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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

A Royal Tour of London

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As William and Kate tour Canada, London celebrates Canada Day on Trafalgar Square! This 1st of July 2011 also marks what would have been the 50th birthday of William’s mother: the late Princess Diana.  When you tour London this summer or just go sightseeing in London, you will come across plenty of sights that still bear the popular princess’ mark.

Take a Royal Tour

Follow the route taken by the wedding procession of William and his new bride Kate last April. This London sightseeing tour will lead you past landmarks like the Royal Albert Hall and Westminster Abbey all the way up Kensington palace. Make pictures of the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace and view the impressive features of the Houses of Parliament and Downing Street.

Kensington Palace.

Visit Kensington place up close, where Princess Diana lived in Apartment 8. This palace has housed several members of the Royal family: Princess Victoria lived there until she woke up Queen on 20 June 1837. Due to refurbishment only the State Apartments are currently open and have been turned into the exhibition The Enchanted Palace.

Play ground in Kensington Gardens.

Next to the palace lie the Kensington Gardens, the perfect place to go for a walk during a sunny day. Keep the children entertained on the Princess Diana Memorial Playground, designed especially for little adventurers! Inspired by Peter Pan, the playground has a huge pirate ship to climb, teepees to explore and a sensorial trail to experience. Accompanying adults can relax in the seating spaces among the trees and plants.

The Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park:

Beat the heat in the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park this summer. Its design represents Lady Di’s life with water flowing from the highest point into two directions until meeting in a calm pool at the bottom. See Londoners and tourists mingle, refreshing their feet while sitting on the fountain edge or crossing the water using one of the three bridges that lead you straight to the heart of the fountain; again symbolizing the openness and quality of Diana herself.

Harrods

Shop or window-shop in Harrods, London’s high-end department store that specializes in luxury goods. The biggest shop in the UK lives up to its motto, Omnia Omnibus Ubique: All Things For All People Everywhere. It was founded 1834 and stayed on the same Kensington site since 1849. In its time the shop had five different owners: one of them was Mohammed Al-Fayed. He built the magnificent Egyptian escalators that will lead you past a memorial for his son and Princess Diana.

Even if you are not a prince or princess touring Canada this summer, you can still enjoy a right royal time London!


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Tips to enjoy the Wimbledon Tennis

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Rally together to celebrate London’s tennis event of the year: Wimbledon. It is the start of summer and this year is even more special as we celebrate Wimbledon’s 125-year Jubilee. The famous tennis-tournament at Wimbledon started 1877 with the first Gentlemen’s Single Game. We give you a few Wimbledon inspired ideas to get into the swing of summer!

Museum and Tour:

If you are lucky enough to have a ticket for the Wimbledon tournament, you can also visit the museum. See all the shiny trophies from up-close, the fashion that the players wore through the years, the changing tennis equipment and player’s memorabilia. Apart from during the actual tournament, the museum is open to the public the rest of the year and you can even get a behind-the-scenes tour of the grounds.

Hop on a Red Bus:

Who can forget the impromptu Wimbledon medley that Sir Cliff Richard gave in 1996 when the Centre Court was closed due to the rain? Surrounded by umbrellas Cliff started with Summer Holiday, his hit from the movie in which he drove around on a red double-decker. Explore London in the very same style and book your Hop On-Hop Off tickets for the red busses. All together now: We’re all going on a summerholiday!

Wicked!

Can’t get enough of everything green? Get your Wicked! Musical tickets. The story follows the young Elphaba before she became known as the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West. The musical has a twist on the classic tale of the Wizard of Oz, it seems there is more to Elphaba. Experience this touching musical about friendship, self-confidence and following dreams at the Apollo Victoria. Get your tickets for the London musical and experience the magic.

Get on the grass

Love the grass but not so keen on tennis? London has a lot of amazing parks to relax in. The Royal Parks consist out of eight parks all together: Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Richmond Park, Bushy Park, Green Park, St James, Regent’s park and Kensington Gardens. All of the London parks are very central and all have plenty of options when it comes to entertainment: from concerts, like the Wireless Festival in July in Hyde Park to Open Air Cinema Events in Kensington Gardens. Get in on the grass-action!

See Shrek!

Even if the tennis doesn’t have a fairytale ending, you can find one in the London theatre. Book your tickets for Shrek the Musical: everyone’s favourite green ogre is now live on the West End stage. The reluctant hero Shrek goes off on a mission to save a beautiful princess with his sidekick, a very talkative donkey. He’ll soon find out that the princess might not need saving and beauty can come in many different shapes. A very enjoyable musical that will have you swinging and singing in your seat.

Enjoy London this summer!

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London Theatre Breaks Are Amazing.

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blog-pictureTheatre is the ultimate thing to do in London. Watching the West End stage light up with fabulous frocks, magical music and stupendous stories really is something that cannot be missed. London theatre breaks are brilliant for everybody, old and young, and there is always some new show being experimented with, meaning that London theatre breaks will never grow old, dire or monotonous.

London theatre breaks combine a wonderful show with central London accommodation, so a stress free trip is ensured. Simply state which hotel you would like in the booking process, and London theatre breaks will sort out the rest. You can even decide your seat numbers for the theatre. It really couldn’t be more straightforward.

One of the most popular shows is The Lion King. This classic was well-liked on film, and even more so in the theatre. The costumes are show stopping, the music is well-known and the theatre set is magical, almost making you believe you are watching from the Serengeti Plains. A Lion King Theatre break is a great show to take children along to, although parents are asked to ensure younger children aren’t disruptive, so everyone can enjoy the show. The Lion King Theatre break isn’t just for children; the enchantment of the set and the acts mean all ages can be awed by it.

Other popular shows include Mamma Mia, Wicked, Grease, and Dirty Dancing.

London theatre breaks only offer the best seats and give you a choice of choosing where you want to sit. Don’t strain your eyes trying to see the marvels of this show when you can get a choice of great seats with London theatre breaks. The hotel choices are all in zone 1, situated only a short walk from tube stations ensuring that convenient access to theatres is had.

London theatre breaks are brilliant value for what they offer, and ensure a trip to remember.

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Slow Down London!

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This month, the city of London will host the ten-day Slow Down London a “Living Life in Real Time” festival for busy city dwellers. Running April 24th through May 4th, the festival focuses on taking a break from the pressures of city living (something we college students already excel at) and relaxing. The program encourages Londoners to “explore slow music and arts, to try meditation and yoga, to sample slow food and crafts, to discover ‘slow travel’ in our own city, to debate ideas about time and pace, and to find our own ways to challenge the cult of speed and to appreciate the world around us.” And with ranging from “Wine and Words,” a poetry and vino session at Foyles to free guided tours at the National Portrait Gallery, or discounted yoga and meditation sessions, just about everyone can find a reason to relax next week.

Richard Whitaker

Richard Whitaker

Even if you’re not into the events, there is no better way to tour the city then to walk around by foot, get inspired by Slow Down London and take some time out of your busy day and EXPLORE! Take your sandwich to the park, or find a new restaurant in your neighbourhood. Now that the weather outside is no longer frightful, no more excuses! continue reading

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The UK and Australia Aim to Re-invent Easter Traditions

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Springtime Comes to Britain

Deep into history the day when the cloudy top is lifted off Britain and sunlight finally hits the ground is an epic one. The Saxons originally celebrated this day by munching hot cross buns (bread rolls with crosses on top representing the lunar calendar and the goddess) and dancing in the sun. As Christians arrived on the rain-drenched land mass they brought with them Easter Sunday, the day on which Christian’s believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead. With hot cross buns re-oriented to symbolize The Cross, Christians celebrate the rebirth of their savoir and the rebirth of the earth, spring!

continue reading

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Great Contemporary Art Exhibition in London.

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Last week, I stumbled across the most amazing London art exhibition, which I cannot shut up about. Seriously, I’ve already told ½ of my office and all of my friends about it. So, whilst you are out looking for Halloween costumes this week, you must stop by JR’s London art exhibition, entitled ‘28 Millimetres: Women’, near Tottenham Court Road tube station.

Lazarides contemporary art gallery london

The installation is divided into three parts, all of which are worth seeing. I started out in the Charing Cross Road wing of the Lazarides London contemporary art gallery, which is plastered, floor to ceiling, with portraits of the people that JR encountered during his journey through Morro da Providencia, a small, hillside community in Rio De Janeiro.

continue reading

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Chicago musical tickets: Get ‘em while they’re (red) hot!

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I was thrilled last weekend when my friend snagged some discount Chicago tickets—I have wanted to experience ‘London’s sexiest musical’ for ages.

chicago cambridge theatre

Contrary to the widely held sentiment among theatregoers that long-running West End musicals can become overpriced tourists traps, I was highly impressed: I definitely got my money’s worth. I know that musical backwards and forwards—the songs, the scenes, and even the first two minutes of the opening dance number (sad, I know)—and I was on the edge of my seat for the entire show. continue reading

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London Office Update!

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Apparently (so I’m told) we have some ‘regular’ readers (other than my parents), who check this page daily for the latest rants, raves and ideas that we have to share.  How cool!

First off, thank you (yes, YOU) for checking us out; we hope that you enjoy both our informative newsfeeds and anecdotal blog posts.  We are always open to suggestions and feedback; do let us know if there is anything specific that you would like to read about…travel plans that you want help with…burning questions about the universe that you need answered, etc.

Some of you might be wondering why, of late, we have been posting blogs less frequently.  There are a few reasons for this: for starters, check out the Beckham Bone Blog, which explains why I haven’t been getting around town to do all of the exciting/cool things that would inspire a juicy blog post…

More significantly, though, the last few weeks have been absolutely crazy here in London.  We’ve recently moved offices in order to accommodate our ever-expanding team of specialists.  An office move requires all sorts of fun little (and big!) tasks, which I never would have imagined.

Carrie at recording studioIn addition to helping my colleague Emma with the selection and ordering of new office furniture and decorations (as well as a Nintendo Wii…pictures to come), I was assigned the task of writing and recording the voiceovers for our new customer service call line.  What fun!  I actually got to go to a real recording studio—that of Mr. Tony Aitken, a most talented professional voice artist, who offered guidance and advice as we recorded the varied, numerous (and arguably humourous) tracks that will comprise the new customer service line.

You should definitely call in to listen for some hidden surprises (if not to book one of our tours!)—it will be the most fun you’ve ever had whilst ‘holding the line’, we promise.  I’ll post the new numbers once the line is up and running.

Other things to look forward to:

1. Videos:

We are in the process of adding a video function to our blog, which should prove to be entertaining.  I plan to upload some clips of different events going on around the city.

2. More tour reviews:

Lots of things to do and see in (and around) London!  Our top priority at the moment is our London Bike Tour; we want to get out there before the clouds…and rain…and cold…take over. (You should, too!)

Is there a particular tour you would like to read a review about?  Let us know.

3. New contributions:

Our Perfect Holiday Contest was a huge success.  We received so many creative entries!  We are always interested in new blog contributors; let us know if you have an exciting story to share.

That’s all for now!

Until next time…  :)

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Mahiki’s Famous Treasure Chest

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My sincere apologies for the delays in posting photographs—I’ve been having some technical difficulties…

If you missed yesterday’s blog about Mahiki, which is, apparently, Prince Harry’s favourite London night club, you can read it here.

Right, so I’ve decided that a photograph doesn’t do Mahiki’s signature concoction much justice, but, nonetheless, here it is:

Mahiki Treasure Chest London

…those straws are about to do a lot of damage!

Crazy, right?

End story: Mahiki is a fantastic venue for a hen party or a stag, if you can foot the bill?

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Prince Harry, Part II: Mahiki Madness

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I was pumped when my close friend from college announced that she would be having her “hen party” (British term for bachelorette) at MAHIKI (reportedly Prince Harry’s favourite club).  We thought for sure that we would have some royal/celeb sightings at this famous London hotspot.  What geeky American tourists we are…

You know, in all honesty, we could have seen Madonna, Harry and the Dalai Lama by the time we finally hit the dance floor…that is, after emerging from our tropical “submersion” in champagne-filled treasure chests, flaming booze lava fountains and enormous conch shells, spilling over with red rum fruity goodness…

But let’s back up for a minute…

Mahiki Hens: the adventure begins…

9:33 pm:  Eleven, dolled up twenty-somethings arrive to the door of London’s most famous club.  One sparkling bride-to-be, flanked by eight fellow Americans, one Canadian and two authentic “hens” (only one Brit and one Aussie in attendance…but we called it a hen party anyway…). Three are giggling, one is hobbling on crutches (me), and two are scheming re: the fact that we have missed the free entry cut off time by 3 minutes—how to get around this?

9:34 pm:  “Ten pound entry fee, five hundred pound minimum per table” asserts chic, blonde woman at door. 

I repeat, woman at door. We definitely aren’t getting around this…

9:35 pm: Julia Allison, long time friend of bride-to-be reveals her true colors as celeb. mag columnist and lifestyle/entertainment guru.  So much for her night of undercover debauchery with the girls.  Julia flashes biz card, dishes PR schpeel to chic blonde woman, who, after 38 seconds of conversing with Julia, officially loves us.  “Such lovely girls…’ she coos.  Free table, complementary drinks—yes, yes can all be arranged.

We’re in.

9:40 pm:  We are escorted to a large, tropical bungalow-esque table by a camp cabana boy waiter.  We keep our eyes peeled for Harry and co.

9:50pm: Against our better judgement, we order THE TREASURE CHEST (pictures to come ASAP).

10:00pm: THE TREASURE CHEST arrives, filled with ice, fruit, an unidentifiable concoction of hard liquor and 11 straws.  A pirate queen’s dream come true.  Camp cabana boys pour champagne into chest.  We assemble into a giggling circle and sip.

10:10pm: Still sipping…

10:20pm: Still sipping…

10:30pm: Is this a bottomless chest?

Circa 10:40pm: Cabana boys arrive with two flaming “volcanoes” of booze.  And, of course, 11 straws.  We’ve just (barely) finished our treasure chest, and the bride is drunk.  My fractured foot is, magically, “all better!”……

??:??pm: Cabana boys return with two of  the largest conch shells I have ever seen, filled with red, fruity mystery punch.  One of which is now the centrepiece of the bride’s work desk back in Oxford.

??:??pm: Dance floor…

Circa 12:15am: Bride and her crew from Oxford realize that they are not going to make it to the station in time for their 12:15am train home (why they booked a 12:15 train, I will never know….).

??:??am:  … ???

Right, so, in conclusion, Mahiki is an absolute blast; however, I will probably never be able to go there again: I’ll never be able to top our amazing hen party adventure—I’ll never again receive the same, superb degree of service (thank you, Julia!)…  

Well…maybe I’ll go when I get married.  Or next time Harry comes to town.  Or both, if you catch my drift? J

 

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