Monday, 7 December 2015
Eye Skate - London Eye
This rink is situated directly underneath the London Eye making it a really rather magical experience. In the dark evenings when the Eye is lit up and the Christmas lights around the rink come on, you couldn't wish for a nicer setting to fall and break your ankle... I mean skate! You can combine with a flight on the London Eye for a small break in the price or just solo skate. Prices are £9.45 for adults and children go free (except on the weekend).
Hampton Court Palace
This has been going on for some years but is a reasonably well kept secret... The magnificent palace of Henry VIII sets the backdrop for one of London's more spectacular skates. Luckily, it's separate from the maze - could you imagine getting out of there on skates? What's more, this year the palace celebrates 500 years of existence so combine it with a look round the palace, it's well worth it! Not to mention of course, the Ice Bar and Café for refreshments. Tickets are £11.50 for adults and £8.00 for children.
Imagine skating around with a Christmas fair, food market and vintage fairground rides in the background. Now add in the spectacular archway of the home of English football and you've got skating heaven... The designer outlet at Wembley is to thank and for just £12 (adults) or £10.50 (kids) you can be a part of it!
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, is a pretty spectacular sight most of the time. However, now there's a skating rink and Christmas fairy lights adorning the imposing building, it's worth of its own adjective. They've even been considerate enough to add a smaller children's rink so the little ones can practice before they take the plunge on the main rink. Tickets are £15.40 for adults and £10.45 for children.
Skate at Somerset House
There's a Fortnum's Lodge selling champagne and afternoon tea. Do you need another reason? Ok, this is traditionally the most well known of London's winter skate rinks but with the rise of the rink, it's been creative to stay ahead. This year there will also be club nights provided by Ministry of Sound and Island Records. I can't believe you want more reason than that? Prices are £14.60 for adults and £10.10 for children.
Tower of London
The rink, creatively is in the dry moat. In my head this is harping back to a great tradition of when the moats froze over and the poor people were invited to skate on it at Christmas. That probably isn't it at all but it's a nice romantic image to end on... Just don't misbehave here, they've got ready made cells!
Well that's our favourite rinks in London. An honourable mention goes to the one at Canary Wharf that just didn't make the cut. Purely on the fact that you'd have to be hanging around all those finance people... Do you want that at Christmas?
Wednesday, 2 December 2015
No, we'll just be telling you about our favourite 5 Christmas markets and fairs in London, the most central ones! The ones that Chirton Grange can whisk you about to and from...
Barbican Market - 4th December to 20th December - Barbican Centre
The Barbican Christmas market has over 35 independent designers, brands and artisans showcasing their goods and crafts for you. Choose from vintage clothes and designer clothes, arts and crafts, jewellery, books and toys. Of course, no Christmas market is complete without plenty of mince pies and mulled wine. Thankfully they won't be in short supply at the Barbican market.
Christmas Market at the Tate Modern - Until 23rd December - Tate Modern
The Tate Modern has this great space between the gallery and the Thames and over the Christmas period it's put to excellent use as a Christmas market. Wooden chalets fill the space selling everything from handmade wooden toys to unique jewellery and fabulous Christmas decorations. Once again (you may see a theme here) the day out can be accompanies by glorious Bratwurst, crepes, roasted nuts and plenty of mulled wine. There's also a traditional Christmas carousel, probably have the wine after that though...
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland - Until 3rd January - Hyde Park (obviously)
This is huge and everyone probably knows all about it! One of the biggest Christmas fairs in the country, the huge Christmas market is accompanied by a fun fair and, of course, Santa lurks in a grotto! Don't come here if you're on the fence about Christmas though, the constant Christmas music (you know the ones) and plethora of Christmas is great for kids and big kids.
London Bridge Christmas Market - Until 3rd January - London Bridge
A personal favourite area of London so a personal favourite Christmas market. Probably better know as More London Market, the London Bridge do has over 100 independent traders selling homemade gifts and food from German style chalets. Yet again, alcohol is the order of the day with Christmas cocktails, mulled wine, hot cider and craft beers in abundance.
Bavarian Christmas - 12th and 13th December - The Crystal, Canning Town
Be quick, this one is only around for the weekend and ticks the boxes where fairytale Christmas is concerned. I'm not sure why, but we Brits have a very Bavarian style view of the perfect Christmas. There is, of course, an indoor market to be enjoyed by all and chalets that serve - you guessed it - Bavarian food (sausage) and drink (beer and wine). Then, the family friendly stand up from the Comedy Club should hit the spot.
So there you have it, our favourite Christmas markets and fairs in London. As mentioned, there's hundreds more where that came from so don't feel limited to this list! Next up in our Christmas series is favourite ice skating venues so look out for that this week!
Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Chirton Grange has helpfully picked out the best and our favourites for you, to make the day in London seamless.
St Pancras Station Disney Display
Norwegian Spruce - Trafalgar Square
This one gets switched on on Thursday December 3rd so still time to get down to see it! The tree is donated by the Norwegian government every year (since 1947) as a thank you to Britain for our help and support in World War 2. Often the tree is over 20m tall and is automatically associated with Christmas in the capital.
Damien Hirst Tree at the Connaught
Now, one might not normally associate Damien Hirst with a traditionalist idea of Christmas. And you'd be right. This large tree displayed by the Connaught is decorated by Damien with surgical instruments. Sound odd? Wait until you see the snowmen made from pills! However, the meaning behind the decorations is very Christmas, the surgical instruments represent hope. Hope brought about by medicine and science. So still quite Christmassy...
Nordic Pine and the Ritz
Now the Ritz is definitely more traditionally Christmassy. This old school display of Nordic pine isn't set around one large tree but many smaller ones. As with the Ritz, this one is one for those with a more old school ideology of Christmas.
Duke of York Square
As always, Chelsea bring their A Game to Christmas (perhaps someone could tell Jose and his boys about this) with what can only be described as more of a forest of trees. Two tall 28ft trees dominate this display but a further 46 seven foot trees and 6 fourteen foot trees give you the impression of being in an Alpine forest, decorated beautifully, of course.
Dickensian Christmas - Borough Market
You can rely on Borough to bring a more traditional and Victorian vibe to the whole idea of Christmas. And of course, if there's one Victorian who encapsulates Christmas, it's Dickens. His Christmas Carol isn't necessarily referenced in the market, but you certainly feel every bit in the tale with Scrooge and Tiny Tim. A 28 foot tree is joined by 22 Victorian wreaths suspended from the iron roof to bring Christmas to the market,
Coming next, we'll be discussing Christmas Markets and Fairs in London. Yet again in this cosmopolitan and multi-cultural city, there's something for everyone to get involved in. Chirton Grange cars are available in London for day and evening hires to see the trees, markets and shops. Just get in touch or visit the website
Monday, 23 November 2015
Of course, recognition isn’t the reason we do such a good job. The repeat business of our clients and the satisfaction of doing a good job is the motivation for Chirton Grange. The awards obviously help…
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
Ibarbo looks set to join Watford today from Roma...
When events like transfer deadline day come round, it can be a nice change of pace from the norm. A last minute phone call, pick up at Heathrow, head to Emirates, don't be seen, wait for the client, head to a hotel. It's all very exciting for the chauffeur. Of course, we can't tell anyone this exciting news (the above example is entirely made up). We sit there, at the centre of the whole of deadline day, with the news the World is waiting to hear (apparently) and no one says a word.
It's not like we couldn't either. One call into the press and there'd be a handsome sum sitting in our account for the news, I'm sure. Some chauffeurs probably do. Not us though. Sometimes (in fact most of the time in this game) having a client's confidence is much more preferable to that one quick payday. I mean, these guys who sell the stories generally never work again after that, so was it all worth it?
For the drivers at Chirton Grange it isn't. Our client's confidentiality is paramount and certainly more important than making a headline or two. I mean, we could tell you stories about all sorts of things that have happened in a Chirton Grange vehicle... we're not going to though.
So this deadline day, while you're enjoying all the goings on and seeing someone being driven into a stadium for a late medical, spare a thought for the chauffeur, the unsung hero of the deadline day deal...
Thursday, 4 June 2015
Being from Newcastle, my phonically correct accent offered that 'Bib' not 'Buy' was correct.....it wasn't, apparently, as the pompous hands-on-hip resident sternly told us it is pronounced Buy-bury, act-ual-ly
Monday, 20 April 2015
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Tuesday, 10 March 2015
Visitors to London who are fortunate enough to stay at the Savoy Hotel are probably already aware that the small road leading to it is the only street in the UK where you legally drive on the right (wrong) side of the road.
There are a few reasons as to how this came about and I'll give you them now without the pompous declarations and claims of other posts as to which is correct.
When the Lords and Ladies of bygone years were being dropped off at the hotel it was (is) tradition that the Lady sat behind her chauffeur. So in approaching from the right meant that the hotel doorman could open the ladies door first and her ladyship didn't then have to climb over her portly husband in an unseeming fashion.
The London Black Cab has been the most powerful force on the capital streets, up until the surge (pricing) of the Uber app, and by entering Savoy Court American style, with clients attending the Savoy Theatre situated alongside the hotel, they did not block the hotel entrance as they dropped off (if luck was on their side they could drop one punter at the theatre and collect another from the hotel. Double bubble as the Cockneys would say.
The Savoy can justifiably claim to be the grandest hotel in London, indeed the world, with one of its main rivals being the Ritz Hotel situated out along Piccadilly. A hotel founded by a former manager of the Savoy, Cesar Ritz, who left to 'do it better' and be his own boss. How he succeeded in such magnitude is all the more impressive as Mr Ritz was a hopeless alcoholic and, in a former employ, would run through the guest corridors at 5am ringing a bell as he chased his wife with a gun.
Businessman Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, or the artist formally known as Prince (to his friends), spent countless millions renovating the Savoy a few years ago with many traditionalists never returning due to the fact that they hated the new decor or they'd died during the 2 years it was closed.
Since King Henry gifted the land to Peter, Count of Savoy, in 1246, (why he didn't wait until 1 o'clock is a mystery and very old joke) the place has stunk of the rich, famous and privileged. Vivien Leigh met her future husband Laurence Olivier here and even our future Queen Elizabeth chose the Savoy as the venue to officially be seen 'out' with Philip Mountbatten.
Take a look, take a photo and, if you are actually staying there, as many of the toiletries as you can.
Monday, 23 February 2015
Monday, 16 February 2015
Thursday, 12 February 2015
As part of this, we've noticed that a lot of the tours already in existence aren't really geared towards families with teenagers. At all. Young kids have the family days out and zoo's etc. Older kids (18+) can go to the pubs and nightclubs that make up London's excellent nightlife. But what if you're between 12 and 18? There's plenty to do in this country, loads of ways to spend the day, but they just aren't apparent!
That's why, we're looking to work with companies who offer these days and experiences to put together a "family day out". We'll take the kids off to Greenwich to fight Zombies, while Mum and Dad can have a look round the Maritime Museum and have a lovely lunch. Or we could drop Mum and Dad at a civilised restaurant in Southampton from the cruise, then take the kids to paintball for the afternoon.
We remember that in those ages we didn't like anything. It was all very uncool. So was the word uncool... So, let's take the kids off your hands for the day, take them to something they will enjoy and leave the parents to go and have a nose round an art gallery. Kid-free.
So, this is an appeal really, we've got some great ideas and venues in mind, but we need the help of anyone we can to put together some really great days out. So get in contact to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.britishchauffeurtours.co.uk or Tweet us @BritishTour.
Thanks for reading!