With the approaching Grand Prix Poker Tour making its first-ever stop at Stamford Bridge in London, we thought we’d take a look at what else you can get up to in the capital if you’re hoping to make a weekend of it. We don’t just put the party into poker, but the sense of fun back into a poker festival such as the Grand Prix Poker Tour. Let’s take a London look at some things you’ll love to do…
Ice Bar London
Just off Regent Street is the ideal place to chill out after experiencing the heat of poker action. Ice Bar London is an entire bar sculpted out of ice where you’re guaranteed a frosty reception despite the friendly staff! You’ll be given a cape and gloves upon arrival, so prepare to feel like Batman on a night out! Each session at the Ice Bar comes with a free cocktail and you can add-on champagne. From bubbles to the adjacent bar which serves food and drink long into the night, the Ice Bar is a fantastic experience if you’ve never been, and the coolest hang out if you have. Booking (for up to 8 people) is highly recommended on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and prices for the Saturday of our visit to Stamford Bridge are £16.50 per ticket, with Sunday a slightly cheaper £14.50. Around 40 people is the maximum capacity for this chilled-out night to beat them all!
Contact: 31-33 Heddon St, London W1B 4BN / (020) 7478 8910
Ice-Skating at Somerset House
As winter kicks in, make the most of the wintry weather as one of London’s most beautiful outdoor ice rinks returns for Skate at Somerset House. In partnership with Fortnum & Mason, this icy experience is open all day and well into the evening, when the rink comes alive with special club nights featuring top DJs.
You can enhance your experience with ‘Skate Extras’, which range from champagne and truffles to cream tea in Fortnum’s Lodge. Cocktails and fondue can also be savoured. On Tuesdays, you can enjoy late-night browsing in the pop-up Fortnum & Mason store, live entertainment and festive treats. Prices are from £7.50 per person.
Seasonal Illuminations at Kew Gardens
A regular Winter Wonderland just a little further west than Chelsea’s football ground is Kew Gardens, who every year host a truly spectacular light show amid their stunning flora and fauna. With a brand new ‘Winter Trail’ for 2015, there will be a myriad of glittering attractions lining the one-mile walk around the gardens. We went last year and can honestly say that it is one of London’s hidden delights at this time of year.
After-dark, the Richmond-based grounds are transformed in a magical experience for people of all ages, with dancing fountains, waterside reflections, a Choir of Holly Bushes, vintage fairground rides, Christmas gifts and traditional festive fayre as well as the famous Tunnel of Lights and scented Fire Garden. Live performances take place right next to a marshmallow stand where you can toast your sweet treat yourselves! It’s incredible. Prices range from £18 for adults down to free for under 4’s or carers. Well worth a visit is the website www.kew.org where you can find out booking details, with the Illuminations running from 25th November right through to Saturday 2nd January. The trail takes bookings from between 5pm-10pm every evening.
Contact: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, TW9 3AB / (020) 8332 5655
Christmas Afternoon Tea on Park Lane
With Christmas being a time for poker and spending winnings on loved-ones’ Christmas presents, the prospect of a spot of afternoon tea appeals to us plenty! With the Christmas lights lighting up the city, Podium restaurant’s stunning, festive afternoon tea at the Hilton in Park Lane really takes the biscuit.
Alongside honey roast ham and Pommery mustard, prawn cocktail and baby gem lettuce, and smoked salmon with horseradish sandwiches, beautifully made cakes will get your mouth watering and feature gingerbread man, strawberry citrus parfait and passion fruit pannacotta motifs. With a range of pastries as well as chocolate chip, raisin and plain scones served with praline chocolate spread, clotted cream and jam included, it’s a Yuletide feast to set you up for a powerful final day at the felt! Priced at £36 per person (£46 per person with champagne), the tea is a perfect opportunity to really indulge your taste buds!
Contact: 22 Park Lane, W1K 1BE / (020) 7208 4022
Chelsea Football Club Museum Tour
Easily one of the best football museums in the world, Stamford Bridge itself is the host for a Museum tour through the glittering modern history of West London’s most fashionable football club. Indeed, having won their first league title for an incredible fifty years in 2005, Chelsea have since enjoyed enduring success, including a Champions League, more titles and the League Cup and F.A. Cup all arriving in what is a packed trophy room!
With the nearest tube station being Fulham Broadway, you can even combine a museum tour with taking your Day 1 seat as the museum is open from 9.30am – 5.00pm every day. Tours of the stadium take place every half hour, but you get experience the largest football museum in London, with a fully interactive journey taking from Osgood to Drogba via Jose Mourinho!
With memorabilia from the club’s 107-year history on show, you can even visit the home changing room, press area or sit on the management’s bench. Who knows, if you look convincing enough, Maybe Roman Abramovich will hire you to replace the current incumbent! Prices range from £10 for adults through to £8 for children with family tickets available too.
Westfield Centre, Stratford
Ideal to attend with Grand Prix days being played at London’s largest poker room, Aspers Casino will be welcoming hundreds of hopefuls looking to take down the top prize at Stamford Bridge in the early hours of Monday morning. but that’s not the only reason to go east. Filed with fashionable eateries and a massive selection of shops from high street chains to boutique stores catering from everyone aged 4-94, you can even head to the movies, with Vue Cinema offering the latest Hollywood blockbusters when you’ve shopped ‘til you drop!
Location: Stratford Underground Station.
Go Karting at Tower Bridge
Thanks to the guys at TeamSport Tower Bridge, there is a place where after a hard days’ poker, you can take a day off to relax by blasting around a karting course like no other. For a start, it’s around the corner from Tower Bridge itself, so you can really make a day of visiting one of the most iconic buildings in Europe at the same time. As for the Karting itself, once inside the pioneering dual-track centre, you can take on your mates in electrically-powered karts that travel up to 40mph! There are two separate tracks, or you can combine the two to create your own 880m London Grand Prix. You must be 13 and over (if you’re thinking of bringing the kids) and there are refreshments available including a licensed bar. You can get three eight minute sessions for just £35 between Sunday and Friday, and there are special deals via the website at: www.team-sport.co.uk
Contact: TeamSports Tower Bridge, 100 Clements Road, SE16 4DG / (0844) 998 0000