Tourists Guide to London, the Capital of England

A world powerhouse and Europe’s biggest city, London is one of the ultimate city-break destinations. Whether you enjoy its fabulous art, history and architecture, breathtaking sights, world-class cultural events, fine dining and vibrant nightlife or top quality theatre, ballet and opera, this pulsating metropolis fits the bill. While the capital often enjoys the limelight thanks to a number of high profile sporting events such as cricket at the Oval and Lords, tennis at Wimbledon and this year’s Tour de France, there’s even more of a buzz these day as it limbers up to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

There’s a wide range of accommodation from budget youth hostels to some of the most luxuriously expensive hotels on the planet. It’s not cheap but it’s certainly unforgettable.

Getting there/getting around London

London is easily accessible by road. Of the major motorways, you can travel to London from the M1 in the north, the M4 and M40 in the west, the M3 and M23 in the south and the M2 and M20 in the east. If you’re flying, choose from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and City airports. By coach, nearly all national services come into Victoria coach station. Once you’re in London, you can choose the bus, train or tube.

You’ll also spy plenty of the capital’s iconic black taxi cabs, but they do tend to be on the expensive side. Driving in London is quite an experience and not for the faint-hearted. If you do drive or hire a car, remember that during the week you’ll have to pay the congestion charge (£8) between the hours of 7am and 6pm.

Sightseeing in London

You’d need a few weeks to tour all of London’s famous landmarks, galleries, museums, parks etc. Probably the best way to get your bearings and take in as many famous landmarks as possible is aboard an open-top bus. There are tourist bus stops all over the city and one ticket enables you to hop on and off as and when you need to. Most routes take in Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament and Piccadilly Circus. The London Eye is one of the city’s most popular attractions and offers fantastic views.

Top museums include Tate Britain, the Tate Modern, the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum. There are wonderfully relaxing parks like Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, St James’s Park and Richmond Park or you could explore some of the city’s interesting markets at Camden, Notting Hill or Spitalfields.

London family attractions, day trips and shopping experiences

Family attractions in London

The Natural History Museum is superb for children and there are lots of interactive exhibits. You can experience what an earthquake feels like, get up close and personal with dinosaurs such as the terrifying T-Rex and examine weird and wonderful specimens in the Darwin Centre.

London Zoo and London Aquarium are popular destinations for animal lovers and the Tower of London and the London Dungeons make for an entertaining few hours. See your favourite celebrities (not quite in the flesh) at Madame Tussauds or head to east London to check out the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood.

Day trips from London

Windsor Castle sits on the River Thames about 20 miles west of London and a tour of the world’s oldest occupied castle is extremely popular. If you fancy heading down to the coast you can catch a train to Brighton from Victoria Station and be sucking in the sea air in around one hour. Hampton Court Palace in the south west of London is probably one of the most spectacular palaces in the world and its famous maze should keep you busy.

Visit in the winter and you can ice-skate with the palace as your backdrop. Theme parks such as Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park lie on the city’s outskirts and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park is around 30 minutes north of the capital.

Shopping in London

A shopping splurge won’t be cheap, but there’s not much you couldn’t buy. You’ll find high street fashion in Oxford and Regent Streets and big department stores like Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and world-famous Harrods in Knightsbridge. Around Covent Garden you’ll find exclusive boutiques and more high street names and the markets are great for variety. Portobello Market’s great for jewellery and Camden draws a very mixed crowd in search of ethnic arts, crafts, jewellery and second-hand clothing.

If you’re feeling peckish then Borough Market is wonderful for all manner of organic, regional and international produce. Just don’t go on an empty stomach or you’ll end up spending a fortune.

London nightlife, restaurants, bars and clubs

Restaurants in London

London’s fast becoming a culinary capital of the world and a place where you can try almost any kind of cuisine including Iranian, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish, Argentinean, Nepalese, Greek, Turkish, American and Mexican. Many traditional English pubs in London serve excellent cuisine and you can’t visit without trying a traditional Sunday roast.

If you really want to splash out, dine at one of the restaurants of the many ‘celebrity’ chefs in the capital like Gordon Ramsay’s Claridge’s restaurant or Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. There are also more than 30 Michelin starred restaurants including Hakkasan and Yauatcha (Chinese), Nobu and Umu (Japanese) and Aubergine and Chez Bruce (French).

Nightlife in London

Some of the world’s best nightclubs, theatre, dance and music are found in the capital. Plays in the West End can be very expensive but the UK’s best actors (as well as a few stars from the States) love to tread the boards. The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden has ballet and opera and there are live music venues all over the city where you can watch the planet’s best-known groups.

London’s nightclubs attract top DJs from all around the globe and hotspots include Fabric, China White (full of celebs) and Funky Buddha.

London has a massive choice of accommodation from simple and cheap guest houses and hostels to internationally famous five star hotels such as The Savoy and The Ritz.

London Travelers Talk About the Benefit of a London Vacation Rental

Our agency has run a survey with their clients to find out what makes them choose a vacation rental over a hotel stay during their trips to London.

We asked our guest to give us their opinions on the benefits of apartment rentals as well as any of the downsides. Here is a compilation of interesting points made by our clients which we believe can help you weigh your options when choosing which type of accommodation is most likely to suit your style when traveling to London for a holiday.

There is a belief that visitors to London who opt for a hotel stay will often see much of their holiday budget being spent on accommodations alone. Our guests found this to be rather true. For the same rates as a typical hotel, an apartment rental provided them with more value for their money and more choices regarding sizes and style. Cleaner and quieter, rentals have the added benefit of a kitchen. Our guests found that they could save money by dining at home rather than in restaurants every day. Even London studio, the smallest sized vacation rentals, is often larger and better equipped than a simple single standard London hotel room.

Hotels may provide breakfast and, if you are lucky, a little kettle in each room. Our clients state that this simply does not match up to the pleasure of doing your morning food shopping in the markets of London and meeting back “home” with friends and loved ones for a convivial meal.

Tips from our guests: If you are on a budget but want to avoid the terrible one/two star hotels of London, consider a vacation rental outside of the first zone of London. By renting in the Battersea, you are next to Chelsea and Knightsbridge is a short distance too.

An apartment like Eternity may be a perfect choice at a very affordable rate. Hoxton Square is also kissing the border of Shoreditch – a hip and happening place in central London. Opting for a 2 bedroom like Firefly can be an excellent way to save money, while being steps from Bloomsbury.

An area like Tower Bridge will put you close enough to enjoy Tower Hill and Saint-Paul’s Cathedral. Consider a property located near a beautiful market called Othello or Hamlet, a one bedroom – 1-bathroom accommodation practically on the Thames river banks.

When choosing a London vacation rental you will have access to amenities that would be impossible to obtain in any place other than a 5 star London palace. A two bedroom apartment in Earls Court with its own garden such as Twelfth Night or a gem like Duchess, a Tower bridge penthouse with a terrasse overlooking London’s skyline are real treasures and will make a London vacation unforgettable.

It is no secret that fans of short-term rentals are travelers with a taste for things private, charming and personal. If you like to do things your own way, at your own pace without rigid hotel rules, curfews, impersonal service then a vacation rental is for you. Not your first time in London? Some of our guests suggest that when traveling with friends in London, a personal home away from home adds amazing value and a richer experience to your stay. Entertaining friends in your London home with a great meal prepared in a fully stocked kitchen can make for an unforgettable evening…

Whether you are traveling with adults only, children or are just a group of friends looking to spend a fun time abroad, our agency caters for large and small groups. We asked families what made them opt for a vacation rental rather than a hotel suite.

As you can imagine, for a large family a single London hotel room will rarely provide sufficient accommodations every one. You can choose to pick two room and cross your fingers that they will be on the same floor, relatively close to each other, safe, and if very lucky, adjoining one another. But there is always a price for this sort of “luxury” and with little children this avenue is not even a valid option. Being confined in the small space of one hotel room presents a problem for little ones who have nowhere to roam and may very well turn the trip sour.

On the other hand traveling together is a great way to reduce costs by allowing everyone to share one lodging together. A vacation rental is the best solution for this type of vacation.

Some apartments welcome up to 6 or 7 guests with 3 bathrooms and separate toilets. South Kensington’s Concerto is a very good example of this, as is Delicious, a luxury hideaway near the Portobello Market and Notting Hill. The benefits of this type of London rental are numerous; each guest will enjoy an intimate space to retreat to, while social gatherings can be made in the living room or meals enjoyed in the kitchen. Separate bathrooms allow guests to make use of the sink and bathtub in different rooms without creating traffic in the morning.

Of course, with individual rooms at a London hotel you may get individual bathrooms, bedrooms and privacy at night since everyone is separated, but let’s not forget that you sacrifice the pleasure to spend time together and share a unique experience in a relaxed way – the very reason you opted for a family/friend vacation in the first place.

One of our guests who has a family of three young children suggests that one the plus side of a London rental is not having to dress the kids up and race down to the breakfast lobby of a hotel before the morning meal wraps up. This is perk that is hard to ignore!

So you are sold on the idea of vacation rentals? In our next article we feature the benefits of renting via an agency rather than through private owners… Read what our guests have to say about this!

London Hideaways is an entity of Charming Hideaways Ltd, and is registered and based in London. Katia Provencher is the Director of Charming Hideaways, and has several years experience in the vacation rental and tourism business, including being vacation rental owner herself and also having been a long-term resident of London.

London Travel – Top Things to Do in London

When in London make sure you don’t miss these London highlights.

2012 Olympic Games will be held in London on 27 July-12 Aug 2012, which makes London the first city to hold the Olympic Games three times, having hosted the games previously in 1908 and 1948. The 2012 Paralympic Games will be held on 29 Aug-9 Sept 2012.

Original London Sightseeing Tour (Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour) is an open-top double-decker bus for visitors to enjoy London’s most famous attractions on 3 tour routes. The tours visit Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The London Dungeon, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, Covent Garden, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Madame Tussauds, Shakespeare’s Globe, The London Eye, London Bridge, London Aquarium, and Westminster Abbey. The Museum Tour gives you easy access to many of London’s top Museums, shops and attractions such as Kensington Palace, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly Circus, British Museum, Royal Albert Hall, Albert Memorial, & the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.

Trafalgar Square is considered the centre of London and home to Nelson’s Column which was completed in 1843 to commemorate Admiral Nelson’s victory over Napoleon off Cape Trafalgar, Spain in 1805. To the north of the square is the National Gallery and to the south-east is Admiralty Arch, built to honour Queen Victoria. Beyond the Arch is The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace.

Whitehall is the avenue, leading from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square, lined with government buildings and is the center of British government. Along Whitehall is Downing street, the site of the Prime Minister’s home. Further along is Big Ben, the famous tower clock, the Houses of Parliament and Westminister Abbey setting for royal coronations since 1066 and most recently that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

The Tower of London dates from 1078 and was London’s original royal fortress. In the middle ages the Tower of London acted as a royal residence, treasury, mint and a prison. Located near the Tower Bridge on the Thames River, the Tower is a very popular tourist attraction where visitors can view the Crown Jewels, the various towers, Armouries, Barracks, Chapel and the tower green where seven people (including two of his wives) were beheaded during the reign of King Henry VIII.

Tower Bridge is the famous 19th century bridge across the Thames River located by the Tower of London. The bridge was an architectural and engineering marvel featuring a drawbridge so tall-masted ships could pass underneath. Tourists can take the Tower Bridge Experience to visit the north tower and engine room to learn how the bridge is operated.

HMS Belfast is a large, light cruiser naval ship that was built in Belfast, Ireland and launched in 1938. The Belfast served in many theatres of war during WWII and the Korean War. The ship is moored on the Thames near the Tower Bridge and open to visitors.

The London Eye is a large Ferris observation wheel located on the South Bank of the Thames River giving visitors spectacular views over London.

London Dungeon is a gruesome experience of London’s past where visitors can learn about and see reconstructions of executions, the French Guillotine in action, Jack the Ripper’s handiwork and various other ingenious methods of torture.

Winston Churchill’s Britain at War Experience is an educational attraction about World War II. Visitors are taken into a reconstruction of an underground station and progress through rooms displaying wartime themes emerging into a shop that has been destroyed by a bomb.

Shakespeare’s Globe & Exhibition is the reconstructed Globe Theatre popularised by William Shakespeare and an exhibition on Elizabethan London.

Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the Queen and the most famous palace in London. Located at the end of The Mall, the palace was built in 1803 for the Duke of Buckingham and has been the London home for the royal family since 1837. Open for tours during the summer months only. Changing of the Guard takes place on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace every day at 11.30am during summer and on odd days the rest of the year.

Charles Dickens’ House, located at 49 Doughty Street WC1, is where he wrote his famous novels – Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby.

St Paul’s Cathedral was built by Sir Christopher Wren between 1675 and 1710, after the 1666 Great Fire of London. The walkway around the base of the dome has such good acoustics that it forms a “Whispering Gallery.” The stairs continue to the Stone Gallery and up to the Golden Gallery for one of the best views over central London.

London Imax Cinema is the largest in Europe screening 2-D and 3-D movies and documentaries.

London Aquarium is one of the largest in Europe featuring a wide range of marine life including sharks and a coral reef display.

The London Eye, also known as the ‘Millenium Wheel’, is one of the world’s largest Ferris wheels with 32 enclosed gondolas that give visitors spectacular views across the capital. [Operates daily, opposite Big Ben and Houses of Parliament]

Kensington Palace dates from 1605 and has been the home of many royals including Princess Margaret and Princess Diana. Queen Victoria was born here in 1819. Visitors can take a tour of the State Apartments from 10am to 5pm daily.

Hampton Court Palace was built in 1514 and became the residence of King Henry VIII. The palace has a long history and visitors can tour the stately rooms and get lost in the famous 300 year old maze.

Madame Tussaud’s is the famous and very popular wax museum exhibiting movie stars, pop stars, world leaders and the royal family. The Spirit of London taxi ride takes visitors through a summary of London’s history while the Chamber of Horrors displays the darker side to human nature.

London Planetarium is located next to Madame Tussaud’s and has wax figures of great scientists as well as a great show of the stars and planets.

The London Pass: Enjoy The Best of London

Are you looking for a London Pass so you can enjoy the best of London? The London Pass in my opinion is one of the best secrets of traveling in London. It is so helpful when you plan your trip overseas and what is more, you can even buy it ahead of time online, so you can start to use it as soon as you arrive in town.

The London Pass is convenient to use

The London Pass saves you a lot of money and time. When you have this card, you can get free entrance into more than 55 different attractions in the greater London area. These include places such as the London Zoo, The Tower of London, Hampton Court and even Westminster Abby. It’s really nice to have free entrance to the most popular London attractions. It’s true that it may be hard to choose what to see on your visit to London, but it is nice to have all those choices just the same. You will also enjoy the time savings when you see long lines to get into museums and attractions, as the London Pass lets you walk right to the front of the line, like a VIP. What’s more, you will enjoy discounts on movies, shopping and some restaurants as well.

This was my favorite part about the London Pass: You know when you travel how all sorts of last minute stuff comes up. It could be a rainy day, a surprisingly clear and beautiful day or a day where you just want to change your mind on that day’s plan. When you have the pass, you can quickly and easily do this without a lot hype. You can just open up the little booklet that comes with the pass, and find something else that you would rather do. This is a nice feature as sometimes it is very overwhelming to change your mind about the plan that day and then you might waste a lot of time trying to figure out what to do instead. When you have the London Pass traveling in London is much easier.

Shopping online is convenient as well

When you are planning a big trip like visiting London, there are so many things to do. Luckily shopping online before you visit London is very convenient and will save you a lot of time. You will not have to spend your first day in the city trying to purchase a London Pass when you could be visiting the Zoo or another attraction already. Instead you can shop in the privacy of your own home, long before you pack up and leave town.

Another feature that I enjoyed was the fact that you can purchase months in advance of your trip. This way you will have plenty of time to better plan each day of your trip and get the most out of your pass. What’s more, (and another part that I really liked) you can help your travel budget as you can spread out the cost of your trip if you purchase many months in advance. You will love the fact that you can buy it up to a year before you go.

How to get a London Pass

So if you agree that shopping online will save you time and money and you are looking to find out more about the London Pass, there are a couple of things you can do. One is to start to search online and visit all the sites that pop up. Check them out one by one and then you will figure out which one has the best deal. You can even make a spreadsheet to keep track of all the different web pages that you checkout.

What Are the Best Tourist Attractions in London?

Vibrant, noisy, and truly multicultural, London is the capital of England and largest city in Western Europe with a population of a little over 14 million. Regarded as one of two of the leading “global cities” in the world, London remains an international capital of music, culture, education, politics, finance, fashion and trade.

The Tower of London

The Tower of London is located in central London just nearby the River Thames and it is one London’s famous tourist attraction. Throughout the years, the Tower of London has been used as royal palace, armory, prison and even a zoo. Constructed by William the Conqueror over 900 years ago, the Tower of London is rich with history where it was used by Royals throughout the years as a place of refuge and base of power. The Tower also showcases her majesty’s Crown Jewels which are guarded by the infamous Beefeaters. In prime position within the Tower of London lies The White Tower, a huge and beautiful stone building currently home to the exhibition of Tudor, Hanoverian, Stuart and Windsor armour. The exhibition begins with the armour created for both the sports and battlefields with Henry VIII’s and Charles 1’s magnificent armour as the main highlight.

Westminster Abbey

Just a stone’s throw from the Thames, Westminster Abbey is London’s most prominent landmark and a must-see tourist attraction of London. This stunning gothic church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and rich with fascinating history. Many of the Kings, Queens, aristocrats, statesmen, poets, heroes, villains and priests were buried at the Abbey including Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin and Dr. Samuel Johnson. The Abbey has seen the crowning of many Kings and Queens and has been the venue of many Royal Weddings which includes the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011. Westminster Abbey London is a truly magnificent building and the exterior offers wonderful photo opportunities for its visitors. Among the highlights within the Abbey is the statue of the Virgin Mary carrying baby Jesus, the Little Cloister leading the College Gardens and the Nave with an unknown warrior’s grave

The Monument

The Monument is dedicated to the Great Fire of London and it is designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Located on pudding lane, 202 feet from the spot where the great fire is believed to have started and it is 202 feet tall, The Monument is the World’s oldest stone column. Visitors will have to climb the 311 steps to enjoy the spectacular views of London and be awarded a certificate as well

Thames river cruise

Thames river cruise is one of the best ways to enjoy London’s famous tourist attractions. Experience the grandeur of London from the comfort of an open top boat, cruising by many of London’s most famous tourist attractions. The feature of Thames river cruise include the site of the Cutty Sark, London’s iconic buildings of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, HMS Belfast, the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. And from the boat, you’ll get a closer look at the controversial Millennium Footbridge.

Tower Bridge London

Since 1894, Tower Bridge London has been one of London’s most impressive structures and one of world’s most recognizable landmarks. Over here, interactive videos and displays provide an informative and entertaining guide to London’s Tower Bridge. Learn about the Tower Bridges’ history and how it was built over the River Thames. Use the Tower Bridge Exhibition tickets to go up to the high-level walkways and enjoy stunning views of the city. London’s famous historic buildings and museums are also nearby to the Tower Bridge including Tower Of London and HMS Belfast.

Windsor Castle

Built over 900 years ago, Windsor Castle is the official home of Her Majesty the Queen and world’s largest and oldest castle. This popular London tourist attraction is located in the outskirts and visitors can reach Windsor Castle from London Waterloo or London Paddington Train Stations within 30 minutes. Picturesque gardens and the beautiful English countryside surround this castle and within the castle grounds lay St George’s Chapel which features Henry VIII’s tomb. Currently, Windsor Castle hosts the “The Queen: 60 Photographs for 60 Years” special exhibition which is to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. Visitors can admire the State Apartments, furnished with extravagant treasures from the Royal Collection, including masterpieces by Holbein, Rubens, Van Dyck and Brueghel. Ticket holders can also enjoy a very informative 2-hour audio tour about the royal residence.

The Churchill War Rooms

Churchill War Rooms is a museum dedicated to the life of Sir Winston Churchill, and the secret base of operations located for Britain’s during the World War II. Visitors can learn about all ninety years of Winston Churchill’s life through five chapters, firstly his childhood years then his early political career followed by him being the British Prime Minister in early years starting May 1940, his later years and the finally the infamous ‘Gathering Storm’ period. The Churchill War Rooms uses unique media displays and cutting edge technology to showcase the life of Winston Churchill, including a ‘Lifeline’ which is fifteen metre long whereby visitors can access a digital ‘filing cabinet’ of Churchill’s life, divided by time.

London Eye

Launched in 2000, The London Eye is the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel and was designed by architects Julia Barfield and David Marks. This magnificent and triumphant structure allows people to see London from a completely different perspective as they go through a 25-minute slow-motion ride inside one of the capsules. On a clear day visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of London’s most famous landmarks as they go through the 360 degrees turn. To avoid the long queues, be sure to buy your tickets online and get a 10% discount and for an additional £10, visitors can check in 15 minutes before “departure” with a Fast Track flight, thus saving more time. Visitors can also enjoy a 40-minute sightseeing voyage on the Thames on board of the London Eye River Cruise

The Top 50 Places in London

London is one of the most exciting cities to visit, full of magnificent architecture and steeped in history. The city is vibrant and buzzing with life and you can’t help but get caught up in the wonderful atmosphere of this magnificent place.

It is true to say that there is something for everyone and one thing for sure is you will not get chance to be bored. Many of the city’s attractions are absolutely free and can be visited on foot, so long as you have some comfortable footwear.

Here are 50 of the top places to visit, although I could go on and on. I have not listed them in any specific order as everyone has such different tastes. If there’s anywhere not listed that you are interested in let me know and I’ll see if I can find some more information for you.


Before you start your journey it’s worth knowing about the London transport system. There is an underground train system that interconnects throughout London. It is commonly known as the ‘tube’. It’s probably the quickest way to get around. At first it may seem daunting but with a little help from London Underground’s friendly staff and a tube map you will be on your way in no time.


You may also be familiar with London’s famous red buses. Never run for a bus as there will be another along in a matter of minutes. This is not always the quickest way to travel, but by far the best for viewing the beauty of the city.


Hackney carriages or black cabs – stick out your arm and hail a cab. Just not in rush hour as you will pay dearly. There are plenty of unlicensed cabs, cheaper but personally I wouldn’t take a risk as a Tourist.

The Oyster card – is what all the locals use. If you are staying in London for more than a few days it’s certainly well worth buying one. As I speak (September 2012) they are 5 English pounds to buy, and then you top up as you go. Within 2 to 3 journeys you will have got your money back. You can use them on buses and the tube.

Travel cards – allow you to travel around London for a set price depending on what zones you are visiting.

The London pass – is a pass that allows you to visit many attractions free or for a reduced cost. This includes some travel. It also allows you to skip the queues

A – Z Guide – The A-Z is a street index of London. You can buy one from most news agents. If you are at a tube/train station then nip into WH Smith’s (news agents) and you will most certainly see a copy to buy. They are easy to use and will help you find your way around very easily whilst giving you a sense of where everything is situated.

1. Tower Bridge – over 8 years to build and more than 11,000 tons of steel were used to construct this great bridge. The high walkways allow you to see the River Thames. The bridge opens it bascules once or twice a day. There is also a permanent exhibition with the towers of the bridge.

2. Tower of London – Almost next door to the Tower Bridge, you can get a good view from the bridge down onto the 900 year old fortress built by William the Conqueror. You will see the infamous Beefeater’s dressed in their red uniforms guarding the tower. Every English school child pays a visit to the tower at least once during their school years. Her majesty’s crown jewels are kept here and well worth a look, amongst all the other exciting things to view.

3. St. Pauls Cathedral situated in the Diocese of London attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. It was designed by Architect Christopher Wren and built between 1665 and 1670. It is described as a ‘House of prayer for all people of all nations. It is to protect against injustice and public expression to hope for a better society’ Martin Luther King collected his Nobel Prize here in 1964. Royal weddings and state funerals are also held here.

4. Buckingham Palace – official London residence of Queen Elizabeth II. The palace opens its doors to visitors once a year.

5. Westminster Abbey – if you love history you will not be disappointed when you visit this fascination building. Over 1000 years old it has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place for 17 monarchs.

6. Big Ben (formal name Elizabeth Tower) – The Londoner’s favourite icon. The huge bell’s chime is loved by the locals. Standing tall on the banks of the river Thames next to the houses of parliament it’s certainly a sight to see.

7. Houses of Parliament – next door to Big Ben you can walk around the Houses of Parliament or take an official guided tour.

8. The Natural History Museum – you can spend hours wondering around this superb museum. The huge dinosaur in the main entrance is a real hit with the kids, as is the enormous T-Rex in the dinosaur exhibition. Admission is free.

9. The Science Museum – this spectacular museum will hold you in awe and capture your imagination. There’s a whole are in the basement of interactive play designed specifically for children. Admission is free (It’s next to the Natural History Museum).

10. The V& A (Victoria and Albert) Museum – described as the world’s greatest museum of Art and Design. It’s definitely worth a look even if you think it may not be your thing. Admission free (next to the above museums).

11. The National Gallery – Houses one of the world’s greatest exhibitions of Western European art. Admission is free.

12. The Tate Britain – Gallery – a wonderful gallery with many fascinating art and photography exhibitions. Admission is free.

13. The Tate Modern – Sister museum to Tate Britain, but located on the South of the river. If you like something a bit more contemporary then this is the place for you. Admission is free.

14. The British Museum – Arts and Artefacts from British history. Admission is free.

15. Madame Tussauds – The famous wax work museum. Loved by tourists.

16. London Planetarium – Just next to to Madame Tussauds is the London Planetarium. Get a real feeling for the night sky. Both are very near to Baker Street (home of Sherlock Holmes) and beautiful Regents Park.

17. Hyde Park – One of London’s most famous parks. Popular with everyone. Visit speaker’s corner and listen to the latest debates or simply wander around these glorious grounds. At the top of busy Oxford Street.

18. Green Park – Another glorious park close to Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus. The famous Ritz hotel is nearby.

19. Greenwich – Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum, Observatory – catch a boat down the Thames to Greenwich Village. You can visit the fascinating Maritime museum, have a tour around the Observatory and view the famous Cutty Sark.

20. The Ritz – Anyone for High Tea? If you fancy some afternoon tea in luxurious surroundings then you can book in for one of the five daily tea sessions. If you have a healthy budget you can stay at the hotel, visit the ballroom or cinema. Close to Piccadilly and Green Park.

21. The Savoy – the famous Savoy hotel with panoramic views of London skyline and the river Thames. If you book far enough in advance you may be able to grab a deal.

22. Camden Market – is one the most popular London markets. Bustling at the weekend with tourists and locals. You will find funky clothes, music, great food, bars, pubs and restaurants. A great atmosphere, right on the canal. It’s a little quieter during the week as there’s no big market but plenty of shops to visit.

23. Portobello Market – the famous market is full of vintage clothes and antiques. If you are looking for something a little unique then take a trip, you won’t be disappointed.

24. Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath – The heath spans across North London and is the perfect place to stretch your legs, have a picnic or visit the historic Kenwood House. There are also natural pools where many of the locals swim. A word of advice – take a map as you can spend hours wondering around if you get lost. It’s big and beautiful.

25. Carl Marx and Highgate Woods – About a 20 minute walk from Hampstead Heath is Highgate Village. Here you will find the famous Highgate cemetery, the final resting place of Carl Marx just one of the many famous people buried here. Highgate itself is a quaint Victorian village with some good pubs and restaurants (The Flask is very old and particularly good).

26. Brick Lane – Once home to the Jewish community it is now housed with Indian restaurants. Actually, most of the curry houses are run by the Bangladeshi community who make up the majority of the local community.

27. The Museum of Childhood (Bethnal Green) – something for the children. Artefacts, costumes, arts and activities, treasure hunts and more. Check out the exhibitions. Children and Adults will love this family day out.

28. The Royal London Hospital – (Whitechapel) has a museum open to the public. It was here that Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man) spent his last few years. Displays include those of Joseph Merrick, Edith Cavell and original material on Jack the Ripper who committed his crimes around this area.

29. Walks around London – one of the best ways to see London is on foot. There’s the ‘Charles Dickens’ walk, Haunted Holborn, Money trail through the city’s square mile and much more.

30. Borough Market – Opposite London Bridge Tube Station. This is one of London’s biggest wholesale food markets. Delicious game and fish supplies as well as Artisan Bakers, Specialist Beers stalls and fresh fruit and vegetables. Open on Friday and Saturday. There is a pub just along the road called ‘The George’ one of the oldest pubs in London – worth a visit.

31. Colombia Road Market – in the East End. If you like flowers then this is the market to visit (Sunday’s only and it usually closes around 3pm). Close by is the famous Spitalfields market.

32. Shoreditch – Trendy Shoreditch with its warehouse conversions, art galleries and very cool bars is also worth a visit.

33. Soho – once home to the ‘ladies of the night’ it now a bustling cafe community. A popular place to drop into for a drink or bite to eat before you visit theatre land.

34. Covent Garden – one of London’s most popular tourist spots. Street theatre acts, arts and crafts as well as a huge choice of cafe’s bars and restaurants.

35. Oxford Street – home to all the big stores including the famous department store Selfridges. From Oxford Street you can easily access most central locations on foot.

36. The Globe Theatre – is associated with William Shakespeare. Originally built in 1599, later destroyed by fire 1613. The theatre that stands here now is approximately 750 feet from the original site. This newest site was opened in 1997 and is a popular theatre with all ages.

37. River Cruise – take a river cruise along the River Thames. You will get to see some of London’s great architecture and learn about its history.

38. Canary Wharf/London Docklands – is one of London’s tallest buildings situated in a busy financial district, alive with shops, cafés and accessible on the DLR (Docklands Light Rail).

39. Kensington Palace – in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Home to the late Princess Diana. Visit the beautiful gardens, have lunch or afternoon tea. Close to Central London.

40. The Kings Road, Chelsea – One of the posh ends of town. The Kings Road used to be home to punks, mods and rockers. Now a bit more sophisticated. There are some beautiful shops, including the famous designer Vivienne Westwood. It’s also close to Chelsea Pier, as well as Chelsea and Fulham football clubs.

41. South Bank – Cross the bridge at embankment to the South side of the river and as your descend the stairs you will be at the doorstep of The Festival Hall. This is just one of the many attractions situated along the south bank. It’s a great area of riverside with views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. You will find shops, café’s, bars, fabulous entertainment/exhibitions at the festival hall and access to the Oxo tower.

42. London Zoo – close to Camden and Regent’s Park is London Zoo. You can see some spectacular animal’s right in the middle of the city, although you wouldn’t believe it.

43. Leicester Square/Piccadilly Circus/Shaftesbury Avenue/Theatre Land – In the heart of London you can easily walk between these bustling areas of London. Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus are full of shops, cinema’s pubs and café’s. Running alongside Leicester square is Shaftesbury Avenue where many of the popular theatres are situated.

44. China Town – official name is Gerrard Street. A stone’s throw from Leicester Square to the south and Shaftsbury Avenue to the North. Even if Chinese food is not your favourite, it’s worth a stroll through the vibrant streets of Chinatown.

45. Trafalgar Square – a popular tourist attraction in the heart of the city. Home to the National Gallery, Nelson’s column and St. Martin’s-in-the-field, plus quite a few pigeons.

46. The Royal Academy of Arts – Green Park. The academy is an independent institution founded by George III in 1768. The original members wanted to provide a venue for British Arts and Architecture to be displayed to the public in which their skills could be passed onto future generations.

47. Hamley’s Toy Store – one of the finest toy stores in the world. You will find it on Regent Street. Don’t expect to ‘pop in’. There are 4 or 5 floors packed with every toy and game you could imagine. I’ve never managed to get in and out in less than an hour.

48. Hampton Court Palace – Former home to King Henry VIII. This Tudor building houses tapestries, artwork and activities for guests. There is the famous Hampton maze if you have a few hours to spare.

49. Harrods Department Store – Situated in Knightsbridge in the Royal Borough of Kensington. This upmarket store is worth a visit just to see the building. You will find luxury items of every description and the most amazing food hall.

50. Kew Gardens – The Royal Botanical gardens of Kew. Situated just 10 miles outside of London can be reached easily on the tube.

Travelers to Australia Have Now Variety of Options for Holiday Accommodations

As the Gold Coast is internationally recognized as an iconic Australian holiday destination, increasingly holidaymakers traveling to the Gold Coast are determined to source alternative accommodation options rather than pricey hotels, and hence holiday homes Gold Coast have become a common choice among travellers.Holiday homes Gold Coast encompass a variety of holiday rental options Including beachside shacks, rainforest lodges, quaint cottages, inner city mansions and much more. Holiday rentals on the Gold Coast include, in addition to holiday homes Gold Coast, holiday apartments, B&B’s, farm stays and nature retreats, just to name a few. Holiday homes Gold Coast can be located in a variety of locations including Broad beach, Surfers Paradise, Southport, Mt Tambourine, and Nerang. Another iconic holiday destination in Australia is Sydney. With its spectacular Sydney harbor and the renowned Sydney Opera House, a visit to Sydney is a necessity for anyone traveling to this great country.

Sydney holiday rentals make the ideal choice for holiday accommodation as it provides a diverse range of accommodation options such as holiday homes Sydney. Holiday homes Sydney can be found to suit a variety of holidaymakers needs, with some holiday homes Sydney providing added extras such as hamper baskets, chocolates and even champagne!Holiday homes Sydney cater for a range of budgets from cheap beach shacks to luxury mountaintop mansions. As with holiday homes Gold Coast, many holiday homes Sydney allow for pets to join on the holiday. And many provide snacks and treats for your furry friend. Byron Bay holiday homes are also a popular option for many holidaymakers, as the Byron Bay region has so much to offer tourists. With spectacular beaches, famous markets and stunning hinterland, Byron Bay is the ideal tourist destination for those looking for a little R&R.

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There are so many Byron Bay holiday homes on offer and hence it is easy for a holidaymaker to find Byron Bay holiday homes to suit them. In addition to Byron Bay holiday homes, there are other Byron Bay holiday rentals that provide an alternative to the traditional forms of accommodation such as hotels and motels. Byron Bay is renowned for its purity and natural beauty, and hence there are many health retreats in Byron Bay. Holiday homes have gained incredible popularity in recent years as many holidaymakers are sick and tired of cramped, impersonal and expensive hotel rooms. Holidaymakers seek spacious, personalized and value for money holiday accommodation, making Byron Bay holiday homes an ideal choice for a Byron getaway. There is no wonder why, holiday homes and other forms of holiday rentals are attractive holiday accommodation options when compared to the traditional hotel and the likes.

Holiday Ham: Tips for Choosing

The holiday ham is the traditional centerpiece for Easter, Christmas, and other holiday gatherings. Almost any special meal warrants a holiday ham. Many options are available in choosing a holiday ham and in the quest to make the choice your holiday ham centerpiece a success. You can not judge the value of your holiday ham by the price per pound; you need to look beyond the price for differences in hams that are available.Nutrition labels are a great place to start your comparisons of the ham. The nutrifacts gives information about the calories, fat, cholesterol, protein, and sodium contents of the ham. Generally, nutrifacts for ham are healthy since ham is a relatively lean cut of meat before anything is added. When comparing hams, be certain that you note the serving size that has been used to establish the nutritional statistics of the ham.
Although nutrition information is very similar from one ham manufacturer to another, there are several factors that will present distinguishable differences in hams. These factors may represent differences in flavor and texture profile from one brand of ham to another. These factors are bone-in ham versus boneless, slow curing of ham versus efficient curing, water levels added to the ham, different methods of smoking the ham, cooking duration, and, of course, the ingredients included the cure or marinade of the ham.
Bone-in hams provide 2-3 servings per pound and tend to highlight the added ingredients. The natural fats of the ham help to enhance the ingredients that are added to the cure (marinade). Although you may want to trim the fat away when consuming the ham, cooking the ham with its natural fat will bring out the unique differences in many spices and sweeteners used to make the ham. Boneless hams provide 4-5 servings per pound. Boneless hams usually have all visible fats removed when preparing the ham for smoking and cooking. Boneless hams are extremely simple, however if you do not mind trimming away a little fat, you will probably enjoy the flavor profile of the bone-in ham more than the boneless ham. If carving is a concern, try a pre-sliced spiral sliced ham with the bone-in.
Another factor that presents definitive differences in hams from one brand to another is the method of curing the ham. Ham is made with a flavorful cure, a marinade of water and brine that gives the ham its typical taste and appearance. Technology advancements have helped the ham curing process (adding ingredients through moisture enhancements) to become a much more efficient process than the early days of ham processing. Equipment has helped the process of getting the ingredients into the ham quickly to get the ham to the store quicker. Although the efficiency factor helps reduce the costs of production of some hams, it is not always effective in maximizing the flavor enhancement factor. Whether using new technology or traditional methods, slowing the curing process will bring out the unique differences from the added ingredients. Getting the ingredients into the meat is only half of the process, giving them a chance to work before cooking is the second half.
Water is the medium in which ham makers use to get different ingredients into the meat. Over the years, some ham makers have improved their methods to get more and more moisture into the meat. Labels will read ham, ham with natural juices, water-added ham, and ham with X% added water. Obviously, ham and ham with natural juices will have the least amount of water diluting the natural taste of ham and its added spices. Adding more and more water will help drive down the cost of the ham, but generally does little to enhance the flavor and texture of the ham itself.
The method of smoking the ham will be yet another factor that creates differences from one brand of ham to another. The traditional method of smoking ham was to use specially selected logs of hard woods that would enhance the sweeteners and spices that the ham maker chose. Soon, processors found that their ham tasted better with hickory wood, applewood, or even dried corn cobs. One of the newest technologies is a processed natural smoke that is converted to a liquid form and is applied to the hams during the cooking process. This process has helped to shorten the processing cycle of the ham. Many specialty processors still choose to stay with the natural wood of their choice to enhance the special blend of spices that gives their ham its unique flavor properties.
Much like the lengthened curing process of the ham, many ham processors feel that slow cooking ham at a lower temperature maintains the natural meat texture and cooks the spice flavors into the ham. Again, technology has been introduced to shorten the cooking cycles and reach the safe internal temperatures quicker. Some argue that the quick process changes the ham texture too much, and doe not allow the flavors of the ham and ingredients to blend during the cooking process.
Probably the one area that each ham maker will argue that his is the best is in the ingredients he chooses for the cure or marinade of the ham. Each cure has one or two prominent ingredients that help to give unique taste and aroma properties to a ham. Maple syrup, honey, and brown sugar are three primary ingredients that specialty ham processors may choose to build their cure recipe. In addition to the base ingredient, many other spices may be added to further enhance a unique recipe preference to cure a ham.
As you can see, a good centerpiece holiday ham for your Easter, Christmas, or special celebration meal goes well beyond the price per pound or an attractive package. There are many ways to make a ham less expensive, but like any good recipe, if you short cut the cycle and ingredients it may not taste as good and bring pleasure to you and your guests that you may expect. Choose your ham wisely, and enjoy one of the best tasting meal traditions.
You must insist on quality and the distinctive, elusive, one-of-a-kind flavor in your ham that can never be mass-produced by machinery or rushed through the curing and smoking process.

Bow land Forest Holiday Cottages

In the tour to holiday there are not any worries clinging down, there are no bosses screaming at you, there is no tussle for sleep and likewise these there are so many ‘there are’ in our life to do and to accomplish. But whenever one gets holiday one always try to make out plan for holidaying in some unique and different place, isn’t it? So, if you were planning to go on a holiday to some exciting and adventurous places then kick start your journey to Cottages in Lancashire. This place is full of fun, friends. I can tell you this with full confidence that this place is full of pleasure where you will feel a sense of enjoyment along with pursuit of happiness, as one of friend recently paid a visit to this majestic place on earth.

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Holiday Cottages Forest of Bow land adds a new touch to the term holiday. Here, holidaying is fun with excitement. Get to this place far away from the hustle and bustle of your place. At your place you are forced to bear the noise, hear the tantrums of many annoying people but here in Bow land one of the finest Ribble valley Inn you are sure to have a fantastic time with your family, friends, your loved ones and your near and dear ones.
Orchard Cottages are the United Kingdom’s finest service provider who aids you to have unrestricted fun and one exciting thing that you must know is that you can prepare your specific food needs with your own hands. Just as it sounds interesting, it also tastes better. Don’t go for any other place if you need a break from your busy schedule. Contact Orchard Cottages, get their number from their site, make a call to them, book your tickets and land straight to Holiday Cottages Forrest of Bowland. You will be amazed seeing their hospitality service. They welcome their guests in their arena as if you are the heir and heiress of that specific place. Isn’t it interesting? Just Imagine living your life like a queen and king of that place, don’t get wet with these fantastic ideas right now, head straight away to this magnificent place to get your childhood days again. 

How To Love Your Travelling Companions – Top Tips For A Great Holiday

Sun, sea, sand and sex… 

You might think it is only when lovers go on holiday that this is an issue, but what about the holiday romance situation when you are travelling with friends?  Who brings who back to where?  Are you happy for your friend to bring someone else back to the twin bed in the room you are sharing?  This is probably a good topic to bring up before your holiday.  Do you let your drunk friend go back with some stranger to his hotel room?  I suppose for me, I’m not happy if there’s a third person in the room, but as long as they are sleeping and nothing else is going on (give them an hour or so of privacy) and I don’t have to deal with his bare bottom, I’d rather my friend stayed in my room – and thank the Lord it’s never quite come to this!

As for sex with your boyfriend, I think that so many relationships fail after a holiday because you imagine that without the strain of work and everything else sex will be sensational, orgasmic and intimate.  Sometimes it’s not.  Add jet lag, add the noisy couple next door, add tummy troubles, add money worries and arguments, add “you made me sit in the ESPN bar all night and watch the NBA play offs instead of taking me in a carriage ride round Central Park – haven’t you seen Sex And The City?” add the guy in the B&B saying “don’t worry I’ve installed lots of surveillance cameras”, add a ten hour journey, add having your wallet stolen, add too many cocktails and you may just find that the sexy lingerie you packed looks like just another thing to do, when you’d really rather put your feet up and have a cup of tea.

It can also be fantastic – even when things have been off to a rocky start.  Take the surveillance cameras – yes, one off-the-cuff remark by the owner of a B&B in York and I did refuse to take my clothes off on what was supposed to be a romantic weekend.  I actually borrowed my boyfriend’s boxers and T-shirt to sleep in.  There was a bit of under the covers action, but it was, let’s just say, under par.  As we were driving, after two nights of this, to our next destination, one night in a remote Ramada Inn I started giggling because tonight we were going to have “above the covers” sex – it made me laugh because some guys only get that on their birthday!  And yes it made up for the dodgy nights before.  When we finally got home the next night exhausted from the weekend, I was more in love with him than ever, as I said to him as he got up at 5am to go home and get ready for work – “I just wish we had the time and energy to have sex.” 

The truth is that while holidays can allow you the time and energy to have sex, and even help you work out your frustrations, whatever is going on in your relationship is baggage that generally comes with you.  You can use your trip to distract you from them, or to take time to deal with them.

On my last trip with my boyfriend we were the manic tourists that we always were, and grumbled at each other over our usual niggles, playing the game of the old married couple who know each other so well that they can order for each other, and acting as if we had all the time in the world, as if the only clock ticking was to that flight home.  It was only when I was looking at a big red balloon heart that I wobbled and I saw through the illusion, to the fact that he was leaving and how much I was going to miss him, and I understood why we were playing the game, because it was just too painful to look directly at.  So we kept playing.  Our sex life was equally confused, were we an old married couple or lovers saying goodbye?  I’ll always remember the sunset at the airport, as we waited to board our plane, saying goodbye to the holiday, and at last we couldn’t deny that we would soon be saying goodbye for good.  Looking back I can see that the holiday was also trying to take a holiday from our situation, that by arguing about the silly little things you argue about on holiday we were avoiding talking about the really big issues, issues that we had discussed, agreed, but that neither of us were happy about.

So the answer?  If you want great sex on holiday?  Try to do it above the covers, try to give yourselves a bit of time to indulge instead of rushing around, buy some ear plugs, (a good night’s sleep is for me one of the best aphrodisiacs!) and sometimes the answer is just to put on the sexy negligee you brought even if you are not in the mood, even if you have been getting at each other, because sometimes it can be so worth it. 

Best of all try to work out your problems and issues before you go away, rather than carrying them with you.

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You may not work out your issues with your lover, friend, mother or even yourself, before you go on holiday.  It may all happen magically as you stand before one of the world’s great natural feats, or architectural icons, or get rubbed down in a Moroccan spa, that you realise those issues are so insignificant compared to your deep love for that person, even if that person is yourself.  Or you may just get tired, stressed or angry enough to blow up and open up about something that’s bothering you, and you may finally clear the air.  Or you may keep a lid on it, knowing that you are really incompatible and you can’t wait to go home, or that next time you’ll do things differently.  Or you may get on that plane knowing that no matter how much you care about each other that the holiday is over and there is a real world where you can’t be together.  And if that should happen, remember, when the holiday is over… you’ll always have Paris.