Spring in London
LONDON, ENGLAND – It’s always nice to spend time in London, even if, as was the case on this occasion, the weather is traditionally British (that is, awful). To be fair, the weather was only awful on one of the two full days I spent in the capital; the other day was ‘changeable’ as the British like to call it (meaning all four seasons can be experienced within the span of a few hours). Luckily, London has plenty to do indoors, and the famous pubs are always warm and welcoming; great options for taking a break when the weather turns nasty outside.

My choice for accommodation was the fabulous Morton Hotel, located on Russell Square in the heart of Bloomsbury, one of the capital’s most exclusive addresses. Rooms are named after some of the original members of the influential ‘Bloomsbury Group’, who were English writers, intellectuals, artists and philosophers, who lived, worked, and studied together in the Bloomsbury area during the second half of the 20th century. Mine was almost on the corner of the hotel, and directly opposite the entrance to the gardens in Russell Square. All too often in London, hotels offering quality accommodation are pretentious; or at the other end of the scale, those offering a friendly and unpretentious atmosphere are run down and in need of renovation. The Morton on the other hand strikes the perfect balance; quality accommodations in a beautifully renovated building, with comfortable and unpretentious surroundings. For more information and contact details, visit their website at http://www.mortonhotel.co.uk/.

I spent a fascinating afternoon at the Mexican Embassy, where Ambassador Diego Gomez Pickering has recently arrived as Mexico’s representative in the UK. While at the embassy I learned about the strong, growing connection between the two countries.

Interesting in a different way was the afternoon I spent in Greenwich, famous of course for its observatory, the Cutty Sark, the Maritime Museum, and the line on the ground separating the eastern and western hemispheres. My destination however was the Meantime Brewery; founded in 1999, and operating from its current location since 2010. If you’re in London, and interested in craft beer production, it’s a great place to visit and take a tour. I’ll be writing a longer article about Meantime Brewery soon. See their website at http://www.meantimebrewing.com/ for more information.

Another ‘first’ for me was the opportunity to look down on Oxford Street (London’s “main street”) from the rooftops, thanks to the roof garden at John Lewis department store, opened earlier this month for the 150th anniversary celebrations. If you are in London this year, it’s well worth a visit for its unique views.

And what of the pubs, in which you should seek refuge if (when) the rain comes down? London truly has a pub on almost every corner, and in the main areas of the city, literally any port will be fine in a storm. The Covent Garden area has some of the most interesting pubs; my personal favorite, which also happens to be the largest pub in London, is (ahem) an Irish pub, The Porterhouse Covent Garden, where from Thursday to Saturday the music is live, and every day the craft beers are cold, and the ‘craic’ is always mighty. Other pubs in the same area worth a visit include The Chandos, The Marquis, and The Spice of Life.

If you go:

I travelled to London with Air Berlin (www.airberlin.com), with service from a number of cities in North America, via Germany.

I stayed at the Morton Hotel, located at 2 Woburn Place, London, WC1H 0LH. The hotel phone number is +44 20 7692 5600 (020 7692 5600 if calling from inside the UK), and email address is info@mortonhotel.co.uk. For more information, maps, etc., visit the hotel website at http://www.mortonhotel.co.uk/. My review of the hotel can be seen here.

Meantime Brewery and Visitors Centre is located in Blackwall Lane, London SE10, accessible by bus, train, and underground. For more information and opening hours, visit their website at http://www.meantimebrewing.com/.

John Lewis flagship department store is located at 300 Oxford Street – more information on their website at http://www.johnlewis.com/our-shops/oxford-street.

The Porterhouse is located at 21-22 Maiden Lane, in Covent Garden. More information and a map can be found on their website at http://www.porterhousebrewco.com/bars-london-coventgarden.php.

For more general tourist information, check Visit London’s website: http://www.visitlondon.com/. London’s (sometimes confusing) vast array of transport options can be explored here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/.

Article written: May 2014

The Morton Hotel (The Morton Hotel)Russell Square gardens seen from The Morton Hotel (Stewart Mandy) Townhouses at South Crescent (Stewart Mandy)Meantime Brewery (Stewart Mandy)Oxford Street, seen from the rooftops (Stewart Mandy)Quintessential London - a view from Waterloo Bridge (Stewart Mandy)
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