Archive for the ‘London’ Category

New London Walking Tour Delves Into Legacy of England’s Legal System

June 30, 2014

Context, organizer of acclaimed walking tours, is expanding its programs on culture and history with an innovative tour delving into the development and eccentricities of the English legal system.

During the new walk, Of Inns and Wigs, Understanding Legal London, Context experts and former barristers take visitors through the Inns of Court; a labyrinth located just off the busy Strand dotted with secluded squares, alleyways and courtyards. This hidden area, where tourists would not normally wander on their own, has been home to the legal profession since the Middle Ages and is when students of law first came to study and live.

In addition to tracing the evolution of the legal system, the walk features many architectural gems of the heart of London including the 12th-century Temple Church (once the headquarters of the medieval Knights Templar and later remodelled by Sir Christopher Wren), the Tudor gateway at Lincoln’s Inn to the Georgian splendors of New Square and the Victorian grandeur of the Royal Courts of Justice.

“The English legal system and its codes have always fascinated foreigners,” notes Petulia Melideo, head of Context’s UK operations. “This walk grants a unique window into this secretive world, but also explores its quirks such as barristers’ ubiquitous horsehair wigs and the codes of court.”

Of Inns and Wigs, Understanding Legal London lasts three hours and is available Monday through Friday. Group walks cost £70 per person. Private tours cost £280 per party. As with all Context walking seminars, groups are led by a credentialed expert and limited to six (6) people maximum.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context Travel is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in twenty-four (24) world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Athens, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Tokyo, and Kyoto. A certified B Corporation, Context Travel was named one of the fastest growing American companies in 2011 by Inc Magazine. Travel + Leisure has called Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. More information


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Virgin Vacations Offers London Theatre Package From $1,499 for 6 Days, with Air

August 14, 2013

Virgin Vacations is offering theater lovers a one-week London-based vacation package beginning at $1,499 per person, including air fare from New York.  Round trip air fare is also available from a variety of gateways throughout the U.S. via Virgin Atlantic and Delta Airlines, beginning at $59 additional for Boston.

Designed for independent travelers, the packages are part of Virgin Vacations’ UK Collection, with prices ranging from budget to luxury.

From Budget to Luxury: Virgin’s London, Culture & Theatre Tour, 6 days from $1,499

Highlights of this package include a London Theatre Passport, exchangeable for one best-available ticket to participating musicals and plays.  Also featured is a full day excursion to Bath, Windsor, and Stonehenge, plus a half-day Vintage Open Bus sightseeing tour of London.  Travelers stay 4 nights at the Ambassadors Hotel in Kensington, with breakfast daily and transfers to and from Heathrow Airport.  Price includes round trip air fare from New York on Virgin Atlantic. Depending on departure date, price begins at $1,499 per person.

In addition to the 6-day package, a longer version, Virgin’s 8-day London Theatre Experience,
features 6 nights accommodations with breakfast, round trip air on Virgin Atlantic from New York,  Heathrow transfers, the theatre pass, London sightseeing tour, full-day excursion to Bath, Windsor, and Stonehenge, plus an additional all-day tour to Oxford, Stratford, Warwick, and the Cotswolds.  Depending on departure date, price begins at $1,759 per person.

Virgin Vacations participants can upgrade hotel accommodations beginning at $30 and ranging to $610 per person, depending on the hotel; as well as select from optional arrangements such as a ride on The London Eye, beginning at $30. Both packages are available until late October.

Sample add-on fares from other gateways:
Atlanta + $214
Boston + $59
Dallas/Fort Worth + $229
Los Angeles + $192
Miami + $127
Minneapolis/St. Paul + $ 231
San Francisco + $ 235
Washington, D.C. + $26

Airfare is available from other cities nationwide.  With the new Delta Airlines-Virgin Atlantic code share, Virgin Vacations guests can now fly from 45 U.S. cities to London.

All prices are per person, and based on twin occupancy. Airline taxes and fuel charges are included. For more information and to book a UK Collection vacation, visit, phone 1-877-740-4302, or see your travel agent.

Virgin Vacations offers a wide selection of escorted tours, river and sea cruises, and independent packages worldwide, available with or without air fare on Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and Virgin America, as well as other international airline partners.  Virgin Vacations travelers can enroll in Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club or Virgin America’s Elevate frequent flyer programs, and earn points.

For information on other worldwide destinations available through Virgin Vacations, visit  As a member of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, Virgin Vacations protects travelers’ payments up to $1 Million through the USTOA Travelers Assistance Program.

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Virgin Vacations offers Harry Potter Fans 7-Day London Package Featuring Behind-the-Scenes Warner Bros Studios Walking Tour

July 23, 2013

Virgin Vacations is offering Harry Potter fans three opportunities this fall to take a 7-day package to London featuring a behind-the-scenes walking tour at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, where the iconic movie series was made.

The independent package, titledVirgin’s 7 Day London with Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter,” includes round trip Virgin Atlantic flights from New York to London, 5 nights at the five-star Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in the City of London, airport-to-hotel transfers from Heathrow, daily breakfast, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, and guided London sightseeing by vintage bus followed by a Thames River cruise.

Departures are available September 18, October 9, and 23.  Cost is $1,669 per person, based on double occupancy.  For Boston departures, add $63, Chicago $108, Washington, D.C. $27, San Francisco $272, and Los Angeles $193.  Round trip airport transfers from Gatwick Airport are available at an additional price.

In addition to the Harry Potter and London city tours, travelers have two full free days in London to take in the sights or to select from optional activities such as a full afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason, priced from $79; or a day at Bath and Stonehenge, priced from $92.

The guided Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter walking tour takes travelers behind the scenes, to discover the special effects and the huge film sets behind the famous movies.  On the walking tour, visitors go inside the actual Great Hall, see video screens of interviews with the cast and crew about the making of the films, and learn about how green-screen technology helped create some of the most memorable sequences.   A visit to the Creature Effects Workshop reveals some of the giant animatronics such as Fawkes the Phoenix, while props such as Hagrid’s motorcycle, and the purple triple decker Knight Bus seen in Harry’s London Escapades make the movie come to life.

Prices are per person, and based on double occupancy. Airline taxes and fuel charges are included. For more information and to book, visit Virgin Vacations, phone 1-877-740-4302, or see your travel agent.

For information on other worldwide destinations available through Virgin Vacations, visit  As a member of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, Virgin Vacations protects travelers’ payments up to $1 Million through the USTOA Travelers Assistance Program.

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Twitter: @TravelFeatures Offers Hotel Recommendations near Buckingham Palace to View ‘Queen’s Coronation 1953’ Exhibit

July 19, 2013

‘The Queen’s Coronation 1953’ goes on display at Buckingham Palace for the duration of the Summer Opening, from Saturday 27th July until Sunday 29th September 2013 and entrance to the exhibition is included in the price of the Summer Opening ticket.

For visitors in search of a hotel nearby Buckingham Palace with royal connections the best place to stay, according to, is The Goring hotel, where Kate Middleton spent the last night before her wedding. Recently appointed winner of The 2013 Top London Afternoon Tea Award by the UK Tea Guild, The Goring was praised for its “elegant surrounding and faultless presentation”.

Just four minutes’ walk away from Buckingham Palace, The Rubens at the Palace is a 4 star hotel with 161 rooms and suites. Just as nearby, 41 is a very special place to stay for those who want to experience a unique luxury 5 star boutique hotel. It’s conveniently located directly opposite the Palace’s Royal Mews which houses the royal collection of historic carriages and coaches and which can also be explored as part of a visit to Buckingham Palace.

Also within easy walking distance of the royal Palace, a leisurely eight minutes’ walk away, the 4 star Hilton Green Park Hotel in Green Park, made from fourteen connected townhouses, is an unusual hotel for Hilton. The Grade II-listed Eccleston Square Hotel in Victoria is a small townhouse hotel just 14 minutes’ walk away from the Queen’s royal residence and offers beautiful interior design and state-of-the-art facilities throughout.

For information on the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace and related events and exhibitions in London this summer, visit the website where full listings on the Queen’s Coronation and other events are given. For visitors coming from outside London, the website gives a wide choice of accommodation to suit budgets and requirements.

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Ice Age, Pompeii Exhibits at British Museum, Propaganda at British Library Draw Crowds to Bloomsbury Area of London This Summer

May 11, 2013

Renowned for its literary associations, the Bloomsbury area of London boasts three first class cultural institutions – the British Museum, the British Library, and the Wellcome Collection – all of which are putting on a series of exhibitions, talks, tours and events which draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area this summer.

A highlight of the cultural calendar in London 2013 is the British Museum’s exhibition on Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Items which have never left Italy before are included in this British Museum exhibition which continues until Sunday 29th September 2013, bringing to life the daily routine of the Romans who were caught out by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Related events include ‘Up Late in Pompeii’, a special late-night event on Friday 10th May 2013 which will allow visitors to have a night out in the Bay of Naples complete with Roman food and forum debates.

One of two blockbuster exhibitions currently at the British Museum, equally as intriguing as Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum is Ice Age Art which brings together sculptures, figurines and engravings made in Europe from 40,000 to 10,000 years ago, placing ancient masterpieces alongside modern works of art. The exhibition includes fascinating stone, bone and ivory sculptures and continues until Sunday 26th May 2013.

Added to these are smaller, free exhibitions including In Search of Classical Greece, on display at the British Museum’s Print Room until Sunday 28th April 2013, and Bubbles and Bankruptcy Financial Crises in Britain Since 1700 which continues until Sunday 5th May 2013.

To the north of the British Museum, the British Library hosts a major summer exhibition ‘Propaganda: Power and Persuasion’ which begins on Friday 17th May and continues all summer long until Tuesday 17th September 2013. Among more than 200 exhibits on display are propaganda leaflets dropped on occupied territories during WWII, Nazi propaganda, posters, films, cartoons and everyday objects including bank notes and badges.

Related events include a talk by Alastair Campbell on Friday 17th May, a late-night party on Friday 7th June 2013 with music by DJs Alexis, Al and Felix (Hot Chip), a debate on ‘The Art and Business of Persuasion’ between advertising legend Trevor Beattie and PR guru Mark Borkowski on Monday 1st July, and an appearance by former US Presidential candidate Mike Dukakis on Tuesday 6th August.

The British Library’s ongoing ‘Murder in the Library: An A-Z of Crime Fiction’ exhibition, which ends on Sunday 12th May 2013, indulges our addiction to detective stories and includes the original manuscript of the Sherlock Holmes story ‘The Retired Colourman’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

As part of Britten 100, the London-based festival celebrating the centenary of the great composer, The British Library presents Poetry in Sound: The Music of Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) a free exhibition in The Folio Society Gallery, from Friday 31st May to Sunday 15th September 2013 exploring the poetic and literary influences on Britten’s work.

Just seven minutes’ walk from the British Library, The Wellcome Collection remains open to the public throughout the GBP17.5m building project which begins this summer, due to be completed in summer 2014. Improvements include creating 30 per cent more gallery space and doubling the capacity for public events as well as adding a new restaurant.

In the meantime, the Wellcome Collection’s spring/summer exhibition of Japanese Outsider Art, Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan, continues until 30th June 2013, showing more than 300 works in a huge diversity of mediums by 46 Japanese artists.

Insects are celebrated in the Wellcome Collection’s ‘Who’s the Pest’ series of events in April and May including an Insects Au Gratin Installation (Tuesday 23rd April 2013 to Sunday 5th May 2013) and a debate on ‘Who is more of a pest?’, humans or insects?

At the Bloomsbury Theatre comedy is a strong suit and this summer is no exception. Highlights include two nights hosted by Robin Ince, best known for presenting the BBC radio show The Infinite Monkey Cage with physicist Brian Cox, on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May, and Stand Up for Women starring Michael McIntyre and hosted by comedian James Mullinger on Monday 13th May.

In May, Olivier award-winning choreographer and director Peter Schaufuss comes to the Bloomsbury Theatre for the first time with his Hamlet inspired dance drama (15th to 24th May). And June brings the inaugural London Student Drama Festival on Wednesday 19th June, drawing on the theatrical talent at four well respected London universities (UCL, King’s, SOAS, LSE).

One of the more quirky events but still very much a part of spending summer in Bloomsbury, The Chap Olympiad is a celebration of buffoonery and sporting ineptitude. While dates and details of this year’s event are yet to be confirmed it typically takes place in the summer in Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury.

Looking beyond summer to autumn, the Bloomsbury Festival takes place from 15th to 20th October 2013 offering an innovative arts, community and cultural programme at venues across Bloomsbury.

If you’re planning to visit London this summer keep track of all the latest events with where the latest information on all major London museums, theatres, art galleries and festivals is provided.

The team assist in finding cheap London hotels, sightseeing tours, ticket information and events.

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London Walking Tour Company Launches New Jewish Heritage Walk

September 15, 2011

London, September 15, 2011 — Context Travel has launched a new walking seminar of London’s historic Jewish neighborhood, led by historians from its network of experts and scholars. The walk looks at the history of Jewish communities in London from 1066, when William the Conqueror encouraged Jewish merchants and artisans from northern France to move to England. Traversing the centuries to the still vibrant community of modern times, the walk is offered both privately on request and as a group walk every day of the week except Saturdays.

“The history of the Jewish communities of London is extremely rich and complex,” says Ruth Shlovsky, a scholar of Judaism and Context docent. “Along the streets of the City and the East End we can trace the stories of these communities from their inception in 1066 and subsequent flourishing in the 17th century, through their trials during WWII and triumphs in modern London.”

Context’s Jewish London walk starts by Jewry Street, with a brief tutorial on the history and development of the area as the first port of call for Jewish families in 1066. Using maps and copies of documents, Context docents chronicle the development of the Sephardic and Ashkenazy communities in London and draw participants’ attention to visual clues to help them understand the social and economic context of the communities. The walk moves east includig such sites as the first purpose built Sephardi Synagogue in London, Bevis Marks.

The itinerary continues touching on themes such as the importance of the rag trade (selling second hand clothes), and the role of “The Jewish welfare board,” established in the 19th cent. Visitors come away from the walk with a deeper understanding of how these communities developed and helped shape the history of London as we know it today.

Jewish London is limited to 6 participants at a time. Group walks are priced at £60 per person, private walks are available at £250 per party.

The walk is a the latest addition to the Jewish History and Heritage series offered by Context to travelers in Italy, Paris, New York, Berlin, Istanbul, and Madrid.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and graphic designer Lani Bevacqua, Context is
a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects
and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in fifteen world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, and Athens. Travel + Leisure has named Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. A Conde Nast Traveler “Top Travel Specialist,” Context is listed on Inc magazine’s list of fastest growing companies in America.

To learn more about Context, visit its website at:


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