Where to Stay in London

Posted by & filed under London.

The following is our guide to finding accommodation in London. Keep in mind that London is an expensive city and that prices might be higher than what you usually expect. We have included a range of hotels with the hope that you will be able to find the one that best suits your needs and budget.

7-money-saving-hacks-for-visiting-washington


Luxury Hotels

Mid-Range Hotels


Luxury Hotels

+ Intercontinental London Park Lane — 1 Hamilton Place | Park Lane, London W1J 7QY, England

  • Pros: Rooms have views of Hyde Park; excellent location near Buckingham Palace; clean rooms
  • Cons: Expensive; some guests comment on ‘dated decor’
  • Nearby Attractions: Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Green Park
  • Closest Tube: Hyde Park Corner
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Intercontinental London Park Lane OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Intercontinental London 02 — Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0TW, England

  • Pros: Beautiful views of financial district; good customer service
  • Cons: Not centrally located; expensive
  • Nearby Attractions: Canary Wharf, Greenwich Meridian
  • Closest Tube: North Greenwich
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Intercontinental London O2 OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London — 200 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7UT, England

  • Pros: Prime location; stunning views
  • Cons: Very expensive
  • Nearby Attractions: Westminster, Big Ben, London Eye
  • Closest Tube: Waterloo or Westminster
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Park Plaza Westminster Bridge OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Hotel 41 — 41 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0PS, Englandopen_happiness_picadilly_circus_blue-pink_hour_120917-1126-jikatu

  • Pros: Elegant, boutique hotel; central location; excellent customer service
  • Cons: Some guests comment that rooms are rather small
  • Nearby Attractions: Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral, Green Park
  • Closest Tube: Victoria
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Hotel 41 OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Egerton House Hotel — 17-19 Egerton Terrace, London SW3 2BX, England

  • Pros: Stunning decor; excellent customer service
  • Cons: Some customer complaints about breakfast and room decor
  • Nearby Attractions: Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Kensington Gardens
  • Closest Tube: South Kensington
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Egerton House Hotel OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ The Milestone Hotel — 1 Kensington Court | Kensington, London W8 5DL, England

  • Pros: Beautiful decor; excellent customer service; great location
  • Cons: Small rooms
  • Nearby Attractions: Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Kensington Gardens
  • Closest Tube: Gloucester Road
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars
  • BOOK directly with the Milestone Hotel OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Crowne Plaza London The City — 19 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6DB, England

  • Pros: Excellent location; great breakfast
  • Cons: Somewhat rundown
  • Nearby Attractions: St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern
  • Closest Tube: Blackfriars
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with  OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

Back to top


Mid-Range Hotels 

+ Strand Palace Hotel — 372 Strand, London WC2R 0JJ, England

  • Pros: Excellent location, especially considering modest price
  • Cons: Some guests describe it as “old-fashioned travel-lodge”; mediocre customer service
  • Nearby Attractions: Covent Garden, St Paul’s, National Gallery
  • Closest Tube: Temple or Covent Garden
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars
  • BOOK directly with Strand Palace Hotel OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Crowne Plaza London Kensington — 100 Cromwell Road | Kensington, London SW7 4ER, England

  • Pros: Luxury feel for mid-range price; central locationaerial_view_of_hyde_park
  • Cons: Some complain about ‘tired rooms’
  • Nearby Attractions: Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Kensington Gardens
  • Closest Tube: Gloucester Road
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Crowne Plaza London Kensington OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Staybridge Suites Vauxhall — Spring Mews, Tinworth Street | Vauxhall Walk, London SE11 5EJ, England

  • Pros: Clean; beautiful rooms
  • Cons: Not as centrally located
  • Nearby Attractions: River Thames
  • Closest Tube: Vauxhall
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars
  • BOOK directly with  OR with Staybridge Suites Vauxhall or Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Hotel Indigo London Kensington — 34-44 Barkston Gardens, London SW5 0EW, England

  • Pros: Beautiful boutique hotel; excellent customer service
  • Cons: Small rooms; several complaints about high heating
  • Nearby Attractions: Chelsea, Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Closest Tube: Earl’s Court
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Hotel Indigo London Kensington OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Hotel Indigo London Paddington — 16 London Street | Paddington, London W2 1HL, England

  • Pros: Hotel has lots of character; great location
  • Cons: Small rooms
  • Nearby Attractions: Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, Notting Hill
  • Closest Tube: Paddington
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Hotel Indigo London Paddington OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Hotel Indigo London Tower Hill — 142 Minories, London EC3N 1LS, England

  • Pros: Excellent location; clean rooms
  • Cons: Expensive for a mid-range hotel
  • Nearby Attractions: The Gherkin, Monument to the Great Fire of London, Tower of London
  • Closest Tube: Aldgate
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Hotel Indigo London Tower Hill OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury / King’s Cross — 1 King’s Cross Road, London WC1X 9HX, England

  • Pros: Recently renovated; central location
  • Cons: Expensive for mid-range hotel
  • Nearby Attractions: British Library, The British Museum, King’s Cross
  • Closest Tube: Russell Square
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 3.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Holiday Inn Bloomsbury / King’s Cross OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Holiday Inn London Regent’s Park — Carburton Street, London W1W 5EE, England

  • Pros: Great location
  • Cons: ‘Tired decor’800px-kings_cross_western_concourse
  • Nearby Attractions: Regent’s Park, Madame Tussaud’s, The Sherlock Holmes Museum
  • Closest Tube: Great Portland Street or Regent’s Park
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars
  • BOOK directly with Holiday Inn Regent’s Park OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Holiday Inn London Oxford Circus — 57-59 Welbeck Street, London W1G 9BL, England

  • Pros: Excellent location
  • Cons: Poor customer service; tired decor
  • Nearby Attractions: Oxford Circus, Hyde Park
  • Closest Tube: Bond Street or Oxford Circus
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 3.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Holiday Inn Oxford Circus OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Holiday Inn London Camden Lock — 30 Jamestown Road, London NW1 7BY, England

  • Pros: Trendy location
  • Cons: Described as ‘average’
  • Nearby Attractions: Camden Market, Regent’s Park, London Zoo
  • Closest Tube: Camden Town
  • TripAdvisor Rating:
  • BOOK directly with London Camden Lock OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

Back to top


Budget Hotels 

+ Premier Inn London Bank (Tower) Hotel — 20 St. Mary At Hill, London EC3R 8EE, England

  • Pros: Comfortable stay; excellent location
  • Cons: Described as ‘basic but functional’
  • Nearby Attractions: Tower of London, Monument to the Great Fire of London
  • Closest Tube: Monument
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Premier Inn London Bank (Tower) OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Premier Inn London St Pancras Hotel — 88 Euston Road, London NW1 2RA, England

  • Pros: Excellent location; affordable
  • Cons: Modest decor
  • Nearby Attractions: British Library, Camden, Regent’s Park
  • Closest Tube: Euston or King’s Cross
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with Premier Inn London St Pancras OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

Back to top


Hostels 

+ Safestay London Holland Park — Holland Walk | Kensington, London W8 7QU, England

  • Pros: Very affordable; excellent location
  • Cons: Complaints about large size of some dorm rooms
  • Nearby Attractions: Kyoto Garden, Kensington Palace
  • Closest Tube: High Street Kensington or Holland Park
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars
  • BOOK directly with OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ YHA London Central — 104-108 Bolsover Street, London W1W 5NU, England

  • Pros: Prime location; affordable; cleanlondon_eye_night_shot
  • Cons: Several extra fees
  • Nearby Attractions: Regent’s Park, Oxford Circus
  • Closest Tube: Goodge Street or Great Portland Street
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars
  • BOOK directly with YHA London Central OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ The Dictionary Hostel — 10-20 Kingsland Road | Shoreditch, London E2 8DA, England

  • Pros: Trendy location; best for young travellers
  • Cons: Loud
  • Nearby Attractions: Shoreditch, Bricklane
  • Closest Tube: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars
  • BOOK directly with The Dictionary Hostel OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

+ Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage — 40 College Crescent | Swiss Cottage, London NW3 5LB, England

  • Pros: Affordable; friendly atmosphere
  • Cons: Not as centrally located as some others
  • Nearby Attractions: Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill, Camden Market
  • Closest Tube: Finchley Road or Swiss Cottage
  • TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars
  • BOOK directly with Palmers Lodge Swiss Cottage OR with Hotels.com to compare deals.

Back to top


Airbnb

Airbnb is a great option where you’ll find additional rooming options come on the market just for Inauguration as residents rent out spare bedrooms or entire house for the events. Check out their website for more information!


Back to top


The 8 Best Street Food Markets in London

Posted by & filed under London.

There are few cities around the world that rival London’s impressive food scene. Known for the wide variety of cuisines available at a moment’s notice, London is any foodies’ dream come true. However, though there are several pubs and restaurants worth visiting during your holiday, it’s important not to forget all the street food markets also scattered throughout the city!

From historic Borough Market to the newly established Maltby Street Market, there is no shortage of street food market options!

Below are 10 of our favourite street food markets in the city. Keep in mind that these do not run every day, so please check their opening hour / days before visiting!


Borough Market

Camden Market

Maltby Street Market

Whitecross Street Market


1. Borough Market

Though several of these markets are very well known, Borough Market is arguably the most famous of them all….and for good reason! Borough Market originally opened in 1014 (!!!) and thus celebrated its 1,000 year birthday in 2014. Originally called Southwark, Borough Market currently resides in its original location — just south of London Bridge. Come hungry as most food stalls offer samples, and you’ll certainly want to pop into a nearby pub for a pint at the end!

Open:1024px-borough_market_cake_stall_london_england_-_oct_2008

  • Monday – Thursday: 10:00 – 17:00
  • Friday: 10:00 – 18:00
  • Saturday: 8:00 – 17:00
  • Borough Market is CLOSED on Sundays.

Nearest Tube or Overground: London Bridge 

Types of stalls: Cheese, olives, meat, fruits and vegetables, and chocolates.


Back to top


2. Camden Market

Camden Market is the heart and soul of Camden Town — a vibrant neighbourhood known for once being the home to several aspiring musicians, including Amy Winehouse. Camden Market is actually comprised of several smaller markets, each of which sells food, clothing, art, trinkets, or some combination of the aforementioned. The best variety of food options is in the section of the market right along the river called KERB.

Open:1280px-camden_lock_market

  • Monday – Friday: 10:00 – 17:00
  • Saturday – Sunday: 11:00 – 18:00

Nearest Tube or Overground: Camden Town

Types of stalls:  Ethnic take-away street food.


Back to top


3. Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market is a hidden gem that opened in south London in 2010. The market space is a lot smaller than some of the others, which means that only the very best vendors are able to secure a place there. Also, photographers will love the picturesque location, so don’t forget your camera!

Open:

  • Saturday: 9:00 – 16:00
  • Sunday: 11:00 – 16:00

Nearest Tube or Overground: London Bridge or Bermondsey

Types of stalls:  Innovative take-away meals and many samples.


Back to top


4. Whitecross Street Market

Dalston Food Market is an amazing little market located in an uber-trendy part of the city. The stalls in this area tend to be cheaper than those in some of the other markets, making this a budget-friendly option.

Open: 1024px-whitecross_street_market

  • Thursday – Friday: 11:00 – 17:00

Nearest Tube or Overground: Old Street or Barbican Station.

Types of stalls: Wide variety of ethnic food stalls.


Back to top


5. Leatherlane Market
leather_lane_-_geograph-org-uk_-_680292

Leatherlane Market lacks all of the pretensions that some of the other markets boast. Described as “a bit scruffy” and “down to earth”, Leatherlane Market features several fruit and vegetable stalls, as well as a variety of cheap street eats.

Open: Weekdays 10:00 – 14:00

Nearest Tube or Overground: Chancery Lane or Farringdon

Types of stalls: Fruit and vegetables, and cheap street food.


Back to top


6. Brockley Market

A favourite market amongst many locals, Brockley Market in southeast London is a bit of a journey from the typical tourist haunts. However, do not be put off by its location — Brockley Market is a vibrant hub of ethnic cuisine, fresh fruits and vegetables, gourmet sweets, and an impressive array of meats and poultry. It is especially worth a visit during the holiday seasons.

Open: Saturdays 10:00 – 14:00

Nearest Tube or Overground: St Johns or Elverson

Types of stalls: Fruit and vegetables, meats and poultry, ethnic cuisine, and seasonal treats.


Back to top


7. Broadway Market
320px-broadway_market_f_cooke_1

Broadway Market first began in 1900 when Fred Cooke began selling jellied eels in the East End. Though the market was forced to close for several years due to the crumbling infrastructure of the surrounding area, Broadway Market finally reopened in 2004. Today, there are 135 stalls selling a variety of produce, artisan bread, cakes, and artwork.

Open:  Saturdays 9:00-17:00

Nearest Tube or Overground: London Fields

Types of stalls: Fruit and vegetables, breads, cakes, art and and merchandise.


Back to top


8. Berwick Street Market

Though not as famous as some of the other markets, Berwick Street berwick_street_market_1Market has been around since 1778. The variation in stalls is immense; expect to find stalls selling different ethnic cuisines, fruits and vegetables, and meats and cheeses, as well as clothing, art,
antiques, and flowers.

Open: Monday –  Saturday: 8:00 – 18:00

Nearest Tube or Overground: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus

Types of stalls: Fruit and vegetables, meats and poultry, take-aways, flowers, art, and antiques.


Back to top


Stratford-upon-Avon: Guide to Visiting Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Posted by & filed under London.

The following post is our guide to visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, a historic town where William Shakespeare was born and which now is home to a bustling theatre scene. Read on to learn how to visit Stratford-upon-Avon, which tours to take, and what all visitors must see before leaving. Looking for other day-trips outside of London? Check out our posts on visiting Canterbury, Stonehenge, Oxford, Bath, Windsor Castle, and Cambridge.  


Where is Stratford-upon-Avon

Getting There from London


Where is Stratford-upon-Avon 
Stratford-upon-Avon is a town just over 100 miles northwest of London along the river Avon. The area is most famously known for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Yet, in recent years, Stratford-upon-Avon has come to also be recognised as a cultural hub for theatre enthusiast. The surrounding county is Warwickshire, which is a county in the midlands near Birmingham.

old-1725352_640

Back to top


Getting there from London

+ By car:

Visitors traveling to Stratford-upon-Avon by car can do so via the M40. The route is relatively straightforward and should take approximately 2 hours. For those hoping to combine their day-trip to Stratford-upon-Avon with another destination should consider stopping in Oxford on the way there or back. Also nearby are the Cotswolds, which are renowned for their rolling hills and picturesque architecture.

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-21-28-25

Click here for full interactive map.

+ By train: 

Trains depart from London Marylebone or London Euston Station. Those departing from Marylebone take just over 2 hours to reach Stratford-upon-Avon, whilst those leaving from Euston take approximately 3 hours. The cost of the journey fluctuates immensely, depending on the time of day, speed of train, and how far in advance the ticket is booked. Same day tickets can be extortionate, so be sure to reserve your seat as far in advance as possible. Also, those travelling during ‘Peak’ hours will pay more than those travelling during ‘Off Peak’ or ‘Super Off Peak’.

Book train journeys online with TrainLine.

Tips for saving money on train tickets:

  • Buy ‘Off Peak’ or ‘Super Off Peak’, rather than the standard ‘Peak’ fare.
  • Check whether it’s cheaper to depart from certain stations over others.
  • Purchase your tickets ahead of time. Buy online by at least midnight the night before, and you’ll save.
  • Buy a return ticket rather than 2 one-way tickets. This will massively reduce the overall price of the journey.
  • Deliberate over buying an ‘Anytime Return’ ticket before you do so. Oftentimes, an ‘Anytime Return’ is more expensive than an ‘Off Peak Return’. The former means that you can hop on any train at any time when you’re ready to head back to London from Bath. However, the latter requires that you only travel during off-peak hours, such as after evening rush hour. ‘Anytime Return’ is much more convenient, but ‘Off Peak’ can be cheaper.
  • Remember you might be applicable for discounted travel. Students, people between 16-25, and seniors over 60 all qualify for discounted rail cards.

+ By bus: 

There are also several coach companies that offer services between London and Stratford-upon-Avon. The companies we recommend most are National Express and Megabus, as both have coaches departing from either location every 1-2 hours throughout the day.800px-stratford-upon-avon-1

The price of the journey varies immensely, depending on how far in advance you purchase your ticket. Tickets purchased within a few days of the journey, for example, can be astronomical, whilst tickets purchased at least a month in advance are often much cheaper than the train.

+ With tour group: 

Golden Tours – This company offers several different day trips to Stratford-upon-Avon that are then combined with other stops at the Cotswolds, Oxford, or Warwick Castle. Regardless of which multi-stop day trip selected, all tours that include Stratford-upon-Avon last approximately 10 hours and depart from London.

Evan Evans – Also offers several muti-stop day trips that stop in Stratford-upon-Avon. Additionally, all tours last 10 hours.

Anderson Tours – Anderson offers one day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, which also includes stops at Oxford and the Cotswold villages. The trip is roughly 10-12 hours depending on your pick-up and drop-off location in London.


Back to top


Tours of Stratford-upon-Avon 

Stratford Town Walk – The highest rated walking tour of Stratford-upon-Avon, this company offers a historic town walk and an award winning ghost walk. Reviewers are almost unanimously positive, with many praising the guides’ knowledge and enthusiasm. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars. 

Canal and River Tours – If you’re not keen on a walking tour, then a river tour is an excellent alternative. The trip feature an audio tour accompanied by live commentary and music. Reviewers are mostly content with their experience, though some comment that it was disappointing and overpriced. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars.

City Sightseeing – This international company also runs bus tours in Stratford. The tours are guided and operate on a hop-on, hop-off basis. Guests comment that the bus tour is useful, but not necessary, as all the major tourist sites are within walking distance of one another. Still, this is a good alternative for those who are unwilling or unhappy to walk. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars.


Back to top


Top Sites and Activities

Shakespeare’s birthplace – Visit the place where Shakespeare was born! This site is obviously a must for all Shakespeare enthusiasts, though most guests speak fondly of their trip here. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Gardens – This is where Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s future wife, lived as a girl. The lovely cottage offers guests insight into what an average person’s life was like 500 years ago. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

william_shakespeare_-birthplace_-house2Mary Arden’s Farm – A Tudor farm replica that is more so targeted at children than adults, this is a fun option for families visiting Stratford-upon-Avon. Reviewers are very positive, though some complain that the price is too high. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

Holy Trinity Church – The church where Shakespeare is buried. Many recommend visiting, if only to read the comical inscription Shakespeare requested to be engraved into his tomb. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre – Ranked as the #1 “Thing to Do” on TripAdvisor, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is a pilgrimage site for serious Shakespeare fans. The stage extends into the crowd, making the audience feel like part of the experience. Reviews are extremely positive. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars.

The MAD Museum – Standing for ‘Mechanical Art and Design’, the MAD Museum is a welcome alternative for those less interested in Shakespeare. It is particularly popular with children, who can participate in several interactive exhibits. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 


Back to top


Canterbury Tours and Guide

Posted by & filed under London.

The following post is our guide to visiting Canterbury. Read on to learn which Canterbury tours are best, how to get there on your own, and how to visit Canterbury Cathedral.  Looking for other day-trips outside of London? Check out our posts on visiting Stonehenge, Oxford, Bath, Windsor Castle, and Cambridge.  


Where is Canterbury

Getting There from London

Tours of Canterbury


Where is Canterbury?

Canterbury is located in Kent, a county in the southwest of England famed for its rich foliage and extensive agriculture. The city is most well known for its stunning Cathedral and significance in Chaucer’s seminal work The Canterbury Tales.

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-17-09-39

Back to top


Getting there from London

Thanks to it’s convenient location just west of London and southeast of Bristol, Bath is easily accessible from many locations. If traveling from London, there are several ways to get to Bath, including by car, train, or coach.

+ By car:

Visitors traveling to Canterbury by car can do so via the M2. The route is relatively straightforward and perhaps a better option for those hoping to go elsewhere in Kent. However, anyone who is traveling directly between London and Canterbury is better suited to take the train, as traffic coming in and out of London is often very heavy and the national railway is more than an hour faster.

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-16-13-50

Click here for full interactive map.

+ By train: 

Trains depart very frequently from all of London’s train stations. However, the fastest trains depart from London St Pancras. During peak times, trains depart even more frequently. The length of the journey varies amongst train types, and thus visitors should expect travel time to take anywhere between 50 minutes to 2 hours.screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-16-18-46 Additionally, the cost of the journey also fluctuates. Those travelling during ‘Peak’ hours will pay more than those travelling during ‘Off Peak’ or ‘Super Off Peak’.

Book train journeys online with TrainLine. 

Tips for saving money on train tickets:

  • Buy ‘Off Peak’ or ‘Super Off Peak’, rather than the standard ‘Peak’ fare.
  • Check whether it’s cheaper to depart from certain stations over others.
  • Purchase your tickets ahead of time. Buy online by at least midnight the night before, and you’ll save.
  • Buy a return ticket rather than 2 one-way tickets. This will massively reduce the overall price of the journey.
  • Deliberate over buying an ‘Anytime Return’ ticket before you do so. Oftentimes, an ‘Anytime Return’ is more expensive than an ‘Off Peak Return’. The former means that you can hop on any train at any time when you’re ready to head back to London from Bath. However, the latter requires that you only travel during off-peak hours, such as after evening rush hour. ‘Anytime Return’ is much more convenient, but ‘Off Peak’ can be cheaper.
  • Remember you might be applicable for discounted travel. Students, people between 16-25, and seniors over 60 all qualify for discounted rail cards.

+ By bus: 

There are also several coach companies that offer services between London and Bath. The companies we recommend most are National Express and Megabus, as both have coaches departing from either location every 1-2 hours throughout the day.

The price of the journey varies immensely, depending on how far in advance you purchase your ticket. Tickets purchased within a few days of the journey, for example, can be astronomical, whilst tickets purchased at least a month in advance are often much cheaper than the train.


Back to top


Tours of Canterbury

Thanks to immense waterways, river tours are even more popular than walking tours in Canterbury. There are several different companies and styles of tours to choose from, however here are some of our favourites.

+ River tours: 

Canterbury Historic River Tours – Recently awarded Europe’s “Unique Tour Operator of the Year” award, this company specialises in fascinating and fun river tours that offer guests a unique perspective of Canterbury and the surrounding area. Boatmen must undergo extensive tour guide training, ensuring guests are presented with a wealth of knowledge. Reviewers praise the tours for being both entertaining and very informative. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 800px-river_stour_in_canterbury_england_-_may_08

Canterbury Punting Company – The Canterbury Punting Company offers a variety of tours along the water, including standard public tours, ghost tours, wedding tours, and romantic tours. Again, reviews are very positive as many guests comment on the relaxing ride and gregarious guide. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

Westgate Punts – Westgate Punts is a smaller company offering short and long trips down the river. Unlike the other companies, Westgate does not provide guided narration, and so this is a solid option for those simply interested in a relaxing afternoon cruising along the water. Visitors can book their trip online, making preplanning easy. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.

***Please note that most river tours run exclusively from March – November, so keep this in mind if you are visiting during the winter months.

+Walking tours: 

Canterbury Guided Tours – The main walking tour offered in Canterbury, this company comes highly recommended by most visitors. However, those more interested in learning about the city would be better suited with a different company as most of the 90 minute tour is spent discussing Canterbury Cathedral. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars.

Canterbury Ghost Tour – A 90 minute tour that explores the darker side of Canterbury’s history. John Hippisley, a professional ghost hunter, founded the company in 1995. Reviews are varied, with many commenting that the tour is more humorous than scary or historical. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars.


Back to top


Visiting Canterbury Cathedral

+ HistorySaint Thomas Becket, Murder at the Cathedral, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

Canterbury Cathedral is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world. Though it was founded in 597, the cathedral was rebuilt between 1070 – 1077 following a fire that completely destroyed the structure in 1067. Though known the world over, Canterbury Cathedral is perhaps most widely recognised as being the location of the murder of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket on December 29, 1070. Ignoring Canterbury’s privilege of coronation, the Archbishop of York, Bishop of London, and Bishop of Salisbury’s decided to crown King Henry II as king in the city of York in November 1070. Upon learning of their crime, Becket excommunicated all three as punishment. One month later, a group of 800px-canterbury_cathedral_from_the_cloistersknights were sent to Canterbury Cathedral on orders to confront Beckett. When he was found, Becket refused to submit to the will of the king, and so left the knights and proceeded towards the main hall for vespers. It was there that Becket was brutally murdered as a form of retaliation.

Though there are many different account of how and why the Archbishop of Canterbury was murdered, the impact of his death on the cathedral’s history is inarguable. Not only have millions visited Canterbury Cathedral to see the location of his death, but they’ve also come to explore the setting of T.S. Eliot’s famous play Murder in the Cathedral, which recounts the story of Beckett’s murder. Sixteen years after its release in 1935, a film adaptation of the play was released, which also garnered international acclaim.

Canterbury Cathedral is also widely known for its role in Geoffrey Chaucer’s magnum opus Canterbury Tales. The collection of 24 short stories presents the different narratives of a group of people making the pilgrimage from London to Canterbury Cathedral to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket. Following his death, Canterbury Cathedral became a popular pilgrimage site for those hoping to pay their respects to the archbishop who gave his life for what was right. Canterbury Tales is a work of fiction that offers insight into the experiences of pilgrims travelling to Canterbury. Though Chaucer died before completing his masterpiece, Canterbury Tales remains one of the most well known works of literature to come out of the Middle Ages.

Today Canterbury Cathedral remains the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as a highly visited UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to this historic place — which has been offering daily prayer services for more than 1,400 years! — is an absolute must.

+ Hours

  • Weekdays & Saturdays: 9:00 – 17:30 (summer months); 9:00 – 17:00 (winter months)
  • The Crypt: 10:00 – 17:00/17:30
  • Sundays: 12:30 – 14:30 (all year, including the Crypt)

+ Cost

  • Adults: £12.00
  • Concessions: £10.50
  • Pre-booked groups (Adults and Concessions): £10.50
  • Children (under 18): £8.00
  • Family ticket (2 adults, up to 3 children): £32.00
  • Family ticket (1 adult, 2 children): £22.50

+ Tours of the Cathedral: All the tours listed above will undoubtedly discuss Canterbury Cathedral at some point. However, if you would like a tour within the cathedral, there are a few different options.

  • Audio Tours: These can be picked up from the kiosk in the knave. The tour lasts approximately 40 minutes, is available in 7 different languages, and costs £4 per adult and £3 per child.
  • Guide Books: These are three official guide books, each available for purchase at the cathedral or in advance from their website.
  • Virtual Tour: Canterbury Cathedral also offers a virtual tour for those who want a sneak peak or who are unable to visit the cathedral in person.


Back to top


Things to Do 

In addition to taking a tour of the city and visiting the cathedral, there are several interesting things to do in Canterbury.

Canterbury Tales Visitor Attraction –  This interactive experience recreates Medieval England so that guests can gain a better understanding of Chaucer’s world during the time of Canterbury Tales’ publication. The attraction features scenes from several of the most popular stories in Canterbury Tales. The tour is accompanied with an audio guide, though live actors participate in certain sections of the attraction. Reviews are generally positive, with guests commenting that the experience is fun and silly, if not occasionally too cheesy. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars. 

The Beaney House of Arts and Knowledge – Excellent contemporary art exhibits featuring the works of artist such as Grayson Perry and Georgia Meadows. The museum also features a popular cafe. This musuem tends to be a surprise favourite of guests to the city. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

Westgate Gardens and Towers – A beautiful stretch of park along the river, the Westgate Gardens are an excellent choice for those looking for a bit of peace and quiet outside. Guests can climb to the top of Westgate Tower for a small fee, which offers a lovely view of the surrounding area. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars.

St Augustine’s Abbey – A ruinous abbey just outside of Canterbury’s city centre. There is an entry fee to enter into the abbey, but many comment that, because it is so dilapidated, most of what is worth seeing can be viewed from outside. However, despite being heavily destroyed, guests still recommend a visit. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

Howletts Wild Animal Park – Also just outside of Canterbury is Howletts Wild Animal Park, a popular zoo with several different exotic animals. Again, reviewers highly recommend the park, praising the size, accessibility, and positive treatment of animals. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 


Back to top


Bath Tours and Guide

Posted by & filed under London.

The following post is our guide to visiting Bath. Read on to learn which Bath tours are best, how to get there on your own, and what is the cost of a visit. Looking for other day-trips outside of London? Check out our posts on visiting OxfordWindsor Castle, and Cambridge


Where is Bath

Getting there from London

Tours of Bath

Day Trips from Bath


Where is Bath 

Bath is located in Somerset county, and roughly 120 miles west of London and 15 miles south of Bristol. Also nearby are Stonehenge and Windsor Castle.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-19-30-51

Back to top


Getting there from London

Thanks to it’s convenient location just west of London and southeast of Bristol, Bath is easily accessible from many locations. If traveling from London, there are several ways to get to Bath, including by car, train, or coach.

+ By car:

Visitors traveling by car to Cambridge can do so via the M11 or A1. The route is relatively straightforward and perhaps a better option for those hoping to go elsewhere after their time in Cambridge. However, anyone who is traveling directly between London and Cambridge is better suited to take the train, as traffic coming in and out of London is often very heavy.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-09-37-05

Click here for full interactive map.

+ By train: 

Trains depart for Bath roughly every hour from King’s Cross, Euston, Paddington, Waterloo Station. During peak times, trains depart even more frequently. The length of the journey varies amongst train types, and thus visitors should expect travel time to take anywhere between 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours and 2:45 minutes. Generally, trains departing from Paddington Station are much faster than thosescreen-shot-2016-10-28-at-09-58-28 departing from Waterloo, so check the departure station before booking. Additionally, the cost of the journey also fluctuates. Those travelling during ‘Peak’ hours will pay more than those travelling during ‘Off Peak’ or ‘Super Off Peak’.

Tips for saving money on train tickets:

  • Buy ‘Off Peak’ or ‘Super Off Peak’, rather than the standard ‘Peak’ fare.
  • Check whether it’s cheaper to depart from certain stations over others.
  • Purchase your tickets ahead of time. Buy online by at least midnight the night before, and you’ll save.
  • Buy a return ticket rather than 2 one-way tickets. This will massively reduce the overall price of the journey.
  • Deliberate over buying an ‘Anytime Return’ ticket before you do so. Oftentimes, an ‘Anytime Return’ is more expensive than an ‘Off Peak Return’. The former means that you can hop on any train at any time when you’re ready to head back to London from Bath. However, the latter requires that you only travel during off-peak hours, such as after evening rush hour. ‘Anytime Return’ is much more convenient, but ‘Off Peak’ can be cheaper.
  • Remember you might be applicable for discounted travel. Students, people between 16-25, and seniors over 60 all qualify for discounted rail cards.

+ By bus: 

There are also several coach companies that offer services between London and Bath. The companies we recommend most are National Express and Megabus, as both have coaches departing from either location every 1-2 hours throughout the day.

The price of the journey varies immensely, depending on how far in advance you purchase your ticket. Tickets purchased within a few days of the journey, for example, can be astronomical, whilst tickets purchased at least a month in advance are often much cheaper than the train.


Back to top


Tour of Bath

+ Walking Tours: 

Mayor’s Honorary Guides – If you’re hoping to take a walking tour of Bath, these are the guys to follow. The tours are 100% FREE (no tips or gratuities allowed) and led by volunteers who are certified guides and deeply passionate about Bath’s history. In 2014, the Mayor’s Honorary Guides were awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service — a rare and notable honour for this 80 year old organisation. The tours are 2 hours and require no advanced booking. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars. 

800px-royal-crescent-aerial-bath-arpBizarre Bath Tours – Those looking for something a bit different should check out Bizarre Bath Tours. Promoted as “‘hysterical rather than historical”, these comedy tours show guests the funnier side of Bath. Tours run every evening at 8pm and cost £10 per person. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars.

Highlights of Bath City Walk – This tour is a good option for those visiting Bath on a Saturday afternoon as the Mayor’s Honorary Guides tour only runs on Saturday mornings.  Tours are 2 hours and cost £7.50 per person. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.

+ Boat tours: 

Lady Lena Tours – Though not quite a tour of Bath, per se, Lady Lena Tours begin in Bradford–on-Avon and then travel along the Kennet and Avon Canal towards Bath. This tour is best taken on a special occasion as each trip comes with a complimentary glass of champagne. Food and other services can be arranged at an additional cost. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.

Bath City Boat Trips – If you don’t fancy a walking tour but still want to learn all about the history of Bath, this is the tour to take. Each trip lasts 50 minutes and includes thorough commentary on the surrounding sites. Adult tickets sold for just £9.95 per person. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

+ Bus tours: 

Bath is a small city and therefore easily explored by foot. However, for those with more limited mobility, there is a hop-on, hop-off bus tour option.

City Sight-Seeing Bath – Tickets are valid for 24 hours, so guests can use the bus services when they wish. Each ride features general commentary about nearby sites. Reviews are mixed as many praise the convenience, but also complain about Bath’s heavy traffic and the “uninspiring commentary” provided during the ride. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars. 


Back to top


Day Trips from Bath 

Additionally, there are a handful of companies that operate directly out of Bath.  This is ideal for those who are staying the in Bath but hoping to visit some of the sites nearby.

Lion Tours – They offer an express tour of Stonehenge, which travels directly between Bath and Stonehenge and allows an hour of exploration at the latter. The trip costs £35 per person, departs at 8:30am and returns to Bath at noon. This company also offers combination day tours from Bath, such as a half-day trip to Stonehenge, Lacock Village, and a Harry Potter film location, in addition to a day trip to Cotswold. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.

Scarper Tours – Another easy option for those hoping to travel to Stonehenge from Bath. Commentary is provided on the coach ride, and the cost of entrance to Stonehenge is included in the price. Tours depart daily at 1pm — making Scarper Tours an excellent option for those not keen on waking up early! TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

Mad Max Tours – This company has been running day trips from Bath since 1991. They have 5 main tours, including one to Stonehenge and Avebury Villages, another to Glastonbury and a cheddar factory, and finally another tour to Cotswold. Mad Max Tours are highly rated and an excellent option for those looking for a more bespoke experience. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.

Around and About Bath – Another company that specialises in bespoke tours. Around and About Bath is a relatively new company that offers very high quality tours of the Somerset area. The tours are run by a former history teacher who takes guests to places off the tourist trail. As the tours are highly personalised, expect to pay a bit more than usual. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars. 

1280px-cotswolds_panorama_fields

Back to top


Combination Day Trips to Bath from London

Many companies offering day trips from London include a stop in Bath. Often these tours are combined with other popular tourist destinations such as Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, or Oxford.

Premium Tours – They offer a wide variety of combination tours that include a stop in Bath. Reviewers praise the company’s entertaining and informative tour guides. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars. 

Golden Tours – Another company that operates out of London, and has many day-trip tours that feature Bath. Reviews of the Stonehenge and Bath tours are much more positive than the tours of London. TripAdvisor Rating: 3.5 stars. 

Evan Evans Tours – Similar to the companies listed prior, Evan Evans also specialises in combo tours. A good option for those staying in London but hoping to see multiple sites nearby. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars. 

Viator – Offering the largest variety of day trips from London, Viator tours tend to be a bit more expensive. However, the variety of options ensures that there’s something for everyone. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars. 


Back to top


Things to Do

Roman Baths – The things that make Bath Bath, the Roman Baths are a must for any visitor to the city. The Baths are home to one of the most ancient religious spas in the world. Visitors love the Roman Baths, and rank them as the #1 thing to do in Bath. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.800px-bath_abbey_and_entertainer_-_july_2006

Rooftop Pool at Thermae Bath Spa – The one disappointing part about the Roman Baths is that you can’t actually bathe in them. Luckily, there is a lovely spa with a rooftop pool where you can take a dip and relax. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars. 

Jane Austen Centre – Serious Jane Austen junkies should consider visiting the Jane Austen Centre. Though she was not born in Bath, Austen spent several of her adult years here. The Centre is quite small (especially for the £11.00 price tag), but worthwhile for those who adore Jane Austen. TripAdvisor Rating: 3.5 stars. 


Back to top


What to See

800px-pulteney_bridge_bath_2Pulteney Bridge – Completed in 1774, this world famous bridge is one of the architectural gems of the city. The shops along the bridge make it particularly unique. Definitely go for a stroll across it during your visit in the city. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

Bath Abbey – A beautiful, large Abbey in the centre of the city. Bath Abbey is free to enter, though donations are encouraged. The Abbey also runs Tower Tours for those hoping to learn more about the building’s history. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

Royal Victoria Park – A stunning green space that offers an escape from the rest of the stone city. Perfect for picnics in the summer, though especially beautiful in the autumn and spring. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 


Back to top


Eat and Drink 

Fudge Kitchen – A small fudge shop near Bath Abbey that offers delicious free samples to all who enter. The space is open so guests can watch the fudge being made. Absolutely delicious and great as a souvenir or gift. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.

Sally Lunns – Very famous for their delicious buns. Prices can be a bit high and there is often a queue, but visitors agree that the buns are excellent. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars.

Traditional pubs – There are several traditional pubs serving up delicious pies and Sunday roasts. A few of our favourites are Marlborough Tavern, The Raven, and The Chequers.


Back to top


 

Cambridge Tours and Guide

Posted by & filed under London.

The following post is a guide to visiting Cambridge.Read on to learn which Stonehenge tours are best, how to get there on your own, and what is the cost of a visit. Looking for other day-trips outside of London? Check out our posts on visiting Oxford and Windsor Castle.

 

 


Where is Cambridge

Getting there from London

Tours of Cambridge


Where is Cambridge

Famed for being one of the top universities in the world, Cambridge University is located in the university city and county town that goes by the same name. Cambridge is approximately 60 miles north of London, and either a 2 hour drive or 50 minute train ride away. It is also less than 2 hours away from Birmingham and Oxford.


Back to top


Getting There From London

Thanks to it’s convenient location directly north of the city, Cambridge is easily accessible from London. There are several ways to get to Cambridge from London, including by car, train, or coach.

By car:

Visitors traveling by car to Cambridge can do so via the M11 or A1. The route is relatively straightforward and perhaps a better option for those hoping to go elsewhere after their time in Cambridge. However, anyone who is traveling directly between London and Cambridge is better suited to take the train, as traffic coming in and out of London is often very heavy.

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-18-02-30

By train:

Taking the train to Cambridge is more than twice as fast as traveling by car. King’s Cross is the station from which most trains depart for Cambridge, though some also leave from Liverpool Street Station. Between the two stations, there are trains departing every 10-15 minutes screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-17-34-24from 4:00am until midnight.

The length of the journey varies amongst train types, and thus visitors should expect travel time to take anywhere between 50 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Additionally, the cost of the journey also fluctuates. Those travelling during ‘Peak’ hours will pay more than those travelling during ‘Off Peak’ or ‘Super Off Peak’.

Tips for saving money on train tickets:

  • Buy ‘Off Peak’ or ‘Super Off Peak’, rather than the standard ‘Peak’ fare.
  • Check whether it’s cheaper to depart from certain stations over others. For example, ‘Off Peak’ is never to Cambridge is never offered from King’s Cross because there are a lot of London-Cambridge commuters who use that station.
  • Purchase your tickets ahead of time. Buy online by at least midnight the night before, and you’ll save.
  • Buy a return ticket rather than 2 one-way tickets. This will massively reduce the overall price of the journey.
  • Deliberate over buying an ‘Anytime Return’ ticket before you do so. Oftentimes, an ‘Anytime Return’ is more expensive than an ‘Off Peak Return’. The former means that you can hop on any train at any time when you’re ready to head back to London from Cambridge. However, the latter requires that you only travel during off-peak hours, such as after evening rush hour. ‘Anytime Return’ is much more convenient, but ‘Off Peak’ can be cheaper. Note: Remember that all trains from King’s Cross are ‘Peak’ trains, so if you’re departing from there, you’ll automatically be purchasing an anytime ticket.
  • Remember you might be applicable for discounted travel. Students, people between 16-25, and seniors over 60 all qualify for discounted rail cards.

By bus: 

There are also several coach companies that offer services between London and Cambridge. The companies we recommend most are National Express and Megabus, as both have coaches departing from either location every 1-2 hours throughout the day.

The price of the journey varies immensely, depending on how far in advance you purchase your ticket. Tickets purchased within a few days of the journey, for example, can be astronomical, whilst tickets purchased at least a month in advance are often much cheaper than the train.

 


Back to top


 

Tours of Cambridge

Walking tours:

Cambridge Tour Guides – The highest rated walking tour company of Cambridge on Tripadvisor, Cambridge Tour Guides is a company that organises private or group tours for visitors. As there is no ‘standard’ tour, guests can really design their tour to fit their needs. This company does not offer public tours, so expect the cost to reflect that of a private tour. Reviews for this tour are outstanding and no one should hesitate booking if they’re keen on learning more about the history of Cambridge. TripAdvisor Ranking: 5 stars

Cambridge Alumni Tours

Another highly rated company, Cambridge Alumni Tours are (unsurprisingly) led by former Cambridge students. This means that guests learn historic facts in addiction to gaining insight into what it’s like to live and study at Cambridge. They offer both public and private tours, and so are a bit more cost friendly. In addition to the walking tours, Cambridge Alumni Tours also offer punting tours. TripAdvisor Ranking: 4.5 stars

Footprints Tours

Footprints Tours is a walking tour company that operates in several UK cities, including London, Oxford, and Bath. Their Cambridge tour is another popular option, which features guides who are trained to add extra personality in their tours. Like Free Tours By Foot, Footprints Tours are ‘name your own price’ so there is no risk in taking the tour. TripAdvisor Ranking: 4.5 stars

See Cambridge Differently

This company offers customised private tours that seek to reveal a different side of Cambridge. For example, though they lead standard, historic tours, See Cambridge Differently also encourages guests to request more niche tours, such as ones that are focused on science or literature. No public tours offered. TripAdvisor Ranking 5 stars

Black Shuck Cambridge Ghost Tours

Obviously not your standard tour, Black Shuck Cambridge Ghost tours divulge the paranormal history of Cambridge. There are three signature tours including: Haunted Cambridge Tour, Colleges and Corpses Tour, and the Wickedness and Witches Tour. Again, reviews are very favourable, with none dropping below 4 stars. TripAdvisor Ranking: 5 stars

Punting Tours:

Punting tours are extremely popular, as the River Cam runs through the heart of the university city and thus offers beautiful views of the surrounding buildings. As the #1 tourist activity in Cambridge, punting on the river is a must for many first time visitors! 800px-kingscollegechapelwest

Lets Go Punting – The highest ranked tour in Cambridge, Let’s Go Punting offers public and private punting tours of the city. At 45 minutes long, the amount of information is inevitably less than what might find on a walking tour. However, the views are unmatched! Though most people opt to participate in the summer months, this company also offer winter tours that come with blankets and mulled wine! TripAdvisor Ranking: 5 stars

Scudamore’s Punting Company – Not quite as highly ranked as Lets Go Punting, Scudamore’s still ranks well for its punting tours around Cambridge. Some visitors warn about the price, stating that the managers often negotiate the rate according to the customer so that some pay twice as much as others. Still, the quality of information is commended. TripAdvisor Ranking: 4.5 stars

Go Punting Cambridge – Not to be confused with the first company on our list, this company is a small punting tour operator offering private tours at a reasonable price. For an additional charge, guests can request champagne or canapés to be served during their ride. TripAdvisor Ranking: 4.5 stars

Trinity Punts – The quality of the tour is ranked high, but reviewers consistently complain about the poor customer service with this company. Boats only depart if they are full, so expect to wait around for other guests if you arrive as a smaller party. They don’t currently have a website. TripAdvisor Ranking: 4.5 stars

Bus tours:

Bus tours are a fine option for those who are less mobile. However, all other visitors should opt for a walking or punting tour, as Cambridge is very small and best experienced on foot or boat.

City Sightseeing Cambridge – An international tour bus company, City Sightseeing also leads a hop-on, hop-off Cambridge tour. A full loop of the tour lasts 80 minutes, and buses arrive at each stop every 20 minutes. TripAdvisor Ranking: 4 stars

 


Back to top


Things to Do

In addition to taking a tour and going punting on the river, there are many other things to do and see in Cambridge. Here’s are some of our favourites:

Fitzwilliam Museum – An arts and antiques museum that features the works of many famous artists including Titian, Rubens, Van Dyck, Money, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, and Picasso, amongst many others.

  • Cost: FREE!
  • Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 – 17:00, Sundays & Bank Holidays: 12:00 – 17:00

Cambridge University Botanic Garden – Covering roughly 40 acres, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden was first opened in 1846 by Professor John Stevens Henslow (the mentor of Charles Darwin).

  • Cost: Standard adult: £5.00; standard concession: £4.50
  • Hours: Open daily at 10:00am

University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – This museum features pieces from around the world that spans 2 million years of human history. There are over 1 million artefacts included in the collection, and many different exhibitions and lectures throughout the year.

  • Cost: FREE!
  • Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:30am – 4:30pm; Sunday: 12:00am – 4.30pm

Back to top


What to See

The most popular sites in Cambridge are the historic colleges that comprise the university city. Most tours will discuss some of the colleges, but if you would like to go inside, expect to pay an additional fee. Though each college something unique to offer, the ones most often visited are:800px-20130215_kings_college_chapel_hi-res_01

King’s College – Completed in 1544 during the reign of Henry VIII, King’s is one of the most beautiful colleges at Cambridge. Additionally, King’s College Chapel is a gothic masterpiece and well worth a visit. To learn more about ticket prices and opening hours, see the Chapel’s website.

St. John’s College – Another popular tourist site, St. John’s College is world renowned for its famous alumni. It also features a stunning chapel that can be visited. Learn about hours and ticket prices here.

Queens’ College – Queen’s is one of the largest and oldest colleges at Cambridge. The most visited part of the college is the mathematical bridge, which is a wooden footbridge made up of tangential members.

Holy Sepulchre (the Round Church) – A round, medieval church in Cambridge — one of four still in use in England today.


Back to top


Jack the Ripper tour

Which Jack the Ripper Tours Are Best?

Posted by & filed under London.

This post compares the various Jack the Ripper Tours offered in London, so that you could choose the one that is best for you, including our pay-what-you-like tour.  Few unsolved mysteries are as intriguing as the tale of Jack the Ripper. Although there are many legitimate theories about who committed the terrifying crimes attributed to this killer, we still don’t know the identity of the notorious murderer. It’s no wonder that so many people visit London to learn more about its grisly past and see some of the locations where terrifying events once took place. With so much interest in the subject, there are a lot of different tour companies that offer Jack the Ripper tours. If you need help choosing which tour to take, allow us to help with an analysis of several notable tour companies in the city!

Tip: If you are considering a hop-on, hop-off bus service, Original London Tour includes a free Jack the Ripper walking tour with a purchase of a bus ticket.


Free Tours by Foot

Ripper Vision Tour

Theatrical Tours


 

 

FREE TOURS BY FOOT

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that we actually offer our very own Jack the Ripper walking tour. This name-your-own-price tour allows you to pay-what-you-like while walking in the footsteps of the killer and discovering the truth about what happened over 100 years ago in the streets of London.  Just under 2 hours in duration, this tour is short enough that you won’t get tired and long enough that you’ll learn a lot of interesting information along the way. We also provide a self-guided Jack the Ripper tour for those who would like to guide themselves!

Reviews for our Jack the Ripper Tour are very favorable, and our London branch has earned a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor. When it comes to this particular trip through the city, we have yet to receive any negative comments. Many reviewers suggest that our guides are very informative and involve you in trying to figure out what actually happened all those years ago. Other comments noted that our guides are quite good storytellers, which definitely helps for a tour involving one of the most notable unsolved mysteries of all time!

Jack the Ripper Tour information

Reservations:  Required.  Click here to reserve. Walk-ups will be permitted, if space is available.Where: Tour meets outside the Saint Botolph Without Aldgate.  Use our Google Map for directions to the tour starting point.

*NOTE: Please ensure you are headed to the correct St. Botolph! There is another Saint Botolph Church with Aldersgate about 20 minute away. Note the difference between Aldgate and Aldersgate.

Duration: Approximately 2 hours.

When: Thursdays at 18:30 (6:30pm) and Saturdays at 6:30 pm (18:30)  View our full tour calendar.

Cost: This tour is free to take, and you get to decide what, if anything, the tour was worth when it’s done. A name-your-own-price tour is a tour for anyone’s budget.

 


Back to top


 

‘RIPPER-VISION’ TOUR

We’ve all seen Hollywood’s depictions of London in the late 19th century, but have you ever wondered what it really looked like when the Ripper terrorized an entire city? Well, thanks to Ripper-vision, you’ll be transported back in time with the help of a handheld projector. Tour guides bring projectors loaded with images of the past to help their guests put themselves in a different time period. See the city as it existed when these terrifying murders took place while you learn all about the mysterious killer who perpetrated the crimes.

 

 

This company has a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor and over 1500 guests have given the experience an excellent rating. Reviewers frequently describe their tour guides as friendly, informative and fun. According to most comments, the Ripper Vision projectors are very clear, providing clean and impressive images from the past. Even guests who have taken more than one Jack the Ripper tour report that this is a great historical journey.

Ticket Prices

  • £12.50 for Adults
  • £7.00 for Children (10-16)
  • Not recommended for Children under 10
  • Purchase tickets here.

Tour Information

  • Tour runs 7 days a week at 7:30 PM
  • Tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Allow Ripper-Vision to transport you into the past
  • Itinerary features 12 points of interest
  • The Original Jack the Ripper Murders Tour

 


Back to top


 

THE ORIGINAL JACK THE RIPPER MURDERS TOUR

Unlike some of their competitors, this company has been providing educational Jack the Ripper tours since 1982. With over 30 years of experience, they’ve had plenty of time to perfect this tour and make it as exciting as possible. Some of the guides on this tour have actually written the book on the notorious case, so you can trust that the information they offer will be very accurate. If you want to learn as much as possible about this crime, take a walk through London with experts who have devoted their lives to understanding more about these terrifying events.

 

 

This 5 star company has one of the highest ratings of any London tour service on TripAdvisor. Guests report that their tour guides are indeed very knowledgeable and will keep you involved at all times. Some reviews indicate that even when tour groups were large, the guides were very professional and kept everyone interested in the subject. Many people mentioned that the passion they have for the tale of Jack the Ripper makes the experience even more enjoyable.

Tour Information

  • £10.00 per person
  • Not recommended for younger audiences
  • Available every night at 7 PM
  • Tour lasts approximately 2 hours
  • Consider booking in advance as this tour can fill up quickly

 


OTHER PREMIUM JACK THE RIPPER WALKING TOURS

There are a lot of excellent premium walking tours that will explore this notorious crime spree, but few are as notable as the two above. That being said, many of these high quality trips throughout the streets of London are very highly rated. If both of the tours above are booked full, the following options are excellent alternatives!

Jack the Ripper Tours – At a price of only £8.00 (£7.00 online), this is one of the more affordable premium tours on the list. Similar to their competitors, this tour will last approximately 2 hours and has earned a 5 star rating on TripAdvisor.

The Jack The Ripper Walk – Much like their competitors, this tour is advised by experts in the field who have written the book on these terrible crimes. For £12.50 per person, this highly rated nightly tour will explore the path walked by one of the most terrifying killers of the 19th century.

Jack the Ripper Mystery Walks – Offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, this tour has been described by many as both educational and fun. Although their website isn’t very high tech, this tour company has a fairly high rating on TripAdvisor. For £10.00 per person, this is a good alternative if other tours are booked solid.

 


Back to top


 

JACK THE RIPPER BUS TOURS

Most of the tours focusing on this terrifying character will have you walking in his footsteps at some point. Although the bus tours will typically take you to a location where the Ripper once claimed the lives of his victims, they usually request that their guests get off the bus and partake in a walking tour down the trail of the killer. That being said, these bus tours can also provide a lot of information about other spooky events in London’s history. If you want to avoid too much walking and learn about more than just Jack the Ripper, consider the following options.

 


EVAN EVANS JACK THE RIPPER BUS TOUR

This tour begins with a coach ride past many of the spookiest areas in London. Learn all about the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the public hangings at the Old Bailey and the intriguing mystery surrounding the Theatre Drury Lane. Once the bus ride has ended, you’ll take a walking tour with an expert on Jack the Ripper. Visit the infamous Ten Bells Pub and discover where this notorious killer may once have stalked his victims. Once your journey is complete, you’ll know more about this horrifying string of murders than you ever imagined!

Evan Evans has a 4 star rating on TripAdvisor with over 1,000 positive reviews in total. Reviews focusing on their Jack the Ripper bus tour are mostly favorable, with many guests describing their experience as informative and intricate. Several people were appreciative of the fact that this tour explores more than just the tale of one killer. Their tour guides have been described as knowledgeable and pleasant, which is a pretty good combination. Whether transportation is an issue or you want to learn about more than just the Ripper, it would appear that this is a pretty good bus tour.

Tour Information

  • £35 per person
  • Not recommended for children under the age of 12
  • Tour will require moderate levels of walking
  • Tour lasts approximately 3 hours long
  • Available on Fri/Sat/Sun during the Summer
  • Available only on Sunday during the Winter

 

DOUBLE DECKER TOUR

Offered by 4-star service Premium Tours, this open top bus tour will take you past Fleet Street, Old Bailey and other spooky locations where terrifying events once unfolded. This tour also includes a ghost walk through Smithfield Market and a Jack the Ripper walking tour. At a price of £28 for Adults and £18 for children, this is even more affordable than the service offered by Evan Evans!
Theatrical Jack The Ripper Tours

Some tours will use technology to transport you into the past, but others go the extra mile by performing the roles of people living in the 19th century. If you want to experience what the era was like with the help of very knowledgeable actors, this is definitely an interesting way to discover the truth about Jack the Ripper. Take a trip back to 1888 and find out why this crime remains so intriguing after over a century of curiosity!

 


Back to top


 

THE LONDON DUNGEON

This company really gets in the spirit by dressing up and performing various different roles. Rather than just telling you how history played out, their ‘Uncloaking the Ripper’ tour will allow you to relive the experience by authentically recreating crime scenes for you to discover. Real forensic experts will help you track the movements of this notorious killer as you learn more about his nefarious deeds. Although you may not explore the actual locations tied to these crimes, this theatrical journey into London’s past is a unique and fun trip that you won’t soon forget.

 

 

The London Dungeon has a 4 star rating on TripAdvisor and over 2,000 positive reviews. Some visitors describe the actors as both humorous and frightening, while others note that you’ll learn about details that they won’t discuss in school. Several reviewers stated that this is not a tour for the faint of heart, and that some guests may not enjoy themselves. If you’re looking for a more immersive exploration of the infamous Jack the Ripper, take a walk into the past with one of the most interesting tour companies in London.

Ticket Prices

  • £30 per person
  • £19.95 online

Tour Information

  • Limited Availability. Book tickets online to avoid issues.
  • On nights when the tour is offered, it is available at 6:30 PM, 7:00 PM, 7:30 PM, 8:00 PM, 8:30 PM and 9:00 PM each evening.
  • Late night experiences such as ‘Uncloaking the Ripper’ are recommended for adults only.
  • Even if this tour is booked full, access to The London Dungeon includes entry into their recreation of Ten Bells Pub, where you might just spot the killer!

Other Theatrical Jack The Ripper Tours

Although there aren’t a lot of these tours, they are usually a lot of fun when you can find them. You may not travel the exact same streets as the killer, but immersing yourself into the type of world he lived in can be very thrilling! Here is one more theatrical experience you can find in London.

Jack The Ripper’s London – Operated by Crow Theatre, this trip into the late 19th century has been described by one reviewer as “thick with drama and authenticity.” Call ahead to book this tour and discover the tale of this unsolved mystery from a different perspective!

Jack the Ripper Museum – This might not exactly be theatrical, but the owners of this museum have gone to painstaking efforts to recreate the crime scenes in detail. This location has six floors which will take you back in time to explore the grisly events of 1888. With a 4 star rating on TripAdvisor, it’s safe to say that this museum is well received by most visitors.

Visiting the British Museum

Posted by & filed under London.

The following post is a guide to visiting the British Museum. Learn how best to get there, which tours to take, and how to plan your visit.


Getting There

Tickets & Hours

Public Tours


Getting There

The British Museum is very conveniently located in central London. There are 4 tube stations less than a 10 minute walk away: Russell Square Station (Piccadilly Line), Holborn Station (Piccadilly and Central Lines) Goodge Street Station (Northern Line), and Tottenham Court Road Station (Central Line and Northern Line). Additionally, there are several bus stations nearby.

 

 


Back to top


 

Tickets & Hours

Perhaps the best thing about the British Museum is that it is FREE to visit! The Great Court and several of the galleries cost nothing to visit. However, the British Museum also features a handful of paid exhibitions. Prices for the paid exhibitions range immensely, so see the British Museum website for an up-to-date list. For a full list of the current paid exhibitions, read our ‘Paid and Free Exhibitions’ section below. Members of the British Museum can visit the paid exhibitions for free. To become an annual member, register here.

The galleries are open daily from 10.00–17.30. However, on Fridays the galleries have extended hours and are open until 20:30.

The Great Court, on the other hand, is open daily from 09.00–18.00, and 09.00–20:30 on Fridays.

 


Back to top


 

Public Tours

Daily Eye-Opener Tour: These tours run every 15 minutes between 11:00-15:45 from different areas of the museum. The tours are completely free to follow, are held within one of the free galleries, and typically last 30-40 minutes each. Because there are so many offered throughout the day (more than 1o, typically!) these brief, taster tours are perfect to take if you’re short on time and keen on learning more about the artefacts in a specific room.

  • Cost: FREE!
  • Length of tour: 30-40 minutes
  • Time of tour: Several times, daily

Lunchtime Gallery Talks: The Lunchtime Gallery Talks are held on Tuesdays-Fridays at 13:15 in one of the many galleries. They last 45 minutes and range immensely. For a full list of all the Lunchtime Gallery Talks offered, see their upcoming calendar. The talks are led by one of the museum curators or a guest speaker.

  • Cost: FREE!
  • Length of tour: 45 minutes
  • Time of tour: Tuesdays-Fridays at 13:15

Spotlight Tours: These tours take place every Friday evening as an accompaniment to the late night open hours. They last 20 minutes each, and run on the hour and half hour between 17:00 and 19:30. The topics change every Friday, but each focuses on a particular time period or theme. Click here for the weekly schedule of Spotlight Tours.

  • Cost: FREE!
  • Length of tour: 20 minutes
  • Time of tour: Friday evenings

Around the world in 90 minutes: This signature tour covers several highlights from each of the free galleries. Learn about the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon frieze, and the Lewis Chessmen, amongst many other things. The tour aims to educate guests on important artefacts from various cultures around the world.  At 90 minutes long, this is by far the longest tour offered by the museum. It is also the only paid tour, costing £12 per person. Book your place in advance online.

  • Cost: £12 per person
  • Length of tour: 90 minutes
  • Time of tour: 11:30 and 14:00

Audio Guide: Finally, the British Museum also offers an audio guide which can be picked up from the audio guide desk in the Great Court. The guide costs £6 and is available to use until 30 minutes before closing. Unlike the staff-led tours, the audio guide allows guests the freedom to pick which galleries or specific objects they wish to learn about. In total, there are 260 expert commentaries that are available in several different languages The audio guide also features an interactive map of the museum, making it easy to navigate the many different galleries.

 


Back to top


 

Paid and Free Exhibitions

The exhibitions at the British Museum change every few months, so it’s best to check their website for the most up-to-date list of what’s on. Currently, there are 3 paid exhibitions on offer:


Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds — This exhibition features artefacts from Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus–two lost cities that were once located on the edge of the Nile. For the last 20 years, a team of archaeologists have been excavating objects from the Mediterranean. Each offers insight into the ancient civilisations of Greece and Egypt.

 

 

  • Cost: £16.50, under 16s free
  • Runs from 19 May – 27 November 2016
  • More information

 


South Africa: The Art of a Nation — Explore more than 100,000 years of South African history through art through this exhibition. It features some of the world’s oldest art, as well as more recent pieces that reflect the country’s contemporary culture.

 

 

  • Cost: £12, under 16s free
  • Runs from 27 October 2016 – 26 February 2017
  • More information

 


The American Dream: Pop to the Present — This exhibition features American pop art and prints from the 1960s and onwards. Artists such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Kara Walker are amongst several others whose work is on display. Major political events, such as JFK’s assassination and the Cold War, in addition to several social issues like the AIDS epidemic and racism serve as inspiration in each piece.

 


Additionally, there are a number of completely free exhibitions. Those currently on offer include:

  • Courting to Contract: Love and Marriage in Iran
  • Money Matters
  • Shadow Puppet Theatre from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand
  • French Portrain Drawings from Clouet to Courbet
  • Rock Art: Power and Symbolism in Southern Africa
  • Maggi Hambling — Touch: Works on Paper
  • Defacing the Past Damnation and Desecration in Imperial Rome

 


Back to top


 

Nearby Attractions 

Thanks to its central location, the British Museum is near to many other attractions. Some of our favourites include:

 


Back to top


Where to Store Luggage in London

Posted by & filed under London.

In this post, we list 7 places for luggage storage in London, including one that will pick up your luggage at your hotel and deliver it to the airport or train station. People often ask us what London luggage storage options are there for a day.  Though most museums have storage facilities for coats and small bags, they often will not allow larger luggage to be held. Luckily, there are many different luggage storage facilities around the city.


Related Posts


A. Left Luggage Facilties 

Most major train stations, coach stations, and all airports offer left luggage facilities. These are simple storage spaces that can be rented out on an hourly or daily basis. Visitors can either pay upon arrival or pay online in advance to save some time. Hours vary for each left luggage location. However, most are opened between 7am-11pm, so luggage can be dropped off and collected between those hours. For guests seeking overnight storage, there is 24-hour CCTV coverage to ensure that all left luggage is kept secure.

To pre-book a left luggage storage space at a London train station or airport, refer to the Left Luggage website.800px-paddington_station_01

Left Luggage at London Train Stations

London Victoria. Platform 8. Open 7am-midnight.

London King’s Cross. Platforms 16-18. Open 7am-midnight.

London Charing Cross. Main concourse. Open 7am-11pm.

London Liverpool Street. Platform 10. Open 7am-11pm.

London Euston. Platform 16-18. Open 7am-11pm.

London Paddington. Platform 12. Open 7am-11pm.

London St Pancras International. Main concourse. Open Monday-Saturday 5:30am0-11pm; Sunday 7am-10pm.

Prices for storage vary by station and length of time, so please see Left Luggage to know what to expect to pay.

Left Luggage at London Airports

London Heathrow Airport

  • Terminal 2 — Arrivals. Main Concourse. Open 5am-11pm. £5 per item for 0-2 hours of storage, £10 for 2-24 hours and £5 for each additional 24 hours.
  • Terminal 3 — Arrivals. Near Car Hire desks. Open 5am-11pm. £5 per item for 0-2 hours, £10 for 2-24 hours and £5 for each additional 24 hours.
  • Terminal 4 — Arrivals Hall West End. Open 5.30am-11pm. £5 per item for 0-2 hours, £10 for 2-24 hours and £5 for each additional 24 hours.
  • Terminal 5 — Arrivals. UK Arrivals End. Open 5.30am-11pm. £5 per item for 0-2 hours, £10 for 2-24 hours and £5 for each additional 24 hours.

London Gatwick Airport

  • South Terminal — Arrivals Hall. Open 24 hours, seven days a week. £5 per item for 0-2 hours, £9 for 2-24 hours and £9 for each additional 24 hours.

heathrowLondon City Airport

  • Information Desk — £10 per item per 24 hours

London Luton Airport

  • Next to Outsize Baggage Unit on Check-in Concourse — Open 24 hours. £6 per item per 24 hours.

London Stansted Airport

  • Airport services desk at the international arrivals land side — Open 24 hours. £10 per item per 24 hours.

Left Luggage at Victoria Train Station 

One of the busiest train stations in the city, London Victoria also features a left luggage facility. It is open daily between 7am-10.45pm, and costs just £3.00 per item for the first 2 hours, £5 per item under 20kg for 2-24 hours, and £7 per item over 20kg for 2-24 hours.


Back to top


B. CityStasher

CityStasher is a useful, online marketplace for luggage storage facilities. Visitors to the site are able to type in where they’d like to store luggage at (such as ‘Waterloo Station’, or a more general area like ‘central London’), and then sift through the various facilities near that spot. CityStasher is also excellent as it allows you to compare opening hours, so guests can select the storage facility located in the most convenient area at the right time.

However, perhaps the best thing about CityStasher is their pricing. As their pricing chart proves, CityStasher guarantees that the cost per bag is always less than baggage left at a station. For example, whilst Excess Baggage Co charges £6.00 per bag for the first 3 hours, CityStasher charges £5.00. The price difference becomes much greater as the length of storage time increases. One bag left at a station for 3 weeks will cost guests over £160.00, whilst a bag stored with CityStasher for 3 weeks costs £60.00.


Back to top


C. Access Self Storage at King’s Cross

Located very conveniently just opposite of King’s Cross, Access Self Storage is a cheap way to store luggage for a full day in central London. Not only is King’s Cross one of the most popular train stations in London, it is also in walking distance of many tourist attractions such as the British Museum, Camden Town, and Covent Garden. The cost of storage is £8.50 per item, per dayThere is a 1 day minimum storage charge, so this option is best if you need to store luggage for several days/hours, rather than just an afternoon.

  • Hours: Mon – Fri: 7:30am-6:00pm; Sat: 8:30am-5:00pm; Sun: 10:00am-4:00pm
  • Located at: Belgrove House, Belgrove Street, King’s Cross, London WC1H 8AA

 


Back to top


D. ABC Self Store

Additionally, visitors can opt for a self storage option such as ABC Self Storage, which has a facility in Camden, Southwark, and Wandsworth. Self storage is another excellent choice for those hoping to store their luggage for several days or weeks at a time. ABC Self Storage is unique in that it promises to match the price of any competitor that charges less. Furthermore, though ABC encourages guests to prebook their services online, customers are ensured that they will be fully refunded for any days that they pay for but do not use. Thus, this is a particularly good option for those who need to store luggage more long term, but are unsure of the exact number of days.


Back to top


E. SafeStore Self Storage

Another self storage option is SafeStore, which offers a discount for those hoping to store luggage for long term stays. SafeStore has 107 locations around London, guaranteeing that there is always a storage facility nearby. Some of the most commonly used locations include Paddington, Earl’s Court, and King’s Cross. Like ABC Self Store, SafeStore promises to match the lowest price of any competitor. However, SafeStore goes one step further by guaranteeing to lower their price by 10% after matching it.


Back to top


London river thames

The Palace of Whitehall – Banqueting House

Posted by & filed under London.

The Palace of Whitehall, lost in a fire in the 17th century, was one of the largest and grandest palaces London had ever seen. Built nearly entirely out of gleaming white stone, the Palace of Whitehall was the site of celebrations, political manoeuvrings and even an execution. One part of the original palace still stands in London – the Banqueting House.  Designed by renowned architect Inigo Jones, Banqueting House sits silently along Whitehall, the only reminder of the magnificent Palace that used to dominate this part of London.

Related Content:

 

Read more »