Hassle-free city break

The London Eye

The London Eye

Crystal and her husband Wayne with their children (l-r) Lacie-Louise (4), Bradley (nine months), Rory (2) and Harvey (6).  Picture: Sarah Standing (170509-232)

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If you’re a theatre fan, fine dining enthusiast or just partial to a rather posh hotel, London’s got it all – in abundance.

But sometimes the amount of choice on offer can make it hard to know where to begin, especially when you want to see a little bit of everything during one action-packed visit.

It can be pretty daunting just trying to decide where to stay. And that’s where London break specialists Show and Stay aim to come in.

Just tell them when you want to go – and an idea of what you want to do – and they’ll work out the options for you.

When we hit on the idea of enjoying a mid-week break in the capital we took them up on their offer to sort out our trip

After a recommendation from a friend we decided to see Yes Prime Minister at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre.

But there’s no point taking in a show if you’ve not had the meal to match, or the promise of a cracking place to lay your head at the end of the night.

So we told Show and Stay we wanted to stay somewhere central and enjoy a pre-theatre dinner at a swanky restaurant.

The four star Crowne Plaza Hotel London St James was their recommendation.

Just a short walk from Victoria train station it’s central enough to make it the linchpin of your stay. Westminster Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament are all within easy reach plus Buckingham Palace is just around the corner.

The Crowne Plaza is a good place to stay if you’re a tourist in London. A 10 minute stroll will lead you to the banks of the River Thames and there’s plenty of shops, restaurants and galleries nearby to keep you busy.

Sadly we didn’t have time to make the most of the hotel’s spa because a ride, (or flight, to give it its proper name) on the London Eye beckoned

We’d been on the Eye before. But the good thing about this particular attraction is it’s impossible to get bored of the view.

You’ll always spot something different each time you go – whether it’s the trains running in and out of the city’s Waterloo Station, or the unmistakable dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The fact there was a Tube strike on the day of our visit could have been a real pain. But the hotel is in a good spot so we took a taxi to the theatre and ambled back on foot at the end of the night.

The hassle of finding somewhere decent to eat was also taken out of our hands because a table for two at Marco Pierre White’s L’Escargot had been booked as part of our package.

Situated in Greek Street at the very heart of Soho, it’s a great place to stop off for a quick bite to eat.

The two-course pre-theatre menu is geared up to swift but sophisticated service and the mirror-panelled walls and relaxed couches make it a stylish place to eat.

We tucked into a simple but tasty pasta dish – even London’s top restaurants aren’t used to giving two vegetarians much choice – before strolling to the nearby theatre.

London’s theatre scene is one of the jewels in its crown – on any given night there’s a top show to see, whether it’s a play, or musical.

We went home rested after making the most of the Crowne Plaza’s plentiful buffet breakfast service – and thoroughly enjoyed Show and Stay’s best price promise and their specialist knowledge.

If you’re looking for someone else to take the hassle out of organising your trip then it’s a great service.

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