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London Wonderground on the South Bank – 7th May to 27th September 2015

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London Wonderland takes over the South Bank for the majority of the summer,  The Wonderground presents an eclectic programme of circus, cabaret and family entertainment, all taking place in the beautiful 1920s Paradiso Spiegeltent.

The Wonderland also present oddities, curiosities and eccentricities from our The Sideshow Wonderland run by Guinness World Record-Holder, The Space Cowboy, and the 60-metre high Star Flyer offers a wonderful view of London for thrill seekers.

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The Spiegeltent

All shows at London Wonderground take place in the magnificent performance venue, the Paradiso Spiegeltent. Originally built in Belgium in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these circular, mirrored tents are wonderfully atmospheric and authentic.

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First launched in 2012, the Wonderground has built a reputation for an high quality programme of circus, cabaret and family entertainment.

Wonderland has a wide rage of food and drink for those who wish to sit relax by the riverside.

Some of the highlights of the season will be comedian Al Murray who presents  The Pub Landlord’s Southbank Saloon, cabaret artist Lili La Scala and  Scotch & Soda who are a strange mix of daredevil acrobats and musicians.

For more information on the packed programme or to book tickets, visit the London Wonderland website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
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Review : Flying High on the London Eye

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London Eye

Location –  Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB

The London Eye is a giant  wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, when it was built in 1999 it had the distinction of being the world’s largest Observation Wheel. Originally known as the Millennium Wheel, it official title is the London Eye at various times being sponsored by British Airways, Merlin Entertainments ,EDF Energy  and the new sponsor Coca Cola.   The London Eye is 443 feet (135 metres) tall and the wheel has a diameter of 394 ft (120 metres) and is one of the London’s most popular paid tourist attractions with over three million visitors per year.

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The wheel has 32 sealed and air-conditioned passenger capsules which can hold a maximum of 25 people, each capsule is large enough to walk about in , although seating is available. The wheel rotates at 10 inches per second and completes its entire rotation in 30 minutes.

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The slow rotation allows plenty of time to take in views over London especially the nearby Houses of Parliament. There is plenty of room within the capsule to get a variety of vantage points especially if you want to take photographs. The London Eye is situated next to the river and offers some spectacular views of the Thames in both directions.

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In contrast with attractions like the Shard, the London Eye is constantly moving which changes your viewing perception over time. In each capsule there are a number of touch screen devices  which will give you key information on landmarks that can be seen from London Eye as well as a 3D view of each sight.

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The London Eye has become one of London’s most popular attractions and seems  to appeal to all age groups and has complete access for disabled guests, all paying disabled guests can bring a carer free of charge.

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If you are celebrating a special occasion you can hire a capsule and capsules are often used for special events, dining, wine tasting, champagnes and even weddings.

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Either before or after your ride on the London Eye, you can watch the London Eye 4D Experience. It is a 3D film with a number of in-theatre effects, although only lasting a few minutes it is a spectacular, entertaining view of London with a few surprises for the audience.

Although a  fairly modern addition to the London skyline, the London Eye has become a main landmark that is often at the centre of celebrations along the river. Its initial temporary status has been made permanent due to its incredible success attracting millions of visitors each year. On a clear sunny day it does offer a unique view over London, part of the fun of the leisurely ride is spotting the various famous buildings and other attractions of the capital.

VLG TIPs  The London Eye is owned by Merlin Entertainments who own Madame Tussaud’s, London Aquarium and the London Dungeon, therefore if you want to go to more than one of their attractions there are significant savings if you buy a combination ticket. You can book tickets by phone, at the Box Office and online but  is  recommended to book tickets before arriving at the London Eye. If the queues are long, you may want to consider upgrading  your ticket to a Fast Track.

The attraction is very popular and at its busiest during the months of July and August. They can also be busy during school holidays, Bank holidays and weekends. Their busiest time of the day tends to  be from 11:00am to 3:00pm.

For more information or to book tickets,  click here

Visiting London Guide Rating – Recommended

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
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BFI Southbank (National Film Theatre)

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BFI Southbank under Waterloo Bridge

Location – Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT

The National Film Theatre was initially part of the Festival of Britain in 1951 in a temporary building before it was moved to its present site in 1957.
In 2007 the National Film Theatre was repackaged as BFI Southbank taking over the premises that had been used by Museum of Moving Image.
Under the auspices of the BFI (British Film Institute), the complex has now become much more of a cultural hub dedicated to Film.

As well as the three separate auditorium, it now includes a studio, a Médiathèque,  a gallery space, shop,  bar and restaurant.

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Reuben Library

The BFI Reuben Library and Mediatheque is free to all who wish to  browse the extensive collections and the shop is renown for its wide selection of Film related books.
In a ever changing programme of events, find out what’s on and buy tickets by clicking here

For practical advice for your visit to London and Special offers go to visitinglondonguide.com

A Short Guide to the Queen Elizabeth Hall

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Queen Elizabeth Hall

Location – Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

The Queen Elizabeth Hall (QEH) is the second largest venue in the Southbank Centre complex, the Queen Elizabeth Hall auditorium has around 900 seats with the nearby Purcell Room has 360 seats.

The QEH was part of the Festival of Britain complex built in 1951 and hosts mainly Classical, Jazz and Avant-Garde Music and Dance performances.

The Purcell and Front Room in the QEH complex are popular for more small scale readings , talks and concerts.

The Hall features a great concrete frontage over the Thames along the side of the auditorium at roof level.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery closed on 21 September 2015 for two years of essential repair and maintenance.

During this time, Southbank Centre’s classical programme continues at Royal Festival Hall with chamber performances taking place at St John’s Smith Square

For the latest information about events, visit the Southbank Website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

A Short Guide to the National Theatre

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The National Theatre Complex with the temporary Shed (Red Box)

Location – South Bank, London, SE1 9PX.

The National Theatre is the home of one of the most prestigious Theatre companies in the United Kingdom, based on the South Bank of the Thames.

The National Theatre company was formed in 1963 and was based from that date until 1976 at the Old Vic Theatre. The National Theatre complex was designed by architects Sir Denys Lasdun and Peter Softley and structural engineers Flint & Neill and contains three stages which opened between 1976 and 1977.

Highly controversial at the time, it received a lot of criticism for its ‘Brutalist’ concrete blocks approach, despite the controversy, the theatre has been a Grade II listed building since 1994.

The complex has three separate auditoriums, The Olivier Theatre is the largest with seating for 1160 people, the Lyttelton Theatre which can accommodate 890 people and finally the Cottesloe which is a small studio seating around 400 people.

From February 2013 the Cottesloe was closed for refurbishment to be reopened in 2014. To compensate for this loss a temporary studio had been built call the Shed which is housed in a large red box building.

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Sir Laurence Olivier

The theatre strives to present a varied programme including Shakespeare, International Classics, and Contemporary Plays.

Numerous highly acclaimed productions have been presented on the National Theatre stages and most of the famous actors and actresses of their day have appeared on its stages.

To find out about present productions and book tickets, visit the National Theatre website  here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Review : London Dungeon

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Location – County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7P

The London Dungeon is a London Attraction based in the old County Hall on the South Bank of the Thames. Through a series of live shows, special effects, rides and computer graphics it illustrates many of the more gruesome aspects of 1000 years of London History.

The London Dungeon was created in 1974 as a museum of macabre history, however in recent years has become more a live action interactive show with emphasis on horror and humour.

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Owned by the Merlin Entertainments who also run  the Sea Life London Aquarium, Madame Tussauds and London Eye. The London Dungeon only moved to its present home in 2013 from its previous home in Tooley Street, London Bridge which was its home for 39 years.

The London Dungeon offers an interactive view of history, where the visitors often play an active part in the entertainment. One you enter the dark entrance of the Dungeon  you are taken to a medieval lift and descend into a subterranean world, you then enter a dark tunnel where you find yourself  with some of the characters from the Gunpowder Plot beneath the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

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After meeting Guy Fawkes you will join Anne Boleyn for a boat ride to the Tower, be given a quick lesson in torture and then transported to 1665 to find London suffering from the Black Plague.

The Plague Doctor's assistant at the London Dungeon

If you escape the leeches, you will wander down Bazalgette’s Sewer to Mrs Lovett’s Pie Shop. You probably will not be tempted to taste the pies once you see the ingredients and if you are lucky you will escape a close shave with Sweeney Todd.

19th Century Whitechapel is the next port of call where you learn about the reign of Jack the Ripper and after a confusing walk down the streets you arrive at the Ten Bells Pub on a stormy night. If you think you are safe, think again as the lights go out.

Now is the time for your trial, as you enter the Courtroom and come face to face with the Judge, if you are guilty you will end up at the Newgate Gallows and the Drop Dead Drop Ride to Doom.

London Dungeon with its actors, special effects, stages, scenes and rides is a very different attraction, it is a sort of ‘horrible histories’ with added horror and gore. It is intentionally dark and atmospheric with visitors often disorientated by the tunnels and passages, historic London is recreated in a number of sets and the actors guide you from scene to scene. There are some genuine shocks and surprises with a number of special effects to illustrate the often macabre history of London.

It is safe to say that London Dungeon will not appeal to everyone, it is not recommended for children under 8, visitors who are under 16  years of age must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years of age and if you are of a nervous disposition it is probably not for you.

However the attraction is very popular with many visitors who like to experience a scary and humorous  90 minute journey through 1000 years of London’s murky past.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Recommended

VLG Tip – As with many attractions in this area, long queues are evident at peak times, therefore it is to your benefit to pre book and look for combined offers with other attractions.

If you would like to find out more information, visit the London Dungeon website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Review : Sea Life London Aquarium

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Sea Life London Aquarium

Location – County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB

The Sea Life London Aquarium is located on the ground floor of the old County Hall on the South Bank of the River Thames.  It opened in March 1997 as the London Aquarium and was renamed Sea Life London Aquarium in 2009. The Aquarium was taken over by Merlin Entertainments in 2008 and underwent a multi- million refurbishment. These changes have transformed what was once a dark and unexciting attraction. New attractions include a new underwater tunnel, Shark Walk, and revamped Pacific Ocean tank. In 2011 a new Penguin attraction was filled with penguins from Edinburgh Zoo.

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Sea Life London Aquarium has fourteen themed zones over 3 floors, visitors start their journey with a walk across the Shark walk. This is a glass walkway above a shoal of sixteen sharks, including two striking 2.8m brown sharks and a group of 10 sleek black tip reef sharks. Further encounters with the Sharks lie within the Pacific display which spans three floors and dominated by a selection of imposing Easter Island Heads.

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Although there are over 40 sharks from 12 different species, they represent only a small part of the thousands of sea creatures from over 500 species on display. Each themed section has a number of displays which features creatures, plants and foliage from various habitats from all over the world.

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Sharks, Stingrays, Turtles, Octopus and Penguins are just some of the creatures on display, but there is plenty of variety and colour  in the large number of tanks both large and small.

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The Aquarium has a large number of creatures that are on the endangered list, many have been rescued and cannot be released into the wild or have been born and bred as part of conservation projects. SEA LIFE have a large conservation programme which concentrates on Breeding, Seal Rescues, Re-homing and Campaigns. The Aquarium also has an education section to educate the numerous schools that visit about the various conservation causes the Aquarium supports. Throughout the Aquarium are displays that show why certain creatures are under threat in the wild.

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The Aquarium is especially popular with children and families because many of the displays make it easy for children to view and get close to the creatures, there are also opportunities to interact with the animals at public feeding, diving displays and touch pools. There is also series of talks  throughout the day.

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The size of the Aquarium is something of a surprise, it holds over 2 million gallons of water and fills three floors of the old County Hall. Visitors follow a route through the attraction but you can take your time as you wander through the various  sections. Based in an entertainment section  of the South Bank, it  attracts well over a million visitors a year and in peak times especially July, August and school holidays can be extremely busy.

Opening Hours

Mon – Sun:10am – 7pm  Last Entry  6pm

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Visiting London Guide Rating –  Recommended

VLG Tips – The Sea Aquarium runs a large number of 2 for 1 offers often through third parties ie Newspapers, this can offer considerable savings. The Sea Life London Aquarium is part of the Merlin Entertainment group which also owns the London Eye, London Dungeon and Madame Tussauds. If you intend to visit more than one of their attractions buying a combination ticket can offer discounts. 

For more information and to book tickets,  visit the Sea Life Aquarium Website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here