Beyond Big Ben: 5 London Destinations That Make You Look Like a Local

Although the Big Ben is a can’t-miss London attraction, don’t make the ultimate travel mistake by visiting only the most well-known (and touristy) attractions. We’ve compiled a list of five London attractions to help you see all the historic city has to offer. Enjoy your trip off the beaten path!

Greenwich Market

London is full of open-air markets, but Greenwich Market is a foodie’s dream come true. Situated away from the crowds of central London, this covered market is the place to taste foods from around the globe. Shop for anything from spicy Jamaican curry to Thai noodles, and then eat picnic-style next to the Thames. Greenwich Market is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

For living history fans, this museum showcases consumer products from decades past. Its quirky collection contains over 12,000 original items from food packages to shampoo bottles, showcasing products that have helped define daily life for generations. Curator Robert Opie has personally collected items for the museum’s displays since he was 16, creating a truly one-of-a-kind collection.

Take a Seat with Churchill and Roosevelt

Thought the opportunity to sit between FDR and Churchill was long gone? In central London, a bench contains bronze statues of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, who appear to be sitting and chatting. There is a handy space for sitting between them, creating one of London’s best (and least known) photo ops! Named “Allies,” the bench was constructed to commemorate 50 years of peace after the Second World War.

Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park

Situated next to Kensington Palace, home of Royal Couple Will & Kate, Hyde Park is a sprawling outdoor recreation spot. Make your way over to Speakers’ Corner, where people from around the world gather to speak about whatever might be on their mind. Topics range from the serious—think religion and war—to the funny and satirical. Stop by on a Sunday afternoon, when the liveliest crowds draw to watch the stand-up speakers.

Richmond Park

Richmond Park is the largest of the Royal Parks, and home to herds of deer running wild through its fields and trails. Its rolling hills and beautiful oak trees make it one of the most scenic spots of the city, and it also provides great views of London: from certain spots, you can see all the way to St. Paul’s Cathedral. British legend holds that this park was the location of doomed couple King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s honeymoon.

Ready to stop reading and start sightseeing? Check out http://www.hipmunk.com/ to book your flights and find your perfect hotel.

 

 

5 European Cities to Visit This Summer

This is a guest post from Colm Hanratty, Editor of Hostelworld.com.

Beginning to plan your Summer vacation? Thinking of maybe hitting up one of Europe’s hotspots? In this guest post Hostelworld.com Editor Colm Hanratty gives us his selection of 5 of Europe’s top cities you should think about visiting on your annual summer getaway…

Amsterdam

Regularly referred to the ‘Venice of the North’ and home to over 800,000 people, Amsterdam is easily one of Europe’s most welcoming, relaxed, charming and fascinating cities. Thanks to its location on a cobweb of canals, it boasts one of the most picturesque settings in the world. It’s also where you’ll find world-class museums (one of which opens on April 14th after a decade-long renovation), stunning architecture and, of course, a buzzing nightlife making it the perfect city for a few days.

Barcelona

There are some places on the planet where you can feel an energy and a sense of excitement in the air, almost all day long. Barcelona is one of those places. From the second you hit Las Ramblas for the first time you know you’re going to enjoy yourself here. This city on the east coast of Spain is buzzing all day long, but of course it’s at night that it really comes into its own. Choose from a bar in the Barri Gotic, one in El Raval, another down by the port or just hang out on the streets and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s not only hedonists that will love Barcelona – thanks to one Antoni Gaudi, it is where you will find some of the world’s most fascinating architecture. It’s also where you’ll find a beach to catch rays on, a park to unwind in, tapas bars to meet locals in…the list goes on.

Prague

It’s a bit of a cliché when it comes to many cities around the world, but there really is nowhere else on earth like Prague. A perfect blend of the old and the new, the Nové Mesto (New Town) symbolises the new independent Czech Republic, while the Staré Mesto (Old Town) is one of the best preserved old towns in Europe as it remained untouched in both World Wars. While these are both on the eastern side of the River Vltava, stroll across the famous Charles Bridge to the west and you’ll encounter the Malá Strana (Lesser Town) and the city’s medieval castle. Along with all the sightseeing to do, Prague has more than its fair share of affordable restaurants, while if you search hard enough you’ll find some of the cheapest (and tastiest) beer in Europe.

London

In my opinion, there are three cities on earth that epitomize the definition of the word ‘city’ more than anywhere else. Tokyo is one, New York City is another, and London is the third. No matter what part of the city you’re in, it still has that ‘bright lights big city’ aspect to it. It’s also one of the most iconic destinations on earth. Within a couple of hours you can walk from Big Ben to Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace to Piccadilly Circus, stopping for fish and chips along the way of course. After dark, if you want to be in the thick of it you’re spoiled for your choice. You can go bar hopping in the West End, chill out for a beer in the East End after a curry on Brick Lane, or see what the cool kids do in Shoreditch or Hoxton. No matter what you do, you’ll never forget a visit to one of the world’s great capitals.

Budapest

I was lucky enough to have visited Budapest for four days last summer. I made sure to do two things…explore two aspects of the city that are extremely unique to the Hungarian capital – thermal baths and ruin bars. They complement each other quite well – at night you can sample local brews and meet people from all over the world in the ruin bars; bars literally built into ruins of old buildings (don’t leave without going to the most famous one called Szimpla Kert). Then during the day you can dust off the cobwebs caused by those brews in one of the city’s thermal baths. There are five in the city centre, with the Gellert Baths and the Szechenyi Baths being the most famous. But if you want to experience something visit the Rudas Baths, the most Turkish of all the baths and home to the hottest steam room I’ve never been in (I could only go to the one beside it that was 10C cooler and almost unbearable).


To keep up to date with everything at Hostelworld.com make sure to like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

London’s Underground: Now with More Google Maps

This is a Hipmunk guest post from Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads

Starting yesterday, you can get public transport directions for London within Google Maps. Directions from Google Maps is a feature already for over 400 cities (including New York, Budapest and Vancouver), but London marks one of their biggest expansions of late. 

Image from the Official Google Blog.

Given that London is a big hub for tourists, business travelers and expats alike, this is a welcome move! According to Transport for London, over a billion passengers are serviced by the bus and Underground stations in Greater London – that’s a lot of people now able to find their way.

Archives

Follow me on TwitterFriend me on FacebookAdd me to your circlesFollow me on Pinterest