Discovering the City | London


Capital of British culture, history and identity, London is the beating heart of the United Kingdom. One of the most historic cities in the world, London offers a plethora of activities for discerning business or leisure travellers that visit the city.

discovering london

A city to be savoured, The City of London, the capital’s CBD, contains the historic centre of the city in addition to containing many of London’s most famous modern architecture. Offering places to stay in London, thesqua.re offers the ideal base for exploring this eternally beguiling city.

History

From the first settlement of Romans in the 1st century, The City of London is a small part of one of the largest cities in the world. Whilst London has stretched beyond its borders, this agglomeration still possesses some of London’s most visited attractions, restaurants and bars.

city of london during Roman time

The City of London is commonly referred to as the City, and is colloquially known as the Square Mile. Historically, the City of London has housed London’s countless financial institutions, and that is true to this day.

Whilst maintaining a sense of the historical, the City of London contains some of the capital’s contemporary skyscrapers. The Gherkin, the Walkie Talkie, Heron Tower and the Leadenhall Building are located within the City of London.

city of london skyscrapper

The City of London has a population of approximately 10,000 people, but over 300,000 people commute to and work in the City every single day. Around 75% of all the jobs in the City of London are in the financial services or legal businesses.

There’s more to the City of London than finance

Although the City of London is synonymous with financial institutions and capital, there’s considerably more charm to the district. During World War Two, the City of London sustained heavy bombing, meaning that much of the district had to be rebuilt in the image of the past. Despite the heavy bombing, several notable landmarks remain in the City of London; St Paul’s Cathedral, the Guildhall, the Monument to the Great Fire of London, and Mansion House remain as testament to London’s past.

Londn street market

For something a little more traditional, visit one of the City of London’s many street markets. Spitalfields and Brick Lane Market offer a more anachronistic version of the city, with stalls lining the streets selling everything from street food to antiques- and offering everything in between. Around theses markets there are several world class restaurants that offer cuisines from across the world.

New Year’s Eve London


Once the over indulgence of the Christmas period concludes, London welcomes the new year in style. With fireworks, revelry and parties strewn across the city, London’s 2017 New Year celebrations are set to be the biggest yet. With accommodation across London, thesqua.re offers the ideal base for visiting the capital to conclude 2017.

London New Year Eve Fireworks

New Year in London is synonymous with the firework display on the banks of the River Thames. Although you require a ticket before attending the New Year’s firework display, you can watch the fireworks from almost anywhere in central London.  For something even more memorable, you can watch the fireworks from the river on a New Year’s Eve cruise, or from a restaurant with views over the London Eye.

Hollingsworth London New Years Eve party

If you don’t wish to spend your evening stood outside in the cold British winter, spending an evening partying in one of London’s sophisticated bars or clubs is an option. The Bourne and Hollingsworth London New Year’s Eve party features a 1940s themed Blitz Party and a 1920s Prohibition party. Similarly, the Southbank Centre’s Vintage New Year’s Eve Party is elegant and chic. For something more lowkey, try visiting London’s famous Natural History Museum.

Southbank Centres Vintage New Years Eve Party

After an evening of partying, London offers a host of activities during New Year’s Day.  Head down to Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park to enjoy rides, performances, markets and ice skating. Alternatively, take your family to one of London’s top shows in the West End district- but be sure to check the schedule to see if the show is running.

Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park

Every year, central London hosts a New Year’s Day Parade, which sees approximately 8,000 performers every year. The parade first took place in 1987, but is now an annual fixture on London’s calendar. London’s New Year’s Day Parade 2018 starts at 12 noon on January 1st on Piccadilly, one of the capital’s most famous districts. Additionally, during the same time period, London New Year’s Day Parade hosts countless events, concerts and performances. Cadogan Hall, St John Smith Square, Southwark Cathedral and Trafalgar Square host a collection of shows, ranging from classical performances to contemporary classics.

Central London New Year Parade

During the hours of 11:45pm and 04:30am, travel on London’s public transport is free. Central London becomes very busy during these hours, so be sure to plan your evening out in advance.

Explore Singapore’s distinctive wildlife


Singapore Wildlife

Although Singapore is synonymous with big business and capital, the island city contains several wildlife reserves and a zoo. Despite the apparent contradiction due to the island being one of the most densely populated in the world, Singapore’s government has made a concerted effort to maintain the wildlife. With apartments across Singapore, thesqua.re offers both the convenience of central locations and the proximity to transport links to connect guests to Singapore’s wildlife districts.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Wildlife Reserves Singapore is one of the leading zoological institutions in the world. A self-funded organisation, the Wildlife Reserves Singapore focuses on protecting biodiversity in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Each year, the four parks- Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo- welcome over 4.5 million visitors.

Night Safari

Night Safari Singapore

The world’s first nocturnal zoo, the Night Safari is one of the most popular attractions in Singapore. Opened in 1994, Singapore Night Safari occupies 35 hectares of rainforest adjacent to Singapore Zoo. Housing over 2,500 animals- with over 130 species- 38% of the creatures on the safari are threatened species. Unlike typical nocturnal houses, the Night Safari is an entire open-air zoo set amongst a backdrop of a humid rainforest. Divided into seven geographical zones, the space can be explored on foot or by tram.

River Safari

River Safari Singapore

The Singapore River Safari is a river themed aquarium and zoo situated in Mandai. Stretching over 12 hectares, the River Safari is located in between Singapore Zoo and the Night Safari. The first of its kind in Asia, the safari features attractions and river boat services in addition to river boat attractions. In 2012, the Giant Panda Forest was opened to the public. Featuring a pair of male and female giant pandas, the Giant Panda Forest is the most popular attraction at the River Safari. The pandas, which arrived in September 2012, are on a ten-year loan from China.

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo

Since 1973, Singapore Zoo has been renowned as one of the most beautiful wildlife parks in the world. With animals roaming freely in their natural habitat, Singapore Zoo has won the coveted Best Leisure Attraction Experience from the Singapore Tourism Board. The 26 hectare wildlife park is nestled in the leafy Mandai Rainforest, that stretches into the Seletar Reservoir. Over 3,000 animals from 300+ species of birds, reptiles and mammals call Singapore Zoo their home. Many animal habitats feature special viewing platforms elevated for exhibits. In addition to witnessing the animals in their natural habitat, you will witness the stunning landscapes. Regardless of whether you travel on foot or tram, you will experience some of the most distinctive global wildlife habitats in the world- from the rugged canyons of Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia to the savannah grasslands of Wild Africa.

Winter Wonderland Singapore


Over the past couple of decades, Singapore has inexorably grown as both a tourist and business hub in the East. As Singapore has been welcomed into an increasingly globalised community, the city state has assimilated Western traditions. For the fourth year in a row, Singapore will host its annual Winter Wonderland Festival, a celebration that infuses Western and Eastern tradition. With accommodation across the beguiling city of Singapore, thesqua.re offers the ideal base to explore this new Singaporean tradition.

Winter Wonderland Singapore

Hosted at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore’s Winter Wonderland is the premiere yuletide attraction in the city. As you arrive at Marina Bay, you will first be attracted to the magnificent Luminarie light sculptures that illuminate the area. Delicately crafted by Italian craftsmen, there are over 100 light sculptures in the area, with the most prominent being the majestic 22.5 metre tall Spalliera.

Luminarie light sculptures

For a non conventional Christmas event, Ethiopian Dreams provide a jaw dropping circus extravaganza. Earlier in the year, Ethiopian Dreams was a sell out at the Edinburgh Festival. Offering a combination of gravity defying stunts, skills and adventure, ticket prices to Ethiopian Dreams vary depending on age.

Ethiopian Dreams Circus Singapore

For something more traditional, visit Santa Claus himself at the Alpine House. With over 100 presents given away on a daily basis- ranging from vouchers to free carnival rides to beverage tokens-pictures with Santa Claus are available.

Santa Claus Alpine House

Wander around the Supertree Grove, the home of a charming European style Christmas market. Including over 30 festive wooden huts, this market is styled on similar markets in London, Paris and Berlin. Shop for handmade crafts, souvenirs, boutique goods and vintage items before enjoying a glass of mulled wine and something delicious to eat.

Supertree Grove shop

If you’re looking for something more filling than traditional German sausage or mince pie, visit SAVOUR- Winter Wonderland’s gourmet village. Containing five restaurants, SAVOUR offers a sophisticated dining experience which will feature celebrity and award winning michelin star chefs.

Gardens by the Bay Christmas Wonder 2017

This year, Winter Wonderland offers the biggest collection of carnival rides in their history. Featuring bumper cards, chair swings, a ferris wheel, a Christmas train and Tea Cups, the carnival rides are a great way to keep your children entertained during your visit to Winter Wonderland.

winter wonderland carnival rides singapore

Given Marina Bay’s central location, travelling to Winter Wonderland is simple. Take the Circle Line or Downtown Line and depart at Bayfront MRT Station before crossing Dragonfly or Meadow Bridge.

Enjoy Christmas with thesqua.re in Singapore.

Celebrating in New Year in Paris


Paris, the City of Light, offers countless options to usher in the New year. One of the most colourful and exciting places to bring in the New year, Paris is the ideal location to celebrate the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. Celebrate the New year in style, with a stay at one of thesqua.re’s luxury serviced apartments.

New Year Tradition in Paris

New Year Tradition in Paris

In Paris, as with the rest of France, the New Year also goes by the name St Sylvestre and begins on the 1st January and ends on February 1st. Consistent with tradition across the globe, French people start exchanging bises at midnight, with the theme continuing throughout January. So don’t be surprised to hear French people exchanging New Year pleasantries for the entire month of January.  

Where to visit?

The Champs Elysees Grande Parade:

The Champs Elysees Grande Parade

Known as the centre of the party, the Champs Elysees is flooded with revelers from around 21:00. From here, it is possible to get a great view of all the fireworks in Paris, with the Eiffel Tower flickering and sparkling in the lead up to the stroke of midnight. Unsurprisingly, the Champs Elysees is the busiest place in Paris on New Year’s Eve.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe new year night

This year, the head of Paris’ avenues- the Arc de Triomphe- will host a special event that starts at 11:00. Although one can expect fireworks, plans for this year’s show have been shrouded in secrecy, so head down to the Arc de Triomphe for an evening of surprises.

Sacre Coeur Festivities

Sacre Coeur Festivities

Located in Montmartre, the Sacre Coeur is a Parisian favourite during the festive period. Slightly calmer than the perpetual buzz of the Champs Elysees, the Sacre Coeur offers stunning views of the city as the sky is illuminated by the effervescent flash of fireworks. At Montmartre, there are countless bars, cabaret shows, and clubs to explore.  If you’re looking for a unconventional way to celebrate New Year’s in Paris, partying in Montmartre may be the ticket.

New Year’s Eve Shows and Cabarets

New Year's Eve Shows and Cabarets

Celebrating New Year’s Eve at the Moulin Rouge is a popular way of spending the evening, although very pricey. Starting at  680 Euros per person in 2017-2018, the evening includes a champagne dinner, music, dancing and caviar, with the Moulin Rouge Orchestra offers a delightful post-midnight show to cap off the evening’s events. There are less expensive packages available that offer fewer perks.

On the morning after the night before, the New Year’s Day Parade on the Champs Elysees is a shore way to remove any muggy heads from the previous evening.

Christmas in NYC


As soon as New York’s Thanksgiving celebrations come to a conclusion, preparation for Christmas begins in earnest. The City That Never Sleeps is a wondrous paradise during the Christmas season,  shedding its frequently tough exterior in place of a lights and decorations. Discover this festive wonderland during your stay with thesqua.re this Christmas.

The official start of New York’s holiday celebrations is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. This year, the parade will run on the 23rd November and will be the parade’s 90th birthday. Head out onto the streets of central New York to witness balloons, floats and the arrival of Santa Claus.

Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Although there are several famous tree lighting centres across New York, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting is the most famous by far. On the 29th November at 20:55 precisely, NBC’s Today hosts will light the iconic tree that sits outside the Rockefeller Centre. Adorned with over 50,000 LED lights, the event is broadcast live on television, but it is no replacement for seeing it in person.

Bryant Park Winter Village

Bryant Park Winter Village

One of the most anticipated openings of the New York calendar, Bryant Park Winter Village runs from 28th October to the 4th March, getting increasingly busier over the Christmas period. With a 17,000 square foot ice skating rink, 150 kiosks, food vendors and mulled wine distributors, Bryant Park Winter Village is located outside the Bank of America.

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky’s famous Christmas ballet has become synonymous with yuletide goodwill. Artistic director George Balanchine created a New York City infused version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, which has been performed every Christmas at the Lincoln Centre since 1954. With shows running from November 28th through January 3rd, the closest subway station is the 1 train at 66th Street. There are performances most days, with two a day during most of December.

Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets Chelsea

New York hosts several Christmas markets, where you can purchase handmade gifts, decorations and festive treats. A unique way of doing your Christmas shopping, the markets are incredibly popular on weekday evenings. Union Square Holiday Market, Columbus Circle Holiday Market, Artists and Fleas at Chelsea Market and Grand Central Holiday Fair in addition to the Bryant Park Winter Village are some of the most popular, but New York is a city that rewards exploration and that is the same with Festive markets.

Take a Picture with Santa

Take a Picture with Santa

What is Christmas without a picture of Santa Claus? When in New York, Santa isn’t camera shy and is more than willing to pose for pictures with children and adults. Macy’s Santaland, Winter Wonderland and Bloomingdale’s are Santa’s favourite spots, so be sure to visit him there.

Unusual Things to Do in London


Despite being one of the biggest tourist destination on Earth, London can seem a little too familiar if you never try to expand your horizons and discover new things to do. Apart from the list of the most popular museums and galleries, there are a ton of unusual things to do in London. Here are just a few:

Clowns Gallery Museum

Clowns Gallery Museum

This unique museum is open on the first Friday of each month and allows guests to see photographs, props and costumes that were used by some of Britain’s most famous clowns. An unusual (and unofficial) rule used by clowns is that no two performers can have the same make-up. To make sure that no two clowns were wearing the same makeup, the practice of painting a unique design onto an egg was started. This led to the extensive collection of more than 200 painted egg shells which today sit in the museum. If you want to do something a little bit different, this is your answer.

God’s Own Junkyard

God’s Own Junkyard

Not only is this bizarre and beautiful collection of salvaged neon signs absolutely refreshing, it is also the largest collection of neon signs in Europe, making it a must see.

Grant Museum of Zoology

Grant Museum of Zoology

This unusual museum is a hidden treat for anyone that enjoys finding things off the beaten track. It is the only one of its kind and has been around for more than a century. It showcases animal skeletons, taxidermy specimens and other creatures that have been preserved in fluid. Don’t miss out on the elephant skull.

So there you have it,  a short but sweet list of unusual things that anyone can, and must, do on their next trip to London.