The Mstay Blog

Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show

23rd May 2017 to 27th May 2017

Royal Hospital Road

Chelsea

SW3 4SR

This May, the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea will be transformed into a cornucopia of rare and beautiful flowers and plants. The Chelsea Flower Show will feature cutting-edge exhibits of floral and garden designs. This is an opportunity for garden designers and florists to show off the latest trends and award-winning artworks. There will also be horticultural items on sale, be it gardening equipment or water and other features.

Events to watch out for include a talk by Professor Nigel Dunnett on how to get the most out of plants and gardens in urban spaces. There will be show gardens from around the world, such as a Maltese landscape to the garden of a Japanese emperor. There are also creative interpretations of gardens including a volcanic-themed garden. Educational and interactive exhibits for children, created by florists and nurseries, can be found at the Great Pavillion.
Get tickets for this event in advance, to secure a place.

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Covent Garden May Fayre

Covent Garden May Fayre

Come one, come all! On the 14 of May this year, Punch and Judy enthusiasts will congregate at the Covent Garden May Fayre in the garden of St Paul’s Church (The ‘Actor’s Church’) in Covent Garden.

The first record of a Punch and Judy-style show occurs in the diaries of Samuel Pepys in 1662. The 14th of May marks the anniversary of that day, and so this free family day of Punch and Judy shows, along with music and dance is a celebration of this national institution.

The day will include a brass band procession around Covent Garden from 11am, and a midday church service delivered by Mr Punch himself (No joke!). The activities will be between 12:30pm and 5:30pm.

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National Pet Show

National Pet Show

ExCel London

One Western Gateway

Royal Victoria Dock

E16 1XL

Saturday 6th May to Sunday 7th May

May is set to see the National Pet Show return to London. Animals of all shapes, sizes and descriptions will be on display, including cats and dogs but also alpacas, Shetland ponies, giant tortoises and even bearded dragons. Stalls will include animal handling teepee tents, a small furries zone for the cutest small animals, and a chance to meet Doug the therapy pug.

There will also be a talk from Channel 4’s Supervet, Noel Fitzpatrick. For live dog training sessions a School 4 Dogs arena will be open to the public. Come along and you’ll have the opportunity to learn about animals and see pet training activities as well as browse various grooming, dietary and exercise products. The event is perfect for pet lovers but also families and anyone in the pet industry. Buy your tickets in advance before they go. The venue is a short distance away from our hotels and suites. Check out our vacancies for an affordable and comfortable stay in London during your trip.

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Affordable Art Fair

Affordable Art Fair

Thursday 11th May to Sunday 14th May

If you’ve been to an art fair before, you’ll know the feeling of seeing the perfect piece for your lounge, or a work by your favourite artist, and wished that you could afford it. Well, at the affordable art fair, you can!

The affordable art fair is coming to Hampstead, London. In the fair prices for works of art are capped at £5,000 and there are tips for buying artworks on the website. There is a healthy mixture of independent art and special edition articles by household names. Younger, emerging artists are presented alongside better known artists, giving them an equal opportunity to sell as well as viewers and buyers a range of different options and styles.

At MStay we love affordable, high quality experiences. That’s why we do everything we can to get our customers the best deal on their stay while providing all the conveniences and utilities they require. Book now with our code ‘MSTAY’ and get 10% off your stay. You will also be eligible for further deals which you can check out on our website.

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Underbelly Festival

Underbelly Festival

The Southbank Centre

29th April to 30th September

The Underbelly Festival is a springtime extravaganza of music and live performance accompanied by food and drink made and sold locally. There are riverside food vendors and one of London’s biggest outdoor bars situated near the venue. So grab a seat, a beverage and a snack and enjoy entertainment from up-and-coming and seasoned artists alike.

Acts on the lineup include the Casus circus, with high-flying acrobatics and astonishing spectacles. Flip FabriQue is an energetic circus show filled with breathtaking stunts and death-defying acrobatic feats. And there’s so much more to explore and enjoy. The Southbank Centre is a short distance away from MStay’s Russell Court Hotel, 39 Studios or the Kensington Studios. Each with amazing deals to make your stay affordable as well as unforgettable.

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Upcoming Event: London Marathon

Virgin Money London Marathon

24th April – 12:55am

 

It happens every year in London. Many see the challenge as both exciting and terrifying. A 26.2 mile run across London from Greenwich to Buckingham Palace. It’s a ‘historical jog’ appreciating some of the great cultural and natural landmarks that London offers. These include the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, as well as Greenwich Park to name a few.

 

The event first began in 1981 when Olympic runner Chris Brasher returned after running the New York Marathon. Inspired, he began a marathon in London, which has been run for 36 years. Since then, thousands of people have taken part year after year, with up to hundreds of thousands applying.
You can take part for a good cause, to keep fit, or just have fun. Fancy dress is, of course, optional, with previous examples including a London bus, a giant penguin and Superman. After you’ve run 26.2 miles you’ll want an inexpensive and cosy resting place, preferably a short walk away from the finish line. Luckily, our hotels and suites are perfectly situated to provide this comfort to the weary runner or spectator. Check out our hotels and availability here. Remember that you can save 10% by using the promotional code ‘MSTAY’.

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Baker Street in March

There’s always something afoot in Baker Street. The site of the Sherlock Holmes book series, it’s a significant cultural landmark for London, and has fostered culture and creativity for generations. Here are some of the most exciting events happening in Baker Street this March.

Irrational Optimism

A&D Gallery, 51 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 6LY
1st – 29th March
Monday – Friday: 10:30 – 19:00
Saturday 10:30 – 18:00

‘Irrational Optimism’ is an exhibition about world art and the role of markets in art. The philosophy of the A&D gallery is that if you love it, you should buy it. For the gallery there is no ‘standard’ art set price, and they do not think of their works of art as purely part of their investment portfolio, or in terms of mere economic value. The art market is becoming more global and the hunt for rarer art pieces from all over the world is increasing. Admission is free and the exhibition is open to all.

Thread

Jaggedart, Devonshire Street, Off Marylebone High Street, London, W1G 6PS
8th March – 25th March
Weekdays 11:00 – 18:00
Weekends 11:00 – 14:00

This art exhibition at the Jaggedart gallery is a celebration of thread, yarn, wire and under-appreciated lines of material that hold our lives together. Multiple artists use fabrics and other materials to make naturalistic sculptures evoking roots, nests and fungi.

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UK Customs

Etiquette and Customs in Britain

Britain is a great place to visit, for a holiday, business, or maybe even to stay. But Britain, like any other country, has a system of customs and etiquette that are particular to it. Here are some basic rules of etiquette that anyone visiting the UK for the first time can benefit from knowing.

Greetings

In Britain, people generally don’t greet each other unless they know each other already or are introduced, either through a mutual acquaintance or by a shared situation. When people greet each other, they normally say hello, tell each other their names and ask how each other is. They may also shake hands, in both formal and informal meetings. While in some parts of Europe, people greet by embracing or kissing on the cheeks, in the Britain this usually only happens between family or close friends. But regardless of who you’re greeting, eye contact should be maintained and body language should be open and inviting.

Gifts

While you don’t have to give gifts whenever you meet people, for the first or successive times, but it is customary to give a gift if you are staying at someone’s house for any length of time (normally more than a week) and during holidays, birthdays or anniversaries. It doesn’t have to be an expensive or ostentatious gift, but giving your hosts something will show courtesy and will probably be reciprocated by them. It could be something like a professional writing set, jewelry or a bottle of some favoured beverage. It is, after all, the thought that counts.

Queueing

Much has been made of the British love of queueing. When it comes down to it, most British people don’t go out of their way to queue, but will do so when needed. We queue as an expression of our concern for fairness and order, wordlessly agreeing as a crowd that things will be more efficient if we form a line, and that those who turned up first should be served first. You can expect to queue in shops, theatres, for public transport and for seats in restaurants. Queues are a part of British culture, take part in one and you might get a deeper understanding of the British pace and flow of life. But while queues should be respected, they aren’t sacrosanct: if you have an urgent need for assistance and you ask politely to go to the front, nine times out of ten people will let you.

Punctuality

Punctuality is highly valued in Britain. Despite our national sport of queueing, we don’t like to wait around for each other. If you make an appointment with someone, you should aim to show up on time, or perhaps a few minutes early. This will mean planning the time it takes to get ready, planning the journey time and leaving some time for the unexpected. Many people will arrive early to avoid being late, and so if you arrive late they will have to wait for even longer. Punctuality is a sign of reliability and readiness for many, but there’s also a practical reason for being punctual. Britons tend to work long hours, so they need to use their down-time wisely!

Dining

If you dine at a restaurant, you can expect to be shown the menu, and pick one or more courses which may include starters, a main course and dessert. The person who extended the invitation to dine may deal with the bill, although if the group you’re with is large then you may decide to split the bill and pay for what you ordered individually. Depending on the type of restaurant and what you buy, dinner could cost between £10 and £30. This may include a service charge, but tips are generally not required. In most British restaurants, vegetarian and other dietary requirements are provided for, with indications of what’s compatible with such requirements on the menu.

Follow these tips and you can engage with British culture with confidence and authority.

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December

London in December

The holiday season is fast approaching. Supermarkets are already selling festive goodies, holiday lights are already being constructed in some cities and as the weather gets colder and the nights longer, everyone’s looking forward to food, family and free stuff (i.e. presents). London is beautiful in the later months, and with a very mild Winter on the horizon, it will not be too bracing for people living in warmer climates. So, now that you’re determined to spend December in London, what marvellous sights and activities can you expect there?

Christmas at Kew

Kew Gardens is amazing at any time of the year, with the world’s largest and most diverse collection of plants. It’s an informative place to visit as well as a scenic and captivating location for picnics. But during the Winter, Kew is transformed into a magical wonderland of lights and festivities. After dark there is an illuminated, mile-long trail through the botanical gardens with many diversions including musical Christmas trees, a scented garden of blazing fires, crystal flowers and a Christmas karaoke jukebox. This unmissable event will be open to the public from the 23rd of November to the 2nd of January.

Hogwarts in the Snow

This year, Hogwarts isn’t closing for the holidays. Instead, the iconic sets from the Harry Potter movies will be open to the public in a Christmas themed extravaganza. You’ll learn how special effects including levitating candles and artificial snow are handled on location, see props up close and get a sense of the directorial magic that goes into the movies. It’s an unforgettable experience for Potter fans of all ages, especially families who haven’t visited the sets of Hogwarts before. Open from the 19th of November until the 29th of January.

Great Christmas Pudding Race

Yes, you read that correctly. The Great Christmas Pudding Race has been a fun tradition at Covent Garden for almost 36 years. You can take part and run around the garden with a real Christmas pud (Not alight, thankfully) in fancy dress, or you can just enjoy the stalls, the entertainment and the atmosphere of jollity. Either way, it’s all for a good cause, as the event is sponsored by Cancer Research UK. The race will be on the 3rd of December, and will the action will start at 11:15 am.

Boxing Day Sales

If you’re in London during Boxing Day, you’d have to have a will of iron not to have your head turned by the great Boxing Day, and later January, deals that stores will be providing. See MStay’s previous blog about Christmas stores to visit to see where you can get the best Boxing Day deals.

Ice Skating

There are going to be a lot of ice skating rinks in London during December. They’ll be near such amazing places as Somerset House and the Natural History Museum, so you can see the sights whilst also getting to ice skate. What better reasons could you have for visiting London this December?

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Basic Tips for Visiting London

So You’re Visiting London

Lucky you! Whether you’re visiting London for the first time or have been before, London offers countless experiences and diversions. Whether you’re here on your own or with friends and family, and whether you’re here for business or you’re holidaying, there’s too much to see in one trip. London is one of the most diverse and dynamic metropolitan cities in the world, so it can be a bit daunting to visit. What should you do and how should you prepare? Here’s an emergency itinerary for what you should expect and do to get the most out of the trip.

What to Take?

If you’re visiting from outside of London, you might be interested in the rich cultural history of the city, it’s Churches, universities, parliament buildings and museums. An English dictionary for non-English speakers and a map of the areas you’re going to visit will come in handy. Also, either money for transport or a travel card to ride on London’s many trains, buses and Santander Cycles. You might want to take snacks if you’re planning on walking a long distance or visiting London’s parks, as the City is a big place. Also, suitable clothing for the weather. At this time of the year, it’s not quite warm coat weather but layers are advisable.

Where to Go?

London has numerous attractions, something for everyone regardless of what your interests are. Here’s a list of many of the best and most interesting attractions which will be available this month, from food festivals to theatre to ship shows. If you’re one of those organised people who gets all their Christmas shopping done a couple of months in advance, then you’ll want to visit these Christmas shops, or to just get in the festive mood these are the Christmas festivals that will be lighting up around London.

What to Do?

If you’re looking for novel ideas of how to spend your time, rather than just go from restaurant to museum to park, here are some things you might not have thought of. Backpacking is a time honoured tradition in the UK that deserves a renaissance, and is very good for your health. Or, you could visit the West End of London, to see if there’s a show you might like. It’s often the one thing that people forgo on their first trip to London, in favour of visiting the more traditional sights. Some of the musicals have been running for decades, as they have withstood the test of time and become well-loved classics.

Where to Stay?

That’s an easy one! For accommodation that could be mistaken for a first class hotel room, but without the high cost, MStay hotels and apartments are somewhere that anyone can stay at and where everyone would feel at home. With all the modern conveniences of a television, shower facilities, daily room cleaning services and WiFi, MStay is the perfect place to relax and refuel during your excursions in and around London. There are various alternative rooms including family and singles.

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