Category Archives: London
London is an incredible city; rich in culture and bustling in activities. The ever-changing landscape boasts some of the best architecture in the world, both old and new. However, when I travel to London, I find myself counting the pennies every step I take, watching them dwindle away. With the majestic beauty comes high prices and as one of the most expensive cities in Europe, I find that it is important to know the cheaper ways to travel around the city to see the sites.
One of the most cost-effective ways to pack everything in is to jump on a bus tour. There are three main hop-on-hop-off bus tour companies in London, offering well-crafted routes to steer you toward the most popular sights in the city. All boasting similar prices of around £25-30 a day, I find it is best to compare bus tours more closely so you really get good bang for your buck.
The Original London Sightseeing Tour
This tour has the most routes around London, which is great but I find it hard to choose which ones I would like to jump on. While you can save money on this tour as a family with the family ticket, visiting attractions can be costly. However, this company offers discounts for those attractions, so I try to match my routes with whichever discounts they have at any given time. For example, the Red Route stops at both Madame Tussaud’s and The Tower of London, both of which are discounted through this tour company. Alternatively, certain routes like the Blue Route, only take you to places with free admission. You could always take advantage of their combo ticket (which is the best value of all three tour companies), purchasing a London’s Tour and Attractions Ticket, which allows you entry to some of the attractions as well as covering the cost of the bus.
If you don’t like the idea of moving from route to route, this is a good choice. While it only runs three routes, one of those routes is extremely long meaning you have more chance to see everything rather than having to hop around. While Big Bus does offer package deals with attractions, they are not as good value for money and this company doesn’t have the same range of discounts at restaurants and attractions. Equally, tickets prices are more expensive, both for individuals and families, unless you pick a multiple day tour.
I have always found this tour company to be the best value for money. While their tickets are the cheapest, they often run deals that include an extra 24 hours tour the next day. Equally, this company offers a wide range of discounted tickets for attractions that complement the tour routes, while they have the cheapest family tickets.
Last time I took a hop-on bus, I found out that they all offer free walking tours and a free River Cruise tour which is spectacular in the evening when you can witness the lights of London dancing as reflections on the River Thames. Equally, if you want further savings in restaurants and other attractions, you should look into investing in a London city pass to complement your bus tour, but make sure you compare city passes to check which gives the best deals.
Britons Struggle with Geography – South Africa Identified as Mexico and Russia Identified as the USA
A UK based online travel agency has completed a piece of research to look at the geographical knowledge of Britons. A poll covering a similar topic was conducted four years previously, which showed 50% of Brits were unable to locate their last holiday destination on a map. The new piece of research clearly shows that the knowledge of geography in the average Brit is still poor.
During a new piece of research conducted by a UK based online travel agency, it was found that Brits were unable to identify some of the biggest and best known countries in the world, which are also very popular holiday destinations. Following the research, a ‘World Map According To Britons’ has been published that shows where Brits believe certain countries to be.
The research was completed by www.sunshine.co.uk, who attempted to update a 2011 study where it was found that 50% of Brits were unable to locate their last holiday destination if shown a map of the world. The travel agency, Sunshine.co.uk, decided to perform a similar piece in the hopes that knowledge had since improved. For the study, some 2,189 people were surveyed. All were over the age of 18 and residents of the UK and they all had travel experiences. During the survey, participants were shown a blank map of the world and they were asked where they believed certain countries to be.
During the tests, 90% of people were able to identify just two countries on the world map. Those were Great Britain and Italy. The researchers at sunshine.co.uk believe this is because both countries have very recognizable shapes. Italy is known to look like a boot, and Great Britain looks familiar because participants are actually from there.
The rest of the research did not paint a pretty picture in terms of geographical knowledge:
- The area that makes up various South American countries (mainly Argentina, Chile, Peru and Brazil) was mistaken for Australia in 22% of cases.
- Canada was mistaken for China in 29% of cases.
- 19% of people thought the landmass that is Mexico was actually Thailand.
- 21% though Russia was actually the United States of America.
- India was mistaken for France n 27% of cases.
- Jamaica was mistaken for Madagascar in 38% of case.
- In 23% of cases, people believed South Africa to be Mexico.
- Algeria was confused for Greece in 31% of cases.
- Australia was mistaken for Brazil in 33% of cases, which is interesting since Brazil was also mistaken for Australia.
- Turkey was believed to be Spain very frequently.
- 26% of people who saw Crete believed it to be Tenerife.
- 18% of people believed Greenland was actually Russia.
- 24% of people labelled Iceland as being Malta.
The map, World Map According To Britons, is available on www.10yetis.co.uk/images/blog/WorldMapAccordingToBritons.jpg, which gives a great visual representation of what the world would actually look like if the survey respondents had been correct.
“The world is hardly a small place, so it’s understandable that some people won’t know where certain countries can be found on the map. Unless you’ve studied a globe or been taught the lay of the land, it can be difficult to get your head around.”
He went on to say:
“When it comes to holidays though, it’s nice to know where you’re heading and where you are in relation to your home turf. If you’re ever on a flight that has a moving map available, take a quick look and you might pick up some handy geographical knowledge along the way!”
I thought I had tried everything with my caravan, but I was proven wrong last summer. Just I was beginning to think that there was nothing else for me to do with my caravan I came across the idea of seasonal touring pitches at a place called Perran Springs in Cornwall.
Me being me I decided to check it out and made a two nights booking at their facility. Having used my caravan for outdoor camping for close to a decade I must admit I was expecting it to be fun but the experience had surpassed my expectations, for a campsite in Cornwall.
In my mind, I thought that I was going to find a large open space with the few basic amenities that are characteristic of other pitches, but this couldn’t be further from the reality. The first thing that impressed me is the concern or is it customer care that I received from the facility management.
Having never been to Cornwall before, I had trouble finding the facility at first. Due to this I had to contact the management for a little help. Not only did I receive very accurate directions but someone guided me to the facility through regular phone calls and ensured I got there in one piece.
My first reaction on seeing the place was “how in the world did I not know that this place existed”. The environment alone is enough to make anyone want to come back every season of the year. The beautiful fishing lakes in the area are your first assurance that you are going to have a good time no matter what your definition of a good time is.
I was shown where to park my caravan and in a few minutes and after some valuable help from the staff there I was all settled in. The space around my pitch was enough to fit a few more caravans, and yet I was told that it was all reserved for my caravan.
The facilities there are what you would rightfully expect to find in a hotel establishment. One thing that made me a happy man was the great shower facilities. Over the years have visited many pitches but one thing that always disappoints is the shower facilities. However at this campsite in Cornwall the shower facilities are the closest thing to your home facility you can ever expect to find in a camping facility.
After my two nights stay, I was told that I could be able to make a booking for seasonal touring pitches. That was an offer I was going to take. With the limited parking space at home then I couldn’t have received a better offer. Never having to worry about parking space for my caravan was something that I could afford to smile about.
The facility is open from the end of May to September every year, and I have already made my bookings, and I will be spending a couple of weeks with my family there. A couple of weeks may sound like a long time, but they allow you to stay for up to 28 day continuously. Furthermore with the plenty of activities to do at this campsite time fly’s away so fast.
If you want a new touring caravan experience that will leave you excited for a long time, then this is the place you need to visit.
Beaumont is strategically located within the theBeaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area, garnering its enigmatic appeal. Think about energy stuff, probably the oil that powers your automobile came from one of the drilling stations right here on Beaumont. Don’t fret, you won’t be swimming on black gold though, there’s pretty much a lot of stuff to do on this wonderful city such as swimming on blue waters on the beach. Another important reminded is to always ready your ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) Visa with and bring it with you at all times. If and for any other reasons that you don’t have it yet, you can easily get one by going online.
Beaumont is no doubt a wealthy city; time is on its side though since it started booming as early as 1901 with its economy centered mainly on lumber, farming, and port industries. Now it’s a major industrial area on the Gulf Coast.
What to do, well you can juggle between indoor and outdoor activities literally. Of course, book a hotel to fully explore this enigmatic city and do some ninja backpacking to the woods or take an urban adventure.
Let us start with the downtown area heading straight to the Jefferson Theater. It was built in 1927, a really long way down the memory lane. Have you seen the “Rose of the Golden West” movie? It was the very first movie shown on this theater plus the wonderful performance of Jefferson Grand Orchestra. How do I know? Because they’re good even now. This is perfect for your date, so keep the romance alive by watching either a musical or a romantic movie, in the end you can simply set the mood into a warm and cuddly night.
Now, let’s head to museums, there’s plenty of them but we can zero in on most famous ones. Ever wonder how it feels to be an aristocrat, did it sound right? You can visit the McFaddin-Ward House and literally feel like you own the world. The admission is cheap but the feeling is electric. You can find elegant items on any of its floors and most importantly, its green grounds are simply splendid, think beautiful gardens, ancient azalea bushes and oak trees that are still standing on its land. Spindletop gusher you say? That pertains to the treetops. Not so trivial after all.
Perhaps it’s time for real fun. Let’s head to the Crystal Beach in the greater Beaumont area. Don’t mind the cops, they are there to keep you safe and the other hundreds of locals wanting to do the same thing as you, unwind and relax on its waters. Nonetheless, the more the merrier. This is perfect for a quick getaway since you don’t have to complicate your itinerary with mind numbing lists and priorities, just get your gear and hop onto the next ride – great for backpackers.
Save the Boomtown Lake for your intimate adventure conclusion. Witness the skies change colors from bright pink, to orange and finally as if the lights are getting put out during sunset. I get the feeling of romance brimming in the air. This is the perfect spot for both fun and romance. Have fun.
When traveling to the United Kingdom, the one thing to absolutely keep in mind is to be prepared for the moody weather. It changes instantly from a sunny morning to a cloud covered afternoon. So I would suggest packing for all kinds of weather. The sun, the rain and chilly temperatures in the same day call for packing layers to keep yourself warm and umbrella & a hairdryer to tackle the downpours. However, try and keep your travel bag light and pick the one you can carry on your shoulders. Believe me, you are going to thank me for this.
I stayed in one of the central London family hotels, however, there are a lot of accommodation options available depending on your budget. The important point to keep in mind is to always take a cab service or public transportation while in London. Driving through London can be stressful, time consuming and expensive.
I started my trip on a weekday which was a blessing. I visited all the touristy places from London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden to the Borough Market, Camden Market, Abbey Road, Portobello Road. They are worth a trip but on weekdays these places are swarming with people. Therefore, It would be a good idea to cover these places over the week like I did.
London is solo-traveller friendly, you will find many people travelling alone especially when you visit parks and restaurants. I would encourage you to visit Kensington Gardens, St. James’s Park, Green Park and Richmond Park among others. The entry to most of the parks is free like most of the museums like The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), The Museum of London, The British Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern and The National Gallery.
When in London, also take out time for appreciating the arts. Whether you have a craving for live music or a classical play, the Monarch in Camden or the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue are there to satiate it. Also, book your tickets through TKTS, to get the best prices.
Plan your trip in such a way that you can squeeze in more. You can take day-long trips to the regions of Windsor, Bath, Brighton or Oxford. I went to Dover for it had everything from castle, beaches, White Cliffs, secret wartime tunnels to list a few. However, I gave it more than a day. There is also the option to visit other European countries and it is cheaper than you think.
I would like to share some friendly advice on things you might not get in any travel guide. All things said and done, London is a capital city, with its fair share of crime. Therefore, be careful of the time and the surroundings you are in. Advice from the locals can come in handy here. Also, be mindful of the colloquial terms that may mean different in British. Last but not the least, carry with you a country/city guide and always keep some change on you.
If you live in New Zealand and looking to book flights to London, check House of Travel for great deals form all the airlines. Their Mix and match search engine helps you find the best fares from different airlines.
I hope you have a great Brit-trip!
London is an incredible Capital City. Home to over 8 million inhabitants all considered some of the friendliest people in the world, I had no doubts that myself, and my husband would have an unforgettable holiday. What attracted me to this city was the variety of fun things on offer to do. I like to keep active and found that on any given night, depending on individual interests, there truly was something to appeal to all tastes.
The first step in my planning was to search for discount hotels in London. The popularity of the area made finding a place an easy and fast process. Any hotel I looked at also had a ton of past customer reviews which narrowed down my search. I also booked London airport transfer in advance at a good price.
Once the hotel, flight, and coach bus were booked it was time to decide what we wanted to do.
Once the hotel and flight was booked it was time to decide what we wanted to do. The first place of interest was the Buckingham Palace, mainly out of historic reasoning and to see if it looked better in person. I wasn’t prepared for the very long walk down a straight street to view it, but the stunning park and infamous Guards on the way made it easier. Once you arrive to the Palace you will be greeted with hundreds of tourists, a schedule for the changing of the guard and the large protective gates. No access is granted but you get a decent view on the outside, well worth the walk.
On the first evening I was all about finding a good British pub. The CrabTree offered me a wine list and views of the Thames. What I enjoyed about this venue was that the outdoors was even more exciting than inside. You could sit under a Willow Tree, or just join some locals on the long wooden tables. After that we booked the London Eye experience, it was absolutely breathtaking and really gave us a feel of what London was all about. My camera was full of pictures from every angle, this is really something that you can not leave this fabulous city without checking out for yourself.
The next day involved an early morning trip to Camden Town Market. The cobbled pathways where exactly how I envisioned this area to be. The vintage stalls have everything from clothes, to handmade essentials and of course collectibles for the Tourists who want to acquire some British souvenirs. After shopping it was time to visit Chinatown for food and quick dash around. This is a very busy area packed to the brim with tourists and locals. After a few solid hours of exploring we dined in quality at the Four Seasons. It opens late night to deal with the huge crowd.
Next on the list was the National History Museum, perfect for historical fans and those who love dinosaurs. On the final day it was time for some beautiful photographs around Trafalgar Square. We found ourselves mingling with Londoners and workers who where having their lunch outside and chilling. This was such a casual area, busy but relaxing. Although I didn’t get to see a play it’s on my list for when I return to this incredible city.
I love the London festivals, here is a post from Nick of Nexthop.info
Music, culture, food and fun are part of London everyday so just think about how great London life is at the various festivals held throughout the year. Someone once told me that “If you are tired of London you are tired of life”, and the same can be said for the festivals of the city. There are so many and such a diverse array of festivals that you would have to be bored of life if you could not find one that is special or enjoyable.
For me the summer festivals are particularly great because Londoners finally soak up some sun! Hyde Park is a great place to check out the summer music scene but my favorite festival in London is Camden Crawl. The music festival usually has 250 artists over a number of stages.
Another music festival is Field Day, a two day event in Victoria Park. There are usually massive parties after the festival that make the day even better! For lovers of film and comedy, one must see the London Film Festival. Feature films, documentaries and shorts are all part of the fun. Southbank in London is almost always hosting some kind of festival or event.
London Wonderground features comedy, performers, sideshows and food stalls almost all summer long at Southbank. The Greenwich Comedy Festival has been a part of the festival circuit in London since 2009 and has featured some of the best comedians from all over the world.
If you want to go to some festivals that are a little bit obscure and ‘out there’ why not check out the London Mandolin Festival. I bet you have never seen so many ways for a small string instrument to be played. How about trying a mull wine at the Twelfth Night Bankside Festival, a Pagan festival that goes back to before the Christian mid winter feast. If you are feeling hungry, there are plenty of food festivals throughout the year such as the London Taste Festival where you can see your favorite chefs demonstrate their cooking skills.
There is a festival for everyone in London and the vibe and spectacular setting of London always adds another element to seeing your favorite comedy, music or film in the city. The public transport system and information centers positioned all over the city makes your favorite festival a carefree and joyous experience at any time of the year. Enjoy all the festival fun in London folks.
My first international trip was to London, England. When I travel I like to get deep into the roots of a city and learn how the people live life and where they go as locals. London did not disappoint.
Firstly, don’t be afraid to get onto the subway, or the Underground. You see the most interesting people riding and get a chance to strike up a conversation. Even though nearly everyone wears black or grey, they really are approachable and of course they know you are a tourist because you are wearing jeans. Most everyone I encountered was friendly and offered up their favorite places to eat and play.
Here are a list of wonderful places that every tourist should visit, but I really encourage you to step out of the norm and your own comfort zone and explore!
*The London Eye, this is the best way of seeing the whole city scape and what a view it offers, but it is a bit pricey, instead if your budget is tight head to Hampstead Heath and visit the gorgeous surroundings.
*Museums: The National Gallery, The British Museum, The Natural History, The Science Museum, Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum. There are many gorgeous places to get your fill in the magnificent city of London.
There are well over one thousand hot spots to play in London. I found that Ye Olde Mitre had some great history and great beer as well. The locals love this place and are very friendly and will openly tell you of their other favorite haunts. The bars in the East End of London tend to cater to the locals and you will meet good people there. If you are an adventuresome type, you must do the Jack the Ripper tours; you will learn all about the grizzly murders and even visit the places the bodies were discovered and you finish up in the same pub old Jack hung out in. It is very colorful if not just a tad bit scary, but you are safe and it is well worth the fun.
Just walking around London you feel every sense of history as you wander past buildings and walls that are centuries older than our own country, it is a little humbling. You must visit Piccadilly Circus and ride the double decker buses. This place holds quite a feast for your eyes with people of every shape and design playing amongst the shops. This was one of my favorite places of all, and I tell everyone I know to make that little trip and make sure to “Mind The Gap.” Cheers!