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, MAVENS OF LONDON
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
The first three full novels in Catherine Gayle’s Lord Sotheby’s Influence series, available NOW in a single box set bundle on Amazon.
ONLY 83 cents right now on Kindle, and I bought it for a dollar something…..
The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton made her first appearance after the recent exciting news of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle’s royal engagement news.
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
I couldn’t help but share my new bag collection…… okay, well, I’ve had it for about a month, but I love the theme, the idea of a 3 in 1 bag, large, medium and small items that are so handy! For a nice evening Occassion I can just take out the third one, and everyday I can use all of them! I am so impressed with my set, and I completely love my collection.
I got it from a vintage shop in Westfield Whitford City Shopping Mall with 30 percent OFF and it was the last one, so I HAD to have them! I have to apologise because I can not remember the name of the actual store.When I find out I will update this page with the information. I felt desperate for a nice London Bag! It was a desperately needed item! Haha and Just more to add to my “London theme collection”!
I got a beautiful gift most recently, that I will absolutely treasure forever. A friend recently went to England and came back with a set of 30 postcards from the Buckingham Palace Shop or it may have been at Windsor Castle! It is a set of classically printed black and white cards of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and I was astonished and quite awe-struck by the lovely gift. I am not sure what I am going to do with them, I have sent two postcards already to some pen pals, but I would love to create a collage/board with all of them on it.
You can buy the postcards at the Royal Collection Shop website here for ten pounds which is only 16 dollars in Australian currency, although delivery may be expensive, it normally depends on what item you buy.
These are a few of my favourite ones! Just completely stunning…….
and isn’t this one just gorgeous…???
I admit…. I’ve become an avid, obsessed “royal fan”, and it’s because of pageantry, pomp, and especially the royal fashion. I can’t wait to go to London next year, IF and hopefully there will be another royal wedding. 👑 👰
Royal Wedding dresses have been the talk all over the world, and every girl likes to hear “fairytale” stories and romance!
I have decided to come up with a few posts that either explain the fashion, or just inspire the fashion, whether they have an opinion or not!
Here is a few “Kate Middleton inspired blog posts” for the weekend.
1. All dressed up posts about Royal Fashion on “Dressed up Duchess“, which I looove!!!! I particularly love the Emilia Wickstead Wool Crepe Midi Dress, and I like how she talks about each piece with her own viewpoint on it.
2. Styling the Duchess of Cambridge on her world trip – The Style Artisan
These extra outfits are found on Polyvore – so you can check out different styled outfits that can make you look a little more like Kate!
3. I could totally relate with the Empty scribbler….. Here she posts about her “London Fantasy“…. and she sounds totally like me!!! She doesn’t mention Kate but I had to add this one in for you to see as her mentality is quite like mine! Never been to London but dreaming of it….
4. The Brown Girls View creates her OWN idea of a collection of what she can imagine seeing Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge, wearing. (I am trying to get used to not saying “Kate Middleton” anymore, but it’s hard because it stuck with me!)
5. A post by Bamaanie – GET THE LOOK completely on a budget with Witchery leather flat shoes and a Ted Baker blazer.
6. The Preen Finella Dress that Kate wore twice is on Kate Middleton Style, the black one at Place 2 Be and in September, to the historic reconciliation ceremony and reception in Victoria, Canada. The red midi dress by Thornton Brigazzi. I particularly like this dress and totally want it! I am hoping that if I don’t buy a replicate that I can get one tailor made.
I hoped to have read the list of 20 books in My Book Collection, but because of the whole move from Merredin to Scarborough it’s been too busy to just sit down and take the time to read, except for today….. I hardly had anything to do, so I pulled out a book that I had my eye on for months and I am completely taken by this one, because it is set in the Regency Period. I particularly like the period in the early 19th century because it was followed by the Victorian Period and was during the reign of King George IV.
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
I have come across a few favourites……. Well, ALOT actually……
I couldn’t help myself but google Fortnum and Mason today. It has been a dream the past couple of years to visit London, and enjoy a high-tea there. It is on my LIST! I haven’t visited London just yet, but I know that I will get there one day! There is something about that place, coffee shops, museums, art galleries, bookshops, and so much MORE!!!! I enjoy watching “Ladies of London” every now and then too.
I am in LOVE with this pink mug, Halycon Days Her Majesty The Queens 90th Birthday Mug in Pink
Halycon Days is a London brand. It is an English fine bone china mug that is finished with an intricate trellis design. Featuring a wreath of golden flourishes that frames the inscription ‘In Celebration of the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 21st April 2016’, this mug makes a wonderful addition to any home.
I am LOVING the GIFT section. They have a WIDE range of Bath and Body, Skincare, Handbags and purses, fragrances, jewellery, scarfs, flowers, tea, china and silverware, and hampers! There is so much to shop!!!!
There are TWO kinds of tea that I want to buy.
Created in 1907, this popular blend is named after the monarch who was on the throne in the year that Fortnum & Mason actually began. The smooth blend of carefully selected TGFOP Assam and Ceylon FBOP teas produces a strong, smooth tea that is refreshing at any time of day.
This luxury tea is classic. It has ceylon and assam. It was actually first blended for King Edward VII in the summer of 1902, Royal Blend has been popular ever since for its smooth, almost honey-like flavour.
There is also a tea towel that I absolutely ADORE!
This beautifully designed tea towel commemorates The Queen’s 90th in true royal fashion. Made in the UK from 100% cotton, this tea towel is finished in royal blue and features an inscription celebrating the UK’s longest reigning monarch.
and of course, I want to get a bag that represents……
They even have a lunch box you can buy!!!!
So that’s just a few to add to my ever-growing list on what to buy. I think that when I DO get to London, I will probably need just about ten grand!!!!
Harrods has Chanel Cosmetics such as the Soleil Tan De Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base. The velvety finish of this light cream-gel bronzer leaves your skin with a beautiful sun-bathed look. Wear it on its own, or for a hint of outdoors radiance, over or under your favourite CHANEL foundation.
87-135 Brompton Road
Monday through to Saturday: 10am – 9PM
Sunday: 11:30 – 6PM
And Selfridges also has Chanel, along with NARS, MAC, Christian Loubiton, Tom Ford and Charlotte Tilbury, Giorgio Armani and so much MORE!!!!
Estée Lauder Flash Illuminator instantly highlights skin and provides nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, the moisture magnet. Lightweight and non-sticky, this balm glides effortlessly over skin for a baby-soft finish, while its blend of micro-fine pearls ensures extra luminosity. Wear alone to highlight, strobe, blush or shade, or mix in with your foundation for a super sexy all-over-glow.
You can also find it on the Sephora website for $28.
Selfridges & Co
400 Oxford Street
Monday 9.30 – 22.00
Tuesday 9.30 – 22.00
Wednesday 9.30 – 22.00
Thursday 9.30 – 22.00
Friday 9.30 – 22.00
Saturday 9.30 – 22.00
Sunday 11.30 – 18.00