London’s Best Shopping Destinations

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Shopping | 0 comments

When it comes to spending time in the Capital there is always something that you can do. Whether it is taking in some culture with the many galleries and museums or visiting the many popular tourist attractions, you will never find yourself stuck for things to do.

Another great activity to plan in during your trip to London has to be some shopping. The streets of London seem to be paved with some fantastic markets, boutiques and of course high street stores which cover a wide range of tastes, trends and needs; but there are some areas in particular that really pack a punch when it comes to a spot of retail therapy.

Carnaby Street

For those who love the fashion of the 60’s; Carnaby Street is the place. With one main street and 13 smaller ones around it there are over 150 different brands to be found here alone and there is plenty of mixture in what is available although there is a definite feeling of vintage fashions to be found in this area.

Bond Street and Mayfair

If you like to indulge in a spot of designer luxury then you might want to pick Bond Street and Mayfair as your shopping destination. With some of the biggest designer fashion houses represented, including; Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Burberry you shouldn’t be surprised if you come across a celebrity or two browsing through the racks.

Oxford Street

Oxford Streetis seen as the heart of shopping in London and when you see the sheer volume of people who can visit this one street on a day it is easy to understand why.  With 300 shops to choose from here you will find John Lewis, Debenhams, Selfridges and plenty of other smaller stores that have a true variety of gifts, clothes, home wares and beauty items to choose from.

Camden

Camden Market and Locks is a haven for those who are looking for something quirky. With shops that are almost as designed as the items within them here you will find one of a kind, unique and different takes on fashion all in a colourful and vibrant setting.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden has a real variety of different stores selling street wear, cosmetics, shoes and pretty much anything else that you can care to buy. It also has a rather popular market with some interesting and unique items for sale and plenty of delicious places to stop off and eat when the shopping becomes too much.

Westfield

If the weather isn’t looking too kind then Westfield and the two major shopping centres available there might be the answer for you. These centres have a mixture of high street fashion and boutique stores as well as designer shops aplenty too. You are sure to find a bargain at one of the many stores here.

If you are feeling tempted to brave the hustle and bustle of London and pick yourself up a bargain then there are plenty of ways that you can reach your destination. There are several train stations in the area including King’s Cross and Paddington which have links across the UK, train tickets can be bought online. For those coming from a little further afield then you can fly into London City Airport and then catch the tube to wherever you want to go. <

Read More

Top 5 Independent Coffee Shops in the UK

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 in Travel Tips | 0 comments

Breaking away from the corporate cup to embrace expressive espressos

For many people, coffee is a fundamental part of the day. Whether it is the morning cup that gets us up and going, or the mid-day coffee break to help us relax, there is just something about a great cup of coffee that cannot be compensated by any other drink. In the UK there are many independent shops that go above and beyond the common coffee cup. Breaking away from the corporate trends, these independent coffee shops offer an elegance and uniqueness worth recognition. It is not that a corporate coffee shop does not offer a good product, but there is something lacking in the experience. Independent Coffee Shops offer a level of personality and dedication that merges a craft into an artistry. Here are five such shops.

Workshop Coffee Company – 75 Wigmore Street, W1U

Workshop coffee company stands as a unique and independent coffee shop worth recognition because their coffees are non-traditional. Each of their main selections has a fruit element added to give the cup a unique flavour. For example: their cult of Done Espresso has a marmalade and plum flavour, the Los Altares has a sweetness of fig, and the Nano Challa has the sweetness of white grape.

Founded in 2011, the company takes yearly trips to Africa where there coffee is primarily harvested. Workshop Coffee Company is located in Marylebone, Holborn, and Clerkenwell.

Notes Music Coffee – 31 St. Martins Lane & 36 Wellington Street

Notes coffee is an all-day coffee shop that goes beyond what a typical shop entails. Opening at 7am, the coffee shop offers the Early Brid coffee selections. Later in the evening, Notes Music Coffee transforms into a coffee shop and wine tasting facility. Each location also has an onsite chef to present dishes that accent the coffee experience.

Adding to the unique versatility of the company, Notes Music Coffee offers live jazz sessions. Notes Music coffee plans to open 3 new stores this year and 5 next year.

Monmouth – 27 Monmouth Street, WC2

Monmouth coffee was established in 1978 and has been serving coffee ever since. One of the key factors which make this coffee shop so great is that their coffee is delivered daily from their roasting site in Bermondsey. Milk is delivered from Jeff Bowles in Somerset. Customers of Monmouth do not get coffee from shelved products but from a local roasting site. Everything offered in the shop is fresh.

Coffee from Monmouth covers beans from Africa, Central America, South America, Asia, and the Pacific. The beans are roasted daily on the premises and customers are encouraged to try a sample of the coffee before buying a cup.

Doppio coffee – 177 Kentish Town Rd. London NW1 8PD

Coffee wholesale Doppio coffee warehouse merges the coffee shop with a coffee supply store. This is extremely beneficial for those who want to have their own expresso machines, and high quality equipment, but at the same time need training in the use of such equipment. Where a supply store would offer the product and a coffee shop would offer the results from the product (for example an expresso can be purchased at a coffee shop, but rarely can you say “that made a good cup of expression, I will take the machine”), Doppio offer both training and tasting within the same facility.

Should you have an independent coffee shop and want to invest in the top of the line equipment, Doppio offers sales, rentals, services, maintenance, coffee barista training, and guidance on all the equipment they sell.

Doppio offers six main categories of coffee in a variety of sizes. You can also taste these coffees at the Doppio Coffee Warehouse location.

Nude Espresso – 26 Hanbury Street London E1 6QR

Nude espresso is an independent coffee company that is focused on the artistry of the coffee experience. From the wholesale to the tasting floor, all tasks are done by hand. This includes the bagging of the coffee and the roasting of the coffee. Their goal is to keep the best quality by ensuring that everything is done above standard.

Nude espresso offers wholesale beans and training. Their coffee is roasted and delivered on a weekly basis. Training is conducted at the Roastery by Hugo Macdonald. The company believes that all coffee vendors should be well established in understanding quality, freshness, and about the products they serve.

Whether you are in the upper or lower part of the UK, you can find an independent coffee shop. Going outside of the corporately owned mass marketed coffee is sure to give you a unique experience and perhaps establish a new more personal coffee drinking routine. The independent coffee shops throughout the UK have a common factor of quality, freshness, and a personal touch. Find a shop near you. I am sure that your taste buds will thank you.

Read More

Make the Most of Your Quiet Time in London

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Tips |

If you make a short trip to London then you will expect some hectic moments. Cramming into a Tube train, going shopping on Oxford Street and queuing to get into a theatre show are some of the times when you are likely to be surrounded by plenty of other people.

However, there are sure to be some times when things are a bit quieter. So why not take advantage of these moments as well?

Take a Good Book Away

A terrific idea is to take away a book about London with you when you travel here. This could be a travel guide, a history of the city or even just a novel that is set there. You can read this when you are waiting to travel in the airport or train station, when you are travelling on the Tube or in your room at night. A book can also help you to feel comfortable about eating out alone. This city has been the scene of some of some fascinating events over the centuries, so there are plenty of historical books to choose from. Getting the right one could even mean that you end up going out and discovering a place you read about, which is a fantastic way to explore any city.

Discover the Parks

While it is famous for big, busy streets and lots of crowds, London also has some massive and very attractive parks. Hyde Park and Regent’s Park are among the best green spaces to explore. Your options here range from roller skating, taking a picnic or just sitting down with a book or newspaper. Best of all, these parks are centrally located, so getting to them is easy. There are also many other parks and green spaces around the city for you to explore. If you like to take a break from the busy touristy places then you will find that it is easy to unwind in one of these parks for an hour or two. They can also be interesting places to explore, as you might see wildlife or some locals out enjoying the fresh air.

Play Some Games

A modern trend that is great for travellers is that of playing games on mobile phones or tablets. If you are planning on taking away your mobile device to London then it could be a big help in passing those quiet hours more pleasantly. Of course, many of us use these gadgets to look at our photos or to use social media sites while away from home. However, playing games can be even more fun. A good example of how this can be done comes with the interesting new online bingo sites such as Bingo Extra. If you are in your hotel room late at night then playing games on these sites can be a lot more exciting than switching on the television. If you choose to stay in a hotel with free Wi-Fi then it will also be completely free to do this. Just remember to take away your charger with you.

Read More

5 of London’s Most Exclusive Gentlemen’s Clubs

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in Tips, Travel Tips |

London is home to the private Gentlemen’s club; some of the most revered institutions on the planet. You have to be a member to gain entry in the modern day, while it was also very much the same during the 18th century when the British upper class first introduced them. Compared to the earlier years, there has been a modernisation in the way in which Gentlemen’s clubs are run.

However, the vast majority are still exclusively made for men. You will find it extremely hard to gain entry to such venues, although there’s certainly plenty for you to learn about these highly fascinating institutions. Here are five private Gentlemen’s clubs in London that are of notable interest and particularly stand out.

The Athenaeum

The Athenaeum is a stunning aesthetic building designed by Decimus Burton. The building’s exterior is based on the Parthenon in Athens and features numerous emblems and imagery accompanying a truly spectacular columned entrance. Athena, the goddess of wisdom, is watching down on those who enter with the statue of the goddess situated atop the first floor balcony.

The club has an extensive library filled with tomes, as well as a newly renovated smoking room that is entirely smoke-free. Some notable former members of this delightful gentleman’s club include Herbert Spencer, who possessed philosophies that inspired Social Darwinism.

The In & Out, Naval and Military Club

This was first established as the idyllic resting place for serving officers and those of the armed forces. This is one of many Gentleman’s clubs that have modernised and begun admitting women and those not part of the armed forces. There are two entrances to the club, one of which ensures a strict dress code is adhered to and the other providing a less formal entrance.

From either entrance you can gain access to some of the clubs most luxurious facilities, from a gym and swimming pool to the Goat Bar and a fully equipped business centre. There are 52 en-suite bedrooms to make the most of with the club offering unrivalled and extensive accommodation options. In order to gain membership to this Gentleman’s club you must be proposed or seconded by a member.

The East India Club

Commissioned Officers of the Army and Navy as well as those who were members of the East India Company founded the East India Club and merged with sports and public school clubs. Established in the 19th century, young public school boys were given the opportunity to experience the gentlemen’s club for the very first time.

This club is particularly well known for having members of various ages, including retired seniors and young businessmen. The East India Club has not yet modernised to the point where they admit women, although there have been attempts made by current members to modernise. Numerous facilities are available to utilise in this gentleman’s club, such as a gym, a business room and club sports teams’ facilities.

Boodles

Lord Shelbourne, once Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, founded the Boodles Gentleman’s club in 1762 before he was in office. Boodle’s is certainly one of the most well-known and prestigious Gentleman’s clubs in the UK. It celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2012 and takes its name from the former head waiter, Edward Boodle.

The club is aligned as being in partnership with the Conservative Party and gaining membership to the club is no easy task. The admittance process is determined by a nomination system carried out by current members. The club has its own traditional dish, the Orange Fool, which is often enjoyed by members.

White’s

This is probably the most exclusive Gentleman’s club around, with Prime Minister David Cameron once being a member. It was first established in 1693 and is strictly members only. The building itself is arguably the most splendid feature; a grand Portland stone Grade I listed property situated in the heart of St. James’ Street.

You might be wondering why David Cameron is a “former” member of the club. The PM decided enough was enough when the club’s members refused to overrule their men-only policy, resulting in a famous, well-documented snub. However, David Cameron’s father was once the chairman of White’s, meaning he is currently the only member to voluntarily leave.

Many Royals are current members of White’s, including heir to the throne Prince Charles. White’s features a games room, a beautiful drinks bar and plenty of British game on the menu.

Article submitted by www.bestvenues.london, a one-stop shop for sourcing unique venues in London in the corporate, party and major event industry.

Read More

London Makes Top 3 City in the World for Fun and Adventure

Posted by on Feb 19, 2015 in Tips |

Recently a group of 17 travel sites were polled by GetYourGuide and GoEuro to establish which city in the world is the most fun to visit. The poll ranked over 1800 cities on eleven different categories including restaurants, bars, clubs and other attractions.

pic2

source

Paris Grabbed third place, London snuck into second and out in front was Berlin. The German capital was picked due to its low cost beer (average €0.83 per pint) and no last orders in the bars. But what makes a city ‘fun’ and why are some of the top cities in the poll better than others?

Berlin

Berlin came out on top in the poll, so what makes this city so much fun to visit? The cheap beer and no last orders may have helped to pip London and Paris to first place but there is a lot more to Berlin than just drinking.

There are plenty of tours to take you around the city either by bus or on foot. Take in such sites as the Brandenberg Gate and the Reichstag building as well as the Berlin wall. Tiergarten which is one of the world’s largest inner city parks stretches over 600 acres and is conveniently situated right next door to Berlin zoo.

When it comes to eating out there are plenty of places to grab a traditional currywurst. If you’d prefer a restaurant there’s one to suit any taste. There’s award winning Heising, serving French cuisine is one of the most popular in Berlin, along with Madami which serves authentic Vietnamese and Asian dishes.

For nightlife a trip to the Puro Sky Lounge is essential. This club is situated on the 20th floor of the Europa-Center and boasts 360 degree views of the city. All in all Berlin is full of fun and excitement with plenty of culture and history to delve into.

London

London appears second on the list of most fun cities in the world. Boasting such sights as the London Eye (which is a giant Ferris wheel that stand 135 metres tall), Big Ben and the Tower of London. Another of London’s main attractions has to be its museums. From the Natural History and Science museums, to the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory in Greenwich. There’s something for everyone.

For food lovers, London offers every cuisine under the sun and with many world renowned chefs (Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Marco Pierre White) plying their trade in the capital you’ll find something to excite the taste buds.

London came top in the poll for having the best clubs and concerts. The capital is home to several super clubs including Fabric and Ministry of Sound. Peter Alder from CapialAlist, a guest list website comments “We are so pleased our London clubs came top and rightly so.  We have a diverse section of clubs across the capital with many being ranked the best in the world”.

For live music there’s the Royal Albert Hall which each year hosts the proms; The O2 Arena which stages many pop and rock bands throughout the year, and the Royal Festival Hall which plays host to all varieties of music from classical, to folk, to pop and rock.

Paris

Paris is said to be the most romantic city in the world. From its iconic architecture, to famous galleries and museums. Culturally Paris has to rank among the top cities in the world. The first thing that stands out when you visit Paris is of course the Eiffel Tower. This huge latticed, wrought iron structure stands 324 metres tall and dominates the city’s skyline. A visit to the capital wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the top of this iconic tower.

Another famous landmark of Paris is the Champs-Élysées which is the finish line for the annual Tour de France. The Louvre is a must see attraction in Paris. This world renowned art gallery hosts The Mona Lisa among many other famous works.

Although probably better known for its culture than its nightlife, Paris is still a hot bed of activity when night falls. Moulin Rouge which is probably one of the most famous nightclubs in the world puts on a variety of dance entertainment shows. Best known for its cabaret acts and for being the birthplace of the Can-Can.

Top Ten Cities

Some of the other cities in the top ten can boast equally enjoyable attractions such as:

  • The Empire State Building and Central Park in New York
  • Sensō-ji (Buddhist temple) and the Sky Tree in Tokyo
  • The Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
  • The Sagrada Família church and Camp Nou in Barcelona
  • Topkapi Palace and Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul

Finding fun and adventure in any city is going to come down to personal preference. As with any major city, there’s bound to be something to entertain everyone. Each city in the list has its own unique attractions and deciding where to go is often going to be decide by these rather than the price of beer or how late the bars stay open.

Read More

Top Tips For Planning A Valentine’s Break In London

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in Tips |

For many, Valentine’s Day is the most romantic time of the year and the perfect opportunity to spoil your significant other.

To make this Valentine’s Day extra special, why not ditch the roses and head off on a romantic trip to London instead? With all it’s opulence and glamour, London is the perfect place for spending some romantic time with that special someone.

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 09.55.56

(Photo credit)

For our ultimate guide to planning a romantic Valentine’s Day break in London, have a read of this.

Book a swanky hotel

To make your trip as romantic as possible, consider booking luxury accommodation. Nothing says romance, more than a swanky hotel room – rose petal on the bed, champagne on ice and chocolate on your pillows.

If money is an issue, don’t panic – there are plenty of ways you can book a posh hotel room for a low price. To get high quality hotel rooms at low prices, have a look online at discount sites like Secret Escapes and LastMinute.com. Make sure to also have a look at holiday package sites like Wowcher and Groupon. With some discount sites, you can even add a romantic meal onto the cost of your stay for a low price, so these sites are well-worth checking out.

Get organised and create an itinerary

Once you have booked your accommodation, you can then start planning your trip.

The first thing to consider is whether or not you want to keep the trip a surprise from your partner. On the one hand, a surprise trip is incredibly romantic, but, on the other hand, you partner may want to help plan what you do while you are away. If your partner has been longing to visit London for a long time, it might be nice to include them in the planning so that they can get excited and feel involved.

Once you have decided on whether the trip is a surprise or not, you can then start creating an itinerary. Sit down and write a list of everything that you and your partner would like to see, and then create a plan that will allow you to fit everything in. Remember, it’s Valentine’s Day, so it is important to find ways to make the trip as romantic as possible.

As you are going away, it is important that you buy your partner’s gift in advance, especially if you are ordering it off the internet. For the perfect romantic gift, have a look on http://www.giftsfromhandpicked.co.uk/. With so many different things to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect gift for your partner.

Most romantic things to do in London

London is a very romantic place, packed full of luxury bars and restaurants, theatres, museums, and attractions; it is the perfect place for a weekend away.

Don’t miss out on visiting Gordon’s Wine Bar, it is the oldest wine bar in the city. With newspaper lined walls and candlelit tables, this is one of the city’s most romantic locations.

Spend an evening at the National Theatre, located on London’s fabulous South Bank. Spend time relaxing in the theatre, watching some of London’s finest productions. Just make sure to book your tickets in advance, as they tend to sell out quite quickly.

An absolute must for a romantic trip to London, is afternoon tea. While many of the city’s poshest hotels serve luxury afternoon tea, there are also many quirky and unique place you can also visit.

For the ultimate romantic experience, take a sunset ride on the London Eye. The city looks absolutely stunning as the sunsets, and what better way to experience it then from the sky.

If you are lucky enough to be staying in a hotel with a spa, book yourself and your partner in for a couples spa sessions. Massages, bubbles and facials are an excellent way to relax and unwind before heading out for a romantic dinner

Read More

How to Travel Around London Safely

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Tips |

Photo by [Duncan]

London is definitely one of the safer cities to explore and you are far less likely to experience problems there than you would if you were visiting, say, Rio de Janeiro or Lagos. However, although London is relatively safe, it is still sensible to take a few precautions when travelling around the city, particularly at night. So if you are planning a trip to London, here are a few simple tips to ensure you see the sights and have fun – safely.

 

Walking Around the City

London is perfectly safe on foot and often it’s easier to get around on foot during rush hour. If you do choose to walk, carry a map and check your route before you set off. Always look before you attempt to cross over busy roads – cyclists can appear out of nowhere, especially at dusk. Appear confident at all times and don’t take short cuts down dark alleyways at night.

 

Beware Petty Thieves

London, like any other big city, has its fair share of shady people. Pickpockets are common in crowded tourist areas such as Covent Garden or Tower Bridge. Often the pickpocket works with accomplices, who distract you, perhaps by asking for directions, while the thief stealthily rifles through a bag or lift a wallet from your back pocket. By the time you realise what’s happening, they have melted into the crowd and your valuables are long gone.

Always carry anything of value in a zipped, secure pocket or bag when you are on foot. Don’t carry valuable items in an open handbag where criminals can spot them and target you as a result. It is also unwise to blatantly hold expensive mobile phones or tablets in full view since these will also make you a potential target.

 

Black Cabs in London

Black cabs are the only licensed taxis allowed to collect fares off the street. Mini cabs have to pick you up from a specified address. Never jump in an unlicensed taxi, even if you are desperate for a ride back to your accommodation. If in doubt about a minicab, ask the driver to confirm they know who you are and where you’re going before you jump in. Keep your mobile phone fully charged so you can call for assistance if necessary; download a phone charging app if you aren’t sure where the nearest charging points might be.

 

Stay Safe on Public Transport

Keep your wits about you when using the underground – especially late at night when it’s relatively quiet. The underground is mostly very safe, but keep hold of your bag at all times and don’t place wallets and other valuables in pockets where thieves can access them while you are crammed together on a crowded tube train at rush hour.

Wait for public transport in well-lit places. You should also sit near the driver when travelling alone on buses at night, and if you feel uncomfortable at any point, perhaps because another passenger is hassling you, ask for help or move to another seat.

London is a fantastic city to visit, with hundreds of great attractions, so have fun, stay safe, and you’ll be able to visit again soon.

Read More
peliculas de comedia