Parkour has become increasingly popular in recent years. In October 2016, Parkour was officially recognised as a sport by the UK – the first country in the world to do so. Following this, London has become a hotspot for Traceurs (individuals who practice Parkour) to work on their craft.
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, Kira Kolosova
The most fascinating and interesting country that it is, it is the country with the most richest history. It has a very ethnically mixed population and is influenced by it’s history of Victorian times, Edwardian times, the Regency Period, the middle ages, the Tudor Period, and other periods like the Anglo-Saxona and Roman period.
It’s history is absolutely intriguing and widely looked at. I would love to do an overview of each period but that would take a VERY long time! From the Lancastrian period to the House of York, and House of Windsor, it is full of pomp and circumstance, which is a familiar motto used in the country.
It is defined by the distinct cultural standards of England and the “English” people. I particularly like the culture in London as it is widely believed to be the culture capital of the world, known for its music ( people like Ellie Goulding, Victoria Beckham, Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Paul McCartney just to name a few!), museums (V&A, Natural History, National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery), festivals (Boomtown, Winchester, Bestival, Lulworth Castle – the Green Man Festival full of comedy, theatre, and literary worlds – there is also the Latitude Festival that is held at Hehla, Park which has DJ’s hidden in the woods, colourful sheep roaming, opera on the lake, and actors and dance troupes)
England is known for its traditional music halls, West End theatres, London has it all when it comes to entertainment! It is renowned for its theatre (just like Melbourne!) and an array of tours and attractions and sporting occasions.
2. Charming little towns and villages
There are many gorgeous little villages that hold character and charm, such as Chester (Cheshire in which I have talked about in previous posts) it is a county in the north west of England located on the River Dee with a population of around 300,000 and is one of the best preserved wall cities and full of medieval buildings, some, Victorian Restorations.
There is also Canterbury which has Canterbury Cathedral which is very special and is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury and is the mother church of the Anglican community throughout the world. it is a historical cathedral city and UNESCO world heritage site and a local government district of Kent. it lies on the River Stour. It was also a pilgrimage site in the middle ages. It is a very historic British town.
3. Beautiful Scenery
England has absolutely BEAUTIFUL scenery, and you can see ocean views from places like Eastbourne (a seaside resort), in the country and then you’ve got amazing, picturesque, gorgeous area of natural beauty at the Lake District. It is one of the most beautiful places of England, even though I haven’t been there I have heard so much about this huge area, and know a few people that live there or have been there on holidays. There seem to be incredible views! especially of glistening waters and valleys.
You have also got the South Downs National Park in Sussex
3. Enchanting Georgian Architecture
Apparently one of the most beautiful places in England is the gorgeous and harmonious location of Bath, Somerset. This is DEFINITELY on my “list of Travel Dreams”, and is so elegant-looking. It is known to be the place that Jane Austen used as a setting for her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persusasion, and apparently where Thomas Gainsborough (the painter) did his landscape paintings.
4. The Best Pub Walks
From its spectacular coastline to its mountain peaks, Britains diverse landscapes can also be the best for walking. Britain is known for its unique establishments ‘the pub’ – for example, you have, The Cob and Lobster, The Old Nags Head, Lister Arms, The Boatman, which is nestled below Windsor Castle beside the River Thames, overlooking Eton Bridge.
5. The Peak Disctrict
This is another piece of inspiration for Jane Austen, plus Charlotte Bronte, it has been a charming spot for Brits for centuries, with its billowed hills, desolated cliffs and eye-catching country houses.
6. Romantic Places
My idea of Britain is becoming more and more about having a stroll in the countryside, or munching on some Fortnum and Mason goodies, or reading in the park with some delightful macaroons from Pierre Herme Paris or L’Orchidee.
Also, my idea to take myself back to something evocative even though I haven’t been there is, Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. it is known to be one of the most greatest medieval sites in the entire country, and apparently is the birthplace of King Arthur. It looks simply enchanting. or such as Highclere Castle nestled in the countryside of Hampshire.
When I think of the word ‘romantic’ I think of ‘Derbyshire’, an abundant hinterland, the district of Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ looks absolutely breathtaking. This county is filled with stately homes and looks as green as ever!, and also in Pride and Prejudice the character Fitzwilliam Darcy was situated here as well, plus one of Georgette Heyers books, and quite a few others as well have used it as a novel setting.
7. It’s old castles
One of the most iconic of all fortresses is:
Dover Castle. From the Romans to the Cold War, you can roam through centuries of history here. You can also step into the Great Tower and immerse yourself in a medieval castle. In the 1180’s Henry the second remodelled it.
It is full of so much history of 900 years, an Elizabethan palace where the Great Hall played hosts to medieval monarchs and early Tudor Kings. You can also have a walk in the 400 year old, Elizabethan Garden, a haven of peace and tranquility, and bursting with full colour! There is also an exhibition, Leicesters Gatehouse a castle entrance built by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester in 1571, as part of his plan to pursue Queen Elizabeth I.
There are so many other castles such as Tintagel, Bolsover, Portchester, Warkworth, Dunstanburgh and Carisbrooke, Middleham and Beeston.
8. The People
Full of friendly inhabitants, British people are citizens of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies. The ‘British’ can be referred to as the Celtic Britons, which were ‘The Celts’ who were an Indo-European people who inhabited Great Britain during the Iron Age right into the Middle Ages, at which point their culture/language diverged. They spoke Common Brittonic Lanaguage.
The British are a diverse, multi-cultural and bilingual society. The British are very polite people and say ‘thank you’ to everything!!! ‘Excuse me’ is used A LOT and are known to keep to themselves, generally ‘quite’ reserved!
9. Quality of Life
The U.K is a good place to live and work and is one of the best developed countries for quality of life.
Education is highly-ranked internationally and the U.K has spent billions of dollars on primary and secondary education plus tertiary. $83.4 billio was spent on education.
The median household income is about 23,556 pounds and the U.K is quite a wealthy country, what would it be without Lords and Ladies??? Income can vary considerably by location and a few of the most expensive suburbs are Chelsea, Kensington and the city of London itself, with median annual income of $58,000 pounds.
10. The BIG cities!!!!
From Manchester to Birmingham-Wolverhampton to Liverpool and Leeds-Bradford, London ranks as the highest in the hierarchy of British cities, and of COURSE I am going to include it!!!!!
There are currently 69 cities in the United Kingdom that have been granted city status by letters patent (which is a legal instrument issued by a monarch or head of state) and royal charter (a formal document granting right and/or power to an individual or an association or society).
There is SOOO much information on London alone and is the most populous city in England. It overlooks the River Thames and can also be known as ‘Londinium’ which came from the Romans as they were the ones that founded the city. It is a metropolis and a leading global city, in the arts particularly, and majorly in fashion, media and entertainment, and also known for its professional services and research and development. It is also the worlds largest financial centre and the worlds most visited city according to international arrivals.
Londons famous landmarks are:
The London Eye
St Pauls Cathedral
It has a population of 8 million people.
…. and these are the reasons why we can’t help but fall in love with Britain