Apex Hotels Blogs

Perfect 15 Minute Meals with John Newton

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This is the first post in our new blog series, in which we will introduce the talented Apex chefs from across our hotels and explore their passion for cooking. In this post, we catch up with John Newton, Head Chef at Heights Restaurant, and have asked him to share his ‘perfect 15 minute meals’ with us.

Introducing John Newton – Head Chef, Heights Restaurant – Apex International Hotel

John is a keen fisherman and forager, who also enjoys a spot of gardening when he’s not busy in Heights kitchen. He has been cooking since he was 15, and started in small bakery. During his days off he would work as a butcher. From there, he moved into working at various 5* hotels and has experienced cooking in places such as USA, Australia, Orkney and even Thailand.

 

 Hot Smoked Salmon with Linguine

We asked John to answer a few questions before revealing his dishes:

What do you like most about being a chef?

I love being able to take something from its raw natural state and turn it, with some skill, into a picture on a plate, that marries and tastes as good as it looks.

What ingredients do you particularly enjoy working with?

I like seasonal produce linked to what is available in the wild including herbs in season, flowers with influences from around the world. My favourite food is game. There’s nothing like fresh wood pigeon, pheasant or local partridge. Being involved with a local shoot allows me to enjoy it as an all round experience. Some of my favourite classical marriages are:

  • Chicken with mushroom and tarragon.
  • Pigeon with red cabbage or elderberries.
  • Venison with orange, juniper berries and star anise.
  • Smoked haddock with leeks and potatoes.
 

What are your thoughts on 15 minute meals?

Everyone has busy lives and there is always a temptation to throw a ready meal into the microwave to save time. Cooking a tasty dish does not need to take a lot of time so I have prepared two recipes for perfect 15 minute meals.

 

Dish 1 - Hot Smoked Salmon with Linguine, Sun Blush Tomatoes, Toasted Pine Nuts and Basil.

Ingredients:

  • 100g hot smoked salmon per person
  • Sea salt
  • 50g linguine per person
  • 100g sun-blushed tomatoes
  • 20ml rape seed oil
  • 50g pine kernels
  • Basil leaves
 

Preparation:

1. Flake the hot smoked salmon.

2. Cook the linguine in plenty of salted boiling water. When cooked al dente, drain and toss in rape seed oil.

3. Chop tomatoes into medium dice and snip basil leaves.

4. Toss together in a large bowl.

5. Season and serve while still warm.

6. Enjoy with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio or Chablis.

 

Dish 2 - Beef Tagliata with Parmesan, Rape Oil, Horseradish and Caper Relish.

Ingredients:

  • 90g flat iron steak per person
  • 20ml rape seed oil
  • Sea salt
  • 100g Parmesan cheese
  • 250g rocket salad
  • Shaved horseradish root
 

Preparation:

1. Add half of the rape seed oil to a hot pan.

2. Sear the flat iron steak for about 10 seconds per side and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

3. Thinly slice the steak.

4. Drizzle the steak with the remaining rape seed oil, parmesan shavings, horseradish shavings, sea salt and rocket.

5. Serve immediately with a glass of your favourite light red wine.

(Optional: You can make a caper relish with white wine vinegar, brown sugar and chopped caper. Place the sugar and vinegar in a pan (allow a tablespoon of each per person). Reduce the heat by half and then add the chopped capers.)

 

Enjoy cooking and eating your perfect 15 minute dishes. Look out for other blog posts introducing the other chefs at Apex Hotels.

Priti the Elephant at Apex City Quay Hotel

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Second Heading Check

(16 Aug. 2011 - 27 Sept. 2011)

 

If you've ever visited Apex City Quay Hotel in Dundee, you've probably seen the baby elephant sculpture as you enter Metro Restaurant. Her name is Priti (pronounced pree-tee). The name ‘Priti’ comes from the Indian word which means ‘Love’. Priti was created by sculptor Chris Groombridge in 2011, for the charity event ‘Jungle City’. Priti was then purchased by Apex Hotels at auction, where all proceeds went to charity.

 

What was Jungle City?

Jungle City was a 100% charitable event which supported a variety of charities and helped raise awareness to the plight of many endangered Asian animals. The event took place in Edinburgh between 16 August, 2011 and 27 September, 2011. For 6 weeks, Edinburgh was turned into a jungle, as nearly 130 sculptures of endangered Asian animals were placed throughout the city.

A variety of endangered animals featured in the event. Included were sculptures of elephants, hornbills, crocodiles, orangutans and tigers. Many of these sculptures were painted by artists, celebrities and even children from local schools.

The sculptures were created to help fund the work of Elephant Family and six UK conservation charities including WWF Scotland and Traffic. Elephant Family is a movement which aims to prevent the extinction of the Asian elephant and other endangered animals in the wild.

 Priti in clay form being sculpted

We got in touch with Priti's creator, Chris Groombridge, to find out more about the beautiful sculpture:

Why was Priti created?

Priti was among a group of animal sculptures created for the Jungle City event to raise awareness and funds for endangered species. This took place in Edinburgh in 2011.

What made you pick the name ‘Priti’ for the sculpture?

The name Priti was chosen by the Jungle City organisers along with other named elephants.

How many sculptures did you create for the Jungle City event and how long did they take to complete?

I created the initial sculpts for all five of the Jungle City animals - orangutan, hornbill, crocodile, tiger and elephant. Each of them were created as an initial miniature model in around three days and then scaled up to the larger versions which took around two weeks each.

What sculpture have you particularly enjoyed creating in recent years?

The sculpture I have enjoyed creating recently has been my ' Landscape of Churchill' relief piece which is an exploration of Winston's face as a landscape (hills and valleys, rough and smooth contours etc). Various casts of this are now for sale.

What are your thoughts on where she ended up?

Priti looks stunning in such a setting; stylish and beautiful, strong and graceful, for guests and visitors to enjoy. Hopefully this will inspire awareness for the elephants' survival.

 

Jungle City Charity Auction

Priti wasn’t the only sculpture purchased by Apex Hotels during the charity auction. Various other sculptures were purchased and can now be spotted throughout the different hotels.

Find out where the other sculptures reside below:

 

A similar event was held in London in 2012, when Elephant Family placed over 260 animal sculptures across the city. It was a fantastic way of raising public awareness of the plight of endangered animals, not only in Asia but across the world. It also allowed various sculptors and artists to showcase their work in what was a very much public affair.

Pitri now proudly stands on display at Apex City Quay Hotel. Make sure you stop to say ‘hi’ the next time you visit.

Where to Watch the Edinburgh Fireworks Guide

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With the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert taking place on 1st September, we thought it would be a good idea to create a guide detailing some of the best spots to watch the fireworks from. Below, you will find a written guide as well as an interactive map. Use to the guide and map to find the perfect spot to watch the fireworks from and look forward to a night worth remembering.

Were to Watch Edinburgh Fireworks Map

Click on the points to see more information about each location. Click here to view a larger map.

 

Vantage Point Locations

Princes Street Gardens – The Scottish Chamber Orchestra will be performing in Ross Theatre, within Princes Street Gardens. Tickets for Ross Theatre have already sold out. Only ticket holders will be allowed entry to Princes Street Gardens. As its paid entry only, it’s usually less cramped than Princes Street itself. It’s important to arrive early if you want one of the better spots. Tickets are on sale here.

Carlton Hill - Carlton Hill usually offers a good view of the fireworks, while also providing a bit more elbow room than the more central locations. If you're energetic enough for the climb and can get there early enough, you should be rewarded with a very good view of the fireworks display.

Inverleith Park – A family viewing area will be set up in Inverleith Park. It’s a bit further away from the action but entry to the park is completely free. Large screens and speakers will be in place and will show a live stream of the orchestra. This is a good place to go if you have younger children; however, the atmosphere just isn’t the same as being up close to the fireworks.

Scott Monument – The area around Scott Monument is usually a popular spot to watch the fireworks concert. There’s no price to pay, but it will be very busy. If you don’t get there early, your view may be obstructed by nearby trees.

Arthur’s Seat - Standing atop Arthur's Seat can give you a great view of the fireworks display. It's a popular spot for photographers and students. Just remember that you'll have to do the descent (unless you take a car and manage to find after the fireworks concert in the dark. Make sure to wear plenty of warm clothes. Not a recommended spot to go with young children.

Salisbury Crags - Another popular spot to watch the fireworks. Roadside parking is likely to fill up quickly, so get there as early as possible. Remember to wear warm clothes. It will be dark, so it's not recommended for families with young children.

Castle Terrace – Lots of people gather on Castle Terrace to watch the fireworks. Watching from here provides you with some of the closest views of the fireworks. You’ll also have nothing to pay to watch from here.

The Mound – This is another good spot to watch the fireworks from and you won’t have to pay anything. A crowd usually gathers here, so expect it to be quite busy. Don’t go here if you want to have plenty of space while watching the fireworks.

Heights Restaurant – Our very own Heights Restaurant at Apex International Hotel offers stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and the fireworks display. Watch the spectacular fireworks display and enjoy a delicious meal in the comfort of Heights Restaurant. You can view the menu here.

 

If you know of any other good vantage spots, please let us know by commenting below, or by contacting us on Twitter or Facebook.

Virgin Money Fireworks Concert

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Virgin Money Fireworks Concert (1 September 2013)

Edinburgh’s International Festival will be brought to a spectacular end with a Fireworks Concert from Virgin Money. The Fireworks Concert always manages to attract a large gathering. Last year, it is thought around a quarter of a million people watched the fireworks from various vantage points across the city. As the Edinburgh Evening News puts it, it will be “a truly explosive evening”.

Edinburgh - Perfect Place for a fireworks concert

The fireworks performance will start at 9.00pm on Sunday 1st September 2013. You’ll need a ticket if you want to watch the fireworks from Princes Street Gardens. The entrance to the Gardens will open at 7.00pm, but if you buy a priority ticket, you’ll be allowed to enter the gardens through Kings Stable Road entrance from 6.30pm. We recommend getting there as early as possible to ensure you get a good position to watch the fireworks from.

The fireworks will be set off from Edinburgh Castle, lighting both the sky and the castle with a myriad of colours. The concert itself will last around 45 minutes. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra will be providing the music while the fireworks have been specially choreographed by the international fireworks artists Pyrovision. Grant Stott, the Forth One presenter, will be on hand to introduce the fireworks and a lucky competition winner will get the pleasure of being the fireworks starter.

.In total, over 100,000 fireworks, tonnes of explosives and hundreds of firing sequences will be used to enhance the musical performance provided by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

You’ll be able to watch the fireworks from various vantage points across the city. Our very own Heights Restaurant at the Apex International hotel has a stunning view of Edinburgh Castle, making it the perfect place to dine and take in the occasion.

We’ve created a map detailing some of the best spots to watch the fireworks from. Read our ‘Where to Watch the Edinburgh Fireworks Guide’ blog post and pick the spot that’s best for you.

Have a blast saying goodbye to the summer festivals!


Location: Princes Street Gardens

Date: 1st September 2013

Website: eif.co.uk/virginmoneyfireworks

Edinburgh September 2013

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What's on in Edinburgh in September 2013?

Event of the Month

 

225x120-Blog-Edinburgh-August-2013

Virgin Money Fireworks Concert (1st September 2013)

This year’s International Festival will be brought to an end with a spectacular fireworks concert. With Edinburgh Castle sitting in the background, there really is no better place to witness a fireworks concert. The fireworks will be specially choreographed to the dynamic music provided by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Heights Restaurant at Apex International Hotel offers stunning views of the castle and fireworks. Read more in our Virgin Money Fireworks Concert blog post.

Location: Princes Street Gardens

Website: eif.co.uk


Miles for Macmillan (1st September 2013)

Take part in Miles for Macmillan this year and help raise valuable money for charities. The walk will be taking place in the beautiful setting of Holyrood Park, giving you the opportunity to marvel at the stunning extinct volcano that is Arthur’s Seat. The walk will take you past three beautiful lakes teaming with wildlife and will take you in a loop, around the historic village of Duddingston.

Location: Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, EH8 8AS

Website: macmillan.org.uk


Hairspray – September (3rd – 14th September 2013)

The famous West End musical comedy, Hairspray, comes to Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre (close to Apex Waterloo Place Hotel) this September. Mark Benton, star of various stage and screen productions, plays matriarch Edna in the show (John Travolta famously played Edna in the Hairspray movie). Newcomer Freya Sutton will play the big-hearted teen heroine Tracy Turnblad. Don’t miss your chance to see the musical comedy of the year.

Location: Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre, EH1 3AA

Website: atgtickets.com


Richard Dawkins: The Making of a Scientist (16th September 2013)

Join Richard Dawkins in the Royal Lyceum Theatre on the 16th September for what promises to be a fascinating evening. Dawkins will be discussing his memoir ‘An Appetite for Wonder’. Find out more about the life of the world’s most famous atheist and learn who and what inspired him to become the man he is today.

Location: Royal Lyceum Theatre, 30b Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AX.

Website: lyceum.org.uk


Edinburgh Doors Open Day (22nd – 23rd September 2013)

Don’t miss your chance to explore some of Edinburgh’s most architecturally and culturally significant buildings. Best of all…you’ll be able to explore them for free! Explore some of the city’s heritage landmarks as well as some of its newest architecture. If there’s a particular historic building you’ve wanted to visit or maybe you’ve just wanted to learn more about the city’s architecture… now’s your chance!

Location: Across Edinburgh

Website: eventsedinburgh.org.uk


Ready Steady Cook Live (25th September 2013)

The beloved cooking show is coming to Edinburgh! Television chef Lesley Waters will be live on stage battling against a guest television chef, in what is guaranteed to be a night to remember. Will it be the ‘Green Pepper’ or the ‘Red Tomato’ that comes out victorious? You’ll have to wait until 25th September to find out.

Location: Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre

Website: atgtickets.com


An Evening with Ray Mears – (29th September 2013)

Spend an evening with Ray Mears at King’s Theatre in Edinburgh. Ray has become a recognizable figure throughout the world as he has spent the last two decades traveling it. He is an authority on the subject of bushcraft and survival and has experienced surviving in some of the most uninhabitable and harshest environments this planet has to offer. Let Ray share some of this knowledge with you.

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

Website: edtheatres.com


Holyrood Park Archaeology Day (29th September 2013)

Holyrood Park will be opening up this September for a whole day dedicated to archaeology. The Historic Scotland Rangers Service will be on hand to explain the events of the Iron Age. You’ll have an opportunity to meet characters from the past and you could even try your hands at some of the Iron Age skills. Do you have what it takes to be an Iron Age human?

Location: Holyrood Park, Edinburgh

Website: list.co.uk


Memory Walk 2013 (21st September 2013)

Alzheimer Scotland will be partnering with Bupa Carehomes to put together this year’s Memory Walk. If you’re looking for a family day out this September, then look no further. There will be plenty of activities for the whole family. There will be face painting, home baking and lots of musical entertainment to enjoy. You can show your support for this great cause by either registering for the walk or by bringing your kids along to take part in some family fun.

Location: Dalkeith Country Park

Website: skiddle.com


Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo (27th – 29th September 2013)

Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo comes direct from Australia this September. It’s the perfect chance for children to get up close and personal with various prehistoric animals and the perfect opportunity to learn more about these prehistoric beasts. Children will be able to watch wide-eyed from a safe distance, or they can get right up close to the animals…if they’re brave enough, that is.

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

Website: dinosaurzoolive.com

Dundee Rotary Oktoberfest

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Dundee Rotary Oktoberfest (26 - 28 September)

Traditionally, Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival celebrating all things to do with beer which is held annually in Munich, Germany. More than 6 million people attend the event in Germany each year. Smaller Oktoberfest celebrations take place right across the globe and Dundee just so happens to be one of those places.

The Rotary Club of Dundee will be holding Dundee’s own Oktoberfest celebration in the stunning venue of the Discovery Quay (home of the RSS Discovery and a short walk from Apex City Quay Hotel). The three day event will run each evening from 6.00pm. Tickets to Dundee Oktoberfest cost £10, and your first drink is included in the cost of the ticket. You will need to be over 18 to attend the event and ID may be requested.


A variety off beers will be available at Dundee Oktoberfest

During the event you’ll be able to indulge in some of the finest authentic German food, listen to some brilliant live bands and of course, taste a variety of Real Ales and Continental Biers. Each evening, there will be performances from three live bands, including the likes of ‘Unknown on Sunday’, ‘Jack Rabbit Slims’ and ‘The Full Tin Tin’. Beers that will be on offer have still to be confirmed, but we are told that the selection will be as good, if not exceed, last year’s selection. Expect favourites from the likes of Belhaven and Thistly Cross to feature.

Dundee Oktoberfest was highly successful last year, so it’s expected that they will be forced to limit sales of tickets this year. If you want to guarantee your spot among the food, beer and music, make sure to grab your tickets in advance. It’s unlikely that there will be any tickets left to sell on the door.

Taking part in Dundee’s Oktoberfest is a great way to support local charities. All proceeds from the event will go to the Dundee Rotary Charity and from there it will be distributed to a variety of local charities and voluntary organisations.

Dundee September 2013

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What's on in Dundee in September 2013?


Event of the Month

Dundee Oktoberfest

Dundee Rotary Oktoberfest (26th - 28th September 2013)

The Rotary Club of Dundee will be presenting this year’s Oktoberfest celebrations on 28th September. The beer festival will feature some of the best up and coming live bands and of course some of the local favourites. In keeping with tradition, there will be some great authentic German food on offer and of course, a variety of Real Ales to quench your thirst. It takes place a short walk from Apex City Quay Hotel and all proceeds go to the Rotary Charity.

Location: Discovery Quay, Dundee.

Website: dundeerotaryoktoberfest.co.uk


The Lady Boys of Bangkok (1st September 2013)

The Lady Boys of Bangkok are back on tour with a fabulous new show and will be on stage in Dundee this September. Get ready for a night of dazzling sparkle with a host of new songs and comedy being performed. Get ready to listen to covers of famous artists such as Nicki Minaj and Whitney Houston.

‘The Lady Boys of Bangkok are simply the best cabaret floor-show you will see at the Fringe or anywhere else, they are simply fantastic!’ - Edinburgh Guide

Location: Caird Hall, DD1 4

Website: dundeebox.co.uk


Kirriemuir Festival of Traditional Music and Song (6th – 8th September 2013)

Get ready to experience three days of traditional Scottish music in the historical town of Kirriemuir. Listen to Scottish songs, from the popular to the lesser known, and enjoy the ceilidhs, concerts and competitions. If you’ve got a fan of traditional Scottish music in the family, it might just be the perfect treat for them. The festival will be taking place in various hotels and halls across the town.

Location: Various venues in Kirriemuir (near Dundee)

Website: dundeecity.gov.uk


9th World Hickory Open Championship (30th September – 2nd October 2013)

The Open isn’t the only international golfing event to happen in Scotland this year. The World Hickory Open is a two-day golfing event where golfers use hickory-shafted golf clubs, which are exact replicas of those used 100 years ago. Golfers will also be in attire similar to that worn in the early 20th century. The event will be played across 36 holes. Both amateur and professional golfers alike will be taking part.

Location: Montrose Golf Links - Medal Course (1562) and Monifieth-Ashludie Course (near Dundee)

Website: worldhickoryopen.com


Dundee Flower & Food Festival 2013 (6th – 8th September 2013)

The Dundee Flower & Food Festival has always managed to attract big crowds in recent years. It is the region’s biggest lifestyle event, which takes place across three days in September. At the event, you’ll find some of the best food, live entertainment and horticulture that Dundee has to offer. You’ll also not want to miss out on the opportunity of seeing some of your favourite TV celebrities. Entry is free for children under 16.

Location: Camperdown Country Park, DD2 4TF

Website: dundeeflowerandfoodfestival.com


Dundee Doors Open Days 2013 (14th – 15th September 2013)

On Doors Open Days you can gain access to fascinating buildings across the city free of charge. Some of the buildings will only be open once this year, so don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to visit them for free. A list of buildings that will be taking part in the Doors Open Day will be featured on the website listed below.

Location: Throughout Dundee

Website: doorsopendays.org.uk


St Petersburg String Quartet (27th September 2013)

The brilliant Russian ensemble, The St Petersburg String Quartet, will be in Dundee for their third time this September. The ensemble, who are now based in the United States, will be performing a variety of pieces, including pieces by two of their compatriots who were both born in St Petersburg. One of the highlights of the evening will be the performance of one of the great quartets of Franz Schubert.

Location: Marryat Hall, DD1 3BB

Website: visitscotland.com


Dundee Record, CD and Music Memorabilia Fair (29th September 2013)

Scotland’s longest running Music fair returns to Dundee this September. During the event you will be able to browse a selection of rare and collectible vinyl’s and CD’s from dealers who have travelled from all over of the UK. If you have any vinyl’s or CD’s that you would like to sell or get valued, bring them along and take advantage of the free valuation service and sell them at the best price.

Location: Marryat Hall, DD1 3BG

Website: dundeecity.gov.uk


Dundee Cyclathon 2013 (15th September 2013)

Whether you want to take part or just spectate, the Dundee Cyclathon is a great way to raise sponsorship for Radio Tay’s ‘Cash for Kids’ charity. If you’re reasonably fit and have a bike that won’t fall apart after a few miles, join in on the cycle around Dundee’s Green Circular Route and have fun raising money for charity.

Location: Camperdown Country Park

Website: rotary-ribi.org

London Fashion Week 2013

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London Fashion Week (13th - 17th September 2013)

This September is all about fashion with the focus on London fashion. The city opens its doors to the fashion world as the stunning Somerset House is transformed into Europe's most elite fashion and designer shopping hub.

London Fashion Week is one of the highest profile fashion events in the world and luckily for our guests, it's less than a 2 minute walk from the Apex Temple Court Hotel. Organised by the British Fashion Council, London Fashion Week truly puts London on the global stage for fashion, attracting over 5,000 visitors and celebrities galore.

 London Fashion Week

Style loving fashion lovers can get their fashion fix as over 100 of the country's most-loved designer brands showcase their autumn/ winter pieces including French Sole, Linda Farrow and Issa London. This incredible fashion week will allow attendees to shop designer collections giving away unbelievable discounts of up to 70% off retail price.

The world looks to London for its fashion-forward, radical designs and the capital has grown to become one of the world's leading style icons. For four fashion packed days, Somerset House will be booming with catwalk shows, pup-up shops, hair & beauty and will also showcase educational panels from leading industry experts.

It's not just Somerset house that will bring fashion fever to the city, many bars and restaurants will be hosting fashion themed events for you to check out. Make sure to enjoy a delicious cocktail or two at the Cambers Bar to help you feel like a true style icon.

If you consider yourself a fashionista, then The London Fashion Week is an event you do not want miss. Book your stay at Apex Temple Court Hotel and you'll be just a stone’s throw away from the world’s most glamorous crowds and the world's most anticipated designer shopping event of the season.


Location: Somerset House, London WC2R 1LA

Date: 12th - 17th September 2013

Website: londonfashionweekend.co.uk

London September 2013

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What's on in London in September 2013


Event of the Month

The London Fashion Week Catwalk

London Fashion Weekend (13th - 17th September 2013)

This September is all about fashion with the focus on London fashion. Somerset House will be transformed into Europe's most elite fashion and designer shopping hub. Don't miss your chance to see why the event puts London on the global stage for fashion. Previously, the event has attracted over 5,000 visitors. If you're mad for fashion, you'll not want to miss it.

Location: Somerset House, London WC2R 1LA

Website: londonfashionweekend.co.uk


Cake and Bake Show (13-15 September 2013)

For the first time, the world of baking has appeared in Vogue as the popularity of baking continues to grow. The exhibition will feature live demonstrations from celebrity speakers, hands-on classes, loads of market stalls and event competitions. This yummy event has something for everyone, whether you’re a foodie expert, a family with young children, a baking professional or a passionate cake-maker – it’s a show with all the right ingredients!

Location: Earls Court, London SW5 9TA

Website: thecakeandbakeshow.co.uk


Outdoor Cinema - The Birds (1 September 2013)

Make the most of the glorious UK sunshine and spend a summer's evening under the stars. Watch Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller The Birds on a big screen, located in the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park. Food and drink will be available on site or you can choose to bring your own picnic - fingers crossed for a dry evening.

Location: Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London NE1 4NU

Website: thelunacinema.com


London Wonderground (until 29th Sep 2013)

Roll-up, Roll-up! It's your last chance to experience the spectacular London Wonderground, a four-month long festival taking place at the Southbank Centre. The 2013 London Wonderground has an unbeatable line-up of cabaret, circus performances and family shows that are set to enchant and astonish. Look out for the quirky outdoor bars, sideshows and outdoor performances too.

Location: Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX

Website: londonwonderground.co.uk


Rod Stewart (20- 21 September 2013)

The rock legend himself will be performing his eagerly awaited 'Time' Tour at the O2, easily accessed from all our London Hotels. 2013 is a significant year for Rod, with his tour coinciding with the release of his first album of original songs in nearly two decades. In addition to the new songs from the new album, you can expect to see performances of his old classis, set to get everyone up on their feet.

Location: The O2, London SE10 0DX

Website: theo2.co.uk


Sir John Soane's Museum by Candlelight (3 Sep 2013)

Experience this free, exclusive event and take a tour around one of the most intriguing houses in London. Sir John was an devoted collector of antiques and works of art, including masterpieces by Canaletto, Turner and Hogarth. Now you get to see inside his Georgian townhouse and marvel at his artefacts from all over the world.

Location: Sir John Soane's Museum, London WC2A 3BP

Website: soane.org  


BBC Proms in the Park (7 Sep 2013)

Disappointed you missed tickets for 'Last Night of the Proms'? Not to worry as you can still be a part of the BBC Proms and experience 'Proms in the Park'. Join in with the last night of the proms celebrations, hosted by Sir Terry Wogan. The open-air concert will host the world-famous tenor Joseph Calleja, the BBC Concert Orchestra, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Craig Charles and more.

Location: Hyde Park, London WC2A 3BP

Website: royalalberthall.com


Open House Weekend - Bank of England (21 - 22 Sep 2013)

"Open House" is the city's biggest architectural celebration, giving the public an exclusive opportunity to see the inside of the London's most iconic buildings. Take a free minute tour around the country's central bank and explore areas that aren't usually open for the general public. Right on the doorstep of Apex London Wall, this is one unique tour not to be missed.

Location: Bank of England, London WC2A 3BP

Website: londonopenhouse.org


Puccini's "Turandot" (Selected dates in September 2013)

Located a short walk away from the Apex Temple Court Hotel, The Royal Opera House will be staging a production of Puccini's operatic 'Turandot'. Arguably one of the most impressive performances in The Royal Opera’s repertory, this production is set to transport audience members to a striking but savage world, as this dark and erotic fairytale is performed.

Location: Royal Opera House, London

Website: roh.org


The Great River Race (7 September 2013)

London's river marathon will once again take place this September and is set to catch the fancy of over 300 crews from all over the world. This race attracts everyone from the serious and competitive sportsmen and women, to those who enjoy fancy dress, fun and charity stunts.

Location: From Millwall Slipway to Ham, London E14 3QS

Website: greatriverrace.co.uk


Sleep Overnight on the Golden Hinde (28 Sep 2013)

For one special night only, you can become part of Sir Francis Drake's crew and spend a night on the iconic Golden Hinde. Be prepared to step back in time, as you dress up in Tudor clothes and carry out your commands giving for the evening. Enjoy a Tudor snacks, dinner and breakfast and hope for a good night's sleep as you settle down and sleep by the cannons.

Location: Golden Hinde, London SE1 9DG

Website: goledenhinde.com  

Mary, Queen of Scots - National Museum of Scotland

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This month's guest post is by Bruce Blacklaw. He talks about the Mary, Queen of Scots exhibition, now showing at the National Museum of Scotland.

Showing only at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, Mary, Queen of Scots brings together the largest ever exhibition of portraits, documents, jewellery, textiles, furniture and other objects connected to arguably the most famous Scotswoman in history.


Mary Queen of Scots - Blairs Memorial Portrait

Mary’s years in France and her reign and life in Scotland are explored, as are the fateful events which led to her downfall. The murder of Mary’s second husband, Lord Darnley, took place at the Kirk o’Field lodgings, a matter of yards from the gallery in which the exhibition is staged.

Although the truth of the matter was never established, Mary was deemed guilty of plotting the murder and, after a controversial third marriage to the Earl of Bothwell, imprisonment, escape and civil war, she was forced into abdication and fled to England.

Mary was imprisoned for the next 19 years of her life until, eventually, she was implicated in another plot, this time to kill Queen Elizabeth. This sealed her fate and led to her execution at Fotheringay Castle in 1587.

The story is told through over 200 remarkable objects, from Mary’s earliest letter, written to her mother Mary of Guise, to the warrant for her execution, signed by Elizabeth. The exhibition features portraits including the famous Blairs Memorial Portrait and Mary in White Mourning by Francois Clouet from the Royal Collection, as well as the Kirk o’Field sketch, drawn by an English spy in 1567, and the Marian Hanging, a tapestry that Mary worked on while in captivity.

Mary, Queen of Scots is at the National Museum of Scotland until 17 November. The exhibition is supported by investment managers Baillie Gifford, and there is an accompany programme of events. For further information, visit www.nms.ac.uk/mary.