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London 2012 - Hospitality Houses: House of Switzerland, Irish House & Kiwi House

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by David Dragonetti (subscribe)
I love politics (I do realize that there aren't many people like me) and a history buff who also likes nothing better than watching a live comedy.
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The House of South Korea (though actually called Korea house) wasn't on my list that day but the cheerfulness of the woman in the street handing out flyers made me change my mind. Entering the venue in the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Knightsbridge, I was greeted by another smiley faced woman who instantly began to show me around. Having a friendly guide was a first in all the hospitality houses I had visited and combined with a quite mesmerising display of South Korean dancing, a magician and even a small set of stands with their produce put South Korea way up in first place for the best of them.

Tying with Brazil for second place among the best houses, the Swiss House on the South Bank yet again had someone greeting you as you arrived which clocked up a lot of brownie points. Situated just five minutes away from London Bridge station, at the Glaziers Hall on bankside. A climbing wall, a band and food also ticked a lot of boxes. That said the atmosphere was helped by a rare dry day. Had the rain started again there would be a lot of people getting wet as they vainly tried to find somewhere to take shelter.

The New Zealand House in King's Cross was a bar and wanted a staggering 5 pound just to come in and say hello to drunk kiwis. I said nothing but goodbye and headed for the Republic of Ireland House which was in another bar but didn't want an entrance fee. That left one house and the one I was actually most looking forward to visiting being a huge fan of that country's cinema.

It's 40 pound to come in Sir." Said the guard looking slightly embarrassed.

Forty pound entrance to a hospitality house was double that of the Russian House and without even getting in the door, pushed the House of France down to the bottom and the worst of all the hospitality houses. Forty pound was the same price as two cut price West End theatre tickets. You'd get two hours of live entertainment for that. Could the house of France really promise the same - I don't think so!

House of Korea in the Thames Royal Yacht Club in Knightsbridge open till 12 August.

Swiss House Bankside near London Bridge Station open until 12th August.

Kiwi House at Central St Martin's near King's Cross until the 13th August 3, 2012.

Irish House at the Big Chill Bar near Brick Lane open until 12th August .

French House at Old Billings Gate Market open until 12th August.


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When: 27 Jul - 12 Aug
Where: London
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