Act for your personal enjoyment.

The Best Virtual Experiences and Events for the London Lockdown

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Social distancing and isolation are rapidly becoming our new norm, and it’s looking like things are going to stay this way for a while. So many activities we would ordinarily partake in have been halted for the time being, which can feel understandably frustrating but is of course necessary.

Luckily for our fellow cultural sponges out there, curators have been hard at work creating virtual experiences that we can access online. You can now tour museums, galleries and parks from the comfort of your sofa, and even a few upcoming London events have been moved online too. We’ve put together our favourites for you to add to your lockdown to-do list and hopefully help you feel a little less bored.

So, pop the kettle on, grab a snack and settle on the sofa for an enlightened isolation exploring London from your home.

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Spas & wellness in Chelsea

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We may love London, but none of us can deny that it can be quiet a stressful city to live in. We all need that little break once in a while to escape the fast-paced lifestyle that is inevitable when living in a cosmopolitan environment.

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Chancery Lane on a rainy day

Top 5 things to do in Holborn on a rainy day

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Don’t let London’s downpour dampen your autumn; the city still has plenty to offer! So, we’ve curated a list of indoor activities in Holborn to show you that no matter the weather, there’s always somewhere to explore in London.

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Our Thoughts: Tim Walker, Wonderful Things

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Fashion Week graced London with its presence last week, and its extravagant spirit lives on at one of Chelsea’s most prestigious cultural institutions.

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Art Review: Serpentine Pavilion by Junya Ishigami

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The ever-popular Serpentine Pavilion is back this summer, with Junya Ishigami bringing a ‘levitating cluster of scattered rocks’ to Hyde Park.

Established in 1970, Serpentine Gallery is a world-renowned art institution based in London’s beautiful Hyde Park. The gallery comprises the Serpentine and Sackler Galleries (the latter designed by Zaha Hadid in 2013), based on either side of their namesake the Serpentine Lake.

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Midtown’s Great British Pub Hub

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Defining the Great British Pub

Tune into any classic British soap opera and you’re bound to notice that the plot’s proceedings will almost always lead back to the local drinking establishment. And why would anyone be surprised? The charming old walls of these local watering holes are bound to teach you a lesson or two about life, love and your limits!

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Chelsea’s Private View Culture

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The Tradition of Preview Culture

Mid-Summer has finally graced London! The endless spells of glorious sunshine bring with them the joys of longer days, and with longer days comes an absolutely unmissable opportunity to get acquainted with the capital’s renowned art scene. Small galleries in Chelsea are a fantastic place to start, especially for those of you in the early stages of your art appreciation journey.

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The Globe: Because Everyone Needs Some Shakespeare in Their Life

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Globe Theatre and its history

One of London’s most distinguished cultural landmarks, the Globe Theatre in the heart of London’s South Bank is not only an internationally recognised tourist attraction and hub for theatre-lovers, but its presence also takes passers-by back to what was London during the time of the Bard himself, and is a reminder of the capital’s rich theatrical history.

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Tate Modern: The Place That Changed Art Forever

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Tate Modern: a haven for every art enthusiast

Although it is the latest addition to the Tate Group of art galleries, during the first year of its opening, the Tate Modern was the most popular museum in the world, attracting 5.2 million visitors. Its legacy has lived on today, with an estimated 5.9 million visitors in 2018, overtaking the iconic British Museum. Situated on South Bank, it holds an impressive collection of modern art from 1900 to the present day.

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DRAW London: Never Underestimate the Power of Drawing

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Last Wednesday, the Boutique London team had the privilege of attending the VIP preview of DRAW London at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. DRAW London is the first art fair in the UK dedicated to modern and contemporary drawing, creating an extraordinary platform where the capital’s art lovers and collectors are able to appreciate rare works by highly acclaimed modern artists as well as the more recent works from the 21st century “side by side”.

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Ville Kumpulainen's presentation at Photo London 2019

Our Thoughts: Photo London 2019

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Over the past few years, Somerset House has established itself as a beacon for contemporary arts and culture aficionados in London’s Midtown and beyond – a fact that was plain to see last weekend, as crowds flocked to the neoclassical building for the eagerly anticipated return of Photo London.

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Natasha Jouhl in Madama Butterfly at Grimeborn, Photo (c) Omid Salehi

How To Immerse Yourself In The Vibrant World Of Opera

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Opera has long been an artform that has divided opinion: there are those who love it, those who have had very little exposure to it, and those who express no interest in it at all!

In recent years, the media would frequently mention that cultural organisations are making it their mission to make opera more accessible and appealing to the masses. We are delighted to say that a few rather exciting steps have been taken! The English National Opera (ENO) has started to release free tickets for under-18s and there are small professional touring groups currently offering very affordable deals. There are even opera performances in English to assist new audiences with their introduction to this breath-taking artform. The Royal Opera House and ENO also provide stimulating education schemes and workshops for children to get them engaging with the world of opera from a young age.

Did you know we are at the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant opera scenes? The Royal Opera House and ENO are not the only places where you can enjoy the opera, especially with the summer months around the corner. At this time of the year, summer opera festivals are all the rage! You have probably heard of Glyndebourne, Longborough and maybe even Garsington, which all take place outside of Greater London. But rather than trekking miles (and spending hundreds of pounds in the process) to watch top quality opera, we have some suggestions for festivals and venues a bit closer to home.

Opera Holland Park

La traviata, Opera Holland Park

La traviata, Opera Holland Park

For those of you looking for an opera festival in the heart of London that rivals Glyndebourne, look no further than Opera Holland Park! Located by Holland House in the stunning Kensington Park, Opera Holland Park stages around half a dozen operas every summer, often starring the biggest names in the opera world, and some of the UK’s most talented young artists. The 2019 season will be taking place between the 4th June and the 3rd August and will feature a wicked line-up that is sure to make for stimulating dinner conversation. Be sure to have a look into Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera (‘A Masked Ball’, which tells the chilling tale of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden), and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta (which famously inspired the well-known G&S operetta Iolanthe).

Once again, under-18s are eligible for free tickets, with over-65s being offered the same privilege at Opera Holland Park. There is also a scheme for under-30s with INSPIRE £20 tickets available to increase access to the operas. For more information on tickets, please visit their website here.

Opera in The City

Opera in the City, A Florentine Tragedy, Photo (c) Lidia Crisafulli

Opera in the City, A Florentine Tragedy, Photo (c) Lidia Crisafulli

This festival has only been running since Summer 2017, but it has already become one of the most exciting opera festivals in the capital. In the last two years, the Opera In the City festival has created a new hub for classical music right in the heart of the City in Fleet Street’s historic Bridewell Theatre. Unlike many other opera festivals, Opera In the City seeks to showcase rarely-performed works, new compositions and experimental pieces, and English translations to increase accessibility of these lesser-known works – perfect for someone with a more acquired taste when it comes to anything theatre or music related. They have yet to release the programme for the 2019 festival, but for more information keep an eye out here.


Natasha Jouhl in Madama Butterfly at Grimeborn, Photo (c) Omid Salehi

Natasha Jouhl in Madama Butterfly at Grimeborn, Photo (c) Omid Salehi

Parodying the world-renowned Glyndebourne, Grimeborn Opera Festival features a hip, East London twist on the summer festival, and is great for younger crowds. Having been up and running for over a decade, Grimeborn features bold new versions of classic operas, rarely-seen and long-forgotten works, and brand new pieces, in a similar vein to Opera In The City. Former performances include Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, The Prometheus Revolution by Keith Burstein, and Onegin and Tatiana (a modern version of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin). They will soon be announcing their 2019 festival, so keep an eye out for tickets on their website.

Digital Inspiration

Whilst the nation’s go-to websites for events are usually the first port-of-call for show tickets, look beyond the first page of Google as it provides some great resources for opera in London as well as blogs and social media. It may seem like a niche subject on first thought, but it is easy to uncover a wealth of influencers, reviewers and even opera singers’ pages once you know where to look. Here are some of our favourites:

Charlotte Hoather


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With over two million likes on Facebook alone, this young London-based soprano’s blog is a great portal for information on the opera world from ‘the other side’. Having studied at London’s Royal College of Music, Charlotte gives frank and insightful advice on the industry and information about her upcoming performances.

Diary of a Londoness


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This blog is a hotspot for reviews and information on London’s cultural scene, with opera and theatre being a key focus. She has recently written a fantastic piece on London Opera Without Breaking The Bank, and has reviewed operas everywhere from ENO to Garsington festival. Check her out!



An opportunity to admire London’s hottest baritones, and read articles about opera as well? Don’t mind if we do.

Finally, our recommendations for the best operas to start with (if you’re a newcomer):

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) – Mozart

You can’t go wrong with Mozart, and this fairy-tale opera is a perfect one to start with. Featuring famous music and arias, including the notorious ‘Queen of the Night’ aria, follow Prince Tamino and friends as they embark on a mission to rescue the Queen’s daughter, Pamina.

Carmen – Bizet

Many who have never seen an opera will still know the music of Bizet’s Carmen – it’s featured in many film and television soundtracks. Set in Seville, Carmen is a beautiful gypsy, who enchants and attracts the soldier Don Jose – with dramatic consequences! Listen out for the famous overture, and Carmen’s signature aria, ‘L’amour est un oiseau rebelle’ a.k.a. the habanera.

Rigoletto – Verdi

A dark tragedy, but with some of the best music in the opera canon, Verdi’s Rigoletto is a masterpiece – but make sure to bring tissues! Rigoletto is a hunchbacked jester, working in the court of the licentious Duke of Mantua. When Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda, falls for the Duke, things rapidly go downhill. There’s drama from beginning to end, and look out for the Duke’s famous aria ‘La donna è mobile’ in Act III.

Chelsea Flower Show Shutterstock

Chelsea Flower Show: What You Need To Know For 2019

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May has arrived, and that means one thing for the Chelsea residents: the return of the most glamorous event in the gardening calendar, the Chelsea Flower Show.

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Where to Spot Bluebells in London

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May has arrived and spring is finally in the air!

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Chinese New Year in Chinatown London

Celebrating Chinese New Year 2019 in London

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The biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia are about to kick off

The (traditionally) twenty-three day festival marks the turn of another lunar year and in the Chinese calendar, 2019 is the Year of the Pig. Festivities will be running from 5th February, but London’s main celebrations fall on Sunday 10th February. The new year’s trademark lantern festival is held on its final day – February 19th.

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Wine glasses

Our Five Favourite Wine Bars in London

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Put dry January behind you! Here are our top 5 wine bars in London to pass those cold February nights

You made it to the end of dry-January, congratulations! Ok, perhaps not (we won’t tell). But now it’s February and we have officially survived the longest month of the year. So, what better way to toast the end of January than with a glass of wine? In London, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to wine bars, so we’ve handpicked our favourite five for you to work your way through. These bars are wine specialists, so they focus on the good stuff – no need for fancy cocktails or craft beers here, just the honest bottle of vino – although you might expect a cameo from a cheese board or two. read more

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London’s Indoor Botanical Gardens

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It’s that time of year again as winter takes hold and the idea of venturing outdoors seems less and less appealing.

If only we could spend time surrounded by a jungle of greenery in joyous warmth without venturing out of the capital… Oh wait, we can! London is home to some of the most impressive glasshouses in the world, offering a healthy dose of clean air, greenery and balmy atmosphere.

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The four best winter markets in London

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The holiday season is when our city is at its most magical. Wide-eyed sightseers and busy seasonal shoppers alike can be found passing by each other on the twinkling streets.

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Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro

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We were lucky enough to bag tickets for Yayoi Kusama’s much-anticipated exhibition at the Victoria Miro Warf Road galleries and waterside garden, and it did not disappoint.

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Take advantage of the Thames

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“The Thames was beautiful, dark, and swift beneath the billion yellow and white lights of the city…” wrote Charles Finch in his novel The Last Enchantments.

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Our five favourite restaurants in Chelsea

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Once known to be the epicentre of punk-London in the 1960s, chic Chelsea today is unrecognisable but equally enticing; a hotspot for arts and café culture. Its bohemian roots planted a thriving environment for independent boutiques, cafes, galleries and restaurants. Scattered along the length of Chelsea from Lots Road to the Kings Road are some of London’s finest eateries.

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The Coral Room

Bars by the Holborn Bars

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An ancient pillar of London’s legal industry, Holborn has a rich heritage. It buzzes eternally with people moving in and out of its streets, littered with some of London’s most eccentric bars and clubs.

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