Celebrate International Women’s Day in London

Sunday (8 March) marks International Women’s Day (IWD) – a day celebrating the great women in history, the countless achievements of women around the world, and the barriers that they have had to overcome to get to this point.

If you’re in London this weekend, we’ve come up with a list of the best places to visit to mark the day.

Women of the World Festival

The Women of the World festival will coincide with IWD, with a weekend of lectures, debates, workshops and panel discussions. Famous faces will be speaking at a number of the events, including Sandi Toksvig, Shazia Mirza, Elif Shafak, and the former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson.

International Women’s Day Ride

IBikeLondon has arranged a big bike ride across the city with an IWD theme – ‘an equal world is an enabled world’. With opportunities to chat with others and stop for food and drink along the way, this is a great way to see the city and meet new people.

Visit the Florence Nightingale Museum

Take a trip to the Florence Nightingale Museum to celebrate the life and work of the world’s most famous nurse.

Learn more about one of the UK’s most iconic women by exploring the museum, with a new exhibition – Nightingale in 200 Objects, People and Places – celebrating 200 years since she was born.

Lady of the Grapes

If you’re a wine fan and looking for a new venue to try this IWD, visit Covent Garden-based Lady of the Grapes. A wine bar, restaurant and shop, Lady of the Grapes champions women in the wine industry and serves natural wines made by female winemakers from across the world.

The food menu will encompass a natural and organic theme too, including sharing boards and dishes designed to complement the extensive wine list.

Persephone Books

Well-known Persephone Books reprints neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century writers. Reprinting mainly women writers, the bookseller publishes novels, short stories, diaries, memoirs and cookery books. The name of the bookstore was chosen as a symbol of female creativity and new beginnings.

Susan Calman on board as voice of new Caledonian Sleeper

Guests travelling on board Caledonian Sleeper will soon be woken by one of Scotland’s most popular celebs – after Susan Calman was named the voice of the new trains.

The TV and radio star is no stranger to travelling to some of the nation’s best-loved destinations having recently presented Channel 5’s Secret Scotland.

And now, her tour of Scotland will continue six nights a week as she ‘travels’ on board Caledonian Sleeper between London and various Scottish locations including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Fort William, Glasgow and Inverness.

Susan, who will voice all scheduled announcements, is a frequent guest on board and a huge advocate of sleeper travel. During her time on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing last year, she even filmed on the train as part of the show.

Susan said: “I spend almost as much time on the Caledonian Sleeper as I do in my own house and so it was a great pleasure to give voice to the new trains. I look forward to being woken up by myself. Although it might give me a fright occasionally.”

The new Caledonian Sleeper trains will be introduced by the end of May 2019 and for the first time will include rooms with double beds and en-suite toilet and showers.

Ryan Flaherty, Serco’s Managing Director at Caledonian Sleeper, said: “Susan is the perfect fit as the voice of Caledonian Sleeper. Like us, she has a real sense of adventure and is completely at home travelling around Scotland.

“Our ambition with our new trains is to deliver a timeless experience for guests and I know Susan is thrilled to be part of such a huge change to the service. We’re firmly on the final countdown now and I cannot wait for guests to step on board and see the new Caledonian Sleeper for the first time.”

The new fleet, built at a cost of over £100m and part funded by a capital grant from the Scottish Ministers of £60m, has been designed to accommodate the modern-day traveller and cater to both business and leisure travel guests. A range of accommodation options will be offered, including:

• Caledonian Double (double bed with en-suite)
• Club Rooms (solo or twin with en-suite)
• Classic Rooms (solo or twin)
• Comfort Seats
• Fully accessible rooms for guests with reduced mobility

Other new features will also be included, such as a hotel-style key card entry system, more accessible rooms, charging panels and WiFi throughout the train.

The trains will initially be introduced on the Lowlander route between Glasgow / Edinburgh and London before being rolled out onto the Highlander which serves Fort William, Aberdeen and Inverness.

To find out more about the Caledonian Sleeper, visit sleeper.scot.

Undiscovered Shopping in London

London is famous the world over for its shopping. High street shops, iconic designer outlets and towering department stores make the city a shopping haven for those seeking leading brands and bargain prices.


But, away from the hustle and bustle of the likes of Oxford Street and Regent Street, is a closet of smaller boutiques, quirky curios and markets off the beaten path.


Here, we’ve highlighted our favourite shopping destinations where you’ll get lost in winding streets and hidden gems rather than overwhelming crowds.


Neal’s Yard


Tucked away in Seven Dials, Neal’s Yard is a must for cosmetic and beauty fans. Here, you’ll find the flagship of Neal’s Yard Remedies offering organic skincare products, as well as specialist boutiques such as Kiehl’s and perfumer Miller and Harris.


Leadenhall Market


Harry Potter fans will instantly recognise this Victorian marketplace as the setting for Diagon Alley.


Although wands, broomsticks and owls can’t be found here, the cobblestone passageways will bewitch shoppers with their lamp-lit window displays selling clothing, stationery, watches and perfumes.


Camden Passage


If you’re on the hunt for pre-loved treasures such as antiques, vintage clothes and quirky trinkets, then head to cobblestone laneway Camden Passage. Filled with small shops and cafes, you’ll find everything imaginable in this Aladdin’s cave.


Broadway Market


Broadway Market is the perfect place to wander on a Saturday morning. Browse the dozens of stalls selling fresh produce, food and drink, accessories and vintage clothing before nipping into one of the nearby pubs or cafes for a bite to eat.


Regent’s Park Road


Avoid the crowds of nearby Camden Market and stroll along Regent’s Park Road in the Primrose Hill area.


Stocked with quality boutiques selling clothing and footwear, here you can relax in a cosy restaurant or wander along the picturesque canals, taking in the city views.

London’s Theatre Opportunities in the Spotlight

From West End shows to world-famous musicals, London offers some of the best theatre. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a last-minute trip to see a captivating opera, or booking in advance to secure front row seats at a box office play, there’s plenty of theatre opportunities in the Big Smoke this winter.


Here, we’ve listed some of our top choices for theatre buffs, Broadway beginners and families. Climb on board and get the show on the road with Caledonian Sleeper.


Matilda the Musical


Transferring from the big screen to the stage, Matilda the Musical is capturing the imaginations of both children and adults.


Hosted at Cambridge Theatre until spring next year, the musical follows Matilda, a five year old girl with a special gift who learns that sometimes you have to be a little naughty to get through life.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime


The National Theatre’s much-loved production of Simon Stephen’s play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime ­has returned to London’s West End.


Running at the Piccadilly Theatre until April, the play is sure to delight audiences with its award-winning wit, innovative stage design and thought provoking story.


The Woman in Black


If you’re looking for something gripping then opt for The Woman in Black, currently showing at the Fortune Theatre.


One of the West End’s longest running plays, terrifying audiences in London since 1989, The Woman in Black is based on Susan Hill’s novel of the same name. It tells the story of Arthur Kipps – a solicitor who is sent to a remote town to attend the funeral of a client, during which he sees a mysterious woman dressed in black.


The Great Gatsby


Until the end of March audiences can be transported back to the roaring 1920s by catching The Great Gatsby at Gatsby’s Drugstore.


An immersive adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s jazz-age novel which puts the audience at the heart of the action, this is an invite not to be missed, with lively music, unique theatrical performances and flowing cocktails all promised.