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Six Tips for Planning Your London Vacation

Six Tips for Planning Your London Vacation

Britain’s capital is a sprawling metropolis that will leave you breathless. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit to London.

With world-famous attractions and historical locations all around, London is an impressive city that has much to offer to its many visitors. 

In fact, it might offer you a bit too much since it’s nigh impossible to see everything on a single visit. And with its enormous area, knowing the key locations is necessary if you want to spend the least time in transit.

Take a look at the list of essential tips that will help you plan your London vacation and enjoy the city’s wonders to the fullest.

1. When to Visit

With the treacherous London weather, you might think one time of the year is just as good for a visit as another. But if you’re planning on spending plenty of time on the city streets, it would be best to plan your London vacation for some time between May and September.

Alternatively, you could spend the winter holidays in Britain’s capital, as the city’s Christmas atmosphere is fabulous. The third option would be to aim to arrive in time for one of the numerous festivals in London, as there are many exciting events throughout the year.

With millions of visitors coming to the city from all around the world, you might want to avoid London in periods when it’s overcrowded with tourists. The city’s most busy in July, August, and December before Christmas. 

Weekends, bank holidays, and school breaks are also peak periods when London’s streets can quickly become overpopulated.

2. Where to Stay

Without a doubt, first-time visitors would be wise to find accommodation in central London even though this might seem to come at a higher cost. If you opt for the pricier central London vacation rentals, you might initially pay more. Still, the strategic location could end up saving you the money and time you would spend on everyday commuting.

Most of the central London neighborhoods are also excellent sightseeing spots. So if you opt to stay at Westminster, Soho, South Bank, or similar parts of the city, many attractions will be a short walk or bus ride away. 

If you invest enough time searching for the most suitable accommodations, you might find a great deal, which will make it a win-win situation.

3. What to See

There are many attractions, cultural spots, and historical things to do in London and it might prove challenging to visit everything you wish. That’s why it would be best to plan precisely what you’d like to see and not make your London vacation a race against time.

If you pick a couple of major attractions, you’ll be able to plan and maximize the rest of your visit. Bear in mind that London’s a massive city, so you must also consider the time it will take to get from one place to another. 

Here are some of the essential London landmarks:

  • The London Tower and Big Ben
  • The London Eye
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Trafalgar Square
  • The British Museum
  • Covent Garden Market
  • Somerset House
  • Hyde Park

While the list isn’t exhaustive, it should give you a good idea of how much there is to see and the crucial points of interest in the city worth checking out.

4. Planning for a Budget

When planning your London vacation, you should remember to budget time as well as money. London certainly isn’t a cheap city to stay in, but your visit doesn’t have to be overly expensive as there’s plenty to see and do with a budget of any size.

One of the best options for saving time and money if you’re up for intense sightseeing is the London Pass. The pass will allow you entry to dozens of attractions and you could even bypass waiting in line, which is especially important when you consider how long some of the lines can be.

Booking in advance will serve the same purpose, as in most cases, you’ll get better admittance prices than purchasing a ticket on the spot. For some locations, like Madame Tussaud’s, booking a day in advance will be enough. 

Meanwhile, you should take care of theater tickets as soon as possible if you want to catch a show at the West End.

5. Where to Grab Food and Drinks

London has a rich dining scene, with food from all around the world that’s representative of many different cuisines. But before you start choosing exotic restaurants, you should make sure to try the classic British fish and chips with a pint of beer.

You can get an amazing meal at various international restaurants that range from luxurious venues to local pubs and delicious street food. The same goes for pubs and cocktail bars.

But for an authentic London experience, don’t forget to go to a classy hotel and have a traditional cup of tea – or as they say, have a cuppa.

6. Learn About the Free Attractions

London has many free attractions to visit, from parks to museums. Nature lovers will find a particular delight in numerous gardens and parks, while the free museums will satisfy your every interest.

Among the most famous institutions that you can visit for free are the British Museum, Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Natural History Museum, but there are many more.

Learning about the sight and activities you can experience without spending a dime should be high on your list of priorities, as you can plan your vacation around those attractions.

Discover the Wonders of London

While it might be challenging to create a detailed plan for your London vacation, the effort will certainly pay off in more ways than one. 

Once you know where to stay, what to see, and the best ways to get around the city, you’ll have the freedom to explore Britain’s beautiful capital without pressure. And the best way to get to know the city is just that.


Five Unmissable Culture Sights in Newcastle

Five Unmissable Culture Sights in Newcastle

A place of culture and history, Newcastle has many locations you should make sure to visit.

Newcastle is a city with a rich history and culture. Through the city’s attractions, visitors can learn something in-depth about this amazing place. Newcastle holds fascinating stories of both itself and the whole country, with enough culture sights to ensure that you’ll always get an opportunity to experience something new.

With this, you might be looking for historical things to do in Newcastle. Or maybe you’re interested in the city’s culture in general. In either case, take a look at our list of the five absolutely unmissable culture sights in Newcastle. There’s a good chance you’ll find some intriguing places to see on your next trip.

1. Castle Garth

Following St Nicholas Street to Castle Garth will lead you to the ancient Newcastle’s castle keep. The small street goes around the keep and continues onto The Black Gate Street, reaching the eponymous gate. A short walk on this route will give you an immediate insight into the city’s medieval history.

Reconstructed after being damaged over time, both the keep and the gate are authentic monuments to days long gone. Immediately when you go under the overpass by the keep, you’ll feel the history coming back to life. And across the street lies the beautiful and charming Bridge Hotel.

Enter a bit deeper into Castle Garth and you’ll see another gorgeous building straight ahead. This is the Newcastle Moot Hall, the city’s courthouse. Just before it on the right are the Castle Stairs that you can take right down to Sandhill. Passing the stairs is a small adventure in itself since they go below the old castle walls.

Before leaving Castle Garth, check out the Vermont Hotel and its Redwood Bar. It’s a luxurious place in an amazing location. Also, make sure not to miss the exhibitions at the keep and learn more about Newcastle’s Castle history.

2. St Nicholas Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas mostly dates from the 14th and 15th centuries, with both earlier and later segments. The church has stood looking over the city throughout a large part of history. Even the cathedral’s organ, built in 1676, has centuries worth of history behind it.

The building style belongs to the English late Gothic, the so-called Perpendicular style. The specific lantern spire that’s open and arched is an easily recognizable feature that gives the church a unique look. Inside the cathedral, you’ll see plenty of wonderful stained glass art, including a medieval piece.

In its earliest history, the cathedral was a Norman parish church that stood for over a century. Today, the fascinating building is a monument to the history and culture of the region.

3. The Theater Royal

Close by to the Cathedral and the Castle is the Theater Royal on Grey Street. While there were reconstructions done on the building, the exterior looks the same as 200 years ago. That’s when the theater opened, and it’s been active ever since.

While fires have endangered it in several instances, the theater was luckily saved and remains standing to this day. On a particular occasion in 1899, the interior suffered great damage due to a massive fire. Not to give in to superstition, but the incident mentioned is quite peculiar. The fire happened right after a performance of a certain Scottish play. Theater lovers will undoubtedly know which play’s in question, but hopefully, it was no more than an unlucky coincidence.

In modern times, the Theater Royal houses the finest drama plays, musicals, ballet and dance shows, and opera. Even if you can’t catch a play, the gorgeous building is certainly worth a visit for the exterior alone.

4. Quayside and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge

A road on the left bank of the Tyne River bears the name Quayside. However, in a broader sense, Quayside encompasses a whole area of Newcastle. It spans both sides of the river, going from the High Level Bridge all the way past the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

A former industrial hub, Quayside today hosts performances and exhibitions. Every Sunday, you can visit the Quayside Market and the area’s seasonal attractions. It’s a highly popular route for casual walks and the ideal location to view the famous seven bridges.

The Gateshead Millennium Bridge lies around the central point of Quayside. As the first tilting pedestrian bridge in the world, it’s a wonder of modern architecture. To allow ships to pass, the bridge tilts on its axis instead of lifting. It’s a real spectacle to watch the slow, smooth movement of the giant structure.

Every Gateshead Millennium Bridge tilt takes under five minutes, and any litter rolls down from it during the movement. The trash then goes into specially-designed traps, rather than into the river. When in its normal position, the bridge is one of the tallest buildings in Newcastle.

5. Literary and Philosophical Society

Popularly known as the Lit&Phil, the society’s located very close to the Newcastle Central Station. The institution is almost two centuries old, and the society even older, predating the city’s main university. In fact, the founding of Newcastle University happened after a lecture at the Lit&Phil proposed it.

The extensive library holds about 200,000 books, including medieval to modern tomes. There’s also the Music Library, with thousands of classical, jazz, and folk music recordings. This collection also includes audio-books and sheet music.

The Literary and Philosophical Society holds music, literature, theater, and poetry events. In addition, there are workshops and classes anyone can participate in. The best part is that the society’s open to all with no entry fee. 

It’s a treasure of art and knowledge that you shouldn’t forget to visit.

Fall in Love with Newcastle’s History and Culture

Even after a visit, Newcastle will have more to show. The city’s filled both with world-famous and unexpected gems. And they’re just waiting for you to discover them.

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Newcastle on the Cheap – What to Do on Your Next Trip

Newcastle on the Cheap – What to Do on Your Next Trip

You can make the most of your next visit to Newcastle, even on a tight budget.

Newcastle, or Newcastle upon Tyne, as is the city’s full name, is both a historical and urban center. Located in the north of England, the city’s unique and full of culture. As you would expect, there are plenty of attractions and fun things to do in Newcastle.

Best of all, you can have a great time in the city without overspending. 

Check out our list of the most affordable interesting activities for your next trip to Newcastle upon Tyne. Whether you spend one day or a week there, your Newcastle vacation will be both inexpensive and memorable.

Visit the Ancient Newcastle Castle

It would be hard to miss a visit to the main feature that gave the city its name. 

The castle is a medieval stronghold of Norman origins. Today, you won’t see much of it since it’s mostly lost to time. The remaining castle keep and the Black Gate are the only remaining buildings. Luckily, the restored castle remains open for visitors.

The history of Newcastle’s Castle is rich and fascinating. Starting from Roman times and lasting until today, its story encompasses centuries. You can learn a lot about it through the exhibits held at the keep and the Black Gate. Make sure to get to the top of the keep where you can enjoy an impressive view of the whole city.

Check Out the City’s Best Bars

It would be unfair not to mention some of the amazing nightlife venues the city’s famous for. The best bars in Newcastle often have great prices, so a drink or two certainly won’t empty your pockets.

97 & Social is a cozy, great-looking bar in the Jesmond neighborhood. Here you can grab a cocktail or a tasty bite to eat and get a chance to meet the locals. It’s no surprise many students frequent this comfortable bar.

Near Central Station, The Hudson is a beautiful place for a quick drink or a full meal. You can pick between sitting at a table or the stylish bar. Come alone, or with friends or family, and spend some pleasant time in this authentic location.

BrewDog is very near Newcastle Cathedral, making it a great stop on any city exploration tour. This bar offers excellent craft beers, with an accent on the Scottish sorts. The interior is straightforward and minimalist, making a visit to BrewDog the essential bar experience.

Of course, there are many more bars in Newcastle. But for budget’s sake, we recommend limiting the visits and staying for the atmosphere rather than the drinks. An evening at a local bar will give you that priceless, ‘real’ Newcastle feel.

Travel Back in Time in the Bessie Surtees House

Buildings that belong to the 17th-century Jacobean architecture style are rare and quite interesting. This alone is reason enough to visit the Bessie Surtees House on Sandhill, near the Tyne Bridge. Admittance is free and the story behind the building is the stuff of romance novels. 

The story involves Bessie Surtees, an attractive socialite of the era, and John Scott, the future Lord Chancellor of England. The two had a loving relationship opposed by Bessie’s parents. One November day in 1772, with Scott’s help, Bessie exited the house through a window, and they eloped to Scotland.

You can learn the whole story through the exhibition housed in the building. There are even more examples of Jacobean architecture, as well as the lovely period interiors, on display.

Try Out Your Hand at Mini Golf

When it comes to mini-golf, Newcastle is packed with amazing courses. Depending on the weather and your preference, you can choose between indoor and outdoor variations. Nothing can beat a mini-golf afternoon as far as affordable and fun things to do in Newcastle go. You can find courses scattered all across the city, so the game is on no matter where you are.

Mr. Mulligan’s Space Golf in Chinatown is an indoor mini-golf venue. The three courses are, as the name suggests, space-themed. Any group of friends or a family will have a fantastic time at the sci-fi mini-golf center.

If you find yourself north in Gosforth, the Parklands Golf Club offers awesome mini-golf courses. It also has standard courses, but these may let you go beyond your budget. 

Ghetto Golf has some of the best hilarious but edgy courses in the city. The location is terrific, and you’re guaranteed to have great fun. On the other hand, the place’s far from family-friendly and the price is a bit high.

Visit the Seven Bridges of Newcastle

When you hear about attractions near ‘the bridge’ in Newcastle, it most likely concerns the Tyne Bridge. While that’s the most popular, the other six bridges are also worth seeing.  Visiting the seven bridges is a great way to explore the city even if you’re not a particularly big fan of bridges

You’ll probably get familiar with the Tyne Bridge right away. Most of the main attractions and activities are somewhat near it. Plus, as we’ve mentioned, it’s one of the main orientation points in the city.

Following the Tyne downstream, you’ll get to the Swing Bridge. This is a moving sort, so it would be best to catch it in action. Colored in red and white, it’s a marvel to watch it swing to make way for passing ships.

Next is the High Level Bridge, a colossal steel structure and historical wonder of engineering. It’s a crucial Newcastle landmark that’s somewhat reminiscent of Roman aqueducts.

The three bridges located further downstream are less notable than the rest. The Queen Elizabeth II and the King Edward VII are metro and railway bridges respectively. Meanwhile, the Redheugh Bridge is the longest of all that span the Tyne in Newcastle.

The seventh and visually most distinct is the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. This pedestrian and cyclist bridge is the only one upstream from the Tyne Bridge. It’s also the youngest of the seven and stands out as one of Newcastle’s highest structures.

Turn Your Visit to Newcastle Into a Budget-friendly Delight

Newcastle is a city that welcomes all and opens up its beauty to every visitor. This helpful list will certainly come in handy on your next trip there. Even with minimal spending, you’ll have an excellent and memorable Newcastle vacation.

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Trip Ideas

Top 10 Things to Do on Your Trip to London

There’s no shortage of exciting things to do in London. Get ready for the trip of a lifetime to one of the greatest cities in the world.

Full of historical sites and contemporary landmarks, London is a city that’s on many people’s bucket lists. 

Ideally, you’ll get to pick your favorites right after you check out our list of the unique things to do in London. But if you’re up for the challenge, do all of them during your trip. 

It’s going to be worth it.

#1 – Take a Cable Car Ride over the Thames River

Set between the Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula, the Emirates Air Line cable car offers quite a different view of the city. 

From above, you’ll get to see the London skyline, the O2 Arena, and the Thames river. You can also get to see a stunning London sunset on a cable car if you time your ride right. 

During the day, the ride takes 10 minutes and the cars arrive every half a minute. The night rides go slower and may last up to 13 minutes. 

For romantics, they can choose to have champagne during the ride. And there’s also an option to reserve a private cabin that has a capacity of 10. 

#2 – Take A Snapshot with Your Favorite Celebrity

Madame Tussauds is one of the museums in London that most people agree you shouldn’t miss. From historical icons to Hollywood superstars, the museum has over 250 wax figures for you to see. 

You can walk the red carpet with Kate Winslet or strike a pose with David Beckham in the sports zone. For the superhero buffs, the museum shows a 4D movie featuring familiar heroes of the Marvel universe. 

You can also learn about what goes into the making of the unbelievably lifelike sculptures on display. 

#3 – Tour the Tower of London

Standing proud for 900 years, the Tower of London has been a royal palace, a jewel house, and a zoo. It’s also notorious for being a prison where many met their maker. 

For those curious about the place’s grim history, there’s a Beefeater guide who’ll tell you all about the executions that took place. You’ll also learn about the myth of the tower’s ravens and see the historic armory and weapons. 

Since it was the first zoo in London, you can also learn more about the Royal Beasts that once inhabited the tower.  

#4 – Visit Shakespeare’s Theater

Your stay in London wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Globe Theatre. 

It’s a faithful reconstruction of the playhouse where the genius playwright worked. And from Tuesday to Sunday, you can go on a 50-minute tour and discover more about the original playhouse and this theater. 

Of course, you can also see a play there, just so long as you book your tickets in advance.

#5 – Tour the Warner Bros. Studio

Harry Potter fans will cherish the chance to see where the iconic saga was filmed. The studio tour takes you through the sets, the props, and the costumes featured in the movies. 

You’ll get to check out Hagrid’s hut, Dumbledore’s office, and the Great Hall. You can go through the Diagon Alley and take a photo at Platform 9¾ as you’re about to board the Hogwarts Express. 

Relive the most memorable scenes and find out how all the magic came to life. 

#6 – Ride the London Eye

With its 32 capsules and breathtaking 360° views, the London Eye is a great contemporary London landmark. 

The wheel takes you 443ft into the air for a unique view of the city’s landmarks. And as you ascend or descend, you’ll see Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben. 

The capsules are equipped with interactive guides that can tell you more about the landmarks. The ride takes half an hour and there are fast entry tickets for those who wish to skip the long queues. 

Note that you may want to book the tickets online prior to your arrival. 

#7 – Visit Portobello Road Market

The main street of Notting Hill, Portobello Road, is where over 1,000 merchants set up shop. It’s easily one of the best places in all of London to pick up some authentic souvenirs. 

The shops sell an assortment of quintessentially British merchandise, like recreations of Banksy’s art, tea sets, and regional antiques. 

You’ll enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and abundance of quality food. That said, make sure to check out some of the food stalls or take a break inside one of the restaurants. 

#8 – Stroll down Piccadilly Circus

The atmosphere may remind you of New York’s Times Square, but better – that is if you prefer to have Edwardian buildings reflecting the billboards lights. 

Piccadilly Circus alone is filled with exciting things to do in London.

After all, this is the seat of all the hustle and bustle in the city and a great starting point to go bar hopping. You’ll be just a short walk away from some of London’s best bars and clubs. 

#9 – Shop at Camden Market

This is where a lot of Londoners choose to spend their afternoons. 

The market opens at 10 every morning and the 200 stalls carry all the goods you can think of. You’ll find fashion, furniture, ethnic cuisines, and souvenirs, to name but a few. Not to be missed are the Portuguese desserts and antique home decor. 

And when you’ve had enough of all the shopping, head on to one of the many cool bars tucked away in Camden’s narrow streets. 

#10 – Take a Break at Hyde Park

If you want to unwind and escape for a little, Hyde Park is the place to go. You can walk the footpaths or rent a bike and cycle to all of the park’s attractions. 

The most iconic place is the Speakers’ Corner where George Orwell and Karl Marx had their debates back in the day. 

Experience London

This top 10 list only scratches the surface of what London has to offer. The hope is that they can at least get you ready to immerse yourself in this world-class city’s charm and tradition.

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