Tag: London

An Irish Road Trip – Drives from Dublin

A self-drive holiday affords you the freedom to see what you want, when you want and is a great alternative for those who find packaged-up all-inclusive holidays too restricting. For people who prefer to take travelling into their own hands, Ireland offers some of the most stunning scenery in Europe Continue Reading

10 Best Places to Spend a Day in London

London is wide of greatest cities on Earth. It is home to some of the most iconic buildings, people and events of history. But how do you cram everything in? Well that’s easy I’ve broken everything down into 10 simple day trips to help you enjoy the capital at its best- so no more regrets in the airport lounge on your way home.

 

Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios

The Harry Potter series has enchanted a generation of readers. The popularity of the books was only increased further when they were made into highly successful films by the Warner Bros. Company. In an ingenious move Warner Bros. has now opened the newly renovated Harry Potter studios, where they filmed many parts of the movies, to the public.

Harry Potter Studios
By Rebekah Hughes under CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Now visitors can go strolling down Diagon Alley where they can buy wands, wizard confectionary and all manner of magical items. It really is a special place to spend the day, especially if you’re bringing children with you.

 

The British Museum

The British Museum holds the biggest collection of historical artefacts in the world. The entire idea for a national museum stemmed from a wealthy philanthropists’ bequeathment of his private collection of artefacts to the British nation.

 

The British Museum
Image source: Wikimedia under CC BY-SA 3.0

 

This that time the British museum has become home to around 8million objects ranging from sculptures to ancient domestic items. It is still free to the public although visitors will have to pay for any loan based exhibitions.

 

Hyde Park

Most major cities have a large open green space for its residents to take a break from the fumes and noises of everyday urban life. London is no exception, and although there are numerous parks to choose from I think that Hyde Park is by far the best out of them to spend a day in.

 

Hyde Park
By Metro Centric (Hyde Park, London) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

For starters you can get on a pedalo and enjoy watching life go by from the middle of the Serpentine Lake. Or you just enjoy a gentle stroll with ice creams around London’s green oasis.

 

Wembley Stadium

Generally credited as the home of football (the most popular sport in the world), Wembley is a triumph of modern engineering. The current stadium (a rebuild of the old 1920’s era stadium) is recognisable by its iconic arch which is actually wide enough to enable a London underground train to pass comfortably through it!

 

Wembley Stadium London
By Ian Wilson from London, England (Wembley Stadium, London) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoying a match day at this stadium, along with 90,000 other fans, is not an experience you’ll forget in a hurry. Before the match or just during the day if one isn’t on, then you can have a tour of the stadium and maybe have your photo taken with one or two famous faces.

 

The Tower of London

An ever present in London’s skyline for a thousand years the Tower of London is one of the world’s most iconic buildings, which makes it an amazing place to spend the day. Throughout its lifetime the Tower has served numerous purposes from being a royal residence to the royal mint and from a fortress to a zoo.

The Tower of London
By pikous (flickr.com) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

These days, despite being a major tourist attraction, the Tower is famously home to the priceless crown jewels which are on display to visitors. Tours are conducted by the Tower wardens (or Beefeaters) who possess a huge wealth of knowledge about the Tower and its historical inhabitants.

 

London Zoo

London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo; it was opened in the first part of the 19th century as a place for zoologists to study newly discovered species. Initially only intended for use by scientists and wealthy donors London Zoo opened to the public twenty years after its unveiling.

 

London Zoo
By Nigel Swales under CC BY-SA 2.0

Nowadays it is home to nearly 17,000 animals and has proved to be a consistent hit with both Londoners and tourists; due in part to its innovative exhibit ideas such as Gorilla Kingdom, Rainforest Life and Into Africa.

 

Houses of Parliament

The current home of the Houses of Parliament is only a few hundred years old because the original structure, which had stood for centuries, was damaged beyond repair in a fire. The architecture, history and sheer decadence of the building, coupled with it being the home of the oldest continuous parliament in the world, makes this a must on anyone’s list.

 

Houses of Parliament
Martin Thirkettle [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Walk the same halls and stand in the same chambers (you’re not allowed to sit in the chambers) as political greats like Disraeli, Gladstone, Thatcher and Churchill. It is an incredible experience and essential if you want to understand why modern Britain is how it is.

 

Westminster Abbey

Just over the road from the Houses of Commons, stands the impressive Westminster Abbey which has been used to crown Kings and Queens of England for a thousand years. The current structure dates back around 700 years and is the resting place of many illustrious figures such as: Queen Elizabeth I, Geoffrey Chaucer, Rudyard Kipling, Sir Charles Dickens, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Laurence Olivier and William Wilberforce. Not bad company to spend a day in, is it?

 

Westminster Abbey
By Ellocharlie at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Anyway, if you watched the Royal Wedding (and who didn’t?) then you probably don’t need any further encouragement from me to visit!

 

Tate Modern

The Tate Modern has become an internationally famed gallery of modern art; in fact it is the most popular modern art gallery in the world attracting upwards of 4.5 million visitors a year.

 

Tate Modern
Christine Matthews [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Based in a refurbished power station on the banks of the River Thames the Tate is home to works from artists such as Monet, Matisse, Picasso and Warhol. For art lovers it is incredibly easy to while away the hours gazing at some modern masterpieces but just be conscious that not everyone is an art lover!

 

Bond Street

 

Image source: Wikimedia under CC BY-SA 3.0
Image source: Wikimedia under CC BY-SA 3.0

Now trip to London would be complete without a shopping spree and there are few better places to get your credit card out than Bond Street. Despite being one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world Bond Street has a huge range of shops on it; ranging from high end fashion like Armani, Dolce & Gabanna, Tiffany & Co to some more of the more common high street brands. Whatever takes your fancy, you can probably find it on Bond Street.

Travelling Safe in New York City

It’s no secret that New York City can be quite intimidating for newcomers and others planning a holiday in the City That Never Sleeps. With endless TV police shows based in NYC and all kinds of rumours and stories in the news, it’s acceptable to be somewhat frightened when you visit NYC. You may not have known that NYC crime rates have actually dropped in the last decade—but this doesn’t mean that crime is done and dusted. Here are some tips to help avoid any trouble in New York City.

 

Airport Safety

New York airports are generally safe, but you would be surprised at how trusting some tourists can be. Whether it’s LaGuardia Airport, JFK Airport, or Newark International, there’s always a chance that you’ll run into a shady character.

 

  • Deny any ride invitations. They may be tempting seeing as how expensive NYC is, but it’s clear how things can go wrong here. Stick to the clearly marked taxi’s or airport shuttles.
  • Get rid of your luggage. Dragging a bag around NYC is like begging for disaster. You may be excited to explore the unknown, but I recommend that you go and ditch any hand carry and luggage in your hotel.

 

Hotel Safety

Most NYC hotels are secure and you shouldn’t be too worried, but you’re better safe than sorry. With people constantly wondering inside for enquiries and people checking out, it’s advised that you be cautious when you’re staying at a hotel in NYC.

 

  • Use the safe. Most of the hotels in NYC have an in-room safe which you can put your belongings in and have peace of mind. Store any unneeded jewellery or electronics before you head out to explore the city.
  • Watch out for the door. When someone knocks, it can be exciting at first, but take a look through the peep hole before you open it. People can wonder onto your floor and knock on your door and easily steal something valuable. It doesn’t take an expert criminal to pull off something that simple.

 

If you do plan on visiting anytime soon, HotelClub have some great NYC hotel deals in the build-up to summer.

 

By Someone35 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Someone35 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Taxi Safety

Taxis are a quick way to get around NYC. You can find them literally anywhere which makes it a convenient means of transportation. But you still have to be careful when you’re travelling.

 

  • Stay away from unmarked cabs. These are usually called Gypsy Cabs, and taken that they may be cheaper, you never know what you’re getting yourself into.
  • Don’t forget to tip. Unnecessary confrontation with cab drivers can ruin your holiday within seconds.

 

Subway Safety

The NYC subway is the cheapest method of public transport in NYC, and there’s no reason to be intimidated by it. Tourists often avoid the subway and end up spending unnecessary money on transport. If you can, try and follow these tips.

 

  • Try not to ride alone. Especially during late-night times. Unlike the underground in London, the subway in NYC runs at night, too. Empty subway cars are always suspicious and no amount of security cameras can stop a crime from occurring.
  • Take public exists. Use exists that everyone else is using. Yes, that hole in the wall far away may seem intriguing, but put your curiosity aside and realize that it’s probably not the best choice of exit routes.

 

Street Safety

Street safety in NYC is more common sense than anything else. Anything that you wouldn’t do in the streets of a city, you shouldn’t do in NYC. Here are some tips you must ensure you follow when you do set foot on an NYC street.

 

  • Lower your iPod volume. Walking down NYC blasting Jay-Z can be really tempting, but keeping your iPod volume down makes you aware of your surroundings and what’s going on. This includes who is around you.
  • Hide your jewellery. Necklaces and bracelets flying from side to side makes you a moving target for NYC muggers. Either leave your jewellery back at home or tuck it into your clothing.
  • Where do you put your purse? For women, I recommend keeping your purse over your shoulder, and men should keep wallets in their front pockets to avoid pickpockets.
  • Stay away from alleys. You never really know what could be in an alley way, no matter how cliché it may be. It’s better to stick with other tourists and walk along the curb.
  • Always know where you’re heading. Plan your destination beforehand to avoid ending up in shady neighborhoods. Walking aimlessly is also easy to spot, and any mugger can make out that you have no direction—an easy target. Don’t hesitate to ask for directions, either. NYC citizens are probably used to it by now.
  • Never jaywalk. You could get a ticket, but you could also be slapped flat by an angry NYC driver. Cross the street with caution and always use crosswalks.

 

As long as you use common sense and follow basic safety guidelines, NYC won’t cause a lot of problems. Nine times out of ten a safety concern won’t even cross your mind, but it can still happen. Above all, always remember to enjoy your trip—that’s the whole point of it!