23.6.15

PRICELESS LONDON

There are some things in life that money can't buy. Experiences that are so special that you can't go out and get them. They come to you. So when this invite came to me, I couldn't say no....
 

The invitation was from MasterCard and was asking me join them on an evening tour of some of the Priceless London experiences they offer their MasterCard holders. This included a tour of the Southbank Centre and Royal Festival Hall - which is free for all MasterCard holders and runs twice every Friday; whizzing down the slides on the side of the Hayward Gallery at Carsten Holler's Decision exhibition - where MasterCard holders can get 2 for 1 on tickets on the 1st Friday of every month; and finishing with dinner and music at A Room For London, which is a one bedroom boat installation on top of Queen Elizabeth Hall, where MasterCard holders can win a meal for 6 and a night's stay for 2 by entering this ballot before 8th July.

We started in the members bar in the Southbank Centre, where we were also told about the drinks offer available to MasterCard holders every Friday. Just flash your MasterCard at the bar staff at the level 5 Balcony Bar and Terrace, which overlooks The Thames, and you'll get 2 for 1 on drinks. We had our own bubbles to drink as we peered East out the window, to the A Room for London boat where we'd later eat dinner.


We were introduced to Kate, from the Southbank Centre, who then led us on a tour of building, via the roof and the royal box in the Royal Festival Hall, all the way through to backstage, with a story for every room we saw and corner we turned. The Southbank Centre is a grade 1 listed building, and is so well protected by this status that they aren't even allowed to change the carpet design! Based around a cruise ship idea, the Southbank Centre was built in 1951 and occupies a 21 acre site on the south bank of The Thames. They are true supporters of the arts and still to this day draw on their festival site heritage by hosting hundreds of arts activities in and around the centre.

The view from the roof:

 
Looking down into the Royal Festival Hall from the royal box (last time I was in the Royal Festival Hall was to watch a cooking demo by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall!)


Snippets from the Adopting Britain exhibition that's currently on the in the Southbank Centre:


After our fascinating tour, we moved the to building next door for the activity that required us to wear "sensible shoes and trousers"! We got to jump in to the end of the Decision exhibition, where Carsten Holler asks visitors to complete his exhibition by interacting with it and taking part in activities. The exhibition takes places throughout the Hayward Gallery, but we just did the very last part - whizzing down metal slides on the side of the building - so much fun, and just like being a kid again!

 
From the bottom of the slides we were led to our dinner destination - A Room for London, perched on top of Queen Elizabeth Hall. We were welcomed with drinks, before rushing to the windows to gaze at the surrounding view of the Embankment. The weather was perfect, and we stared out, pointing out landmarks we'd learnt about on our earlier tour of the Southbank Centre roof.

 
 
And then dinner was served. We started with goat's cheese mousse, toast and onion chutney. Perfectly balanced flavours, I adored the onion chutney which I think had walnuts in it too, with the creamy goat's cheese.


Our main course was braised beef, mash and red wine sauce. Rich and delicious, I couldn't believe that this had all been reheated in a water bath (!?) as there are no actual cooking facilities on site!

 
Pudding was panna cotta with berries and a pistachio biscuit, though after a hearty main course, and plenty of wine, it was a struggle to finish my pudding, as good as it was!

 
So, with a glass of wine in hand, we headed to the roof of the boat, to watch the sun dip below the horizon, and to our surprise, to be serenaded by a guy playing the guitar and singing us songs!
 


It was a truly special evening, spent with lovely people (you can read Angela's post here), and one I won't forget in a hurry. I'll definitely be entering the ballot to win a night's stay at A Room For London, and make sure you do too for a once in a lifetime opportunity!

MasterCard has been a crucial supporter of Southbank Centre for the past four years. The MasterCard sponsorship is extremely important to Southbank Centre and the support they give helps with their continued aim of ensuring that the arts is available to all.
 
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15 comments

  1. This looks like SO MUCH FUN. I love spotting that little boat from the bank. I treasure my membership to Southbank - whether its seeing Michael Palin speak or Pink Martini play or Lena Dunham speak! xx

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    1. It really was SO much fun!!!! Absolutely brilliant night, and just wonderful to hear all the stories about the Southbank Centre and it's many, many guests and visitors :)

      Rosie xx

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  2. Really, really, REALLY want to try that slide! It looked like an incredible evening! x

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    1. Go!! I'm going back to do the whole exhibition, it looks like such fun. You also get to fly....!!

      Rosie xx

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  3. What an amazing dinner with a view! The slides look so cool!
    Lots of love,
    Angie

    SilverSpoon London

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    1. It was such a great evening Angie :) Make sure you enter the competition!!

      Rosie xx

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  4. What a great way to see another side of london. Do you know I have a MasterCard and never knew about the offer so thanks for sharing. The meal looks wonderful Lucy x

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    1. SO glad you read my blog then Lucy :) Follow the link - there's so much stuff MasterCard offer to their holders!

      Rosie xx

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  5. That looks like so much fun!! Love the picture of the flag and the view, and the meal looks wonderful too! xxx

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    1. Thanks Miranda, it was an amazing evening!!

      Rosie xx

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  6. What a lovely experience!!! SO lucky!!!

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    1. I KNOW!! Felt SOOO lucky being there :)

      Rosie xx

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  7. What a lovely experience!!! SO lucky!!!

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  8. What a wonderful treat from MasterCard :) The food looks delish - I can't believe it was reheated in a waterbath either! And so desperate to go to 'Decision', I hope it was good! Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea's Passions

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    1. The best treat Andrea :) Crazy that they'd done the whole main course in a water bath, but made me realise I can take my cooking anywhere haha!! Do make sure you go to Decisions, I can't wait to go back and see the whole exhibit.

      Rosie xx

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