England is part of a relatively small country – there are well over 70 nations that are larger than the UK – yet its influence on the world has been huge. Any visitor who is fortunate enough to travel to England in the coming year will be able to gaze in awe at an astonishing collection of breath-taking landmarks, spectacular natural landscapes and of course historic buildings. Here are five of the finest regions that England has to offer. Read more
Things to Do in York
The city of York, located in the county of Yorkshire, England is a beautiful ancient cathedral city which has a history dating back to before Roman Times. It’s no wonder this city is ranked as the second most visited city in England after London, as it is home to some of the most well preserved historical structures in Europe.
There is a lot to explore in York and it is easy to fill a day trip, a weekend or a week’s visit with exploration of this historical city. Here are some of the main attractions that you should not miss:
Have you ever seen a cathedral so breath-taking? This enormous Gothic cathedral is the largest in Northern Europe and simply standing before the stained glass windows which are several stories high will fill you with awe.
Make sure that you make the journey up to the top of the cathedral so that you can enjoy the view of the city. The spiral staircase to the stop is a bit nerve wracking, but the vista is worth it.
JORVIK Viking Centre
Have you ever wondered what life was like back in the time of the Vikings? Here you can walk through reconstructed Viking-Age streets and imagine yourself 1000 years ago. This visitor attraction is one of the most popular in the UK and has welcomed over 16 million visitors since it was created in 1984.
York Castle Museum
Take a step back in time and visit this award winning museum. Here you will have a chance to walk down a Victorian Street and an Edwardian Street as well as see what clothing and toys looked like through the ages. The museum was built on the site of a former prison so you will also be able to go down into the old cells, if you dare!
Walk the City Walls
Some of the best overall views of the city can be seen when walking along its old medieval walls. Walking all around the entire walls of the city will take an hour, but there is a shorter section from Monk Bar to Bootham Bar which only takes 15 minutes if you are short on time.
After all of this exploring, it’s about time to settle into a warm and welcoming local pub and treat yourself to a nice cold pint of lager or a warm meal while you talk about all of the adventures of the day.
York is a beautiful English city with many excellent remains of its fascinating history to explore, so make sure you include it on your trip when you plan a holiday with www.hello-yorkshire.co.uk/.
With the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic games, London has once again reminded us what the city has to offer. From medieval kings, queens, to the formation of democracy, London has experienced a long history, which further highlights the attraction of the city itself.
To have 48 hours to visit London, there are several options to make the best out of it. In order to save money and time, the British government imposed a new privilege card – the London Pass, which provides a free pass to 55 of the top tourist attractions, museums, sights and tours in London with an additional 10 percent discount. The card also allows skipping of queues, saving both time and energy and frustration. To put tourists’ minds at ease, the card includes insurance, just in case the card is stolen, lost or broken. Although they do charge a little for the services, but for those who yearn for the extra protection, this is the best way to travel safely and on a reasonable budget. The website for the pass designed an application filled with the top attractions, tours and dining areas. One of the privileges of having the card is getting discounts in selected restaurants in London. Free wines, ice creams, up to 50 percent discounts are available in fine dining areas such as Azzurro, Little Sicily etc.
As the children’s rhyme goes, ‘London bridge is falling down…’, no one can complete their visit in London without visiting the famous London Bridge. Another bridge with almost as widespread reputation is the Tower Bridge. Named after the London Tower, this bridge consists of hydraulic systems that enable the lifting of sections between the bridge to allow ships to cross. Recently, in conjunction of the Olympic games, the bridge is decorated with lights that illuminates the night beautifully as well as a set of suspended Olympic rings. To complete the Tower Tour, one must visit the Windsor Castle. Nick-named the round tower, Windsor castle houses the royal family and boasts a history of a thousand years. The castle is busiest during the morning, so tourists are advised to arrive at about 11.30 to start touring around the State Apartments, Drawings gallery, Queen Mary’s Doll House and St George’s Chapel.
Other than bridges, London is filled with gothic churches that is sure to satisfy any renaissance fanatics. One of the most famous churches of all, the Westminster Abbey, is known for the ceremonies that united so many generations of the royal family of Britain. Princes Diana and Prince Charles, as well as Prince William and Kate Middleton took their vows in the sacred altar of the Abbey. Another impressive church is the St Paul’s Cathedral, where the dome rests 111 meters above London. From the crypt to the golden gallery, the cathedral has much to offer. Every Sunday, the cathedral also organizes different art, music and cultural performances.
To fully visit London in 2 days is not an impossible task, you just need to plan carefully to avoid wasting time and missing out on the delights of the city. With the privilege London Pass, one can dine, visit, and explore the nooks and crooks to make it a memorable trip.
Mike Lewiss writes for http://www.2020london.com/. He shares his passion about travelling and making the most of your stay in London.
In the aftermath of the 2012 Olympic Games, this could be the perfect time to pay a visit to the beautiful city of London. The capital of the United Kingdom is home to many of the world’s finest landmarks, and its international profile after a hugely successful sporting spectacle has never been higher. Whether you plan to spend a few days in the city to view the main attractions or you’re intending to soak up the culture for a week or more, this is surely the time to do it.
Many people pay a visit to London purely to see one of the spectacular shows that are on offer in the glitzy West End. The city’s Theatreland district has dozens of superb playhouses offering the very latest in live entertainment. If you only ever visit a theatre once in a blue moon, you should make sure London is your next destination. Exciting thrillers, extravagant musicals, uproarious comedies – the choice is yours. Be prepared for an evening with the ultimate in wow factor.
One of the most pleasing aspects about visiting London is that the city is a wonderful combination of contemporary and traditional. Just a stone’s throw from some of the world’s most modern landmarks, such as the London Eye and The Shard, you’ll find historic beauties such as the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s no wonder so many people head to London on an annual basis, with many of them returning time after time to make sure they see and do everything.
A significant proportion of tourists choose to spend an afternoon viewing the timeless glory of London from the river. Boat trips along the Thames give visitors the chance to see the city from a unique perspective without having to put too much strain on tired legs. A great many of the city’s finest landmarks are located close to the banks of this truly iconic river, including Canary Wharf, the Tower of London, County Hall, the Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern. And of course, many of the bridges are truly spectacular.
It comes as something of a surprise to many first-time visitors that London is home to a vast number of public parks, gardens and open spaces. Amid the general hustle and bustle of one of the world’s busiest cities, you’ll find areas such as Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and St James’s Park, all of which provide some much-needed peace and quiet amid truly beautiful surroundings.
David Showell lives in southern England and is a regular visitor to London. He works for a car hire website.
Located in the North West of England, Liverpool is a vibrant city steeped in history. With a rich culture and plenty of attractions to boot, Liverpool makes for the perfect short getaway. With a nearby airport and excellent rail connections, travelling to and from Liverpool couldn’t be easier. If a friendly atmosphere and a dose of famous Scouse humour sounds up your street, here are a few attractions you may want to consider.
Merseyside Maritime Museum
Located at the Albert Dock, the Maritime Museum makes for an interesting and fun-packed adventure. The museum showcases Liverpool’s strong heritage as a seafaring city, and a major global trading hub. With displays ranging from Liverpool’s naval role during the Second World War, to the infamous Titanic, there’s a lot on offer to float your boat!
The Beatles Story
Also located at the Albert Dock, The Beatles story is within easy walking distance of the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the city centre. With global fame, The Beatles need no introduction.
This award winning attraction will take you on a mesmerising journey through the lives and music of those four iconic Liverpool lads. The Beatles story has recently tripled in size, so there is plenty to see and do.
Discover the solo success of the band’s members in the special ‘Going Solo’ areas, or take an interactive tour of The Beatles Story in the fun and exciting ‘Discovery Zone’. After seeing all this attraction has to offer, there is no better way to relax than grabbing a coffee in the atmospheric Beatles-themed Starbucks Coffeehouse.
In addition to its many land-based attractions, Liverpool also boasts a beautiful waterfront along the River Mersey. There is no finer way to experience this World Heritage Site than from the deck of the Mersey Ferry. Ferry trips across the Mersey run regularly throughout the day and are a great way to experience the sights of Liverpool.
When on board there is a running commentary to guide you through the various historical points of interest along the way, and you will soon find yourself captivated by the rich history and culture of Liverpool. There is also a café on board where you can purchase refreshments and a tasty snack during your trip.
If you wish to travel on a ferry out of Liverpool, try the http://www.channelferries.co.uk/ service. Ferries from Liverpool travel to Belfast, Dublin and the Isle of Man.
If you fancy even more adventure, you can visit Spaceport when you get across the Mersey. Spaceport, the £10 million attraction where the topics of space and space travel are brought to life, makes for the perfect day out for kids and parents alike.
Shopping – Liverpool ONE
Opened during Liverpool’s 2008 year as European Capital of culture, Liverpool ONE is the largest open air shopping centre in the UK. It offers a huge variety of high street shops and boutiques, and plenty of restaurants to choose from. There is also an Odeon cinema if you fancy catching the latest blockbuster.
Liverpool is a city waiting to be explored. With so much to see and do, it makes for the perfect UK break; the only problem is deciding where to begin! Visitors will be hard pressed to not fall in love with a city so rich in culture and history.
By Bradley Houston
Steps to Getting Your Passport
I recently made my first trip to Europe and actually enjoyed myself, and believe me if I can sit on a plane for 11 hours, you can too. I thought that I would write about my experience in case anyone is considering the trip and needed a little advice.
The first thing you should think about doing, especially if you’ve never been out of the country, sure you’ve been to Canada, but does that really count, is getting your passport. If this is your first passport here is some information you should look at:
You must fill out and print this Form DS-11:
You need to take the DS-11 form, in person to an acceptance facility, here is a site that will tell you what facility’s are near you:
You will need to take your birth certificate and drivers license, and make a photo copy of the front and back of them to take with you. You will need a passport photo; most sites will do this for you. When you apply for the passport you will need to pay the fees, which currently is around $135.
You should plan on it taking 4 to 6 weeks before getting your passport, check here to see current wait time:
So, you’ve got the hard part out of the way! Now for the fun part, where should you go?
I’ll talk about some great European travel sites on my next post.
Have you gotten a passport lately? How long did it take to get it? Where did you go to apply for it?
London, what a great city! Once you learn how to use the Tube you can have a great time traveling around the city. Here are some of the sites we had the chance to visit while we were there.
You have to see and hear Big Ben while you’re in London and it was something to see. Big Ben is actually the name of the bell and has come to include the clock as well. The clock tower holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower. It is at the north end of the Palace of Westminster.
The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel situated on the banks of the River Thames, just a short distance from Big Ben. The entire structure is 135 meters tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 meters. The wheel’s 32 passenger capsules holds 25 people,who are free to walk around inside the capsule, though seating is provided.
Westminster Abbey is steeped in more than a thousand years of history. Benedictine monks first came to this site in the middle of the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship which continues to this day. It has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs.
The Red Lion is a classic late 19th century pub. It is located midway between the House of Commons and Downing Street. There has been a Red Lion pub on this site since 1434, but the present building dates to 1900. Long associated with Parliament, every Prime Minister up to Edward Heath has popped in for a drink after work, and The Red Lion also featured in the childhood of Charles Dickens, the formation of the unions and has been the scene of much political intrigue over the years.
Liverpool, how could I not go there while visiting Europe recently? I took a train to Liverpool for the weekend and got to visit some great Beatles sites.
This is the entry to the Cavern Pub in Liverpool, which is the sister to the Cavern Club on the other side of the street. The Cavern Pub was opened in 1994. The walls of the Pub feature brass plaques with dates, which are the dates that each particular artist performed at the Cavern Club.
Here is a shot of Mathew Street in Liverpool. You can see the location of the Cavern Club and the Cavern Pub. When the Beatles weren’t playing the Cavern Club they would go down the street to The Grapes to have a drink since alcohol wasn’t served at the Cavern. They would also head around the block during breaks to the White Star to hear other bands playing.
This is the stage in the Cavern club. Bands that have played there have written their names on the wall, Rory Storm and The Hurricanes, Jerry and the Pacemakers, Ian and the Zodiacs, and countless others. In 1961 the Beatles first performance at the Cavern Club featured John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe, and Pete Best on drums.
We spent some time in the Cavern Club and heard a great Beatles duo, “The Two Of Us,” here is a video I put on YouTube. At the far end of the club is the Cavern Live Lounge where tributes to the Beatles and many other legendary rock artists like the Who, and the Dire Straits perform.
The Beatles Shop on Mathew Street. There’s a plethora of Beatles stuff available ranging from t-shirts, maps, posters and postcards through to watches, toys, mugs and jewellery plus much more besides.
Albert Dock is the home of Tate Liverpool, the award-winning Beatles Story, Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum. At the time of its construction the Albert Dock was considered a revolutionary docking system because ships were loaded and unloaded directly from/to the warehouses.
Grantham, Lincolnshire, UK
Grantham is about 3 miles from Harlaxton Manor, which took me about an hour to walk, and 120 North of London by train. The birthplace of Margaret Thatcher and where Isaac Newton went to school, there is a lot of history there. The Arnold Graham convenience store at 47 Swine Gate is a great place to pickup some fresh produce.
One of the oldest pubs in Grantham, the Beehive Inn dates back to the 16th century and is named for the living beehive in the tree outside. Since at least 1830 there has been a hive of bees in a lime tree above the pub’s sign. This unique feature has protected status from the local council.
The Blue Pig Inn is located at 9 Vine Street in Grantham. They weren’t serving food when we were there, I think they were looking for a new cook. It’s off the beaten path and mostly frequented by locals, but you have to at least check out the cool sign.
The Angel and Royal Hotel on the High Street in Grantham, originally known as The Angel, was established in 1203. It has been visited by seven kings of England and various other members of Royalty, including the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII.
Want some delicious fish and chips? “Relax” Fish Bar is located at 71 Westgate, Town Centre, in Grantham. I stopped here for a quick lunch and would recommend it to anyone looking for some tasty fish and chips.