A POSTCARD FROM LONDON; INSIDER ADVICE

We are pleased to take you inside one of London’s top-rated small hotels. The Stafford Kempinski, and the Concierge Desk where you will find Frank Laino. Mr. Laino is one of the most respected Head Concierge’s in Europe. Here are his personal recommendations in London for the busy month of September:

Buckingham Palace State Rooms Summer Opening

The 19 state rooms will open to the public until 7 October. This is a must see. The Palace was built in the early 1700’s and altered by John Nash in the late 18th century, becoming a state palace during Queen Victoria’s reign.

The special exhibition this year is Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration.  This spectacular exhibition which is included in the ticket price will show the many ways in which diamonds have been used by British monarchs over the last 200 years. The exhibition includes an unprecedented display of a number of The Queen’s personal jewels – those inherited by Her Majesty or acquired during her reign.

House of Parliament Summer Opening, from 19 September

A fantastic opportunity to visit both the House of Commons and House of Lords on a 75 minute guided tour www.parliament.uk

The Mayor’s Thames Festival, 8/9 September

The Mayor’s Thames Festival is London’s largest free outdoor arts festival – a spectacular celebration of London and its river. An exciting mix of arts, spectacle and entertainment, all focused around the River Thames.

The festival commissions new work, and transforms unusual spaces on and around the River Thames with a mixture of street arts, performance, carnival, pyrotechnics, illuminations, art installations, exhibitions, river events, massed choirs, circus, music and dance, food and feasting. The finale is a magical illuminated Night Procession that winds along the north and south banks of the Thames, followed by a fireworks display fired from the centre of the river itself.

See www.thamesfestival.org  for further information.

Open House London, 22/23 September

This is a simple but powerful concept: hundreds of great buildings of all types and periods open up their doors to all, completely for FREE. It is a truly city-wide celebration of the buildings, places and neighbourhoods where we live, work and play, and is your opportunity to get out and get under the skin of London’s amazing architecture. Please note that some of the more popular or smaller venues require advance booking. Please visit www.openhouselondon.org.uk  for further information.

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

Pre Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde, Tate Britain, from 12 September

Combining rebellion, beauty, scientific precision and imaginative grandeur, thePre-Raphaelites constitute Britain’s first modern art movement. This exhibition brings together over 150 works in different media, including painting, sculpture, photography and the applied arts, revealing the Pre-Raphaelites to be advanced in their approach to every genre. Led by Dante Gabriel RossettiWilliam Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) rebelled against the art establishment of the mid-nineteenth century, taking inspiration from early Renaissance painting.

Bronze, Royal Academy of Arts, from 15 September

With works spanning 5,000 years, no such cross-cultural exhibition on this scale has ever been attempted. The exhibition will feature over 150 of the finest bronzes from Asia, Africa and Europe and will include important discoveries as well as archaeological excavations. Many of the pieces have never been seen in the UK.

Shakespeare: Staging the World, British Museum

The British Museum is staging a major exhibition on the world of Shakespeare, in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The exhibition provides a unique insight into the emerging role of London as a world city, seen through the innovative perspective of Shakespeare’s plays. It also explores the pivotal role of the playhouse as a window to the world outside London, and the playwright’s importance in shaping a new sense of national identity.

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, National Gallery, Sainsbury Wing, until 23 September

A thought provoking show, featuring specially commissioned new works by contemporary artists in response to three of Titian’s most famous paintings.

Another London, Tate Britain, until 16 September

Whilst the eyes of the world are on London this summer, Tate Britain explores the capital city through the eyes of some of the biggest names in international photography.

In the years between 1930 and 1980, some of the best-known photographers from around the world came to London to make work about the city and its communities. Bringing together 180 classic twentieth-century photographs, Another London highlights the vibrancy of the city as a dynamic metropolis, richly diverse and full of contrast.

The Tanks: Art in Action, Tate Modern

Be a part of Tate Modern’s new space, The Tanks. For 15 weeks these magnificent raw, industrial spaces offer a sensational line-up of performance and events Visit  www.tate.org.uk  for full listings.

Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye, Tate Modern

Munch was very much in the news recently, when a copy of The Scream was sold at auction for a world record price of $120 million. This exhibition examines the artist’s work from the 20th century, including sixty paintings, many from the Munch Museum in Oslo, with a rare showing of his work in film and photography.

From Paris: A Taste for Impressionism, Royal Academy of Arts, until 23 September

Showcasing major works from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, this exhibition will illustrate the Clark Art Institute’s holdings of French 19th-century art, with particular emphasis upon Impressionism.

The Queen: Art and Image, National Portrait Gallery

To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this landmark exhibition brings together some of the most remarkable and resonant images of Elizabeth II made during her reign.

From formal painted portraits to commissioned photographs and from press images to works by celebrated contemporary artists, the exhibition charts the evolving representation of one of the most portrayed people of all time, and the influence of this imagery on changing perceptions of the monarchy.

Exploring the startling range of artistic creativity that the Queen has inspired, the exhibition also reveals the radical changes in portraiture and profound social developments since the 1950s. Featured photographers and artists include Cecil Beaton, Pietro Annigoni, Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz, Lucian Freud, Thomas Struth and Gerhard Richter.

Damien Hirst, Tate Modern, until 9 September

Damien Hirst first came to public attention in London in 1988 when he conceived and curated Freeze, an exhibition in a disused warehouse which showed his work and that of his friends and fellow students at Goldsmiths College. In the nearly quarter of a century since that pivotal show, Hirst has become one of the most influential artists of his generation. This will be the first substantial survey of his work in a British institution and will bring together key works from over twenty years.

Advance booking is recommended and is available only online at www.tate.org.uk

Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

This exhibition is the largest ever of Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of the human body.  Leonardo has long been recognised as one of the great artists of the Renaissance, but he was also a pioneer in the understanding of human anatomy.  He intended to publish his ground-breaking work in a treatise on anatomy, and had he done so his discoveries would have transformed European knowledge of the subject.  But on Leonardo’s death in 1519 the drawings remained a mass of undigested material among his private papers and their significance was effectively lost to the world for almost 400 years.  Today they are among the Royal Collection’s greatest treasures.ENTERTAINMENT

The Proms 2012, Royal Albert Hall

The world famous annual series of classical concerts at The Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall, culminating in the rousing and patriotic Last Night of the Proms on 8 September.

The Last Night concert is also broadcast live in Hyde Park, and in Odeon cinemas in 3D.

Please see www.bbc.co.uk/proms for full details.

JUMPY

Entertaining and perceptive comedy, starring  Tamsin Greig stars in a wittily and sympathetically drawn part. A compassionate, very funny and finally moving play about modern living.

A CHORUS OF DISAPPROVAL, from 17 September

Not seen in London since the National Theatre’s hit production over 25 years ago, Alan Aykbourn’s riotous comedy is back starring Rob Brydon and directed by Trevor Nunn.  The Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society’s production of The Beggar’s Opera is going off the rails with hilarious consequences. Brydon is a wonderfully talented comic and this production will be a great success I am sure.

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS

This smash hit National Theatre production is well deserving of its transfer to a larger theatre. It is an adaptation of a classic Italian farce updated to 1960’s England. Hilarious and highly recommended.

MATILDA

Dahl’s magical story about a girl with extraordinary powers has been a favourite novel for millions of people across the world since it was published in 1988.

The musical adaptation of the story to the stage is a total triumph and the show deserves all the awards heaped on it. A must see for all ages.

WOMAN IN BLACK

Since 1989, over 7 million people have lived to tell the tale of one of the most exciting, spooky, gripping and successful theatre events ever staged. Following the film version, starring Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, the show has received an upsurge of bookings.

Unanimously acclaimed by the critics, the show combines the power and intensity of live theatre with a cinematic quality inspired by the world of film noir. It is a formula that provides audiences with an evening of unremitting drama as they are transported into a terrifying and ghostly world.

WARHORSE

At the outbreak of World War One, Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse,is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He’s soon caught up in enemy fire and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone and in no man’s land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on atreacherous mission to find him and bring him home.

This is a wonderfully rewarding play that is features the most unique staging.

ROCK OF AGES

The ultimate 80’s smash hit ‘Mix tape’ musical comedy, is the story of a smalltown girl and boy who meet, fall in love, lose each other then struggle to fight for their love ‐ all to the backdrop of good old 80‘s rock anthems and power ballads (including Wanted Dead Or Alive, Don’t Stop Believin’, Here I Go Again, and I Want to Know What Love Is) is a rip‐roaring, hilarious tale of hedonism, dreams, love and of course ROCK!

CHARIOTS OF FIRE

Featuring the original, hugely iconic Vangelis score and a magnificent ensemble cast, Chariots of Fire brings alive the incredible true story of two British athletes whose honour, sacrifice and courage brought them glory and immortality on the greatest sporting stage of all.

DINING OUT

London’s restaurant scene is fast moving and features some of the hippest places on the planet. However, we must not forget the tried and trusted restaurants, and September is a good time to focus on two of those as we enter into the native oyster and game season.

WILTONS

Since Wiltons was established in 1742, it has consistently enjoyed a reputation as the epitome of fine English dining in London. The atmosphere is perfectly matched with the immaculately prepared wild fish, shellfish, and game in season and meat dishes sourced from the finest farms.  Located just 5 minutes from the hotel, Wiltons is the perfect place to pop into and sit at the bar counter to enjoy a dozen oysters and a chilled glass of crisp Chablis. Alternatively, linger for a leisurely dinner and soak up the quintessential English ambience.

GREENS

One of my all time favourites, Greens combines the intimacy of a private club with the elegance and sense of history of St James’s. The menu offers British food, well prepared fresh fish, meat and seasonal game. And of course, when in season, the finest Rock and Native Oysters. The restaurant’s central Oyster Bar offers the finest of these together with a superb selection of wines, beers and cocktails.

Saturday Brunch is served from 11am and is the perfect start to your weekend in London.

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