Independence at its best, a weekend in London alone.

When many of us think of booking a vacation in London we never really think of going to one of the world’s biggest cities on our own, this article is going to look at the pros and cons to going traveling alone, and also some facts of London that no matter who you are with, they remain the same.

London facts are simple and impressive they are big and bold and here are some facts to allow for you to realise just how big the city is
•One of the busiest cities in the world
•Over 5 million tourist each year
•Most popular tourist destination in the world
•London is the largest city in Europe
•London occupies over 620 square miles
•Population of over 7 million residents
•Approximately 12% of Britain’s love in London
• Home to the tallest building in Europe, The Shard
•London was the first city in the word to have an underground
•Home to over 100 theatres.
•Home to the world’s busiest Airport, Heathrow
oOver 72 million people use this airport each year

When looking at these figures and facts, it goes to show how big London is, it is easy to feel insignificant in a city so large, it can also feel very liberating when it comes to travelling to London alone and independently. Being in a big city should not be intimidating, though it is easy to why it can be, it should be a great time in anyone’s life, and when it has been done once it will not take much persuasion to do it again.


There are many benefits to travelling independently to a city like London, people are able to do it on a whim, purchasing a train ticket or jumping in the car, searching or London last minute hotels will also give you great deals. When it comes to attractions in London it is never going to be a lonely experience, with so many people around you won’t feel so alone. Each of the attractions in London are a popular and wonderful experience, though, if you attend the galleries and museums, often getting lost in your own thoughts can be freeing.

It is not only the galleries and museums that offer peace, it is also the parks and the gardens that offer relaxing afternoons. Afternoon tea in the city can be done comfortably alone. When it comes to dining in the evening one can make reservations at different restaurants, the choice of room service might be available from your accommodation choice, or there could be an onsite restaurant for you dine in.

There is also the West End, it makes no odds whether one is alone, or with a group of friends, the West End is a wonderful experience.  Many people might feel intimidated or frightened when it comes to travelling to a city like London, but when one see’s all the options that are available to them, it can soon become very tempting to book a single ticket to escape for a while with yourself and your thoughts.

There is also the other side of London that has not been discussed, a spa break for one, many people like to do this with others, but having a break on your own to truly relish in the feelings and the relaxation that is being offered is again freeing for the mind, body and soul, escaping from the busy lives we lead each day and being able to have a little time to self-reflect.

Going to London with people is also a great experience as one is able to share their experiences with others, and not that London is not a safe place, but being with someone is safer, especially if you feel vulnerable or think you might be targeted as a vulnerable individual. Though it must also be said that people in London are usually far too busy to be bothered with tourist.

Over all London is a wonderful place and welcomes everyone, it is friendly social, busy and enjoyable no matter who you are or what the reason is for traveling.

Many people have to travel to the city alone for business reasons, on a daily basis there are many independent travellers wondering around the city, take a trip that you will remember, sometimes a break alone is a wonderful way for you to not only open your mind and relax but also for you to meet new people, whether these are hotel guests, other diners, or people in a bar.

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An area with everything, Kensington has it all.

Kensington has it all, gardens, parks, palaces, museums, galleries, restaurants, hotels and so much more. It is one of the most desired areas of the capital city and welcomes millions of tourist, visitors and residents each year. This article is going to discuss and explain what it is about Kensington that is so wonderful, looking at hotels, attractions and restaurants.

Hotels in Kensington London
Where to start when there are so many wonderful options to choose from, many are rated 4-5 stars and all of them are worthy of their ratings. Each establishment within this area will offer a different experience and something to remember. Personal experiences would advise one to make a bed and breakfast reservation and if the hotel restaurant takes ones fancy then a booking can be made, however, there are so many beautiful places for one to dine in when it comes to Kensington that sampling as much as possible would be suggested.

Dining in Kensington
Here is a short list of recommendations, there are many more options but here is a collection of the best value and quality when it comes to dining in the city, with so many options made available it can be daunting, here is a list of examples of what is available.

Launceston Place
1A Launceston Place, Kensington, London, W85RL            ££££
An all-round award winning restaurant, this private dining space is a wonderful choice for couples and families to enjoy a delectable meal together, with a changing menu throughout the seasons, and a wine list to impress any connoisseur.

The Terrace on Holland Street
33c Holland Street, London, W84LX                £££
Very private and quaint, with just 10 tables available reservations should be made to avoid disappointment, there’s a saying that “little of the best is better than a lot of rubbish” this has never been more true than with this restaurant.

Min Jiang
Royal Garden Hotel, 2-4 Kensington High Street, London, W84PT     £££
A delectable Asian menu that will get the mouth-watering, fantastic offers and choices available, sharers and large table bookings available, for the best duck in London confirm 24 hours in advance for the freshest and tastiest about.

Kitchen W8
11-13 Abingdon Road, London, W86AH                £££
With a tasty lunch and dinner menu available, this is a great option for any time of the day, the ambience will change with the hours of the day, on the menu one can expect A La Carte, Set Menu, Sunday Menu, Tasting Menu, each will have a range of ‘English Style with a French Soul.’

Cote
47 Kensington Court, London, W85DA
With a tasty French menu available, some of the finest wines to sample, with a breakfast, lunch, early evening and weekend menu available, it goes without comment that this establishment is accommodating as well as mouth-watering.

Kensington Attractions

•    Serpentine Gallery
o    Kensington Gardens, London, W23XA
An inspiring venue for anyone to enjoy and appreciate, this gallery often has exhibitions, shows, demonstrations and so much more for visitors to enjoy. For a day out with a difference and to get a little inspired and creative give Serpentine Gallery a visit.

•    Albert Memorial
o    Kensington Gardens, A Royal Park
The Albert memorial, located in Kensington Gardens is an iconic and beautiful vision, if one appreciates the outdoors and is enjoying the tranquillity and peacefulness of the gardens, then taking a moment to stand back and appreciate the vision is over whelming.

•    Serpentine boating lake
o    Kensington Gardens, A Royal Park

A fun experience for the entire family, taking a boat to row on the lake is not only relaxing but fun for children. Taking time out from the city to float on the water for an hour can really open the mind and allow for perspective to take over.

Getting about London via Kensington

Using the underground is going to be the best way to get about the city, it is the fastest and most cost efficient, here are each of the stations in Kensington and the connecting lines.

Notting Hill Gate – Central, Circle and District Lines
Holland Park – Central Line
High Street Kensington – Circle, District Line
Earls Court – District, Piccadilly Line
Gloucester Road – Circle, District and Piccadilly Line
South Kensington – Circle District and Piccadilly Line

N.B There is an over-head line and buses, as well as taxi’s, back cabs and private hire cars available.

It goes without saying anymore that Kensington really does have some of the best days and experiences available, with everything one could require for a perfect stay in the city, getting about the city is also simple with the connections that are available. Heading to the capital does not have to be manic, it can be a slow, relaxing and wonderful experience.

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Feel alive in Notting Hill.

Notting Hill is one of the best areas of London if one is looking for fun and entertainment for the weekend. London as a whole is a very social place, dining, heading to a bar, going for a dance, at the weekend, after a day in the office or with friends, it is the norm in London.

Not only is Notting Hill a popular choice all year round, it is exceptionally popular when it comes to markets and the famous Portabella Road, there is also the Notting Hill carnival that takes place once a year each August. It is estimated that over 1 million people attend the carnival each year. It is a safe and organised celebration and there are thousands of police present.

When it comes to Notting Hill there are many different choices of accommodation. One of the best value and most popular has to be the London Premier Notting Hill; this accommodation is one of the most relaxing and comfortable establishments in the city, with friendly and welcoming staff. Each of the rooms offers you all the amenities that one would require for a comfortable stay;

•Complimentary Wi-Fi and Broadband
•Room service
•In-room tea and coffee making facilities
•A hair dryer
•Each room has an electronic door and key
•Fresh flowers are used throughout the establishment
•Bathrobes and slippers available upon request
•Mood lighting to suit any ambience
•Night time reading lights
•Iron and ironing board
•Complimentary toiletries
•32” plasma TV in most of the bedrooms
•Telephone in all rooms

If anything does not meet ones standards then do not hesitate to speak to a member of staff who will assist you and with a 24 hour reception there will always be someone to speak to.

Not only is accommodation popular in this part of London, but also dining, depending on what type of food your taste buds fancy, there is something available there are many different restaurants with a wide range of price tags.

Here is a guide to the top five restaurants in Notting Hill, including price ranges and addresses.

The New Angel
39 Chepstow Place, London, W24TS    ££££
The New Angel has a varied European menu with a twist of French added, not only is the menu mouth-watering, but the wine list is also impressive. This is said to be a must visit when and if in the area.

The Notting Hill Kitchen
92 Kensington Park Road, London, W112PN    £££
This is a beautiful restaurant that offers platters and shares for starters, allowing people to get more taste from the menu, the main courses include a variety of shellfish and seafood, as well as a delectable taste of Spain and Portuguese.

Beach Blanket Babylon
45 Ledbury Road, London, W112AA        £££
Effectively known as BBB, it was first opened in 1990, and is located within an old Georgian Mansion in the heart of Notting Hill.  Not only is there a delectable English menu, but there is also a fabulous choice of vegetarian dishes. No amount of words will do this establishment justice, a visit is necessary.

E&O
14 Blenheim Crescent, London, W111NN    ££
This is a very popular restaurant that has been serving Asian cuisines and the best cocktails in this part of London. It is open all through the week and has been serving since 2001 and is still as busy and popular today than it was 14 years ago when the first plate was served.

Saporitalia Pizzeria Ristorante
222 Portabella Road, Notting Hill, London, W111LJ    ££
The name says it all, only the reviews and feedback says more, this is apparently the best pizzeria in London, it if often stated that this is a must experience and the most scrumptious pizzas and flavours are available here. And located in the heart of Portabella Rd it is convenient for brunch, lunch and dinner.

There are many associations when it comes to Notting Hill, as mentioned the world famous carnival, Portabella Road and markets, and the film it’s self that was filmed here. Notting Hill the film, put the area of London permanently on the map, it is now one of London’s most visited film sets. To this day and since 1999 when the film was premiered Portabella Road has attracted millions of tourist and visitors each year.

This is an exciting and area of London, an entire weekend break can be spent here, there are so many different attractions and things to keep everyone occupied, if crowds and busy places are not your thing then avoid the area completely during the End of August celebrations.

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Spend a day with the real animals of London.

London zoo is one of the top attractions in the capital city. It attracts thousands of visitors each year, some residents of London and the surrounding areas and others tourist from way out of town. Listed are some tips of accommodation, visits to the zoo, the best times to go and how to get cheaper and faster entry as well as information about the Zoo.

About the Zoo
Located in central London, this Zoo is the home of many different animals from around the world including;

•An Aquarium
•Rain Forest Life
•Butterfly Paradise
•Different species of Birds
•Komodo Dragons
•Animal Adventure
•Into Africa
•Reptile House
•Bugs from around the world
•Otters
•Meerkats
•Galapagos Tortoises
•Meet the Monkeys
•Pygmy Hippos
•Tiger Territory
•Gorilla Kingdom
•Penguins

With so many animals for visitors to enjoy, this I sure to be a fun filled day, if you plan ahead with your visit then hopefully getting to see the feeding times will not be a problem, there are so many fun experiences and sites to witness. The zoo is open from 10am each day, it closes at different times depending on the season, check ahead to confirm the closing times. Not only are you ale to visit with friends and family, but party bookings are also available, contact the zoo directly for more information. And remember that purchasing tickets online and in advance will not only gain you entry but there will be no cueing.

Whether you are visiting London for the Zoo or just hoping to fit in a visit, one of the best locations to stay in has to be Hotels Hyde Park London, it is close enough to all the attractions without being central for the business that the city holds, when it comes to accommodation location is everything, a city like London that has so many opportunities, travel is always going to be imminent, whether you stay in Piccadilly where hustle and bustle is or whether you stay further afield. Obviously the further out of London the cheaper the accommodation is going to be.

Hyde Park is located around the corner from the Zoo so getting to spend a day with the animals is easier and it will save you time being located close by, it is a 15 minute journey when travelling by car, so if you are tired after the day out it will not be long before one can rest.

To make sure one has a busy and fun filled day or to make a day a little more memorable and special, especially if visiting with children, then why not seek information about becoming a keeper for the day, Or how about V.I.P feeding treatment, this is an experience that will be fun for everyone. At the zoo one can also enquire about the photography workshop that involves the animals. If it is a celebration or birthday party why not see the party packages that are available at the Zoo, they run all through the year so each child can have a more memorable birthday celebration.

A trip to the zoo should be fun filed and exciting, children love to be around the animals, and with such a wide selection here, with feeding times and shows available no one will want the day to come to an end.

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Wimbledon; London biggest annual event.

Many thousands of people each year head to London between June and July to see the tournament take place, it is one of the most celebrated sports, not only with the public, but celebrities and the royal family. It was first established as Wimbledon is 1868, it is a sports that is wonderful for the whole family, many sorts today are dominated by one sex or one age bracket, this is not the case when it comes to tennis, hence why it is such a popular sport. Women, Men and Children play and compete, there is something uniting about the game and it brings families and supporters together.

Wimbledon is associated with class and elegance, it is a sport to be appreciated, often cucumber sandwiches, champagne and strawberries are served, if people are heading to the capital city for the event then why not make sure the choice of accommodation matches the experience, Shaftesbury suites are a wonderful way for anyone to be able to relax surrounded by luxury.

Each of the suites comes complete with;
•Complimentary fresh fruits and bottled water
•Ironing and ironing board
•In room tea and coffee making facilities
•Television
•Telephone
•Electronic door locks
•Sippers on request
•Bath robes on request
•Free Wifi
•Air Conditioning

There are many other accommodation choices, but if the best is what one is looking for, and the experience of luxury for the entire break then choose wisely, not only are Shaftesbury suites some of the best available, they are also more affordable than one might be lead to believe.

Once the luxury accommodation has been chosen, there is only one thing left; time to enjoy the match. If one finds themselves a little more of a fanatic then booking a tour of the grounds should be high on the list of priorities, there is a full sized museum that allows for people to obtain facts, see trophies and video footage of some of the finest moments in tennis history.  So long as the season isn’t in its peak a tour of the lawn is also available for booking. This is an experience everyone can enjoy together, after all this is a family sport that welcomes everyone.

There are hundreds of attractions for people to see every day doing something different like a tour of Wimbledon can be liberating, especially if one thinks of themselves as a fan of the game. For fans this is a must experience, have a tour of the museums and the grounds, An entire day or weekend can be spent here, especially when there is a tournament underway, not only is one able to enjoy the game and the museum, the grounds and the available tours, there are also many on site restaurants that will tickle the taste buds, and if cucumber sandwiches and strawberries are not your thing then check out the various menus that are available. A day or weekend spent here is one worthy experience, a treat, a celebration, a weekend away, this is one that will not be forgotten in a hurry.

The museum was opened to the public in 2006 by The Duke of Kent, the museum has many artefacts homes here, some date back as far as 1555. Many museums can appear daunting and boring, this particular one is not only interesting, but it is interactive, with touch screen appliances available for the public to obtain further information at their own pace.

In the museums guests can also expect to see running movies of past and present payers and games, there is also an extensive collection of the whites, the games people’s attire. If guests want to take a little something with them then visit the gift shop, there are many items and memorabilia here for one to choose from. Making a purchase for yourself of as a gift for someone else, for people who enjoy the sport this is a treat that will be treasured.

Even though the tour and the experience of going to Wimbledon is the highlight of any fans life, nothing compares to sitting on centre court, especially when one thinks of the games that have been held here and the trophies that have been won and the broken records, having a tour of centre court before you take position and watch the match unfold in front of you.

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Don’t forget the fish ‘n’chips during your holiday in London!

Of all the most popular holiday locations in the world, Britain occupies a key position. This is due to its rich and charming history that blends perfectly with its modern and cosmopolitan society. For those who love history, Britain is the place to visit. And there is no better time than summer 2015 to be in the country, when the weather is warm with sunny skies. It offers the perfect opportunity to explore the many ancient and modern attractions that this beautiful country has to offer visitors and holiday makers.

If you do plan to holiday this summer in Britain, London should be at the top of your travel itinerary. It offers a panoramic view of British culture as it has evolved over the past centuries. With summer being peak travel time for tourists to the capital, it would be best to book your hotel rooms in advance.

There are a wide variety of hotels that cater to all types of travellers from luxury seekers to backpackers. If you plan to travel with the family a good option would be The Shaftsbury Hotel, which offers comfort and the best of amenities at a very reasonable price. Another benefit of staying at The Shaftsbury Hotel is that they offer different travel deals and discount packages at different parts of the year.

Once you are in the city make it a point to indulge yourself and explore the many culinary delights that the city offers. Of all of them perhaps the most quintessentially British dish is fish and chips, which is universally accepted as being the nation’s export to the world.

How did this dish come about to being the most popular of all British dishes?
To begin with the potato is thought to have been introduced into the country from the New World courtesy of Sir Walter Raleigh in the 17th century. And the concept of potato chips is borrowed from England’s neighbours the French who are attributed with creating the fried potato chip.

The combination of fish and chips as a dish is claimed by both London and Lancashire, who lay claim to having invented this meal. Initially chips served as the staple food of those living in the industrial north whereas fried fish owes its origins to London’s East End. As a matter of fact it was Charles Dickens who even referred to fried fish in his famous ‘Oliver Twist’.  This became such a hit with the public that it led to becoming the national dish!

The very first shop that sold fish and chipscame up in the North of the country and is believed to have been opened in 1863 at Mossely, close to Oldham in Lancashire. It was owned by Mr Lees who initially started his business of fish and chips in a wooden hut in the market. Later after his business prospered and became popular, he set up a permanent shop which carried the inscription in its window, “This is the first fish and chip shop in the world”.

Within the City of London the credit of setting up the first fish and chip shop on Cleveland Street goes to Joseph Malin in 1860. These shops were generally small family businesses that owners would run from the ‘front room’ of their homes and came by to increase in number during the late 19th century.

It was through the latter period of the 19th century and later that the trade expanded exponentially and served to satisfy the needs of all of those during the industrial revolution and after. Then with the invention of the steam trawler it became possible to bring in fish supplies from places as far away as Greenland, Iceland and the North Atlantic. This was further facilitated with the development of the railway that made it possible for easy and fast distribution of fish all over the country.

In fact, fish and chips became such an integral and vital part of the general public’s diet that a shop in 1931 in the area of Bradford, had to use the services of a doorman during peak hours to control the queue of people lining up. During the 1930’s the soldiers of the Territorial Army had fish and chips as a part of their staple diet,while in training before the war began.

During the Second World War,it supplementedevery family’s weekly diet and has the distinction of being one of the few foods that was not rationed. Long queues would line up when there was news that a chip shop had fish. Besides being great to taste the combination of fish and chips are a great source of fibre, protein, vitamins and iron. They provide close to a third of the recommended daily requirement of vitamins for men and more for women. For food which was once upon a time considered as being not too nutritious, it now has the approval of most health food followers.

So the next time you are in London, do not forget to drop in at the chippy shop and titillate your taste- buds!

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A few great translation apps for overseas travellers

For those who love to travel overseas for their holidays, there are some very useful gadgets and software available to assist you. After all, the biggest concern for all those international travellers who travel extensively for business or holiday, is to be able to communicate effectively with the locals in the region. For someone who does not speak the local language it can prove to be a real challenge to understand what is spoken and to be understood. This could create an embarrassing situation both for the host as well as the guest and can sometimes complicate matters and issues!

If for example, someone who does not speak English is on holiday in London and needs to communicate with the staff at his Shaftsbury hotel, there are two ways of resolving this dilemma. Either the hotel provides a staff member or translator (most top hotels like the Shaftsbury hotel employ multilingual staff) or the guest uses a software app to explain what he needs. English is spoken in most countries across the world at least to some extent, but then there arise situations when one needs to translate a sign, menu or even communicate basic instructions. At such a time having a great translation app can prove to be invaluable.

Some of the top apps available for overseas travellers are as follows:

Google Translate
Google offers a plethora of apps to users and probably its browser-based translation tool is out of the top favourites among those who travel frequently. There is its iPhone version that needs an Internet connection (not always feasible), which assists in translating foreign languages in a variety of ways. There are numerous options for users where you can typein text, use your finger or stylus to write on the screen speak or even take a photo. The drawback is that all of these input methods are not supported by every language.

There are other useful features which include a translation of messages and also a phrasebook. One of its biggest benefits is exclusively used with its Android version i.e. offline language packs. All you need to ensure is that before you leave for your trip to a foreign destination, you have to download the language pack for that specific area. This will enable you to have the facility to translate even when you do not have access to the Internet. It offers language support for an impressive 80 languages for free. If you do use an Android based phone or device than Google Translate is the app for you.

Translator for Windows Phone
A very effective option gaining in popularity as a translation app these days is the Translator for Windows phone app, which uses MS Bing’s translation service and combines features from Google Translate and Word Lens. It comes with a wide variety of features like camera-based translation services in real-time, offline language packs, while supporting 35 languages and offering speech-to-text. For Windows phone users this powerful app is free of cost to use. The only dampener is that is cannot be used with any other platform.

Jibbigo
If you use an iPad or iPhone and need a translation app that works completely offline, look no further than Jibbigo. If offers support for over 20 languages that can be downloadedand offers an interface that is user-friendly. All you need to do is pick your pair of languages and type or speak the phrase or sentence and you get the translation either on screen or it can be listened to by pressing a button. Although it does not offer any unique features of its own, what makes it attractive is it’s free with offline support and works great with Apple gadgets.

Word Lens
Word Lens has undergone a recent transition so it is now free for users. What makes it so special is its method of use, which involves just loading the app and pointing the phone camera at the text to be translated. You will see the translation on the phone screen within a matter of seconds. Amazingly simple to use,it is useful in translating text from German, Italian, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Russian and English. It is most effective when used with clear large fonts and works completely offline. Perfect to use when you are in a place that does not offer Wi-Fi.

Translator Speak and Translate Pro
With so many free apps available for language translation these days, why would anyone want to pay and get app software? This is where both Translator Speak and Pro differ from all the rest in the same niche market. These are well worth the investment on account of their features,with the app offering a simultaneous translation of actual speech in real time. It support over 100 languages and whether you need to ask directions to the airport or explain your requirements to a non-English speaking person, this app is just the perfect tool. The language needing translation is detected automatically and you can indulge in conversation. All it needs is an Internet connection or Wi-Fi although certain common phrases can be translated offline.

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New Year parties in and around London and the UK

Well Christmas is just around the corner and most of us have planned to enjoy the holidays with friends and family. And, if you are visiting the UK for Christmas, you will be overwhelmed with options when it comes to Christmas and New Year celebrations. There are terrific parties scheduled to ring in the New Year and you can have a ball with friends or family on New Year’s Eve.

Just ensure that you book your accommodation well before your arrival! There are millions of tourists who troop in from all over the world to bring in the New Year in London and its nearby cities. If London is your choice of destination then a good place to stay would be the London Premier Notting Hill Hotel or The Shaftsbury Hotel. Both offer great packages and amenities with outstanding customer service.  Another benefit of staying at the London Premier Notting Hill Hotel is that you would be close to all the action in the festive season.

new years party

Some of the places in and around London where you can have a terrific New Year party are as follows:

Party at London’s South Bank
When it comes to having one of a type New Year party, London’s South Bank shines like the brightest star. In fact, even the Christmas celebrations do not match up to the festivities like at New Year’s Eve. You will find all the restaurants and pubs in the area are full to their capacity, as people begin the night long celebrations. Approaching midnight you will find the crowd all of a sudden making their way towards the area where Big Ben stands tall and impressive. Everyone waits with bated breath as the countdown to 12am begins and when midnight arrives, you will see the most stunning display of fireworks light up the dark sky. You will love the warm and cheerful atmosphere and it is the perfect way to usher in the New Year.

Enjoy a cruise party on the Thames
If you have seen most of the attractions of the City of London on land, you need to get a different perspective of the city by taking a cruise ride on the Thames. You could do it aboard any of the lavish river cruisers, which are more like floating mansions on water and offers partygoers an unforgettable experience of the city. You can see all the beautiful tourist attractions brightly lit up with lights and it gives you an awesome display of the fireworks, which welcome in the New Year. With fine drinks, snacks and the best of cuisine it is one stylish way to party and see the beautiful sights of London.

Hogmanay, Edinburgh
If there is anybody who knows how to enjoy the festive season it is the Scots, and no better way to enjoy the occasion then by being in Edinburgh for Hogmanay! The city of Edinburgh itself is an architectural masterpiece with its stunning Gothic structures taking on a life of their own, when they are brightly lit up. The people are warm, cheerful and amiable and it is these positive vibes that make it a favourite with tourists from all the UK and even abroad. The Hogmanay of Edinburgh is a three day street festival that has earned recognition its musical performances that this year feature Twin Atlantic, Breabach, Twilight Sad and others.  A fantastic way to enjoy the festive season and welcome the New Year!

Fancy Dress, Newquay
Hop over to Newquaywhich is renowned for its festive nightlife, and come New Year’s Eve it is the perfect time to see how the place earned this reputation. The locals are known to get all decked up and pour on to the streets to have a sizzling night out in town. All the restaurants and pubs are loaded for the big occasion with the best of food, wine and spirits for the public that keeps pouring in droves. A great spot in Newquay to be at midnight is Bar Help that offers a lovely view of Central Square and the teeming crowds that gather there for the fireworks. Later be prepared to be hosed down with snow as is customary here with the crowd loving it.

Allendale Tar Bar’l Ceremony, Northumberland
If you want to welcome the New Year in a quaint little town straight out of a fairy tale, Allendale is the perfect location with a well known fire festival that lights up the sky at midnight. The locals put on quite a show with the townsmen, also known as “guisers” who wear bizarre pagan outfits and carry large barrels with burning tar, to join a ceremonial bonfire. It becomes quite a spectacle when they toss the tar filled barrels into the blazing bonfire, with both the cheers and the crackling of the flames getting wilder and louder. A unique and incredible way to spend New Year’s Eve!

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Top European cities for a holiday

Gone are the days when travellers and tourists were limited to just a few options. Now they have an array of options, destinations and locations to choose from. An added advantage is that there are a variety of travel options available with discount packages, promotional offers and special deals. So if you do plan to go on a holiday with the family this summer, you can save quite a packet if you book in advance! Travelling in the off season will help to save a considerable sum of money, which can be used to shop and other activities.

A very popular choice among travellers is the continent of Europe which is comprisedof 48 nations. Every nation is ethically and culturally diverse and the continent has been witness to two of the greatest empires, the Romans and Greeks in history. From the ancient times of Alexander the Great to the Renaissance, Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars all have taken place in and involved The European Continent. From the finest beaches to high end shopping, the finest infrastructure to the most high tech cities all can be found in Europe.

Some of the cities that are ideal destinations for a fabulous holiday are as follows:

London: Perhaps there is no description more apt for London then that given by Samuel Johnson “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” The city offers the very best of the medieval and modern world from some of the most historic palaces and edifices to ultra-modern structures like the London Eye. No matter what your age and taste, London can cater to the interests and likes of all types of people from the very young to the elderly. With magnificent tourist attractions like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, London Bridge, The Tower of London, The V&A Museum and scores of other renowned attractions, you will never have a dull moment in the city. Just ensure you check into a fine hotel like the Shaftsbury Hotel that offers the finest in amenities, and facilities at a most affordable cost.  An added benefit of staying at the Shaftsbury Hotel is its central location which offers easy access to all parts of London.

Amsterdam: The capital of the Netherlands is known to be hub of European culture. Its rich cultural heritageis one of its most singular aspects. The city is also the financial centre of the city and is reputed for its well known 17th century canals, which have been added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. Besides the beautiful canals other areas to visit are the Anne Frank House, The Van Gogh Museum, The Rijksmuseum, Hermitage etc. One of the most liberal cities in the world, it is also known to have a very prominent red light district, besides cannabis coffee shops. So if you plan a trip to Amsterdam, ensure you come with an open mind and accept the different aspects of the city with a tolerant attitude.

Athens: If you are a history buff and fascinated by ancient civilisations,then Athens is just the place to visit. Home to one of the greatest ancient empires, The Greek Empire it absolutely mesmerises those who love ancient history. Once upon a time it was the centre of learning, arts, and philosophy which today has transformed into a modern-day cosmopolitan metropolis. It is believed to be the city where the greatest intellectuals and philosophers like Aristotle and Plato set up their academies. The very idea of democracy was introduced to world by the city and it was home to the first modern Olympic Games in 1886. With classic architecture and ancient monuments like the Acropolis, Byzantine and Roman monuments are still seen here. Some other prominent sites include the Daphni Monastery, Academy of Athens, Hellenic Parliament, The National Library, Athens University are just a few among other famous areas and places to explore.

Venice:In short it is the epitome of romance, music, beauty and all aesthetically fine things.It is one of the most prominent tourist centres of Italy renowned for its cultural and musical grandeur, spellbinding landscape and awe inspiring churches. This has led to it being featured regularly among the top European destinations for tourists to visit. Key tourist attractions in the city include The Doge’s Palace, the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Basilica di San Marco and Islands of the Lagoon. It is also famous for its romantic gondola rides, which makes it a favourite honeymoon destination for couples. An interesting fact is that it is made up of 117 different islands, which are interconnected by close to 150 canals and a phenomenal 400 bridges. Valentine’s Day, is the time when the city is packed with couples with the most popular area for accommodation being the hotels in the Grand Canal area.

Gone are the days when travellers and tourists were limited to just a few options. Now they have an array of options, destinations and locations to choose from. An added advantage is that there are a variety of travel options available with discount packages, promotional offers and special deals. So if you do plan to go on a holiday with the family this summer, you can save quite a packet if you book in advance! Travelling in the off season will help to save a considerable sum of money, which can be used to shop and other activities.

A very popular choice among travellers is the continent of Europe which is comprisedof 48 nations. Every nation is ethically and culturally diverse and the continent has been witness to two of the greatest empires, the Romans and Greeks in history. From the ancient times of Alexander the Great to the Renaissance, Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars all have taken place in and involved The European Continent. From the finest beaches to high end shopping, the finest infrastructure to the most high tech cities all can be found in Europe.

Some of the cities that are ideal destinations for a fabulous holiday are as follows:

London: Perhaps there is no description more apt for London then that given by Samuel Johnson “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” The city offers the very best of the medieval and modern world from some of the most historic palaces and edifices to ultra-modern structures like the London Eye. No matter what your age and taste, London can cater to the interests and likes of all types of people from the very young to the elderly. With magnificent tourist attractions like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, London Bridge, The Tower of London, The V&A Museum and scores of other renowned attractions, you will never have a dull moment in the city. Just ensure you check into a fine hotel like the Shaftsbury Hotel that offers the finest in amenities, and facilities at a most affordable cost. An added benefit of staying at the Shaftsbury Hotel is its central location which offers easy access to all parts of London.

Amsterdam: The capital of the Netherlands is known to be hub of European culture. Its rich cultural heritageis one of its most singular aspects. The city is also the financial centre of the city and is reputed for its well known 17th century canals, which have been added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. Besides the beautiful canals other areas to visit are the Anne Frank House, The Van Gogh Museum, The Rijksmuseum, Hermitage etc. One of the most liberal cities in the world, it is also known to have a very prominent red light district, besides cannabis coffee shops. So if you plan a trip to Amsterdam, ensure you come with an open mind and accept the different aspects of the city with a tolerant attitude.

Athens: If you are a history buff and fascinated by ancient civilisations,then Athens is just the place to visit. Home to one of the greatest ancient empires, The Greek Empire it absolutely mesmerises those who love ancient history. Once upon a time it was the centre of learning, arts, and philosophy which today has transformed into a modern-day cosmopolitan metropolis. It is believed to be the city where the greatest intellectuals and philosophers like Aristotle and Plato set up their academies. The very idea of democracy was introduced to world by the city and it was home to the first modern Olympic Games in 1886. With classic architecture and ancient monuments like the Acropolis, Byzantine and Roman monuments are still seen here. Some other prominent sites include the Daphni Monastery, Academy of Athens, Hellenic Parliament, The National Library, Athens University are just a few among other famous areas and places to explore.

Venice:In short it is the epitome of romance, music, beauty and all aesthetically fine things.It is one of the most prominent tourist centres of Italy renowned for its cultural and musical grandeur, spellbinding landscape and awe inspiring churches. This has led to it being featured regularly among the top European destinations for tourists to visit. Key tourist attractions in the city include The Doge’s Palace, the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Basilica di San Marco and Islands of the Lagoon. It is also famous for its romantic gondola rides, which makes it a favourite honeymoon destination for couples. An interesting fact is that it is made up of 117 different islands, which are interconnected by close to 150 canals and a phenomenal 400 bridges. Valentine’s Day, is the time when the city is packed with couples with the most popular area for accommodation being the hotels in the Grand Canal area.

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London – the perfect holiday destination?

The City of London is vibrant and dynamic all year around. It is said that New York never sleeps, and the same can be said confidently for London. It is as fast paced and hectic as its American counterpart and it can confidently be said that you will never have a dull moment in the city. It is theses aspects along with its blend of ancient with modern marvels, which attracts millions of tourists every year to the city.

In terms of entertainment there are loads of things to keep you occupied while in London. As well as its tourist attractions, it has innumerable bars, cafes, nightclubs along with amazing shopping outlets. You would be overwhelmed by the many museums, art galleries, parks, festivals and cultural events that will keep you entertained all through your holiday.

No matter which part of the year you plan to holiday in the city, always make it a point to book your accommodation in advance. Despite it being an expensive city, there always are cheap London hotel deals available as long as you know where to look for them. The best way to get cheap London hotel deals is by searching online. There are even some great hotels like The Shaftsbury Hotel that provide good package deals and special offers at different parts of the year.

With a wide variety of activities and sights to visit,Londonhas loads of annual events planned to happen all through the year. So, if you’re planning a holiday this coming summer there is no better place to be in than England’s capital.

If there is anything that really enlivens the city’s cultural scene, it is music. It is therefore no wonder that that most events and festivals that take place in summer feature music prominently.You will find a wide variety from retro, club to rock n roll, jazz and fusion among the many genres. There are live performances by some of the biggest names in the music industry with two of the not to be missed events being iTunes Live and Get Loaded in the Park.

Another famous crowd puller is the Mayor’s Thames Festival that lives up to the vibrant and dynamic image of the city. The festival started in 1997 with a high wire walk that spannedacross the Thames. Now it is one of the biggest arts festivalsin the city of London that offers free admission to the general public. A terrific way to showcase and celebrate the diversity that lies within London, it perhaps is best described as being one extended party. It offers a diverse range of events from street art, pyrotechnics, circus shows and river events, among lots more.

It generally is held within September and is a two day event, which mostly is held within the area that lies between the Westminster Bridge and the Tower of London. It is an annual festival and you can expect to find the best of food stalls, music, dance and street markets that make it a colourful affair. What makes it all the more thrilling is its evening revelry that even outshines its daytime activities and is very popular with the public.  The Festival Night Carnival is out of the most awaited and talked about parts of the event and besides the dance and music there are snazzy costumes, multicolored lantern processions, and floats. The events conclude with a bang literally when a riot of fireworks lights up the night sky.

Then there is the Notting Hill Carnival that is popular with people of all ages and even has people coming in from all the UK to participate in it. It offers a wealth of entertainment and is generally held over the August bank holiday weekend. When it comes to judging street parties this is probably one of the best street parties of its kind to be a part of!

If live theatre and musical performances are what enthrall you, make it a point to be in time for the renowned City of London Festival. For those who want to experience a variety of different cultures while staying in the UK the Coin Street Festival offers the perfect opportunity.

In case the mercury rises in summer and you are not too keen to expend extra energy, make your way to any of London’s famous parks or lidos. These are beautiful, tranquil and serene areas where you can spend a relaxed day being in the midst of nature. This is a great alternative to the bustling city and a panacea to soothe the most frayed nerves. Hyde or Regent Park provides a great option and of the many lidos,Brockwell Park Lido is perfect to take a cool dip in pleasant surroundings.
With so many options that await visitors to this terrifically charming city, London is definitely the place to holiday in this summer.

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