West End Show of the Month: Jersey Boys

London’s West End is one of the world’s top theatre districts and the best place in the UK to see acclaimed musicals performed by immensely talented artists. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in town and we like to keep prospective visitors informed about what they can see during their stay. Which is why, each month, we profile a big West End show here on our blog.

This month… Jersey Boys

About the show

The Four Seasons were a popular rock music group in the 1960s who rocketed to fame from humble beginnings in New Jersey. Jersey Boys charts their career path during this decade and the emotional rollercoaster experienced by the band members. Fans of the group will be glad to hear that classics like December 1963 (Oh What a Night), Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and Bye Bye (Baby Goodbye) are all featured.

Playing the lead character of Frankie Valli is Michael Watson, who has performed in other top-tier musicals such as Sister Act and Hair. His understudy is Sandy Moffatt, who has starred in Rock of Ages and Dirty Dancing, while Tony Award-winning Des MacAnuff directs. The show has won several awards, taking the Best New Musical title at the 2009 Olivier and Whatsonstage awards.

Insider show tips

If you want to stay in a hotel near Piccadilly Theatre, choose Strand Palace. We are just 15 minutes’ walk away. If you don’t fancy going there on foot, just take the Bakerloo line from Charing Cross to Piccadilly Circus or the Piccadilly line from Leicester Square to the same stop to make your journey a little quicker.

Here is some other useful information about going to see Jersey Boys:

Strand Palace Hotel has a concierge who can assist with acquiring tickets and help ensure you get a prime spot in the audience.

For a more luxurious theatre experience, book in for a private booth in the Ambassador Lounge, where you can enjoy a drink before the performance and at the interval.

Take time before or after the show to revel in the hubbub of bustling Piccadilly Circus, one of the busiest junctions in central London.

There is no dress code at this theatre, so there’s no need to spend ages getting ready.

Before and after

Strand Palace Hotel is close to the theatre, so you may want start your night off with a pre-theatre meal at our Indian restaurant, Daawat, or at Strand Carvery. If you prefer something lighter, our Lounge Bar serves afternoon tea. Top off your night with a post-show cocktail in our Mask Bar.

For a hotel near Jersey Boys at the Piccadilly Theatre, choose Strand Palace. With great food, great theatre and a great location, it’s sure to be a night to remember.

Parades and Parties – Pride in London

London has long been known as one of the most culturally diverse places in the United Kingdom, and what better way to applaud this diversity than with Pride in London 2015? The event, which celebrates all thing LGBT+ (‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, non-binary, asexual, polysexual, genderqueer and gender variant’) will be massive. Last year, some 30,000 people joined in its parade and more than 750,000 were involved on the day. This year, the festivities are taking place from 21 to 28 June.

As a hotel in central London, we like to stay on top of all the latest and greatest goings-on across the capital, so we’ve rounded up all the essential details of this year’s Pride festivities.

Trafalgar Square

Strand Palace Hotel is just steps away from Trafalgar Square, one of the main hubs during Pride in London. On 27 June, free shows will be put on there. From 1pm to 8pm, entrants from the Pride’s Got Talent competition, as well as LGBT rights organization Stonewall and Drag Idol winner La Voix, will be taking to the stage. Guests hoping to attend will be glad to know that Trafalgar Square is only a 6-minute walk from Strand Palace Hotel.

Pride Parade 2015

Pride in London Parade will be marching from Baker Street to Whitehall between 1pm and 4.30pm on 27 June. The parade route takes in major London sights like Oxford Street, Regent Street and Pall Mall, and participants are encourage to dress up in an outfit inspired by the theme of Pride Heroes. If you are a member of one of the 250 organisations involved in the parade, get your thinking cap on! Otherwise, head along to cheer them on. Strand Palace Hotel is just a short walk away from the Pride in London Parade route, so go to Whitehall or Charing Cross to watch from the sidelines.

Pride Arts Festival

Most of the Pride Arts Festival events will take place between 21 and 28 June. If you’re looking for a Pride party near Strand Palace Hotel, head on down to the Phoenix Artist Club for the Live at the Phoenix event on June 21. Drag artist Vanity von Glow will be spearheading a cabaret night and there is no admission charge to the club, which is about 10 minutes’ walk from Strand Palace Hotel. Alternatively, get on the Northern line at Charing Cross Tube station, get off at Tottenham Court Road and walk from there.

Are you coming to London to celebrate Pride 2015? Stay at Strand Palace. Not only is our hotel near the Pride in London parade route, but it’s also near many of the other main Pride hubs.

The Wonders of Wimbledon

It’s that time of year again. Get out the strawberries and cream and take your seat on Centre Court because Wimbledon is about to begin again. From 29 June to 12 July, the best tennis pros in the world will converge on southwest London as they try to claim one of the titles up for grabs. And in case you’re coming to the capital to see the tennis elite in action, we’ve put together a handy Wimbledon Guide.

History

The inaugural tournament took place in 1877, with the first women’s event following in 1884. In the beginning, the tournament was exclusively for ‘amateur’ players – usually affluent people for whom tennis was just a hobby. Those who practiced the sport for their livelihood were denied entry up until 1968.

Fun Facts

Wimbledon has been going for quite a while now and the trivia surrounding the tournament is plentiful. Here are a just few interesting titbits:

In 1920, a female player made the bold move of taking part sans corset – something that had never happened before at Wimbledon.

Some 54,250 tennis balls bounce across the court in Wimbledon during the tournament.

Spectators wolf down 28,000 kilograms of strawberries and 7,000 litres of cream.

491,084 people watched the tournament at Wimbledon last year

Tickets

Tickets for Wimbledon are dispensed by public ballot, ‘the Queue’ or Ticketmaster. The ballot is over, but fans can queue from 28 June to attempt to buy tickets for games that day. Get there as early as you can, as competition is likely to be fierce! Some people even camp out to secure their spot. If you don’t fancy queuing, check out Ticketmaster the day before you intend to go – the website will have some tickets for Centre Court and Court Number 3 for the next day. For advance notice, sign up for the Wimbledon newsletter. If you don’t get a ticket, head to Murray Mound, formerly known as Henman Hill, instead. It is a prime spot to watch tennis on the big screen.

Getting there

Strand Palace Hotel is located in central London and is extremely well-connected to the rest of the city. It’s easy to reach Wimbledon using public transport. Hop on the Tube at nearby Embankment station and take the District line to Southfields – Wimbledon tennis grounds are just over 15 minutes’ walk from there. The journey should take about 55 minutes, door-to-door. There are also several other bus and train options that take around the same length of time departing from the vicinity of Strand Palace Hotel.

Need a hotel near Wimbledon? Opt for the relaxed but refined Strand Palace Hotel, which offers easy access to the famed tennis tournament.

A Gorilla just checked in at the Strand Palace Hotel

The Strand Palace Gorilla

A gorilla measuring over 1.9 metres high (6ft 2in) and weighting a heavy 41kg checked into The Strand Palace Hotel today.

The amazing purple silverback arrived at the hotel today and has taken up temporary residence in the lobby of this iconic Art Deco property situated directly on the Strand.

The hotel’s exciting new guest has been delicately hand crafted in fabricated steel, part sheet and part pebbled steel and has been lacquered to create an amazing dappling effect.

His arrival in the hotel carries on the tradition of the Royal Menagerie, which was originally located in the Exeter Exchange, popularly known as the Exeter ‘Change’ on the current site of the Strand Palace back in the late eighteenth – early nineteenth century.

Gorilla Strand Palace Hotel

Three entire floors were dedicated to many dangerous, wild and exotic animals and it was said that the roaring lions and the screeching monkeys could be heard from the other end of the Strand. Many artists, poets and celebrities went to see the animals and some, including Lord Byron one of England’s most notorious poets, included them in their work. When the Exeter Exchange was demolished in 1829, as part of the general improvements to the Strand, the animals were dispersed to the new London Zoo in Regent’s Park.

The British Ironwork Centre, owner of the UK’s largest collection of decorative metalwork items, has carefully crafted the fantastic installation by hand, using the highest quality materials, and it remains authentic in every detail.

Based in Shropshire, the family owned company are dedicated to, and passionate about the preservation and creation of quality metal work in all its forms. They have spent generations painstakingly creating, collecting, researching and reproducing a stunning and varied collection of decorative items. The Centre is also home to a splendid collection of magnificent animal sculptures, including the amazing purple silverback gorilla that is taking centre stage this summer at the Strand Palace Hotel.

Greenwich and Docklands International Festival

Running from 26 June to 5 July, this free festival has plenty of theatre, dance and entertainment, as well as a great alternative vibe. It is sure to be an eye-opening treat for visitors to London, as well as locals. Strand Palace Hotel is near both the Docklands and Greenwich areas, so the festival is a great idea for anyone staying at our hotel in late June or early July. Let’s have a closer look at what is going on.

History

The Greenwich Fair was once a wild affair and Charles Dickens’ 1836 Sketches by Boz tells of his love of the riotous event. The fair was closed down in 1857, but in recent years the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival has sought to revive the carnival and bring the fun-filled event back to the neighbourhood.

What to see

Greenwich and the Docklands will be hives of activity during the festival, with lots to do, see, taste and experience. Here are just some of the highlights:

Greenwich Fair

The Greenwich Fair rises again on 27 and 28 June in Naval College Gardens. Watch edgy theatre and dance from all over Europe, enjoy a new take on the traditional fair carousel and see juggling with a rock music twist. The fair runs from 1pm to 9pm on 27 June and from 12pm to 7pm on 28 June. To get there, take the River Boat from Embankment Pier to Greenwich Pier, which is only about a minute away from Naval College Gardens.

451

Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 is reimagined for this immersive performance, which promises to feature compelling music and stage design, as well as striking pyrotechnics. It is set in a world in which reading is banned and firemen are tasked with destroying books by sending them up in flames at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. The show takes place at 10pm on 27 June in Bethnal Green Gardens. If you’re going there from Strand Palace Hotel, just ride the Central line from Holborn and get off at Bethnal Green.

The Four Fridas

A celebration of the life and work of the famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, this outdoor production takes place from 1 to 4 July at 10pm at the Woolwich Royal Artillery Barracks and brings a uniquely Mexican flavour to the English capital. The highlight will be an enactment of the Voladores ritual, a traditional Mexican practice in which daredevils swing from a pole, attached by a rope. There will also be a Mexican Market for visitors and the grounds will be open from 8pm. Click here for details of reserved seating tickets available for purchase or just walk up on the day for free promenade access. To get there, take the Southeastern rail service from Charing Cross to Charlton, then ride the 486 bus all the way to Repository Road Artillery Place.

Looking for a hotel near the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival? Make Strand Palace Hotel you base for a weekend of festivities and outdoor fun.

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