4SR
The greatest flower show on earth. Queen of the May, as British as it comes.
May 28th to June 5th
ZSL Regent’s Park
Family-friendly London Zoo events featuring a “wild” teddy bear’s picnic (bring your own cuddly toy) and bug hunting plus other eco-friendly crafts.
Festival of Cycling. Multiple locations, London and Essex
pop up Corgi Cafe
The Refinery, Southwark St, Bankside
Behind Tate Modern, London’s first Corgi Cafe! One day only, for corgi owners or admirers. Pop + Bark Pupuccino Bar. Indoor and outdoor socialising, chill zone for sensitive dogs and humans. Rudi’s The Doggy Bakery pupcakes, food and cocktails for non-canines.
May 31st to June 1st
The Royal Parks have some Platinum Jubilee free activities for children. Plant seeds, make a ‘nature crown.’ Register first.
June 1st to September 18th
Superbloom at the Tower of London
A Summer–long floral spectacle that fills the moat surrounding the 11th century Tower of London with horticultural splendour. Book to walk through this field of flowers (plus sculptures and sound installations). Entry via a large, family friendly slide (optional).
Royal Time At The Tower
Tower Suites on Minories not only provides sweeping views of London’s medieval fortress, it offers exclusive tours of the Tower of London and a private London street photography course. Overnight stay for two with room service breakfast, plus a three course dinner for two at Cento Alla Torre. History with a glamorous twist.
Until June 18th
Straight Line Crazy
Bridge Theatre SE1
Ralph Fiennes in top form for David Hare’s study of willpower and self-belief.
June 11th to 12th
Open Garden Squares Weekend
Rare chance to stroll through private gardens, hidden green spaces and experimental planting, from the trust that protects London’s green spaces.
June 14th to July 6th
Royal Opera House
Puccini’s perennial tearjerker.
June 15th to 19th
Taste of London Food Festival
The capital’s best restaurants show off their world class chefs.
June 17th to July 3rd
London Indian Film Festival
Established in 2010 to showcase Indian Independent film. The London Indian Film Festival brings the best new Indian and South Asian independent film to London. Watch this space.
Father’s Day UK
June 24th to July 10th
BST Hyde Park
Pearl Jam, Pixies, Duran Duran, Elton John, The Eagles, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Nile Rogers & CHIC.
June 25th to 26th
West End LIVE
Free tasters from West End Musical in Trafalgar Square
Wimbledon Law Tennis Championships 2022
Spotlight on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
May 28th to June 15th
Crowning Glory: Sotheby’s Jubilee Arts Festival
May 28th to 29th: Women as custodians of culture since the Tudors.
June 1st: “James Bond and the Art World” with Sotheby’s Claude Piening (3pm)
June 4th: Free Family Festival – children’s authors, artists, Michael Morpurgo, Winnie the Pooh vs Paddington.
June 6th: RADA immersive performances (12pm, 1pm, 2pm)
June 8th: British Art in the 1960s with Sotheby’s Julian Gascoigne (1pm)
June 9: Caroline Campbell of the National Gallery and art critic Martin Gayford.
June 14th: Artist talk, Dame Magdalene Odundo and V&A director Tristram Hunt.
Trooping of the Colour
First Trooping of the Colour since the pandemic. Ceremonial uniforms, 200 horses and a flypast by the RAF. Begins at 10am. Fee spectacle, join the crowds in St James’s Park adjoining Horse Guards Parade and The Mall. Guns are fired in Green Park and at the Tower London, and the RAF flypast is at 1pm.
Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral
Commemorative service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s reign.
Platinum Party at the Palace
Pop/rock music live from the gardens of Buckingham Palace. Tickets already allocated by ballot. Likely large public screens for the crowds in central London (TBC)
Sunday June 5th
The Platinum Jubilee Pageant
Buckingham Palace and The Mall
Massive jubilee parade around the palace and Westminster streets, including street art, theatre, music, circus/carnival performers. Plus a whole world of ceremonial pomp. A must–see.
Tree of Trees
Installation outside Buckingham Palace
Royal tree planting initiative symbolised by a 70ft high, leafy installation. A monumentally green statement.
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