The Montcalm Blog

Montcalm Afternoon Tea

What’s more English than Afternoon Tea? Is it even a holiday to England without taking time out of your day for a heap of steaming scones liberally spread with jam and mounds of cream? Without hot rich tea and maybe … Continue reading

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5 Ways to Prepare for St Patrick’s Day

Outside of mother Ireland herself there really is no better place to spend your Saint Patrick’s Day than London. Whether you want to follow the parade floats and marching band, eat some hearty Irish food, dance, sing, have a pint … Continue reading

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Perfect Presents for Dad

Father’s Day (Sunday June 21st) is coming up fast; are you ready with the perfect gift to show dad how much you appreciate him? Present shopping is difficult and easy to put off, even when it’s for someone really important … Continue reading

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Ready Set Marathon

The start date of the London Marathon is sprinting closer and it’s time to start making plans. You can expect a good show; whether you’re there to support a friend, or watch the costumed fundraisers, or cheer on the professional … Continue reading

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Video: Welcome to The Montcalm Hotel London

     

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Discover the Adventures in Wonderland in London

We all know the story of Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into the magical, mysterious and sometimes terrifying Wonderland. From various film and television adaptations to stage productions, it is one of the best-loved stories, and this year Lewis Carroll’s creation is getting a brand new look.

Les Petits, the children’s division of famed theatre company Les Enfants Terribles, is heading to The Vaults beneath Waterloo station in London, with Adventures in Wonderland to celebrate the book’s 150th anniversary from April 10th to May 29th.

Co-produced with Emma Brunjes Productions, Adventures in Wonderland will be performed alongside Les Enfants Terribles’ adult production of Alice’s Adventures Underground from April 9th until May 31st.

With a script written by Oliver Lansley and Anthony Spargo, Adventures in Wonderland is directed by Emma Earle, and families who bring their little ones along can expect a stellar performance which pairs the artistic with the technical, showing exactly what Les Enfants Terribles does best.

Making this production an absolute must is the fact that the audience will have a chance to influence what happens, being given the opportunity to make choices in a bid to decide how the show will unravel.

Cheer on while your children get the chance to play croquet with the Queen of Hearts and be enthralled by the famous Mad Hatter’s tea party scene.

Talking ahead of Adventures in Wonderland, Emma Brunjes said: “From the outset of our production we wanted our Wonderland to be as inclusive as possible, so I’m thrilled we’ll be hosting two unique shows from the same incredible set, and offering children the opportunity to experience Wonderland themselves.”

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A great escape at Imagine Children’s Festival

Imagining a world where kids take over may sound terrifying, but that is exactly what will be happening this month at the Southbank Centre.

Running from February 9th to 22nd, the Imagine Children's Festival will be putting your little ones in control as all their demands are transformed into reality. The whole site has been redecorated for children, by kids themselves, and there is an extensive programme of activities, family fun, dancing, theatre, art, books, workshops, seminars and talks.

Highlights to look out for include performances by Sir Simon Rattle, the Berliner Philharmoniker on February 15th, and the Big Sleepover. The last of these, in particular, is great fun, taking place on February 16th and allowing children and adults to stay overnight in the Royal Festival Hall auditorium.

In the 2015 Imagine Children's Festival, which will be sponsored by The Book People, there is sure to be something for your little ones, regardless of how fussy they are. The events have been designed to be both entertaining and informative, ensuring that everyone goes home happy. For more information on what is on, be sure to check out the official website.

You may want to make a real weekend of it with your family, so book into a London hotel as soon as possible. There are tonnes of attractions that your kids will enjoy in the capital city. Scare them senseless in the London Dungeons. Watch their eyes widen as they get to the top of the London Eye. Or take them to the West End, where they can sing with the Wicked Witch of the West or be astounded by The Lion King. Your options really are limitless.

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Are you ready for L’Ormindo?

It is often rare that The Royal Opera House and Shakespeare's Globe get together, but when they do, the results are nothing short of spectacular – and now visitors to London will be able to enjoy a fantastic new production of L'Ormindo.

Running at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse until March 5th, this hilarious but emotional show tells the tale of London's 17th-century royals who are trying to battle with love, luck and destiny in a strict society. When deception and love intertwine, the results are shocking. Based on the work of Francesco Cavalli, this joint production will offer dazzling visuals, side-splitting scenes and more plot twists and turns than you can shake a stick at.

While this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to catch some Baroque opera in an authentic ambiance, the show will actually be performed by its nine singers and eight musicians in English. The production has had a very successful run at the playhouse's inaugural season and now it is back due to popular demand.

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is located on New Globe Walk, making it extremely accessible from any London hotel via London's underground network. If this show doesn't really sound like it is right up your street, fear not, as the world-famous West End has something to suit all tastes and styles. Do you want hard-hitting drama with Hollywood star James McAvoy in The Ruling Class? Do you want to laugh so hard with the Book of Mormon? Or catch a classic with The Lion King? There is so much choice here that you may find yourself having to come back over and over again to see them all!

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Be thrown into a rhapsody with Warren Mailley-Smith

If you are a fan of your classical music, then you are not going to want to miss out on this fantastic evening. Warren Mailley-Smith will be showcasing his talents at St Martin-in-the-fields, and it is set to be a must-see show.

British concert pianist Mailley-Smith will be playing pieces by the likes of Chopin, Beethoven, Liszt and Gershwin's iconic Rhapsody in Blue. This man has been described by Musical Opinion as 'the embodiment of the modern Romantic Concert pianist' and with his performances not being so common, you might as well catch him while you can. In the past, this performer has played for the British Royal Family, while also giving solo recitals at Wigmore and Carnegie Halls.

Audiences can expect to be taken on a journey of different emotions, as they experience poetry displays, Debussy's Clair de Lune and Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody no 2, all of which will be culminating into the always-popular Rhapsody in Blue. Mailley-Smith will be combining classical and jazz influences to truly drive rhythms in a way that will take your breath away.

All of this will also be occurring in the Sr Martin-in-the-fields church, with its fantastic acoustics and haunting ambiance. Located in Trafalgar Square, this historic venue even has a restaurant in its crypt if you are looking for a bite to eat before or after the show.

Warren Mailley-Smith will be performing on January 27th, with the show starting at 7.15pm sharp. Tickets are available at £16 but note that under-16s must be accompanied with an adult. If you are staying at the Montcalm hotels, get the tube from Marble Arch to either Charing Cross or Leicester Square.

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Chase the Butterflies in the Glasshouse

All year round, the Glasshouse at RHS Garden Wisley is a dazzling spectacle, brimming with tall palms, lush leaves, blooming florals and tree ferns releasing luscious aromas into the air. However, it is in January that the glasshouse becomes truly alive as hundreds of butterflies are released into the jungle-esque environment.

Running until March 8th, the scheme allows visitors to come up close and personal with various varieties of the inset, including the mighty 'Gladiators', the Giant Owl, the Malay Lacewing, Blue Morpho and the King Swallowtail. The butterflies will be feeding on the nectar plants in the greenhouse, while a puparium will be on display to highlight how creepy caterpillars can be transformed into majestic creatures.

Furthermore, there will be special themed craft workshops running for half term holidays, between February 14th and 22nd, where your little ones can learn more about these fascinating animals, all while having loads of fun in the process.

Entry is included with the admission, which is £11.55 for adults, £4.95 for children and £29.70 for a family of two adults and two children.

If you want to learn further about the various animals which call this intricate planet home, take the kids to the free Natural History Museum. It’s full of massive animals fossils and dinosaur bones, need we say more? There are loads of intriguing exhibitions on that will quench the intellectual thirst of even the most curious children. The cocoon and the creepy crawly research section are bound to go down well with the kids and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year display is always a popular favourite with families.

If you need a place to stay for your visit, consider the comfortable and luxurious Montcalm hotels – they are affordable while also giving you easy access to both the RHS Garden Wisley and Natural History Museum.

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Can fast food really be good? It can at the Real Food Market!

When people think 'fast food', it is easy to think about greasy kebab shops and soggy pizzas. However, in recent years, the industry has seen a bit of renaissance, and if you are making a trip to London over the next few months, then you're in luck.

The Real Food Market near Waterloo Station has a wealth of diverse stalls, selling anything from Jerk chicken to gourmet chocolates. Highlights include Bean About Town, specialising in French-style coffee, Curry Shack that serves up Indian, Mauritian and Caribbean favourites, and Bad Brownie, where indulgent brownies come in flavours such as salted caramel, raspberry cheesecake and even bacon and maple syrup!

The location of the market is also ideal because of its proximity to the Southbank Centre. So if you are working in the area and just want to grab some coffee or if you are sightseeing at the SEA LIFE aquarium or London Eye, be sure to pop in.

Even if you are not so much into your food, there are also pop-up bars selling scrumptious cocktails, hot drinks and locally crafted beer, ensuring there is something to suit all tastes.

The Real Food Market runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until March 22nd. You may want to make a real weekend of it and incorporate some of the city's most iconic sights, such as Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the London Dungeons. If this is the case, you'll need to book into a London hotel as soon as possible – rooms can often be limited in what is a busy period for the city. The earlier you get your weekend planned, the less likely you will be disappointed!

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Spend a night with Brucie at the Palladium

To say that Bruce Forsyth is a national treasure would be a huge understatement. After spending over 60 years on our screens, he will be performing his one-man show at the Palladium, and trust us when we say that this will be one stellar night to remember.

It will be the first time in nearly two decades that Brucie will be running his show at the Palladium, even though he has made recent appearances at Glastonbury Festival and The Royal Albert Hall. He will be joined by some of the best musicians in the UK and Strictly Come Dancing's Dave Arch, while families will be able to enjoy songs, dancing, Generation Game sketches and, most importantly, those famous Brucie gags.

Bruce Forsyth has appeared on various game shows, movies, TV dramas, radio shows, and more recently become the face of Saturday night primetime TV, hosting Strictly with Tess Daley. While he may have retired from the show now, he still has that spring in his step that we all love, and this performance truly will be a little piece of show business history.

Bruce will be at the Palladium on May 10th, and tickets for adults range between £20 and £60. You may want to continue the party and head to one of the many fantastic bars and restaurants that the West End area has to offer. If your plan is to dance away until the wee hours of the morning, you are going to need to book your London hotel as soon as possible to avoid disappointment in what can often be a busy time of year for the capital city.

Let's say it all together now: "It's nice to see you, to see you nice!"

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