Pancake Day

Today is Shrove Tuesday, which in the UK only means one thing: PANCAKES!

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Across Britain, people will be celebrating the last day before Lent by enganging in pancake races, decorating crepes, and scoffing lots of battery goodness.  Pancakes are eaten as they are made out of the main foods available, sugar, fat, flour and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent.


What’s on in London this weekend

Springing straight from the Coronation Hotel in Paddington this weekend?  Here is our selection of the best ways to spend the next few days in the city

A number of festivals hit London this weekend, including the Imagine Children’s Festival on Southbank, and the cultural cabaret of the  Vault festival in the Old Vic Tunnels, plus weekend Late parties (tickets from £5).  Free film screenings are available at the Festival of the Moving Image throughout the UCL Campus on Saturday and Sunday (free).  Elsewhere, the Kinetica Art Fair explores robotic art at Ambika P3 and Camden’s Significant Other festival explores love through seven minute plays on Saturday and Sunday at 3pm and 7.30pm (tickets £7).  If dancing is your thing, the Flamenco Festival is at Sadler’s Wells until 19/2 (tickets from £12).

In addition, the British museum is open until 8.30pm tonight, and will host a screening of Malcolm X for a mere £3.

Fancy a bit of urban nature?  Lee Valley Farms in East London have an open day on Saturday.  Visit horses and more for £6.50.

Coffee fans can take a caffeinated walking tour of London, including some shots of Turkish coffee to keep you going from 2.30pm (£8).


Games-time hotel rooms released

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has confirmed that approximately 20% of hotel room nights it had reserved in London will be returned to the hotels.

More than 120,000 room nights at more than 200 hotels will now be available to visitors to London this summer from 5 star to budget hotels.

So don’t wait any longer – book a room at the Castleton Hotel in Paddington now!

Chinese New Year in London

Monday marks the new Chinese year (year of the Dragon, for those counting along), and London is a great place to celebrate it.  Unpack at the Castleton Hotel and head into town to join in the festivities.

Events kick off at noon with an opening ceremony in Trafalgar square, followed by performances, animalistic dancers and firecrackers.  The streets of China town (between Shafetsbury Avenue and Leicester Square) will be crammed
with food stalls and cultural displays.

Thinking of dining in one of London’s Chinese restaurants?  This is one day where you’ll definitely need to book ahead!

Several museums are also hosting themed events. The Muiseum of Docklands is inviting visitors to make festive costumes and masks, while the National Maritime Museums focuses on the tradition of tea.

Partygoers should head to Fire in Vauxhall, where there will be a huge party with superstar DJs


Five Quirky Things to do in London this January

Visitors to the Castleton Hotel will be aware of the big attractions London has to offer, from Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park and Oxford Street.  However there is always a lot going on off the beaten track too.  Here are our top picks for offbeat events in the capital:

Travel over Christmas and New Year

Visitors to London around the Festive period can get caught up in the temporary timetable and fare changes that take over Transport for London, so we thought it would be a good idea to post the information here for anyone coming to say at the Castleton Hotel.

To plan your quickest way around London over Christmas and New Year, use Journey Planner.

On New Year’s Eve you can travel between 11.45pm and 4.30am on the bus, tube, tram, and DLR for free.  The same will apply to any London overground services running after 11.45pm.

There will be a reduced service on all modes of transport on Bank Holidays during the festive period.  Bear this in mind when buying weekly or season tickets.

Always use a licensed minicab or a taxi (black cab) to ensure your journey is legal and safe. Text CAB to 60835* to get three local cab numbers.

There will be an extra charge of £4 for black cab journeys between 20:00 on 24 December and 06:00 on 27 December, and between 20:00 on 31 December and 06:00 on 2 January.

Cycle Hire
Not all docks will be in use during this period.  Vew the docking station status page for more information

Download a full TFL festive travel leaflet here.

A Soundmap of London’s Waterways

The geekier visitors to London will appreciate this one. The London Sound Survey, who are dedicated to creating an audible map of the city (from car horns to chatter, traffic jams to birdsong) have produced a tube-style map of London’s waterways.

Click on the image below to learn more.