Winter is on its way out and Spring is almost here, meaning that London is coming into full bloom. The appeal of warmer weather, an abundance of gorgeous flowers decorating the busy streets and the promise of longer days all make our city incredibly popular in Spring – just make sure you know how to deal with lily pollen stains if you’re heading for the parks!
Whenever you’re heading to London, it’s always a good idea to get some tips from someone who knows it well before you go. This is where I come in! As a Londoner, I’ve put together some of my top tips to help you make the most of your city break.
Avoid Rush Hour
If you’re travelling on the tube, bus, train or any other kind of transport, always, always avoid rush hour when you can. These times tend to be from between 7.30AM-9AM and 4.30PM-6.00PM. It gets super busy so avoid at all costs!
Plan Your Day
Before heading out, make sure you’ve planned everything. The places you’re visiting, the right tubes to get there, food places nearby – knowing what you’re doing and when will make your days a whole lot smoother.
Get an Oyster Card
If you’re planning on using the tubes and buses, definitely get an Oyster card. They make travel much easier and will save you a whole lot of both time and money! Head to a tube station to pick one up for free.
Buses Don’t Accept Cash
Our city buses are completely cashless, meaning that if you want to hop on you’re going to need either an Oyster card or a debit or credit card that uses contactless payment. We really are living in the future over here!
A Free Day Out
If you want to save some cash, there are plenty of things that won’t cost you anything in London. Pop to museums such as The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum or The Victoria and Albert Museum which are all free. If you’re lucky and the weather is good, take a stroll in a park. There are a lot to choose from: Hyde Park, Regents Park, St. James’ Park, just make sure you know how to get rid of lily pollen stains if you’re going in Spring or Summer!
We’re Not Big Tippers
Sometimes a tip will be included in the bill in London, but if not then around 15% should be okay. Staff won’t get offended if you don’t leave an exact percentage, though. A restaurant meal is the only time you should always tip, really – they won’t expect it in a bar, taxi or café, though it can be nice if you’ve received good service.
Avoid Shopping on Saturday
I would definitely stay clear of Oxford Street and Regent Street on a Saturday if you can help it. It gets super busy and your relaxing shopping trip will turn into more of a crazy ordeal. Check out quitter places like Redchurch street in Shoreditch for some quirky shopping spots you won’t find anywhere else!
Travel on a Bike
Boris Bikes are a cheap, eco-friendly and fun way to get around London. You can rent a bike from one of the many docks scattered around London and then pop it back into another one when you’re done.
Check Out Markets
We have loads of great markets that are on throughout the week, including in Camden and Brick Lane – two hot spots for lovers of all things alternative and indie. Check them out online and find one that appeals to you, whether you’re more into fine food, stylish clothing or quirky finds!
Places to Explore
If you’re in need of some inspiration of places to explore, here are a few popular areas of London that could be right up your street:
• Notting Hill
• Covent Garden
Don’t forget to take lots of pictures and enjoy your trip!
Written by Guest Writer
She has worked as Editor at SHIFT London, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London and has a Bachelors Degree in Fashion Journalism with London College of Fashion. PLUS a features and fashion editorial intern for PAUSE Magazine and HEARST MAGAZINES UK
In my recent post, How to live a successful life, I talked about short term goals, and long term goals. I am a huge goal kind of girl, where I love to write down all my goals for the future, and to have the motivation to succeed in something. I have come up with the idea of writing down a list of my current AND future goals, and dreams of where I want to be NEXT year!!!!
Okay, girls! So, I have come across an extraordinary writer, Julie Falconer, on writing about travel, and well, especially London. If you have not read any of my previous posts, you might need to know the fact that I have gained a fascination for London, especially after watching the “Ladies of London” TV Show, and well, Kate Middleton basically lives there! I bought the novel, London by Edward Rutherford, but it is quite a challenging read for a novel! haha! I like the “upper class” attitude that Londoners have, and London Life just seems so……. sigh!…… Wonderful……
So, this website is written by a Californian girl who moved to the UK, and is a TRAVEL writer and speaker. Her travel writing has also been featured in the National Geographic Intelligent Travel, Lonely Planet, Time Out and Metro! What a talented person she is!
This website is an AWARD-WINNING blog. You can read her story of how she became a blogger here. I think its an energetically stimulating change from finance to travel writing. I think it is EXCITING and impressive also that she works with BBC Travel showcasing her photos of London on their Instagram and Twitter accounts!
She has written over 400 posts on London itself!!!!! I could not believe that when I read that!!!! How amazing is that, girls? and additionally teaches one on one coaching for beginning bloggers which I would LOVE to do!!!!
I am going to focus on one article that appeals to me the most.
I like how she breaks down each inscription on the best places to go to to eat, and have afternoon tea.All us girls love our afternoon high teas! and I like how she starts off with “When to visit London”. Click on “The Ultimate Travel Guide” link above to get all the best advice if you are planning that trip to London! I believe it has the easiest, and simple recommendations and she writes 6 essential items of what you should pack. I love reading other peoples advice on what to pack, because travelling is one of the most exhilarating things in life! When I went to Mandurah in January I was very basic, and sometimes being basic is the prime way to go!
Summer Packing List for London – This is a great list to help you get packing for your holiday, incase you are not sure on what to pack when it comes to looking more Londonish!
She bought a Long Champ Le Pilage tote bag, which Kate Middleton had on her graduation day! Having a bag like this is spacious, and is the best for a carry bag because it is lightweight, and fits basically everything.
There’s a section on Events and Festivals, and of course when you go travelling overseas you want to attend things that involve fun and entertainment. I can’t wait to go to the Chelsea Flower Show one day!! It is one of the most popular events held in London. EVERYONE knows of it!!!!
I have been told that the best time to go is in June/July because summer there is just sensational! But would love to experience September for the annual orchestral classical music concert because I have always been a music fanatic! I love singing, and classical music and recently downloaded “A Midsummer Nights Dream: Wedding March” and the Best of British Composers album which you can find on I Tunes!!! On top of that, I have always wanted to attend the Royal Albert Hall where MANY famous people have performed!
A Lady in London does a whole segment on “Sight seeing”. Of course I have to start with Buckingham Palace. I recently spoke to someone that just got back from London and she just did a tour in there, and I was JUST jealous of her as that is my NUMBER ONE item on my list!!! and the museums!!! My!!! I was recently talking about how I had to do a little discussion post on museums for library studies, and my choice was, and will be, The British Museum. What I found thought – provoking was there were these Celtic coins discovered recently after being hidden for 2000 years! The exhibitions are riveting, and I have only seen whats on the website! I can’t wait to ACTUALLY be there!!! and hear and discover ancient history.
Julie also said that Hampton Court Palace is worth a visit and Strawberry Hill House looks enchanting!!!! Gardens and parks are the way to go and Hyde Park is one of the most known.
Now, as for restaurants, I am not a Londoner, but she has organised a list of:
Seven restaurants you have to try for Weekday breakfast. It is a fantastic list detailing each establishment. She does it so well.
Afternoon Teas – Surprisingly, Fortnum and Mason isn’t mentioned, but each one listed looks stately and refined!
Also, read her article on 6 Coffee Shops she can’t live without! There are numerous articles on the website, but this takes the cake! I can’t live without my morning coffee!! and I can’t wait to check these places out!!!! The article is just unbelievable, and PLEASE DO NOT FORGET to read up on An Expat’s Guide to British Tea Culture. It just has it all!!!!!
Speaking of tea, I have to share with you my new discovery!!! This week I noticed at the supermarket the “London Strand Earl Grey” by Twinings. BEST tea I have ever tasted once mixed with milk and sugar!!!!
Now for the BEST detail of all!!! The best places to shop!!!!
She fixed on the London markets, but my eyes popped when I saw the bookstore section!!! Plus she has done another article on a “Guide for the best places for books” and said that Daunt Books is one of her favourite bookstores she has visited. It looks soooo welcoming, and is a great choice of meandering through.
I can’t WAIT to check out Foyles because it is one of Londons OLDEST bookstores which I find fascinating considering what I am studying IS Library Studies. I can imagine myself in there AAALLLL day!!! with coffee in hand, and browsing through every single book there is!
Choosing where to stay in London, you have sooooo many suburbs to choose from. London is so vast, and I am still learning about certain suburbs from watching either 60 Minute Makeover or Homes Under the Hammer which I absolutely LOVE!!!! I have become addicted to those two particular shows for afternoon watching.
I like how she recommended the Cotswolds as I particularly have taken an interest since buying the Britain magazines in Merredin, Western Australia. Like she say’s, “it seems all perfectly charming” and it seems like the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful and magical.
At the end of the post, she challenges the reader for tips. If you have been, hop on over to her website, or comment on my website, so people can see and observe some awesome NEW advice! There is no such thing as too much information!!! Maybe share a bit of your travels, where you have been lately, or an adventure you remember growing up!
I am also captivated by the thought that she also wrote a book called “Blogging Basics: How to create a Successful Blog and build a loyal following“. I know what I am buying with my next pay!!!!
and… some exciting news!!! She is coming to Australia!!!!! I can’t WAIT to see her reviews on where she travels here.
Don’t forget to follow her on Instagram
Today I went on a road trip to a small town not far from Merredin. Just for something to do on a Saturday! It was about an hours drive and stopped off for a morning coffee at a cafe in Kellerberrin.
I had a great time roaming the small Main Street and was astounded by the feel of the place. The town has a heart feeling feel and I enjoyed looking at all the old architecture.
There is many historical information on just the one town!
I grabbed a brochure of the map of the place and had a look at the local history of books in the visitor centre.
My dad had to do an outside broadcast for RadioWest at the Town Hall, so during that time I went antique and book shopping!
The building is just magnificent.
This was inside the Town Hall building……
I just love looking around!!!!! And across from this building was an antique store. I want to share with you some pieces and findings!
This piece is a part of the Paragon collection. I still prefer Royal Albert and have the set of Old Country Roses, but Paragon still has its place.
And from becoming a royal fan this caught my sparkling eye!!!
This peice is enchanting and valuable.
And this is even better and personally a valuable peice.
I then went to Berkley – a bookstore where the fire brigade is. I didn’t buy anything but here’s a few shots of books that caught my eye.
Considering my interest in royalty, I would love to read this book for information on Queen Elizabeth I. I have an interest in reading on many topics, but this just sprung at me! I can’t wait to visit this bookshop again! It has a great range in History, Classics and Literature.
This just looks stunning…… And I ABSOLUTELY want to buy!!!!! 😍😍😍
What’s on my DEFINITE list is this…… My eyes popped when I saw the author, or writer I should say of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes has written a novel!!!!! This is definitely on top of my list.
Okay, that wasn’t a “few”….. But if you’re reading this I am sure you understand my love for reading and literature…..
Antiques and books is what I’m sticking to, to keep my life occupied!
I hope you enjoyed the photos I took on my day trip and have a lovely weekend!
It’s wednesday,….. And I have arrived in Cairns….. A three hour sleep felt like several hours! I didn’t feel so tired anymore from road tripping through Western Australia. I got tired by the time I got to Perth airport, and I felt I needed a mist spray for my face! I felt wrecked! Haha!
I shopped at the airport, of course, and bought The Little Paris Bookshop (which has had raved reviews and is an international bestseller) but not many shops were open at 11 o’clock at night! I was travelling with my Mum and we had Original Pizza at The Dome with tea for two. It was delicious and hit the spot before boarding for Cairns.
When arriving at Cairns it was humid and muggy and I wasn’t used to the weather! We got picked up and drove to Port Douglas. Yes! Another holiday in Port Douglas as per my previous blog in 2013!
We had breakfast at a local cafe and I admitingly had TWO lattes! We then went back home and I have been lounging about in my white and orange casual dress watching television and doing random activities such as reading magazines and adult colouring in!
Welcome to Port Douglas!
The laid back city and country place in the Northern Tropics of Queensland. It is just paradise! And has a totally different feel to WA!
Have a look at my bedroom! 😍
It is so cosy and homey – I love it!
Thursday = shopping in the mall.
I bought three favourite beauty products!
I have already been snorkelling, submarine riding and helicopter riding, so I don’t mind if I don’t do all that! This holiday I just want to shop, have coffee and see the beach!
I have eyed out a few books in Whileaway Bookshop and cafe (my favourite possy!!) and want to buy so much!!!! As per usual! Here are a few things I want to get:
I am DYING to see the film, Me before you. My mum saw it in Bunbury and she said it is a bit of a tear jerker. It looks like my kind of romantic movie……
There’s also this novel that has intrigued me as its my dream destination!!!!!
It looks ssssooooo good!!!!! Well, there’s a “few” items I want. I am trying not to buy so much as its a bad habit of mine! Maybe I need to learn on budgeting…. And heed to financial advice!
I have already done the Sky Rail (I’m going to let my parents do it on their own!) I am going to just do coffee and the beach, and take in all the scenery and enjoy till Tuesday!
This is my Aunty Jenni’s house – it is like a resort!!!!! And I love the pool- I had a swim yesterday!
P.S. An extra added Beauty Product I have bought today is the Maybelline New York Colossal Go Extreme Leather Black Mascara.
Plus! This is what I’m doing now!
Along with a delicious Cherry Ripe ice cream from Wicked Icecreams to top it off!
The Easter long weekend was a lot of fun! I was involved in an event, an Easter Egg Hunt for “Give me five for Kids” at Apex Park in Merredin, and there were 310 children registered!! There were a few prizes, and not one kid left without chocolate in hand….
This year I thought I wouldn’t have as much chocolate, but someone bought me quite a few, so I couldn’t help but indulge!!! Chocolate is a favourite thing of mine, and is probably on my top 10 favourite foods list!
On Tuesday I headed to Perth for a nights stay at the 3 star Rose and Crown Hotel. It was a three hour drive as per usual, and was glad when we finally arrived! I have stayed there before, but this time was on the ground floor. It is located in Swan Street, Guildford, and is located in the Swan Valley region of Western Australia. It is quite a popular hotel and is cited as one of Perth’s Top 20 destinations by The Sunday Time’s Escape magazine. You can hold corporate functions there, and weddings, and Christmas events also. Check out the website for Events and What’s On – which includes things like LIVE Entertainment.
The room I was in had FREE WI-FI, television, mini fridge, and tea and coffee making facilities. The best part for me was the free wifi so I could search the internet, AND work on my blog! There was NO LIMIT of hours – you can just log back in once your time is up! For lunch I caught up with some friends, and ordered garlic prawns, and had chocolate and vanilla gelato with honeycomb for dessert.
I went back to the motel room, and that night I went to ACE Cinema in Midland with some friends and watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding Part Two”! MY, what a movie! I thought it was fantastic, and it was almost even better than the first! It was full of laughs, and fun, and more laughter!!! The next time I go I want to watch either “The lady in the van” OR “London is falling”…. anything to do with London, and I am there! Zootopia looks great too!!!
After that we headed back to the motel with hot chocolate in hand from a place called “Alfred’s Kitchen“, and it was perfect for the night.
The next day, which is today we had complimentary breakfast – Bacon and scrambled eggs. It was delicious!!!! and I had a look through the place, and took more photos!!!
The Rose and Crown was established in the 1800’s so the building was exquisite, with dark floorboards, gorgeous chandeliers that I wanted!!!! and cream painted walls. It was beautiful to look around, and I enjoyed myself taking the photos!!
It was the most fabulous day, and if you’re ever in the east of Perth, don’t forget to check it out! It also has a swimming pool, but I didn’t have time for a dip! I was enjoying the establishment and had fun looking around.
Travelling here was fun, and it was nice to head back home though! It was paradise when we ate in the beer garden in a gazebo! It would be very fun to have a jazz band play in the background we thought!
I went to Spotlight and bought a new bedspread which was actually called “Princess”!!! hehehe it is like a dark cream with an ivory filigree pattern on it. It came with 2 standard pillow covers so it felt luxurious when I made my bed when I got home!
And when we were in Mundaring, I checked out “By the book” bookshop in the village, and bought “The Red Queen” by Phillipa Gregory – about an heiress to the Red Rose of Lancaster, Margaret Beaufort – I am a sucker for historical romance! This shall keep me busy and entertained for the next couple of days! I love her writing….
Travelling has been so fun, but now that I have this book, and a new quilt, I just want to snuggle up in bed with a cup of tea tonight, and just relax. It has been a wonderful couple of days! Full of adventure……….. and exciting things.
Have you been on a holiday at all this year?
I recently went on a trip to Perth, and on the way back to Merredin, we stopped off at Mundaring.
I was with my parents and we decided to go to the Dome. We ordered tea only, and the quality of service was exceptional.
We enjoyed a sip of English breakfast tea, and lounged in there, and chatted away whilst I also had a look at some magazines which, “The Lady” caught my eye!!
I really wanted to read it, but we had finished when I noticed them…… Dome is all over Australia and has excellent customer service and GOOD coffee! I, interestingly, adore the buildings, as when you walk in you can see the intricate artwork. I especially like the cherubs on the ceiling.
It has a comfortable setting and you can enjoy breakfast, and lunch or a spot of tea when travelling through Mundaring…..
I think it is the best place for stopping by and getting coffee or tea whilst on the road! It is like a cafe, but also a restaurant, where you can eat….. I’m not sure what they call it, but it’s a good establishment to see….. I hope you enjoy the pictures !!!!
When my Dad mentioned that we were spending the long weekend in Perth I was over loaded with excitement. We were in Mandurah not too long ago and now we are going on another holiday! Travel is one of the main things I wanted to do this year, even though I was brought up in Perth, there is still a lot I haven’t seen & we go down there every few months seeing it is the closest major city to us.
Sometimes I feel I have been in the country for too long, but what to do!
We arrived at the motel, Starwest Apartments Alderney on Hay around 1pm, Saturday, and it was fairly adequate with 2 bedrooms and open space with a nice sized kitchen and a lounge room with television. Quite a comfortable place, cute and modern.
I didn’t watch television at all!! I just enjoyed the stay and most of all the views from the balcony! We stayed right in the heart of Perth CBD with excellent services and facilities. Summer fun! There was a pool but never got round to the time for it!
On Saturday, Garden City in Booragoon was our first stop, like always! And Zara and Bardot were the main places we shopped. I didn’t buy anything but today I got a lovely bracelet from a little boutique shop called “Stella Rose” which is situated in Mount Hawthorn. The lady that served us, Jenny was really lovely, and complimented my sister a lot when trying on clothes. The bracelet is so feminine and is very special to me seeing that Mum bought it for me. Something special to have and to hold.
We also went into a little bookshop and I loved the travel section. From New York, to London, it had EVERYTHING! And every single bit of information on every city in the world! I wanted to buy “Melbourne”, but from living there I feel I know enough about the place!
I bought a new book, “The lost Tudor Princess”. I can’t wait to get stuck into it when I finish A Refuge at Highland Hall. It’s not in my current to read list for 2016, but it just looked too intriguing to not to buy!!! It looks like my cup of tea! If you love books, refer to my previous post for a selection of novels and such.
I didn’t go into the actual mall this time but we drove through the city for fun!!! Checking out different suburbs of the town……. It made me miss city life! Just a bit!
Travel is still on my list, but while I’m based in Merredin I want to continue on with studies, as it is quite important to me at this stage in life! I have so many things I want to achieve in life, and finding and creating my life whilst in Merredin is an adventure! Setting goals for travel or anything else in life sets the tone for your life!!! For example, If writing a book is a dream, set small achievable goals weekly and set time aside to write. You will feel like you’re getting somewhere!!!
I hope the same for you wherever you are! Adventures here we come!
Do you love to travel?
Don’t be afraid to comment!
Arriving into Mandurah was just paradise…… It is a beach and village on the coast of WA south of Perth, Australia. Embarking on a three day journey felt like the most adventurous thing I had ever done since Port Douglas in 2013. Such a great start to the year!!!!
It was my first time EVER going on a house boat….. The boat had a name…… Abbey J….. Most boats had names and I liked the sound of “Lady Lorna”. There is a boat called “Quicksilver” with “Mandurah House Boats” which is where we hired ours from, which Quicksilver has a SPA in it!!!! I had my own bedroom and the boat was just comfy, spacious, and luxurious. We had access to television and could charge our phones. I made sure I took a book, Sophia, about a god daughter of Queen Victorias.
Sitting on deck with book in hand and a magnificent view was all I could not ask for more.
We packed lots of food, snacks and stopped off at cafes and restaurants within the inlet. Where we stopped over night at the Pelicans Public Jetty we fed the seagulls, I indulged over a Mango Milkshake and my sisters had fun catching crabs!!!! My mum even caught a fish!
On the third day, during the day we saw LOTS of dolphins!!!! It was ssooooo beautiful and they are such amazing creatures, they glided across the pristine water like they were the only ones there!! I was in AWE of them!!!
I took lots of photos with my Canon camera and got a few close ups……. One came RIGHT near the boat in front of me!!!!!
The trip was full of much excitement and fun. My sisters know how to have a ball!!
So if you’re ever considering hiring a houseboat, don’t forget Mandurah has a range of boats to choose from!!! And who wouldn’t want the one with the spa!!!
What’s the first thing you would like to do this year?
P.S. there are also videos on my Instagram page!!!