Apex Hotels Blog

I'm Not An Ugly Duckling!

 Permanent link

This Apex Duck story was written and sent to us by Joy Kirby-Tibbits. We enjoyed reading it so much we thought we would share it with you.

I'm Not An Ugly Duckling by Joy Kirby-Tibbets

Apex Duck Story

(With apologies to Hans Christian Andersen)

Once upon a time a lady went to London with her husband to celebrate their wedding anniversary. They stayed at the Apex London Wall Hotel.

Apex London Wall Hotel

And it was there, in the bathroom, that she found me.

There I am in the bathroom

The lady asked me who I was and I said, “My name is Apex and I think I am an ugly duckling.” I was sitting on a card which told the lady she could take me home if she would like to. She said, “Ugly ducklings grow up to be swans, do you think you are going to be a swan?” I told the lady that I had seen two swans in the bedroom next door and thought they might be my Mummy and Daddy. She went into the bedroom and sure enough, there were two swans on the bed!

Swans on the bed

She laughed and said, “They’re not real, they are only rolled up towels but I know just the place to go to find out if you really are going to grow up to be a swan, would you like to go?”

I nodded and she popped me into her bag.

All ready to go

A few days later the lady said we were going to Dorset to visit the Abbotsbury Swannery where over 800 swans live. The Swannery was established by Benedictine Monks who built a monastery in the 1040’s. The monastery was destroyed in 1539 but the Swannery Sanctuary still exists today.

I was very excited and jumped in the car.

Let's go!

I had to travel in that bag again, but I didn’t mind, I was very excited.

 Off to the swannery

Soon we were at the Swannery.

We're here!

It was feeding time and no-one wanted to talk to me.


I was hungry too but I don’t like eating out of a bucket and I really only like toast.

No thanks. Toast for me.

I asked if I had hatched out of an egg.

What a big egg.

No-one could tell me. So I asked a Mummy Swan if I was a cygnet (a cygnet is a baby swan) but she said cygnets have fluffy, brown feathers.

I'm not a cygnet?

It was clear to me that I did not have fluffy, brown feathers and I began to feel very, very sad.

The lady told me not to be upset and that she had an idea which might cheer me up. We got back in the car and went to our hotel.

Back to the hotel we go

I was tired, hungry and dusty. The lady said she knew just the thing to make me feel better.

First I had a bath.

Just what I needed.

Then I had some toast. Mmmm! Toast!


Then I got dressed up!

Look at me!

As you can see, I may not be a cygnet, I may not grow up to be a swan but I am certainly not an ugly duckling!

Dundee Literary Festival

 Permanent link

Dundee Literary Festival (24 – 27 October)

Do you consider yourself to be a book lover? If so, Dundee may just be holding the perfect festival for you this October.

On 24th October the Dundee Literary Festival will kick off for 4 days of talks, workshops, book signings, music and parties. The events will be taking place in both the Dalhousie Building and Bonar Hall, which are just a short walk from Apex City Quay Hotel. This will the 3rd year that the event has taken place in Dundee. If the last two years are anything to go by, book lovers will not want to miss out. A total of 30 events will be taking place at this year’s festival.

Enjoy a range of talks and workshops at Dundee Literary Festival

The programme for the festival has just recently been announced. Some of the highlights of the festival can be found below:


William McIlvanney – Saturday 26 October 7pm

The popular Scottish author will be reading and discussing his Laidlaw trilogy. Mr McIlvanney is often regarded at “the father of ‘Tartan Noir’, and his famous works include Laidlaw, Docherty and The Papers of Tony Veitch. The author is known for his vivid portrayals of 1970’s Glasgow.

John Whaite – Saturday 26 October 3pm

John Whaite was the winner of the third series of the popular show The Great British Bake Off. His first book includes the secrets to some of his most delicious recipes. Dishes featured in the book include Self-Saucing Chocolate Mud Pud and Pork, and Apple and Thyme Sausage Rolls. He will be signing his book at this year’s Literary Festival. If you’re a fan of the show, what better time to meet the winner of it, and learn some of his secrets while you’re at it?

Katherine Grainger – Saturday 26 October 8pm

Katherine Grainger is the 2012 Olympic rowing gold medalist. She has won a total of four Olympic medals (1 gold and 3 silver) as well as six World Championships Gold medals. Grainger has managed to accomplish all this during her sporting career while also managing to continue with her academic studies. Recently she was awarded a PhD in Law from Kings College London. She will be discussing her new autobiography in which she details both her sporting and academic accomplishments.


This is just a taster of the events that the Dundee Literary Festival will be offering. To see the full programme of events visit dundee.ac.uk/literarydundee/subject/.

Location: Dalhouise Building, Duniversity of Dundee and Bonar Hall, Perth Road, Dundee , DD1 4HN

Date: 24th – 27th October

Website: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/literarydundee/

Dundee October 2013

 Permanent link

What's on in Dundee in October 2013

Event of the month

It's more than just books

Dundee Literary Festival (24 – 27 October)

Attend the Dundee Literary Festival this October to meet some internationally renowned authors, local names and children’s authors. You can even attend the Comic Conference which will feature a selection of graphic novelists. The festival was originally set up in 2007 and has been put on annually since then. The festival caters to both Dundonians and visitors to the city. It takes place in Bonar Hall, just a short walk from Apex City Quay Hotel. If you’re a lover of literature, you’ll love this festival. Read more in our Dundee Literary Festival blog post.

Location: Bonar Hall, Perth Road, Dundee , DD1 4HN

Website: dundee.ac.uk

The Drifters (4 October)

The soul kings, The Drifters, land in Dundee on their UK tour and they’re celebrating their 55th anniversary. They’ll be playing both their classic hits from the last 6 decades and their inspirational new material. There have been over 65 vocalists in the history of The Drifters and the current line-up consists of Michael Williams, Pierre Herelle, Ryan King and Carlton Powell.Book your tickets before they're gone.

Location: Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BB

Website: ents24.com

Hiraki Sawa (5 October – 12 January)

Hiraki Sawa is the Japan-born artist who is now based in London. His art has captivated audiences around the world with dream-like video works where a simple bedroom is turned into a bustling airport or even as simple as tiny figures walking across the washing machine. Although his art style may not appeal to everyone, if you’re a fan, make sure not to miss the exhibition which will be on show at Dundee Contemporary Arts over the holiday period.

Location: Dundee Contemporary Arts, 152 Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4DY

Website: dca.org.uk

Jack Dee Live at Caird Hall (10 October)

After a six year absence from stand-up, Jack Dee is back with his side-splitting performances taking place in Caird Theatre in October. During his absence, Jack has been busy appearing on numerous TV shows including Qi, Have I Got News for You and 8 out of 10 Cats. When asked why he was touring again? Jack replied with ‘I want to spend less time with my family’. A taster for what’s to come in his performance.

Location: Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BB

Website: cairdhall.co.uk

Dundee Mountain Ceilidh (4 October)

Dundee Mountain Club will be holding a Celidh onboard the impressive HMS Unicorn this October. The HMS Unicorn is located in Dundee City Quay, which Apex City Quay Hotel overlooks. It looks set to be a fantastic fun-filled evening, in support of a great cause, with all profits going to Tayside Mountain Rescue. Tickets to the ceilidh cost only £15 for adults and £7 for children under 15.A hot buffet is included in the ticket price.

Location: HMS Unicorn, Victoria Dock, Dundee, DD1 3BP

Website: dundeemountainclub.org.uk

Abba Mania (25 October)

Abba Mania is the world’s number one touring Abba production. The production celebrates the music of Abba in a respectful and enjoyable way, which is sure to revive the memories of the many who experienced Abba on the radio. If you’re an Abba fan, don’t miss your chance to hear favourites such as ‘Mama Mia’, ‘Dancing Queen’ and ‘Super Trooper’ being performed. Don’t worry….you will be expected to sing along.

Location: Whitehall Theatre, 12 Bellfield Street, Dundee, DD1 5JA

Website: dundeecity.gov.uk

Halloween Howling (31 October)

Get ready to celebrate Halloween at the scariest party in Dundee. Templetown Woods will be the spooky venue for the party, and it’s set to send shivers down your spine. Will you be brave enough to try the torch lit trail? Try your best to hold in the gasps as you experience the ghostly gags around the camp fire. The perfect Halloween treat for your children this October. Tickets for the event are £3 per person.

Location: Templeton Woods Visitors Centre, Templeton Woods, Dundee, DD2 4TF

Website: dundeecity.gov.uk

Sondergard Conducts Brahms Four (24 October 2013)

Thomas Sondergard will be conducting Mendelsohn’s Concerto Piano No 1, Haydn’s Symphony No 99 and Brahm’s Symphony No 4 featuring the brilliant pianist, Dejan Lazic. Thomas Sondergard is the Principal Conductor of BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Principal Guest Conductor of Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Yes, Brahm’s Fourth is a tragedy, but it’s a tragedy where the hero goes down fighting, and this comes across in the performance. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Location: Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BB

Website: cairdhall.co.uk

Essence of Ireland (29th October)

The popular smash hit show Essence of Ireland will be performed in Caird Hall this October. The show tells the Irish story through a mixture of music, song and dance. St Patrick’s Day may be celebrated once a year around the world, but in Essence of Ireland it is celebrated in every show! Songs that feature include favourites such as “Galway Girl” and “Danny Boy”. Get ready to celebrate all things Irish.

Location: Caird Hall, City Square, Dundee, DD1 3BB

Website: essenceofireland.co.uk

Close Fest

 Permanent link

Close Fest – Ten Years of the Real Mary King’s Close (31 October)

This year, Mary King’s Close will be celebrating 10 years since it opened its doors to tourists. The Close reopened to the public back in April 2003, and today it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Mary King’s Close is an area of underground streets located under the Old Town area of Edinburgh.

The 10 year celebrations will close with ‘Close Fest’. This week long, spooky Halloween party promises to provide a mixture of comedy, cake, live music and, of course, a scare or two thrown in for good measure.

Toys left in Little Annie's room

The close is named after Mary King, who was a prominent businesswoman in the area in the 1630’s. Her father, Arthur King owned a few properties in the close in the 17th century. The Royal Exchange now lies on top of the close.

Back in the 17th century, the streets of Edinburgh were filthy, with open sewers running down the middle of the street, and rubbish piling up on street corners. The sewerage ran into the old Nor’ Loch which is now the location of Princes Street Gardens.

The close is thought by many to be the most haunted place in Edinburgh. The ghost of a girl, ‘Little Annie’, is said to have scared the wits out a Japanese psychic when she visited in 1992. Many tourists now leave toys in Annie’s room, giving her something to play with when the lights go down and she’s left alone in the close…or is she?

In the past, the close consisted of high-rising tenement buildings, with buildings reaching over seven storeys in height. The upper levels of these buildings were demolished to make way for the new chambers which would sit at street level with the other buildings.

Look forward to exploring and uncovering more about the dark tales and strange paranormal goings-on of the close at Close Fest this October.

Location: The Real May King’s Close. 2 Warriston’s Close, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PG

Date: 31 October 2013

Website: list.co.uk

Edinburgh October 2013

 Permanent link

What’s On in Edinburgh in October 2013?

Event of the Month

The Real Mary King's Close

Close Fest – Ten Years of the Real Mary King’s Close (31 October)

It’s been 10 years since Mary King’s Close first opened its doors to brave tourists. To celebrate this occasion, the Close will be hosting a week-long spooky party. The party will include everything a good party needs – comedy, cake, live music and of course… some scary fun. The perfect treat for all the brave-hearted people out there. Read more in our Close Fest blog post.

Location: The Real May King’s Close. 2 Warriston’s Close, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PG

Website: list.co.uk

Scottish International Storytelling Festival (18 – 27 October)

Join in on live storytelling performances, talks and panel discussions this October at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival. The festival takes place at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh. The events will take place over 10 days and will allow you to experience both traditional and contemporary storytelling from some of the country’s most influential storytellers.

Location: Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR

Website: edinburghfestivals.co.uk

Oktoberfest (9 – 11 October)

Get ready to experience some of the best German beer, food, music and an atmosphere to match at this year’s Edinburgh Oktoberfest. Help make Oktoberfest Edinburgh’s party of the year. This event, celebrating everything to do with beer, will take place in Princes Street Gardens, right in the heart of the city and only a short walk from Apex Waterloo Place Hotel. Tickets are going fast, with Saturday’s tickets already sold out. If you want to be part of the biggest party of the year, you’ll need to be quick to snap up the last few tickets.

Location: Princes Street Gardens West (Red Square)

Website: edinburgh-oktoberfest.co.uk

Crime and Punishment at the Lyceum Theatre (22 October- 9 November)

Chris Hannan is the person behind the stage adaption of Crime and Punishment, Dostoyevsky’s literary masterpiece. Don’t miss your chance to see one of the greatest novels ever, being brought to life in this theatrical production. The play will be on show in the Lyceum Theatre for two and a half weeks in October and November.

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

Website: lyceum.org.uk

Edinburgh World Justice Festival (12 – 27 October)

Edinburgh World Justice Festival returns this year with a programme jam packed with inspiring events. The festival was set up after the Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh during the G20 meeting, back in 2005. The aim of the festival is to raise the profile of international justice and development issues through a series of talks and events. If you’re in Edinburgh this October, make sure you don’t miss this.

Location: Various venues throughout Edinburgh

Website: ewjf.org.uk

Tesco Wine Fair (26 – 27 October)

At the Tesco Wine Fair you’ll have the opportunity to taste from a selection of over 250 wines, from all across the world. A variety of workshops will be held during the event. These workshops will allow you to talk to wine experts and learn a bit more about the wine you’re enjoying. There will also be Wine Walks taking place. Different experts will take small groups around the fair, and will give you a chance to experience wines with your specific interests in mind.

Location: EICC, Morrison Street, Edinburgh. EH3 8EE

Website: tescowinefair.com

The Lion King Musical (from 11 October)

The award winning musical ‘The Lion King’ will be in Scotland for the holiday season. You’ll have to go to the Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre if you want to catch the musical in Scotland, as it’ll be the only place where it’s performed. The musical is based on the 1994 movie of the same name, and is now even more popular than the movie. Join the other 70 million fans who have already seen the musical and get your tickets before they’re gone. Also consider our great value Theatre package deal which you can read more about here.

Location: Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre, 18-22 Greenside Ln, Edinburgh

Website: atgtickets.com

Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest (20 October)

Do you think you’re fit enough to take on Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest? Why not put yourself to the test. Last year, a total of 3100 Scotsmen and women stepped up to the challenge. The course starts in Princes Street Gardens and takes you “up, down and all over Edinburgh”. A beer tent will be set up in Princes Street Gardens, allowing you to enjoy a refreshing drink after surviving the unforgiving course.

Location: Starting at Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

Website: mhsurvival.co.uk

Rewind to the 70s Concert (26 October)

The biggest 70’s night of the decade is happening in Edinburgh this October. Join Rewind to the 70s for an entertainment filled evening featuring Alvin Stardust, The Rubettes and Slade. The concert has been set up as a charity event to help raise money in aid of the National Autistic Society. Take a trip back to the 70’s and know that you’ll be helping support a great cause.

Location: Assembly Hall, Mound Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2LX

Website: rewindtothe70s.co.uk

Samhuinn Fire Festival (31 October)

Gather on the Royal Mile this October for a festival of fire, drumming, street theatre, dance, costumed performers and procession, in celebration of the Celtic New Year, marking the end of summer and welcoming the onset of winter. Samhuinn is the original Halloween celebrated by the Celts of ancient days. In 2012 over 6,000 people gathered to watch the festival’s torch lit procession down the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is just a short walk from both Apex City Hotel and Apex International Hotel. Attendance is by donation.

Location: The Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Website: beltanefiresociety.wordpress.com

Halloween in London(1)

 Permanent link

Halloween in London (31st October)

It’s that time of the year again and the fright fest of Halloween is upon us. This October will witness events happening all over the city, including scary club nights, spine-chilling tours, sinister West End performances and, of course, crazy fancy dress, where the city celebrates the scariest night of the year in a very flamboyant style. With its haunted towers, harrowing tales, eerie ghost walks, gloomy dungeons and bloodthirsty history, there is no better place to spend Halloween than in London.


Explore the new home for The London Dungeon which is bigger, better, bolder and a whole lot scarier. The eerie scream of tortured souls will leave you shivering whilst Traitor, the boat ride, will take you to hell and back. Be prepared to feel your blood run cold and for all hairs to stand on edge this Halloween as the London Dungeon reveals its terrifying event. Or check out Photophobia, the extreme scare Halloween event at the London Bridge Experience, and be prepared to be scared senseless!

If it's a bit of nightlife scare you are after than the 1 Big Night Out Halloween Zombie Pub Crawl is for you. From the bizarre and outrageous, to the extravagant and wild, the 1 Big Night Out pub crawl is a pub crawl, run by a group of expert pub crawl guides all pros in partying. The zombie pub crawl covers off five scare fest venues from trendy, quirky bars to world famous nightclubs, so there is something for everyone.

Experience the famous Jack the Ripper Tour this Halloween and enjoy our guest discount, giving you £1 off the ticket price. Walk the steps of London’s most famous serial killer and revel in this frightening tour, located on the doorstep of Apex City of London.

No matter what you are looking for, there is no shortage of thrills and chills to entertain you this year. Be entertained with our Apex Halloween celebrations at our hotels and make sure you visit London this Halloween .... if you dare!

Location: All around London

Date: 31st October 2013

London October 2013

 Permanent link

What's On in London in October 2013?

Event of the Month

Get ready for a spooky Halloween.

Halloween in London (31st October 2013)

It’s that time of the year again and the fright fest of Halloween is upon us. This October will witness events happening all over the city, including scary club nights, spine-chilling tours, sinister West End performances and, of course, crazy fancy dress, where the city celebrates the scariest night of the year in a very flamboyant style. Read more in our Halloween in London blog post.

Location: All around London

Oktoberfest in London (25th Sep - 26th October 2013)

This October will see the iconic Bavarien Beerhouse celebrate its 10th year of bringing Oktoberfest to London. With two venues (Old Street near Apex London Wall and Tower Hill by Apex City of London), this five week celebration is set to bring live entertainment, freshly tapped German beer, huge Stein glasses and of course the traditional Lederhosn dressed waitresses every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

Location: Bavarien Beerhouse, London EC1V 2GH

Website: bavarian-beerhouse.co.uk

Dance Umbrella (1 - 13 October 2013)

Experience a primary dance festival which is jam packed with a ten-day program of contemporary dance. Dance Umbrella is shaped by the choreographer Jonathan Burrows and Betsy Gregory and is hosted in the purpose built performing arts centre at Central Saint Martin's College. Showcasing unique and exciting new talent, as well as some old classic, this is one for all dance lovers to attend.

Location: Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London N1C 4AA

Website: danceumbrella.co.uk

Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life (until 20th October 2013)

Until the 20th October, you can observe Lowry's work and the Painting of Modern Life. Just a stone throw from the Apex Temple Court, the Tate Britain presents a major exhibition of landscapes by the greatly loved British painter. This exhibition at the Tate is definitely worth seeing and is the first of its kind to be held in London since Lowry's death.

Location: Tate Britain, London SW1P 4RG

Website: tate.org.uk

The Scandinavia Show (12 - 13 October 2013)

Scandinavia contains some of the most stunning and chic destinations in the world, and now you can experience a slice of the Nordic spirit at this London annual show. Tobacco Dock will be packed with Danish food, Finnish music, Swedish dancing and much more. Scandinavia is residence to a lot of captivating natural beauties, including Norway's fjords, Iceland's geothermal landscape and of course the Northern Lights!

Location: Tobacco Dock, London E12 2SF

Website: scandinaviashow.co.uk  

London Restaurant Festival (1-15 October 2013)

The London Restaurant Festival celebrates anything and everything to do with food, from Michelin starred restaurants to neighbourhood bistros. This festival showcases a vast variety of events that includes over 800 restaurants from around London. The events are focused on 'restaurant-hopping' with Graze, Gourmet Odysseys, Tapas Tours, and much more - all a celebration of London's flourishing restaurant scene.

Location: The old Vic Tunnels, London SE1 7XB

Website: londonrestaurantfestival.com

Ski & Snowboard Show (30th - 3 Nov 2013)

Embrace the season change and join in with all the fun at the Ski & Snowboard show in London. Looking for your ideal ski or snowboard holiday for the 2013/2014 winter season, then this is definitely the show for you. The show is a great family day out .. after all, where else can you ski, ice skate, meet huskies and even pet a reindeer!

Location: Earls Court, London SW5 9TA

Website: skiandsnowboard.co.uk

Art under Attack: Histories of Iconoclasm in Britain (2 October - 5th January 2014)

Overlooking the River Thames, the iconic Tate Modern is located within walking distance to Apex Temple Court Hotel. This October will see the launch of a new exhibition 'Art Under Attack' which will take you on a journey of the history of attacks on art in Britain. The thought provoking display illustrates how political, religious, moral and aesthetic disagreement has become platforms for assaulting art.

Location: Tate Britain, London SW1P 4RG

Location: tate.org.uk

London Cocktail Week (7 - 13 October 2013)

Love the film Cocktail and always wanted to master the rhythm and style of creating drinks like Tom Cruise - then London Cocktail week is for you. For one week, over 100 cocktail bars across London offers all cocktail lovers pop-up events, tours, tasting sessions, master classes and delicious cocktail parties. Cocktail lovers simply have to purchase a wristband and then you can be treated to a number of promotions and customised drinks.

Location: London

Website: diffordsguide.com

Pop Art Design (22nd October - 9th Feb 2014)

Exhibiting at the Barbican, just around the corner from Apex London Wall, Pop Art Design will be displayed as the first all encompassing exhibition to explore the colourful, brash and playful world of Pop Art. Combining more than 150 works from over 70 artists and designers from across the globe the exhibition contains iconic works from artists such as Andy Warhol, Joe Tilson and Judy Chicago.

Location: Barbican Centre, London EC2Y 8DS

Website: barbican.org.uk

Wimbledon Bookfest (Until 13th October 2013)

Whether is a certain sporting championship, budding theatrical scene or this literary event, Wimbledon always punches above its cultural weight. This annual festival offers plenty in the way of bookish fun for the whole family. The event will feature vintage craft activities, storytelling and an all star line-up including Dan Sow, Michael Pain and of course The Wombles!

Location: Various locations in Wimbledon, London SW19 5NR

Website: wimbledonbookfest.org