Friday, 31 December 2010

KBSM's Steam Up!

Looks like this will be my last post of the year and how fitting than to write about the Grand Christmas and New Year Steam Up at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum.

This is a rare opportunity as it only happens once every year - all of the steamable engines will come to life, demonstrating the power of Waterworks Steam Engines. The Waterworks Railway will also be in operation and there will be a live Steam Model Railway chugging away in the Water for Life Gallery.

The Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays from 11.00am to 4.00pm, and the event will run from 1st-3rd January 2011. Admission prices are the following:
  • Adult: £9.50
  • Concessions: £8.50
  • Children (5-15 years): £3.50
It seems quite surreal that tomorrow is 2011 - I remember feeling the same way last year; just where has the time gone? Ah yes, I forgot to mention that I did manage to get around to visiting Hampton Court Palace for the Tudor Christmas, but I'll be definitely doing a write-up in the New Year, so look forward to it.

Hoping you all had a lovely Christmas and wishing you a prosperous New Year!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Tudor Christmas at Hampton Court

Two weeks ago - which really was the last post I made... - I mentioned the Tudor Christmas at Hampton Court event, and I feel that now's the time to write about it as I'm really unsure about when I'll be free to do so in the coming days. Not to mention 27/12/10 is a Bank Holiday to make up for the lack of before the weekend, is the day when this event rolls frankly, the sooner I write about it the better!

As write, I'm grimacing about trudging home through the slush created by the rain and sleet...I'm glad I remembered my umbrella. However, my mood is only lightened by the prospect of snow this weekend, and perhaps enough of it will last until Christmas - I really want a white one this year! You don't need to know how old I am, but if you haven't guessed it already, I frequently humour and nurture my inner child.

It is this child that's currently kicking itself for having failed to meet the huskies at the London Wetland Centre last weekend, and remembered too late to make a blogpost about it - I really might just start blogging from home as well, after all news must be told and spread! It is also this child that wants to make up for the lapse in memory by heading up to Hampton Court to check out the Tudor Christmas Celebrations, and I might just do that so be prepared to see me stalking the grounds at some point.

The event will apparently see King Henry VIII celebrating Christmas with two of his wives - Anne of Cleves, who was given the title of 'King's Sister' upon her divorce, and Kathryn Howard, his new wife. Listen to the juicy gossip flitting about the court, watch the fool rehearse his show, 'Wow' the nobles with your dancing skills, join the musicians and enjoy the children's pageant - all of this and more, are designed for the entertainment of the King, his Queen and the Royal Court! If you have the chance, steal away to the kitchens to watch the cooks preparing a Christmas Feast suitable for the King and his Court.

All this sounds too fun and interesting to pass up!

The celebrations commence from Monday 27th December 2010 and continue until Sunday 2nd January 2011 - not a very long time, since it's only a week long! All activities are included with the price of the ticket.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Family Christmas Fun at Ham House

With Christmas well on its way - forgive the penchant for pointing out the obvious - attractions throughout the country will be hosting events and activities for everyone to take part in, but I will of course be focusing on the Richmond Borough. I was planning on writing about either the Tudor Christmas at Hampton Court, or perhaps even the Christmas and New Year Steam Up at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum, but a quick look at their calendars revealed that both had been rescheduled! So I'll have to blog those another day...

So in my search for something to write about, I thought about what Christmas meant and for me it means the togetherness of family and friends - regardless of, what I consider, a real-life Scrooge uttered; after nearly 90 years you're tired of Christmas and hate snow?! The prospect of a 'White Christmas' doesn't tickle some childhood fantasy?! Of course, I've only been around for nearly a quarter of a century, and you may have already had a White Christmas...but I haven' least I don't remember having one...

Anyway, it suddenly dawned on me to check my calendar for places doing activities for families, and I came across Ham House's Family Fun event. This will occur every weekend with the 19th December being the last day, and occur from 11am-to 5pm each day. Prices will be the following:
  • Adult - £3.50
  • Child Over 5 - £2.35
  • Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) - £9.25
  • Children Under 5 have FREE entry
The event will feature the following:
  • Christmas Fair Marquee to buy unique gifts from a fantastic array of stallholders
  • Activities in the Basement, including crafts, balloon modelling, face painting and storytelling
  • Christmas Trail for children in the garden
  • Mini Carousel
Quite an interesting line-up! Also, Ham House will be holding Family Carol Concerts on Saturdays and Timeless Carols on Sundays - each have their own set of prices. Finally - something to warm your belly! - the Orangery Cafe will be serving Traditional Christmas Dinners from 6.30pm, though booking is essential.

I hope this tickles your fancy and adds something to your Christmas Holiday - keep an eye out for more information on other activities in the Borough!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

2010 Christmas Lights in Twickenham

Oh boy, isn't this disgraceful?! For the whole of November 2010, I've only done ONE blog post! Tut-tut...truly unacceptable on my part - there's so much going on and really, I should have been hyping this event up weeks in advance! I won't make excuses because they take up important blogging room, but what I may suggest to myself is that I might just take this up into the home - if I don't have enough time to blog during office hours, then maybe I can switch the PlayStation* off a little earlier and blog from home instead...or perhaps push for a minion.

All that aside, let's get back to the REAL subject of this post - The Christmas Lights Party in Twickenham.

Church Street Lights

Thursday, 18 November 2010

World Travel Market Review

Phew! Almost a week after WTM and I finally get around to writing about it! I forget that exhibitions and events are all well and good to attend, but then there's a mountain of work to catch up with...

The WTM is a four-day event held at the ExCel Centre, London Docklands. Exhibitors and visitors from across the Earth gather here to market and sell their services and destinations, as well as coming together to make new and promising partnerships. Now, I might be a weirdo for saying this, but I really did enjoy going to the event - it's the second time I've been. I know it's a lot of work, but I'm fascinated by all the locations and businesses that attend. The floorplan is split into continents - with additional sections dedicated to web and technology services, and a media village.

It's a goldmine and invaluable experience when learning about destinations one has heard of and discovering the existence of others. I was barely interested in visiting Macau, but since I stopped by the stand and learnt more about it's history, I just have to go visit it at some point. Okay, I know this is 'Eye on Richmond' and I'm supposed to be writing about the goings-on in the Borough and the activities of Destination Richmond, but it doesn't hurt to deviate from that now and then - adds flavour, and besides, we did attend in an exhibitor's capacity.

The VisitBritain and UKInbound stand

Bruce Lyons (MD) manning the Destination Richmond table

Our table was at the UKInbound stand - we're members of the group - and there were a number of exhibitors sharing the space. As seen from the two images, it was quite busy - another thing to remember when going to a high-profile event, there's bound to be a great number of attendees which makes navigating a room quite tricky. We had some interest and generated more by wandering around visiting other stands, though it was quite surprising to find out that quite a few of the people who attended had offices and may have resided in the Borough at some point.

I look forward to next year!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Pincho's to erect New Awning

Does anyone remember the canopy/awning that Pincho's of Church Street, Twickenham used to have so long ago?

Well, after numerous attempts to have it brought back, they finally had a victory last night with the new Council granting planning permission approving an abridged version. In light of this news, Pincho's have promised to have the new awning in place before the year end.

Now we can look forward to enjoying their delicious Mediterranean Tapas during the more unfavourable weather once again!

Richmond to Represent London in Britain in Bloom

If you have ever walked down Church Street, Twickenham, then you will be most familiar with the beautiful floral displays that line the quaint, village street.

If you have ever given a passing thought as to what the displays are in aid of, you may be interested to know that each year, Church Street enters the Borough in Bloom competition. This is a competition that is simple to define, in that entrants receive awards based on their floral displays. If a Borough receives enough to garner attention, the next level up is London in Bloom.

Keeping track with where this is going, you will be quite interested and excited to know that Church Street and the Twickenham Town Centre have scooped up numerous awards for Richmond at London in Bloom. Not only that, but Richmond has been selected to represent London in Britain in Bloom 2011 - beating rival Gold Award Winner, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

This is truly an honour, further complimented by how fitting it is to have the Greenest Borough, in terms of parks and open spaces, competing. Thus, there will be much work to do in preparation and so we here from Church Street urge you to watch out for Blooming Displays next year!

Pizza Express Launch Party

After having just read about the Richmond branch of Pizza Express training its staff in the art of ‘small-talk’ in my daily subscription to the online Metro, I thought it was a mildly entertaining thing to look forward to the next time I gorge myself on pizza. Little did I expect to receive an invite later that same day from Rudi of the Unity PR team to attend the launch party on 20th October; apparently, what the Metro didn’t cover was that the entire establishment was undergoing a re-imagining, as it were, looking back at their roots not so much re-branding, but re-inventing themselves to bring the original vision to life – as detailed here.

Courtesy of Unity PR

In the pursuit of this vision, a collective of bright minds was tasked with this monumental undertaking. I can barely imagine the pressure each of them must have felt, because quite frankly their decisions would define Pizza Express for years to come. Until recently, my experience with the restaurant has been minimal, limited to passing the Hounslow branch on numerous occasions and very recently attending a party at the Twickenham one - to be honest, I always felt that Pizza Express was more of a formal venue and no place for a snot-nosed child (I would look longingly through the window when I was younger, but we always went to the rival branch next door, which has since closed down while the former still stands)

That being said, the team that was brought together consisted of key members Ab Rogers (Designer), Karl James (Theatre Director - 'small-talk' teacher), Carrie Longton (Mumsnet Founder), Sergio Luzzi (Acoustics Professor) and many more whose contributions are apparent in every facet.

Dancing on Ice and Eastenders newcomer, Stefan Booth having an engrossing chat with Pizza Express founder, Peter Boizot.

Courtesy of Unity PR

I attended the event with two colleagues – one of whom brought her lovely daughters, and we all had a wonderful time. The party was excellent and the staff were fantastic; they made sure we were well-stocked with food – Pizzettine’s, cocktail sticks of cherry tomato, mozzarella and olives, mini chocolate fudge cakes and doughballs with Nutella – all of which were samples from the new menu. It was a splendid layout and very delicious; I had a hard time resisting the temptation to just eat and drink prosecco all night.

The music was great and the new floor-plan was very much my style. It was less formal and very much exuded a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. We stayed in the children's section and, as a kudos to the team's hard work, the 'child within' finally felt welcomed.

Courtesy of Unity PR (minus the scribbles)

As you can see, there’s a brand new activity corner with interactive memory games and a drawing table. You can’t see it from this image, but there is also a slot with a selection of children’s books. I love this design; parents can sit at the 'grown-up' tables and watch over their children as they play nearby.

Now to address the scribbles I made, these were to highlight a feature that we loved very much – being able to plug in your iPod/iPhone and listening to your own music from the overhead dome-speaker! Also on the table, were controls to dim the light to set your preferred mood and a convenient button that sets off a light to call the staff when you’re ready to order or cover the bill - now I don't have to feel awkward, silently willing someone to come within earshot due to my otherwise barely audible voice.

At the event, I also met a few lovely people:

Eastenders cast members, from left to right:
Stefan Booth (Greg Jessop), Nina Wadia (Zainab Masood) and Himesh Patel (Tamwar Masood)

I really need to invest in a real camera; I can rely on my camera-phones for so much...but they were an amazing bunch to speak with.

I also met with fellow bloggers, Jackie Lee of I am a Feeder and Rajini Lolay of Young and Poor - both of whom were great to spend the evening with; they were pure fountains of knowledge and generously offered valuable tips. Being that I was also there in a business capacity, I even got a chance to push Destination Richmond a bit, so hopefully we can get a good relationship going.

As you can see, I only have good things to say and being the first event I was invited to, it really has set a standard. The only other opening I have attended was for Strawberry Hill House, and I should really write about that…

I’ll post a link to further images when I’ve uploaded them, for now I should do some work.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Lighting of the Christmas Lights in Church Street

26th November is a date for your diary, as you’re invited to join in the celebrations for the annual lighting of the Christmas Lights in Church Street, Twickenham. The fun starts at 4pm and ends late, with a great line-up of activities and offers throughout the evening!

Church Street closed for set up from 2pm
St Mary’s Church Bazaar open from 3pm
Kneller Hall marching band from York House up Church Street from 4.30pm
Trafalgar School Choir to sing with Kneller Hall band at Xmas tree from 5.00pm
Lights to be switched on by Harlequins Rugby Players at 5.30pm
Street activities to continue until 8pm

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Hallowe'en in Church Street - October 30th 2010

Come down to Church Street, Twickenham this Halloween on 30th October 2010. We are marking this event by a host of goodies and fun entertainment for all the family.

Langtons Bookshop will be holding their ever popular ‘Spooky Story Time’. This is from 2pm in the Children’s Section and will also feature spooky pictures for colouring and is suitable for children from 2 years to 7 years of age. Better still, it’s FREE!

Sweet Memories will have face painting from 12pm midday and a ‘Trick or Treat’ corner. For £3.50 your child can have their face painted and dip their hand in theTrick or Treat’ bowl.

There will be ‘Cupcake Decorating’ workshops at the Sweetie Pies spooky courtyard (weather permitting!) from 4-5pm for ages 4-7 and again at 5.30 – 6.30pm for ages 7–12 at £12 per child. Limited spaces available; book early to avoid disappointment: 0208 891 5844. There will be creepy cupcake gift boxes and other Halloween treats available! They are offering face painting for all purchases over £10.

In the square, the Mary Wallace Theatre will be performing the famous ‘Witches’ scenes from Macbeth. There will also be Apple Bobbing from 5.30pm followed by a Fancy Dress Competition at 6pm with prizes for the scariest outfits!

The Fox will be hosting the ‘Eel Pie Pirates’, a live local band, from 8.30pm onwards so come down and have a pint whilst listening to their grooves.

All the restaurants are joining in on the festivities, so come on down for a howling time!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Rugger Beds! - Alternative Accommodation for the November 2010 Rugby Weekends

November certainly is a busy month - Guy Fawkes, Diwali, the Richmond Borough Literature Festival...oh and every weekend having a Rugby Match on for the Investec International!

If you have your tickets for either of the four matches but are having trouble finding accommodation, fret no more! We, at Destination Richmond, have been hard at work these past few weeks putting together a selection of alternative options. With each booking made, we will provide a voucher for discounted meals at five of Richmond's finest restaurants.

Each offer has its own character, providing a unique experience, and is within easy commute to and from the station. The selection includes a choice of hotels and barges, and can be reviewed along with their availability here. We hope these tickle your imagination and look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A Harvest Ball at Osterley Park House and Gardens

From tomorrow - Wednesday 29/09 - to this Sunday 03/10, Osterley Park House and Gardens is holding A Harvest Ball.

I always thought that the origin of the event, which celebrates the forthcoming harvest, was upon the sighting of the Harvest Moon. For those not in the know, the Harvest Moon is the last Full Moon before the Autumnal Equinox, which for this year would be the last Full Moon before 23/09. This indicated that there was no longer any darkness between the rising of the Moon and the setting of the Sun, thus historically farmers could continue working/harvesting (the harvest was brought in during Autumn) by the light of the Moon.

However, doing some reading on the subject, it seems that while one could celebrate the harvest, traditionally parties were held around the time of the Hunter's Moon - the first Full Moon after the Autumnal Equinox. Seeing as I'm pretty stumped by this, you'll probably see me on one of the days quizzing the staff.

Visitors are admitted from 12.00pm to 4.30pm each day, and are invited to see some of the main show rooms 'dressed and decorated' for an 18th Century Harvest Ball. To add to the atmosphere, the decorations include stunning flower arrangements, music and costumed 'guests'.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Infernal Combustion at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum!

This weekend sees the launch of the first ever Infernal Combustion! event at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum.

The event runs from 11.00am to 5.00pm on both Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September. It marks the return of the Museum’s World War II Sulzer mobile emergency pumping unit, which has been fully restored in the Musuem's workshops over the last 8 months.

Visitors will have the opportunity to watch live demonstrations of the power this pumping unit holds. Also in operation will be the resident collection of internal combustions engines, such as the 1933 Allen Diesel pumping plant, as well as a variety of visiting engines, related artefacts and photographic displays sourced from their archive.

With restoration being a key element in keeping these mighty engines running, museum volunteers will be working in full view of the public, over the weekend, on restoring a 1943 Dennis No. 2 fire fighting pump set, which has been out of action for the last 30 years. This offers visitors the opportunity to witness the amount of work that goes into restoring and maintaining these relics.

Admission charges are £9.50 per adult and £8.50 for OAP's and students, for an annual ticket. Children under 16 years will be admitted FREE, though proof of age may be required.

Other events to look forward to on the weekend are:
  • Help for Heroes Concert at Twickenham Rugby Stadium
  • Middlesex Sevens Rugby match at Twickenham Rugby Stadium
  • London Welsh vs Birmingham and Solihull Rugby match at Old Deer Park
  • Hunt Kendall Trophy Polo match at Ham Polo Club

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Day at Kew Gardens

Monday was Bank Holiday, and unlike our previous Bank Holidays we actually had good weather - something I was a little uncertain of as due to the unpredictable nature of English weather (of which it is famous for), we've had a few days dotted with sunshine only to pull a 180 and turn into a torrential downpour! Despite this grace of the heavens, the plan for the day was fixed - nothing was going to put me off (though saying that, I did forget to take my umbrella just in case...)

I had been planning to go to Kew Gardens for the Butterflies, Bugs and Beasties exhibition and what with the Drop-in Art Classto work on a collaborative artwork inspired by Bulbmania on that day, I thought it was the perfect time to go. So I did...dragging my brother along with me.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Osterley Park: 'Upstairs...Downstairs' Tour

Quite late in putting this up, but I attended both parts of the 'Upstairs...Downstairs' Tour held at Osterley Park. Before then, I had never gone into House, though when I was younger, my family used to buy a few things from the farmer's market. So, when I heard about this tour, literally two days before the first part of the tour was due to commence, I signed myself up, mainly because the history buff in me was called to the fore. If it's two things I love, it's History and Science...not so much the wars, but more on the lifestyle and civilisation. Also, I thought it would be good research for a project I'm working on.

The tour was broken into two parts - the Upstairs tour was held on 18th April and detailed the life of the Child family and their guests. The Downstairs tour was held on 15th August and covered the life of the servants, who were further separated by a hierarchy based on role. I found the life of the servants to be more interesting than the life of the Childs, though I'm sure this is probably because it's been 3 months since the Upstairs tour - perhaps I should have written about the first half then...

Bulbmania at Kew

This Saturday 28th August, marks the opening of the Bulbmania Exhibition at Kew Gardens. The exhibition celebrates the beauty of bulbs and features a wonderful collection of paintings that are on display at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art - the only gallery in the world dedicated to the subject.

Featured artists include Georg Dionysius Ehret, who was the most highly regarded botanical artist of the 18th century, the prolific botanical artist Lillian Snelling and the contemporary, award-winning, Pandora Sellars.

There will also be works from Dr. Sherwood from her contemporary collection of botanical art illustrating what goes on under the soil. Paintings include Coral Guest’s Lilium regale painted in 2007 to create a pair with the black Iris ‘Superstition’ that she painted in 2005. There will also be an opportunity to see Susannah Blaxhill’s Beetroot which is a favourite of Dr Sherwood and demonstrates how botanical illustration can make a common vegetable look remarkable.

The event has also inspired a "Drop-in Art Workshop" at the gallery on 30/08/2010 from 10:00 to 16:30. Visitors and families are invited by artist, Stuart Simler, to take part in creating a large-scale collaborative art work.

The exhibition runs until 03/01/2011.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Feature: Welsh Guard Military Tattoo

We have quite a musical week in store; starting with tomorrow's Welsh Guard Military Tattoo, the week also plays host to the Hampton Court Palace Beer and Jazz Festival. More information on the latter event can be read here.

The tattoo is in honour of the London Welsh RFC's 125th Anniversary and features performances from the Regimental Band of the Welsh Guards, the Corps of Drums and the London Welsh Rugby Club Choir.

Througout the event, the London Welsh minis are giving demostrations, supported by the London Welsh 1st XV players. There will also be an inflatable assault course and interactive army displays for the kids to try.

With some further forms of entertainment, such as 'Gun Races' (though not with real guns), the event will culminate in a grand finale in which the audience will be asked to join in the singing with the Band and Choir, before a spectacular firework display. There will also be a number of stalls and vendors, giving the event a further Welsh feel, with Glasfryn Farm Shop selling their Welsh Black Beef Burgers, made from farm-raised Welsh Black Beef, and Mootown selling and doing tastings of their Welsh Cheeses and Cakes.

Don't miss out on this great event. All proceeds go to the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal.

The event starts at 6.30pm and tickets are available at the door at £5.00 for Adults; Children Under 16 go FREE.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Feature: Sunbury and Junior Regatta

Promising to be a fun and action-packed weekend for all, the Sunbury and Junior Regatta takes place on Rivermead Island.

The races for the Sunbury Regatta begin at 9:00am and the day is a mixture of club skiffing and punting, as well as a range of popular local events. To add variety to the day, there are a lot of stalls and side-shows to keep you entertained and for the younger audience, there is face-painting and puppet shows. In the evening the grand event culminates in an open-air concert with performances from local bands and singers, with a spectacular fireworks show to close the day.

After the the intense events of the previous day, the Junior Regatta is held to give children a chance to compete at various levels in different classes. Races commence from 10.30am to 5.30pm; the main events being Singles and Doubles dinghy racing divided into Junior (7-11 years) and Senior (12-15 years) groups.

It may be a bit late to enter the race and the weather doesn't seem to be all that promising, but rain or shine the event promises to go on regardless. Everyone is welcome to watch the race and are encouraged to take part in the festivities, as there is a lot more to the entertainment.

For more information, visit the website.

Sunbury Regatta: Saturday 14th August
Junior Regatta: Sunday 15th August

Feature: England 2010 Special Exhibition

With the 6th Women's Rugby World Cup coming up - kick-off is at the new grounds of the Surrey Sports Park, Guildford - Twickenham Stadium has put in place a special England 2010 Exhibition, which will run from now until next Spring.

The exhibition will profile each of the competing teams, the venues, and tournament structure for England 2010, providing the perfect introduction to the anticpated event. It will detail the history of the Women’s World Cup, since its inaugural championship in 1991, and will examine the roots of the Women’s game - recalling the tale of Emily Valentine, a humble Irish girl who is dubbed the ‘female Webb-Ellis’. Also being covered is the little known sport of 'Barette', a sport that was closely related to Rugby and became popular in 1920s France.

Finally the exhibition will take a look at what is involved in a Rugby World Cup, from the point of view of a player, in the museum's ‘Player’s Experience’ section. A variety of iconic posters, objects, and images from the earliest days of the game, and previous World Cups will be on show, including the IRB World Cup itself, which will be housed within the exhibition until it is presented to the winner on September 5th at the Twickenham Stoop.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

King Henry VIII's Greatest Hits Competition

The stage: Hampton Court Palace; The star: King Henry VIII; The tracks: a range of top tunes, two of which were written by the man himself; The task...

...depends on your preference really - to write your own track or shoot your own video.

Historic Royal Palaces have launched a rather inspired competition to challenge anyones creative juices. They have released a video of the notorious King and perfoming snippets of 5 songs - just who is he imitating? I'm sure it looks familiar...

As highlighted, the competition is to write you own track to the video or shoot your own video for the track; the materials needed (i.e. track and video) are available for download on the competition page. Winners will be picked by the King after the closing date, Friday 1st October 2010. Five lucky names, with up to four friends or family each, will win a visit to Hampton Court Palace and an audience with his Highness.

Good luck to all who enter!
Competition Details: click here
Video: click here

P.S. For any interested parties, tonight is apparently the best opportunity to catch the Perseid Meteor Shower after 22:00 GMT. It's supposed to be clear skies and if you can make out the Moon, look just to the left (though it's supposed to fill the whole sky) or for those who know their astrology, look around the Perseus Constellation.

Yeah...I'm a space-nut.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Feature: Hampton Court Palace Beer and Jazz Festival

A little late with the posting of this, but we have had a bit of a busy time in the office, what with throwing ourselves into polishing our preparations and offers for the upcoming Great River Race.

The existence of this event was brought to my attention by my MD with a simple placing of a colourful leaflet. Needless to say, it was the prospect of getting drunk on the grounds of Hampton Court Palace that caught my imagination first, after's Hampton Court Palace! Then there's Jazz...I don't know enough about Jazz to make an opinion, but what I have heard I getting drunk with Jazz in the background invokes an image of 'moody' delirium if you get my drift...Also, there's Hampton Court Palace again - it'll be like stepping through time and partying with the Monarchs of old - an experience sure to tickle the Palace's memory, considering it played host to a number of parties and celebrations!


Okay, joking aside, this is the 2nd year the event is running and I'm not encouraging getting senselessly drunk - that's a daft thing to do - what I am encouraging is to go to the event, partake of a drink or two - perhaps try a drink you were curious about - and enjoy the music. There's food available to buy and a range of tipples to choose from - if you're not sure if you'll like something, you're free to ask for a small sample to aid in the decision-making. Oh and if I haven't mentioned it already, there's Jazz performed by a selection of top musicians!

The event runs from Friday 27th to Monday 30th August and the line-up for each day is:
  • Size Nine - 27th August (3.30pm-5.00pm)
  • Snowboy - 27th August (6.00pm-7.30pm)
  • James Taylor Quartet - 27th August (8.30pm-10.00pm)
  • Ronnie Scott's All Stars - 28th August (3.30pm-5.00pm)
  • Ruby Turner - 28th August (6.00pm-7.30pm)
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band - 28th August (8.30pm-10.00pm)
  • James Pierson Trio - 29th August (3.30pm-5.00pm)
  • Mike Lindup (Level 42) & Friends - 29th August (6.00pm-7.30pm)
  • Tony Hadley and his Swing Band - 29th August (8.0pm-10.00pm)
  • The Deep Mo - 30th August (3.30pm-5.00pm)
  • Incognito - 30th August (6.00pm-7.30pm)
  • Brand New Heavies - 30th August (8.30pm-10.00pm)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Tour of Kneller Hall

Today we (the boss and I) were invited to attend a tour of Kneller Hall - the base for the Royal Military School of Music - which consisted of an extensive and detailed talk on the history of the Hall and the beginnings of the School, sitting in on morning rehearsals and a tour of the Museum.

Personally, I thought the talks were quite interesting - I do love my history - though I would have preferred to have seen more of the Hall, since the building itself is quite nice and what I did see, I liked. The rehearsals were quite good - I think they were in preparation for a concert being held later in the evening. Apparently the RMSM holds eight concerts a year during the Summer - something which I'll have to keep on top of, as I definitely want to attend one.

Anyway, as it's a Military School of Music, you'll be forgiven for assuming that the only performances on show are military melodies, however this is not the case. They are, after all, musicians in the military field and so perform their own compositions and renditions of well-known arrangements, some of which we heard during the rehearsal and they were quite impressive.

The museum is perhaps a haven for instrument enthusiasts, but even so it's simply interesting to see how instruments have developed and evolved over time. Most of these developments were brought on by the bandmasters' preference and desire to compose arrangements utilising more than one note, while others were created through experiments in marrying one desired feature with another. Apart from having instruments on display, there are also uniforms, scores and many photographs, paintings and images to admire.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Feature: Henry VIII's Honeymoon Pageant

A little over a week left until our highly-anticipated event, King Henry VIII's Honeymoon Pageant, is upon us. We've been buzzing with activity, and above all have been working hard at putting together the packs to be sent out - hence apologies are in order to all who have booked their tickets and are waiting for said packs, but I hope our efforts are satisfactory and they should be with you soon, definitely before the Pageant.

For those not in the know, the event was covered lightly in this post and we welcome you to take part in this novel and entertaining event celebrating the marriage of King Henry VIII and Lady Jane Seymour on Saturday 24th July 2010.

Bear witness and follow the procession from its starting point at Asgill House, Richmond-upon-Thames, then board the VIP boat, the Yarmouth Belle and sail as part of King Henry's entourage, including the Ambassadors from France and the Holy Roman Empire, to Hampton Court Palace. Here, the King and his new bride shall welcome guests and further celebrations will commence, including (but not limited to) Royal Fanfare and salute, Tudor gun-firing and further activities such as a bodyguard battle!

We are offering two options to book your place; either buy tickets or go for the extra pampering and make a weekend break out of it! Visit our website for details.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Feature: Kew Gardens Summer Swing

One more event I must highlight; the Kew Gardens Summer Swing!

Much like the Hampton Court Palace Music Festival, the Summer Swing is a series of concerts set against the backrdrop of the Victorian Temperate House, over the course of one week. This year, the line-up includes:
  • Jools Holland - 6th July
  • Bjorn Again - 7th July
  • Dancing in the Streets - 8th July
  • Bootleg Beatles - 9th July
  • Queen Symphonic Rock Spectacular - 10th July
Just to inform you, there's no seating available, so you'll have to bring along picnic blankets or an acceptable equivalent. Also, should you be in need of a break or feeling peckish, there is the Swing Village - an area that sells hot and cold food, drink, picnic hampers and wine for the parched.

The event runs from Tuesday 6th-Saturday 10th July.

Feature: Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2010

Wow, it has been a while since I last updated the defence? I've been kept busy with doing all sorts of updates to the website, especially for the upcoming Henry VIII's Honeymoon Pageant as well as making adverts and plugging it as much as possible :) So far, good response!

So, let's get back on topic - the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2010 is an event hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and turns 21 this year - 17 of which have been as its present incarnation! The highlights include:
  • Grow Your Own Exhibit
  • Growing Tastes Cookery Theatre
  • A Midsummer's Rose Festival
  • Shakespeare at Hampton Court
  • Floristry
  • Plant Heritage Marquee
For further information, visit the Show Features page on the RHS website.

The event runs for a week from 6th-11th July, and if you have the opportunity, do attend it. Reading about the 'Shakespeare at Hampton Court' gardens, the exhibit looks quite interesting - what with being six gardens themed around six plays. The subtle, floral symbolism is one that catches my curiosity.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Exclusive Packages for Great Days Out in Richmond!

Presenting our Exclusive Packages for the upcoming events, Henry VIII's Honeymoon Pageant on 24th July and the Great River Race on 25th September! Click on the image to enlarge.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Feature: Kew Music Festival

Seems like I'm getting worse at this - been swamped with trying to fix the code on our sister site, something went wrong during an update...NOT my fault!

But let's get to the point here, our featured event this evening is the Kew Music Festival. 2010 is the first year the event will be running, and is part of the Heritage NOW! initiative of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. There is an impressive line-up of artists, both local and well-known rising stars, whose talents lie across the board - some of them are even performing at the Hampton Court Music Festival.

Support the event and have a good time - check their website at the above link! The event runs from Saturday 19th June to Sunday 27th June. That's one week of culture and style reminiscent of the historial roots of the Borough!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Feature: Royal Ascot Races

A little late due to being busy down this end, but the Royal Ascot Races are on from 15th-19th June. I don't believe we need an explanation on the event, do we? After all, it is one of the leading and most famous Horse-Racing events in existence. While it may not be happening within the Borough, it is a good distance away to warrant accommodation and what better way to wind down after an exciting day than to put your feet up and have a leisurely drink on the riverside, soaking up the evening Sun, overlooking picturesque views?

No, I think I'll use this space to write about the Summer Events happening at the Ascot - all of these events are open to families, with activities that are sure to keep the children amused and occupied.

25th July - Betfair Weekend: Alice's Adventures at Ascot
An event that sounds so great, I wish I was young enough to enjoy it myself! As well as having races for the adults, the children will have a field day surrounded by this magical wonderland themed around the famous Lewis Carroll tale. Take advantage of the fairground, have tea with the Mad Hatter, solve the Cheshire Cat's riddles and have your face painted by none other than the Queen of Hearts!

7th August - Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and 80s Concert after Racing
Britain's only jockey's competition, where teams from all over the world compete over 6 races for the coveted trophy. To keep the childrean amused, there are fairground rides, hair braiders and much more. As for the line-up of the 80's Concert, which is back by popular demand, artists include Boy George, The Christians, Belinda Carlisle, Johnny Hates Jazz, Midge Ure, Captain Sensible and Cutting Crew.

26th September - Family Fun Day
A great way to spend the day with the family! With activities such as painting pictures to take home or the chance to paint a section of a life-sized racehorse, which will be showcased for years to come. There is also a range of fairground rides and entertainment provided by Mr Alexander, who will be performing his travelling show throughout the day.

For more information on these events click here.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Feature: Heritage Now! Exhibition, Orleans House Gallery

Heritage Now! celebrates the rich history of the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. A number of events take place during the festival, including the upcoming exhibition at Orleans House Gallery.

Having been selected to participate in museumaker, which is a national project involving 16 museums across the country, Orleans House Gallery will be exhibiting the works of internationally acclaimed weaver - Eleanor Pritchard. For the event, her designs will celebrate traditional British fabrics centred around the theme of 'Dining' and how this would have linked the inhabitants of the houses along the Thames - including Orleans House, Ham House, Strawberry Hill and Garrick's Temple. The aim is to create a fantasy banquet, which tells the story of each guest and reflects the fine architecture of these grand houses.

There will also be a range of activitiess for families to participate in, such as a 'Ruffs and Cuffs' workshop for children to create their very own extravangant Elizabethan or Stuart 'ruff', as well as a special project for the upcoming Summer Carnival.

The exhibition opens on 12th June and lasts until 26th September.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Support SPEAR - Twickenham Festival Raffle

During every Festival, a raffle is held and proceeds are donated to a chosen charity. This year, the charity is SPEAR - a charity within the Borough of Richmond that works with all aspects of homelessness.

Established in 1986 after two people had frozen to death rough sleeping by the Thames, SPEAR has since successfully prevented the deaths of anymore by creating a night shelter, which has now grown and is able to offer support all day. The ethos of SPEAR has always been to provide support until they are no longer needed. This involves providing them with the skills and confidence required to live an independent and fulfilling life at home. For more information on their activities, please visit the link above.

To show your support and purchase a raffle ticket (or few), please e-mail us at: askus @ (remove the spaces) to express your interest and we'll be in touch, or if you happen to be local to the Twickenham area, you can pop into the Crusader Travel offices on Church Street.

Of course, by entering the raffle you have a shot at the following Grand Prize:

A fabulous holiday for four in the October half-term in Sicily or Umbria/Tuscany. The prize includes flights, 2-bedroom villa and hire of a small car - all generously donated by Crusader Tavel.

The draw will take place on Monday 21st June at 6.00pm.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Feature: Twickenham Festival

Having been held for over 10 years, the Twickenham Festival is a celebration that truly brings the community, and surrounding areas, together for two weeks of fun, entertainment, events and activities!

The idea was first conceived by the MD, boss, and with the help of his family it was held and run successfully for a few years before being passed onto more stable and organised hands. Over the years, the festival has continued to grow and one of the main highlights is the Alfresco Dining - this is the only feature that occurs before and long after the festivities begin. It is a chance to bask in the cool evening Sun, enjoying a drink and a meal with colleagues, friends, neighbours and loved ones to wrap the long day. This occurs every Thursday-Sunday, 6.00pm-11.30pm, until 5th September.

Other events include a production of the timeless 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking Glass' being performed by the local Richmond Shakespeare Society Youth Theatre for a limited time; a Tug-of-War held by The Cabbage Patch; a Dog Training Demonstration held by Stan Rawlinson; Live Music from local bands; Richmond Yacht Club open day; Trafalgar School's Summer Fair...and so much more - there's something happening everyday, so click on the link above and see what's on!

The festival runs everyday from Friday 11th June to Sunday 20th June.

Visit to The Antoinette, Kingston

Yesterday, we had a meeting with The Antoinette, Kingston - they had kindly contacted the Great River Race expressing an interest to provide accommodation for the event on 25th September and were pointed in our direction. The Antoinette has always been a hotel on our list to visit, since we regularly include them on our Weekly Weekend Breaks list, and so having the opportunity to meet with them and visit the premises was a chance we wouldn't pass up!

Though we had a little trouble finding the hotel - it's mainly because we kept making wrong turns, but eventually, with our combined gut instincts we managed to find it...albeit a little late, though the MD's dogs must have had a good time (they were in the backseat, enjoying a day out). We had the pleasure of finally meeting Roy Bromley, the General Manager, and Patricia Stiling who set up the meeting - though unfortunately, she was rushing out of the door when we arrived. We proceeded on a tour of the hotel and viewed some sample rooms - now an interesting tid-bit, The Antoinette is comprised of 22 Townhouses, which allows for a lot of variety! They have a total of 100 rooms and 8 conference rooms, two of which can be combined to allow for a party of 220.

The hotel is situated in Kingston-upon-Thames, parallel and behind Kingston University's Penrhyn Road Campus (I was looking to take my degree there, though I can't remember what I was applying to do). It is about 10 minutes from Surbiton Station, which provides access into London, and is quite close to the river - though it's a bit of a walk. I once went on a Kayaking trip on the river's then that I realised that I can't swim on my front - not even a simple dog-paddle! - but I can on my back.

All in all, we felt that it was a good meeting and are still in awe that it is made up of 22 Townhouses. Hopefully, we'll hear from them soon and we'll be able to add another amazing hotel on our list to all GRR-goers!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


...First day of the Month!

I've often wondered why it didn't rhyme like it was supposed to, but I guess that's 'English' for you. Hope you all had a great Bank Holiday weekend - Sunday was a particularly beautiful day!

There are a few upcoming events; as mentioned a few posts ago, there are guided tours of the Isabella Plantation to take advantage of on the following dates: Friday 4th and 25th June and Sunday 13th June.

And as brought to my attention by the MD a few moments ago, the London Parks and Gardens Trust is organising an Open Garden: Squares Weekend from 12th-13th June...which happens to be next week! Ah, I've got to get better at digging up this sort of information!

Anyway, follow the link for more information and as an FYI, the closing date for advanced ticket purchases is next Monday 7th June.


Friday, 28 May 2010

Kew Gardens: Butterflies, Bugs and Beasties

Today has just been a busy day hasn't it? Three updates in one day?! We're lucky if I can find at least ONE thing to write about...

Anyway, the hottest news off the press right now that happened to leap out and smack me in the face is that Kew Gardens is holding an event, known as Butterflies, Bugs and Beasties. Delightful name, isn't it? In a nutshell, it covers the details of pollination and how the plants, animals and insects all work together to sustain life.

While exploring the grounds, you can pick-up a Butterfly and Moth spotter guide so that you can identify the species you come across - how many will you find? I think I might check it out - I do have a fondness for butterflies and I once raised a moth...

The event runs from 29th May to 5th September.

Feature: The Hampton Court Palace Music Festival 2010

Now in its 18th year, the Hampton Court Palace Music Festival is a spectacular two-week event featuring top-name artists from a range of genres. Past names include Sir Elton John, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and many more.

With concerts taking place at the Base Court, the event continues a tradition of entertainment first introduced by the Monarchy and Nobility of the 16th and 17th Centuries. When booking their ticket, guests to the event can include an option of  a picnic - the menu arranged by leading gourmet chefs.

I can only imagine how amazing it has to be - enjoying a gourmet picnic in the beautiful warmth of the evening Sun and once you're done, to be treated to a memorable performance in the spectacular setting of Hampton Court Palace. I can think of no better way to wind down after a busy day...

...Yes, it's true...I have never been to this event, but I certainly do hope I will at one point. If you happen to go, please remember this post and drop a comment...we would love to hear about your experience!

This year's artists include:
  • Jackson Browne - 8th June
  • The Gipsy Kings - 9th June
  • Van Morrison - 10th June
  • Jools Holland - 11th June
  • Nicola Benedetti - 12th June
  • Simply Red - 15th and 16th June
  • Michael Bolton - 17th June
  • Katherine Jenkins - 18th June
  • Michael Ball - 19th June

Event Update: Isabella Plantation

The first update of the day is an update to the Calendar! We've updated it to include three upcoming tours of the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park. The tours are held by the gardeners who tend the plantation and coincide with the the season the 'residents' are in bloom.

I popped down almost a month ago now to see the Kurume Azaleas - they were extremely beautiful, and I'll put the images up soon. Bruce, the MD, went to the plantation a few Sundays ago with his wife, as they took their dogs for their morning walk and arrived just in time for the tour - we didn't know about it until then! They had a lovely time and highly recommend the tour - I know I'm going!

The last dates of the season are:

Friday 4th and 25th June and Sunday 13th June...perhaps I'll see you there!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Summer Activities

With the full force of Summer on it's way (I like to think that the recent spate of wondrous weather we're having is an omen of good times ahead), there are a number of events and activities to look forward to and experience. These include the following:
  • Hampton Court Palace Music Festival: 8th-19th June
  • Twickenham Festival: 11th-20th June
  • Heritage Now! Exhibition, Orleans House Gallery: 12th June-26th September
  • Royal Ascot Races: 15th-19th June
  • Kew Music Festival: 19th-27th June
  • Waterworks at War, Kew Bridge Steam Museum: 19th-20th June
  • Wimbledon Tennis: 21st June-4th July
  • Henley Regatta: 30th June-4th July
  • Hampton Court Palace Flower Show: 6th-11th July
  • Kew Gardens Summer Swing: 6th July-10th July
  • Henry VIII's Honeymoon Pageant: 24th July
  • Sunbury Regatta: 14th August
  • Sunbury Junior Regatta: 15th August
  • Internal Combustion Galore, Kew Bridge Steam Museum: 11th-12th September
  • The Great River Race: 25th September
  • Ham Polo: Every Sunday until 26th September
Quite a hefty list, wouldn't you say? In the coming days/weeks, I'll be writing about each one and perhaps I'll increase the list with shows at the Theatres.

Watch this blog!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Chamber Transport Event at the Bingham

aka Arcadian Thames Destination Travel Plan Network & the Great River Race 2010

We attended the event at the Bingham last night having been invited by Jason Debney, the Strategy Co-ordinator of the Thames Landscape Strategy (TLS), who hosted the event with The Great River Race (GRR) and the Richmond Borough Chamber of Commerce (RBCC). The event provided the opportunity to learn more about the project, and rub shoulders and network with a lot of strong players and sponsors of the GRR, such as eBay and Fosters, as well as council members. There was also the opportunity to take a short trip on HM the Queen's Royal Thames Shallop (an 8-oared barge), 'The Jubilant' - which was built by Richmond's own Mark Edwards, to celebrate Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee in 2002.

We rowed to the venue on the boss' new Double Scull with me coxing - it was an amazing experience. I hadn't been on the River since my kayaking lesson during my Sixth Form years! It's so tranquil and the view is quite extraordinary, rounding the corner and coming into view of the Star and Garter and The Petersham, nestled upon the proud brow of Richmond Hill, framed on either side with the trees of the river banks. I'm not sure what it is, but I particularly find the willow tree to be one of the most beautiful trees in existence. There's just something about its leafy tendrils, draping elegantly towards the water's surface and swaying gently in the light breeze that's quite mesmerising...

We managed to arrive at the venue in good time, mooring at Mark Edwards', and walked along the bank to the Bingham, which has a great view of the River from the terrace. The event went really well, having met a lot of interesting people and complimented with an excellent selection of light finger-food consisting of a variety of home-made crackers with fruit chutney (perhaps apricot?), a selection of cheeses, sliced fruit, savoury snacks and chocolate. I could have eaten the crackers and chocolate all night, but I have to watch the figure...put on a few at my cousin's wedding...I'm not one for cheese, unless it's melted on pasta or pizza, but everyone else seemed impressed so I assume that coupled with my opinion on some of the snacks and the near empty tables, the selection was as expected of a Michelin starred restaurant. So hats off to the Bingham for providing a lovely menu! Oh and I loved the non-alcoholic drink, I think it had Lychees but I should check just in case.

I would also say that what also added to the success of the evening is the number of our Destination Richmond packs that were left - 6 out of a possible 20, which were put out. Hopefully, that will generate some further interest in our actvities.

P.S. I love the auto-save draft feature! Had a guest come in who used my PC and closed the browser while the post was a work-in-progress!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Expanding into new waters

And so, at long last, the Eye on Richmond blog has been set up to supplement the Destination Richmond website with a more personal touch.

Expect pictures, stories and personal accounts as well as detailed recommendations for things to do and what's on offer!