Apex Hotels Blog

Dundee December 2013

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What's On in Dundee in December 2013?

Event of the Month

The RSNO Christmas Concert - The Snowman (20 December 2013)

This Christmas, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra is bringing a very special treat to the Caird Hall. This live production of Raymond Briggs classic Christmas tale will delight young and old alike. It’s the exciting story of a boy who builds a snowman that magically comes to life, the two then embarking on an epic around the world adventure. The original, classic animation will be shown on the big screen with the famous score played live by the RSNO and RSNO Choruses. This is guaranteed to be a unique and exciting opportunity to see a classic Christmas story brought to life by Scotland’s premier symphony orchestra.

The RSNO will be conducted by Christopher Bell and the production features a special star guest, yet to be announced. You can find out more about the production by visiting the RSNO’s website. This is sure to be a unique experience guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Location: Caird Hall, Dundee, DD1 3BB

Website: rsno.org.uk

DCA Winter Print Exhibiton (19 November 2013 – 19 January 2014)

Dundee Contemporary Arts are holding an exhibition of work that includes screenprints, collagraphs, etchings and lithos by DCA’s resident artists. This is great opportunity to view some excellent artwork created by some very talented local artists. All the work is available for sale, making it an ideal opportunity to choose that special Christmas gift.

Location: Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, DD1 4DY

Website: dca.org.uk

The BFG (28 November - 31 December 2013)

This Christmas join Dundee Rep as they bring Roald Dhal's classic children’s story, The BFG, to the stage. The BFG tells the story of a young girl who befriends a BFG – a Big Friendly Giant – who much prefers eating foul tasting snozzcumbers and fizzy frobscottles, than little children. This production has been adapted by David Wood and is sure to be a treat for the whole family this Christmas.

Location: Dundee Rep, Dundee, DD1 1PB

Website: dundeerep.co.uk

Tayside and Fife Health Services Christmas Carol Concernt (5 December 2013)

Join the Tayside and Fire Health Services for an evening of Christmas carols guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit. Proceeds from the event will go to CLIC Sargent.

Location: Caird Hall, Dundee, DD1 3BB

Website: cairdhall.co.uk

Dick Whittington (13 - 22 December 2013)

Join Whitehall Theatre and Downfield Musical Society as they bring you their irreverent take on the Dick Whittington tale. Now in their 85th year, the Downfield Musical Society will delight you with their traditional pantomime production that promises to be fun for the whole family. The show will delight with brilliant special effects, slapstick humour and audience interaction. Suitable for kids aged nine to ninety!

Location: Whitehall Theatre, Dundee, DD1 5JA

Website: downfieldmusical.co.uk

Edinburgh December 2013

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What's On in Edinburgh in December 2013?

Event of the Month

Edinburgh's Christmas (22 November 2013 - 5 January 2014)

Edinburgh comes to life at Christmas transforming into a sparkling and enchanting winter wonderland. It’s a fantastic city to explore at this festive time of the year with an endless array of shops, bars and restaurants to choose from. If you fancy a break from all that Christmas shopping, be sure to get down to the European Christmas market where you can relax with a warming cup of mulled wine, before enjoying some excellent traditional Christmas fare including biscuits, bratwurst and sweet treats. You can also get in the festive spirit by exploring Edinburgh’s Winter Wonderland in Princes Street Gardens where you can take the opportunity to try ice skating, or enjoy the views Edinburgh has to offer on a relaxing ferris wheel ride. The Edinburgh’s Christmas website provides an excellent overview of all the activities, festivals and shopping opportunities that can be enjoyed in the city over the festive period.

Location: Multiple Locations around Edinburgh

Website: edinburghschristmas.com

A Christmas Carol (28 November 2013 – 4 January 2014)

This December, why not treat yourself to a magical night out at the theatre? The Lyceum’s production of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale will delight young and old alike. It’s sure to melt the heart of even the biggest Scrooge. Leave the Humbugs at home and get down to The Lyceum to enjoy this most quintessential of Christmas stories.

Location: The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AX

Website: lyceum.org.uk

A Dickens Christmas At Edinburgh Castle (21 - 24 December 2013)

If seeing A Christmas Carol wetted your appetite for all things Dickens’ then visit Edinburgh Castle this Christmas for a chance to meet Charles Dickens in person, learn more about the Victorian Christmas revival and witness the sights and sounds that inspired Dickens’ classic Christmas novel.

Location: Edinburgh Castle, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NG

Website: list.co.uk

The Singing Kettle - Christmas Wishing Well (21 - 22 December 2013)

Keep the kids occupied this Christmas and take them to see this fantastic festive treat. The Singing Kettle team is back with a Christmas show that is filled with Christmassy fun for the kids.

Location: The Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, East Lothian, EH21 6AA

Website: hubtickets.com

Peter Pan (31 November 2013 - Sunday 19 January 2014)

The King’s Theatre hosts Edinburgh’s traditional pantomime. This year sees Edinburgh Panto favorites Grant Stott, Andy Gray and Allan Stewart back for a festive take on the story of the boy who never grew old. It’s sure to be an unmissable festive romp at one of Edinburgh’s most beloved theatres.

Location: The King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LQ

Website: edtheatres.com

The Ethical Christmas Fair (7 - 15 December 2013)

Now in its 6th year, the Ethical Christmas Fair presents an ideal ethical Christmas shopping opportunity. Browse and choose gifts from a wide range of fair trade, ethical and environmentally friendly retailers. The beautiful and ethically aware products typically available here include jewellery, crafts, homewares, food and drink and scarves and hats.

Location: Castle Street/ Princes Street, Edinburgh

Website: handupmedia.co.uk

Real Scottish Christmas Fair (30 November - 5 December 2013)

The Real Scottish Christmas Fair is an event that happens on one of Scotland’s busiest shopping streets. It's a great chance to pick up some Scottish craft, jewellery and artefacts that you don’t usually see on the high street.

Location: Princes Street, Edinburgh

Website: handupmedia.co.uk

Edinburgh's Hogmanay (30 December 2013 - 1 January 2014)

Celebrate New Year in Scotland in style and take part in Edinburgh’s world famous Hogmanay celebrations. The three day extravaganza features the opportunity to take part in a vibrant torchlit procession; join thousands of revelers for the epic Street Party, featuring music from world class musicians and DJs, and Ceilidh into the wee small hours with some of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians.

Location: : Princes Street and City Centre, Ediburgh

Website: edinburghshogmanay.org

Guest Blog: Mark Alston

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Guest Blog: Royal Yacht Britannia

 Lemon Drizzle Cake

Our guest blog this month comes from Mark Alston, the Executive Chef at the Royal Yacht Britannia. Be prepared, after reading this you will be licking your lips for some lemon drizzle cake.

The Royal Yacht is permanently berthed in the historic port of Leith, Edinburgh and is a 5- star visitor attraction and prestigious evening venue. Britannia was home to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family for over 40 years. The fascinating audio tour of five decks allows you to discover how the Royal Family and 220 crew lived. All Apex customers receive 10% discount when visiting Britannia. Please be sure to ask our receptionist for a 10% off voucher.

Visitors to Britannia can enjoy a visit to The Royal Deck Tea Room where they can enjoy delicious, and freshly prepared, home-made food, stunning views and a warm welcome. This area was previously where the Royal Family enjoyed drinks receptions, sumptuous buffets, or played deck games. In these spectacular surroundings you can now treat yourself with speciality teas, coffees, lunch and Britannia’s famous lemon drizzle cake.

Our delicious lemon drizzle cake has been a firm favourite with Britannia’s visitors ever since the Royal Deck Tea Room opened its doors in 2009. Made on board in the original Royal Galley, we’ve been asked many times for the recipe by our visitors.

Britannia's Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe - Serves 12


For the cake:

  • 6 eggs
  • 330g soft butter
  • 330g caster sugar
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 2 large lemons.

For the Icing:

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 60g lemon juice

For the Syrup:

  • 110g sugar
  • 140ml water
  • the juice from half a lemon

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170˚c/gas mark 3 and prepare a 10 inch cake tin (or smaller tins/a tray)
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light in colour
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well each time
  4. Add the zest and juice of the two lemons
  5. Add the sifted flour and baking powder and mix until combined
  6. Cut out a disk of baking paper to fit the base of your cake tin
  7. Grease the cake tin well and place the disk in the bottom
  8. Fill the tin ¾ full with the cake mix and smooth out the top using a pallet knife
  9. Cook for 15 minutes at 170˚c (gas mark 3) then turn down the oven to 150˚c (gas mark 2) and cook for a further 40 minutes
  10. The cake is cooked when a skewer placed into the centre of the cake comes out clean

While the cake is baking in the oven, make the syrup, ready to brush on the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven:

  1. Put the sugar, lemon juice and water into a pan and boil for 25 minutes. Do not stir this!
  2. This will reduce down to a syrup consistency
  3. Brush this onto the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven
  4. Allow the cake to cool and remove from the tin

To make the icing:

  1. Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together until combined
  2. Using a piping bag, drizzle the icing over the cake. You can also grate some lemon zest to add to the top of the cake.

London December 2013

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What's On in London in December 2013?

Event of the Month

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (23 November - 5 January 2014)

London's wintertime festivities return, as Hyde Park is transformed into a festive, shimmery Winter Wonderland. Skate on the UK's largest outdoor Ice Rink, featuring over 100,000 lights set to illuminate the rink and create the perfect magical setting. The Giant Observation Wheel will let you experience Winter Wonderland from 60 metres in the air, providing stunning views of Hyde Park and beyond. Help make a child's dream come alive and let Santa and his elves greet you in his grotto or choose to shop, drink and dine in the Christmas Markets. Enjoy the thrills of gentle carousels, roller coasters or spooky ghost rides - with over 100 rides and attractions, there is something for everyone. Experience the Magical Ice Kingdom and be amazed by the beauty of the delicate sculptures and crystal-like characters. Fashioned from over 200 tons of ice and snow over, this mysterious attraction will let you lose yourself in the magical land of snow and ice! There’s something for everyone at Winter Wonderland and is one festive activity not to be missed.

Location: Hyde Park, London, SW1 7LY

Website: hydeparkwinterwonderland.com 

The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker (10 December - 16 January 2014)

You know Christmas has arrived when the production of E.T.A. Hoffman's 'The Nutcracker' returns to the Royal Opera House, located just a 10 min walk from Apex Temple Court Hotel. It's difficult to picture a production more extravagant than Peter Wright's restaging of Lev Ivanov's choreography to Tchaikovsky's iconic play. Every ballet step of the way, this is one performance not to be missed this Christmas.

Location: Royal Opera House, London, EC2E 9DD

Website: roh.org.uk

Spitalfields Winter Festival (6 - 17 December 2013)

Located just a short walk from Apex London Wall Hotel, Spitalfield's end of year musical festival returns from several locations. The Winter Festival discovers east London's hidden gems, bringing together global and local artists. Old Spitalsfields Market will host an off the cuff musical performance, whilst the dramatic 18th century Hawskmoor - designed Christ Church opens its door to host classical concerts.

Location: Christ Church Spitalfields, London, E1 6LY

Website: spitalfieldsmusic.org.uk

Midnight Mass at St Paul's Cathedral (24 December 2013)

Sir Christopher Wren's stunning St Paul's Cathedral is located just a short walk from the Apex Temple Court and Apex London Wall Hotel and is a magical place to be on the night before Christmas. The cathedral's legendary dome will echo the elevated sounds of the St Paul's Cathedral Choi, whilst candles create a majestic atmosphere that is not to be missed.

Location: St Paul's Cathedral, London, EC4M 8AD

Website: stpauls.co.uk

New Year's Eve Fireworks (31 December 2013)

Celebrate an amazing year and watch the annual Mayor’s fireworks display, launched from the London Eye and rafts on the Thames. The world renowned fireworks are visible throughout central London and captivate audience members for a whole hour! Bring in 2014 with a bang and watch the celebrated display take place on the doorstep of our Apex Temple Court Hotel.

Location: London Eye, London, SE1 7PB

Website: london.gov.uk

Dino Snores - Sleep over at the Natural History Museum (7 December 2013)

This is your chance to find out what really stalks the corridors of the Natural History Museum when the sun goes down. Dino Snore is great family event which includes exhilarating activities, a torch-lit tour and a hearty breakfast in the morning. Get ready to nestle down under the shadow of Diplodocus in the central hall.

Location: Natural History Museum, London

Website: nhm.ac.uk

Disney on Ice - Dare to Dream (26-30 December and 3-5 January)

The new Disney on Ice performance 'Dare to Dream' comes to the O2 this December giving you the chance to see all your favourite Disney characters come to life. Make sure to catch the spectacular finale as all the Disney Princesses come together (for the first time on ice!). Dare to dream is full of amazing skating and special effects - creating a lifetime of memories.

Location: O2 Arena, London, SE10 0DX

Website: theo2.co.uk

Christmas Spectacular (27 - 29 December 2013)

For the first time this year, the Royal Albert Hall and Raymond Gubbay come together to launch the Christmas Spectacular keeping you entertained with classic after classic. Get ready for a Christmas movie medley including songs from Mary Poppins, the Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music. Keep your Christmas spirits elevated and enjoy the astounding combination of much-loved music, dazzling dance, breathtaking lasers and an incredible indoor finale!

Location: : Royal Albert Hall, London SW7 2AP

Website: royalalberthall.com

Handmade Christmas (13 - 15 December 2013)

Hobbies and craft has been revived over the past few years in the UK and what better way to celebrate than the handmade Christmas show at the O2. Spread over one weekend, Britain's best and dazzling crafters, designers and hobbyists merchants will congregate to showcase their talents. Say good bye to the power of the high street and get ready to find your perfect, seasonal gift.

Location: The O2, London, E210 0DX

Website: handmadechristmas.co.uk