Exploring The 6 Best Music Festivals in London

Exploring The 6 Best Music Festivals in London

Wireless festival 2017

There’s no need to travel to a remote field in the middle of nowhere, set up a massive tent for you & your friends and experience great music – every year, the best of the world’s music scene makes its way to London, so your favourite bands, DJs and musical acts are closer than you think. London is the place to be during the summer months, with music festival fans spoilt for choice, with everything from indie acts to jazz and grime covered. Here are six of London’s best festivals to add to your calendar this summer.

Wireless – 6 Jul – 8 Jul

Returning to Finsbury Park for three days of the best urban music, as well as up and coming artists, the Wireless festival brings the best of hip hop, grime and R&B to London. Previous headliners have included Black Eyed Peas, Jay Z and Rihanna. Wireless has become one of the most exciting music events to hit the city in recent years, and with several UK-only exclusives joining the line-up this year, it’s something of a unique experience as well.

British Summer Time – 6 Jul – 15 Jul

The award-winning Barclaycard presents British Summer Time festival brings world-class artists and newcomers to Hyde Park for two weekends of fantastic live music. In the week between, Open House runs alongside with street food, an open-air cinema and free activities to enjoy, including live Wimbledon screenings, also because this is the longest festival in London, you’ll need to make sure you have some essentials to get you through the week like a power bank to keep your electronics alive and a lot of clothes.

Lovebox – 13 Jul – 14 Jul

Located at Gunnersbury Park, Lovebox is one of the greatest festivals the UK has to offer. It’s an eclectic mix of just about everything the music scene has to offer, from DJs and indie bands to R&B and pop. If you want a break from the music, there’s also a great mix of activities and entertainment to explore.

Citadel Festival – 15 Jul

London’s Citadel Festival is a chilled-out indie haven, where bands such as Sigur Ros and Bombay Bicycle Club have previously graced the stage. Citadel Festival, which moved from Victoria Park to its current location of Gunnersbury Park, packs a lot in to its one-day line-up, with a mix of great music, relaxing yoga sessions, comedy acts and a varied selection of speakers to enjoy.

KISSTORY on the Common – 21 Jul

Featuring the biggest old-school tunes and top anthems at this multi-stage festival, KISSTORY on the Common sees thousands of R&B, hip hop, drum’n’bass and live garage fans hit Streatham Common for a day of music from KISS FM’s DJs. And organisers have also promised plenty of exciting extras which will be announced closer to the time too.

South West Four – 25 Aug – 26 Aug

South West Four is a must for fans of the best in electronic music. Taking place at Clapham Common during August bank holiday weekend, this fun festival sees some of the most renowned DJs from around the world perform across five stages. Known as SW4 to the locals, this festival teams up with a range of brands and promoters to celebrate the biggest names in electronic music. Previous festivals have seen such names as Deadmau5 and Fatboy Slim join the line-up.

With London’s eclectic and constantly evolving music scene, it’s no surprise that it’s become one of the best places for music festivals. With summer just around the corner, now’s the time to get your tickets booked and join in the festival fun.

The post Exploring The 6 Best Music Festivals in London appeared first on Spotted by Locals London.

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Aria Hotel Prague- 5 Star Luxury Hotel Review

Aria Hotel Prague- 5 Star Luxury Hotel Review

How many times have you read through hotel reviews and found a discrepancy between the hotel’s rating and what travellers give it? Mr Sunny and I were keen to check out verified guests’ reviews when we booked our first visit to Prague. For this reason, we picked the Aria Hotel Prague, because it seemed to live up to its 5-star rating with travellers on Expedia.

The post Aria Hotel Prague- 5 Star Luxury Hotel Review appeared first on Sunny in London.

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Top Ten London: Top 10 Things to See and Do in Vauxhall

Top Ten London: Top 10 Things to See and Do in Vauxhall

Part of the Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth, Vauxhall came about from one of King John’s loyal servants, Falkes de Breauté, who owned a house in the area that was called Falke’s Hall.  As the industrial revolution took hold in England, the ward became a mixture of industrial and residential.  The area’s industry led to the establishment of Vauxhall Motors, one of England’s top car manufacturers.  Today, Vauxhall is a very diverse part of London with a mixture of social housing, gentrified neighborhoods, sports venues, gay clubs, and government buildings.  We’ve identified ten of our favorite places to visit, and you can let us know your own in the comments.

Whistle Punks Urban Axe Throwing

An activity that’s taken off with a younger crowd all over the world is ax throwing.  Essentially, it’s darts but with axes, as you try to throw the ax as close to center of the target as you can.  Even if you’ve never held an ax in your hand, Whistle Punks can teach you what to do and even get you ready to join their league for fun competitions against your friends.

Royal Vauxhall Tavern

It might not be for everyone, but the Royal Vauxhall Tavern is the center of gay culture in the neighborhood.  This Grade II listed building was once a Victorian music hall and pub that became a venue for drag and burlesque performances after World War II.  It still hosts these performances today and has made the RVT quite the major venue in the area.

VauxWall Climbing Center

A great spot to be active in Vauxhall, the VauxWall Climbing Center is a dream for beginning or expert alpinists.  If you’re one of the former, the VCC can help you get started with easy walls and classes hosted by trained climbers.  The center also hosts events every month, so be sure to check out their calendar and join some fellow bouldering enthusiasts.

White Bear Theatre

If you’re looking for an entertainment venue and pub that’s a bit more family-friendly, the White Bear Theatre is one of the leading pub theaters in London.  It’s more of a fringe theater than the others, though, participating in the Lost Classics Project to revive more obscure, underperformed, and unperformed plays.  What’s more, if you present a paper or electronic ticket in the pub for your show, you get 10% off the bill.  Makes for a wonderfully unique dinner and show.

Vauxhall City Farm

Perhaps surprisingly for such a large city, Vauxhall is one of the London wards with a large farm.  Whether you’re a child or an adult, you can get the experience of rural life from feeding animals, petting them, and even riding horses or ponies.  There are adoption options to help with the farm’s upkeep, and while you don’t get to take the animals home, you can do a prearranged meet and greet with the animal you’ve adopted and get a free bag of feed with each visit.

Vauxhall Cross – MI6

Home to the Secret Intelligence Service, otherwise known as MI6, Vauxhall Cross isn’t a place you can tour, but it is a place you’ll want to see if you’re a fan of the James Bond films.  For years after it was built in 1994, its very existence wasn’t fully disclosed to the public.  It wasn’t even until The World Is Not Enough in 1999 that filmmakers even had permission to film the exterior.  And while the fictional MI6 has since moved out of the building, the real agency is still there, so don’t expect that you can walk in for a visit, though there are a number of Bond-themed tours that will point it out to you.

Vauxhall Park

A beautiful respite in the middle of Vauxhall, Vauxhall Park has been a part of the community for over 125 years.  Besides its greenery, pergolas, and benches, there are a number of activities inside from a playground, tennis courts, chess tables, sports fields, and even a little model village to peruse.  The park has won the Green Flag Award for the last seven years in a row as one of the best green spaces in the country, so you’ll definitely want to check it out.

The Kia Oval

Also known as simply The Oval, the Kia Oval is an international cricket ground and home to the Surrey County Cricket Club.  The ground was built on top of the Kennington Common, which hosted its first cricket match in 1724 and the Oval as it was was built in 1845.  In addition to hosting cricket matches, it tends to play home to a lot of football as well.  Be sure to check the club’s schedule for tickets or see what else might be happening there.

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

Just a stone’s throw from Vauxhall Park are the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, which rank higher on this list for its history and number of activities.  Vauxhall Gardens has been around since the 18th Century when the only way to reach the gardens was by boat until Vauxhall Bridge was built.  In addition to the playground, table tennis, and sports field, the gardens touch several other places on this list including the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and Vauxhall City Farm, letting you really make a day of it in one location.

Albert Embankment

Stretching from Vauxhall Bridge Road to Lambeth Bridge, the Albert Embankment is one of the Thames’s main thoroughfares and has been since it was constructed by Joseph Bazelgette between 1866 and 1869.   As with Bazelgette’s other embankment projects, the river is lined with lamps that have sturgeons at the base.  With a dockside restaurant and a bike share, you can grab a bite to eat then rent a Boris bike to take you anywhere you want in Vauxhall.

Top Ten London: Top 10 Things to See and Do in VauxhallLondontopia – The Website for People Who Love London

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Rustic Luxury at The Pig in The New Forest

Rustic Luxury at The Pig in The New Forest

Sitting in the garden, drinking our coffees with the sun beaming on to our faces…we could almost be back in Italy. But we’re not…we’re in the New Forest for the weekend experiencing a perfect slice of British country life. And The Pig Hotel in Brockenhurst is the ideal way to do it… you’re sort of in a luxury hotel, you’re sort of on the farm and you sort of feel like you’re at home. Somehow the team at The Pig have managed to create the perfect blend and it’s something Lauren and I named ‘comfy luxury’ when we stayed at sister hotel, The Pig of the Beach in Studland in Dorset.

Let me explain a bit more… The Pig in Brockenhurst in the New Forest was the first of five Pig hotels located around the South of England. It’s clear how popular this brand has become as there are three more Pigs in the making. I booked our stayed here back in October, a good seven months before as it is so hard to find weekend availability. 

The country house is the heart of the hotel and the location of all the public areas. 
With paisley fabrics, eclectic furnishings, mismatched rugs, the lounge area could easily be the living room of a farm-house yet it still has that feeling of being perfectly put together. Either way you wouldn’t feel shy of kicking back in that over stuffed sofa and even falling asleep after lunch. I’m aware the rustic feel isn’t for everyone and some may look at these pictures and think that’s not luxury, but actually it’s a different type of luxury and The Pig reminds me of my favourite UK hotel, Soho Farmhouse.

A second lounge area leads into a light and bright conservatory and summer terrace – the perfect place to enjoy your rosé and flat breads from the wood-fired oven.  
Otherwise there’s the bar which feels like your favourite local pub, the perfect place for cosy autumn nights, for an aperitif before dinner or to stop in for the night with friends. So often nowadays luxury travel is about a search for authenticity and a search for real experiences … this doesn’t have to be trekking in the mountains or dune bashing, it really be discovering what normal life is like for English country dwellers.

But the true heart of the hotel is the restaurant – the hotel is also referred to a restaurant with rooms. 
Going back to that feeling of the familiar… the restaurant feels a little bit like dad’s greenhouse… there’s absolutely zero pretension here, just good food. With quirky tiles, pots plants and airy windows, it may not be what you typically think of luxury but that’s what cosy luxury is…that feeling of being at home. 
The USP is everything is as local as possible, much of the produce is grown in the hotel’s walled garden and the menu changes depending on what the forager brings in that morning. In fact, Chef James Golding;s right hand men are the forager and kitchen gardener…
Breakfast is a lovely little farm table with homemade granola, local ham and cheese…
And you can toast your own bread in retro Dualit toasters or boil your own eggs just the way you like them.  
Or you can order off the menu, and go whole hog with a Full Pig Out…
Or a little lighter with avocado on toast. 
The terrace just outside the restaurant is the perfect sun spot to have another coffee… 
Or to stay hello to this little guy!

Or stop for a swing!
We were so lucky with the weather that I was able to wear one of my favourite summer dresses along with this gorgeous light knit coral cardigan, kindly gifted to me by N. Peal
The main menu is inspired the forest and the coast and the food is the kind of thing you might make yourself at home (only much better in my case!)
Hearty potato soup for Mr S and smoked salmon for me and of course plenty of that delicious sourdough slathered in local butter. You won’t find formality among the staff either, service is super-friendly and they are dressed for comfort in jeans and Converse. 
Now there’s the face of a man about to tuck into a hearty fish pie…
As usual I went for the fish option too, and my hake came straight from the Solent…served with a side of tomato and chorizo.
The ‘piggy’ fours and a coffee are an unmissable way to end the meal…and you can’t say no to the chocolate mousse either.  
Dinner was delicious too and saw us sampling homemade Scotch eggs from the ‘Piggy bits’ section, some gorgeous stuffed pasta and whitebait for starters.
And Mr S was overjoyed by his gigantic tomahawk pork chop for main course, just as I was by trout and asparagus. 
And the best thing is (if you’re an avid foodie like me) you can see where all the ingredients come from and take a walk around the kitchen garden…an activity very much encouraged by the staff.
Considering the size of the hotel, this is a seriously big kitchen garden, with a gorgeous greenhouse too…they basically grow everything that you can think of from courgettes to curly kale. Plus there’s chickens that lay the egg for breakfast, horses, sheep and of course the eponymous pigs!
There’s no spa at the hotel but there are two secluded huts located around the kitchen garden where treatments take place, I can’t imagine anything more peaceful!
As well as all of this, there’s the smoke house, fruit cages and a wild flower meadow – it’s definitely a piece of the good life. 
The majority of rooms are located in the manor house and they vary in size from ‘snug’ to ‘comfy luxe’ whilst the rooms in the stable yard by the terrace are a bit bigger. 
Or if you want to go for something more private, the hotel now has a selection of lodges and cabins located slightly off the main house. I booked something rather special and romantic for Mr S and I… take a walk across the grounds and you’ll the Forest Cabin nestled among the trees. 

Now admittedly when we walked into the room, Mr S said…it’s like a garden shed. Yes…the Forest Cabin is kind of cross between the log cabins that you get at Soho Farmhouse and well…yes a garden shed. But this is a far cry from glamping… with high thread count sheets, stylish retro fittings such as a Roberts radio and dial phone as well as more modern flat screen TV… there’s nothing you could want for. Plus we were greeted with a bottle of English sparkling wine and a fridge / larder absolutely packed with snacks and local treats. 
And a huge bottle of bubbles for soaking in that tub. 
A gorgeous bathroom with a monsoon shower completes this perfect little set up. 
If you’re staying at The Pig, I highly recommend a trip around fifteen minutes down the road to sister property, Lime Wood. Mr S and I stayed there a few years ago and it’s one of our favourite hotels. The Pig isn’t for everyone and if you’re not a fan of the rustic, cosy aesthetic then you may prefer the classic elegance of Lime Wood. Personally I love both as I think they are both doing what they’re doing well.  
If you visit or stay at Lime Wood, you should definitely have a walk around their beautiful gardens or peep into the greenhouse. Their Herb House spa is renowned as one of the best in UK and the facilities are available for guests of The Pig. 
Hartnett Holder & Co is the fabulous restaurant by Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder and the food served has a distinctive Italian influence. 
Fresh asparagus and homemade pasta were are wonderful starters (do make sure you have room for the pasta, it’s absolutely excellent) and a whole salt-baked bream was our main course. If you’re staying at The Pig I’d definitely recommend heading to Lime Wood for at least one of your meals as change of scene. 
The Pig Hotels have a clever way of getting into your heart, from the relaxed and comfy interior to the friendly and laid back attitude of the staff. It didn’t take long for Mr S to change his mind about staying in a ‘garden shed’ and to fall in love with this gorgeous property himself.

The Pig

Beaulieu Road
SO42 7QL

The post Rustic Luxury at The Pig in The New Forest appeared first on SilverSpoon London.

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Most Googled: how many people live in London?

Most Googled: how many people live in London?

Thinking about how many people live in London is enough to make anyone dizzy – so it’s no wonder you’ve been Googling it. Population projections by the Office for National Statistics suggest that right now, in mid-2018, there are 8.97 million people living in Greater London – more than in New York (8.6 million) or the whole of Austria (8.75 million).

By 2026, ONS predicts a population of 9.54 million. Tower Hamlets alone will mushroom by 18 percent, making it the fastest-growing local authority in England. Although more than half a million people leave London for other parts of the UK every year, new baby Londoners and immigration ensure the city’s population continues to increase… for now.

But – if this is any consolation when you’re squeezed on to the Central line – it could be worse. We’re small fry in comparison with Beijing, which has a staggering population of 21.5 million.

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