Category: LONDON

See Queen Victoria’s collection Japanese screen paintings on display in London

Queen Victoria Japanese silk screen print curators

Her Majesty Queen Victoria received them from the Japanese Shogun (military leader) in 1860. And since then, they went unseen. Thought not to have survived to the present day, they’ve been rediscovered in the Royal Collection and this year in 2022, the screens will go on public display next month for the first time since they arrived at the British Court 162 years ago. They will form part of Japan: Courts and Culture, the first exhibition to bring together the Royal Collection’s spectacular holdings of Japanese works of art, opening at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace on Friday, 8 April. What’s their story? Well, the screen paintings, which depict the changing seasons in exquisite detail, formed part of the first diplomatic gift between Japan and Britain in almost 250 years. They were sent by Sh?gun Tokugawa Iemochi shortly after Japan’s dramatic re-opening to the West, following more than two centuries of deliberate isolation. After some extensive conservation work following the discovery, there’s been fascinating detail revealed about the screens’ history, including how they were hastily produced after a dramatic fire in Tokyo destroyed the original versions, and how wear and tear was patched up at Windsor Castle in the 19th century using fragments of Victorian railway timetables. But that’s just the beginning! For the whole story and to see them for yourself, head to the Royal Collection Trust’s website and book a ticket now Japan: Courts and Culture is at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 8 April 2022 – 26 February 2023

Buckingham Palace’s State Rooms are open this July – October 2022: get tickets now

White drawing room in Buckingham Palace

In the 70th year of Her Majesty’s reign, if ever there was a time to throw some money at the Royal Collection and celebrate the longest-running reign of any British Monarch ever, it’s now. And though most of the Palace isn’t accessible to the public – because it’s the HQ of the Monarchy and residence of Her Majesty herself – amongst other reasons, the opportunity to visit the sumptuous State Rooms in Buckingham Palace is returned after its Covid hiatus. It’s quite an experience – which you can read more about here – taking a trip back in time through the halls and rooms, frequented by countless Monarchs, world leaders and special visitors to the Queen. With such standouts as the gigantic malachite urn presented to Queen Victoria by Tsar Nicholas I in 1839 – renowned as one of the largest examples outside Russia – and architectural marvel you don’t see every day, the State Rooms are must-see stops in the Palace for British and visitors alike. The year 2022 is an especially standout year for the Palace, for obvious reasons and so, the public exhibition will take a particularly close look at the special display Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession looking at The Queen’s Accession to the throne in February 1952. On display will be examples from the remarkable series of portraits taken by Dorothy Wilding, that formed the basis of The Queen’s image on stamps and in British embassies across the world until 1971. Also featured will be The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which… Read More

Take a tour of Buckingham Palace this winter

Buckingham Palace tour

At the time of year when the British Royal Family’s headquarters of Buckingham Palace isn’t usually open to the public, they’ve decided to do something different. The State Rooms are open for tours with friends and family. Now you can see in real life the gilded ceilings and glittering chandeliers, providing a magnificent setting for ceremonial occasions and are furnished with many of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection. A Buckingham Palace Guided Tour (available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 5 November and 30 January) gives visitors the opportunity to explore rooms used by members of the Royal Family for official entertaining. These include the Throne Room, used for the wedding photographs of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; the Ballroom, created during Queen Victoria’s reign and still used today for Investitures and State Banquets; the Music Room, often used as the setting for royal christenings; and the White Drawing Room, with its concealed door that allows members of the Royal Family to enter and leave the State Rooms discreetly. Buckingham Palace Guided Tours cost £65 for adults and are available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 5 November 2021 to 30 January 2022. Family Guided Tours cost £65.00 for adults and £37.50 for children (under-fives go free) and are available on Saturdays and Sundays (one per day at 11am) from 6 November 2021 to 31 January 2022. Family Guided Tours between 18 December and 2 January are Christmas themed. Tickets and visitor information:, +44 (030) 123 7300.

What’s on for Christmas at the Royal Palaces in 2021

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Christmas

It’s been a while since any of the Royal palaces and estates were open, but now they’re on, there’s a whole spread of events tog et excited about this Christmas. Christmas decorations will transform the State Apartments at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and a special display at Windsor Castle will bring together costumes worn by Her Majesty The Queen and Princess Margaret during wartime pantomimes. Not to mention at Royal HQ, Buckingham Palace will give guests and visitors a behind-the-ropes experience for kids and adults. Here’s what’s on at Windsor Castle, Holyrood House and Buckingham Palace Christmas at Windsor Castle From 25 November 2021 – 31 January 2022 See the Princesses’ Pantomimes: During the Second World War, Her Majesty The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) and Princess Margaret spent much of their time in Windsor, safely away from the bombing in London. Between 1941 and 1944 they performed in and helped to stage a series of Christmas pantomimes to raise money for the Royal Household Wool Fund, which supplied knitting wool to make comforters for soldiers fighting at the Front. Visitors to Windsor Castle this Christmas will have the unique opportunity to see six rare surviving costumes worn by the teenage Princesses during these wartime performances. Brought together for the first time, the costumes will be displayed in the Waterloo Chamber where the pantomimes were originally performed 80 years ago. And if that trip down memory lane’s not enough, from 25 November and 3 January, the State Apartments will be decorated with shimmering… Read More

UK Coffee Week: 5 other espresso martini cocktails to try

Espresso martini

It’s UK Coffee Week and there’s no better way to celebrate the occasion than with some delicious caffeinated cocktails courtesy of the masterminds at The Bottle Club. Cinnamon Espresso Martini An autumnal take on the traditional Espresso Martini, a Cinnamon Espresso Martini is just the thing you need to get you through those rainy days and cold nights. Credit: Pxfuel  Ingredients  60ml Monin Cinnamon Syrup  60ml vodka  60ml espresso  1-2 tbsp cinnamon sugar  Cinnamon sticks and coffee beans for garnish How to make  Start by pouring roughly 30ml of the cinnamon syrup on a small plate and covering it with your cinnamon sugar. Then, gently run the rim of the martini glass over the mixture – your cocktail glass is now decorated and Instagram ready!  Once the all-important presentation is out of the way, it’s now time to make your drink! In a cocktail shaker, combine your vodka, espresso and 30ml of syrup and give the contents a good old shake. Finally, strain the drink into your glass and garnish with your coffee beans and cinnamon sticks.  Espresso Tonic Forget a gin and tonic, ever heard of an espresso tonic? Made from two simple ingredients, this booze-free drink will ensure that you won’t miss out on that espresso martini kick, even if you are the designated driver.  Credit: Unsplash Ingredients 100ml tonic water 50ml fresh espresso   How to make Begin by brewing your espresso in a shot glass or small jug and letting it stand. While this is happening, fill your chilled glass with big… Read More

What to expect this Christmas at Kew Gardens in London

Christmas lights Kew Gardens

From Wednesday 17 November 2021 to Sunday 9 January 2022, Kew Gardens in London is doing Christmas and it needs to be on your list of things to do to end the last two years of nightmare. Now in its ninth festive year, this year’s trail features a host of seasonal favourites alongside pioneering new light installations, illuminating Kew Gardens’ UNESCO World Heritage landscape with vibrant bursts of colour and over a million twinkling lights. Standouts at-a-glance: New installations feature stunning video design and scenescapes inspired by Kew collections Highlights include 12 Days of Christmas tree installation, Christmas Cathedral, and LED light spheres illuminating night sky 200 metres over-head Visitors can keep warm with seasonal street food, mulled wine and hot chocolate, or enjoy a Christmas dinner at newly refurbished The Botanical Brasserie restaurant Trail is supported by Montezuma’s Chocolate This year and kicking off next month in November 2021, we’ll be gifted with a first-time selection of spectacular trees from Kew’s arboretum as their canvas. Creative studio Novak will create a brand-new piece for Christmas 2021, using a stunning combination of video design, projection mapping and light to bring botanical illustrations from Kew’s archive to life, alongside a host of heart-warming festive imagery. Further, a brand-new installation, Spheric, which is a fifteen-metre-wide dome of light covered in over 2,000 individually controlled LED pixels, will sit on a reflective water pool, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in this unique mirrored illusion as they cross the lake. And as we’d hope, the favourite Christmas Cathedral returns for 2021, affording guests the perfect opportunity to capture this quintessential… Read More

Picnic with the Queen: Buckingham Palace opens gardens to public

Buckingham Palace garden

Buckingham Palace, official residence and mothership of the British Monarchy is trying something new. The Palace Gardens, the largest privately owned garden in London, is now ticketed and open to the public for picnics, walks and sun-soaked (if you’re lucky) enjoyment! Alcohol’s prohibited, but picnic baskets, blankets and nibbles can be brought – or purchased at the shop – as you while away a casual afternoon with friends and family. You will be free to wander around the garden’s winding paths at your own pace and experience the beauty and calm of this walled oasis in central London. Among the many features to enjoy are the 156-metre Herbaceous Border, the Horse Chestnut Avenue, the Plane trees planted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the famous lake with its island that is home to the Buckingham Palace bees. There’s no dress code – other than comfort – and with the suggestion of sunscreen to keep it responsible, you’re welcome to while away the day amongst the grandeur of hundreds of years of British history. For more information and to book your slot, head to the Royal Collection Trust website.

Design exhibition at the V&A: its pivotal role in our time

Design 1900 to Now installation shots , 16th June 2021

From 1900 to now, design has been an integral part of how we’ve evolved, but also existed. The latest exhibition at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London is testament to that, exploring how design shapes and is shaped by how we live, work, travel, communicate and consume.   Housed within the museum’s former 20th Century Gallery, this newly curated space brings together leading design objects alongside the first redisplay of V&A’s celebrated Rapid Response Collecting programme since its founding in 2014.   As part of the gallery, new acquisitions will go on display for the first time at the V&A, including Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir’s iconic British road signage system, Kim Kardashian’s Selfish book, Nike’s Nigeria football shirt for the 2018 World Cup and a one-of-a-kind desk designed by Future Systems for Condé Nast Chairman Jonathan Newhouse.  For more and to book your visit, head to the V&A website

Get better water in the UK: Zerowater is the way


Know what’s scary? A recent survey by Zerowater UK revealed that 70% of people in the UK are still drinking unfiltered tap water. It also turns out that while we know bottled water contains a tonne of microplastics – obviously – unfiltered UK tap water does, too. This is why we need a suitable alternative for hydration that’s a bit more environmentally sound than bottles and can live stylishly on our kitchen benches. Enter the Zerowater 12 cup filter worth £39.99, the absolutely foolproof water filtration system for your home that removes as much as 99.6% of all toxins, solids and contaminants, such as lead, chlorine, mercury, aluminium and plastic particle. It is so good it makes tap water the closest thing to pure H20. A list of what it removes is here. Zerowater rates what it does so highly, that they even asked famous UK TV personality Philip Schofield to step in a demo the gunk-extracting power of Zerowater – with a bottle of red wine. And the results? Well, have a look…

Victoria and Albert Museum London’s got an exhibition of Fabergé eggs and more

Faberge 1

Opening this November, the V&A announces Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution, the first major exhibition devoted to the international prominence of the legendary Russian goldsmith and the importance of his little-known London branch: Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution Gallery 39 and North Court 20 November 2021 – 8 May 2022  With a focus on Fabergé’s Edwardian high society clientele, the exhibition will shine a light on his triumphs in Britain as well as a global fascination with the joyful opulence of his creations. Three of his legendary Imperial Easter Eggs will go on display for the first time in the UK as part of the exhibition’s dramatic finalé. Who or what is Feberge? Carl Fabergé is the man which is now synonymous with his internationally recognised firm that symbolised Russian craftsmanship and elegance – an association further strengthened by its connection to the romance, glamour and tragedy of the Russian Imperial family. Highlights to see: A miniature of the Imperial Regalia, lent by the Hermitage Museum, made for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle will capture Carl Fabergé’s role as official goldsmith to the Imperial family a figurine portrait taken from life of the private bodyguard of the Dowager Empress will be on display – a sculpture on a level of rarity with the Imperial Easter eggs A prayer book gifted by Emperor Nicholas II to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna on his Coronation Day will also sit alongside early photography of the Imperial family with their prized possessions, and more! For more information and to book your visit, head to… Read More