How to Travel Around London Safely

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Tips | 0 comments

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.

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The Top Ways Of Getting Around London

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in Travel Tips | 0 comments

London is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. It is busy, loud and vibrant but yet still manages to hold some tranquil and relaxing getaways. For these reasons and many more, it is the perfect place for tourist visits and family trips. There is something to do in London for every occasion, whether it is a birthday meal, a romantic break or just a little afternoon wander. Sometimes I love nothing more than just taking a walk around a local park or taking some time out relaxing in one of the quieter areas of the city. At other times, it is nice to be able to get just about anywhere you need to be, in record time. Whether it’s hopping in a taxi to a local bar or just taking a walk to your nearest restaurant for a bit to eat. Everything is accessible. But what other travel options are there and which is right for you?

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Image via pixabay

The Tube – everyone knows about the tube. It may not always be the nicest way to travel, but it does the job and makes for easy and fast travel on a convenient basis. It is worth investing in an Oyster card and making the process even quicker and easier on yourself. This can also be used on bus, tram, overground and rail services, so it’s no wonder, so many of us have them tucked safely in our purse at all times.

On The BusBus travel in London is one way of getting around. Sometimes it can be easier than catching the tube. If you are on a day trip to London, seeing the iconic bright red double decker busses drive past can be entertaining. This is a good way of traveling if you are on your own or as a couple. It’s not always the easiest when it comes to family travel and lugging buggies around.

By Bike – If you are fit and healthy or love a bit of the outdoors then traveling around by bike is certainly an option.Cycling insurance is an absolute must though. Traffic can get crazy in London during rush hours and peak times. You should ensure that you stay within the correct areas and give clear signals.

Taxi – Taxis in London can be expensive. They are a good way to get around if you are in a serious rush or when you’re late for a meeting. Be careful not to rely on them on a very regular basis though as you’ll find yourself severely out of pocket in no time.

By Water – The water taxi is another great way for tourists to see much more of the city. You can hop on and off, and it is especially fun when you are in town for a short stay and want to see the main attractions.

On Foot – As with any city, one of the best ways to see London is on foot. Most places can be easily reached simply by walking. If you have the time, this is a great way to explore the city and to find some sweet little eateries or markets that you might not know about.

 

 

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Shinebright this Christmas with glacéau vitaminwater

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Tips |

13th December ­ 17th December
15 Bateman Street, Soho, W1D 3AQ

 

Following on from the summer¹s successful Shinebright studio, created to nurture and promote young creative talent, glacéau vitaminwater¹s exciting new project, the Œwrapping gallery¹ opens its doors to celebrate the work of local artists whilst offering consumers the chance to make sure their special gifts Shinebright this Christmas.

 

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The festive period could always be a little bit brighter and more original ­ so this Christmas, glacéau vitaminwater is doing away with the dull, uninspiring wrapping paper we are all so used to, and offering the public a one-stop pop-up shop for hand-made, completely unique wrapping paper that shines with creativity.

 

Lynnie Zulu, Wild Things

 

With infamous London-based painter and street artist Inkie* at the helm, the wrapping gallery will house 10 emerging artists including Jack Hudson, Lynnie Zulu, Lucy Vigrass and the Day Job collective. Over the course of 5 days, launching on Saturday 13th December the team of artists will be designing, screenprinting, illustrating, block printing, stamping and stenciling rolls upon rolls of gigantic wrapping paper with their own designs and interpretations of what it means to shine bright.

 

Lucy Vigrass, Raw Fruit

 

The space will be a destination for busy shoppers to seek calm and inspiration. A place to have their carefully selected gifts wrapped by professionals in one-off sheets of paper created on-site before their eyes by an array of talented young artists.
Take a step away from the madness of the festive shopping season and treat your special gift to special wrapping paper to make sure that it shines bright beneath the Christmas tree.

 

Jack Hudson, Hangtime

 

Inkie will be get the festive ball rolling from 11am on Saturday, 13th December ­ a great opportunity to come down and get a one-off piece of functional art from an artist that usually exhibits his work on the walls of contemporary art galleries. There will also be the opportunity to win framed and signed works from each artist during the 5 days. To enter just post a photo of your gift and wrapping paper with #Shinebright. Each artist will then choose his or her favourite snap as the winner and Vitaminwater will make sure the framed art is in your hands before Santa starts his rounds.

 

Day Job, Untitled

 

13th December ­ 17th December
11am- 7pm
Wrapping gallery- 15 Bateman Street, Soho, W1D 3AQ
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8 Quirky Ways to Spend Your Time in London

Posted by on Dec 6, 2014 in Food, Travel Tips |

London is a place where there’s something for everybody. The place is so vast, with such a wide variety of things to do, that nobody can say ‘London isn’t my cup of tea’. London is everybody’s cup of tea! You just need to go to the right places. Want a quirky time in London? Try the following 8 things.

At The Outdoor Cinema

Haven’t you always wanted to go to an outdoor cinema? Take a beer, a blanket, a snack or two and you’ll have a great time. There are a number of outdoor cinemas in London, so take your pick. They usually play classic films, so it’s more about the experience than the film itself. Either way, you’ll have a fab time.

In Choccywoccydoodah

This colourful cake shop has even had its own TV show. Celebrities commission the top cake makers to create amazing looking and tasting creators for special occasions. Katie Melua commissioned a cake from them, and the staff surprised her with a mermaid version of herself in cake form. You can go and see it all for yourself and even try some special treats in the London store!

In Borough Market

Borough market is full of weird and wonderful food vendors that you’ll enjoy sinking your teeth into, as well as people selling all kinds of cool wares.

Enjoy Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is big in London; just about every hotel you can think of offers their own special version. Don’t settle for any old hotel though; take a look at the best hotels for afternoon tea before you book your day out. The perfect place to take a friend or relative. A nice way to relax and get away from all of the hustle and bustle too.

Drink Beer on a Roof

If you fancy a beer, head up to a roof to make it even more exciting. I love Frank’s Cafe in Peckham. I’m betting you will too!

A Street Art Tour

This is one of the best places to explore street art in the whole world. There’s a London street art tour for all budgets and time limits too, from a few hours to the whole day. The tour should be both fun and educational. It’ll probably make you want to go out and buy yourself some spray paints too!

In Kentish Town

Kentish town is full of little vintage boutiques for shopping and plenty more quirky places to explore. It’s great for food too, so don’t hesitate to have a bite to eat here.

At Camden Market

Going to Camden is like going to a whole different world. It’s a great place to go if you want to add some quirky accessories to your collection, as well as smoke some Shisha and buy unique clothes. Even if you don’t have a lot of cash to spend, just soaking up the atmosphere is enough.

These are just 8 of the quirky ways you can spend your time in London. There are plenty more, but I’ll let you discover them for yourself! See you next time!

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photo from Elsie Hui

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Ways To Make Your Trip To London That Bit More Special

Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Travel Tips |

There is no denying that the capital city is one of the most impressive places to visit in the worldly. The fact that London has so much to see and do means that people from all over the globe want to come here at visit. However, just because your London holiday seems amazing that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it even better

Afternoon Tea

Without a doubt, afternoon tea is an English tradition that you should partake in while you’re in England. There are hundreds of places in London where you could take afternoon tea, with some of these offering more than others. Generally speaking afternoon tea is some finger sandwiches and cakes followed by scones with clotted cream and of course a few cups of tea. Claridge’s offer a world renowned afternoon that is well worth checking out while you are there. It’s a popular place though so you will probably need to book in advance.

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Afternoon Tea

Travel In Style

You can avoid public transport by hiring a car from somewhere such as  http://www.expressrentacar.co.uk/ to explore London. That said, London isn’t one of the nicest places to drive around so why not make sure that you get someone else to drive you around instead? Hiring a chauffeur driven vehicle to take you where you need to go can help to ensure you have a good time. Not only that but you get to avoid the hustle and bustle of public transport and the stress of navigating the busy streets of London.

Fun London Bus Tours

As much as travelling in luxury is great, you do need to get out there and experience London too! London bus tours are a great way to do this. There are London bus tours that run all day and you can simply hop on and off of them as and when you want. On top of that there are other types of bus tour you can sign up for. A bus tour which incorporates afternoon tea or dinner for example or ghost bus tours which mainly operate around Halloween.

Arriva_The_Original_Tour_open_top_tour_bus_EMB765_MCW_Metrobus_E965_JAR_London_25_January_2009London Bus Tour

Other Things You Should Do While You’re in London

One of the best things you can do for a trip to London is packed as full as possible. As London offers so much it is important to do as much as possible. So, for example you have to experience dinner in China Town and a wander around Leicester Square a night. A trip to London is also not complete without watching a show in the West End and travelling on a London tube train. You also need to make sure that you see London from the skies by riding the London Eye and visiting any seasonal attractions that are taking place in Waterloo.

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The London Eye

London has something for everyone, so make sure you get out of it exactly what you want. There is an abundance  of websites online that can act as a London tour guide. Just make sure you read up on what London offers so you can plan your trip accordingly.

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Make the Most of your Christmas in London

Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in Tips |

Whether you are going back home to the capital for the Christmas break or are staying in your student housing in London, there are plenty of ways to have festive fun this December. Ever since Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and countless snowy stories London has been a city synonymous with Christmas. The English capital goes all-out to show its many visitors the best Christmas possible with lots of special festive events taking place across the city. Here are a few ideas for you to experience a special Christmas in London and take in special pop-up venues, activities and events all being held this year.

Go Ice Skating

Ice

One way to get into the swing of a London Christmas is to go ice skating on one of the pop-up ice rinks which appear in various places at this time of year. Hyde Park, the National History Museum and Somerset House all host outdoor ice rinks for great active fun.

Have a Traditional Christmas Dinner

The highlight of most people’s festive seasons is Christmas Dinner. A large turkey with all the trimmings, crackers to pull and a couple of glasses of wine are a great way to mark this special occasion. If you are planning on cooking your own Christmas dinner you should prepare early before all the turkeys get bought. Alternatively, you could go out for a full Christmas Dinner as many London restaurants stay open on the 25th December.

Walk in a Winter Wonderland

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Hype Park in Central London is transformed during the festive period (21st November-4th January) into a Christmas fairground of seasonal fun. With an ice rink, a circus, giant wheel and magical ice kingdom there is plenty to keep you occupied and get you into the Christmas spirit. The closest tube stations are Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Victoria and Knightsbridge and it’s free to enter.

See a Panto

Another traditional Christmas pastime is the festive pantomime. Usually starring celebrities from the television and often tongue-in-cheek with plenty of innuendo and crowd participation. This is by no means high culture but can be great fun. Amongst the highlights in the West End this year are Snow While starring Jerry Hall, Peter Panto at The Tabernacle and, for adults only, Sleeping Booty.

Explore Winterville

Winterville in Victoria Park is a new Christmas-themed village set up throughout December featuring a roller disco, Cirque du Cabaret and a pop-up events space. If you are living in East London this is a must-visit. The Spiegeltent hosts a variety of entertainment with comedy, cabaret and a night club all taking place in it’s canvas walls. However, it is wise to book the ice skating, roller disco and performance tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

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10 London Attractions You Don’t Want to Miss

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in Museums, Travel Tips |

Visiting London can be an overwhelming experience. It’s so large, versatile, and busy – what are you supposed to do first? While you could probably just wonder around and find a plethora of things to do, these attractions shouldn’t be missed:

  • The London Eye

The London Eye is one of the tallest structures in all of London, and you can hop on and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the place! It really is a breathtaking view, and a fantastic photo opportunity. Don’t miss a ride in one of the pods, it can be especially magical at night when everything is lit up.

  • The Tate Modern

The Tate Modern is a fascinating gallery full of artwork. For those who don’t think they’re ‘that into art’, visit this gallery. I bet you’ll change your mind! If you don’t, you haven’t lost anything as it’s free anyway. Some of the secret hotels of London are nearby, so you don’t need to travel far. This is a great activity for visiting on a budget.

  • Camden Lock Market

Camden lock market is like stepping into a whole other world. The stalls are all unique and intriguing, with vintage clothes and jewelry being sold from all angles. You can get some great bargains here, and delicious food.

  • Kentish Town

Kentish town is similar to Camden, except some say it’s better. Full of vintage stores, this is a great place to go if you prefer your purchases with a bit of life in them.

  • Buckingham Palace

Buckingham palace makes for some excellent photo opportunities, and you might even see the Queen! It’s a true sight to behold, so pay a visit if you haven’t before.

  • A Theatre Show

There are theatre shows by the dozen in London. The thing I love most about these shows is that each one has their own special theatre dedicated to it. You can buy all kinds of cool merchandise before settling down to watch the show. It doesn’t matter if you don’t sit at the front either; you still get a great view!

  • Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds is a place you can go and have pictures with your favourite waxwork celebrities. It’s definitely worth doing once. Make sure you go through the new ‘Scream’ attraction if you like to get your heart racing.

  • Oxford Street Shopping

Love to shop? There’s no better place than Oxford Street. The size of the Topshop will make your mouth water if you’re a fashionista. There are multiple Pandora stores too for all of your jewellery needs.

  • Harrods

Harrods is a ridiculously expensive department store, but you must go there even if it’s just to window shop. They have violin players and everything!

  • Big Ben

Big ben is the affectionate nickname of the bell inside of the big clock tower. It’s over 90 metres long, making it a great attraction when you’re in the area.

If you see these 10 attractions, you’ll have a great trip. If you don’t, don’t worry; you’ll find other great things to do. London is the perfect place for an adventure!

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