With the Convention looming ever closer, it is a good idea to look at what London
has to offer over and above the lure of the Convention itself.
London has the greatest concentration of major attractions in Britain and boasts four World Heritage Sites. Over two hundred attractions are free to enter, so there's nowhere else in the world where you can see so much for so little! You can choose from top attractions like the British Airways London Eye or the Tower of London, join a tour or perhaps relax in one of the capital's beautiful parks and gardens.
With over 6,000 restaurants in London, all tastes and budgets are catered for. This diverse city has a truly international flavour and is a paradise for food lovers. So if your tastes are for French cuisine, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, American, or just about anything else that takes your fancy then London is the place for to enjoy.
With over 40,000 shops and 83 major street markets to choose from, the sheer variety on offer is hard to imagine. From world-famous department stores such as Harrods to one-off specialist shops, London is a shopaholic's dream come true! So bring along the plastic and find just about everything and anything that you ever wanted, many at fantastic prices.
If the Krispy Kreme doughnuts aren't enough to have you queuing outside each morning, there's plenty more inside.
Selfridges & Co:
A huge department store with quirky window displays and a full-on fashionista following, everyone loves Selfridges's.
Fortnum & Mason plc:
Brilliantly ostentatious, with huge chandeliers, pillars galore and neatly wrapped chocolates and teas.
You can't escape experiencing a little royal heritage when you're in London, but those experiences can stretch much further than Changing the Guard and visiting the royal palaces. Excellent sightseeing tours are available around the capital, taking in all the ‘royal sites' and you can take back more than just your Convention memories.
Spending time in the capital doesn't have to mean sacrificing fresh air, nature and wildlife. There are plenty of green and open spaces where you can relax with a picnic or enjoy a bit of sport, culture and history. So get outside and start exploring! Some of the parks within the city are:
It's easy to forget you're in the middle of London when in Hyde Park. It's home to the Serpentine, the popular boating lake, and Rotten Row, the renowned riding track and first artificially lit road in England. And with the Serpentine Gallery, the Diana Memorial Fountain and open-air events each summer, there is always lots to see and do. If you're out and about on a Sunday, head to Speaker's Corner to hear London's most vocal orators share their opinions with the world.
In 1811, the Prince Regent commissioned famous architect, John Nash, to construct this park in a grand style. Today, Regent's Park includes an open air theatre, stunning rose garden, a boating lake (complete with islands), children's playgrounds and a selection of cafes and restaurants, not forgetting the extensive London Zoo! There's enough going on in this spectacular park to keep you occupied from dawn till dusk.
One of London's four World Heritage Sites and a former royal residence, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is a must for all horticulturalists. It grows more than 30,000 different types of plants from all over the world, including banana, coffee, breadfruit and paw-paw plants. Kew Palace has re-opened its doors after 10 years' refurbishment, so don't miss your chance to see the oldest building in the gardens. In 2006 it's open until 30 September.
From pubs and clubs, to theatres, cinema and comedy, London is alive with events and productions in every possible type of venue, and there are many special events and festivals on throughout the year.
London is fast becoming a 24-hour city, as it throbs, hums and teems
with life. It is a city that energises its day people and night people
alike – to be in it and sample it is to be refreshed by it. Pubs, clubs,
theatres, cinema and comedy; London is alive with events and productions
in every possible type of venue, and there are many special events and
festivals on throughout the year.
From classical and opera in concert halls and theatres to rock and jazz in pubs and clubs, you have access to music in abundance. London is home to four of the world's largest orchestras - the London Symphony Orchestra, The Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The English National Opera perform entirely in English at it's Edwardian home, The Coliseum on St Martin's Lane. Performances include new works as well as operatic standards and, the good news is, tickets start at just £6
Watch the Royal Ballet perform at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, take a salsa lesson or if you just want to strut your stuff on the dance floor, you are sure to find a club to suit your tastes in London.
Theatreland, in the heart of London's trendy West End, is home to the capital's theatre, musicals, ballet and opera – one of the world's richest arrays of artistic choice, quality and diversity. London's theatrical life has been buzzing with vibrancy and sustained by excellence since before the time of Shakespeare. Also, with over a dozen West End musicals playing at any one time, many with matinee performances and discounted tickets available, London is the place to come for the biggest musical brands in the business, including perennial favourites The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and Les Miserables.
The UK's flagship National Theatre stages a spectacular range of
classics, musicals, new plays and entertainment for all the family within
its three auditoriums: Olivier, Lyttelton and Cottesloe. Or take a trip
back in time at Shakespeare's Globe on London's Southbank, where
microphones and stage lighting are thrown aside and, as in Shakespeare's
time, audience participation is encouraged.
London is also the capital of the global club scene – after dark, the city's music becomes beat-strewn, upbeat, diverse and eclectic.
Film buffs can enjoy a blockbuster in a plush independent cinema, a 3D experience on the UK's largest screen, sit in the same seats as the Hollywood A-list in Leicester Square, catch a Bollywood classic or visit one of London's annual film festivals.
Comedy fans are also well catered for, from Monty Python to The Young Ones, the British are famous around the globe for their sense of humour. This would probably explain why London presents more live comedy than any other city in the world.
Tickets are available from many different outlets around the city. The Official London Theatre ticket booths, ‘tkts' are situated in Leicester Square and Canary Wharf and sell discounted tickets for West End shows on the day of the performance only.
Tickets are also available online through selected ticket agencies or check with the box offices for daily returns. Tickets for West End musicals vary between £10-£45, a booking fee may also apply. To avoid disappointment it is recommended to book tickets as far in advance as possible.
London has one of the world's best-integrated transport networks, served by two of the world's busiest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, with first-class rail, underground and bus links into the city. Also the famous ‘black cabs' are in abundance and can be ‘hailed' from the kerb. So getting around is easy.
So if you want to add a little extra to your Convention visit and enjoy London then this is a great opportunity to spend some time in one of the most colourful and vibrant cities in the world.
All bookings are final. We reserve the right to change speakers and exhibitors without notice.
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Hilton London Metropole Hotel ...
You have 333 days until The Societies of Photographers Convention starting on Wednesday 11th January 2017
Convention testimonials Jacqui Dunbar: Fantastic time at the 2012 Convention, lots of learning, networking and a couple of purchases. Looking forward to 2013!