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Human Interest Feature

All Things Brilliant and British Right Here in the Greater Philadelphia Region

By: Kira Greenlee, BABC Intern

Ever wish you were able to take a quick trip to the United Kingdom instead of sitting at your desk buried under loads of work? Good news for everyone in the Philadelphia region – enjoying and indulging in British lifestyle right here at home has become much easier. British retailers, hotels, restaurants and plays are popping-up all over the City of Brotherly Love, and are a constant reminder of why the English are so fabulous! The BABC is pleased to feature several British-related entities in this article. Please read on to learn more about some of the most stylish British brands; where to find the best fish & chips; tickets to the region’s hottest new shows; where you can test drive British cars; and where you can lay your weary head down for a good night’s sleep on either side if the Atlantic. Information included in this article focuses on: AKA, Barbour, Burberry, The British Chip Shop, English Gardener Gift Shop, Victoria Freehouse, essensuals London, The Dandelion, Dr. Martens, Jack Wills, Land Rover, Lush, People’s Light & Theatre, The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre and The Wilma Theater.

AKA provides a luxurious environment for an extended stay. Located on the corner of 18th and Walnut Streets, it is right at the head of Rittenhouse Square. Since its opening in 2007, the hotel has offered only the best to its residents, including complimentary access to the Sporting Club at the Bellevue. The majestic twelve-story building also is home to a.kitchen, AKA’s highly acclaimed restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a wonderful wine menu. AKA West End in London has always been an elegant and favorite stay when visiting the UK, nestled between Hyde Park and Regents Park in the Marylebone neighborhood. The residences are in a historic 1920’s property that has recently been modernized to a contemporary style while embracing the original architecture. For more information, and to reserve your room visit: http://www.stayaka.com/default.aspx.

It has been almost two years since Barbour first opened its doors in Rittenhouse Square and we couldn’t be more grateful. Given its notability for creating classic wax jackets by hand, their style and products are most certainly one of a kind. Whether you’re looking for an outfit for an upcoming sporting season or just a jacket that everyone will envy, Barbour has it all. To learn more about Barbour lifestyle visit: www.barbour.com/us.

Burberry is considered by many to be the most-iconic of the luxury brands. Founded in 1856, Burberry has a rich history in the UK, including their famous trench coat which derived from their signature designs for military officer’s coats in World War l. In Philadelphia, Burberry is located on 17th and Walnut Streets as well as in the King of Prussia Mall. Hurry in to purchase the world famous Burberry tartan scarf before the weather warms up and a trench coat to keep you dry before the spring rains begin! For more information visit: http://us.burberry.com/store/.

The British Chip Shop, located in the quaint town of Haddonfield, NJ, offers a full range of menu items from fish & chips and bangers & mash to a beet salad and Welsh rarebit. There is something for everyone at this pub where there’s always a football game playing on the television. Once you’re finished eating you can walk right across the street to the same family-owned English Gardener Gift Shop, offering an assortment of British foods, pub decor and gifts for the home and garden. They also carry Barbarian rugby jerseys and licensed Guinness apparel along with teas, sweets and biscuits from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. If you don’t have time for a short drive to New Jersey, you can always head over to Old City, Philadelphia and visit the newly opened Victoria Freehouse on Front Street. Owned by the same family, you can expect all the traditional British pub food and drink, including Chicken Tikka Masala, Tikka Pizza, Shepherd’s Pie and an array of British cheese. The Victoria Freehouse boasts a large draught menu as well. So whether you want to stop by for happy hour and catch a football game or make this a date night, the Victoria Freehouse is sure to please. For menu and directions, visit: www.thebritishchipshop.com/, http://www.shophaddonfieldnj.com/retailers/englishgardener.php http://www.victoriafreehouse.com/

How can you stay up to date with the latest in British hairstyle? essensuals London is a new and innovative salon concept from TONI&GUY London. The state of the art salon is located in the Cherry Hill Mall and offers the latest in quality hairdressing and the ultimate salon experience. Inspired by leading British designers in fashion, they promise to bring the best of British hair design and education to the Philadelphia area. To make an appointment or for more information visit, http://toniandguy.com/salon/information/614.

Stephen Starr, a name worth knowing in Philadelphia, is the owner and creator of some of the City’s top restaurants. The Dandelion, located on 18th and Sansom Streets, is known for its unique interior and authentic décor. When dining here, it is easy to forget that you’re in Center City Philadelphia and not at a gastropub in London. It’s imperative for anyone who enjoys luxurious British fare to try their beetroot cured salmon or their duck foie gras, and pistachio terrine. Whether you are meeting a colleague for lunch or are out for the night, stopping by the Dandelion allows you to relax and dine in a simply British atmosphere. For other menu options visit: http://thedandelionpub.com/.

Dr. Martens are in style and taking over Philadelphia one step at a time! The Rittenhouse Row, Walnut Street store, is the second location to open on the east coast. Everyone, kids and adults alike are wearing “Doc Martens.” These shoes have come a long way since Dr. Klause Martens first designed the air filled cushions to comfort his injured ankle during World War ll. As one of the top growing British companies world-wide, these shoes have found their way onto the feet of the traditional punk teen to the C-Suite executive. For more information visit: http://www.drmartens.com/page.asp?navid=75.

Looking for something “Fabulously British” for your son or daughter, or maybe an outfit for a casual day in the office? Jack Wills offers a range of outfits geared towards university students and young adults alike. From women’s dresses to men’s rugby shirts, Jack Wills offers high end clothing for the young, hip professional. It’s modern and preppy style is most notable in the City as well as across the Atlantic. Luckily for us, they have a store in the Center of town, on 17th and Walnut Streets. For more information or to view their full catalogue, visit: http://www.jackwills.com/en-us/home.

Searching for a new way to commute to work each morning a bit more exciting, why not look into a new Land Rover or Jaguar? Land Rover Main Line, Willow Grove and Cherry Hill offers new Jaguars and Land Rovers as well as pre-owned vehicles including the classic 90’s Land Rover and Jaguar convertibles. For more information and to schedule a test drive visit: http://www.lrjagmainline.com/, http://www.landroverwillowgrove.com/index.htm, http://www.landrovercherryhill.com/index.htm.

Don’t worry Philadelphians, Lush didn’t close – they just moved! Now located on 16th and Walnut Streets, Lush Cosmetics is a world-wide brand most known for their anti-animal testing campaign. Refusing to buy or use products from any company that tests on animals, their products are all hand-made and most are considered organic. Currently they are offering a free face mask to anyone who returns five or more of their empty Lush containers in an effort to be 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable. Originally from the UK, Lush is growing in the States with three locations in the Philadelphia area, including Center City, King of Prussia, and Cherry Hill. If you want to check out this modern and ethically responsible store, visit them in person or online at: http://www.lush.com/.

Philadelphia is known for its plethora of art and culture. We are lucky to be surrounded by such a large theater scene, featuring everything from Broadway plays to small one-person shows including some of the hottest stars. There is a significant British presence in regional theater, and the BABC is pleased to work with these local groups to promote their productions. Now in its 38th season, People’s Light & Theatre is one of Pennsylvania’s largest professional non-profit theatres. Known for its resident company of artists, eclectic mix of productions, and for innovative work with young people, they produce approximately eight plays a season. Located in Malvern, PA, only a few stops from Philadelphia on SEPTA, People’s Light just completed a production of William Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale.” The production brought together the expertise of forty-three artists from People’s Light, Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, the National Theatre of Scotland, and New York’s Epic Theatre Ensemble to investigate and collaborate to produce the show. For more information on upcoming productions and to purchase tickets visit: http://peopleslight.org/.

For more than two decades The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre has featured the best of Shakespeare’s works in their theater. They also offer several programs for adults and students including: a lecture series featuring world-renowned Shakespeare Scholars; Shakespeare School Tour; and a Classical Acting Academy providing early career actors with intense classical training culminating in a free summer Shakespeare play for the public. In the upcoming months the theatre will be showing “Othello” and “Much Ado About Nothing” in their 21st and Sansom Street home. They will also be honoring the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birthday in a year-long celebration. For more information visit: http://www.phillyshakespeare.org/default.aspx.

The Wilma Theater has been an active player in the Philadelphia Theater scene since 1973, opening its doors on the prestigious Avenue of the Arts between Spruce and Locust Streets in 1996. The Wilma prides themselves on their bold and original shows that display the “complexities of contemporary life.” Each production represents a wide range of voices, viewpoints and styles. This year The Wilma hosted playwright Richard Bean as he premiered his play, Under the Whaleback, in North America. BABC members were offered an exclusive discount to this show during the first week of April as part of our British Invasion 2013 program series. For more information about The Wilma, and to purchase tickets visit: http://www.wilmatheater.org/.

The BABC is pleased to promote all things brilliant and British right here in the Greater Philadelphia region. We encourage you to take a break from your busy day to dine, enjoy a great show, and immerse yourself in everything Great Britain has to offer in your very own backyard.

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