Discover London’s Gardens This Spring

There is no better feeling than those first spring days in London, when the air is no longer icy and you can just about feel the sun. The birds seem to be singing louder than they were the week before and everything looks spectacularly bright – the emerald grass, sparkling water and blooming flowers. Yes, it is that time of year again, and as you walk around London, you will see plenty of smiling faces as the bitterness of winter melts away. At Strand Palace Hotel, we love seeing the spring arrive, and we know the best places to get outside and enjoy all the colours of the season.

Kew Gardens

Picture waterfalls and streams with blankets of pink, purple and white alpine flowers, and robust Mediterranean shrubs covering the ground. That is what you will find at the beautiful botanic gardens at Kew, half-an-hour from London city centre and Strand Palace Hotel. From the sunny glow of the spring daffodils to the bright pink and red camellias, and from the calming lilac fields of crocuses to the silky white snowdrops dotting the grass, spring is in full bloom at the 300-acre gardens. The fleeting flowers on the cherry blossoms are another highlight of the season, along with the woodland garden and newly emerging bluebells in the conservation area. It is a beautiful area to walk around any time of the year, but the magic of spring turns it into a fairy-tale haven. Kew Gardens are open daily from 9.30am until 6.30pm, and there is an entry free, but children are free.

Syon House Gardens

Spring comes alive at Syon House as millions of bulbs burst into bloom, creating carpets of colour across the grounds. The extravagant house, belonging to the Duke of Northumberland, was built in the 16th century and includes a great hall inspired by a Roman basilica. The Grade I listed gardens include a collection of rare trees and plants, a colourful and fragrant rose garden, a circular lakeside walk, and a Great Conservatory. There is an entry fee with discounts for concessions, children and families.

St James’ Park

Just a 15-minute stroll from Strand Palace Hotel, St James’s Park is the perfect place to enjoy acres of daffodils. The vibrant yellow flowers don’t last long, but when they are in bloom, the brightened parkland rivals the sun. St James’s is the oldest of London’s Royal Parks, and has the majority of the one million daffodil bulbs planted each year across the eight parks. As well as the blazing golden flowers, St James’s also has a beautiful lakeside walk, perfect for a springtime stroll. If you have the kids with you, they will love seeing the ducks, swans and pelicans on the water, and there is a children’s playground to rid them of some energy. And best of all, the park is free to visit.

If you’re looking for hotels near St James’s Park, Kew Gardens and Syon House, head to Strand Palace Hotel. Right in the heart of London, we can help you organise your spring city escape.

Museums and Heritage Show at the Olympia

With London’s array of cultural and heritage attractions, there is no better place to hold the UK’s leading trade exhibition for the world of museums, galleries and heritage visitor attractions. This year’s two-day Museums and Heritage Show will be held at the Olympia on April 29th and 30th and is free to attend. If you are involved in the industry anywhere in the UK, this is a must-attend event, with plenty of exciting exhibitions, inspiring talks and expert technology on display. Featuring the industry’s latest innovations, it will help you bring history and heritage to life at your establishment. The Strand Palace Hotel is an easy tube ride to the Olympia, and our concierge desk can help you organise your visit to the show.

What to expect

The Museum and Heritage Show helps industry suppliers and operators with business and management solutions, ideas and inspiration. The show is renowned for its interesting and thought-provoking seminars and world-class tools to use back at your own organisation. There will be free talks, features, cultural attraction experts and sector suppliers to speak to, and plenty of networking opportunities.

The event takes place in the heart of London, within easy reach of the Strand Palace Hotel, at the famous Olympia building.  The Olympia was recently renovated to create a brighter, more open space – perfect for exhibitions like the Museums and Heritage Show.


From design and fit-out to marketing and public relations, the exhibitions at this year’s Museums and Heritage Show are extensive, interactive and educational for anyone in the industry. The exhibits, talks and panel discussions cover a huge variety of topics, including conservation and restoration, retail merchandising, educational services, management, multimedia, play equipment, accounting, interpretive systems, graphics and displays, security, insurance, animatronics, storage solutions, virtual reality, funding and new technology. The list goes on. As well as the comprehensive range of exhibitors, the large two-day program also includes special one-on-one advice opportunities and new product launches. It is a one-stop event that covers all sections of the museum, cultural and heritage industry at every stage of development.

How to visit

The Olympia is half an hour’s journey on the Tube from Strand Palace Hotel, and our concierge can help you organise your visit to the show. There are plenty of local attractions, cafes, bars and restaurants around the area to choose from. If you are in the mood for a delicious Indian dinner, our Daawat restaurant at Strand Palace is the perfect choice, or you could wind down with a nightcap at our Mask Bar after a busy day.

If you’re looking for hotels near the Olympia for the Museum and Heritage Show, Strand Palace Hotel has everything you need, and is an easy Tube ride away.

London Book Fair at the Olympia

There’s nothing like the smell of fresh pages straight off the print, and there will be plenty of that in the air at the Olympia this April. The annual London Book Fair will host publishers and exhibitors from more than 60 countries, representing over 1,000 companies. But it’s not just traditional books visitors will see. Over the years, digitalisation has spread the written word over multiple platforms and devices, and this year’s event reflects that, with content across audio, TV, film and digital channels as well as print.

If you are heading to the British capital for the London Book Fair from April 14th to 16th, Strand Palace is a perfectly-located hotel near the Olympia.

What’s on

There are plenty of exciting features, seminars, events and conferences at this year’s London Book Fair. If you are an aspiring writer, it is a great place to look for a company that may take an interest in converting your book to digital, or a seminar that could help you market your work. There will be over 1,500 stands as well as more than 580 table holders in the International Rights Centre and non-exhibiting publishers zone. The fair’s conferences focus on specific aspects of the industry, with keynotes, debates, presentations and fantastic networking opportunities.

There are also over 250 free seminars taking place as part of the book fair, covering a range of relevant topics, as well as events including industry awards, author interviews, showcases and much more. Call or visit our concierge desk at Strand Palace Hotel, and we can help you organise your visit to the most relevant seminars and events to suit you.

About the Olympia

This newly-renovated building in West London, and near Strand Palace Hotel, is an icon in the city. It is more than 120 years old and has seen countless exhibitions and events over the decades. Millions of pounds have been poured into renovations and upgrades in the last few years, and that has resulted in bigger, brighter halls, conference rooms and gallerias – perfect for the London Book Fair.

How to visit

The Olympia is a half-hour journey on the Tube from Strand Palace Hotel, and our concierge can help you book your ticket and organise your visit to the fair. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars around the Olympia for lunch and snacks. After a long and hopefully beneficial day at the event, our Daawat restaurant at Strand Palace will ensure you enjoy your fill of fine cuisine with a luxury Indian banquet, while our Mask Bar is the perfect place for a relaxing nightcap after an exciting day.

If you’re looking for hotels near the London Book Fair at the Olympia, Strand Palace has everything you need, and is an easy Tube ride away.

Inventing Impressionism at the National Gallery

You may be familiar with names such as Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. You may even think you know all there is to know about Impressionism. But an exciting new exhibition at the National Gallery in London’s Trafalgar Square is giving fresh insight into this familiar subject. Through 85 pieces of art, ‘Inventing Impressionism’ tells the story of French dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, who nearly bankrupted himself investing in this new artistic movement in the late 1800′s.

If you’re looking for a hotel near Trafalgar Square, consider staying with us at Strand Palace Hotel — we’re just five minutes’ walk away. And if you’re arriving between now and May, be sure to make some time for this fascinating exhibition.

What to expect

The show follows the rise of Monet, Degas, Manet, Renoir, Pissarro and Sisley, who, in the late 1800s, introduced a new art movement. It explores how Durand-Ruel grew enchanted by their work and subsequently gambled his money and reputation on it. He purchased around 12,000 works, including more than 1,000 Monets and 800 Pissarros after meeting them in London during the Franco-Prussian War. At the time, their work was shunned by the art establishment, but Durand-Ruel was convinced of their talent and dedicated the rest of his life to building an audience for them, creating a modern art market in the process. The term ‘impressionists’ was actually coined by critics as an insult, but today, it is a universally recognised and admired form of art.

The collection

The exhibition features 85 Impressionist masterpieces, most of which passed through Durand-Ruel’s hands at some stage. Among the works on show are five from Monet’s ‘Poplars’ series and three of Renoir’s famous ‘Dances’. It is the first major exhibition of its kind in the UK and it tells a story that was heretofore largely unknown. ‘Inventing Impressionism’ looks at the history of the style in an entirely new way — through the eyes of the art movement’s pivotal figure, Durand-Ruel.

How to visit

The National Gallery is an easy five-minute walk from Strand Palace Hotel and the exhibition runs until 31 May. It is open from 10am to 6pm daily, with late openings (until 9pm) on Fridays. Tickets can be purchased online or by phone, or you can call or visit our concierge desk at Strand Palace Hotel and we can help you organise your visit to the National Gallery. There are plenty of permanent exhibitions to see while you are there as well, including more than 2,300 paintings from13th to 20th-century artists, as well as fun family activities. If you are looking for lunch or a snack during your visit, there is a dining room, café and espresso bar to keep you going. The National Gallery has access and facilities for disabled visitors.

If you’re looking for hotels near the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, Strand Palace Hotel is just a five-minute walk away and it makes a perfect base for exploring London’s top museums and galleries.

National Maritime Museum – Museum of the Month – March

London is home to some of the world’s most amazing museums and best of all, many of them are free. From the fossils at the Natural History Museum to the remarkable modern art at the Tate, there is plenty to explore, discover and broaden the mind. As a hotel near central London, we at Strand Palace know just about everything there is to know about visiting the city’s inspiring museums. Each month, we feature one of our favourites and share some of our insider tips on how to visit.

This month… the National Maritime Museum.

The history

This grand museum in Greenwich is set in several historic buildings that form part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, incorporating the 17th-century Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory. The architectural landscape of the museum dates back to the turn of the19th century and it has been continually evolving and adapting ever since. It is the largest maritime museum in the world, filled with fascinating galleries and extraordinary objects. From Britain’s great ocean liners to Prince Frederick’s elegant golden barge, the exhibitions explore the strong traditions and profound history of maritime in London.

The collection

It is a well-known fact that Britain has a long and interesting history of exploration at sea, and this museum explores that through its collections of significant marine artefacts and naval objects. There are more than 2 million items on display including maritime art, cartography, manuscripts, ship models and plans, scientific and navigational devices, time-keeping instruments and astronomy tools.

Visitors to the museum will hear inspirational stories of Britain’s encounters at sea, learn about the history of trade across the Atlantic and the impact of the East India Company on British culture, as well as discovering the romance of Britain’s great ocean liners. If you have the kids with you, they will enjoy shooting down a pirate ship in the children’s gallery or experiencing life at sea on the museum’s ship simulator. The Cutty Sark exhibition is also a firm family favourite. Here, visitors can venture on board and underneath the iconic ship that sailed the seas more than 100 years ago.

How to visit

The National Maritime Museum is about half-an-hour from Strand Palace Hotel on public transport. Take the District line from Embankment station near Strand Palace Hotel and switch to the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) at Bank. It has free admission and is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Charges apply to Cutty Sark and parts of the Royal Observatory. There are also some ticketed and free events on at the museum at different times, including lectures by curators and music nights. There are plenty of places to have lunch or a snack, with a bakery, café and brasserie located on-site.

If you’re looking for hotels near London museums, Strand Palace Hotel is the perfect place to base yourself — right in the centre of London, where you can explore the city’s top attractions right on your doorstep.

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