Category Archives: Britain

A Guide to London

I’m lucky. Not only was I born and raised in a safe, free, cultured and sophisticated part of the world; I was born and raised in the best city in that part of the world. London’s lovely, and a great, fun place to live in. It’s even better to visit – you get used to London when you live there; everything’s new and fresh when you visit. Well, new in a sense. And in another, less relativistic sense, very very old. This is a guide to London from a local. I hope I don’t disappoint.

First and foremost, London has some of the best nightlife in the world. Maybe I’m saying that because I know about the nightlife a little more than I do in Prague or New York or Berlin. Even if that’s the case, there’s no denying it’s good. Real good. Any traveller looking to go out in London should head north-east – it’s where the students and the artsy crowd go, it tends to be cheap and it’s almost always very stylish. Drink in Dalston, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch. The best suggestion I can give is to walk along Shoreditch high street and see what you like the look of – the bars change names as regularly as the clients change their clothes, so it’s difficult to suggest a single place.

London, of course, is packed full of great sights and places to visit. To save money, book an apartment in a cheaper area of London and avoid the paid tourist exhibitions like The London Dungeon and sight-see in the city – there’s more than enough to visit. Rent a “Boris Bike” from somewhere in the city and make your way around – everything’s close enough together for a bicycle to do just fine, and again it’ll save you a fair amount of money. If you don’t feel like cycling, though, invest in an Oyster Card. Even if you’re not visiting for long it’ll almost certainly be worth it.

Recently I had the opportunity to see London in yet another different light – as a treasure hunter. Some companies offer a riddle-solving treasure hunt through London via text messages. Stuff like: “head north on the thin rope” (the Strand). It’s good fun and definitely worth considering for an evening as it combines two of London’s very best activities – drinking and sightseeing. There’s various websites available but you can check the one we used here.

To be clear here, London’s not cheap by any means, but a traveller on a shoestring has hundreds of ways of making his money stretch. The most important among them is to prepare well – book an apartment ahead of time and eat in (start drinking in also). Try the street food or check out one of the smaller restaurants outside central London – eating out is very important to Londoners, and they know what they like. The business around here is so competitive that you’re almost guaranteed to find somewhere with great food; provided you don’t try too hard and make sure to avoid the gimmicky high-brow restaurants that exist to keep bankers separate from the rest of us. You’ll know them when you see them.

I’m lucky to live in London; I have forever to experience the city. A guest can’t stay as long, and so needs to do stuff a lot faster. There’s probably something profound in there, but I can’t quite find it. Suffice to say: London’s great. Enjoy it while you can, and regarding the flight home: haha suckers.

A Different Holiday

The summer is almost here and that means it’s time for a vacation. However, instead of just taking a regular holiday this year, why not try something a bit different? In honor of the New Wallace and Gromit’s Great UK Adventure campaign, I’m going to throw you some ideas for a Great British holiday and some of them even have a bit of a twist.

Motorhome

Winding country lanes cut through the rolling hills of Britain, covered in a network of emerald green fields, passing through picturesque villages; it sounds idyllic and a road trip is one of the best ways of taking this all in. It’s easy to find good rental deals and with plenty of camping grounds around the country, so you won’t have any problems finding a place to rock up for the night.

Barge Holidays

In years gone by the network of canals that cross through the countryside and entered the cities used to be one of the main ways of moving cargo around the country. The heavy goods traffic has now moved onto the motorways and railway lines, leaving the canals empty for happy holidaymakers.

The Midlands and the Norfolk Broads are two of the best parts of the UK for barge holidays. These areas offer the perfect mixture of beautiful countryside and winding waterways. A peaceful week in a barge chugging through the English countryside is one of the best ways to explore Britain. Barges are also available for daytrips, which can be a great option for a birthday party or a small gathering of friends.

Vardo Holiday

Enjoy Britain from the front of your Vardo to the rhythmic sound of horses hooves. These old fashioned and extremely colorful Romani caravans are perfect for the green traveller looking for an eco-friendly holiday. It is definitely a holiday experience that you will never forget, though after a week guiding with your carthorse, you might end up wanting to take the horse home with you.

The intimate atmosphere in a Vardo makes it a great options for couples looking for a rustic romantic getaway. Try to make sure that you pick a good weekend for this type of holiday though as the weather can be pretty unforgiving and there is not much space to hide away from the rain.

Bed and Breakfast

There are hundreds of luxury Bed and Breakfast over the length and breadth of the country that are just perfect for a couple looking for a weekend escape. There are so many places to choose from that with a bit of research you are bound to find a Bed and Breakfast that is perfect for you. You choose, do you want to holiday in a beautiful town houses in the centre of Bath, on a working farm in the Lake District or even a in the Cornish countryside.

A night in a luxury Bed and Breakfast can cost as little as £80 a night, making it a great and affordable holiday option. Many of the more upmarket Bed and Breakfasts’ are also linked to gourmet restaurants, meaning you can enjoy more than one meal on the premises.

holiday in caravan
Caravan Holiday

Just like camping, a holiday in a caravan is a nice way to experience the great outdoors. Unlike camping however, a modern caravan comes with all of the amenities that you might expect from a modern hotel room or small flat. There’s a TV, a nice comfy bed and even a small space where you can do a bit of cooking. For people who like to go on holiday, this is the perfect home away from home.

Exmoor National Park in South West England

Exmoor national Park in the South West of England is definitely worth a visit if you like the outdoors. It has some of the most unique landscapes of moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland in England.

The Valley of the Rocks is a dry valley that runs parallel to the coast in North Devon. It is a popular tourist destination, noted for its herd of feral goats, about a kilometre from village of Lynmouth, North Devon. The walk along the cliffs is easy, and wild goats can be seen everywhere.

Exmoor

There are a number of picturesque villages to visit, such as Dunster Town, a medieval village with an ancient castle, priory, dovecote, yarn market, inns, packhorse bridge and a mill. Here like in all other major villages, there is definitely no lack of gift and tea shops.

Exmoor

The landscape is quite stunning, and everywhere you look there are sheep. They have apparently grazing the lands for more than 3,000 years.

Enjoying Sports on Your Next Trip

With the biggest competition in club football hosting its final in the capital this year, fans of the beautiful game will be rearing to get as close to the action as possible, even though there’s not an English side in sight. Although it’s tempting to call it in and just watch the game on TV, the opportunity to see such a coveted game in the flesh shouldn’t be passed up so easily.

Wembley stadium holds 90,000 people, a potential which is sure to be hit in its fullest as the 2013 UEFA Champions League draws to an epic conclusion. While many of these seats will be snapped up by the finalist’s supporters, if you are lucky enough to have secured yourself a ticket to the most important match in the club season calendar, there are some steps you should take to maximise your football fun.

Wembley Stadium

Assembling your squad
Much like the Pep Guardiola’s, Jose Mourinho’s or Alex Ferguson’s of the world, you will need to carefully assemble your handpicked best line up of mates to enjoy the match with. The great thing about a game of this magnitude is that it’s all the easier to get pulled in by the atmosphere, so you can mix in a few fresh-to-football faces with your more seasoned pro’s and the new lads will still have themselves a great time. Once you’ve worked out who to bring along, be sure to make group bookings with Travelodge, where you can get a great price on somewhere clean and comfortable to lay your head up when you’ve finished celebrating post-match.

Staying neutral
While it could be tempting to grab yourself a shirt for your favourite to be crowned champions of Europe this year, one of the most magic parts about this fixture is the neutrality (and the shirt will probably cost you more than it’s worth for amount of times you use it). So instead, maybe just put a quiet bet on whoever you thinks got the edge and enjoy watching a high stakes game without the pressure of your own clubs glory weighing in the balance.

Show them a good time
With so many people travelling to London to spectate at football’s premier club event, finalist supporters or otherwise, the visitors will want a good time afterwards, whatever the result. London’s nightlife has plenty to offer for everyone so make sure you know what you’re doing by brushing up on the scene. If anyone’s looking lost, you can use your knowledge to show them that England is a friendly place for football fans and that the capital is a great place for celebration – a great way to make new friends with a shared interest of top football.

These are just some of the ways to ensure you have a great time at an event that promises the highest quality sport of the year, the most intense atmosphere and the most jubilant celebration. Do yourself a favour and get in on the action – watching it on TV just won’t be the same!