Top Ten London: Top 10 Things to Do in Barnet, London

On the most northern edges of Greater London, the Borough of Barnet is not only one of the largest in landmass at roughly 33.5 square miles, but also one of the largest in population with 387,800 residents.  Being further out from the center of the city, though, it hasn’t got as much to attract visitors as Westminster, Chelsea, and the City of London, amongst other parts of London.  However, that doesn’t mean it is devoid of places to visit.  Whether you’re looking for peaceful greenery or a chance to step into history, Barnet has a little bit of everything for everyone.  We’ve identified our ten favorite sites to see below, and you can let us know your own in the comments.

GATE OF HONOR

One of the city’s many monuments to the honored dead, the Gate of Honor at Mill Hill School is a memorial to soldiers of the first and second World Wars.  It was built in 1920 and opened in 1924, with WWII soldiers’ names added to it later on.  The monument is Grade II listed.

GOLF

Golfers rejoice, for you will find your paradise in Barnet.  The borough has no shortage of golf courses including the Metro Golf Center, North London Golf Course, North Middlesex Golf Club, the Shire, and more.  For those who maybe want a bit more fun, there is also Dinosaur Safari Adventure Golf.  Honestly, there are more courses here than I have seen in any other part of the city.

CLOWN TOWN

If you need a place to wear out your kids, Clown Town is it.  The name might give you the impression of a circus, but the only clowns here are the ones painted on the walls.  With ball pits, jungle gyms, and tons of play areas, Clown Town will help get some of that energy out to help you get through your trip and give your kids something fun to do amidst the museums and monuments of the city.

HAMPSTEAD HEATH EXTENSION

As the name might suggest, this is a part of Hampstead Heath that extends up into Barnet.  Unlike the rest of Hampstead Heath, the extension did not originate in the heath itself but in farmland that was gifted by Henrietta Barnett.  The traces of its farming past can be seen in the boundaries of the extension as evidenced by the farming boundaries, hedgerows, and trees that are still found in this part of the park.

GLEBELANDS LOCAL NATURE RESERVE

Glebelands Local Nature Reserve is a Grade I Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation.  It was formed out of the old Finchley Common and is filled with plants of different varieties, including a number of rare flowers that bloom there, including the lesser water plantain, for which GLNR is the only known site in the city.

ARTSDEPOT

Perhaps the premiere performing arts venue in Barnett, artsdepot comprises two theaters as well as dance and drama studios, a gallery space, and a café.  The venue has been open since 2004 and puts on a number of productions including traditional plays, contemporary dance reviews, stand-up comedy, and more.  Checking the performance calendar will surely find a show you’ll want to see.

BELMONT CHILDREN’S FARM

There are plenty of farms throughout Greater London that exist primarily to teach, and Belmont Children’s Farm is no different.  Well, maybe it is since the farm contains a variety of exotic animals that you won’t find at other London farms.  Besides the normal cows, sheep, and typical farm animals, Belmont also hosts owls, rodents, and other animals that are important to farm life.

BARNET MUSEUM

Local museums are a great place to learn about the area, and the Barnet museum is no exception.  Found in a Georgian house on Wood Street in Chipping Barnet, the museum has exhibits dedicated to the borough’s history.  Some permanent exhibits include the important Battle of Barnet, fairs, local businesses, and important discoveries.  For those wanting to trace roots to the area or discover more about Barnet, it is going to be the best place for research.

WELSH HARP NATURE RESERVE

The Welsh Harp Nature Reserve and reservoir straddles both the boroughs of Barnet and Brent.  Besides the lush flora throughout the reserve, the primary attractions include the number of birds, fowl, and animals that live within the area.  It can also be a very popular place for water sport or a bike ride, though walking through the reserve will be the option to see everything at nature’s own pace.

RAF MUSEUM

The greatest attraction in Barnett, though, is the RAF Museum.  Dedicated to the history of the Royal Air Force since its formation in 1918, the museum not only includes exhibits for this illustrious armed force but a number of flying craft that the RAF has used over the decades, including the famous Spitfire and Hurricane planes.  Any aircraft of military enthusiast will want to make this museum a must-visit location in London.

Top Ten London: Top 10 Things to Do in Barnet, London – Londontopia – The Website for People Who Love London

#london, #uk

New Afternoon Teas To Try In London This Month: May 2019

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Summer Garden Afternoon Tea at the Egerton House Hotel

London’s awash with afternoon teas, from the traditional to the quirky to the vegan. And new ones are always being added to the selection too — take a look at the menus making their debut in London this month, including special Chelsea Flower Show afternoon teas. Some of them are only around for a short time, so book quickly if they take your fancy.

St James’s Afternoon Tea at The Stafford

We’re kicking things off with a playful offering this month — the St James’s Afternoon Tea takes inspiration from the area of St James’s, with nods to the luxury shops and boutiques that surround the hotel.

Lock & Co. hatmakers, tailor Henry Poole & Co, and James J. Fox cigar shop are all represented in the all-important top tier via an edible bowler hat, tuxedo and cigar respectively. The cheddar and chive scones use cheese from local cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield too.

St James’s Afternoon Tea at The Stafford. £45, or £58 with a glass of champagne.

Available: Daily, 12pm-7pm.

Gin Afternoon Tea at Conrad London St James

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Why nobody has come up with the heavenly crossover of gin and afternoon tea before is beyond us, but those wizards at Emmeline’s Lounge have finally done it.

The Gin Afternoon Tea was created in partnership with the City of London Distillery, and offers gin infused treats, washed down with cocktails.

For example, notes of juniper berries, fresh orange and lemon and coriander seeds in the Square Mile Gin have been paired with a charred lemon and pink grapefruit tart with rosemary meringue. The Six Bells Gin is served alongside the elderflower jelly honey cake and pear mousse delice. Freshly baked scones, a selection of sandwiches and teas from Lalani & Co also make an appearance. But really, we’re here for the gin.

Gin Afternoon Tea at Emmeline’s Lounge, Conrad London St James. £45 per person with a glass of champagne or three cocktail tasters, or £100 for two with a bottle of champagne.

Available: Daily, 1.30pm-6pm

Summer Garden Afternoon Tea at The Egerton House Hotel

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The entirety of the Egerton House Hotel has been given something of a floral makeover in advance of the Chelsea Flower Show — and that includes the food.

The traditional English afternoon tea has been replaced with a summer garden version, including rosewater chocolate brownie, summer fruit vanilla tart, marigold macaroons, lavender posset with poppy seed biscuit, blueberry tower and a spinach, blackcurrant and edible flowers cupcake.

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Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free afternoon tea options are available, and botanical cocktails are on the bar menu throughout the summer too.

Summer Garden Afternoon Tea at The Egerton House Hotel. £48 per person/£64.50 per person with champagne.

Available: until September 2019

English Country Garden Afternoon Tea at 108 Pantry

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108 Pantry launches an English Country Garden Afternoon Tea — its first afternoon tea that’s available in a fully vegan option, with floral flavours and seasonal ingredients leading the menu. Savouries include smashed avocado, roasted piquillo peppers and rocket, or barbecue baked sweet potato, coriander, lime and cashew mayo on onion bread.

Lemon drizzle cake, cashew & blueberry ‘cheesecake’ and salted caramel slice with toffee popcorn are among the sweet options, but the highlight, at least for originality, is a lollipop encasing an edible flower.

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English Country Garden Afternoon Tea at 108 Pantry. £32 per person/£42 with a glass of sparkling wine.

Available: Monday-Friday, 2pm-6pm. Saturday-Sunday 12pm-6pm.

Floral-Inspired Afternoon Tea at 100 Queen’s Gate Hotel

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Located so close to the event, it’s no surprise that 100 Queen’s Gate is getting in on the Chelsea Flower Show action, by temporarily transforming its traditional afternoon tea into a floral offering.

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The meal is hosted inside Botanica, the hotel’s new plant-filled tea room, and consists of pickled baby carrot, baby beetroot and courgette flowers, along with botanical-inspired pasties, and cakes served on a bed of edible chocolate soil. Savouries include gin and tonic smoked salmon and cream cheese, on flower-shaped dark rye bread.

Chelsea Flower Show afternoon tea at 100 Queen’s Gate. £35 per person.

Available: 13 May-30 June 2019.

Traditional afternoon tea at The Green Room at The Curtain Hotel, Shoreditch

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With all these themed, limited edition afternoon teas, it’s refreshing to see someone sticking with good old-fashioned tradition.

The newly-launched afternoon tea at The Green Room — located within the Curtain Hotel — promises traditional afternoon tea with all of the trimmings, including plain & fruit scones with jam and clotted cream, a selection of fine tea cakes, smoked salmon bagel, gin & tonic cucumber sandwich and devilled eggs.

Even better, the venue has partnered with local social enterprise Hackney Herbal to curate a bespoke blend of teas and infusions to accompany all that nosh.

Afternoon tea at The Green Room. £30 per person/£40 with champagne.

Available: 1pm-4pm, Friday-Sunday

Crosstown Doughnut afternoon tea at Bluebird Chelsea

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Doughnuts? Did someone say doughnuts? Crosstown Doughnuts teams up with Bluebird Chelsea for a floral afternoon tea, tying in with the Chelsea Flower Show. The three-tier afternoon tea is piled with Crosstown doughnut bites, cakes, scones and sandwiches, including red velvet and rose petal cupcakes and neroli blossom and strawberry macaroons. Centre stage is Crosstown’s bespoke vegan orange blossom dough bite.

Choose from tea, coffee or champagne to wash it down.

Bluebird in Bloom afternoon tea at Bluebird Chelsea. £29.50 per person.

Available: 21-25 May 2019.

Sweet Pink Afternoon Tea at Maitre Choux Chelsea

Usually, afternoon tea is only served at the Soho branch of choux pastry bakery Maitre Choux — but to coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show, it’s coming to the Flower Room of the King’s Road branch.

They’ve certainly stuck to a theme, with Spanish raspberry pink éclairs, pink champagne, and a whole wall of pastel pink flowers — definitely one to book if you’re as interested in photographing your food as you are eating it.

Sweet Pink Afternoon Tea at Maitre Choux, Chelsea. £22-£36 per person.

Available: 21-25 May 2019

Quintessentially British Afternoon Tea at Roast

Borough Market restaurant Roast launches an afternoon tea focusing on traditional British ingredients. The menu is subject to change due to its reliance on fresh, seasonal produce, but a sample includes coronation chicken and cucumber, cream cheese & mint sandwiches, scones with strawberry preserve, and Victoria sponge cake. Tuck in inside that gorgeous conservatory-like dining room overlooking the market.

British Afternoon Tea at Roast, Borough Market. £25 per person, or £0 per person with champagne.

Available: Monday-Saturday, 12pm-6pm

Afternoon Tea Academy at Plate, Old Street

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Don’t be misled by the name — you won’t be making your own meal at the Afternoon Tea Academy. Instead, the team at the upmarket restaurant have worked with tea company P.M. David Silva & Sons to pair each tier of the traditional stand with a tea, and an expert is on hand throughout to talk through the pairings.

The food menu errs on the fancy side of traditional, with roast chicken, beetroot hummus and peppered beef pastrami sandwich fillings, buttermilk scones, and handmade pastries including rhubarb and custard mille-feuille.

Afternoon Tea Academy at Plate. £39-£49 per person.

Available: Selected dates from 11 May.

And finally…

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It’s not brand new, but the Filipino Afternoon Tea at Romulo Cafe has only just come to our attention. It launched in March, designed for two people to share, and blends traditional English tea with Filipino twists — think Filipino style light brown, crumb-speckled buns, served with Cornish clotted cream and purple yam jam. The sweet section of the menu includes traditional Filipino dessert made with dulce de leche buttercream, cashews, chewy and sweet meringue, and a mango float.

#london, #londonist, #uk

Things To Do Today In London: Monday 13 May 2019

Siobhan Miller performs live in Clerkenwell

Things to do

LAST CHANCE: It’s the final week of National Portrait Gallery’s Elizabethan Treasures exhibition, which brings together miniature paintings from the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. See the works of Nicholas Hilliard and his pupil Isaac Oliver, who created impressively detailed miniature portraits of high society and royalty. National Portrait Gallery, £10, book aheaduntil 19 May

LONDON WINE WEEK: Good news vino lovers — London Wine Week begins today. Register for a free digital pass to take advantage of the special offers running all week at venues all over the capital, including £6 flights of tastings of three wines, and food and wine pairings in certain restaurants. See all venues taking part. Various locations (hub at Flat Iron Square), digital pass is free, book ahead13-19 May

Time’s running out to see the Elizabethan Treasures exhibition

LIFE BEGINS AT 40: Midlife crises are the topic at the Royal Society tonight. Professor Mark Jackson looks at what causes a midlife crisis, and why societal changes have caused them to become more common in recent years, including deepening anxieties about economic decline, political instability. The Royal Society (St James’s), free, just turn up, 6.30pm-7.30pm

THE RED SHOES: 1948 drama film The Red Shoes is screened at Dulwich Picture Gallery. It’s the tale of a rising ballerina who is forced to choose between her art and love, knowing the decision will have consequences. Dulwich Picture Gallery, £10/£8, book ahead7pm

LAB RATS: Dan Lyons, author of Lab Rats: Why Modern Work Makes People Miserable, discusses how the hypocrisy of the working environment in Silicon Valley has spread out worldwide. It’s increasingly common for even low-grade employees to be expected to view their jobs with a cult-like fervour, despite diminishing prospects of promotion — and Lyons asks what can be done to reverse this change. The Water Rats (King’s Cross), £7/£5, book ahead7pm

LEARN TO ROLLER SKATE: Get your skates on — quite literally — and learn how to roller skate at this beginners’ class for adults. Learn the basics, and combine skating with fitness in the low-impact, high-intensity workshop. Skate hire and protection pads included. Balham (location provided on booking), £13, book ahead7pm-8pm (sponsor)

MEN’S MENTAL HEALTH: Rotimi Akinsete — author of new tome This Book Could Help — wrote it in collaboration with charity Mind, and aims to offer advice on how to achieve balanced mental health and defeat the outdated ideas that can stop men from looking after themselves. Tonight, he speaks about why men should make mental health a priority, and why we should all be talking about mental health more. Foyles Charing Cross Road, make a donation to Mind on the door, book ahead7pm-8pm

BOUQUET MAKING: Ever fancied your chances as a florist? Join professionals from Moyses Stevens for a hand-tied bouquet making workshop, and create a masterpiece of spring blooms to take home. Canapes and drinks from bar No 11 Pimlico Road are included. 11 Pimlico Road, £50, book ahead,7pm-8.30pm

Enjoy drinks while you try bouquet making

CHARITY COMEDY: Josh Widdicombe, Kerry Godliman and John Robins are among the impressive line-up at Cracking Comedy in aid of Women And Children First. Money raised goes to the charity which helps support women, children, mothers and babies in the world’s poorest communities. Leicester Square Theatre, £22, book ahead, 7.30pm

NEON LIFE DRAWING: It’s life drawing, but not as you know it. The models are covered in reactive paints which glow under UV lights, and you’re provided with neon pastels to recreate what you see. The session begins with quick drawing exercises to get you warmed up, before you’re given free rein to be as creative as you like — the less traditional, the better. Queen of Hoxton, £14, book ahead7.30pm-9.30pm

LIVE MUSIC: Traditional Scottish singer Siobhan Miller performs an intimate gig, showing off her soulful voice and self-penned lyrics. She’s won several folk music awards, and performed in venues as diverse as the  National Theatre of Scotland, Broadway in New York, and Cambridge Folk Festival. The Slaughtered Lamb (Clerkenwell), £14, book ahead8.15pm

Tube ponderings with Barry Heck

Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.

The first London Underground line opened in January 1863, with the section from Paddington to Farringdon. That much is well known. But do you know where spade first hit dirt in the construction of that first line? It seems to be outside Euston station, according to this newspaper article from January 1860. Seymour Street is modern Eversholt Street, so I think the first dig took place as shown on the map below.

Follow Barry Heck on Twitter @HeckTube.

Good cause of the day

Comedians Pierre Novellie, Harriet Kemsley, Bobby Mair and Kate Barron come together for a fundraising night of comedy in Hackney tonight, in aid of mental health charity Mind. Find out more and book tickets.

#london, #londonist, #uk

#meghanmarkle

  1. Royal baby: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry celebrate birth of 7lbs 3oz boy The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, 37, has given birth to the royal baby, a boy for her and 34-year-old Prince Harry

  2. “I am proud that my new grandson is born into the British royal family and I am sure that he will grow up to serve the crown and the people of Britain with grace, dignity, and honor.”

    Meghan Markle’s former ‘Suits’ co-star Patrick J. Adams congratulates duchess on first child” via FOX NEWS

  3. Meghan Markle just gave birth and Prince Harry will reportedly take 2 weeks of paternity leave to be a ‘modern dad.’ Here’s why that’s so important.

 

#meghanmarkle, #uk

Top 10 Works of Art to See in London’s National Gallery On Your Next Visit

The National Gallery in London is one of the finest Art Museums in the world – and one of the oldest. It’s one of my favorite places to visit when I visit London. This is one of London’s top free museums, and you can just walk in whenever you like and admire some of the finest works of art humanity has ever produced. But there are thousands of works in the museum – which ones are the top ones to make sure you see? Here’s my personal list. As with anything to do with art, this list is completely subjective and based on my own tastes. It’s landscape heavy because I like landscapes. I welcome your own recommendations in the comments!

THE HAY WAIN BY JOHN CONSTABLE

By far the most well-known work by Constable. This painting of Willy Lott’s Cottage in Suffolk is an iconic scene that helped the #British build their own conception of their countryside. When we think of the English countryside, we think of scenes like this. That’s because Constable painted them and gave us that vision of a bucolic wonderland. There’s a couch in front of this one, and I highly recommend sitting and staying awhile.

RAIN, STEAM AND SPEED JMW TURNER

One of two Turner’s on this list – they also happen to be next to each other in the gallery. Rain, Steam and Speed and the Great Western Railway is Turner’s attempt at showing the rapidly industrializing Victorian World. He painted this in his later years, so it’s more impressionistic than his earlier works (and his vision as going). The train is ghostly, as are the people in the boat. If you squint, you can just make out the hare running away from the train, symbolic of nature being pushed out of the way by the forward march of time.

THE FIGHTING TEMERAIRE BY JMW TURNER

Voted Britain’s most favorite painting on multiple occasions, this painting is symbolic of the passing of the age of sail to the age of steam. Represented by the Temeraire being towed to be scrapped. The ship was one of the major ships that led Britain to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1812 and was one of the last ships to be scrapped (HMS VIctory is the only one that remains). It’s a sad picture of a ship given an elegiac ending, with that beautiful Turner sunset (said to be influenced by the eruption of Mount Tambora). This is probably my favorite British painting as well.

SUNFLOWERS BY VINCENT VAN GOGH

Van Gogh painted a lot of sunflowers in his day – so it’s not hard to see them in the various museums spread around the world. But the National Gallery has its own, and it’s beautiful.

WATER LILY POND MONET

In 1883 Monet moved to Giverny where he lived until his death. There, on the grounds of his property, he created a water garden ‘for the purpose of cultivating aquatic plants,’ over which he built an arched bridge in the Japanese style. In 1899, once the garden had matured, the painter undertook 17 views of the motif under differing light conditions. Surrounded by luxuriant foliage, the bridge is seen here from the pond itself, among an artful arrangement of reeds and willow leaves. This one is at the National Gallery; the others are spread around the museums of the world.

MR. AND MRS. ANDREWS THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH

Painted by Gainsborough around 1750, this is one of the most famous landscape paintings ever created in Britain. Why the couple pictured, the aristocratic Andrews family, are certainly handsome with lots of detail; the real start of this painting is the sublime English landscape beyond. You just want to step into the picture and run your hands over the wheat and listen to the sheep off in the distance bleat.

THE AMBASSADORS BY HANS HOLBEIN

Painted by Hans Holbein the Younger in the Tudor era, this painting is famous for the amount of detail on display in the objects in the picture. It’s also one of the most lifelike paintings of the era. It also has a visual trick where if you look at the image at the right angle, you can see a fully formed skull. It’s a remarkable painting to see in person.

THE ARNOLFINI PORTRAIT

This is a 1434 oil painting on oak panel by the Early Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck. It forms a full-length double portrait, believed to depict the Italian merchant Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife, presumably in their home in the Flemish city of Bruges. It is considered one of the most original and complex paintings in Western art, because of its beauty, complex iconography, geometric orthogonal perspective, and expansion of the picture space with the use of a mirror. It’s remarkable.

SELF-PORTRAIT REMBRANDT

This work was painted in the final year of Rembrandt’s life and is one of his last pictures. Rembrandt painted lots of self-portraits, and this was the last. I’d also recommend checking out the National Gallery’s other self-portrait which was painted 30 years earlier. It’s a remarkable comparison.

EQUESTRIAN PORTRAIT OF CHARLES I

The Equestrian Portrait of Charles I is an oil painting on canvas by Anthony van Dyck, showing Charles I on horseback. The portrait is thought to have been painted in about 1637–38, only a few years before the English Civil War broke out in 1642. It shows a King in the prime of his life. But it’s but a snapshot. By 1649, Charles I was executed, the only British monarch to be deposed, tried and executed by his own government.

What’s your favorite work of art in the National Gallery in London? Let us know in the comments below!

Top 10 Works of Art to See in London’s National Gallery On Your Next Visit – Londontopia – The Website for People Who Love London

#uk

Five UK Hotels Perfect for a Babymoon Staycation

A babymoon or final fling is the perfect way to celebrate the pending arrival of your little one, whilst getting a last chance to have a holiday on your own. But getting on a plane whilst pregnant can be a little daunting with the prospect of uncomfortable seats, increased risk of DVT or worst case scenario, you go into labour on the plane… ok the latter is very, very rare but with all the fears and anxieties pregnancy brings, a UK staycation may feel like your best option especially if you want to be in close proximity to an NHS hospital. Fortunately there are plenty of UK hotels that are just perfect for babymooning!

1. The Scarlet, Cornwall 

The serenity of the Cornish coast is the perfect way to relax and enjoy each others company before the new arrival and I would highly recommend The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth as the hotel of choice. The eco-friendly hotel has gorgeous views of the coast, stunningly modern interiors and a location that is totally away from it all. Best of all, The Scarlet is adult-only so you can bask in a few final months of being totally child-free!
Another highlight of the Scarlet is the spa and the hotel offers a special babymoon break in conjunction with the spa experience. The hotel hosts pregnancy specialist therapists who create a bespoke program for guests using advice from doulas, prenatal yoga tutors and other mums. The package actually includes accommodation, breakfast everyday, plus and lunch and dinner for a romantic evening together. There’s a Pregnancy Journey treatment (massage, exfoliation, body wrap) or any other safe treatment, massage lesson, private pregnancy yoga and special sensitive products to take home. 
The Scarlet is famous for the cliff top hot tubs which may seem frustrating as hot tubs are not advisable during pregnancy but at the Scarlet they’ll adjust the temperature of the tub so that you can enjoy it without worry.

2. Chewton Glen, The New Forest 

I recently enjoyed a family holiday to Chewton Glen in the New Forest and I thought it would be a really perfect babymoon staycation too. The English country manor has comfortable lounges to chill out in, beautiful extensive grounds for relaxing walks and a beach in reach if that’s what you’re looking for. There are two restaurants, the fine dining for romance and The Kitchen for comfort food including wood-fired pizzas for hungry pregnant ladies! The spa at the hotel is award-winning and a babymoon is the perfect time to take advantage for a swim or pamper. 
The hotel is also famous for being home to luxury treehouses and this would be the ideal time to splurge on one! Some parents might also be concerned about taking children to the rooms that are 35 feet above ground – actually they are perfectly child-friendly but if this a concern than now might be the time to check them out.

3. Soho Farmhouse

Well obviously. But seriously, it’s difficult to get a room at Soho Farmhouse at the best of times but even harder when you have a child as there are a very limited number of child-friendly rooms so make the most of it while you can! And while Soho Farmhouse is child-friendly (there’s a kids club and horse riding for children), it is still a club for adults
!

The spacious cabins are perfect for alone time by the fire, there are pretty grounds and a boating lake for chilling and an indoor outdoor pool for swimming. Soho Farmhouse also boasts the Electric Cinema which features new releases, perfect to get some cinema time in. I’ve been warned cinema date nights are a rarity when you have a baby. 
Food-wise, there’s plenty pregnancy-friendly food served in the Main Barn in the form of either hearty comforting meals or healthy dishes and there’s no need to avoid Japanese restaurant, Pen Yen as there is much more than sushi and sashimi on the menu. Spa-wise, Cowshed always delivers for me and I actually experienced the Udderly Gorgeous Full Body Massage while I was at sister hotel, Babington House. Especially for pregnancy, there is also the option of a full half day package with Udderly Gorgeous range including Udderly Gorgeous Full Body Care, Cowshed Facial, Cowshed Pedicure and Speedy Manicure.

4. The Connaught 

Rather than relaxing in the countryside, a glamorous trip to London maybe just the ticket. The Connaught is one of the most luxurious hotels in London and is perfectly located near some of London’s top restaurants for some date nights before the big day and plenty of the high-end shops to spoil yourself. Personally I’m buying shoes and handbags at the moment as nice new dresses are off the cards. You can also explore luxury baby boutiques fit for your new prince or princess that are located nearby.
(This was photo was taken as part of engagement shoot, my thighs and waist are definitely not looking like that now!)

If you can manage fine dining,  Hélène Darroze at The Connaught is the hotel’s onsite two Michelin-star restaurant or there’s Jean-Georges at The Connaught offering lighter fare. The Connaught also serves one of the best afternoon tea’s in London and a great way to indulge a pregnancy craving. The hotel’s spa is by Aman and a ‘Perfect for Pregnancy’ range is offered using plant-based, organic products to help with stretching skin and aid relaxation.

5. The Pig on The Beach, Dorset

For something super low-key and more wallet-friendly (stocking up on baby stuff is expensive!) then I highly recommend The Pig on the Beach in Dorset. Here you can feel right at home and totally relaxed, no need to get dressed up in the evening (when you have about two outfits that fit, that’s a real plus) and the food is just like you might get at home but better. For accommodation, I recommend booking the Bothy, a super cute cottage for that extra privacy. 
A small hotel, more a restaurant with rooms, The Pig on the Beach is the sort of place where you can chill, play board games, for walks on beach or just sit and admire the view. There’s not spa as such at the hotel but there are two cute huts overlooking Harry’s Rocks and the hotel offers a Pregnancy Massage by Bamford. 
Did you go on a babymoon in the UK? Where did you stay?

#uk

Things To Do Today In London: Thursday 28 March 2019

Take part in a gin tasting

Things to do

LONDON COFFEE FESTIVAL: Caffeine addicts and connoisseurs will be pleased to know that the London Coffee Festival opens its doors and fires up its coffee machines today. Watch 16 coffee masters go head to head to be crowned the winner, take part in a mindful coffee tasting experience, watch some of the world’s best latte artists at work, and of course, get a pick-me-up in the roaster village. Old Truman Brewery (Brick Lane), £18.50, book ahead,28-31 March

COUNTRY LIVING FAIR: A four-day festival of stalls, crafts, demonstrations, workshops, food and drink, the Country Living Spring Fair takes over Alexandra Palace from today. Watch cookery demos, learn how to do calligraphy, pick up tips on taking care of chickens, and stock up on beauty products, homewares, gifts, food and drink. Alexandra Palace, from £8.50 (additional charge for workshops), book ahead28-31 March

GIN WIN: Gin in always a win in our book, but there are actual, boozy prizes to be won in a tasting game at this evening of gin. Two gin cocktails, plus tastings of three gins overseen by an expert are included in your ticket price. Six Storeys (Soho Square), £30, book ahead, 6pm/7.45pm

GOODBYE EUROPE: Documentary experts 1000 Londoners screen Goodbye Europe, a series of short films coinciding with the UK’s departure from the EU (…maybe). Watch short films about people from the 28 EU countries who now call London home, some of whom take part in a panel discussion after the film. Curzon Soho, £16.50/£14, book ahead6.30pm

FEMINIST HISTORY: See objects in Bishopsgate Institute’s archive that relate to women’s and feminist history, and hear their stories from  Library and Digital Archives Manager Grace Biggins. Tales told include that of Britain’s first female firefighter. Bishopsgate Institute (Liverpool Street), £7/£5, book ahead6.30pm-7.30pm

BREXIT LESSONS: Confused about what the heck is going on with Brexit? This panel discussion may clear things up for you — or it may confuse you further. Experts in EU law, politics, economics and Brexit itself gather to discuss what’s been decided so far, and what the short-term implications for Britain are likely to be. LSE (Holborn), free, just turn up, 6.30pm-8pm

UNSENT LETTERS: From Beethoven to Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf to Iris Murdoch, and George III to JFK, many well-known historical figures wrote letters that they left unsent… but not unseen. Actors Harriet Walter and Tuppence Middleton read out these letters, which never made it to their recipients. The Tabernacle (Notting Hill), £30-£39.99, book ahead6.45pm-8.15pm

EXPLORE ANTARCTICA: Find out how polar exploration has helped us better understand the world at this talk. Dr Anna Jones of the British Antarctic Survey and Dr Richard Powell of the Scott Polar Research Institute are among the experts sharing their thoughts on how early polar explorers paved the way for modern day research. The Royal Society (St James’s), free, just turn up, 7pm-8pm

Watch a film inside this gorgeous temple

TEENAGE DIARY: Rufus Hound hosts an evening with actress and impressionist Jan Ravens reading extracts from her teenage diaries to the audience. Hear about her time growing up in Merseyside, covering school, her best friend Nicky, her love of pop music, and her crush on Gary. British Library, £10/£7, book ahead7pm-8.30pm

GOLDEN PARTY: Golden Tongue is a poetry night shining the spotlight on work by South Asian women, celebrating the diversity of their diaspora and identities. There’s an all-gold dress code for tonight’s event, where poets and spoken word artists including Shagufta K. Iqbal, Amani Z. Saeed and Afshan D’Souza Lodhi share their work. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £10, book ahead7.30pm

TEMPLE CINEMA: As cinema settings go, this one’s pretty impressive — the Andaz London hotel’s Masonic temple, buried underground in Liverpool Street, complete with lacquered thrones, marble columns and a golden zodiac-adorned ceiling. If you manage to tear your eyes off your surroundings and glance at the screen, the film being shown is Hereditary, a 2018 horror masterpiece. Andaz London (Liverpool Street), £15, book ahead7.30pm-10.30pm

Tube ponderings with Barry Heck

Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.

Yesterday‘s image of a power socket in a tube train comes from the wonderful Walthamstow Pumphouse Museum — a treasure trove for anyone who loves transport. Visit this Sunday when the engines will be all a-steam, and a chance to see a fire engine from London’s Burning.

Follow Barry Heck on Twitter @HeckTube.

Good cause of the day

Book ahead for this Sunday’s concert at Cadogan Hall, raising money for the Princess Alice Hospice. The Princess Alice Hospice community choir joins forces with the Strawberry Hill House choir and West End stars for an evening of show tunes. Find out more and book tickets.

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