Guest post by Catherine Trueman
With so much to do in London I always like to have a jam-packed itinerary and make the most of a weekend break. I’ve become a regular Londoner lately, due to the enticing acts at the O2 Arena and I just couldn’t say no to another expedition!
I arrived into London after a short and snappy 2 hour East Coast ride; my favourite Geordie lass in-tow, all set to have a propa lush time. We promptly checked into The Imperial Hotel in Russell Square, had a quick freshen up in our rooms, and were then ready to hit the shops! After a little spending spree on Oxford Street, we arrived back at the hotel in time for a complimentary 3 course meal…including roast chicken with the trimmings and heavenly mandarin cheesecake (“2 night stays receive a 3 course meal on the first night” Winner!) I would recommend The Imperial Hotel for those wanting an adequate 3* in a central location and I was pleasantly surprised by the clean, comfortable and modestly spacious rooms.
My Saturday night was devoted to discovering the delights of London’s affluent Mayfair. I soon found those delights included a £9.80 glass of ice topped with vodka/ soda and lime. I wasn’t the only customer at the bar to keep my jaw from dropping…but with the DJ playing my favourite tunes and party people around me, I had a cracking night. If you’re planning on venturing to Soho after tube hours, central London is well catered by night buses. Alternatively, if you haven’t spent all your pennies inside a bar, grab a taxi!
Feeling fresh on Sunday morning, it was time for a spot of sightseeing. Hearing reports about the one year anniversary of ‘The Shard’ made me realise I should probably get around to viewing London from new inspiring heights! The View from The Shard attraction offers incredible sights at almost twice the height of any other building in London – it’s the tallest building in Western Europe I do believe! We had a glorious day to look out from the viewing platform and were pleased to have picked an early time slot as the attraction soon gets busy after 10am. I heard the peak time slots for booking were first thing in the morning and last at night, the latter obviously in order to get the best night-time illumination shots. After I picked out a sparkling silver ‘The View from the Shard’ diamante pencil in the merchandise shop (those marketing fiends!) we had another afternoon of exploration before Taylor Swift hit the O2 Arena stage. Highlights involved touring the tourist haven of Covent Garden with its many boutiques, enjoying Iced Coffee whilst people watching in Leicester Square, and being mesmerised by the paintings in the National Portrait Gallery – including a truly remarkable portrait of Dame Kelly Holmes; go see it!
Now for the main event – Swifty! Young girls gathered in their droves for a glimpse of Taylor Swift on stage at The O2. Many fans were beholding LED lights reading out messages including ‘RED’ (album name), ‘22’ (song name), and ‘13’ (Taylor’s favourite number – news to me!). The fans notably adore the pop music star’s dress sense…Hot pants, tick. Red Lipstick, tick. Bowler Hat, TICK. The Vamps set the crowd going with their rendition of The Killers’ ‘Mr Brightside’, as well as storming hit singles, ‘Can we dance’ and ‘Wild Heart’. The young lads were clearly thrilled to have been given the chance to perform at the Taylor Swift tour; gushing that she had been there inspiration from the beginning…aw shucks!
Along with a few tracks from her first album, Taylor played a run through of the RED album, accompanied by enough outfit changes to make Harry Styles blush and plenty of ‘deep messages’ to her fans. Taylor described how her album symbolises a range of emotions from jealousy, to love; danger to bitterness, she’s got a whole heap of feelings to share. At times the performance involved too much lacklustre acting and not enough singing. Certain highlights for me included the quirky duet with special guest Sam Smith and the recital of piano accompanied ballad, ‘All Too Well’. Taylor’s set ended on the smash hit ‘We are never ever getting back together’, but sadly NO ENCORE! Maybe American superstars just don’t understand the British Encore thing! It left me wanting more…as did the buzz of London! But all’s well that ends well…I’ve already planned my next London weekend and it’s got ‘Mothers Day Events’ all over it!