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Our Top Tips For Staying Productive Whilst Working From Home

 

The work-from-home lifestyle has divided the nation in the past months, with many people enjoying the absence of a twice-a-day commute and others missing the social office lifestyle. But in most metropolitan areas, commuting back into the office will likely be one of the last things to return to our lives – our city’s transport links are simply not designed for current social distancing practices. So for those struggling with productivity at home and wanting to recreate an in-office mindset here are our best tips for working from home.

 

Don’t forget to move around

We’re not suggesting you spend your entire day dancing around the house, but one of the keys to activating the brain is to free your body every now and then. It’s hard to understate the power of endorphins to transform your mood and kickstart your day, and what people often forget is that you don’t have to put yourself through an excruciating marathon every morning to release them! Simple home-friendly stretches and routines, for just 20 minutes every morning, can provide a significant mental boost to lunchtime and beyond. Plus, on a much smaller scale, stretching your legs around the house every hour can act as a useful reset button if you feel your head is becoming bogged down with work.

 

Find your ideal routine

Paradoxically, the best way of finding a working-from-home routine is to start out without a routine. There is no one single rule for productivity. Take, for example, the question of whether it’s better to exercise in the mornings or evenings. For some people an early start with the reward of exercise in the evening is the most effective system, whereas for others a long run first thing activates the mind and relaxes the body for the rest of the working day.

 

Compartmentalise

Recent studies have shown that if you spend all day lying on your bed, it’s harder to get to sleep that night. Why? Because the brain no longer associates the bed solely with sleeping. This principle applies in the exact same way with work and leisure. If you work in the same place in which you wind down and watch TV, then your brain struggles to differentiate between the two mindsets. This is why so many people miss the office lifestyle – it allows them to physically distance their work life from their home life.

 

How to create a perfect workspace

The easiest answer to this problem is to dedicate a single room in the house to your work – essentially, to make a temporary study. But, of course, not everyone has two different rooms in which to work and relax. Luckily, there are still small-scale ways of changing your mentality even whilst using the same room for work and leisure. They can be as simple as sitting at a different part of the table to where you otherwise would, moving around your surrounding scenery, or listening to a certain playlist that you associate with work – anything to convince your brain that you’re not a few meters away from your bedroom or TV! Time and again these changes have been proven to help boost productivity from home.

 

When will UK offices reopen?

This, quite simply, has been one of the most difficult questions to answer. Reopening offices in cities would inevitably mean the return of the rush hour – and regardless of the government’s push for workers to cycle more, the peak tubes, trains, trams and buses will still be crammed with hundreds of commuters. With the reproduction rate being so sensitive to small changes, and with the danger of a second spike and second lockdown, reopening metropolitan areas for business will most likely be saved until last. That means that if your business is surviving well enough remotely, you could realistically be working from home until 2021.

 

If you’re in need of temporary accommodation in London, Manchester or Brighton during the coronavirus pandemic, our doors are open. With 40% off long stays and half-price rates for key workers, we’re here to meet all of your short-term city accommodation needs. Check out our central locations here.

 

Supercity’s response to COVID-19

With the situation around novel coronavirus (COVID-19) evolving daily, Supercity Aparthotels is doing everything possible to ensure the travel safety of all guests and provide as much flexibility as possible.

The latest UK government guidelines on this matter can be read in full at https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response.

We will continue to adapt our approach to this extraordinary situation as and when the government’s advice is updated. We have therefore put in place the following measures:

-Preventative steps,

-Action in the event of an infection being discovered (whether confirmed or not),

-Contingency plans to minimise any disruption to our business operation, and

-A revision of our booking and cancellation policies.

 

PREVENTATIVE STEPS:

  • Information posters for guests are displayed in all reception areas, gyms and lifts.
  • Fact sheets for guests have been distributed to all apartments.
  • Information posters are displayed in all employee areas including toilets and on team notice boards etc.
  • We have sent direct communication regarding the pandemic to all employees. This includes information on preventative hygiene measures, self-isolation, how to identify the symptoms and ways to communicate this to our Human Resources (HR) department.
  • We are also sending regular updates to our Department Managers who in turn cascade this information to their respective teams. These updates come from our HR advisors and the Health & Safety Executive.
  • We are well supplied with disinfectant cleaning products. Our housekeeping teams have been trained on their correct use throughout all our properties including apartments, communal areas, gyms, staff areas and offices etc..

ACTION IN THE EVENT OF AN INFECTION BEING DISCOVERED:

Apartments:

  • The guest(s) will be advised to call reception via their room phone, self-isolate immediately and not attend reception or move around anywhere else within the building.
  • They will be advised to contact NHS 111 for further guidance.
  • Self-isolating guests will, if necessary, be able to remain in their apartment beyond their check-out date at the same daily rate as that of their original booking.
  • Throughout their period of self-isolation, guests who are unable to order food and other necessary supplies online will be assisted to do so by reception.
  • During this period of self-isolation the occupied apartment will not be cleaned but clean linen and towels will be provided as usual.
  • Self-isolating guests will be expected to keep us informed of their condition.
  • Subsequent bookings for any apartment affected by an extended stay as above will be moved to another apartment or booked out to another aparthotel or hotel. In such cases the new, arriving guest’s additional travel costs will be met by Supercity Aparthotels.
  • After a self-isolating guest checks out, their apartment will be thoroughly deep-cleaned by an approved external contractor in accordance with the latest standards set out by the government.
  • We will keep all teams updated on whether a guest’s infection is suspected or confirmed. Where an infection is confirmed we will also inform all other guests in the same property as well as their relevant booking channel or agent.
  • The above will be followed by regular updates to all parties as above.
  • In this event we will contact all guests (plus their relevant booking channel or agent) who have stayed in the property during the previous 14 days.

Offices:

  • All team members based within any affected office will be instructed to self-isolate.
  • The office will receive a thorough deep clean from an approved external contractor.
  • We will keep all employees updated on whether the infection is suspected or confirmed. Where an infection is confirmed we will also inform all current guests in any affected property plus their relevant booking channel or agent.

CONTINGENCY PLANS:

We have four core recruitment agencies on standby who will provide us with housekeepers, receptionists and maintenance team members should we need them. We also have an additional list of agencies registered on our supplier system should the core four see high demand and be unable to assist with any of our requirements. Furthermore we have additional supplies of guest consumables, towels and linen etc.to cover all eventualities.

BOOKINGS AND CANCELLATIONS:

We remain committed to offering you more flexible booking options and, owing to the unique circumstances, we have temporarily relaxed our booking policies to give you extra peace of mind:

Flexible bookings: The cancellation period for all flexible bookings with a check-in date up to and including 30th April 2020, regardless of the length of stay, has now been limited to 7 days before arrival, after which normal cancellation penalties may apply.

Non-refundable bookings: Provided the appropriate notice is given to Supercity Aparthotels no later than 7 days before the scheduled arrival date, non-refundable bookings with a check-in date up to and including 30th April 2020 will receive a credit equivalent to the amount paid to be put towards a future booking to begin within 6 months of the original check-in date.

For all bookings, amendments or questions, please contact us at sleep@supercityuk.com or call +44 (0) 203 818 9070.

 

INTERVIEWS OF MODERN HEROES

Every day we see the devastating impact homelessness has on people’s lives.

Crisis mobilise a huge volunteer effort each Christmas to bring warmth, companionship and vital services to people at one of the hardest times of the year.

Meet 2 of those Modern Heroes:

 

First Name: Emma

Age: 43

Location: Cardiff

 

Why did you choose CRISIS and how was your experience?

This will be my 10th year volunteering with Crisis. My experience really talks through the length of time that I have volunteered. It’s the best thing that I do all year.

Do you have a connection with this cause in your life?

No, I have not been homeless but I don’t see myself as any different to anyone that uses our services. I have a connection with the cause because I have a connection with every person that I walk by on the streets and I feel driven to do something. The greatest (and saddest) thing that I’ve learned from my experience is that it can be incredibly bewildering for guests that people care in such large numbers to make the project possible.  Something as simple as opening a door for guests to enter the dining hall says something. It tells them that they matter.

What do you do for a living when not volunteering and how would you describe yourself ?

I returned to University to study to be a physiotherapist last year. I was a civil servant for 14 years before I left to study. The experience of volunteering and the amazing services volunteers helped me to find a new career.

What is it like to work alongside such a good cause and what kind of satisfaction do you get from it?

The shift team are my Crisis Family. As others sit down to their turkey dinners, I can’t imagine being anywhere else than with my family at Crisis. It’s given me confidence, helped me find a new career and I’ve made some great friends whilst contributing to a project that has potential to change lives.

What is the most difficult in volunteering?

The last day. The realisation that we couldn’t help everyone, that we are sending our guests back on to the streets in many cases is heart breaking.

Name a public figure you think is a role model?

Jo Cox.

If you could describe CRISIS in one word?

Family

What would you say to people to incite them to give their time or money to Crisis?

The Christmas project cannot single handed solve the problem of homelessness, but we can make guests feel like they matter by some very simple acts – providing a meal, a safe place to sleep, a smile, someone to listen, a haircut, a new pair of glasses, medical care.  This can be important in giving our guests the hope to face the New Year. Crisis provides services and support throughout the year and we signpost our guests to these and other services whilst giving them a sense of belonging and safety. You don’t need specialist skills to join us, just enthusiasm to work as a team for our guests and each other – you can make a difference.

 

 

First Name: Peter

Age: 43

Location: London

 

Why did you choose CRISIS and how was your experience?

In 2002 I was new to London and wanted something unusual to occupy my time during Christmas. I began researching where to volunteer with homeless causes and found Crisis.

Do you have a connection with this cause in your life?

My day job is working in housing, so there’s a connection. It’s alarming to me how much of the housing that is available in London and the South East is out of reach to all kinds of people on all kinds of salaries.

What do you do for a living when not volunteering and how would you describe yourself?

I run a social enterprise that houses people who do brilliant volunteering in buildings that would otherwise be empty. We’ve just celebrated supporting the equivalent of 140 years of full time volunteering and we have people volunteering for everything from large charities to small one, and of course Crisis! I’d describe myself as generally curious and wanting to change things for the better.

What is it like to work alongside such a good cause and what kind of satisfaction do you get from it?

The best thing for me about such a large project is the variety of people I meet: both guests and volunteers. When you get to hear the different stories behind someone’s homelessness that’s interesting and it’s also taught me that there is no stereotype of homelessness: it could affect anyone anytime. There’s an amazing energy that comes with a project that only lasts a week: we’re a bit like a pop-up. I’ve met a lot of amazing volunteers over the years too and it simply couldn’t happen without the thousands of volunteers who come to help Crisis over the week.

What is the most difficult in volunteering?

We’re a big project, so finding the right number of volunteers across the week and across all of our centres can sometimes be challenging. We particularly love anyone who can volunteer at nights, and towards the 28th, 29th, 30th December.

Name a public figure you think is a role model?

I always enjoy hearing Ruby Wax on mental health.

If you could describe CRISIS in one word?

Hope

What would you say to people to incite them to give their time or money to Crisis?

Whatever you can give – time to volunteer or donations to help – it will be put to great use.

 

 

GET INVOLVED TOO

CRISIS AT CHRISTMAS

We like to do our bit for homeless charities, whether it’s donating replaced pillows and towels, or offering rooms for important causes.

Rough sleeping has more than doubled in the last six years in London and one charity particularly stands out for us: Crisis.

Crisis is the national charity for homeless people. Their team help people directly out of homelessness and every year work side by side with thousands of people, to help them rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good.

Alongside the 12,000 volunteers, Crisis welcome thousands of guests into centres across Britain offering support and advice on health, housing, employment, benefits as well as food, clothing and company for the festive period. For many, the centres offers a chance to relax, regain confidence and plan for the future in a supportive environment, away from the immediate hardships of homelessness.

For the seventh year running, we’re supporting Crisis at Christmas by donating 10 suites free-of-charge to volunteers. Being centrally located, our rooms at The Chronicle, The Rosebery and Templeton Place become comfortable homes for those doing such an important job over the festive period.

Every day we see the devastating impact homelessness has on people’s lives. Crisis mobilise a huge volunteer effort each Christmas to bring warmth, companionship and vital services to people during one of the toughest periods of the year.

Meet the team behind Crisis at Christmas.

 

We’ve just been told by the team at Crisis that the campaign is busier than ever.

Read the portraits of 2 Modern Heroes. 

 

Support young homeless artists this winter!

We are proud to announce the launch of the Supercity Art House.

Supercity Art House is an initiative which sees the artwork of young homeless people exhibited, and available for purchase, at selected Supercity Aparthotels in support of those affected by homelessness.

 

Alexis Burton, CEO of Supercity said: “Supporting homeless communities is an integral part of our ethos at Supercity. We support Crisis at Christmas annually, offering accommodation for the volunteers, so the launch of the Supercity Art House, and partnership with Accumulate, is an exciting step in extending this support. Through the sale of the artwork exhibited, we hope to be able to help fund many more creative programmes through Accumulate, while raising wider awareness around homelessness in our communities.” 

 

Each piece of artwork displayed will be on sale from 18th November 2019 in selected Supercity Aparthotels as well as online via supercityarthouse.com.

All the money raised will be donated to Accumulate to support the charity itself as well as contributing to the welfare of the artists exhibited.

 

VISIT THE ART HOUSE

 

Halloween: Spooky London

 

Halloween gets more popular every year—in the two weeks leading up to the 31st, expect to see costumed denizens and lots of adverts for scary London attractions. Most of them are tourist traps. Instead, for a real Halloween experience, go to places rooted in history, where London’s dark past is unearthed. So, before getting ready for the next big season, try out a few of these:

 

The Ten Bells

A rather typical quaint Shoreditch pub? Guess again—this 2 century long-running bar has a tangled history with Jack the Ripper, Spitalfield’s most infamous resident. Two of the murdered women frequented the Ten Bells, and rumours of ghost sightings are frequent. If that’s not spooky enough, poltergeist activity and the possible ghost of an old landlord have been reported by staff. So if you pop in for a pint, be on the lookout.

Ghost Tours at Hampton Court:

This storied sprawling castle has seen more than its fair share of tragedy—from the execution of two of Henry VIII’s wives to even its original owner, Cardinal Wolsey. These excellent tours give a detailed look into the spirits still said to haunt the halls. Look out for Catherine Howard, sometimes seen dashing through the upper hallway, desperately trying to escape her impending execution.

The Graveyards

Cemeteries are creepy territory and London is home to plenty. Any city with London’s history is bound to have a few restless souls, and most are set to hang out around the cemeteries. The larger more well-trod grounds in Hyde Park and Highgate are beautiful and sad, but for a truly creepy experience, try the ones below.

Epping Forest

For something a little more subtle but also real, wander through Epping Forest when the sun starts going down—people have been reporting ghost sightings for centuries. That could be because it’s where Dick Turpin attacked his victims–or the countless battles held here over the years. Maybe you’ll just go for a wander in quiet woods, but this might be the closest you get to a real ghost all season.

West Norwood Cemetery Catacombs

The West Norwood Catacombs, an underground resting place for London’s Victorian dead. It might not look it, but these body pigeon holes were built out of a respect for the dead, a way of escaping the unkempt, swampy cemetaries that were overloaded with bodies from the cholera outbreak. The catacombs are rarely open to the public, save for occasional tours from the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery. Remember, it’s a resting place, not a box on the goth bucket list.

City of London Cemetery and Crematorium

Cemeteries are creepy territory and London is home to plenty. Since the mid 1970’s locals have complained about a brilliant orange light emanating from one of the tombstones in the western section of the City of London Cemetery in Wanstead. Despite repeated attempts, investigators have been unable to find any light source outside the graveyard that could account for the phenomenon. Spooky, eh?

London’s Scariest Attractions

 

Spending time with us this Halloween? We list below our picks of London’s Scariest attractions. We will not take responsibility for tears, hysteria or cardiac arrests! These attractions run all year round (except Fright Night at Thorpe Park), so don’t fret if you can’t make it for October 31st.

 

The Ten Bells

A rather typical quaint Shoreditch pub? Guess again—this 2 century long-running bar has a tangled history with Jack the Ripper, Spitalfield’s most infamous resident. Two of the murdered women frequented the Ten Bells, and rumours of ghost sightings are frequent. If that’s not spooky enough, poltergeist activity and the possible ghost of an old landlord have been reported by staff. So if you pop in for a pint, be on the lookout.

City of London Cemetery and Crematorium

Cemeteries are creepy territory and London is home to plenty. Since the mid 1970’s locals have complained about a brilliant orange light emanating from one of the tombstones in the western section of the City of London Cemetery in Wanstead. Despite repeated attempts, investigators have been unable to find any light source outside the graveyard that could account for the phenomenon. Spooky, eh?

The London Dungeon

You can’t have a scary list without The London Dungeon! Jump out of your skin at live actors, spine-tingling rides and alarmingly realistic models, which bring London’s dark past to life. Things have moved on since the last time some of us went here and it definitely doesn’t disappoint! With lots of new attractions and extension of their popular ‘Lates’ sessions for over 18’s it’s a must visit, we’ve got our tickets booked!

The London Bridge Experience

Not for the wimps out there! this is one scary experience! It will have you screaming for freedom, with lots of surprises as you explore your way through the London tombs. If you don’t cope well with confined spaced, this is not for you. If you have kids, they do a ‘guardian angels tour’ where a guide will show them through so they can experience the tombs without the horror’s chasing them.

Fright Night at Thorpe Park 

If you have more time on your hands this is well worth a visit. The theme park opens its doors after hours and visitors can experience the rides after dark, great if there is a group of you.  If you are going to the haunted mazes do not stand at the back of the line if you are easily scared! Zoe did not cope well with that experience!

The Ghost Bus Tours

A London tour with a twist…This old route master takes you on a tour of London visiting all the usual spots, such as The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. But be prepared for the gruesome tales and surprises that lie within! The ghost bus has a secret story of its own… The bus is also available for private hire and parties.

Jack The Ripper Tour

This list would not be complete without mentioning Jack the Ripper, London’s most gruesome serial killer of all time. This tour is the most up to date and you will be taken to each of the murder scenes and gather up clues and evidence from murder cases, there is also a stop off at the Ten Bells pubs, which is thought to have been visited regularly by the ripper himself. The tour is said to come alive on 31st October, so our advice will be to book for this night.

Not enough? More spooky spots HERE.

 

About us:
Since 2009, Supercity Aparthotels have led the way in providing stylish, serviced apartment hotels. Our personalised service has established a level of comfort, convenience and attention to detail that only true family-run properties can achieve.
All of our suites provide the perfect accommodation for business travellers, re-locators, families and just about anyone who likes an added element of freedom when they travel.
Whether you’d like to kick your feet up for a day or two, or stay long-term, our doors are always open!

Why Brighton is the next place to be?

Oh, the south coast…

If you love see views and seagulls, why not make your way to Brighton?

With the train station located in the heart of the city centre, you’ll be enjoying all Brighton has to offer within moments.

London, Manchester and now… Brighton!

…And the best kept secret is…

Supercity Aparthotels will be adding Brighton to their list of locations!

With 4 properties in London and 1 in Manchester, the expansion continues.

*SPOILER ALERT*

You can expect sea view, balconies and a restaurant onsite.

Stay tuned for our opening date and our special opening rate.

 

 

If you are a fan of vibrant cities, pebble seaside’s and all things trendy, this coastal location will be for you.

Get your brightest clothes, portable cameras and comfy shoes ready!

Located in the heart of Brighton on Queens Square, between the seafront and Brighton railway station, this property is in a the best spot to benefit tourists, London commuters and business travellers.

Had a twirl on Brighton’s ice-skating rink in the past? If so, this location will be super familiar to you. 4 stories high and offering 61 apartments – rumours have it that this will be opening by the end of the year.

You’ll be able to drop your bags off and start your adventures – whether this is to the office or arcades full of amusements.

Queens Square is surrounded by leading retailers, restaurants and nightlife venues.

Why Brighton?

  • Steeped in history, named the hippest city and voted the happiest place to live in the UK.
  • Work, rest and play.
  • Fish and chips!

Why Q Square Aparthotel?

Q Square is:

  •  8-minute walk away from Brighton station.
  • 10 minutes to bustling North Laine.
  • 5 minutes to seafront and 15 minutes to the pier.

Where will you be drawn into?

 

About Supercity:
Since 2009 Supercity Aparthotels have led the way in providing stylish, serviced apartment hotels. Our personalised service has established a level of comfort, convenience and attention to detail that only true family-run properties can achieve.

All of our suites provide the perfect accommodation for business travellers, re-locators, families and just about anyone who likes an added element of freedom when they travel.

Whether you’d like to kick your feet up for a day or two, or stay long-term, our doors are always open!

Doing Our Part: Sustainability and Supercity

Consider yourself environmentally friendly?

There’s been plenty of talk surrounding our planet and our environment. From going paper-less to cutting down on food wastage and substituting one set of wheels for another. Being kinder to our planet can be healthier and more cost-efficient too!

At Supercity, we’re always trying to implement ways of reducing our carbon footprint and taking necessary steps to help our planet.

How, you ask?

Our mission is to take steps towards reducing our environmental impact and we have input several new initiatives to do so:

The first is that we offer Thirsty Planet bottles of water in all our Suites. These nifty supplies guarantee donations to Pump Aid. If that didn’t already sound convincing, the packaging is 100% recyclable – from the bottle to the lid and right down to the label (impressive, right?).

We now email all invoices and send all correspondence electronically – when we do print it’s on recycled paper! We have also placed paper magazines with electronic copies too! (Hello, 21st century.)

Supporting our local economy, we’ve recently transformed our in-room menus! Vastly improved we’ve worked hard to create a healthier collection of new snacks. Whether you’re gluten free, vegan or on a diet you will find something to make you happy. In addition, we’ve added an amazing variety of British wines!

All made up in the UK with locally sourced, British produce!

Snack and Wine Menu

 

Did you think we were almost done?

There’s plenty more! We’ve also moved to eco-friendly washing tablets, dishwasher tablets and washing up liquid to reduce our water pollution.

Our aparthotels are becoming greener and greener. Not only are our new properties the most eco-friendly, but we’re always in search of new ways of becoming more sustainable.

We have now cut out air conditioning and replaced this with under-floor heating and a combined heat and power unit which provides both hot water and electricity.

We wanted the proof to be in the pudding, so we’re also gifting our guests to a green goody to take home after their stay. We’re supplying a free take-home tote bag so you can shop without the use of plastic bags. Think of it as a gift that keeps on giving!

Our Supercity Shoppers are for life.

Although we’ve taken these steps so far, our aims are still high.

 

Our plans for the future:

We’re taking our bathroom products to single use, plastic free!

Not only that, we’re sourcing new cleaning products, which are chemical-free and supplied in recyclable packaging.

Supercity are committed to products that only use sustainable palm oil. In fact, we’re working towards eliminating palm oil in all 3rd party products that we buy or use.

We believe that every little counts, which is why we’d love to hear if you have any recommendations! Email us at Hello@supercityuk.com

 

 

About us:
Since 2009, Supercity Aparthotels have led the way in providing stylish, serviced apartment hotels. Our personalised service has established a level of comfort, convenience and attention to detail that only true family-run properties can achieve.

All of our suites provide the perfect accommodation for business travellers, re-locators, families and just about anyone who likes an added element of freedom when they travel.

Whether you’d like to kick your feet up for a day or two, or stay long-term, our doors are always open!

British Food Fortnight – Supporting our local producers.

Not only do the crops grow fresher, more local and larger – so does the event! (What better celebrations could there be other than celebrating food?)

We’re all about supporting great causes at Supercity, which is why we’re shedding light on British Food Fortnight!

Sustainably sourced produce, organic, local and lending a helping hand with reducing Britain’s carbon footprint?

That’s right – British Food Fortnight provides the UK public with all of the above. (In fact, they have been since 2002 – now that’s impressive!)

 

What?

British Food Fortnight is the biggest national celebration of British food and 2019 marks the 18th year the event has returned to our farms and towns.

Communities and organisations are invited to celebrate the diverse and delicious food this country has to offer.

 

Who is involved?

Anyone and everyone – you can be too!

We’re doing our part to get involved this autumn. We’re revamping our menu’s and offering guests British produce only.

Community support, farming ambassadors and Michelin-star chefs will also be kicking off this period of goodness.

Not only will we be rolling up our sleeves, Masterchef winner, Jane Devonshire, Michelin-star chef, Phil Howard and the world’s finest chef, Raymond Blanc OBE will show their support this September.

 

How to get involved too:


Step right up!

By making a special effort to seek out British food, you’re one step closer. Shop local!

Sourcing your food locally not only allows you to track and find out more about your ingredients, but you’re also supporting your local economy.

This is tastier, better for the environment and better for your health.

Fact of the day: Foods that are in season contain nutrients, minerals and trace elements that our bodies need.

 

Did somebody say competition?


We’re kick-starting our very own competition in celebration of this foodie fortnight.

Host your very own #locallysourced dining experience in one of our suites during British Food Fortnight. This is from 21st September – 6th October.

Next step: Snap the night away! Take plenty of photo’s and tag us using @supercityuk.

Last but not least: Email the saucy details of your event to marketing@supercityuk.com by 18th October!

A prize?

You’ll have to wait and see… We may even extend your stay for a night!

That sure is enough to get us sprinting down to our local grocers – we hope you’ll join us on our quests too!

Explore, pick and grow your own!

#BritishFoodIsGreat

 

 

About Supercity:
Since 2009, Supercity Aparthotels have led the way in providing stylish, serviced apartment hotels. Our personalised service has established a level of comfort, convenience and attention to detail that only true family-run properties can achieve.

All of our suites provide the perfect accommodation for business travellers, re-locators, families and just about anyone who likes an added element of freedom when they travel.

Whether you’d like to kick your feet up for a day or two, or stay long-term, our doors are always open!

The London Chronicles: London Fashion Week

Lights, cameras: action!

Get your best shoes and gowns at the ready – London Fashion Week is around the corner. Can you tell we’re excited?

We’ve been on the hunt to collect all the need-to-knows there are about this renowned event.

New York, Paris and Milan may be on the list of where Fashion Week travels to, though London is the first to open their doors to the public.

Will you be attending? We sure have our eyes on the prize! (Aka, tickets!)

 

What?

London Fashion Week is a biannual event where members of the fashion industry flock to see next season’s trends. Everyone from world designers to editors, buyers and influencers show up to gaze and take note.

Until recently, it’s almost been impossible to bag yourself a ticket to one of these runway shows. This year, you’re in luck!

The British Fashion Council has announced that London will be the first to open their doors to the public this year. Although the event typically runs for 5 days, the public will have access on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th of September.

 

Tickets?

If you’re ready to window shop and drool over this seasons must-haves, standard tickets are priced at £135.

Want to treat yourselves and go all out? Tickets for front row seats (the best of the best) will set you back £245.

Not only do you get access to viewing this low-key event, but included in this price is also a seat to listen in on industry-led panel discussions (how exciting does this sound!).

You’re also able to access the DiscoveryLAB! (Can we get an “oooh”?) The DiscoveryLAB is where all things experimental take place – where fashion meets art and music.

The VIP treatment continues! You’ll also be granted a sneak peak at a brand-new designer exhibition and receive complimentary drinks and lunch from the VIP Café.

No matter which ticket you decide to go for, all visitors will be gifted to reusable tote bags! If you decide to go for the Front Row tickets, these will filled with fashion and beauty treats too. (We wonder what these goodies could be!)

 

Where?

London Fashion Week will be kicking off at The Store X, 180 The Strand. If you’re travelling by train, the closest station is Temple.

Alternatively, if you’re staying with Supercity, The Strand is only a 10-minute walk away from The Chronicle, and 20 minutes from The Rosebery!

 

 

About Supercity:
Since 2009 Supercity Aparthotels have led the way in providing stylish, serviced apartment hotels. Our personalised service has established a level of comfort, convenience and attention to detail that only true family-run properties can achieve.
All of our suites provide the perfect accommodation for business travellers, re-locators, families and just about anyone who likes an added element of freedom when they travel.
Whether you’d like to kick your feet up for a day or two, or stay long-term, our doors are always open!

Luxury suites with bespoke artwork by a local artist – Elizabeth Harper

We’re always striving to create the perfect home away from home for our guests. Whether this is by adding personal touches or hand-selecting all of the artwork in our suites.

You won’t find a Supercity suite that isn’t crawling with playful pieces of locally created art.

We’re here to shed light on just how special the work is and who’s behind these masterpieces.

If you’ve paid us a visit recently and stayed in The Chronicle or The Rosebery, you’d have spotted a few series of eye-catchy work.

Behind these paintings is Elizabeth Harper.

 

Background:

Elizabeth Harper studied for an MA in Ancient Drama at Nottingham University after completing a BA in Classical Civilisation.

Whilst at university, Harper was working within theatre, producing and designing shows.

After leaving education, Harper started to miss studying the arts and dedicated time to saving up to return. She spent her weekdays painting and weekends working in a pub to go on to train as a theatre designer.

Currently, Harper is balancing creating Fine Art, making theatre and spending plenty of time volunteering. (Talk about staying on her toes!)

Harper volunteers alongside Extinction Rebellion as an environmental activist. Her main focus is the wellbeing of other volunteers during and after actions.

 

Greatest Influences:

While growing up, a lot of Elizabeth Harper’s inspiration and influence was taken from renaissance artwork.

Harper’s compositions were also created with influence deriving from the classical art world.

 

Processes:

Composition is key!

Harper begins her projects by breaking down compositions, section by section.

Once this is done, the artwork is rearranged and filled in with a unique painting style. This style is normally tailored depending on the brief or what feels natural. The purpose is to create a complementary aesthetic.

 

Working with Supercity:

We wanted to know more about what it was like to work alongside Supercity and Harper filled us in!

While creating artwork for The Chronicle and The Rosebery, Harper worked very closely to one of our company directors:

“As a creative mind, and responsible for the interior design of the hotels, this was a true collaboration.”

The aim of the artwork was to be “Sophisticated and playful.”

We think exactly that – but more importantly, we’d love to know what our guests think too!

Want to know more?

We’ll be rolling out more information about Elizabeth Harper’s artwork in The Chronicle and The Rosebery shortly. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, we’re always eager to hear what our guests are enjoying. Whether this is the views around town, in our suites or how good a night’s sleep you get!

Notting Hill Carnival – Our Necessary Guide

With only a short countdown till Europe’s biggest street party, we’ve put together all the information you need to know ahead of Notting Hill Carnival’s arrival!

What:

 

Started in 1966 as a way to promote Caribbean identity in the wake of post-war immigration, Notting Hill Carnival quickly ballooned into the country’s biggest festival.

Decked out in vibrant costumes, it’s a massive romp of sounds and styles, with dance parties that’ll include reggae, calypso, rumba, soca, dub, salsa, as well as house music.

Now in its 53rd year, it brings a whopping two million people to deck Notting Hill out in colour, music and revelry. That’s both the UK’s biggest festival and the second largest street party after Rio’s.

When:

 

The August bank holiday weekend of the 24th-26th, though most events happen on the Sunday and Monday.

Sunday: considered the “family day,”, this (slightly) less busy day has more child-friendly activities and shows. That said, it’s still a wild one!

Monday: the full extravaganza. There’s going to be over 50 bands and 38 massive sound systems, plus way more people.

On both days the parade starts at 10:30 AM, judging finishes at 6:30 PM, and the music cuts out at 7 PM.

Why Go:

It might be loud, it might be crowded, it might fly in the face of that typical London pragmatism, but there’s simply no better way to see the city’s vibrant multiculturalism in action than Notting Hill Carnival.

It’s a celebration of everything that makes London unique. It’s the most fun you’ll have at a free event all year.

Bring a hat, lots of water, but leave your inhibitions at the door.

How to Get There:

Though it’s in Notting Hill, don’t try to get there using any of the neighbourhood’s stops – the Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park stations will be closed, and Notting Hill Gate will be a nightmare by the late morning.

Instead, plan ahead or take the long way there: Queensway, Royal Oak, or Holland Park and Kensal Rise, or consider Knightsbridge for a more relaxed way through Hyde Park.

The Parade Map:

Some Final Tips:

What to Bring: colourful clothing, comfy shoes, water, sunscreen, tissue or sanitiser for the loos, and ear plugs if you have sensitive ears.

What not to Bring: no glass bottles – for safety reasons.

With over 300 food stalls providing the best in Caribbean cuisine – from curried goat, plantain and, of course, jerk chicken – there’s no fear of going hungry.

Want to continue the dancing? After the parade there’s going to be a wealth of after parties.

If that caught your attention (and we’re sure it did) be sure to pay Heaven a visit to attend The Hot Carnival Party to make the carnival last all night! Or, if you want something a little more upbeat, Ministry of Sound are also hosting an after party.

No drink speaks to a Caribbean Festival like good rum, so check out our guide to London’s best rum joints for inspiration (one’s even in Notting Hill!)

A Day in Chelsea – What To Do

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea… Home to Templeton Place, Nevern Place, and many other wonderful attractions!

At Supercity, we’ve come up with a list of the best things to see in the Royal Borough.

If you’re staying with us at Templeton Place or Nevern Place, use this as your guide to the local attractions.

Shopping:

Harrods

Balenciaga, Chanel, Cartier, Dior and Gucci…

Now that we’ve caught your attention with these designer brands, we’re happy to let you know that they’re all a short stroll away from each other.

With Sloane Square, Harrods and High Street Kensington, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping.

Don’t fancy the crowds on Oxford Street? Try these three spots instead.

Trust us! There’s everything from designer boutiques to high street shops.

If that doesn’t sound like enough to tempt you, this is also home to the UK’s largest Zara! (Get your Instagram snaps and wallets ready for this beauty.)

There really is something for everyone and every budget.

Museums:

Shopping isn’t your cup of tea? Don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered too -the Natural History and Science museums are within close distance of Templeton Place and Nevern Place! (Exciting, aye?)

If you have kids, this really would be a great day out for all.

Or, if you’re into something a little more refined and local, try the V&A or the Saatchi Gallery.

Gardens:

When you fancy some outdoor fun, take a trip to Kensington Gardens (which leads on to Hyde Park) and the Kyoto Japanese Garden in Holland Park. Here you will find a lovely waterfall with Koi Carp fish.

For those with families, you can take advantage of their playground! This is complete with extensive climbing equipment and a zip wire.

The green scenery is fun for all ages, especially this summer.

Kensington Palace:

To follow on from the gardens, Kensington Palace attracts visitors from all over the world.

With exhibitions all year round, there will always be something to attend if the Palace is not enough!

For fans of the late Princess Diana, take a walk to the Diana Memorial Playground and see her fountain. In the centre of the playground stands a huge wooden pirate ship, inspired by the tales of Peter Pan.

The free playground has been designed to enable all children to play together and explore their imaginations. There’s a sensory trail, sculptures and loads of seating for parents to unwind too.

Portobello Road:

The famous Portobello Road with its pastel coloured houses, and market stalls selling all kinds from antiques to street food is not to be missed.

Portobello Road is actually the World’s largest antiques market!

Be ready to spend a whole day here with the market running 2 miles and lots of tempting treats you won’t be going anywhere in a hurry!

The road is also dotted with bars and cafes, so if you fancy a pit-stop you will be spoilt for choice.

If you happen to stumble across any tiny book stores, be sure to keep your eyes peeled! You may just bump into a famous actor/actress and meet the match of your dreams. (If Hugh Grant was lucky enough to, why can’t we find a #HollywoodRomance in London?)

That’s not all – when you’re ready to kick your feet up, The Electric Cinema is also worth a visit for an alternative viewing experience.

If you’re dying to find out more local hot spots, be sure to ask our friendly team for more recommendations.

We’re sure they’ll be keen to share their favourite places!

 

 

 

About Supercity:
Since 2009 Supercity Aparthotels have led the way in providing stylish, serviced apartment hotels. Our personalised service has established a level of comfort, convenience and attention to detail that only true family-run properties can achieve.

All of our suites provide the perfect accommodation for business travellers, relocators, families and just about anyone who likes an added element of freedom when they travel.

Whether you’d like to kick your feet up for a day or two, or stay long-term, our doors are always open!

Brighton Pride 2019 – Tickets, routes and special guests!

#PRIDE has come back around and will be kicking off in Brighton this weekend. Will you be there celebrating?

With special guests, colourful performances, glitters and plenty of non-stop entertainment, we’re here to give you the low down and lend a helping hand.

Whether you’re a local in Brighton or visiting for pride, you’ll be sure to have the brightest, boldest weekend ever!

Want to know where to get tickets, the route and other juicy details about this event? Well, keep reading and we’ll fill you in!

What?

A parade will be marching and cat walking down the streets of Brighton. Not only will there be rainbows left, right and centre but there will be plenty of love and support flooding the streets of Brighton.

Why?

The parade takes place annually to showcase the progress of how far the UK has come in supporting equality. Pride brings people together to celebrate the diversity in the LGBTQ+ community.

Each year the celebration gets bigger, bolder and more colourful! We’re not sure about you, but racing to get going and join in with (Drag) Race’s taking place!

When?

This weekend! The dates the Pride parade falls on are Saturday the 3rd of August and Sunday the 4th August, 2019.

Where?

Ready. Set. Sashay away!

No need to get your route planners and maps out, we’ve got your back. Feel free to use this as your personal guide.

The Pride Community Parade will be beginning at 11am at Hove Lawns. The march will carry on along Kings Road on the seafront and will then turn left on West Street.

You thought it ended there? Definitely not! The parade continues up Queens Road, to North Road and then joins the old route. Up next is Gloucester Place, London Road and then a grand finale in Preston Park.

This will be where you want to be! Live music and performances will be continuing throughout the evening!

Who?

Get your tickets ready!

You’ll have to make your way to the parade to find out. We don’t want to give too much away but a little birdy told us that Kylie Minogue will be headlining Pride in the Park. Joining her will be Clean Bandit and Fleur East too!

 

All are welcome to join in on the support and wear your colours proudly. There’ll be non-stop entertainment all day and don’t think that when the parade ends, so does the partying.

No matter where you end up on Pride, you’ll be surrounded with endless amounts of support, entertainment and ultimately, love.

Now, in words of RuPaul: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

The top festivals in London and where to get tickets!

Summer is on and so is the festival season!

Get your calendars out and check which dates are free because there are loads of festivals you can still get tickets for.

Whether you’re into rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, techno or reggae, there’s something for everyone this summer.

We’re here to make sure you’re set you up for all the best raves, stages and line up’s around London this festival season!

 

51st State:

Starting summer off with a bang is 51st State.

No need to get your tents out for this one, but definitely grab your dancing shoes as this festival runs all-day and will be including a hush-hush surprise guest!

Who else will be there? The line-up includes Soul Clap, Kerri Chandler, Louie Vega and a Ministry of Sound after-party.

When? This will all be kicking off on August 3rd 2019.

Where? A short train journey away to Cockfosters, Trent Park, EN4 0PS.

If this sounds like your kind of sesh, get your tickets now!

 

South West Four:

If the sound of London’s biggest bass line-up is tickling your ears, South West Four is for you!

When? This will be taking place on Augusts bank holiday weekend (24-25th) in

Where? South West Four will be kicking off in Clapham Common.

Every year the festivals get bigger, brighter and louder – South West Four will be featuring over 100 artists across 10 stages.

Did we hear you ask for more juicy details? Artists include Martin Garrix, Craig David, Ms Dynamite, Chase & Status, Shy FX and not forgetting Basement Jaxx. Did we also mention Idris Elba will be guest starring too?

Want tickets?

 

Southport Weekender:

Acclaimed as the world’s friendliest party, Southport Weekender is back after celebrating over 30 years of music genres like house, soul, garage, disco and R&B.

This festival will bring thousands of people together to enjoy pioneering DJs, live music and the next generation of artists.

The line-up is made up of Naughty by Nature, Shalamar, Ten City, David Morales, Kenny Dope and many more!

Where? Music fans from all over the UK and world will be attending in Crystal Palace, will you?

When? Southport Weekender takes place on the 31st of August.

And yes, tickets are still available!

 

If you’re going to one festival or all the ones under the sun, you’ll have an experience of a lifetime.

We’re always eager to hear what colourful experiences people have had. Whether you’re glamping (camping, VIP-style) or getting messy with your wellies on – let us know where you’ve had the best boogie!

Our Go-To Guide to Finding Manchester’s Best Bars

 

We think it’s fair to say that everyone enjoys a good ol’ tipple now and again.

Luckily for those who do, there’s plenty of grand hot-spots surrounding our Church Street Aparthotel!

And, without further ado, here’s nine of the best bars we scouted in Manchester.

Drumroll please…

 

Behind Closed Doors

Sit back and kick your feet up while you let your mind do the wondering.

As you can imagine from the name, this cosy cocktail bar is hidden away and totally lives up to it’s name.

This gem is based in a lil’ basement on Oldham Street and makes the perfect stop-off for those who want to have a night that’s as fun as it looks in the photos the following morning. If Old Street doesn’t sound familiar to you, it’s only a 2 minute walk away from our Aparthotel!

As soon as you step inside, you’re greeted with private little booths. These are kitted out with unique, vintage telephones which are fully functional and can be used to call the bar and pop through an order for another round. Talk about ordering in style!

Check out their hush-hush website here!

 

Cottonopolis

Next is: Cottonopolis.

With a name inspired by Manchester’s history as an industrial powerhouse, this stunning Asian-inspired bar and restaurant takes pride in offering scrumptious servings of food.

We’d definitely recommend trying the Gyoza’s or the Wagyu Beef Crumpets!

Not only do they exceed all expectations with food, but they also keep the mouth-watering cocktails coming. All this is while the best DJ’s in Manchester perform the perfect playlist to top your evening.

This spot is a must try for anyone looking for a unique night out in Manchester.

Cottonopolis is based just behind Piccadilly and is just a 4 minute walk from your suite. This bar and restaurant is hard to miss, in a stunning Grade II listed building.

 

Arcane

The third hot-spot to make our list is another Grade II listed building – Arcane.

Everyone prepare your Instagram snapshots as this cocktail bar is beautifully restored and brings focus to the original brickwork and revived 19th century Victorian fittings.

Ready yourselves as Arcane offers a classic feel, mixed with soft modern touches.

Located on South King Street, Arcane is a 10 minute stroll away from our Aparthotel.

 

Dusk Til Pawn

Taking a wander around? Keep your eyes peeled!

If you don’t pay close attention you’ll mistake this sweet spot for an undercover pawn shop.

If you’re in the local area, Dusk Til Pawn is just a short 5 minute walk away from your suite.

Once you take a step inside, you’ll be greeted to a secret bar where one of the best nights out in Manchester will be on offer.

Sit tight and sip on a deliciously punny ‘Pawnstar’ Martini, or try one of their more experimental mixes. You will not be short for choice here.

This place is one for those who want a serene night out, but don’t think that this place is anything short of a great time!

 

The Washhouse

Not one, but two hidden gems!

This bar is stashed away behind a false door in a laundromat and will be sure to spin you right round, baby, right round…

Don’t let the exterior fool you – The Washhouse is super exclusive and only 3 minutes away by foot.

You’ll need to book in ahead, but good things come to those who wait, right?

A little tip from us – if you’re asked what you’re there for, tell them you’re there to ‘wash some dirty clothes’.

They put a lot of effort in with the smaller touches, so we won’t ruin them for you. You’ll have to check this one out for yourselves!

Trust us though, do the dirty work and this place will have you feeling sparkly clean.

 

The Briton’s Protection

On the classic side – this pub has possibly the largest selection of whiskey you’ll ever see in Manchester! (If you don’t take our word for it, we’d recommend checking out their in-house collection of 200+ distilled whiskeys.)

15 minutes by foot, this traditional pub is perfect for those who like their seats comfy, rooms glowing, and their drinks reasonably-priced.

The Briton’s Protection is another Grade II listed building (talk about historic, aye?) which is sure to tickle your fancy – especially if you’re after a more authentic experience in Manchester.

This is a regular haunt for musicians from both The Halle, BBC Philharmonic orchestras and regular theatre goers. If that doesn’t explain the bustling crowds, we’re not quite sure what will!

 

Bring & Mix

The name says it all – bring your own booze and the friendly bar staff will work their magic and shake (not stirred – although, this can be arranged) up something that’ll be sure to awaken your senses.

This definitely is a cheeky spot for all to try out! Mixologists will craft bespoke cocktails out of whatever you bring – the possibilities are endless! You pick the poison.

Bookings are required, but their table service means that there is no queuing for drinks at all. You’re free to sit back, relax and enjoy the night.

To get your booking in, click here!

 

 

The Pen & Pencil

We’re not done just yet!

Get your note books ready: The Pen & Pencil makes it onto our list.

This hot-spot is sat on the corner of Hilton and Tariff Street and is just 6 minutes away from Church Street.

This bar and eatery takes inspiration from the infamous mid-20th Century bars on East 45th Street in New York. These bars were frequented by newspaper journalists and ad men – you could call them the original ‘Mad Men’.

If you’re after living like the big dogs, this place is a great all-rounder! Looking for Lunch, Brunch? Dinner, Drinks? They’ve got you sorted.

You can’t go wrong with The Pen & Pencil.

Take note, be it 12pm on a Sunday or 12am on a Saturday, this spot will always welcome you with open arms.

 

Science & Industry

Last and most definitely not least, this place truly is the mad scientist of cocktail bars.

Science & Industry is the closest bar of the lot, and is only a 2 minute walk away – you could practically crawl from the bar to your comfy bed.

With an in-house ‘drinks laboratory’ which crafts ways to drink and dine so revolutionary, they’d make even Einstein scratch his head.

Not only do you get to have a hands-on experience creating your own kooky cocktails, this bar will offer you some of the most unique drinks around.

 

This is by no means the full list (though, we’re not too sure we could handle much more) but it does just go to show the variety and vibrancy that keeps people coming back to Manchester.

The Northern Quarter is the real hub that this slice of nightlife is based around and is within walking distance of our Church Street Aparthotel.

If you’re interested in checking out the hottest restaurants too, check out our previous blog post!

 

 

When you come to visit, fill us in with the spot’s you’ve found. We’re sure there’s a few more hiding!

Travel Smart: How to Prepare for Your Big Trip

With summer coming up, the time for the escapes are here! Are you looking to hop around on weekend trips? Or maybe you’re in the midst of planning a big, backpacking adventure—or even an extended work trip? Whatever the reason, it’s important to prepare for your trip ahead—make sure you do these 10 things before you travel.

 

Dreaming Stage: 3-5 weeks to go

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With the destination picked and flights booked, now’s the time to get excited, and get learning.

Consider – What kind of a trip you want to be having. Is this going to be a beach trip that leaves you refreshed and tanned, or a cultural one, where learning is the objective? And are you going to be painting the town red until dawn, or is dawn around when you’ll be getting up to start exploring? Consider carefully—how you answer will determine how you plan.

Read Up– On the culture of the place you’re going. Understanding the history, background, and lifestyle there will make the trip all the more enjoyable. Included in this stage might be getting into the culture and art. Are there famous books, movies, or songs about this place? This is a great way to get excited.

Research – On where you’d like to stay, both the neighbourhood and type of accommodation. Make a list of must-sees and then maybe-sees. The more organised you are now, the more effortless the actual vacation will be. Plus, some attractions may need advanced booking—now’s the time to make sure.

Learn – At least a little of the language. Not only is it respectful, but the language of a place really gives you a window into that culture. Who knows, you might even meet some locals, who will make your trip magical! (If you already know the language, now’s the time to brush up and maybe practice with a language buddy.)

 

Planning Stage: 3 weeks to go

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Now that you have a better idea of what your trip is going to look like, it’s time to start turning those ideas into reality.

Book – Accommodation, car rentals, museum or experience tickets, any transport to and from either airport, tour guides and anything else that might come up.

Make Appointments – For any visas you might need to prepare for your trip (note: you might need upwards of five weeks if sending your passport off is part of the process)

Buy –Those travel essentials, from sunscreen, travel insurance, sunglasses, good pocket guidebooks, and books to read on the beach. Keep in mind, though, what things might be cheaper in your destination city—and what won’t.

 

The Details Stage: The night before

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Pack – Everyone’s not-so-favourite step is also, obviously, the most important. But while squeezing your stuff in, it’s typically more important to consider what not to bring. Do you really need that second pair of sandals? A bathing suit for a cultural vacation? A second book when you’re only starting the first? Weight restrictions are getting stricter all the time—pack with caution.

Download – Any travel apps that will be helpful (language apps or dictionaries, as well as a reliable maps system like City Mapper). And the entertainment: ebooks and Netflix series for long plane rides in particular.

Sleep –It’s the best time to do so, considering the plane and packed schedule won’t make it easy. Showing up at your destination well-rested will be key to a fantastic trip.

There, you’re ready! Where are you going? If you’re headed to either London or Manchester (and good call either way), why not give Supercity a try? Prepare for your trip by giving Templeton Place in Chelsea, The Chronicle in the City of London, or Church Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter a look!

Best London Day Escapes

With spring in full swing, it’s time to get outdoors and escape the normal rush of the city. London might be full of great parks, museums and sights, but sometimes getting out of the central haze to breathe clean air is just what you need to recharge and refresh. You don’t have to travel far to get that—these six destinations are practically on your doorstep.

 

The Beside-You:

While still near to central London, these places have the revitalising power of the more distant countryside. Best of all? They’ll take thirty minutes, tops, on the train from zone 1.

Greenwich – The birthplace of global time is a fantastic day escape, from its lovely 18th century village, to the waterfront, to the park. Go to the Maritime Museum to learn about London’s seafaring past. And climb the hill around sunset for one of the city’s best views. If you squint, you can see Big Ben and the BT Tower!

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Richmond –Another fantastic vista can be found on the heights of Richmond Park, where the protected view of St Paul’s Cathedral means you can see it all the way from the lookout. You’ll need the help of the telescope planted there, but it will be worth it. After that, go on the lookout for the deer that live there, and then go for a wander along the leafy Thames.

 

The Near:

These places are still accessible by TFL, though transit time will be closer to an hour.

Hiking in the Chilternsthe woods past northwest London comprise some of the loveliest patches English countryside near the city. Take the Metropolitan Line to Amersham or Chesham station to start. Make sure to look up a few guided routes before going, as this won’t be readily apparent at the station (a great guide can be found here). Once you’re on your way, though, you’ll weave through fields, forests, and gorgeous historical towns.

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Morden Hall Park – Although infamous as the stop many northern line commuters wake up to after a long night out, Morden Hall Park (just five minutes from the station) is one of the larger, better parks in and around London. In addition to the lush natural reserves, there are a couple really interesting historical buildings scattered throughout the park, including an old snuff factory now transformed into an art gallery.

 

The Proper Day Trip:

You’ll need to use the national rail to get to these destinations, so it will take more time and money, but they’re totally worth it.

Windsor – A little past Richmond lies one of Britain’s most regal residences, the castle town of Windsor. Here you can explore the castle (when royalty’s not in) and the wealth of boutique shops and fancy restaurants. Across the river lies Eton, home to Britain’s most prestigious boy’s school. This little corner of England is the height of aristocracy.

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Brighton –England’s most popular seaside destination, as you might’ve guessed, is the ideal getaway on a sweltering day. Go for a swim, a wander along its rocky shores, or play games at the arcade on the boardwalk. The fantastical India-inspired Royal Pavilion is sure to inspire, and meanwhile the nest of bohemian joints in the Lanes are worth hours of exploring. Not to mention, our newest aparthotel will open there this summer – make sure to check it out! 

Spring in England is the perfect time to explore the country to the fullest – London day escapes are necessary. If you’ve got more time, why not see Bath or York, or even see the London canals at their best?

Harry Potter In London: Our favourite spots

It’s no secret that Harry Potter is a big deal. That’s considering the books that changed publishing forever, the billion-dollar film franchise, to the massive amount of merchandise. Last year, a professor at the London School of Economics estimated that Harry Potter was worth £4 billion to the UK economy alone.

Harry Potter has been shaped by and now shapes so much of British culture, and that’s especially true of London. So much of the series was inspired by London’s quirkier areas and its literary history. Let’s take a look at some of the best. You won’t need a broomstick or an apparition spell to get to these spots—all are in central London, so the tube should suffice.

King’s Cross-St Pancras

All Harry Potter tours have to start here—at Platform 9 3/4, where Harry’s adventure really begins. You’ll find it by the line of people clad in scarves, fake glasses, and lightning scars, waiting to get their picture taken with the trolley perched halfway into the brick. Skip the photo opportunity, and instead check out the station’s beautiful architecture. (The filming was actually done between platforms 4 and 5).

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Outside, have a glance at the entrance to the St Pancras Hotel. The outside is where Ron’s crummy flying car rumbles up and shoots off into the sky in the Chamber of Secrets.

 

Piccadilly Circus

The centre of London’s chaos and frenzy, Piccadilly Circus is in a lot of movies, including the key scene in Deathly Hallows Part 1. It’s here where they apparate from Fleur and Bill’s wedding after the death eaters attack. Continue up Shaftesbury Avenue to follow in Hermione’s footsteps as they rush through the crowd, evading escape.

 

Charing Cross Road

In both the books and the films, Charing Cross Road—a street famous for its bookstores— is the doorway to Diagon Alley. You won’t find more than a passing resemblance to the scene in the movie. Instead, go to Leadenhall Market in City to see where they actually filmed it. Most Potter fanatics, rather, will focus on the Palace Theatre up the road, where the massively successful Harry Potter and the Cursed Child plays.

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Leadenhall, where filming took place

Westminster Tube Station

Arguably London’s coolest tube station, with its sleek subterranean feel, Westminster is also the setting for one of the Order of the Phoenix’s funniest scenes. Arthur Weasley takes Harry to the Ministry of Magic, bumbling his way through the station and attracting the laughs of all the unsuspecting muggles.

 

Lambeth Bridge

The knight bus barrels across this sparse West End bridge in the Prisoner of Azkaban— notably squeezing between two double deckers in the process.

 

The Millennium Bridge

Perhaps London’s most popular bridge, the Millennium Bridge is Voldemort’s first victim in the Half Blood Prince’s striking opening: the death eaters blow it up, sending it crashing into the Thames.

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Borough Market

Head past the market itself to 7 Stoney Street, the narrow building beside the train line. It’s where the Knight Bus takes Harry. He’ll later look out from the third floor window on the market and watch the trains going by.

 

Claremont Square

Known as 12 Grimauld Place in the series, this quiet square in Angel is where Sirius Black’s house is.

 

Bonus: Brydges Place

While it’s not mentioned in either the books or the movies, this tiny, slanting alley—the narrowest street in London—has plenty of magic in its own right. JK Rowling worked nearby with Amnesty International, leading some to theorise that she based Diagon Alley on Brydges Place.

 

Looking to get out of London to see other magical places? Then make sure you check out Bath and York!

Explore the London Canals

The London Canals are truly one of city’s best (not-so-hidden) secrets. They’re the antidote to central London’s chaotic energy. Instead of the typical bustle, the canals are quiet, laid-back, and artsy. They’re full of charming surprises too! Here’s the best way to approach them.

 

That Time of Year

Though interesting no matter the weather, in spring, the canals come into their own kind of bloom. Expect cafes (both in buildings and on boats), booksellers, and street artists. That said, the nicer the weather the bigger the crowds—don’t expect to move much on a summer’s day.

 

The London Canals Walk

The whole canal system measures close to 220 km—you’ve got a lot of options. Our walk is considerably more modest at 9 km, roughly 2 hours of walking. The walk goes between Victoria and Regent’s park, taking you through most of central London’s Canals in the process.

 

 

Start at: Camden Market

Where you’ll escape the tourist-fuelled insanity of the central market for a more relaxed vibe. If you’re hungry, the street food at the Camden Lock is some of the city’s most creative and mouth-watering. Tandoori Chicken burger anyone?

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Walk east along the river past a fascinating mix of architectural styles. Though among the more quiet stretches of the walk, you’ll have plenty to look at. Keep an eye out for the new apartments built out of the industrial-era gas holders.

 

King’s Cross

The sudden rush of busyness means you’re reaching King’s Cross. The 2018-finished Lewis Cubit Square and Granary Square has revitalised the area. Explore the boutique shops and restaurants based in warehouses, and don’t miss the musical fountain. As the home to Central St Martin’s, London’s premier fashion school, expect to rub shoulders with some rather well dressed people around here.

Continue walking, though look out for the final chance to get off the paths, as unfortunately you’ll hit:

The Islington Tunnel Diversion

Which will force you to trek above ground a half-kilometre before rejoining the canals. Luckily, the diversion will take you through Angel, a lovely neighbourhood in its own right. For the most direct route, walk along Chapel Market, cross Upper Street, and head straight along Duncan Street until you see the canals. From here, it’s a straight shot to Victoria Park.

 

The Islington-Hoxton Section

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The longest section of our walk is also among the prettiest and liveliest. Where new architecture collides with old industrial warehouses, and you’re never far from a café or espresso-boat (yes, that’s a thing). Be on the lookout for: the towers in the City Road basin, the street art around Haggerston, and the little canal gatehouse (now a small flat) near Broadway.

 

Broadway Market

At the (unforgettably named) Cat and Mutton bridge, you’ll have the chance to leave the canals for Broadway Market. On Saturday the street fills with clothes stalls, but it’s got a number of great restaurants and cafes to interest you any day of the week. Continue past it for London Fields, the city at its most bohemian, and Netil 360, East London’s signature rooftop bar.

 

If you stay on the canals, though, keep going along just a little further to hit

Victoria Park

Easily one of the nicest parks in a city famous for its green spaces, Victoria Park is the perfect end to your long stroll. Lie back on the grass, or maybe have a pint at one of the many pubs on the park. Either way, you deserve it.

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And beyond? Well there are 2000 miles of them to walk along if you’re still not satisfied—continue east on the London Canals for Hackney Wick, or west for Regent’s Park and Little Venice.

 

To escape the city, though, check out our day trips to York and Bath as well!

 

 

A York Day Trip: The Must Sees

England might have over two-thousand years of history, but most of that isn’t very visible in 2019. Travellers expecting a country of knights and castles might show up disappointed—most of the country (especially London and other city centres) reflects the past two centuries of industrial revolution. However, if you’re seeking a medieval fix, look no further than York. It skipped most of the industrial revolution, keeping its medieval feel. So take the train for the day and explore this very special northern staple. Here are the York must sees.

 

Getting There

Despite its modest size, York is one of England’s transportation hubs. It has a gorgeous train station and frequent trains between Edinburgh, London and Manchester. After that, it’s a short stroll into the historical centre.

 

First, a Little History

Like Bath and London, York started as one of the major Roman outposts on the island. After the Romans left England, the Vikings captured it and made it their central city. It spent much of the medieval era as England’s second city, a major centre of trade, arts and politics. It began to decline from the Tudor period on, with London’s increasing dominance, and missed the main industrial push with fellow northern cities Manchester and Liverpool taking precedence.

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CC-BY-SA 3.0 | Harry Mitchell

Tackling York

The narrow, inviting streets are best for wandering – take some time to approach York on your own terms. Walk through, get lost. York comes alive with personal exploration.

 

York Cathedral

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CC BY-SA 4.0 | Peter K Burian

Towering over York’s modest skyline even today, York Cathedral (or York Minster) is one of the most stunning Gothic cathedrals in the world, and almost certainly England’s best. It took over two-hundred years to complete. That history of care and devotion is chiselled into every detail in the walls, knave and pulpit. Take the narrow 275 steps up for premium views of the city. Stay for Evensong (6PM) to hear the earth-shaking organ in action.

 

National Railway Museum

The largest rail museum in the world, this sprawling free-entry ode to Britain’s most important invention has over 250 original trains on display. Explore the intricate history of the rail, including its origins and how it changed the world, through stepping inside the trains. Highlights include the original Great Northern Railway steam locomotive and one of the first Japanese Shinkansen (bullet trains). For fun with the kids, take the £3 road train from York Cathedral.

 

Jorvik Viking Centre

Discover what life in Viking-era York (pronounced Yor-vik) was like with this interactive retelling. Visitors take a ‘time car’ to travel into the past and watch re-enactments of the Vikings through colourful, detailed exhibits, excellent actors and (yes) robots. So grab your horned helmet and step on board! Remember to book tickets in advance though – this is York’s most popular attraction, by some measure.

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York might be small by today’s standards (although big enough at the time to get that city in America named after it). But it’s played a key role in English history, a history that’s etched into the cobbled streets, leaning shops, and sweeping Gothic architecture. Coming here is more than just a Yorkshire history lesson—it’s an intricate look at England’s past. That’s what makes the town itself one large must-see, however small it might be.

 

And if you’re down south, make sure to check out Bath as well – and read our guide to it!

Bath Day Trip: 5 Must Sees

Bath is surely one of the most gorgeous places in England. With its stately Georgian architecture, wide walkable streets, and its lush green surroundings, it’s easy to fall into a reverie while wandering through. But it’s more than just a pretty face. With over two-thousand years of history, it’s also one of England’s oldest continuous towns. Here are the Bath must-sees.

Getting There

If you’re in London, take the 2 hour train ride from Paddington Station. Situated on the line that goes all the way to neighbouring Bristol, train services are fast, frequent, and often reasonably priced.

The Roman Baths

Like London, Bath has a rich Roman history. The Romans saw great spiritual significance in the warm waters running underneath the land. They built a massive spa—their largest complex in England—to capture and capitalise on it. Today it’s the best-preserved Roman ruins in the country, with a stunning main bathing hall that makes imagining Roman life easy. The heavy crowds don’t detract from the dark, mystical atmosphere.

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Hot Spa

Bathing in Bath, you say? After studying how the Romans swam, take a soak to more modern comforts. The Thermae Bath has been in use since the 1500s but—don’t worry— went through a swanky face lift in 2006. It now includes two swimming pools, massage jets, and a health and wellness suite. Who knew history was this therapeutic?

 

Georgian Architecture

When Bath was the hippest place in England in the 1700s, party and retreat spot for nobles and nouveau riche alike, the most innovative architecture of its time was being built there. Now, you can see the places that defined the style of (what we now call) Georgian. The sweeping Royal Crescent is the must-see. To get a look and feel inside one of them, go to the Number 1 House Museum. It recreates what life was actually like for the inhabitants of the crescent, from the lowest servant to the lord and master.

 

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The Jane Austen Centre

Possibly Britain’s most beloved author, Jane Austen made Bath her home for a significant period of her life. The city is alive with those literary connections—go in September and witness hundreds come dressed-up Georgian for the Jan Austen Fair. For the rest of the year, the Jane Austen Centre is the best way to get an idea about Austen’s life and times. They do historical re-enactments and share some of the secrets in her novels.

 

Walking Tours

Bath is a city best explored on foot. Fully aware of this, the city council offer a daily free walking tour of the city. They meet at 10:30 AM and 2 PM in front of the Bath Cathedral. Though free, these guides are well-trained and completely in love with their city—so expect a walk that’s both detailed and enjoyable.

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That covers the absolute Bath must sees, though there are many other museums and sights you can visit during your stay. In this special town with its rich history, it’s easiest just to wander – to drift down the streets, and imagine what it was like for Austen and company when Bath was the hippest place in all of Britain.

If you’re travelling around northern England, don’t miss out on York – and check out our guide for it too!

Jessica Cassar

Different Every Day

“I do like animals but I don’t have a dog,” Accounts Assistant Jess Cassar says. “It wouldn’t be fair, I’d be out too much, socialising. I don’t want to bring him along, get the dog drunk and then carry him home on the tube—that wouldn’t be fun. ‘What’s wrong with your dog?’ ‘Oh nothing, he’s just had a bit too much G and T.’”

Jess insists she’s “not that good at telling jokes,” but working with her, these kinds of stories and insight pepper the day. No two days are ever going to be the same with her. There’s always new stories or new ways of telling them.

Here’s another:

“If I won the lottery I would probably buy a little flat in West London, because if I wanted money I’d want a garden with a horse—I can’t imagine buying a townhouse and keeping the horse in West London. Everyone would know I’m a lottery winner, I would be so extravagant. There would be pink flamingos out on the lawn.”

She has boundless energy. Rarely not running, she buzzes through the day with a wide smile. There’s always new things to tackle and new stories to share – every difficulty is a challenge she can learn from. The tough days are the busy ones, but then again, “every time you get a busy day it prepares you so you’ll never get a busy day again.”

That attitude keeps her going, in everything she does.

 

So Not The Office

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She started in accounts at Supercity two years ago. After seven years doing admin for a jewellery company in Hatton Garden, with accounts the best part of the job, she pursued her AAT qualification in college. “I had the knowledge, I just needed that practical side of things,” and Supercity was the best place for that. Since it was smaller then, the job gave her access to a variety of different tasks—all the more chances to learn and challenge herself.

The company’s grown a lot in those two years. Now, with the larger accounts department, her job as accounts payable is to make sure all payments are made on time and in an orderly fashion. She loves the team here, the way they socialise and stick up for each other, “so not like [the TV programme] The Office. There’s no one you avoid in the coffee room.”

A really good day in the (totally not The Office) office is when “you come in and you’re in your zone. You’ve got your seven-point to-do list and it’s half five and you’ve crossed out six of them. Power mode.”

The day ends when the tasks do. “If I’ve got a problem, I’ve got to stay till God knows when, I will get it done.” It always come down to thinking positive. “I know at the time you think ‘I can’t do this,’ but no, it’s fine, there’s always a silver lining.”

 

Master of Her Field

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“In life, you’ve got to be fearless.”

Fearless, maybe, but also practical. Jess lives in just past East London, knowing that “what you get for your London is not what you’d get out here.” The commute is okay, though, and she spends almost every free moment in the city—“socialising, shopping, doing the things a Londoner will do.”

What about moving elsewhere? Though she lived as a child in Australia, it seems too far from her life now. She’d consider America because of the randomness and the freedom there— “I could go there and come back with another head if I wanted to.” At the end of the day, though, she loves London a little too much—and Supercity, for that matter, too.

That contentedness means the future is wide open, and she’s open for whatever comes her way. “Really, my aim at the moment for the next 5 years is just to learn, to excel at what I’m doing.” And that all comes down to her energy, her attitude, her capacity to learn from it. “Someone might think, ‘Oh in 5 years time I might be CEO,’ no I just want to be master of my field.”

Meet more of the family

Teodora | Ana | SalvatoreZoe | Camelia | Alina | Patrick  | Liz | Carley | Tom

Tom Hardy

Diving In

Tom hasn’t really stopped since he became General Manager at Supercity last June. “There were a lot of things that needed tweaking, things that needed finishing,” plus a whole swath of new roles to fill and run, including Front of House manager. All of that happened while he was there learning the ins and outs—“new audit standards, cleaning inspections, data so we can support and train people.” And that’s not even considering the opening of The Chronicle, that autumn.

It was a lot—think diving in head first. Now, as we come into March “it feels like a reset.”

Was he hesitant about becoming General Manager for his first hotel company, especially one that was in the middle of so much change? “It didn’t worry me too much, if you’re hard working and apply yourself, you’ll get there eventually.”

To which he adds, “I’ve always been an ambitious lad, you know.”

Jumping Up

Considering his track record, that’s probably an understatement. His career started early—working “probably an illegal amount of hours” at an Indian restaurant during his GCSE’s. He did work placements all through university, and moved up quickly after graduating. Since his first assistant management position in 2009, he hasn’t really stopped.

He admits that in those early days, he was much more about sales, “making sure I did whatever I had to do to hit targets. That was when I was relentless.” As he’s grown with his roles, he’s found that real success comes from the team-building—but that work ethic has never gone away. “In my whole time I’ve had zero sick days.”

He’s held positions in commercial football organisations, fitness centres, and student accommodation before Supercity. “The industry is not overly important for me,” he says, since whatever it is, “I can learn to enjoy it.” Really, it’s businesses that have “the potential to succeed, which I can make better” that attracts him.

But sometimes the company itself makes it hard to achieve that balance. In his last role, everything was decided from upper-level management and he couldn’t choose his own team. It went to the point where “it was very difficult to be able to pick your own receptionist.” This started to take a toll on him, with the increasing sense that his contributions weren’t being appreciated. “If you get an inclination that your boss doesn’t trust what you’re doing, it kind of spirals, you question everything you do.”

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Team Supercity

So it was the freedom and trust embedded in the role that attracted him to Supercity. Here, he felt he could really create something. “That was really cool, they were really open to new ideas, open to what I wanted to do.”

At the end of the day, “my task really is to build a team.” And if they’re happy, the rest follows from that. That well-being comes from knowing that “team members aren’t clockwatches,” it’s much more about “tapping into what motivates people, making them happy, being transparent.” There’s a complex balancing act that comes with managing both people and KPI’s – but that finding that balance is the most satisfying part of the job.

The key is listening. “You surround yourself with people who are more skilled than you in that area and listen to them.” At Supercity, first and foremost this meant working closely with Camelia, Head of Housekeeping and Salvatore, Front of House Manager, but also learning from people like Liz, Sales Director, and Patrick, Facilities Manager.

At what point does he realize he’s successful? When “they feel comfortable about calling you about anything.” At Supercity that happened early, and he feels very close to his team after such a short period. “It’s us working together as a team.” With all that’s been achieved since The Chronicle and Church Street opened, that success speaks for itself.

 

Two Paths

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Tom came to London because of the opportunities – the roles in and around Stoke-on-Trent, his hometown, were limited. Now, with a one year old girl, he and his fiancé are starting to consider heading back up north to raise her. “I think it would be nice for her to grow up where I’m from—you can go out on your bike and just be free to do what you want.” In London, that wouldn’t be as easy.

But London is still the best place for his career. Now he faces two choices: “the idea is to move on and eventually be a CEO, or have my own business.” He realizes that if he’d stayed in Stoke-on-Trent, where “if it folded I wouldn’t be in such a dire place,” running his own business would’ve been much easier. In London, he plans to continue his momentum—working hard, moving up, and making Supercity the best place he can.

“It’s like Richard Branson says, take the job and use the opportunity to learn from it… That’s what I’m going to keep on pushing for.”

 

Meet more of the family

Teodora | Ana | SalvatoreZoe | Camelia | Alina | Patrick  | Liz | Carley

Why I Love Manchester: Words From A Newbie

By Liam Scanlon

Early Impressions

Manchester’s not the type of city to charm you straight away. The first few times I came here to my family, the city was just the backdrop.  London was always on my mind—that (much) bigger older brother that, being so much bigger and crazier than Manchester, always tended to overshadow the second city for me. Plus, there’s that weather. Especially in the winter, Manchester gets aggressively grey, the fog hugging close and the rains coming hard. London seems positively Mediterranean after days like that.

That all changed when I started to explore it myself with Supercity. As we started preparing for the launch of Church Street, I got sent up there a few times. My mission? Understand the city. Solo travelling’s a completely different story: no longer a backdrop, Manchester became the star show. It made me love Manchester.

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The Obvious Stuff

On my own, I was hit with a number of obvious things Manchester does very well. It’s a much more laid back approach than London—you don’t see people knocking pedestrians out of the way to catch their bus/tube/tram. The bars on Canal Street and the Northern Quarter were always buzzing. That rain? It never seemed to stop people. I guess that’s the plus about it drizzling all the time.

Probably my favourite tourist aspect was the walkability: Manchester’s so dense that you can stroll in any direction and find something interesting. The whole central city takes about twenty minutes to traverse. Just try doing that in London—you’ll be lucky if you make it to the next tube stop. It meant I could wander—my favourite tourist activity—without worrying, popping into the great free museums (the Science and Industry being the best) between all that street art hunting and picture-taking.

That’s what made me start to like Manchester. To love it, I had to start scratching past that surface.

 

A Deeper Look

Based right in middle of the Northern Quarter, Church Street was the perfect home base to do that. You’re hit with the district’s coolness right away. It’s a coolness defined by a wide range of great pubs and clubs (Cane & Grain was my favourite), espresso bars in shoebox side shops or warehouse roasteries, and amazing restaurants. It’s true, you could eat and drink your way through this dense network of side streets and die happy.

But below those surface traits, what really struck me was the attitude. People in the area never felt the need to show off, the way East London districts (cough, Shoreditch) do. There was a friendly openness to the people I met, relaxed and good natured despite all the rain, with people eager to give me the low down on best places to go and see. They were proud of their area, but weren’t about to brag about it. It just took a little digging for me to understand that.

It’s the same case with the street art I found. Manchester has some of the most striking pieces of street art I’ve ever come across. Many of the most powerful were commissioned by Cities of Hope, an amazing initiative that every city should have, where the artists hired tackle a different social issue. From homelessness, to commentary on the refugee crisis, to feminism and gay rights, these were works rooted in social criticism and activism. Yes Manchester has two art galleries, but these pieces, to me, are the city’s real art gallery. They might not last forever, but they’re challenging, beautiful, and accessible to everyone—all the things art should be.

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Radical Manchester

Indeed, it’s the activist undertones that really made me love the city.

Manchester’s had a complicated history, to say the least. Its industrial beginnings are still moulded into the urban landscape. From the gorgeous Victorian terracotta and redbrick buildings (especially the City Hall) to the intimidating large factories in the Ancoats district. Its nickname, “Cottonopolis,” came from it being the world’s centre of the cotton trade for almost a century.

But underneath that history, exploitation was rife. The industrial revolution was built on the backs of the workers who came to Manchester, often after being evicted from the farmlands their families had lived on for generations. In the factories, days could be upwards of 16 hours, with extremely low wages and dangerous working conditions. Not to mention, much of the cotton the city became rich off of was picked by slaves in the colonies.

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Rather than try and ignore this history, though, Manchester locals are proud of their responses. From Peterloo, to Suffragette struggles, to more recent fights for equality especially gay rights, it’s a city that’s played such a crucial role in shaping the rights enjoyed in Britain today. It’s not been an easy journey, but the People’s History Museum (the only museum of its kind in the UK), charts that progress. Meanwhile, you can take walks through the city (as I’ve set out to do all this week) and see how that struggle was played out across the city itself. Go and find the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, and you’ll see the truth in that, too.

This is what makes Manchester such a special city. For all that edginess and hipness, it’s the underlying push for social justice that makes this more than just a passing trend. If you don’t believe me, take another walk through the Northern Quarter and see that push made visual.

There’s so much to do, see, and learn. That’s why it’s so exciting to have Supercity’s newest aparthotel placed right there in the middle of the action. With this complex, fascinating city, I’m only getting started.

Thanks for reading! If you liked my take on Cottonopolis, make sure you check out my walking tours I’ve crafted, to help you fall in love with the city the way I did.

Explore More of Manchester

Industrial History Walking Tour | Suffragette Walking Tour| Street Art Walking Tour | Northern Quarter Hidden Gems

Supercity’s Northern Quarter Hidden Gems

When people from all across the country—and sometimes outside the country—talk about how cool Manchester’s becoming, they’re usually referring to the Northern Quarter. This upper corner of Manchester is known as the centre of Manchester’s revitalisation. And with Church Street right in the middle of this vibrant, ever-changing district, it’s necessary we guide you through – from the tastiest restaurants to the most happening bars.

Eat

PLY

Call it the best of both worlds – this pizza joint, perhaps the district’s most buzzy, keeps their sourdough pizza traditional (no ingredient would look out of place on a Neopolitan pizza), but their vibe contemporary. The open plan industrial vibe makes for a great Friday night out with friends – make sure to try a few of their speciality cocktails (our favourite is the blackberry messenger).

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COTTONOPOLIS

If you’re looking to splurge in a place that’s hip enough to give you bragging rights, go to the Japanese-inspired Cottonopolis. Based in a gorgeous Grade-II listed Victorian building, these Asian small plates are each tied round four concepts of ice, fire, steam and oil. These plates are as elegantly crafted as a piece of artwork.

YARD & COOP

Yard & Coop brings southern-style fried chicken to Manchester with this large, laid back space. Delicious and varied—not to mention sporting a great selection of craft beers— this is a great place to go with mates!

Drink

SOUP KITCHEN

With two floors that host bands, DJ’s, art exhibitions and comedy shows, Soup Kitchen is a proper social centre in the quarter. Come in the day for a relaxed vibe with good beers and hearty home-cooked food—at night, the energy surges. Check their site for details.

TERRACE NQ

Like its name implies, this bar’s fantastic rooftop makes it one of the best places to drink in the summer. When those infamous Manchester rains roll in, though, the exposed brick, industrial lighting, and atmospheric interior still makes it a must-visit. Plus, drinks go for a real bargain, especially around happy hour.

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CANE & GRAIN

Actually, consider this more like three bars in one, Cane&Grain boats three floors of different takes on pop culture, like the 80’s skate posters on the first floor. Push past the secret door for the antique-bedecked speakeasy Science and Industry. Not secret enough for you? Go up a floor further for a speakeasy-inside-a-speakeasy The Liar’s Lounge, a rum-based Tiki Bar. Overall it’s as much an experience as a bar, the single perfect showcase of the quirky, imaginative Northern Quarter spirit.

And for a little of both…

EL CAPO

Boasting spicy wings that’ll “make you scream so loud the windows might shatter,” El Capo doesn’t hold back on making proper Mexican dishes for a trend-conscious northern crowd. Don’t ignore its drinks potential either—with over 200 brands of tequila and 21 cocktails, don’t be surprised if you end up spending all night there.

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PIE AND ALE

Just like their name promises, this happening place off of Stevenson Square brings together two of the most cherished British staples with that urban twist you expect from the Northern Quarter. Try the pork and apple pie while sampling some of their extensive craft beer selection. And with two of the biggest screens in the area, it’s also the place to watch the big games.

 

Explore More of Manchester 

Industrial History Walking Tour | Suffragette Walking Tour| Street Art Walking Tour | Manchester Newbie

Manchester Suffragette History Walk

Although the Suffragette Movement was concluded and nationalised in London, it started in Manchester. Use this article to follow in the footsteps, one hundred years after they won the vote, of the women who changed history. Thanks to true Manc Local—and future global celebrity activist—Emmeline Pankhurst, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was started here. It changed the world. “First in the Fight,” as a banner in the People’s History Museum proudly states, Manchester is the jumping-off point for all struggles for women’s equality. Take an afternoon and discover that history for yourself.

The Pankhurst Centre

Our first stop is also the most important – this is the place where everything happened. Emmeline Pankhurst and her three daughters lived in this large Victorian complex between 1898 and 1907. With the first meeting of the WSPU held in the parlour, it’s not a stretch to say that the Suffragette movement was born in these rooms. Today, the free centre is a great museum detailing the Pankhurst family life and their struggle for parliamentary representation. It’s had significant renovations over the centenary year, so that now, the exhibits are even more detailed about the Pankhurst family, and why she and her two daughters were the ones that changed history.

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Note that the Pankhurst Centre is outside of the city centre, near the University of Manchester, so you might want to take a tram into the city centre towards St Peter’s Square. Also, hours are quite limited so check before you go!

Free Trade Hall

You might remember, if you followed our Industrial History walk, that the Free Trade Hall is the site of the 1819 Peterloo massacre after the then-largest protests in British history. Almost a hundred years later, in 1905, an equally radical and long-lasting moment happened here: Christabel Pankhurst (Emmeline’s daughter) and Annie Kenney interrupted a political meeting Winston Churchill was attending.

            They were imprisoned after refusing to pay the 5 shilling fine for spitting at the police officer arresting them. Churchill offered to pay their bail but the women, in a game-changing move, refused.

            This inspired what became the Suffragette motto: deeds not words.

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As you’re leaving, make sure to pay your respects to the Pankhurst statue by local artist Hazel Reeves in the middle of St Peter’s Square. Unveiled in 2018 for the centenary, it’s only the second statue of a woman in the whole city—the first? Queen Victoria, naturally.

The People’s History Museum

Important both for the city’s industrial and Suffragette history, this free museum features an extensive collection of Suffragette memorabilia, with sashes, letters, uniforms and telegrams between Suffragettes. Highlights include a large Suffragette banner recently discovered in a Leeds charity shop.

Manchester Art Gallery

In addition to being a great museum in its own right, the gallery was also the scene of a crucial moment in the struggle. In 1913, three young Suffragettes sabotaged 13 major paintings in the collection to protest Emmeline Pankhurt’s prison sentencing the day before. Many of these paintings, after their careful restoration, are still on display today. The three women were eventually given 1-3 month prison terms.

The Northern Quarter

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Wander through the district to see the visual ways women continue to fight for rights, documented through great, politically-charged street art. There’s even a mosaic of Pankhurst senior. The biggest and boldest of the lot is SNIK’s ‘Serenity,’ whose red dressed woman is a tribute to all women who stand against injustice. Follow Little Lever Street a bit further to reach Stevenson Square, a popular meeting place for protesters where a number of key Suffragette demonstrations were held.

It’s a testament to how much Manchester is a city that, from decade to decade, is always radical and forward-thinking. So before you head back to Church Street, take a second to pay tribute to the people that changed the world, and then look at the ways the city is continuing to challenge, to change, to inspire.

 

Explore More of Manchester 

Industrial History Walking Tour |  Street Art Walking Tour | Northern Quarter Hidden Gems| Manchester Newbie 

Carley Bannaghan

Giant Sneakers Everywhere

When Carley Bannaghan sits to have her original interview for this article in November, she has an Old English Miniature Bulldog named Kay having a nap on her lap. “I always try and achieve something every day anyway, even if it’s just making Kay happy.” Doggy day-care aside, she’s certainly accomplished a great deal since becoming Sales Manager for Church Street Aparthotel, based in the Northern Quarter, seeing it through its transformation from the Light to the Supercity signature it is today.

From the get-go, “it was all hands on the deck.” In her own words, The Light “couldn’t have been further from Supercity if they tried.” Specialising in short stay accommodations that catered to birthday or engagement trips, The Light had completely different clientele, length of stay, staffing—“everything.” When it came to revamping The Light to turn it into Supercity, then, it meant starting from scratch.

But Carley was used to the long hours and need to improvise while working as an event planner. The job required her to travel around the world, “doing 15 to 17 hour days,” working on projects as far-flung as a New Balance conference in Tenerife (“there were giant sneakers everywhere”), to working in Beijing with the company that helped manage a lot of the events around their Olympics.

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If all this sounds exotic—“it wasn’t.” Instead, she remembers it being more about “getting up at the crack of dawn, work for 2000 people, do something for the night, go somewhere only to go other places.” It was hard, exhausting work that left her with almost no time for her family.  “I fell asleep in the shower once and I was like right, this is the end of this.”

That Manchester Feeling

In joining hotel sales, she found there was enough overlap for the aspects she loved without the horrendous hours. She enjoys the strategy that comes with it, the satisfaction of landing a great client, and most of all the chance to meet people from so many different backgrounds, where “you could be speaking to a producer that’s looking after peaky blinders one day, and the next day you’re speaking to an analyst from India coming in.”

From that came her move to a sleek aparthotel company, and then came Supercity last year—she hasn’t really stopped moving since. “It has been a journey, I mean I’m coming up to a year and it feels as though I’ve been here for about 30, 35 years. So much has happened.”

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Not only will the 68-suite complex have the most units of any Supercity hotel, it’s also the first aparthotel outside of London, a first she’s proud to have played a role in shaping. “Church Street is Mancunian, the artwork is Mancunian, the staff are Mancunian, the people we’re employing are local with a local knowledge.” Based in the Northern Quarter, the aparthotel reflects that sense of a rapidly changing neighbourhood that never lost its artistic sensibilities for what’s cool in and around the area.

 And as a proud Mancunian herself, she’s up for that challenge. “Home is home,” is her motto, and she’s never stopped loving the city where “it’s big, it’s small, it’s old it’s young,” and there’s always something new and exciting to tackle and experience.

No Belly Dancers

A lot of things have changed since that original interview in November—staff have switched over, Kay has since been adopted by her mother and now goes by the name Tilly and, most of all, Church Street is now fully operational.

She’s been loving the new pace and the different aspects to her role now, from motivating the Front of House team to meeting and greeting guests. “The team have really thrived on it.” Church Street’s considered “the edgy and cool one on the market and in the Northern Quarter,” something she loves.

With a staggered opening, there will be no grand entrance on the scene. But this was never really the plan—for her, “we’ll just be like that new cool kid in the Northern Quarter, we don’t have to go out with belly dancers and trumpets, bands and throw a big party to get it on the market.” That sense of relaxed cool is exactly what the Northern Quarter is about.

Beyond the excitement surrounding the opening, she’s content—“I wanted to be a sales manager of a city property by the time I was thirty, I did that, and ever since then I’ve just enjoyed life and having that confidence.” It makes Church Street the perfect place to see that through. She lives on a farm near the city with her husband and Shar-Pei Dudley, who she calls “the love of my life, and my husband knows this.” The rest will come as it will. 

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“I would like an alpaca, but I read this morning that they only operate in herds, and then I realized, oh my God I would have to buy a herd of them, that dream’s out of the window – so if I won the lottery I might buy a heard of alpacas.”

Kay gives a small groan of approval.

Meet more of the family

Teodora | Ana | SalvatoreZoe | Camelia | Alina | Patrick  | Liz

 

 

Manchester Street Art Walking Tour

Manchester is home to some of the most evocative and challenging street art in the whole country – centred in the Northern Quarter, it’s a key part of the district’s soul and energy. London might have great art too, but no district has the sheer density of rich boundary-setting work that Manchester’s northern district does. 

This reputation for powerful, thought-provoking work was confirmed during the street art festival Cities of Hope, which raised money for different Manchester charities by crafting incredible works of art, many large enough to cover their entire building. Each raised awareness about a different cause.

So in between some great eating and drinking, take a trip with us through this beautiful open-air art gallery that is the Northern Quarter and see some of the city—and the country’s—best.

Tour Time: 45 minutes- 1 hour, depending on how much time you spend on each piece

And now, a little disclaimer: one of the most frustrating (but also powerful) things about street art is that it doesn’t last, the way a portrait in a museum does. Not every piece listed here is guaranteed to be there by the time you discover them. 

The Northern Quarter

Start at the corner of Tarrif and Hilton streets. There are a number of great pieces just on this quarter, but let me direct you to the largest of them: 

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This piece by the Never Crew highlights the world-upending difficulties of the modern refugee crisis. The more you stare at it, the more disturbing and tragic it becomes. 

Stevenson Square

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Stevenson Square is the place most visitors will notice when they first start exploring the Northern Quarter. This place is filled with great public art which changes from season to season (when I went there was a great portrait of a bee and some pop art that looked like it could’ve been done by Jamie Hewlett of Gorillaz fame). That’s what keeps it exciting – who knows what you’ll find there?

Wander down the narrow Brightwell Walk and take a turn into the carpark at the end to see this beauty:

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War Children by Hyuro is a powerful indictment of the way civil war impacts people at all levels of a society – in this case, a teenage girl forced to fight for the men above her (depicted by the shadow at her back). Detailed and yet surreal, expect to stand at this one a while.

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And then only a house away is another moving portrait, this one by Polish artist Tankpetrol. It’s a depiction of A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess, probably the most famous Manc writer.

Wander down Spear Street until you hit the intersection of Houldsworth Street, and you’ll surely see this:

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Dale Grimshaw’s powerful Cities of Hope peace is a tribute to West Papua independence; it’s certainly the most colourful piece you’ll see today. Then turn a right on Houldsworth until you reach the car park.

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This one may take a few minutes to find, but it’s well worth the hunt. This mural by Chekos is hidden away in the car park between Port Street and the canal. It celebrates the legendary auteur David Lynch, using some of his mind-melting artistic flair to capture him.

Ancoats

For the next one, you’ll just need to turn round the corner onto Great Ancoats Street to see: 

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Certainly one of the most moving street art mainstays in the city, Faith 47’s wall-high painting on the back of a warehouse is a powerful statement for gay rights.

Walk through the Ancoats area keeping an eye out for any cool new art that may have come up recently. As the old centre of the industrial revolution, its large brick exteriors now act as the perfect canvases for many new artists. After, cross Oldham Road to where it intersects with Addington for this:

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This one was by the famous Spanish street artist Axel Void. A Cities of Hope commission under the theme of existentialism, Void takes on the myth of Sisyphus (the man condemned to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity) and brings it into the 21st Century. It might not be clear what he means here, but the stunning use of colour and visuals rank it among the city’s best.

 

Then, go all the way down the parallel Cable Street to find Case’s gripping:

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This one was done by the artist Case for Cities of Hope, focusing on mental health issues and disability, teamed up with the charity “Back on Track” to showcase one of the people in their program trying to make positive changes in their life – and the difficulty that comes along with that push. 

 

After that, swing back down to Church Street only a couple minutes away. You’ve only covered a very small area of the city, but it will feel much larger – after having seen so many perspectives and challenging visions (because you definitely saw more than the ones featured here), you’ll have covered a lot of emotional ground. But it’s in moments like these where you see exactly what makes Manchester such a special city – its vibrancy, boldness, and heart. 

 

Industrial History Walking Tour | Suffragette Walking Tour|  | Northern Quarter Hidden Gems | Manchester Newbie

Manchester Industrial History Walk

In the late 18th Century, a then-small town known as Manchester started using steam-powered machines to speed up the rate of its cotton production. Thanks to a variety of factors—from its existing textile production, its proximity to the coast, the high levels of coal and scientific advancements–it became the first industrial city. It changed the world. Everything that Manchester was and is, from its layout and rising-declining fortunes, to its working class history and radical leanings, stems from that industrial city. Unlike London, it’s so easy to explore that industrial history still. So take a stroll north from Church Street and start to explore the world’s most interesting industrial history.

Length of walk: 2 hours

That includes about 70 minutes of walking, plus the time for exploring the museums at your leisure. 

Ancoats

Continue past the Northern Quarter to this industrial must-see area—this sprawling maze of factories was once so productive, it was known as “the workshop of the world.” Ancoats has loads of new stores and craft breweries opening up every other week, so you can explore it while looking at the jaw-dropping architecture.

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Make sure to stop by Anita Street – possibly the most picturesque in all of Manchester. When Ancoats was in its industrial prime, living conditions for the factory workers were so awful it led Friedrich Engels to declare it the most “shameful conditions” in the world. Anita Street, originally (less-appealingly) called Sanitary Street, was the city’s attempt to provide affordable social housing – perhaps the first of its kind in the world.

The vast factory complex of Murrays’ Mills— the world’s oldest steam powered cotton mill—shows off this history best. Its size, still overwhelming, is a stunning monument to the heart of Manchester’s (and possibly England’s) industrial boom.

While wandering down Corporation Street, you might just miss the red Victorian mailbox halfway down—it looks like any other mailbox across the country, right? Well, it stands out as the only surviving object from the city’s brutal 1996 bombing, the most damaging peace-time terrorist attack in British history.

The Manchester Royal Exchange Building

Make sure to look inside if you can—the stunning atrium, when it was completed in 1809, was the largest room in the world. Considered the centre of England’s cotton trade, much of the trading of cotton was done here up until the Second World War, when it was heavily damaged during the blitz. Though now only half the size of the original building, you can still get a real sense for its grandeur. It’s been a theatre since 1973.  

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Taking a walk past some of the city’s most beautiful Victorian-era buildings, make sure not to miss the best of the lot:

Manchester Town Hall

Grade 1 Listed and considered one of the finest examples of Gothic revivalism in the world, the Town Hall is a stunning testament to Manchester’s wealth and power in the late 19th Century. It cost £1 million (at the time extremely expensive), and designed by Alfred Waterhouse after he won a design contest.

St Peter’s Square

Now a modern tram-line thoroughfare lined by some impressive contemporary architecture, St Peter’s Square was the site of one of Britain’s bloodiest but most important scenes of social protest—Peterloo.

In 1819, following the hardships stemming from the Napoleonic wars and workers’ violation, almost 80 000 people gathered to push for Parliamentary representation—the then-largest ever protest. The magistrate of the time sent cavalry in, killing 15 but wounding close to 700. The event shocked and sent shockwaves through England.

Today, there’s not much to distinguish that history (the Free Trade Hall where the talks started is now a swish Radisson). But it’s a foundational moment for British social history, a testament to how difficult working conditions in industrial times were, and a continuing symbol for a city that’s always pushed the boundaries on social and economic issues.

It was also a key place in the Suffragette Movement

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The People’s History Museum

Walk west through Spinningfields, a district with mostly new glass buildings, to come and explore the history of Peterloo and other democratic movements in depth.

The push for worker’s rights and democratic representation is inextricably linked to the city’s industrial history. Learn all about it at this fascinating free museum, which charts the social history of this radical city. There’s a number of powerful exhibits inside, one of the best being a two floor-high intricate diagram of the struggle for political representation in the UK.

Castlefield

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Finish the walk in Manchester’s oldest district – as the site of the 79 CE Roman Fort, we’re talking 2000 years old here. More recently, it was the site of the very first canals system, the 1761 Bridgewater Canal, a legacy you can still see through the gorgeous river walks looping between gorgeous industrial redbrick. This stunning area doesn’t really look like anywhere else in the world – its massive factories, most now gutted and refurbished into hip shops or activity centres, are a testament to Manchester’s industry. Make sure to save yourself some time to wander through properly.  

In 1830, this was where the world’s first passenger train arrived. Check it out while you’re exploring:

The Museum of Science and Industry

 Possibly Manchester’s best museum, this is the perfect place to end your industrial history walk off, since after a day of answering the where question, you’ll get a chance to answer the how as well. Through a number of stunning displays, the museum explains the science and mechanics behind such revolutionary machines like the Spinning Jenny, giving you a sense about why the revolution started in Manchester, as well as the ways Manchester continues to lead in scientific advancement.

 

Explore More of Manchester 

 Suffragette Walking Tour| Street Art Walking Tour | Northern Quarter Hidden Gems| Manchester Newbie

Liz Devaney

Blackjack?

Liz Devaney sees aparthotel sales as something a bit like gambling.

“If you play blackjack and you get a 16 you might twist, but then you get an 18, you’re getting to the wire now.” For Aparthotels, it goes beyond the typical always-sell mentality that defines most hotels: it means balancing short term with longer-term business travellers. If that balance isn’t achieved, it could mean significant missed opportunities—on both sides.

 “Do I play the rate game or do I hold what I can, because am I just going to cannibalise the business I have?” It’s a dangerous game to play, “and it changes month by month with what’s happening—that’s why I do it, it’s got that same excitement as gambling.”

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It’s that excitement—and the satisfaction of winning big—that’s kept her job so interesting over the years. It hasn’t even been a full year since she started as Sales Director for Supercity, but the time of year and the pace the company was moving meant she had to jump straight in. For crafting last year’s budget, “I had maybe two weeks from my induction to literally analyse everything, come back with a budget. That amount of work, in that time frame, it was nuts.”

That included preparing for something no sales manager at the company had done before her: two new aparthotels, including the first outside of London. “Basically we did [the budget], and we’re now back at that point… It’s a never ending circle.”

But she says that with a proud smile.

Learning on the Go

Travel, speed, and learning on the fly have been a staple of her career since, essentially, the beginning. After deciding against pursuing law any further—“UK law was boring as hell, and I just had an epiphany [that] I’m not feeling it as a calling”—she found the pace in hotels to be more to her liking. Starting in reservations for the InterContinental Hotels Group, she ended up staying with the company for 14 years. She moved up into sales and eventually helped them launch their aparthotel business for Europe and the Middle East. “We were literally starting from scratch,” and that meant figuring it out as they went along, learning from mistakes as they discovered out what worked, and what didn’t.

 For most of that time, she was field-based. Not having a permanent office, “one day you’d be in the office, next day in a hotel up north, the next day it’s a Starbucks.” That constant flux meant “you had to be quite strict, you pretty much set your own schedules.” But that came with its rewards, with business trips for places as far flung as St Petersburg.

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That comfortability with change and on-the-fly learning started when she was nineteen, “taking what I thought was a gap year but which turned out to be my first year of uni.” Only she took that year in Wichita, Kansas, “which is the flattest place in the world, and the farthest place you can ever get from the sea.”

She went from having a lot of freedoms, going out with her friends in a diverse multicultural place, to living with a very strict host family in one of the country’s most conservative states. “The winters are cruel the summers are brutally hot.” And the tornados in the spring? “Anyone who thinks it’s cool, it’s not cool, it’s bloody petrifying.”

But she draws from the experience a lot. “It’s a point in your life when you’re learning who you are as an adult,” and then, “you have what you think of as every day, as normal, only to put yourself in another normal context that is so different.” It made her realize how much she loved the UK. “I came back and found the UK a lot more accepting a lot more multicultural. Better.”

And so as much as she’s travelled around the world and seen some incredible places, some of the best are places right here. “My favourite place is Snowdonia,” the national park near North Wales . “It’s a stunning place.”

5 Years, or 5 Minutes?

For all her business at work, after hours there’s nothing better than a quiet night in with her two girls. To just “get a big bowl of popcorn with them and watch a really cheesy movie— I’m a huge fan of sci-fi.” This new ease and comfort comes with now being based in Surrey—“I’m now a proper commuter”—and having a proper desk job.

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And after years of growing on her own, she faces one of her biggest and most rewarding challenges as Sales Director yet: leading a team. “You spend years developing your career developing your working and as a leader it’s bringing that out of your team.” So now her job is divided between her duties, “the nitty-gritty analysis reports, revenue, and then it’s developing my team and bringing out the best in them, too.”

All the while Supercity keeps growing—there’s the Brighton property to come out later this year, and more on the horizon—and things keep accelerating. “There’s a lot to do, this year will go by very quickly—the last year went by very quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next 5 years feels like 5 minutes.”

Meet more of the family

Teodora | Ana | SalvatoreZoe | Camelia | Alina | Patrick  | Carley

Alina Epure

The Second Family

For Alina Epure, housekeeping at Supercity is more than just a job, going from room to room—“when I worked in Holiday Inn it was like that, you did twenty, twenty-one rooms a day.” Instead, Supercity “is my second family.” She loves her team members, the support they give each other, the nice rooms, and of course, her manager Camelia Sandru, who’s done “so much for me, too much really.”

But maybe the most important thing for Alina with housekeeping is the flexibility: by getting to choose her hours, she can work her schedule around her two boys. “It’s very good, I can come here when I have time.” When they were younger, this meant working on the weekends and taking care of them when her husband was at work—now, it’s flipped, and she finally gets some weekend time to take them out. “Nowhere else has this support and opportunity.”

Better Jobs, Worse Weather?

The two boys are the reason they’re all here. Seven years ago, for the chance of better schools and better job opportunities for her and her husband, they made the move. For her boys, two and three years old at the time they moved here, London has always been home.

She laughs when she talks about their English ability: “they’re much better than me— I’m old, I can’t speak this language!” They’re doing well in school, and when they want to grow up, they want to be, “too much now,” from businessmen, teachers, doctors. “Way too much is in their head!”

But moving here wasn’t easy. As far as London goes, “I like it and I don’t like it… you can, make money and more money.” But then there’s the weather, the cost of living, the general bustle. Her and her husband had been living in Rome for almost five years before that, and she certainly misses the lifestyle, the amazing food and of course the weather, “where every day is hot.”

More than anything, though, she misses Romania—misses the ease of the language, the weather, the food and, more than anything, her family. Her homesickness is always the most pronounced during the Christmas season—they haven’t been back to Romania for Christmas since moving to London, and probably won’t be home until next summer. Instead, they’ll celebrate with close family friends. It makes the worst of it easier.

“I miss my family a lot, but it’s okay… it’s better for my boys.”

Team Hero

It’s not the only place where she shows this aptitude for putting others first—if Alina sees her housekeeping team as a second family, she’s a crucial part of what makes it so great. Camelia believes “she’s the hero of the team.” If help’s needed, “she’s the one who does it.”

Why does she always help out—is she the best at her job? “I have more energy,” she responds. More energy, even with her full-time job keeping up with her two boys? “I don’t know how,” she says, laughing. “I just do, I like to help.” Camelia, who swears by the good their group messenger does for housekeeping team morale, points out that it wouldn’t work without Alina—“she’s always such a good presence on the group. She’s a real leader.”

With this attitude, there’s never a really difficult day for her—some days are just busier than others. If there are lots of rooms for that day, it means working a little faster, knowing that “of course someone will come help me,” the way she’d help them. If there’s a particularly difficult room, “I take a picture, send it to the group and everybody laughs.” In other words, always keep smiling.

 

Like the article?

Check out these other great profiles:

Teodora

Ana

Salvatore

Camelia

Zoe

Patrick 

Liz

Carley

Patrick Baker

From the Ground Up

 

Patrick Baker, never one for mincing words, makes quite the understatement: “I think I’m a fairly adaptable person.”

This is coming from a man who’s lived in 6 countries, from his home in South Africa to Germany, Namibia, Swaziland, before London. Some of his jobs include sales of construction equipment, contracting aluminium smelters, and hotel maintenance. “I don’t like pre-packed boxes,” he admits. “I like making things happen.”

In his ten years of living in Mozambique, things were indeed happening very quickly. Arriving there in 1996, the country was just emerging from a devastating 15-year civil war. “All the shop windows were pasted up with paper, there were cars in the middle of the road with trees growing through them.” But that sense of starting from the ground up meant there were so many opportunities for learning and growth. “It was an incredible time to be there. The people were very polite and eager to learn and grow and anything you could do to make work for them they would latch onto.” It was possible, “because there was nothing—you didn’t get spares, if it stopped working, you had to solve it.”

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He first went there with a charity food growing initiative while his wife trained preschool teachers there, both of them in year-positions that ended up lasting eighteen months. He jumped on the opportunity to return as a contractor, and eight years later found it hard to leave. “I miss the ability that you had to make things happen for people.”

Although, after being encouraged by their UK-based children, they ended up moving to the country ten years ago, it hasn’t much changed his hunger for challenge and change. He continues to choose jobs because of the learning experiences promised through them, and has travelled extensively through Europe.

And the dreams of a nice suburban flat? Forget it—he lives on a (work-in-progress) 70-foot narrowboat. Since buying it in May, he and his wife have had to strip, paint, insulate, and install a fireplace for it—plus the unplanned hiccups like a broken boiler and the rotting wood. After a tireless summer, they’ve turned it from “what was a very undesirable piece of metal,” to something they can be proud of. “People are saying, Oh you’ve done a good job, they’re surprised!” he adds, laughing. But still, they’re waiting on that boiler and live wrapped up in blankets. Adaptable, indeed.

“I seem to attract this sort of thing to my life.”

 

In a New League

 

His varied career and knack for adaptation has prepared him well for helping manage the Chronicle’s grand refitting and refurbishing—it’s a massive, sprawling project which has come with some significant trials and rewards. When we had this interview, the Chronicle was set to open in two weeks, and like the dress rehearsals of a high-end performance, every element and person had to work on top form. “There’s a lot of coordination and a lot of interaction needed,” between contractors, designers, electricians, plumbers, and those in charge of ordering room collateral. At this stage, “we’re incredibly reliant on what people say.”

But as all these elements come together and he prepares for the Chronicle’s opening, he gets more excited about the new aparthotel. Centred in the heart of the City of London, the Chronicle has state of the art electrical and digital infrastructure, not to mention an on-site restaurant, gym and common space.

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The eco-fitted facilities are particularly exciting. The lower floors have waste-reducing floor heating on the lower floors, glazed windows to retain that heat, a combined heating and power unit to manage energy flow, plastic-free materials, and a robust recycling system. And while “we can’t prescribe to a guest that chooses to keep the lights on” or recycle themselves, Supercity can ensure everything around the guests is carefully monitored and reduced—like the sensor-sensitive lights and heating system that powers down when the guest leaves, and quickly jumps back when they return.

Maybe even more important than all of that, though, is what the Chronicle’s opening means for Supercity. “It puts us into a different league, where we are starting to become a big brother” in the aparthotel industry. The arrival of a fourth aparthotel after six years changes the nature of Supercity’s place in the London travel industry, and the aparthotel one in general. “It’s all very exciting.”

 

No Sunset Watching Here

 

“Life is far too short to be unhappy… and there’s nothing worse than having to commute for an hour to being at a place you don’t want to be.”

Luckily, Supercity is exactly the place Patrick wants to be. After years of working on smaller projects across the world, the company has the right balance of exciting, large-scale projects seen through by a small team. It’s adaptable. Having close relationships with the owners prevents any kind of middle management, “feathering their nests and protecting their little empires”—instead fostering a supportive environment where things can get done quickly and hassle-free.

Like the Chronicle.

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He likes working with the young team, which has “a vision, they all work and gel together to make it happen.” And it’s this great team that gives him the confidence that, despite the accelerating growth, Supercity won’t lose that sense of community in the process. “We’re not going to become top heavy, our team is on the board… if something goes wrong we can fix it.” Most people are quite new, ready to support each other and, most of all, excited about the new opportunities. “It’s good for us.”

“I enjoy being around people who are innovative and enthusiastic and that’s why being with a youngish team makes life worth it.” The work makes things meaningful, and he’s not exaggerating—when asked what he’d do if he won the lottery, he replied, “I’d probably keep on working.” Despite having semi-retired a few times in Africa, something always brought him back to do bigger, more complex projects. “I could think of nothing worse than puttering off and sitting on a balcony somewhere, sipping tea and watching the sunset.”

Instead he’s here, getting the Chronicle ready—making something truly new.

Meet more of the family

Teodora | Ana | SalvatoreZoe | Camelia | Alina | Liz | Carley | Tom

Camelia Sandru

Housekeeping Manager Camelia Sandru’s been here, essentially, since the beginning.

“10 years. It feels like when you have a marriage,” and then she adds, “Oh God that’s a long marriage.”

She’d arrived to London from Romania the year before that. Coming in peak summer with her husband, every day was so exciting that “we’d just walk and explore, the city was endless.” She never hit that wall—it felt like home as much then as it does now. After working as a translator for a Turkish company, she arrived in London with a near-mastery of English. This fluency allowed her to rise quickly in the hospitality industry.

But the initial hotels were too large and corporate to feel she was really making a difference. In a massive hotel by Tower Hill, “all I was doing was checking rooms, hundreds of rooms, and no contact with anyone.” She quit after 4 months. “It was quite depressing… it was just a job to me and the others.”

 

Her Team, Her Family

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But Supercity was always more than that—“they made me feel like [caring for Templeton Place] was part of my job.” Templeton Place felt like a family. Working with a team that supported her encouraged her to take on extra tasks, from taking inventory to reorganising common areas. “Next thing I know I kept getting promoted.”

She rose with the company—over the course of the next nine years, two new aparthotels opened and more than doubled the capacity, and now two more are set to open in the next few months. So while things were simple and straight-forward with just Templeton, “now there’s like 10 000 procedures which you have to do when it’s this big.”

Though there’s some things she misses about the small team, she tries to keep that sense of family as the Housekeeping manager for all three properties. She creates the teams with a balance of more senior and newer members, “so they show the new people how to care.” She keeps a general Whatsapp group to maintain morale and to deal with any problems that might arise. Whenever someone has particularly difficult suites to deal with, Camelia is there on the other end to help talk them through it. The key to keeping her workers positive, she finds, is to “be present”—the opposite of her past hotels where “they give you the list of rooms in the morning and you’re on your own.” At Supercity, they’re always a team.

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The Supercity Family

And for the next ten years?

“I think Supercity is going to be big—look at where we were, I think we’ll keep growing.” Growth at that rate certainly brings a range of mixed emotions—as if she’s not busy enough as it is. “Many times I think—Oh God we’re opening another property how are we gonna cope, but then I think about how I can steer that in my direction.” By contributing to that success, “by hiring the right people, training them properly, basically sharing with them my vision and Supercity’s vision,” it will continue to have the family atmosphere that made her feel at home in the first place.

That sense of family is the key quality that makes Supercity different. It’s the owners’ “values and vision, they’ve always been a family, and this is what filters down through us and all our team, and there will always be a little bit of that … feel kept.” It’s the rule she lives by. “I believe that if you care for your people they’ll care back, because being mean it’s so easy, so easy to be bossy to be cold—it’s harder to be involved to care, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

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Meet more of the family

Teodora | Ana | SalvatoreZoe | Patrick | Alina | Liz | Carley

Architecture Walk Around Old London

The City of London, as we mentioned in yesterday’s article, is a strange and fascinating place. So much has happened over two-thousand years! Today, take this guide with you (maybe on your handy phone, if you’re already staying with us), and explore that history made physical with our architecture walk of the area.

The Architecture Walk: approximately 60 mins (museum perusing and photo-snapping/ instagramming time not included)

St Andrew’s Holborn:

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CC BY-SA 4.0- Elisa.rolle

This gorgeous 1687 church in the middle of Holborn is one of the finest examples of Christopher Wren’s work.

–Look for the adorable statues flanking either side of the front entrance—they were traditional 17th Century markers of charity hospitals.

 

Holborn Bars

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CC BY 2.0 | Tony Hisgett

This imposing Gothic terracotta structure, completed in 1878, is one of the largest and most eye-catching on the whole street. When it was owned originally by the Prudential Assurance Company, the complex included a chapel, a library, a separate women’s entrance and—a real novelty for the time—running water and electricity.

–Go through the front doors and take a look at its stunning courtyard; no pictures

 

Maughan Library

As the main library of King’s College, this neo-Gothic 19th Century building might not be as old as it appears, but that makes it no less stunning. Coming down Fetter Lane will give you an idea of the scope of this building.

 

Samuel Johnson’s House

This townhouse, built in the late 17th C, was the primary residence of the writer-thinker-dictionary designer. It’s now a museum. Go inside to see collections on his life as well as Georgian living reimagined.

 

Fleet Street

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Fleet Street was the centre of the London publishing industry for almost two hundred years. Being one of the vital roads connecting “the two Londons” (Westminster and the City) made it a major thoroughfare of carts and people. This buzz of activity and influence made it the centre of the “news frenzy” in the mid 18th Century. The 19th saw the development of the first worldwide newspapers such as the Times, Evening Standard, and the Telegraph.

–Walk along the street and find the narrow Victorian building declaring the Sunday Post to be “the people’s friend and journal” along the building’s front

–Not to mention the old Telegraph, Daily Express, and Reuters buildings. And keep an eye out for the Glasgow Herald’s art deco exterior—it’s the most beautiful of the lot.

–Look for St. Dunstan-in-the-West church’s amazing four-hundred year old clock depicting two giants striking bells. Thanks to their whimsical appearance, they’ve been referenced in countless novels.

 

Middle Temple

Middle Temple is one of the most important legal schools in the city, with its history and building dating back over five hundred years. Queen Elizabeth often graced its halls, and Twelfth Night was first performed here. Usually the hall is closed to visitors, but swing by during London Open House in September if you’re around

–Go through the Middle Temple grounds to find its gorgeous greenery and fountain—it’ll feel like a secret garden after the busyness you’ve passed through

–The alley you entered through is one of the few that survived the fire. Watch for its leaning walls to get that Medieval feel.

 

Royal Courts of Justice

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CC BY-SA 4.0 | Rafa Esteve

This building, housing the High Court and the Court of Appeal, is one of the largest courts in Europe. Completed in 1882, it was designed in Neo-Gothic style by George Street after winning a national design contest hosted by Victoria.

–They often run free tours!

 

Lincoln’s Inn Fields

Lincoln’s Inn, even larger than Middle Temple, is a gorgeous and sprawling Jacobean hall. Though typically closed to visitors, the park here is one of the loveliest in central London.

–If you look on the map, you’ll see that both law societies exist right outside the old city walls. Following a royal law from 1234, legal societies weren’t allowed to exist within the city—hence their placement just past the city gates.

–Make sure to pop in to Sir John Soane’s Museum at the north side of the park. As one of the most respected neo-classical architects in the 19th Century, this free museum of his former home is a disorienting, illuminating trip into the architect’s mind. Look for the priceless rows of classical and Egyptian antiques, as well as the incredible paintings by William Hogarth in the picture room. Don’t miss this!

 

Staple Inn

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CC BY-SA 4.0 | Edwardx

Finish off this architecture walk at one of the most striking buildings nestled on Holborn. Having survived the 1666 fire, this building, belonging to a minor legal society, is very evocative. Look at its timber walls, observe the way its upper columns lean out towards the street, and imagine what the Elizabethan era was really like.

 

That’s a fair trot! Luckily at this point, the Chronicle is just around the corner—it’s the perfect time to rest and relax after a full afternoon of historical adventuring.

 

The Hidden Gems Around London

 

The Chronicle aparthotel is in one of the most charged and historically rich areas in all of London. But with so much to do and see, sorting out the diamonds from the rough can seem a bit overwhelming.

That’s where we come in – here are our picks for the absolute musts in and around the city of London. This way, you’ll be able to eat, drink and wander to your heart’s content!

 

Best Coffee

Prufrock Coffee – This coffee-turned-barista school (pictured) features a practically scientific collection of roasteries. Get ready for a coffee with the perfect balance of flavour nodes.

J + A Cafe– This Irish café, tucked in a hidden passage off Great Sutton Street, is full of down to earth charm. Expect Irish favourites such as soda bread.

Brill– Coffee, bagel, records – need we say more? How about that it’s on charming Exmouth Market, meaning you can wander the beautiful street after fuelling up.

And for Tea…

You can’t go wrong with Good and Proper Tea. The near-30 types of teas might seem overwhelming, but the staff will guide you through.

 

When You Want to Go for a Stroll

Make sure to hit up Leather Lane or Exmouth Market – they’re the most vibrant streets in all of central London.

 

Best Burgers

Burger Bear – What’s cooler than a restaurant on top of the Old Street roundabout? How about one of their grizzly bear burgers, which is double-stacked, oozing, and topped with their homemade jam.

Hache Burgers– With burgers like the Rosemary Lamb and Steak Truffle, Hache classes up the typical burger experience. You might want to eat these ones with a steak knife.

Singtong Burger House – This Leather Lane staple adds a Southeast Asian twist to the typical quarter pounder, with the famous Singtong Chicken Burger covered in the secret Thai-marinade.

 

Unique Dining

 

Dans le Noir – With blind waiters, a surprise menu that is only revealed to you after you’ve eaten, diners are forced to use all other senses to make judgements of taste (and character)

If grab and go is what you’re after, you can’t do better than the Sub Cult food stall on Leather Lane, with their masterpiece steak subs.

Clerkenwell Grind– Housed in a refurbished warehouse, the Clerkenwell iteration of this popular London franchise might be the most beautiful. It changes depending on the time of day, from an opulent cafe, to a sumptuous restaurant, to buzzy cocktail bar by night.

 

Unique Drinking

Bounce Farringdon– This London institution features 17 unique ping pong tables for a real unique take on normal drinking. Supposedly, it sits on the spot where the beautiful game was first invented!

The London Shuffle Club – How ’bout some shuffle boarding to go with those cocktails? You have the choice of playing across the floors or tabletop games for a more intimate feel.

Piano Works – As the only bar in the city that promises live music all the time, this is the perfect place to go for celebrations. They take requests too – who doesn’t love a few late-night sing-a-longs?

 

Salvatore Guttilla

Salvatore Guttilla loves change and movement—to drop himself into challenging new situations, explore new places and consider different philosophies or worldviews. But why would he ever need to leave London?

“London is a new city every day.”

From Palermo to London, he’s worked across a whole spectrum of jobs—as a teacher, copywriter, web editor, barista, and even manager in an antiques shop before starting in hospitality with Supercity. He needs his work to challenge him; when he finds there isn’t enough progression on the job, he’ll move on.

And yet after ten months working with Supercity, first as a receptionist and now as Front of House Manager, he’s feeling none of the usual push to leave. “This is quite strange for me.” So what’s different about Supercity compared to all the other companies and positions that came before it?

More than a Postcard

What really sets Supercity apart is the way they treat their staff. “It’s the politeness here, it’s a kind of goodness.” One of the main things that pushed him to leave Sicily in the first place was the working conditions. “You don’t have any contract or any rights, they use the [idea] that there are no jobs to keep people calm.” With Supercity, however, there’s a sense of being treated like a family, along with a transparency around how the company works, that struck him. “It’s definitely a big part in what motivates me here.”

Accepting the position as the front of house manager, Salvatore had no idea what management really involved. “When you’re a receptionist you don’t see everything—I became manager and realised there was all this stuff going on behind it.” He now has to work on a much larger scale, across all three Supercity properties, carefully monitoring guests and any situations that might arise. There’s always an element of randomness and spontaneity to each day, but “responsibility and persistence” is always the key to success—or, on some days, survival.

But for all the added expectations that come with the role, daily interactions with guests is the biggest thing he misses. As a receptionist, it didn’t matter if he was having a bad day, “I see the guests there’s someone you can talk to, understand better, who’d always cheer me up.” He could, in return, make their day better as well. This was especially true for his long-staying guests, some of whom he’d see every day. “We became very close.”

Recognising the importance of good, face to face communication really helps him as a manager. “When the person is in front of you, you can manage the conversation in a different way, you can understand by the feelings and emotions, by the language.” Whether the issue is something small, like requiring guests to move rooms, or something a little more complex—one time recently a guest showed up with over fifty boxes of luggage, leaving them with absolutely nowhere to put it–simple and effective communication helps solve everything. “You can’t solve it with a postcard.”

London Identities

London can, of course, be challenging— against all the struggle to get by and achieve financially, “there’s not a great space for human relationships.” The key to surviving that hustle is to stand outside what he calls the busyness vortex. When he sees people run on the tube, trying to catch the train when the next one comes in two minutes, “it’s not because they’re really late, it’s the lifestyle that [makes them] always pushed to be in a rush.” The same goes for over-scheduling, from friends to social activities, outside of work. “I don’t like to schedule my time, to get caught up in details… maybe that’s why I’m surviving well.”

After work he enjoys putting in his headphones and exploring the city, to see where it takes him. And wandering through London gives him the chance to think about things, to consider some of the bigger questions, such as how living in English culture has changed him. He’s finishing a novel, but isn’t sure he’d ever try to get it published. “To me, writing is not just telling a story, it’s finding art in words, which is different,” and he wouldn’t publish until he sees that art in that work.

And though he writes in Italian, he reads in English, and doesn’t feel speaking English has changed his personality— “you’re one person all your life.” When he goes out, he meets with Algerians, Brits, Canadians, the French, “and even Italians.” Despite missing many things about Italy, he describes his personality as coming from a variety of sources. “I think identity is a negative idea, it builds a wall— human race has always been multicultural.”

It’s the whole reason he left Italy. “You go out with people from different nationalities, you want to discover, to grow, and keep learning—that’s what’s so great about London. You never know who you’re going to meet, what’s going to happen.”

That’s what will keep him here.

Meet more of the family

Teodora | Ana | CameliaZoe | Patrick | Alina | Liz | Carley

Ana Spasova

Not all major decisions have to stem from careful planning.

“Life is too short, we’re not going to have second chances. There’s nothing to lose.”

That was Supercity’s Ana Spasova’s justification when, while working at a restaurant in Dubai, she decided to move halfway across the world to London with a man she’d met two weeks earlier. “I’m that kind of person that likes to take risks, I think everybody should … you never know what’s going to happen.” And so she packed up.

 

Snap Decisions

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If this sense of fearless ease in snap, life-changing moves sounds natural to Ana, that might be because it’s not the first time she’s done it. Three years earlier, she chose to leave her hometown of Skopje, Macedonia after being offered a job in Doha—she had a week to pack her things and tell everyone. “It was quite a shock to everybody.”

She hadn’t felt challenged or engaged in Macedonia anymore. “It’s like every day’s a routine, you go work-home… You need a little bit of adventure in life.” At the end of the day, “even if it’s a mistake it’s still an experience.”

Not only was the turnaround short, but Qatar was a completely new world. Working as a hotel receptionist there, close to 90 percent of her clients spoke only Arabic, and living in Doha meant facing a whole new world of cultural norms—from observing the dress-code, how to act in public, and where and when to drink alcohol. “It’s a police state so you have to be careful of what you’re doing.”

But Ana understood that, since “nobody forced me to go there,” it was important to embrace those differences. “As long as long as you respect their customs they will respect you.”

By the end of her time there it started to feel like home. “I felt safe there,” as it gave a sense of security that neither Macedonia nor London can provide. She misses the weather, the vibrancy of the ultra-modern city, and the people she met there.

A year later, as she was coming to the end of her year in Dubai, her restaurant brought over an Italian pastry chef from their London office to help launch the Emirates branch. They started dating a week after meeting, cautiously, aware that in Dubai, “no affection between a man and woman in public is allowed.” A week after that, he convinced her to come with him back to London. They’d fallen in love.

“If I went and we broke up, okay, I would have lived in London, find a job, figured it out.”

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The Spirit of the City

And London definitely suited her.

While London immediately reminded her much more of home than the Gulf did, three years of living in Doha and Dubai gave her a significant dose of reverse-culture shock. The thing that surprised her the most was the sense of freedom. “You feel you can be whoever you want to be… everyone respects that diversity.” After travelling the world, the vibrancy of London’s multiculturalism gives her a feeling of home more than Macedonia ever did. “You don’t have to be ashamed to hide whoever you are, you can be proud.”

Working as a receptionist with Supercity at the 58 suite-Rosebery, with its beautiful layout and sweeping city views, creates the right level of buzz that keeps things active. “I like that there is no typical day.” That dynamic activity clicks with her: “I’m a very hyper active person I can’t just keep quiet.”

She likes to go beyond typical reception duties. If something small breaks (be that, say, a burnt light bulb or a leaky faucet) after the maintenance crew finishes, she’s happy to try and fix it herself. “I’m a very curious person I like to know everything… if I can make [the maintenance team’s] job easier and learn something new in the process I will do it.”

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But creating strong relationships with guests is probably her most important role. Since Supercity serves a significant number of long-stay residents relocating from other countries, they’re often looking for the chance to connect with someone. “Sometimes they just need a friendly face or some person just to make a conversation.” Making those relationships, especially with guests who might be staying for months at a time, has been one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

So what’s next? In the future, she’d love to open a bed and breakfast on the seaside, at one of those classically British locales she became obsessed with while watching Midsummer Murders on TV. For the most part though, Ana prefers to take it day by day. “It’s a job I like, I’m happy to stay with it for now.” She’s still with the Italian chef who convinced her to come to London two years ago, and feels herself becoming more a Londoner every day. “You become part of the city itself, you go with the flow.”

Go with the flow. That’s her motto—so far so good.

Meet more of the family

Teodora | Salvatore | CameliaZoe | Patrick | Alina | Liz | Carley

Teodora Codreanu

The Big Move

It took Teodora Codreanu, Supercity’s Sales and Reservations Agent, a long time before she could call London home. Coming from a small town in Romania at eighteen, the sense of opportunity and adventure here attracted her— “I just thought I could make a future for myself.” At the beginning, “I literally came on my own,” arriving with what she quickly realised was limited English proficiency. “In school I was getting 10/10 [on all the assignments], and when I got here I just didn’t know what to do.”

But she never considered going home. Back in Romania, the idea of moving to another country seemed “unreal, so the fact that I managed to do it made me think maybe that’s what I was meant to do.” She had to stick it out, “pursue it and see what comes.”

And that brought her here.

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She started working in housekeeping at a large hotel company. At nights she learned her English through watching TV with a dictionary handy. Quickly enough she moved from the service department to reception, as her roles became more communication-centric and brought her further out of comfort zones. “Sometimes you just need to be pushed.”

These days, while she feels her experiences in London have changed how she looks at the world, she’s still a Romanian first and a Londoner second. The memories and connections from back home “is something that I can’t let go, I feel at home here but there’s something missing.” She keeps the homesickness at bay with return visits and baking the foods she grew up with—Polenta is her favourite.

“For me I’ll always be a Romanian living in London.”

 

Always Surprising

Moving into sales and reservations seemed like the natural fit for her—“I like to get involved with things, I’m quite a sociable person,” as she tries to help people find the best solution.

The biggest difference at Supercity? The freedom. “I wanted somewhere I could be a bit more flexible, I could share my opinions—it’s amazing how much you have that here.” Supercity gives her the chance “to feel empowered,” with a wide range of tools that allows her to solve the problem on her own.

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As a sales and reservations agent, she coordinates bookings across all three aparthotels. This can turn stressful during a busy day—“sometimes a big part of my job is to play Tetris with the booking system.” Great communication—from as wide a range as the customers, booking agents, and front of house staff—is crucial to success. And while some days can seem pretty manic, she doesn’t let herself get too stressed when “everything has a solution.” She’s motivated by the belief that, whatever issues a guest might be having, they ultimately “just want to feel like [the suites are] home,” and that helps keep the job meaningful.

Her day is often full of surprises—some of the stranger incidents include guests hiding a cat in their suite (staff ended up getting photo evidence), and a lady who was certain all the suites in Templeton Place were haunted. “She was always complaining about weird energy in the rooms and refused to touch the electricity,” and once even slept in the lobby. “After she checked out [her company] sent us pictures asking if she was the one staying with us, and that picture didn’t look like her at all… It’s almost like a ghost story.”

Incidents like that don’t happen every day.

“It definitely keeps things interesting.”

 

Ahead with Supercity

As hectic as her job can be, it will get much busier in the next couple of months with Supercity’s new aparthotels—the Chronicle in the City of London and Church Street in Manchester. The work’s set to nearly double, but that’s just the way she likes it. Working with Supercity means she gets to interact with customers from all around the world, a huge reason in what keeps things interesting. “At the pace it’s currently moving I could see it becoming an international brand.” It’s an exciting time to work there.

That internationalism appeals to Teodora.  As much as she loves London, she still holds dreams of living in other countries like the US and wants to travel the world. She’s ecstatic to be getting back to Japan this Autumn. Seeing the world, “literally make it so I could travel for the rest of life,” is her dream. “I want to see China—the real China.”

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Meet more of the family

Ana | Salvatore | CameliaZoe | Patrick | Alina | Liz | Carley

Halloween: London’s Spine Tingling Secrets

Halloween gets more popular every year—in the two weeks leading up to the 31st, expect to see costumed denizens and lots of adverts for scary London attractions. Most of them are tourist traps. Instead, for a real Halloween experience, go to places rooted in history, where London’s dark past is unearthed. So, before getting ready for the next big season, try out a few of these:

 

The Ten Bells

A rather typical quaint Shoreditch pub? Guess again—this 2 century long-running bar has a tangled history with Jack the Ripper, Spitalfield’s most infamous resident. Two of the murdered women frequented the Ten Bells, and rumours of ghost sightings are frequent. If that’s not spooky enough, poltergeist activity and the possible ghost of an old landlord have been reported by staff. So if you pop in for a pint, be on the lookout.

 

Ghost Tours at Hampton Court:

This storied, sprawling castle has seen more than its fair share of tragedy—from the execution of two of Henry VIII’s wives to even its original owner, Cardinal Wolsey. These excellent tours give a detailed look into the spirits still said to haunt the halls. Look out for Catherine Howard, sometimes seen dashing through the upper hallway, desperately trying to escape her impending execution.

The Graveyards

Cemeteries are creepy territory and London is home to plenty. Any city with London’s history is bound to have a few restless souls, and most are set to hang out around the cemeteries. The larger more well-trod grounds in Hyde Park and Highgate are beautiful and sad, but for a truly creepy experience, try the ones below.

Epping Forest

 

For something a little more subtle but also real, wander through Epping Forest when the sun starts going down—people have been reporting ghost sightings for centuries. That could be because it’s where Dick Turpin attacked his victims–or the countless battles held here over the years. Maybe you’ll just go for a wander in quiet woods, but this might be the closest you get to a real ghost all season.

 

West Norwood Cemetery Catacombs

The West Norwood Catacombs, an underground resting place for London’s Victorian dead. It might not look it, but these body pigeon holes were built out of a respect for the dead, a way of escaping the unkempt, swampy cemetaries that were overloaded with bodies from the cholera outbreak. The catacombs are rarely open to the public, save for occasional tours from the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery. Remember, it’s a resting place, not a box on the goth bucket list.

City of London Cemetery and Crematorium

Cemeteries are creepy territory and London is home to plenty. Since the mid 1970’s locals have complained about a brilliant orange light emanating from one of the tombstones in the western section of the City of London Cemetery in Wanstead. Despite repeated attempts, investigators have been unable to find any light source outside the graveyard that could account for the phenomenon. Spooky, eh?

Leather Lane Unmissables

In a rush when heading to work and need to grab a bite to eat? If you’re around Chancery Lane you’ll be spoiled for choice!

Not only do you have the local food-stops on the high street, but there is also Leather Lane market. (Which even more conveniently is around the corner from The Chronicle and The Rosebery.)

Known as the centre of London’s ‘Little Italy,’ it’s one of the most vibrant streets in central London.

 

Leather Lane’s website is filled with juicy details and profiles of the people who work the street’s stalls. We love teaming with and including our communities, which is why Leather Lane holds a special place in our hearts. The community and shared history are extremely important to Leather Lane’s success.

A must-know: The market is on from 10-2 on weekdays.

While taking a stroll down the lane you’ll find stalls selling as wide a range of things from food, handbags, footie gear, to plants.

Take a wander around, relax, but don’t forget to do these key things while you’re there:

 

Tasty Treats:

There is so much to offer, but here’s a few of the best (well in our eyes… and stomachs).

Street Food:
If grab and go is what you’re after, you can’t do better than Sub Cult, with their masterpiece steak subs.

Seafood:
Mugen (formally known as Tajima-Tei)! Mugen have been serving the freshest sushi and sashimi in London since 1998. They have a wide selection for lunch and dinner, accompanied with a traditional atmosphere!

For something a little more green:
Have a taste of healthy, environmentally friendly fast-food from Pod! You can even dine in and enjoy the views of the market. Pod’s menu changes with the seasons and consists of freshly made soups, sandwiches and salads (who knows what’s on the menu, you could be pleasantly surprised).

 

Drink:

For coffee:
Prufrock Coffee, in its large and bright space, is almost always rammed—try one of their flat whites to understand why. They’re a specialist coffee shop who have been around for 10 years. Their director is World Barista Champion, Gwilym Davies!

For fun:
Get your friends together on your lunch break, or even after work and have a ping-pong party. Bounce is just off Leather Lane and is a guaranteed bag of laughs!

Don’t Miss:
If you’re after authenticity and a piece of history, check out Dave’s Oven Baked Jacket Potatoes. Dave has run the stall for the past 10 years. He’ll give you the run down on how the street is changing.

 

 

Neighbouring Hatton Garden, with the most jewellery stores in London, by some measure. Or try any of the wonderful restaurants around Clerkenwell -London exploring never ends!

Ask our reception, we’re sure they’ll be racing to share their favourite suppers and locations. Or, if you have any for us to add on, we’re all ears.

 

About us:
Since 2009, Supercity Aparthotels have led the way in providing stylish, serviced apartment hotels. Our personalised service has established a level of comfort, convenience and attention to detail that only true family-run properties can achieve.

All of our suites provide the perfect accommodation for business travellers, re-locators, families and just about anyone who likes an added element of freedom when they travel.

Whether you’d like to kick your feet up for a day or two, or stay long-term, our doors are always open!

Cocktail Week Special: 4 To Make at Home

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: cocktail week is back. If you’re in London, there’s a whole wealth of fun cocktail events you can attend all week (just like with rum day). But why not try your hand making a few of these on your own, maybe even making them in one of our Supercity kitchens? Here are four to get started on.

 

Shot=25 ml
All of our measurements will make you about two glasses.

 

White Russian

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Once the drink of choice at disco nightclubs, Big Lebowski helped make this creamy cocktail popular again.

Ingredients: two shots of coffee liqueur, four shots of vodka, a half glass of cream and some chocolate shavings

1.  Fill a glass with ice.
2.  Pour the vodka and liqueur into a shaker.
3. Shake until cold and then pour into a glass.

Garnish with: cream and some chocolate shavings

Difficulty Level: Easy-peasy

 

Mezcal Negroni

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Bringing together two of the best cocktail cultures across the world, this is a negroni with a distinctly Mexican twist.

Ingredients: two shots tequila (you’ll be able to taste it; make sure you get the good stuff), two shots vermouth, two shots Campari Rosso, and orange peel

1. Pour the tequila, vermouth, and Campari into a glass—stir vigorously.
2. Add ice.
3. Slice orange peel, rub the edge of the glass with it, and drop it in.

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

Vodka and Cranberry Blush

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Chase the last of the summer with this icy drink that calls back to garden parties and beach nights.

Ingredients: four shots of vodka, four shots of contreau, six shots of cranberry juice and four shots of orange juice. Three limes.

1. Pour Cointreau and vodka into a jug, then add the cranberry juice and orange juice.
2. Stir the mixture vigorously. Get glass cooler by adding the ice. Cut limes into slices.
3. Pour mixture into pre-cooled glasses, add limes.

Difficulty: Medium

 

Espresso Martini

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Maybe London’s favourite cocktail—arguably invented in Soho— this one will really test your cocktail-shaking skills, but it’s so worth it.

Ingredients: 4 shots vodka, 2.5 shots coffee liqueur, 2 shots espresso

1. Make the espresso (if you’re at one of our Supercity locations, the Nespresso coffeemaker will do nicely)
2. Pour the vodka, liqueur, and espresso into a shaker. Put ice in both the shaker and the martini glass to chill.
3. Lock the shaker in, and then shake as hard as you can—you want to shake so hard you’ll both cool the liquid down, and also give it the frothy consistency the best ones have.
4. Dump out the martini ice, and then pour the shaker contents through a sieve.

Garnish with: coffee beans

Difficulty Level: If you make a good one of these, consider yourself a cocktail master.

A Perfect Sunday in East London

Sunday is a completely different scene from the rest of the week in London, with the typical rush replaced by casual strollers, park visits, brunch time, and–of course– the markets. Looking to spend your Sunday in style? Head out east and follow this route for a venture into the best East London has to offer.

Brick Lane

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Start your day off with a bang at one of London’s largest and most vibrant Sunday markets. Vintage stalls rub shoulders with young fashion designers, food trucks selling hip fusion dishes compete with the curry classics. You could say it’s all of London on one street. Grab your breakfast at Beigal Bake, London’s legendary bagel joint.

 

A Shoreditch Stroll

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Work off that bagel by going for a wander in the district of Shoreditch just north of Bethnal Green Road, a buzzing maze of alleys filled with street art and some of the newest, coolest stores in the city. Grab a coffee to go from Allpress Espresso Bar, then make your way up to the Boundary Gardens. This green space is the centrepiece of a fascinating group of Victorian redbrick townhouses that were the first housing estate in all of Britain.

 

Columbia Road Flower Market

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Follow Hackney Road and hit up Columbia Road flower market. Perhaps London’s most colourful market, the already-beautiful Columbia Road becomes a feast of scents and colour. It might get busy, but if you come when the market is closing down (around 3 PM), you’ll get your begonias and perennials at a premium discount.

 

Hackney City Farm

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How many cities get to boast having a farm right in its centre? Stop by the acreage on your way towards Broadway for a chance to visit all the adorable animals (particularly star donkeys Larry and Clover). Stay a little longer, and learn about the community initiatives the farm is involved in. It’s free!

 

And to Finish Off

When you reach the bridge at Goldsmith’s Row, you’ve got a number of great options to finish your Sunday in style. You could:

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  • Wander along the canals, east or west, for a chance to see a relaxed side of London. Sample the wares at cafes and pop ups that line the pedestrian area.
  • Hop up Broadway Market taste-testing a few of the excellent restaurants that open out on the road, like Buen Ayre, the Dove, or Okko.
  • People watch in London Fields with a bevvie you’d brought along or in Pub in the Park’s outdoors area.

And after doing some (or all) of the above, cap it off by watching the sunset from on high at Netil 360. It’s one of the best free views in the city—glance down and see all the amazing places you’ve been today.

Architecture Gems: Must-Sees at Open House London

London has been a centre for innovation and activity for over a thousand years. That history is reflected in its architecture—stroll along the Thames and you’ll see Medieval castles beside glass towers. It’s what makes London such a special place, and now, for this weekend, you get the chance for an inside peek. And while there are some big names available like 10 Downing Street or the chance to travel up the Shard for free (for the best photo views), skip the ques and check out some of the smaller, but no less stunning, locations listed here. It’s a coordinated architectural history of the city.

 

Medieval Architecture:

Westminster Hall

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This stunning stone hall has a number of superlatives attached to it: not only is it the oldest building in Parliament, the only surviving portion of the old Palace at Westminster, it was also at the time Europe’s largest hall. Similarly, famous characters have graced it, from royal coronations to speeches by Mandela and Obama in more recent times.

Booking required for tours of the chapel.

House of Commons (Cromwell Green entrance)
Website 

 

Elizabethan Architecture:

Middle Temple Hall

architecture_london_travel_city_building_guide_sight_history_voyage_experience_beautiful_elizabethan

This gorgeous law temple is one of the best examples of Tudor architecture in the city, and maybe the country. Often visited by Queen Elizabeth I, the double hammer beam roof and the 29-foot long table in the main hall are exquisite.

Middle Temple Lane
Website 

 

Georgian Architecture:

Home House

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This townhouse, overseen by the formidable Countess of Home and completed in 1776, has a glittering neo-classical interior that reflects the decadent style of the period. As a result, the marble circular stairwell, the rich oil paintings, and the glass dome on its ceiling all combine to create what critics consider a “tour de force” in European architecture.

20 Portman Square
Website

 

Victorian Architecture:

Alexandra Palace

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Opened in 1873, Alexandra Palace was inspired by the original Crystal Palace at the 1848 World’s Fair. While the Crystal Palace burned down, Alexandra did not, and so it’s now one of the finest examples of fin de siècle centres for learning and leisure. It’s on top of a beautiful park! There are a number of events on this weekend, so check their website for details.

Alexandra Palace Way
Website 

 

Contemporary Architecture:

City Hall

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A symbol of modern London, this stunning 2002 glass complex sits between London and Tower Bridges. From the sunken amphitheatre entrance, follow the curling elliptical stairwell up its ten stories to the roof where you’ll get great panoramic views and a glimpse at Sadiq Khan’s office—affectionately known as “London’s living room.”

Expect long ques.

The Queen’s Walk, More London Estate
Website 

 

Sustainable:

Bloomberg European Headquarters

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If the City Hall presents a picture of modern London, Bloomberg’s groundbreaking new office completed last year might just give an idea of the city’s future. The 3.2 acre site is the world’s most sustainable office building, with timber frames carefully built around the stone foundations that call on its Roman wall heritage. Take a look to see why it’s winning all the design awards this year.

3 Queen Victoria Street
Website 

Our 5 Favourite Clerkenwell Restaurants

Clerkenwell, where the Rosebery is based, is one of London’s most energetic areas. During the day you’ll see cars rushing down streets as crowds of people go to and from work. But that doesn’t mean the neighbourhood is all bustle—it’s an area rich in history, full of lovely little lanes with some great dining. Here’s our picks for the best of the lot.

Santore

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Clerkenwell might have changed considerably since its Italian heyday, but that spirit is kept alive at a few key establishments—and none are as authentic and quality focussed as Santore. This is a comfortably rustic restaurant with tiled floors and wooden furniture that serves up wood fire pizzas and beautiful pastas.

Come: during the evening, where Exmouth Market’s sleepy ambience makes you feel you’ve stepped into Rome for an hour or two.

Try: the gnocchi alla sorentina, or their special i panuozzi, a pizza sandwich.

59 – 61 Exmouth Market
Website |Facebook

Morito

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Wander a little further down Exmouth Market for more Iberian-style fare, at this casual tapas bar that marries traditional Spanish dishes (the croquettes, the Iberico) with North African flavours. Rub shoulders with the locals as you drink back their excellent cocktails and soak in the buzzing atmosphere.

When: if in the evening, come early, or risk wait times of upwards an hour.

Try: to share the plates with a large group—the more you try, the richer the experience will be.

32 Exmouth Market
Website | Instagram

Quality Chop House

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If classic British food is more what you’re looking for, this locally-sourced fine dining establishment combines the heritage of the building (it’s been a restaurant since 1869) with innovative twists. Step into its gorgeous Grade-II listed Victorian interior for hearty belt-expanding meals.

Come: on Sunday afternoons for a 2 or 3 course Sunday roast.

Try: the Swaledale lamb paired with a few among their large list of wines.

88-94 Farringdon Road
Website | Instagram 

Tohbang

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A short stroll down from the Rosebery, this snug Korean place serves up some of the most authentic bibimbap, bulgogi and kimchi pankakes in central London. Make sure to get a beer or keep the water coming—in true Korean style, these dishes are hot! Cash only.

Come: on weekdays at lunchtime; it gets very crowded, but they have some of the best lunchtime deals around.

Try: the jabchae, a bowl of vermicelli noodles with beef and vegetables that’s comfort food supreme.

164 Clerkenwell Rd
020 7278 8674

Sushi Tetsu

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Feel like you’ve been transported to Japan in this steadfastly traditional restaurant. Chef Toru Takashi freshly prepares the sushi in front of you while his wife Harumi provides perfect Japanese-style hospitality. It’s a flawless experience.

Come: as one of the most notoriously difficult places to get a reservation in the area, any timeslot you can manage is best.

Try: the sushi-sashimi omasake (set menu) that provides the whole sushi pantheon over two hours.

12 Jerusalem Passage
Website 

Knockout Views: London’s Top Instagram Spots

London might be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but that beauty is typically much harder to frame than sister cities New York or Paris, what with the mess of conflicting streets and building styles. Luckily, your friends at Supercity have narrowed down some of the best ways to Instagram this wonderful city in style, in all the ways that capture both London’s good side and its essence.

 

The View from Up Top

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The rise of London’s skyscrapers has brought city photo opportunities to new heights, and if you’re going to go tall, why not go for the tallest? The Shard’s stunning sweep covers the entire city—no matter how many people Instagram from it, it never gets old.

Also Try: the city’s new elite rooftop bars and restaurants, from the Rumpus Room, Duck and Waffle, Sushi Samba, or the Sky Garden.

 

The Hills

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That being said, you don’t have to pay a mint to get that London panorama—some of the best views come from London’s parks. And none give quite the same 360 that Primrose Hill does: from the Gherkin and the Shard on one end to Parliament and the BT Tower on the other, this spot captures seemingly every landmark in the city along one beautiful stretch of green.

Also Try: Hampstead Heath’s hill, for a scaled back version of the same views, or Richmond Park’s protected view of St. Paul’s cathedral.

 

The Bridges

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Bridges both service and define London: these central arteries are some of the best ways to capture the big sights. The best is Waterloo, with Westminster and the Eye on the west side, and the stunning scope of St. Paul’s and its City backdrop to the east.

Also Try: London Bridge for the eastern side of the same view, with jaw-dropping close ups of the Shard and Tower Bridge as added bonuses.

 

The Lanes

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Visitors might be drawn to the blockbuster landmarks, but London’s heart is truly found in its narrow winding lanes. If you’re looking for the glitziest, go for Carnaby Street, which features an amazing collection of stores and displays. There’s typically a revolving exhibition hung above the street (don’t miss their Christmas displays) that will make your Instagram followers gasp.

Also Try: for a more refined, local spot, Columbia Road has some of the prettiest houses in the city—go on Sunday for their flower market and snap away.

 

After Dark

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But then, when the sun goes down and the lights go up, there’s so many places to soak in that electricity. Nowhere does it quite as well as the unfettered glamor of the West End, and you’ll find its best and brightest along Shaftesbury Avenue on the way to Piccadilly Circus. As the centre of the theatre scene, this is London’s (classier) answer to Times Square.

Also Try: Shoreditch for the edgy reverse to the West End’s glitz, from the gorgeous street art to the moody bars. Take pictures near the overground station to get the lights of City in the background for max contrast potential.

 

National Rum Day – Our top 5 bars to drink rum in London

That’s right, National Rum Day is here, good news for all you out there helping make rum “the new whiskey.” Great rum joints have really exploded in the past few years, and so we’re here to help narrow down the best of the lot to celebrate your rum day in style.

Rum & Sugar

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Set in a converted warehouse that stored rum during the seafaring days, this atmospheric Canary Wharf space boasts over 150 brands to sample and savour, plus an extensive cocktail list. It’s history—the fun kind. Try: the Calypso cocktail or the flor de caña tasting flight.

West India Quay, E14 4AL
Website | Instagram

Burlock

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This Mayfair joint, with its hopscotch of rustic furniture and low-lit interior, is bathed in an old world Cuban elegance. Let the atmosphere wash over you while these expert mixologists serve up a wide range of cocktails—many of them set on fire. If that’s not enough, their 5-7 happy hour serves up Mojitos for a fiver. Try: the Old Cuban or Off the Hook cocktails.

 31 Duke St, Marylebone, W1U 1LG
Website | Instagram

Buster Mantis

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Riding the wave of trendy Deptford, this Jamaican themed place is set under two railway arches. Its open kitchen readies jerk chicken from a jerk barbecue drum, and as you’d expect, they don’t hold back on the rum punches. Plus, their creative space is home to a constantly shifting array of performance-visual art or music sets. Try: locals go for the triples—are you ready?

3-4 Resolution Way,  SE8 4NT 
Website | Instagram

Cottons Rhum Shack

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Go for Cottons if you want great food with your rum—calling itself ‘Couture Caribbean,’ this is jerk chicken done with a modern, urban twist.  Grabbing a few of the sharing plates might be best. If it’s rum you’re after, though, never fear: its Notting Hill location, sporting a whopping 350+ different labels, is supposed to hold the most rum this side of the Atlantic. Try: the China Breeze cocktail.

Camden: 55 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AN.
Shoreditch: 130-132 Curtain Road, EC2A 3AR.
Notting Hill: 157-159 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3LF.
Website | Instagram

Trader Vic’s

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As the claimed inventor of the Mai Tai way back in 1944, this Tiki lounge on Park Lane is the real deal. Its Polynesian spirit goes past the palm-trees and bamboo panelled décor, too, with festive communal sharing bowels that brings the Pacific to London in smashing fashion. Try: do we have to spell it out for you?

 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1BE
Website | Instagram

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