http://asliceoflondon.co.uk My London life one slice at a time Sun, 11 Nov 2018 11:20:44 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 ICON Outlet at The O2 Greenwich http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/icon-outlet-at-the-o2-greenwich/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/icon-outlet-at-the-o2-greenwich/#respond Sat, 10 Nov 2018 22:18:53 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=922 I love living in Greenwich and right now it feels like a really exciting time to be living here with so much redevelopment and potential cafes and bars opening, I’m especially excited for Greenwich Grind. The most recent big opening has been the first stage of the ICON shopping outlet opening on the 20th of […]

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I love living in Greenwich and right now it feels like a really exciting time to be living here with so much redevelopment and potential cafes and bars opening, I’m especially excited for Greenwich Grind. The most recent big opening has been the first stage of the ICON shopping outlet opening on the 20th of October, with the second stage due to bring more shops, cafes, bars and restaurants next spring.

I went to check it out on opening weekend (so I’m posting this a little later than I intended, life getting in the way) and was pretty impressed. With all the entertainment options and restaurants already at the O2, this addition really makes it great place for a bit of everything. As in any outlet you can bag yourself some great deals with 50% and above off at some stores. The stores include the likes of Jack Wills, Skechers, Gap, Cath Kidston, Yankee Candle, Levi’s and many more.

In the middle theres also a great little coffee shop as well, The Gentlemen Baristas. They serve brunch, pastries and really good coffee so go check them out. I look forward to visiting more over the coming months and checking out more stores as they open. 

Eventually there will be 85 shops in total as well as an expansion to the cinema and new 30,000 square foot trampoline centre. For more information head over to the ICON outlet website.

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Halloween Jack O’Lantern Cake http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/halloween-jack-olantern-cake/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/halloween-jack-olantern-cake/#respond Tue, 30 Oct 2018 18:16:21 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=709 Can’t believe its already Halloween again, where has the last year gone? After last years brain cake went down so well I thought I’d try something again this year and set my heart on a jack o’lantern themed cake. I did have to buy a lot of new equipment in to make it but I’m […]

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Can’t believe its already Halloween again, where has the last year gone? After last years brain cake went down so well I thought I’d try something again this year and set my heart on a jack o’lantern themed cake. I did have to buy a lot of new equipment in to make it but I’m sure I’ll re-use it in the future. For the cake I went for a chocolate cake with orange buttercream baked in two 10″ bundt pans but you could go for anything from a Victoria sponge to a pumpkin spice cake.

For the cakes:

Ingredients for each cake:

  • 225g Unsalted butter
  • 225g Caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 25g Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Recipe:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease two 10″ bundt tins. I went for these as they help give you a good initial shape for the pumpkin and because they are a ring shape you have a nice pre-made hole to fill with trick or treats.
  2. As this is quite a lot of cake mix I made each cake separately but if you have a large enough bowl feel free to double the ingredients above and make in one go.
  3. Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder and cocoa and fold in gently.
  6. Add the mix to the bundt pan and put in the oven for around 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If making in two batches add the second cake once the first cake has come out of the oven otherwise put both cakes in the oven at once.
  7. After around 10 minutes cooling remove from the tins and leave to cool before decorating.

Now for the fun bit, the decorating and making this look more like a jack o’lantern.

Tools & Ingredients:

  • Fondant sculpting tools – I used the Wilton Fondant and Gum Paste Tool set
  • Cake decorating brushes
  • 1-1.25kg Orange fondant
  • 250g Green fondant
  • 500g Unsalted butter
  • 400g Icing sugar
  • Black food colouring
  • Vodka
  • Orange colouring
  • 2-3 tsp Orange flavouring
  • 1/2-1 tsp Vanilla flavouring
  • Orange zest from one orange

Decorating:

  1. Prepare the buttercream by beating the butter and icing sugar together to a spreadable or pipeable consistency.
  2. Mix in the orange flavouring, orange zest and vanilla (and optionally orange colouring) until you’re happy with the flavour and colour. 
  3. To start building this cake cut the cakes in to two height-wise, I used a wire cutter but it broke cutting the first cake so I ended up only being able to halve one cake unfortunately.
  4. To help the cake stick while decorating I piped a small circle of the buttercream on to my cake board and took the top of one of my cakes and flipped it over to create the rounded bottom.
  5. Apply a layer of buttercream on each cake and stack them until all four layers have been used. You should end up with something looking like this.
  6. Next step is to apply a crumb coat the rest of the cake with the remaining buttercream to seal it and then place it in the fridge for an hour or so.
  7. Now its time to do some cake carving. I used the knife sculpting tool to define the pumpkin shape more using the bumps already there as a base and just taking a thin slit out all the way down the cake on either side of each bump.
  8. I then marked out my pumpkins face with a cocktail stick and used the sculpting knife to carve out his eyes and mouth, you can be as creative as you want here.
  9. Next roll out your orange fondant so that its big enough to cover the cake and go around with the round sculpting tool tucking it in to the ridges and features, cutting off any excess along the way. If you find it difficult like I did to do the fondant in one go, I covered the cake in two halves so that the fondant was easier to handle.
  10. Once I was happy with the look I used some green fondant to create a stalk for the top of the cake and stuck it on with a little vodka.
  11. Then mixing a small amount of vodka with some black food colouring I painted the eyes and mouth and added some shading to the ridges, heres the finished article. Feel free to send me pictures of your Jack O’lanterns.

If you’re looking for another great idea for a Halloween pumpkin cake, check out my friend KatiePix’s recipe here for a Pumpkin Piñata cake. 

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Smart health with Thriva and VITL http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/smart-health-with-thriva-and-vitl/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/smart-health-with-thriva-and-vitl/#respond Wed, 04 Jul 2018 22:58:11 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=608 Over the last couple of years smart health has become a huge market, from wearables and fitness trackers to home blood and DNA tests to help in preventative medicine there are so many players. I’ve been using an Apple Watch for nearly two years now as my fitness tracker but recently decided to check out […]

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Over the last couple of years smart health has become a huge market, from wearables and fitness trackers to home blood and DNA tests to help in preventative medicine there are so many players. I’ve been using an Apple Watch for nearly two years now as my fitness tracker but recently decided to check out some of the other products on the market aimed at health.

For the past few months I’ve been using VITL and subscribed to their monthly recommended vitamins and supplements package. After downloading the app from the AppStore and creating an account you’re presented with a questionnaire asking about your day-to-day habits with questions about diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol etc, which ideally you go through every few months so they can identify anything that changed and recommend new supplement packs. My initial few packs were to cover common multivitamins, supergreens, Co-Enzyme Q10 and a supplement to help clear out toxins, I definitely noticed a difference from taking them but still felt like I was lacking in energy.

I saw an offer for Thriva, which is a subscription based home blood test to check vitamin and enzyme levels every few months. I noticed on VITL that I could actually upload the results I would get from the blood test, so this week I got my first test and I was instantly impressed with the service. The speed of getting results and the amount of data was amazing. I chose the baseline test which tests cholesterol, liver function, Vitamin D, iron levels and B12, once they have the results from your first test they give you add-on options based on things that came up from your test.

The package that arrives in your letterbox from Thriva feels very Apple. Inside you will find the following:

  • Sample collection tube
  • 1xAlcohol swab
  • 1xMoist wipe
  • 2xPlasters
  • 3xSpring loaded lancets
  • 1xPlastic protective casing
  • 1xReturn form
  • 1xReturn envelope

The whole process is pretty simple and painless, you use a lancet to prick your finger tip and then drop a few drops of blood in to the vial up to the line, for me this was about 8 drops. Pop it in the return envelope and post it to their labs and then in my case I received an email 24hrs later saying they had received my sample and would get back with my results within 48hrs. To my surprise they actually only took a couple of hours to get back to me with my test results. The results alerted me to a few things to keep an eye on and a couple of areas I was deficient like B12 and Vitamin D with notes from a Dr on things I could do to improve these areas.

It’s all pretty interesting (although slightly scary) stuff, with lots of information on what each area means and what affects these enzyme, protein or vitamin levels. The next step is where it got really interesting for me though. I uploaded my blood test results to my VITL account and half an hour later I had some more Dr’s notes on things to watch out for and my recommended monthly vitamin pack had been changed accordingly to improve these areas of my health. Due to the vitamins that had come back as low I now had immune defense and energy vitamins added to my month pack to help boost my B12 and Vitamin D.

VITL also sell a DNA test which can tell you things from whether you have the fat gene, how you metabolize caffeine or take to certain vitamins based on your genetic makeup. This also has a direct effect on your monthly subscription, helping make sure you get a more tailored and personal monthly supplement pack which will change over time if you retake the questionnaire or provide future blood test results. If you’ve ever done a DNA test with someone like AncestryDNA like I have then you can actually upload your DNA from them to use this feature without needing to pay for another test kit. After uploading I had my report within the hour and again it had made a couple of changes to my recommended monthly supplement pack.

I’m looking forward to seeing what impact my new supplements and changes to my lifestyle, due to all this information, have on my health over the next few months. Hopefully when my next test is due in September I’ll be seeing a lot more green on my charts rather than amber.

If you want to try out Thriva for yourself head to the site via my referral link where you’ll get 50% off your first test. If you’re interested in trying out VITL as well then get in touch with me here and I can send you a referral link to get a free 2-Week Trial worth £20. I hope you found this review useful and you too end up as interested as I’ve become in these preventive medicine services.

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Urban Village Fete http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/urban-village-fete/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/urban-village-fete/#respond Sat, 19 May 2018 21:36:06 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=599 If you’re looking for something fun to do this Sunday (20th May) for all the family then down to Greenwich Peninsula for the yearly Urban Village Fete curated by Wayne Hemingway. I’ve been the last two years which have attracted over 25,000 people and I can’t wait for it again this year. Urban Village Fete […]

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If you’re looking for something fun to do this Sunday (20th May) for all the family then down to Greenwich Peninsula for the yearly Urban Village Fete curated by Wayne Hemingway. I’ve been the last two years which have attracted over 25,000 people and I can’t wait for it again this year.

Urban Village Fete is a yearly one day event with a mix of arts, design, music, craft workshops, marketplaces and talks hosted by BBC Radio London’s Robert Elms. The festival always ends with a 2hr set from the amazing Gilles Peterson, which always creates an amazing and electric atmosphere to end the day.

The event is right outside North Greenwich station and The O2 from 11-7pm and amazingly its free, so get yourself down there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Xgi87hXWV0

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Park it in the Market – Greenwich April ’18 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/park-it-in-the-market-greenwich-april-18/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/park-it-in-the-market-greenwich-april-18/#respond Fri, 27 Apr 2018 11:43:30 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=582 Last night I headed over to my first Park it in the Market event in Greenwich market and had a great time. If you’ve not heard of it its an event held after the market closes for the day where people can bring along their classic cars, hot rods and bikes for other people to […]

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Last night I headed over to my first Park it in the Market event in Greenwich market and had a great time. If you’ve not heard of it its an event held after the market closes for the day where people can bring along their classic cars, hot rods and bikes for other people to enjoy while drinking a beer or a nice warm cup of tea/coffee and listening to live music.

Its great to be able to get up close to these cars, from Chevrolet’s to Lincolns to Jaguar E types and Ford Mustangs. There is something for everyone and this showed in the eclectic crowd that was there, people from all ages packed out this after hours event. One of my highlights was chatting to an owner of a VW Beetle who bought it new 52 years ago and could tell you every little detail on how he kept it in such immaculate condition.

They hold these events on the last Thursday of every month so I definitely recommend heading down if you ever get a chance. In the mean time here are some of my photos from the evening.

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The Grinning Man http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/the-grinning-man/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/the-grinning-man/#respond Sun, 08 Apr 2018 18:27:59 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=478 If you haven’t already been to see this gothic masterpiece and adaptation of Victor Hugo’s L’Homme qui rit then make sure you do it soon as it enters its final weeks at Trafalgar Studios, now extended for 3 final weeks until 5th May. Other than knowing this show had amazing puppetry, from the same team that […]

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If you haven’t already been to see this gothic masterpiece and adaptation of Victor Hugo’s L’Homme qui rit then make sure you do it soon as it enters its final weeks at Trafalgar Studios, now extended for 3 final weeks until 5th May. Other than knowing this show had amazing puppetry, from the same team that worked on Warhorse, I didn’t know much about it but I loved every minute when I saw it a couple of weeks ago and it left the majority of the audience on their feet applauding when it reached its spectacular ending.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN9h8bIa3PU

L’Homme qui rit fits with one of Hugo’s popular themes seen in his other popular works such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, whereby a man with a deformity shows up the society he’s living in. The difference here is that the main character, Grinpayne, is not born with his deformity but is the victim of an attack as a child. The early story is told through childhood puppets of the two main characters Grinpayne and Dea and throughout there is an amazing wolf, which all feel almost as alive as the rest of the cast. Despite the tragic premise this show is full of wit and many one-liners and the brilliant clown Barkilphedro, breaking the show up and making it much more of a tragicomedy. I laughed a lot more than I thought I was going to.

Trafalgar Studios is a really small theatre so its even more amazing that the cast of 16 and impressive sets all fit, but the sets are cleverly designed so that what spends a large chunk of the show as a circus cart spins round to be a royal bedchamber. Some parts of the show the cast even spill out in to the auditorium making it even more intimate and adding to the spectacle. Add to this an amazing song list of around 30 songs which are enchanting and often hummable, I’m still humming “Stars In the Sky” a few weeks on. 

So what are you waiting for, book your tickets while you still can here

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Creme Egg Scotch Eggs http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/creme-egg-scotch-eggs/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/creme-egg-scotch-eggs/#respond Thu, 29 Mar 2018 08:47:39 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=466 As soon as I saw the recipe for Creme Egg Scotch Eggs from Omm Nomm being shared on Facebook I just had to try it and as its Easter week I thought I’d share the recipe incase any of you want to give it a go. I doubled it up as I was making for […]

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As soon as I saw the recipe for Creme Egg Scotch Eggs from Omm Nomm being shared on Facebook I just had to try it and as its Easter week I thought I’d share the recipe incase any of you want to give it a go. I doubled it up as I was making for my workmates so this recipe is for 12 eggs, just halve the recipe if you making a smaller batch.

I’ll warn you now, expect a serious sugar overdose but its so worth it for this sweet take on a savoury classic.

Creme Egg Scotch Eggs
Serves 12
A sweet take on a savoury classic
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Cake mixture
  1. 350g Softened unsalted butter (room temperature)
  2. 350g Caster sugar
  3. 8 Medium eggs
  4. 240g Self Raising Flour
  5. 1tsp Baking powder
  6. 120g Cocoa powder
Buttercream
  1. 240g softened unsalted butter
  2. 240g Icing Sugar
  3. 40g Cocoa powder
Other Ingredients
  1. 12 Creme eggs
  2. 600g Milk chocolate
Equipment
  1. Food processor
For the cake
  1. Start by preheating your oven to 160°C and line two 8 inch cake tins with greaseproof paper.
  2. Add butter and sugar to a large bowl and cream until light in colour and fluffy, this usually takes me about 3-4 minutes with an electric hand whisk.
  3. Now add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
  4. Add in flour, baking powder and cocoa using a sieve to reduce large lumps in the box. Fold the ingredients in to the mixture until you have a consistent, smooth batter.
  5. Pour the mixture in to the prepared cake tins and bake for around 25 minutes, until the cake springs back when you touch it or inserting a skewer in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cake to cool on a cooling rack, leaving you with some time to clean up from the first part of this recipe ready for the fun bit.
Decoration
  1. Once the cake has cooled gradually add it to a food processor and crumble until the cake mix resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add butter, icing sugar and cocoa to a bowl with the crumbled cake and mix again until you have a firm dough, it should be similar in texture to shortcut pastry dough.
  3. Prepare a plate or tray with baking paper and take a handful of dough at a time and mould around each creme egg until you have a fist sized ball. Place each egg on to the prepared tray/plate and put in the fridge to chill until firm.
  4. Whilst they are chilling in the fridge grate 200g of chocolate into a bowl or plate large enough to roll the eggs in. Melt the remaining 400g of chocolate in another bowl over a pan of hot water, once melted leave it to cool slightly.
  5. Once the dough balls are firm remove from the fridge and dip into the chocolate mixture making sure the entire surface is covered, then roll in the grated chocolate and place back on the tray to cool. Place your scotch eggs in the fridge for 10 minutes to help them set and then they are ready to serve.
  6. Not that these need any more chocolate but if you wanted to help with the scotch egg theme further you could melt some white chocolate to make dips and colour them red & yellow to resemble tomato ketchup and mustard.
Adapted from Omm Nomm
Adapted from Omm Nomm
http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/

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My First Month With Gousto http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/my-first-month-with-gousto/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/my-first-month-with-gousto/#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 13:39:37 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=416 For a long while now I’ve wanted to try one of the home delivery food services so I can inject some variety in to what I cook and also have less waste, after a bit of research I set my heart on Gousto and I’ve not been disappointed. As a single person and therefore someone […]

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For a long while now I’ve wanted to try one of the home delivery food services so I can inject some variety in to what I cook and also have less waste, after a bit of research I set my heart on Gousto and I’ve not been disappointed. As a single person and therefore someone that generally cooks for one my initial worry was having enough options that I could cook and at least freeze the other portion. Gousto seemed to have a lot of options with 20+ recipes available each week and good value for money.

I went for the 2 meals per fortnight option, you can be quite flexible with your subscription, weekly/fortnightly or monthly are all options and you can choose to upgrade each meal individually from 2 to 3/4 people. Here’s a quick overview of my thoughts on my first 4 recipes.

Beef Keema pie with turmeric potatoes

This Indian inspired dish was super tasty, the timings maybe took me a little longer than the recipe card but it was simple and totally worth it. I think turmeric and coriander roast potatoes might be my new favourite alternative to have instead of rice with a curry.

Chicken peperonata with cheesy rosemary potatoes

I often cook Italian food but I don’t think I’ve ever had what can only be described as an Italian stew. As if a side of slow cooked peppers in a tomato sauce with chicken seasoned with oregano wasn’t enough, the cheeses rosemary potatoes just top this quick but melt in your mouth dish off perfectly.

Baked cheesy fish with potatoes and courgette salad

I’m always keen to add more fish to my diet so when I saw this recipe pop up and my mum was visiting I thought I’d try it and I wasn’t disappointed. This dish consists of basa fish in a cheesy breadcrumb coating and served with a courgette and tomato salad, simply but delicious. So good in fact my mum asked for the recipe 😉

Chicken with mushroom and tarragon orzo

I’d never tried orzo pasta before but I’m a big fan of risotto and especially chicken served with mushroom and tarragon so I had to try this recipe. With the leek, chicken stock and cheese thrown in to the mix with this recipe as well the taste was amazing, especially given it was so simple to cook.

I’ve loved all of my dishes from my first month with Gousto and I can’t wait to add more to my repertoire going forwards. Not only have all the dishes been tasty and simple, the ingredients are super fresh and perfect portion sizes so no waste but the other massive bonus is not needing to be in when the box arrives. Even if the box arrives after I’ve left for work in the morning everything is fine if I open it after getting home and collecting it from my concierge.

Although this isn’t a sponsored post if you want to check out Gousto for yourself head over to their site here and feel free to use my referral code.

 

 

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Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/orchid-festival-at-kew-gardens/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/orchid-festival-at-kew-gardens/#respond Fri, 02 Mar 2018 14:29:45 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=363 Kew Gardens is always a great way to visit and spend some time on a weekend so last Sunday I headed there for a day out and to check out the annual Orchid festival, running from 10th February to 11th March. If you get chance to head over before it ends then you definitely should. […]

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Kew Gardens is always a great way to visit and spend some time on a weekend so last Sunday I headed there for a day out and to check out the annual Orchid festival, running from 10th February to 11th March. If you get chance to head over before it ends then you definitely should.

The Thai themed festival is held in the Princess of Wales Conservatory and is a feast of colours, Thai culture and amazing plants and flowers. From elephants to houses covered in orchid displays this festival really is a treat for the eyes and a perfect excuse to get out of the cold we are experiencing at the moment.

For more information you can book tickets or check out the website here.

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The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/the-painted-hall-at-the-old-royal-naval-college-in-greenwich/ http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/the-painted-hall-at-the-old-royal-naval-college-in-greenwich/#respond Sun, 18 Feb 2018 18:16:16 +0000 http://asliceoflondon.co.uk/?p=270 Every 80 to 100 years works are carried out to conserve and restore the painted hall in the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich to its former glory from the 1700s. Until September this year you can experience it close up with a guided tour and climb 60ft up to see the ceiling from a platform […]

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Every 80 to 100 years works are carried out to conserve and restore the painted hall in the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich to its former glory from the 1700s. Until September this year you can experience it close up with a guided tour and climb 60ft up to see the ceiling from a platform just 2m below it. Having done it this weekend I can definitely recommend this extremely rare opportunity to get up close and personal with this ginormous and intricate art piece, you’re so close to it you will notice details that won’t be seen again until the next time they decide to undertake conservation work on this masterpiece. 

The painted halls ceiling and walls were conceived and carried out by Sir James Thornhill between 1707 and 1726 at the time when the United Kingdom was created and became a major power in Europe. The centre of the piece is comes in the form of William III and Mary II who were on the throne at the time, surrounded by hundreds of characters representing rivers, zodiac, mythical entities and historical references. Overall this piece covers an area of 40,000 square feet and is with out doubt one of the greatest examples of baroque artwork art in Europe.

Tours are around an hour in length and cost £11, with proceeds going towards the costs of the restoration. Costs are around £9million, of which they’ve raised about £7.5million so far so the more people take this once in a lifetime opportunity to see this piece of art the more people have helped towards restoring this artwork for future generations. The tours are really informative and you’re all provided with a mirror to help you see the ceiling without looking up all of the time. See if you can identify the UK’s rivers from their character representation, find the references to the relationship with Europe at the time or spot any of other the numerous Easter eggs that Sir James Thornhill hid in this artwork.

For more information and tickets book up here.

 

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