London Theatre Break

Every year my mum and I go on a mini break to somewhere in Europe. Last year's destination was Madrid but sadly this year we were limited by time to just a weekend, so the suggestion of the old favourite of 'shopping and a show in London' was gladly taken up.

View From The London Eye



We stayed in the Washington Hotel, a four star hotel in Mayfair which we booked for €200 euro a night per room on www.lastminute.ie., quite the steal given most hotel rooms in Mayfair are around €500 a night!

The Washington Hotel

The trick in London is to wait until a day or two before you travel, nerve wracking I know, but there are so many hotels in London that you are bound to find a good one trying to sell off their remaining rooms on the cheap.

Mum and Myself at a Wedding

You couldn't find a better location than Mayfair in London, it is so wonderfully posh yet eccentric. Welcome to the world where everything is bespoke and there is an entire shop selling antique globes each worth several thousand pounds.

Worth More Than My Car

I love to strut past the luxury car show rooms and Michelin star restaurants as if I too belong to this billionaires playground, even if just for a day.

Dessert at Michelin Starred Hibiscus
The Washington Hotel in particular was great as it was less than a 5 minute walk from Green Park Station which is served by the Piccadilly Line that goes all the way to Heathrow. A stones throw from the hotel is the leafy Hyde Park and a casual stroll onwards gets you to Oxford Street, Europe's busiest shopping street.

Hyde Park

The rooms of the hotel were faultless especially considering the discounted price and the location. They were extra spacious - no shoebox sized room here - spotlessly clean, and equipped with fresh modern decor. Also a big thank you for the upgrade to a superior room!

The rooms had obviously recently been refurbished as the rest of the hotel was looking a tad old and run down but nobody goes to London to eat in their hotel so it hardly mattered.

Twin Room at The Washington Hotel

After checking in we headed straight to shopping mecca - Selfridges. Now aside from the relatively modest high street additions to Selfridges ground floor the vast majority of the merchandise is rather above a student budget (or most budgets) but I find it great fun to wander around, especially the technology section.

Second Most Favourite Shop After Selfridges

If you are not that into shops and find yourself on Oxford Street then make sure to get yourself one of Ben's Cookies ... your waistline might regret it but you definitely won't! Yummm

Heaven 

After a couple of hours of trying to battle our way down Oxford Street through the hoards of people, we stopped for a much needed cup of tea.

"I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea" 

I know many of my more hipster readers may turn up their noses at this, but I really do enjoy the Tea Terrace in House of Fraser on Oxford Street. It is hard for department stores to compete with so many independent coffee houses popping up selling their organic Colombian beans, but I do think the Tea Terrace is worth a visit. The decor is old worldly with china tea cups and floral prints and it manages to provide an oasis of calm away from the hectic-ness of Oxford Street.

Tea Terrace at House of Fraser

In the evening we went to watch Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre. A traumatic tale of the murky underground world where West meets East during the Vietnam War, this story has it all from heart wrenching love songs to a full blown helicopter on stage.

Prince Edward Theatre

I don't want to give too much a way but I think Miss Saigon should be a must see on everyones theatre list!

Prince Edward Theatre, Soho

After the show we went to Kettner's in Soho, originally opened in 1867 by Auguste Kettner. As per their own advertisment "Kettner’s has lived, surviving four kings and a queen, the blitz, several booms and more than a few busts..."




Within this impressive history Kettner's has seen its ups and downs on the London's 'Hot or Not' list. It went from attracting enigmatic writers such as Agatha Christe and Oscar Wilde to being a student hangout serving cheap dinners amidst its chandeliers. In 2010 a journalist for the Guardian reported that every aspect of their lunch was a cataclysm.

Kettner's

Either way Kettner's has survived and I feel it was at somewhat of a half way house when we visited. The food was very tasty and the restaurant had certainly been tarted up with all its shiny furniture but it a lacked a certain allure suggesting it is not quite as in favour with the tortured artists as it used to be.

Lamb at Kettner's

The following day we woke up late and tumbled out of bed down to a nearby bakery called Cafe de Pierre, opposite the Ritz Carlton. It was lovely but if you want something extra special check out The Wolseley which is also opposite the Ritz and is famous for it's breakfast!

The Wolseley

After a heavy day of shopping on the Saturday we normally try for something a little more cultural on the Sunday. There is plenty to do in London, if it is winter time I would recommend the Natural History museum as they have an ice rink right outside.


We happened to be there right before Remembrance day so we saw the poppy display at the Tower of London which was quite spectacular - 888246 ceramic poppies were planted to remember the British fatalities in WW1.

Lest We Forget

London is always such a pleasure, I can't wait to return.













Liakada

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