Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Stylish Surroundings Worth Every Penny. ; ROB IRVINE Says Save on Travel So You Can Enjoy a Taste of Luxury in London

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Stylish Surroundings Worth Every Penny. ; ROB IRVINE Says Save on Travel So You Can Enjoy a Taste of Luxury in London

Article excerpt

THE trick with London is to spend as little as possible on the journey so that you can splash out a bit more on accommodation.

An open return in standard class from Manchester Piccadilly to London is now an eye-watering Pounds 321. But book ahead for a Friday afternoon trip, returning home the following evening, and the price plummets to Pounds 54.50.

Travel with a loved one and you can bring this down to Pounds 36 per head if you invest in the new Two Together railcard.

On arrival make your way by bus - more on this later - down to Theatreland and envelop yourselves in the delights of the sumptuous Waldorf Hilton hotel.

This, as they say, is a bit posh. It dates back to 1908 and retains all its Edwardian grandeur while incorporating the comforts of today.

Our recently refurbished room referred to another era, the art deco style of the 20s, complete with black and white photos from the first golden age of Hollywood.

The hotel is in Aldwych and if your aim is to take in a show then this is the perfect base with Drury Lane and Shaftesbury Avenue close by.

But the theme for our trip was fine art and fine beer.

Take a short stroll down to the bank of the Thames then along to the Millennium Bridge and over to Tate Modern where the magnificent Matisse - The Cut-Outs is running until September 7. This is a fantastic insight into his delicate later works when Matisse, too ill to paint, found a way to create stunning works of art with coloured paper and scissors. Later this year Tate Britain, also not too far away, is showcasing the later works of Turner.

And Tate has just announced its exhibitions in London for 2015 with retrospectives of the works of Alexander Calder and Barbara Hepworth making the headlines.

Another way to save a few quid if you are a regular visitor to exhibitions is to acquire the Art Fund card. This gets you a sizeable discount on entry to the Tate's exhibitions.

And it will also give you free entry to the Courtauld gallery which is two minutes' walk from the Waldorf and considerably less crowded than the Tate. Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergere is the star of their permanent collection.

As for fine beer, I am a recent convert to the world of "craft beer" which appears to be a bit like real ale but with bubbles as the beer comes in kegs. …

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