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Four Christmas Events Near The Melita London

At the Melita, we know people and celebrations go hand-in-hand, especially during the holiday season. Perhaps that’s why so many of our guests choose to stay with us over the winter holidays as well as the summer. England lights up during Christmas, filled with holiday spirit and joie de vivre, inspiring the spirit and invoking warm, friendly feelings wherever you go.

 

Westminster and Pimlico, while special any time of year, are especially beautiful over the holiday season. Trees lined with lights and the timeless Westminster Cathedral make the perfect setting for long walks as the snow falls, while historical pubs and restaurants give you plenty of places to stop off when it’s time to warm up.

 

If you’ve considered a vacation in London this winter, you’ll be pleased to know there’s much more to do in Pimlico than just see the sights (though the sights alone or sublime). We’d like to help you explore Christmas in Pimlico from afar. Whether you’re coming to shop or to see a show, there’s a plethora of exciting and spirited events to attend. In this list, you’ll learn about 6 of our closest favourites.

 

Belgravia Christmas Markets at Elizabeth Street and Pimlico Road

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In the mood for some shopping? Perhaps you’re coming to visit shortly before Christmas and need to make a list, and check it twice? Here’s the great news: you’ll find the perfect gift for any loved one at the Belgravia Christmas Markets.

 

This once-yearly pop-up event takes place on December 3rd and 4th this year (2016), and is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit. At just 20 minutes away from The Melita hotel by foot, it’s a brisk and lovely walk through our beautiful neighbourhood, but not far enough to become tiresome.

 

So what will you find at the market? An incredible array of items. Baked goods, delectable treats, hand-made crafts, clothing, boutique stalls, jewellry – you name it, and you’ll likely find it at the market. The perfect place to find that special gift for someone back home.

 

But that’s not where the fun stops; Belgravia Christmas Market is also home to a literal cacophony of sound and sensory experiences. Sip hot cocoa while listening to carols, or watch circus performers dazzle the audience while nibbling on hand-made gourmet chocolate truffles. Once you’re ready to come back home to the Melita, give us a call; we’ll help you locate a car to help transport your goodies back to the hotel safely.

 

 

Christmas at Westminster Abbey

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Easily one of our neighbourhood’s most popular events, Christmas at Westminster Abbey is a true celebration of the meaning of Christmas. This cathedral, home to every iteration of England’s religion for the last 1,000 years, is incredibly special all on its own, but the holidays make it even more so. This isn’t just a single event; rather, it’s a long list of events that take place at the historical Westminster Abbey itself. These events include:

 

  • The Christmas Oratorio Choir
  • A full-scale Christmas concert
  • The Ceremony of Carols
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Abbey’s Cafe & Terrace
  • Advent and Christmas services
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day mass

 

Each of these events is held in the centuries-old Catholic Abbey. Once home to only Benedictine monks, now one of the Royal Family’s most trusted institutions for marriages, burials, coronations and christenings, it’s an incredibly important facet of Britain’s history. Despite its extreme importance to London, and the fact that the Royal Family attends it regularly, the Abbey opens its doors to the public each year to celebrate Christ – an invitation that usually amasses over 12,000 people regularly.

 

Whether you decide to visit just for a tour, or you intend to attend Christmas mass, booking in advance is a must; the Abbey is a popular Christmas location and tickets sell out quickly.

 

 

Dickensian Christmas

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Sometimes, what we look forward to most is a good, traditional English Christmas dinner. Turkey with all the trimmings. Delicious pie. Roast vegetables. Mashed potatoes. Enough delightfully bubbly champagne to tickle the senses as you reconnect with friends. Sounds lovely enough, right? Now, add on another layer – a venue that lets you step back into time, experiencing Dickensian-style storytelling first-hand.

 

This is what you’ll find at One Whitehall Place during a Dickensian Christmas dinner, hosted by local promotion company Ex-Events.

 

The interior is really what sets the mood at this exclusive venue. Traditional Victorian decor, Christmas lighting, Scrooge wanders through the event, helping to guide people through various food stations, while Oliver Twist’s sweet shop and Bleak House pies tempt the senses. It’s luxurious, intimate and a lovely event to attend with a sweetheart.

 

With only room for around 250 people, this event fills up fast, so be sure to book tickets quickly.

 

The Thames Frost Fair

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Centuries ago, in the time of the Napoleonic wars and all things Victorian, the Thames was an integral part of London’s societal celebrations. Although the river doesn’t often freeze, there have been certain moments in history in which it has – and Londoners, in true English style, took advantage of those moments by throwing incredible fairs. Gingerbread cookie stalls, hot cocoa, ice skating, and a variety of animal sports induced gaiety and liveliness in the cold weather months.

 

Today, it is exceptionally rare for the Thames to freeze solidly enough to support a fair. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate in much the same way (with a small twist). Instead of skittering across the frozen river, hop on the Harmony Boat for a Shared Christmas Party. This large-scale barge features a fully-frozen ice rink, delicious cocktails, and a full-scale cruise down the river, all at once. Christmas music, played by a live band, enlivens the evening, while serving staff attend to each guest. It’s a perfectly intimate event that lets you escape the city and “skate on the Thames.”

 

Not into skating yourself? Sit back and watch the ice show, or have your picture taken instead. A professional photographer is always on hand to snap keepsake images for you to treasure. Unlimited drinks only serve to sweeten the deal.

 

Sure, this event isn’t really about Christmas; it’s really celebrating winter. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying the Thames in all it’s wintery (hopefully snowy) glory!

 

What happens if the Thames actually does freeze? Most likely, the party would simply move onto the river. Given that it hasn’t happened since 1814, this is a risk that’s not likely to develop anytime soon.

 

Staying with The Melita at Christmas is sublime. Nestled into an intimate and historical building in the heart of Pimlico, it places you in the perfect location to enjoy the best of London City’s most heartfelt and lovely Christmas celebrations. From Christmas mass to theatre, we excel in helping you craft the perfect holiday location. Need a hand? Give our friendly staff a call and enquire about Christmas bookings and events today.

 


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6 Incredible Places Just 20 Minutes from The Melita

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London remains England’s most treasured city. Home to the Royal Family and some of Britain’s most historically relevant buildings and architectural marvels, the capital is also culturally rich and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Guests who make the sound choice to stay at The Melita have an especially wonderful arrangement of amenities and attractions available to them, most of which are just a stone’s throw away from the hotel. From Westminster Cathedral to Buckingham Palace, these six incredible places are located within 20 minutes from our historic hotel, perfect for adventurous wandering, exploration, and self-guided tours!

Victoria Station

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First, and perhaps most importantly on this list, is Victoria Station just minutes from our hotel entrance, in the heart of London. Not only can you catch a train from the station to just about anywhere else in London; the building itself is intricately designed and quite beautiful. An Edwardian facade and dual mermaid statues with Pre-Raphaelite faces make this building, a stunning marvel of historical art in its own right.

If you’re visiting Victoria Station for transportation, it’s helpful to know that station link buses run twice per hour. Both the London Underground and the Airbus are accessible from this location. If you’re driving, you may park your automobile in the car park next door while traveling around the city.

For more information about Victoria Station, or to verify scheduled times, click here.

 

Westminster Cathedral

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One of the London’s most famous locations, the Westminster Cathedral has remained steadfastly in place since the first foundation bricks were laid in 1875. Owned by the Catholic Church, it remains one of the world’s most opulent and artistic faith-based buildings in the world. Although most royal weddings take place at Westminster Abbey, rather than the cathedral itself, it has played host to a number of famous events.

Lovebirds who are visiting London to marry should know that the cathedral does offer wedding services, but you must belong to the congregation and book at least six months in advance.

For guests who are interested in attending services, both mass and confession are open to the public throughout the week. Because times can change, it’s best to confirm the cathedral’s weekly schedule before your visit; click here for more info.

Guests who simply want to marvel in the beauty of the building itself have plenty of discoveries to make, too. Westminster Cathedral is filled with ecclesiastical treasures. To maximise your experience, stop at the gift shop and purchase a copy of the Cathedral Guide Book for just £5.00. This informative and interesting pocket guide points out the building’s most beautiful areas and opulent treasures, giving visitors a unique glimpse into their historical and religious significance.

For more information on Westminster Cathedral, click here.

Apollo Victoria Theatre

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Yet another of London’s most historic and beautiful buildings, the Apollo Victoria Theatre was originally built by expert architects Ernest Wamsley Lewis and William Edward Trent in 1929. Dual entrances on both Vauxhall Bridge and Wilton Road lead the interior, where you can access the box office and purchase tickets for a variety of shows.

The Apollo Victoria features a year-round selection of masterfully enacted plays, concerts, musicals and performances. Scheduling is subject to change, and depending on the time of year you visit, the content performed may be seasonal, too. Visitors and potential guests can verify the current schedule on the Apollo’s website.

With over 2,000 seats in the auditorium, this rich cultural location has plenty of space for theatre lovers from all over the world. Despite its size, it’s wise to book or purchase tickets well in advance, as some performances, such as 2016’s incredibly popular rendition of “The Wizard of Oz”, “Wicked,” are immensely popular and fill up quickly. Booking with us, has it’s perks and the Apollo Victoria Theatre is just one of the many.

Shows can also be booked ahead of time by making reservations at 0844 826 8000, or by purchasing tickets online.

Tate Britain

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Visiting the Tate Britain museum is like stepping back into art history. With pieces from as far back as the 1500’s, many of which are untouched, preserved originals, it remains important to British culture and history to this day. Famous pieces like “Ophelia” by Sir John Everett Millais, Bt, “Proserpine” by Dante Gabriel Ross, and “Newton” by William Blake make this location a must-see for any history or art buff. We love the arts, and being centrally located to so many art filled destinations makes The Melita Hotel, a travelers haven.

Tate Britain is open from Monday to Sunday 10.00 to 18.00, but scheduling for special events and exhibits may range beyond these hours. Admission to the regular museum is entirely free, though you may shop at the gift shop or make a donation if you wish to support their work.

Once you’re finished browsing the beautiful collection, stop by the Djanogly café. Or, come to experience London’s historical afternoon tea any time after 1.00.

For more information about Tate Britain, or to find out about the museum’s current tour schedule, dial +44 (0)20 7887 8888.

St. James’s Park

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At a sprawling 23 hectares in size, St. James’s Park is the place to be if you want to experience the English countryside without ever leaving London. This beautiful green space is home to exquisite gardens, a beautiful pond, fountains, a small and cosy cafe, and a large number of waterfowl, including ducks, swans, geese, and even pelicans.

Despite being centrally located, close to Buckingham Palace, the park’s gardens are more influenced by French botany than by English gardening techniques. Today, their design draws influence from historical gardens in Versailles, France, and a smattering of modern, contemporary practices. Expect to enjoy an endless array of flora and fauna if you visit during the growing season.

St. James’s Park is also home to a small bridge that offers one of the most beautiful views of Buckingham Palace in all of London. This picturesque location is frequented by tourists seeking commemorative photos and snapshots, and it makes an excellent stop-over after weddings, too.

Depending on when you visit, you may also arrive on time to witness incredible events like the Horse Guard Parade or the yearly Trooping the Colour ceremony. Afternoon tea is served at Inn the Park, as is lunch, dinner, and supper. A variety of other refreshments, like cold drinks and ice cream, can be had by visiting any of the many refreshment points scattered throughout.

St. James’ Park is open to visitors from 05:00 – 00:00.

Buckingham Palace

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No visit to London would ever be complete without laying eyes on the incredible Buckingham Palace. Home to British royalty and high society members since George III first purchased it for his wife Charlotte in 1761, it officially became the British Monarch’s residence in 1837, during Queen Victoria’s reign. Visitors from afar will immediately recognise the balcony that sits on the front facade; this is the most common place at the palace for British royals to make public appearances on special occasions, including Queen Elizabeth II herself.

Buckingham Palace is truly palatial in every sense of the word. The interior holds an incredible 775 different rooms, including 52 individual bedrooms for both the Royal Family and other guests. Receptions and special events take place in one of the palace’s 19 state rooms. In true blue-blooded fashion, Buckingham Palace is also home to 78 individual bathrooms.

Although most of Buckingham Palace’s interior is locked away from visitors for privacy and security reasons, tours are available. Most tours focus on the state rooms and apartments, but this can still provide an intimate glimpse into daily life for the Royal Family within their treasured home.

City Wonders provides an excellent guided walk-through tour that arrives just in time to see the Changing of the Guard; more information is available here. Tickets can be difficult to secure and spots fill up quickly, so if you wish to go, book a spot well in advance.


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Off The Beaten Path: Hidden London Gem’s Just A Tube’s Ride Away

Off the Beaten Path: Hidden Gem’s Just A Tube’s Ride Away

 

At The Melita London, we understand first-hand the value in blending tradition with something truly special and entirely your own.  Being personable, approachable, and comfortable all at the same is important to us; it’s what brings our guests back time and time again over the years.

Creating an experience is important; it’s why we strive to go further than just the basics, blending historic tradition with modern appeal to create a warm, friendly hotel where you can truly relax and feel at home. Subtle touches, like the artwork found throughout our hotel, or our steadfast dedication to local artists, set The Melita apart from larger, more sprawling hotels, making it feel special, welcoming, and supportive of your adventurous heart.

It also happens to be what makes The Melita such an excellent “home base” for those who love to explore, foray, and identify what makes the London so special.

With a history of service spanning over half a century into London’s past, we’ve come to appreciate some of the other locations and services that make our city, truly special. If you’ve been craving a bit of time off the beaten path, getting away from busy tourist areas and locations is not only possible, but recommended. We’ve put together some information on three of the city’s most delightful hidden gems, so you can enjoy these treasured little experiences and places, too.
Ye Olde Mitre

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Ye Olde Mitre is a quirky little historical pub tucked away at 1 Ely Place. It’s the type of place that’s easy to miss from the outside, but well worth visiting at least once during your stay if you want the true English pub experience.

What makes Ye Olde Mitre truly incredible is its age; the building itself was originally built over 500 years ago, in 1546. Even the ivy-covered wooden façade and entrance is something truly special; it feels whimsical, charming, and entirely welcoming, like us!

Inside is an endless array of historical furnishings, a delightful collection of beer mugs hangs with care from an old and well-kept ceiling, and a series of signs reveal the many delectable options available to whet your appetite or quell your thirst.

More than a few visitors immediately notice that the interior is somehow familiar to them, and with good reason: it’s just one of the many English locations used in the film Snatch.

A few things to note before you visit. Ye Olde Mitre is a historic location as well as a cosy pub, so be particularly respectful of your surroundings. Many of the furnishings are well-aged, and while not necessarily delicate, deserve to be handled with a bit more care than your average seating arrangement. The pub is open from 11:00 to 11:00, Monday to Friday, serving especially scrumptious snacks—perfect for whetting the appetite midway through your day.

Having trouble locating the pub? You’re not alone. View their 360-degree tour on their website to catch a quick glimpse of the tiny alleyway they call home. Or, ask our staff to help you find your way.

 

Temple Church

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Ask most Londoners where the best faith-based locations are, and they’ll probably tell you Westminster Abbey or the Westminster Cathedral. To be sure, both of these locations are stunningly beautiful in their own right. Temple Church may be a bit less complex, but it’s certainly no less historical or special. Anyone who’s watched “The Da Vinci Code” will recognise it as the temple used in the film.

One of the world’s oldest churches, this medieval location was originally built and consecrated by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in 1185. The church itself changed hands many times throughout history, first shifting to the Saracens, then to King Edward II, and then to the Order of St. John. Finally, in 1540, the church was again given back to the crown, where it has remained until this day.

Located at King’s Bench Walk, you’ll need to do a bit of trekking to reach Temple Church. There’s no vehicle access to this old and timeless place, so be prepared to wind your way through a series of alleys and paths until you arrive. Fortunately, the walk itself is lovely—many call it one of England’s best outdoor walks–and idyllic on a warm, balmy summer’s day.

Once you arrive, there’s plenty to see. The outer façade retains much of its historic charm, and for architecture buffs, is worth perusing all on its own. Step inside to wander through an endless array of historical information and displays highlighting the many feats undertaken by the Knights Templar throughout history. Several effigies of the Medieval Knights, some detailing their link to King John and Magna Carter, reveal the secrets behind England’s complex and interesting past.

The inner church itself hosts beautiful services throughout the week for those who wish to attend; be sure to check the website before you visit, as times can change without notice. Even the stained glass windows are a sight to be seen. Some tourists have reported that mid-morning seems to be the best time to hear the organist play, alongside the church’s regular services.

Guests can contact John Shearer at the church by dialling 020 7353 3470 for more information about access, tours, and events.

 

Kyoto at Holland Park

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Located at Holland Park, Kyoto is often referred to as one of England’s most serene spaces, and for good reason. Much as with the rest of London, this location is steeped in its own brand of history, too; it’s been around since the early 19th Century and managed to mostly survive World War II.

But set aside Kyoto for a moment; let’s delve into the rich history of Holland Park itself.

Holland Park is expansive, with plenty of open space for sunbathing, relaxing, playing, and picnicking. With a total of 22 hectares of space, it’s easy to get away from it all without ever leaving the city. If you’re coming from the country, and are finding the hub-bub of London a bit much, we greatly recommend a stroll through some of the many beautiful gardens on-side.

Holland Park its name from the Earl of Holland himself, a man also widely considered to be the first successful grower of Dahlias in England. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that visitors are likely to find beautifully grown Dahlias sprinkled throughout the park during the growing season.

The elegantly manicured grounds sit against a somewhat stark backdrop: a partially destroyed Holland House mansion, brought to ruin during the bombings that took place in WWII. While this may seem like a strange pairing, the architecture is quite remarkable, and the building is a constant yet important reminder of Britain’s incredible tenacity in the face of challenge.

Kyoto, unlike the rest of the park and its gardens, features a unique Japanese aesthetic that you just won’t find anywhere else in London. This portion of the park was a gift from Kyoto in 1991, given to commemorate the long friendship enjoyed by both Britain and Japan.

Though it’s fairly small, encompassing just a small corner of the grounds, there’s just something incredibly tranquil and peaceful about this area of Holland Park. It’s the perfect place for a lazy afternoon spent idling in the sunshine with a lover, and the sweetest spot for catching up on your reading time.

Idyllic little ponds, tiered waterfalls, beautiful stonework, the occasional peacock, and a veritable plethora of beautiful koi fish speak to the soul, encouraging you to slow down, if for just a little while.

Science lovers will appreciate the ecology centre for its educational glimpse into the flora and fauna, while music lovers will appreciate the opera performances occasionally held in nearby Holland Park during the summer.

Holland Park opens each day at approximately 7:30, and remains open until dusk. Considering an excursion? We can help with tips for putting together a delightful picnic lunch for a long, relaxing day in the park; just speak with a member of the staff.

So what are you waiting for? Hop on the tube today and #DiscoverLondon.