Victoria – The Spotlight is Yours

There is a small area in the heart of London called Victoria that is mainly known for its station and fantastic transport links to and from London. From its underground line you can travel through Kings Cross St Pancras and Oxford Circus to Brixton while its national rail covers the rest of the UK and its high speed connection takes you to Gatwick Airport. Apart from this and its office buildings, Victoria had been lost within the big, vibrant city of London growing all around it. However, in recent years the area of Victoria has undergone a renaissance, a rebirth that brings this section up to the 21st century and makes it one of the most up and coming parts of London.

With accommodation such as the Grand Park Kensington Hotel and Park Grand Lancaster Gate on its doorstep, Victoria is a prime place to visit. It has a wide variety of bars and shops that will suit everyones tastes, such as:

Bank, Westminster

Walk along St James and you will find Bank to take you away from the hustle and bustle of London life. It is housed in a conservatory overlooking a beautiful courtyard and offers a quiet, relaxing atmosphere. Its bar, Zander, is famous for being the longest bar in London and it offers a wide range of cocktails, wines and spirits as well as a delicious menu that spans continents with choices such as lobster, Tandoor Monkfish, Crispy Duck and British beef which are cooked on a grill, using lump wood charcoal. It is a great place to visit if you need to unwind and a bit of quiet time.

The Orange

This glorious pub is under a 10 minute walk away from hotels near Bayswater station and it is fast becoming one of the go-to pubs in the area. Its light, spacious interior is decorated with rustic furniture and open log fires to lend it a warm, homey feel. It is a wonderful place to unwind with a glass of wine after a hard day in the city, or a perfect place to meet with friends for a catch up. It is recommended that bookings are made for any weekend visits due to the already increasing popularity of The Orange.

Peggy Porschen

If you haven’t already heard of Peggy Porschen and their delectable cakes, you soon will as they are fast becoming the most popular cake company in the UK. Starting their journey in 2003, husband and wife team, Bryn Morrow and Peggy Porschen, have built an impressive list of clientele and have catered for the likes of Kate Moss, Elton John, Stella McCartney and Sting. Peggy’s talent and creativity is limitless and her bespoke wedding cakes are booked over a year in advance; she has created incredibly intricate designs, including mirroring the lace that covers the bride’s dress directly onto the wedding cake.

The shop is based in Belgravia and allows customers to come in, sit and sample some of their famous cupcakes with a glass of bubbly. It is most certainly worth a visit and, if you are planning your special day, you can peruse through Peggy’s portfolio as well.

If you are an avid baker yourself and want to learn more about the trader, Peggy opened an academy to teach others the necessary skills needed to make spectacular cakes. The courses became so popular and so in demand that a year long curriculum has been created for different skill levels for a wide range of qualifications. Courses range from Sugar Floristry to Cupcakes to academy diplomas that will help kickstart your passion in baking. Prices start from £250 right up to £1950; all classes are taught by Peggy herself and all of the course equipment is supplied. It really is a great way to learn more for business or for pleasure by learning from the very best in the cake-making industry.

Places to go, Things to see

Apollo Victoria Theatre

Built in 1930 as a cinema, this renowned theatre has held many prestigious shows including ‘The Sound of Music’ and the world-famous ‘Starlight Express’ which ran for 18 years. As of 2006, the critically-acclaimed musical ‘Wicked’ has been performed to millions of people from all over the world. The epic tale of Glinda the good witch and Elphaba, the bad witch, has captivated audiences with their personal struggles with love, power and society. This prequel to The Wizard of Oz has an incredible soundtrack with songs such as “Popular,” “One Short Day,” and the massive hit “Defying Gravity.” It is a huge favourite with many musical connoisseurs and it will continue to delight many for years to come.

Buckingham Palace

Visiting one of the Queen’s famous homes is something that must be done at least once in a lifetime. Situated at the end of St James’s Park, it has been home to the Royal Family since Queen Victoria’s reign began in 1837. It holds a mind-blowing 775 rooms; 52 of these are guest and Royal bedrooms, 92 are offices and 78 are bathrooms, and, even though many of these rooms are in constant use, many are opened to the public. It is a great insight into the life of the Queen and the Royal family and it is a great chance to take an inside look at one of the most famous houses in London.

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral can be found a stone’s throw away from Victoria tube station and is steeped in history and art. The site was used by the monks of Westminster Abbey who used the land as a market place and, as the years went on, it has been used as a maze and even for bull-baiting. The cathedral that stands today was built between 1895 and 1903 and has become famous for the artwork of ‘The fourteen Stages of the Cross’ by Eric Gill.

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