Joseph Reaney

Correspondent

  • London, England, UK

Joseph Reaney is the London correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide and also covers a range of other European cities for Forbes Travel Guide. A freelance British travel journalist based across Europe (in London, Prague and Vaduz), he writes articles and guides for luxury publications including The Telegraph, Virgin Airlines and Vertu Select, and is the founder and editor-in-chief of the travel writing service WorldWORDS. Reaney also blogs about his travels at josephreaney.com.

  • On May 27, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best outdoor activities in London?

    Open Air Theatre, Photograph: David Jensen Let's face it – London doesn't have the finest year-round weather of the great world capitals. But that just means you really need to make the most of when the sun is shining.

    You can always enjoy the architecture at the city's heart, take in a stroll in a Royal Park, or enjoy an al fresco meal, but there are also some more unique outdoor activites in London. Here are three of them:

    Take in a show
    The award-winning Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park boasts a spectacular 1,240-seat auditorium – one of the largest in London – set under the open sky. There are multiple shows put on every year, and if you're in the city in summer 2013 you can enjoy Pride and Prejudice followed by The Sound of Music.

    Go for a swim
    Hampstead Heath's swimming facilities may be open every single day of the year, but it's only in the summer that these unheated pools really come into their own. Of all the pools in the complex, we would recommend the Parliament Hill lido for serious swimmers who want to enjoy a magnificent view over the city.

    Dance 'til you drop
    Whether its the muddy madness of Glastonbury or the glorious glowsticks of Creamfields, England is famous for its music festivals – and its capital doesn't disappoint. Head to Field Day in May, the O2 Wireless Festival in July, the Last Night of the Proms in September... or any of the others in between.
  • On May 23, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What festivals are going on in London?

    London's summer festival season is upon us. Every month from June through August, the city boasts a wide array of world-class music, film, theater, literature and other cultural festivals. Here's a quick rundown.

    June
    This June, the British capital plays host to countless fantastic festivals. Our five top picks are the inaugural London Festival of Architecture (1 through 31), Spitalfields Summer Music Festival (7 through 22), Clapham Common Foodies Festival (7 through 9), Open Court Theatre Festival (10 through 20) and, of course, the City of London Festival (23 through 26).

    July
    Things only get more eclectic in July, with some incredibly varied ways to spend your weekends. If we had to narrow it down to three, we would recommend the iTunes Music Festival (1 through 31), the Festival of British Archaeology (13 through 28), and the London Indian Film Festival (18 through 25).

    August
    Coming at the tail end of summer? That's no problem. You can still enjoy the Camden Fringe Festival (1 through 31), the Great British Beer Festival (13 through 17) and the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival (25 and 26) – Europe's biggest street party. Unless England win the Ashes, of course...
  • On May 23, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best events this weekend in London?

    The main event of the weekend, in terms of international prestige, is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – the biggest horticultural event on earth. You can read all about the history of the show on this blog.

    However, perhaps the most interesting event of the weekend is Field Day. Part music festival, part village fete, this one-day wonder gives you the opportunity to see big international acts like Bat for Lashes, Tim Burgess, Savages and Django Django (alongside legendary performance poet John Cooper Clarke), while also taking part in wheelbarrow races, tug-of-war competitions and some ill-advised cider-drinking. It all makes for an excellent day out – and therefore also makes our list of the best London music festivals.

    Other notable events this weekend include the London Literature Festival and Clerkenwell Design Week.
  • On May 23, 2013
    Joseph Reaney is now following the question:
  • On May 23, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What’s happening this weekend in London?

    RHS Chelsea Flower Show Without doubt the biggest event of this weekend is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and this Thursday May 23 marks the first day it is open to the general public – not just members. You can find out more about the show, its fascinating history and how you can enjoy all the flowery fun with this recent blog.

    Other highlights of this last weekend in May include the unabashedly eclectic music festival Field Day – one of our favorite London fests, where it's perfectly fine to split your time between world-famous bands and wheelbarrow races – the London Literature Festival and Clerkenwell Design Week. And for fans of pop art, there's also a very exciting retrospective of artist Roy Lichtenstein at the Tate Modern.
  • On May 23, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What’s happening this weekend in London?

    RHS Chelsea Flower Show Without doubt the biggest event of this weekend is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and this Thursday May 23 marks the first day it is open to the general public – not just members. You can find out more about the show, its fascinating history and how you can enjoy all the flowery fun with this recent blog.

    Other highlights of this last weekend in May include the unabashedly eclectic music festival Field Day – one of our favorite London fests, where it's perfectly fine to split your time between world-famous bands and wheelbarrow races – the London Literature Festival and Clerkenwell Design Week. And for fans of pop art, there's also a very exciting retrospective of artist Roy Lichtenstein at the Tate Modern.
  • On May 23, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    Where is the best architecture in London?

    Although the Great Fire of 1666 is often seen as a watermark moment in London's architecture, leading to widespread construction in an English Baroque style – led by Christopher Wren and, to a lesser extent, Nicholas Hawksmoor – there are a number of significant London buildings that pre-date the fire. Notable examples include the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Banqueting House, Whitehall – not to mention the plethora of Roman, medieval and Tudor remains scattered throughout the city.

    Equally, a great deal has changed since Wren was in his pomp in the 17th century, with London's skyline  slowly accumulating a rather eclectic assortment of buildings. Spend a day walking around the capital and you will find the 18th century's neo-classical Bank of England and Georgian Chiswich House, the 19th century's Italianate Royal Albert Hall and neo-Gothic V&A Museum, the 20th century's neo-Baroque Old Bailey and Brutalist Barbican Centre, and the 21st century's glass-and-steel Gherkin and Shard skyscrapers.

    Every district of London offers architecture spanning centuries, but if you're a real fan of architectural juxtaposition then focus your explorations in the central areas of Westminster and Tower Hamlets.
  • On May 23, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    Where is the best architecture in London?

    Although the Great Fire of 1666 is often seen as a watermark moment in London's architecture, leading to widespread construction in an English Baroque stlye – led by Christopher Wren and, to a lesser extent, Nicholas Hawksmoor – there are a number of significant London buildings that pre-date the fire. Notable examples include the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Banqueting House, Whitehall – not to mention the plethora of Roman, medieval and Tudor remains scattered throughout the city.

    Equally, a great deal has changed since Wren was in his pomp in the 17th century, with London's skyline  slowly accumulating a rather eclectic assortment of buildings. Spend a day walking around the capital and you will find the 18th century's neo-classical Bank of England and Georgian Chiswich House, the 19th century's Italianate Royal Albert Hall and neo-Gothic V&A Museum, the 20th century's neo-Baroque Old Bailey and Brutalist Barbican Centre, and the 21st century's glass-and-steel Gherkin and Shard skyscrapers.

    Every district of London offers architecture spanning centuries, but if you're a real fan of architectural juxtaposition then focus your explorations in the central areas of Westminster and Tower Hamlets.
  • On May 21, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best family hotels in London?

    London is a wonderful family destination. Here are three of the best places to stay with kids in tow.

    The Goring
    As London's oldest family-run five-star hotel, it's no surprise The Goring is a great family option. Offering interconnecting bedrooms, in various combinations of king-sized, queen or twin beds, the hotel welcomes its family guests with some age-appropriate treats – from a basket of baby essentials (lotions, changing mats and bath toys) to a 'For Kids Eyes Only' pack (activity books, coloring crayons and a cuddly toy sheep) Kids will also love the Goring Bedtime Story Library, while parents will cherish the opportunity to enjoy a quiet Afternoon Tea while the kids decorate cakes in the kitchen.

    The Halkin
    This Belgravia hotel offers a package to suit all the family. While the parents enjoy a welcoming glass of Champagne and some peace and quiet in one room, the little ones next door will be slurping milkshakes, munching cookies while rummaging through their very own Children’s Box of Delights, containing varied gifts from DVDs to iTunes vouchers. The children's room also contains a Nintendo Wii ready to play, and perfectly-fitting bathrobes that are free to take home.

    Brown's Hotel
    This five-star Mayfair staple is another of London's most family-friendly luxury hotels. As well as offering interconnected rooms, the family break package includes lots of exciting gifts for the kids, ranging from bathtime treats and teddy bears for toddlers to game consoles and movies for older children.
  • On May 16, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best luxury hotels in London?

    There are a plethora of five-star hotels in London, ranging from chic boutiques to decadent B&Bs. But to experience the ultimate in British hospitality, head to one of these magnificent heritage hotels.

    Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
    This stunning Edwardian building in upmarket Knightsbridge is home to some of the most decadent rooms and suites in the British capital, along with an excellent gym, spa and wellness center. But what really makes the hotel stand out are its fine dining options. Its flagship restaurant, the Michelin-starred 'Dinner by Heston Blumenthal' was named one of the top ten restaurants in the world by Restaurant Magazine in 2012 – despite having only been open nine months – while its second bistro-style restaurant, Bar Boulud, is overseen by the three-Michelin-starred French chef Daniel Boulud.

    The Savoy
    Perhaps London's most renowned luxury hotel, The Savoy was the most decadent address in the city when it opened in 1889 – and it remains one of them to this day. You can expect individually-designed Edwardian and Art Deco bedrooms, fine dining and cocktails, divine traditional afternoon teas, extensive fitness facilities, unbeatable service, and (from many rooms) stunning views of the Thames river.

    Claridge's
    Claridge's is a name known around the world – and for good reason. The timeless style of this 200-year-old five-star hotel has attracted everyone from Cary Grant to Alfred Hitchcock, Mariah Carey to Brad Pitt, and boasts some of the finest rooms not only in London, but in all of Europe. It is the ultimate luxury hotel.
  • On May 16, 2013
    Joseph Reaney is now following the question:
  • On April 27, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best neighborhoods in London?

    It's hard to define London's 'best' neighborhoods, but there are certainly different areas for different interests.

    If you're a history buff, head for Highgate to find lots of Georgian houses, some great historic pubs, and a fascinating, celebrity-crammed cemetery. For art lovers, try Dulwich for the country's first public picture gallery, the lovely art deco Brockwell Lido and outdoor movie screenings in the park. For nature lovers, it's hard to beat Richmond, home to Europe's largest urban park – complete with herds of roaming Red and Fallow deer – and a lovely village green that hosts regular games of cricket. And for shoppaholics, you can't beat upmarket Kensington and Chelsea, with destinations like Sloane Square, Kings Road and Harrods offering the best in designer fashion, jewellery, antiques and art.

    Finally, if you simply wish to tick off the bucketlist, head to central Westminster. This is where you'll find the Houses of Parliament (and Big Ben), the London Eye, 10 Downing Street, Tate Britain, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Horse Guards Parade, and, of course, Westminster Abbey.
  • On April 27, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best wedding venues in London?

    The British capital is home to a wealth of beautiful buildings, squares, parks and viewpoints which make for memorable wedding or civil partership venues. Here are three of our favorites.

    Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
    The spectacular centerpiece of an enormous UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ORNC was once the training establishment of the world's foremost navy. Prior to that, the site was home to the favored royal palace of Henry VII, and the birthplace of sisters Mary I and Elizabeth I. And today, it's a major tourist attraction, most famous for its Painted Hall. Arguably the finest dining hall in Europe, it was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, and lavishly decorated with striking maritime wall and ceiling frescoes. For wannabe spouses, the lovely on-site chapel will perform the Church of England wedding ceremony, while the Painted Hall will provide the reception.

    Gray's Inn
    One of London's four Inns of Court – the professional associations for barristers and judges – this quiet Holborn enclave has been a hub of legal activity since the 14th century. But it has also gained a reputation for throwing a party, with William Shakespeare said to have performed here... so where better to throw the biggest party of your life? Licensed for weddings and civil partnerships with up to 180 guests, the ceremonies and receptions can take place across a range of rooms (including in an authentic Elizabethan Hall and in the Large Pension Room) along with five beautiful acres of gardens.

    Lord's Cricket Ground
    Finally, for sport-lovers, how about hosting your big day in the grounds of one of the world's most famous sporting venues? Known as 'the home of cricket' and renowned for containing the world's oldest sporting museum, you can be sure of a wedding day to remember in this historic stadium.
  • On April 11, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What new hotels are in London?

    As one of the most visited cities in the world, there are new accommodation options opening and closing every single week in London. However, when it comes to those major, newsworthy openings, there are usually only a handful each year. Here are three of biggest for 2013.

    The Great Northern Hotel, King's Cross
    Originally opened in the mid-19th century, the Great Northern Hotel was the first purpose-built hotel in London, created alongside the capital's King's Cross train station. And in 2013, after a mammoth 12-year refurbishment, it has reopened, offering 91 luxury bedrooms, along with a large restaurant and bar. Best of all, it's easily accessible from the Eurostar station St. Pancras International, which means it's an ideal place to stay on a weekend visit from mainland Europe.

    Shangri-La Hotel, Southwark
    The Shard, which is the tallest building in the EU, has been officially open since February 2013. But it is only in May that one of its main tenants also opens; one that will occupy a total of 18 floors in its spire. The first Shangri-La Hotel in the UK, it will offer 195 rooms, 170 deluxe guestrooms, 25 suites and a luxury CHI spa – among other things. It's set to be one of the biggest openings in the capital.

    The Old Fire Station, Marylebone
    The boutique that has everyone talking. The developer, André Balazs, owns a string of iconic hotels in the US, from The Mercer Hotel in New York to Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, but this is his first European project. This Grade II-listed former fire station is currently being converted into a deluxe and exclusive 33-bedroom boutique hotel, and it's penciled in to open towards the end of 2013.
  • On April 11, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What new hotels are in London?

    As one of the most visited cities in the world, there are new accommodation options opening and closing every single week in London. However, when it comes to those major, newsworthy openings, there are usually only a handful each year. Here are three of biggest for 2013.

    The Great Northern Hotel, King's Cross
    Originally opened in the mid-19th century, the Great Northern Hotel was the first purpose-built hotel in London, created alongside the capital's King's Cross train station. And in 2013, after a mammoth 12-year refurbishment, it has reopened, offering 91 luxury bedrooms, along with a large restaurant and bar. Best of all, it's easily accessible from the Eurostar station St. Pancras International, which means it's an ideal place to stay on a weekend visit from mainland Europe.

    Shangri-La Hotel, Southwark
    The Shard, which is the tallest building in the EU, has been officially open since February 2013. But it is only in May that one of its main tenants also opens; one that will occupy a total of 18 floors in its spire. The first Shangri-La Hotel in the UK, it will offer 195 rooms, 170 deluxe guestrooms, 25 suites and a luxury CHI spa – among other things. It's set to be one of the biggest openings in the capital.

    The Old Fire Station, Marylebone
    The boutique that has everyone talking. The developer, André Balazs, owns a string of iconic hotels in the US, from The Mercer Hotel in New York to Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, but this is his first European project. This Grade II-listed former fire station is currently being converted into a deluxe and exclusive 33-bedroom boutique hotel, and it's penciled in to open towards the end of the 2013.