London on Two Wheels

Probably one of the first things that will come up while planning your visit to London is the plain and simple fact that transport is not the cheapest available. If you’re traveling on a budget – do not fear, the city provides as many means of transport as you can imagine and cycling is definitely not only efficient but also pro-active – and provides the best views! There are even cycle-friendly London hotels for you to choose from, and the range is incredible: from 2- or 3- star affordable stays to luxury The Cavendish, priding itself on being environmentally friendly and offering cycle hire and route information as well as secure bicycle parking.

 Once your accommodation is sorted, it’s time to find a pair of wheels. If you’re planning a short stay, Barclays Cycle Hire, the latest London transport hit, is the best option. The access fee is minimal (£1 for a day, £5 for a week) and if your journey is less than 30 minutes long – it’s completely free! There are docking stations dotted around the whole Central London and cover all major sightseeing spots, as well as many hidden gems. The Cycle Hire’s website offers a very detailed maps of the scheme and they feature both leisure routes and cycle superhighways, very handy when you want to really explore the city to its maximum.

For all of you who intend to stay in London a bit longer and prefer to have their own bike but without splashing out a huge amount, I highly recommend ReCycling – a shop that offers serviced, second hand bikes. They have a really handy ‘no lemons’ policy: within 21 days you can change your bike without the change of value and if by the end of it you’re not entirely happy – they’ll give you your money back.

The cycle routes are all you need now, and I can assure there are plenty of them. Cycle-route.com is a great place to start – you can watch a chosen area for new routes or chose from a huge selection already submitted, each described with the amount of miles it covers and the time it’ll approximately take. My favourite is definitely the one along Regent’s Canal, my own beloved bit of industrial London that provides much needed peace and quietness in the always buzzing city. Another source of routes is the good old Transport for London website, and if you’re planning your visit in advance, you can even order free printed local cycle guides.

With all the preparations done, all you have left to do is to enjoy London’s sites. There’s been a lot of cycling promotion recently so you might as well bump into (hopefully not literally) quite a few London celebrities on their sets of wheels, including London’s own Mayor! Now wouldn’t that be a treat?

Top 5 Things To Do In London

A pick of the capital’s attractions

London is one of the world’s busiest cities, and this summer it looks to be the focus of the international media as the Olympics, Paralympics and Cultural Olympiad all descend on the UK capital.

Staying in London can be tricky – finding somewhere reasonable, comfortable and well-located at short notice is often an ask too far, especially as places happily hike up their prices for the busy summer. Here’s a quick top 5:

1. The South Bank

There’s loads to see along the South Bank, from the National Theatres and Royal Festival Hall, to the rebuilt Shakespeare’s Globe and Tate Modern. You can also get the Damien Hirst-designed Tate boat from Tate Modern to Britain: a great way to see the city from the river without paying for a chartered boat trip!

2. Hampstead Heath

London’s parks are one of its finest features, and Hampstead Heath is no exception: formerly a hilly village overlooking the city, it’s now part of the metropolis itself. Yet it retains so much of the leafy rural atmosphere: a great place to wander, swim in the baths, or visit a very cosy pub.

3. London Eye

The London Eye is hard to beat for fun and a great panorama of the city. For my money, it’s a lot better seeing the whole city than going inside the ‘sight’s like Buckingham Palace, which aren’t particularly revealing or forthcoming. For an alternative modern view of the city, get yourself up to the top of the infamous Gherkin in the heart of the City (London’s financial district) – there’s also a bar and restaurant there if you want a treat.

4. The museums, SW7

A classic, but also a good tip because they’re near Hyde Park and central areas, and will give you a view into old-school posh London: big high white houses, Victorian architecture, antique shops and smart sandwiches. The V&A is the most beautiful of all the South Ken museums – and has an extraordinary tea room.

5. Brick Lane Sundays

A bit hectic, but worth it for the hustle and bustle – you’ll not be the only tourist, but you’ll also be amongst hundreds of locals. Sunday Up Market in the Truman Brewery is full of vintage clothes and handmade finds; as well as markets and stalls along Brick Lane itself.

The Best British Fast Food

When on holiday in the UK you are never far from great, quick and cheap food, fantastic when you are on the go. Although there are so many chain outlets selling fast food that can be seen anywhere in the world, spending time in the UK is a great chance to try something a little different and get a true taste of the great variety of British food.

Sandwiches

2012 marks 250 years of the simple sandwich. Thought to originate from John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, when he asked for beef between two slices of bread so that he didnít have to stop playing cards, it has now become a daily diet staple for many around the world. Nowadays, modern sandwich shops are popping up all over the place in the UK, offering almost every type of filling imaginable with sandwiches that are made in front of you, exactly as you like it. The humble sandwich is the perfect food on the go, healthy, transportable and a great meal when time is of the essence and when travelling.

Pie and Mash

Photo by flckr user emilywebber

Pie and mash originates from Londonís working class east end and has been sustaining the masses since the 19th century. Devised as a sit down meal with a meat pie, mashed potatoes and either liquor, a green sauce or good old British gravy, it is still immensely popular, especially in London, Essex and Kent.

Fish and Chips

The classic English favourite of fish and chips has been part of UK culture for generations. Usually cod or haddock dipped in batter, deep fried and served with chips, the working class ìchippyî has stayed popular the UK for many years. They were even seen as so important to the war effort, that the government decided that fish and chips shouldnít be affected by food rationing during World War 2. A classic at the seaside served in paper to enjoy on the go, or served as a sit down meal with bread and butter and a cup of tea on a rainy day, it is still as delicious today as it ever was.

Cornish Pasty

Photo by flickr user click-trackheart

The humble Cornish pasty has been popular for over 200 years. Originally a lunch for miners whereby the hot pasty in the workers pocket would keep the worker warm until lunch then the worker could hold the pasty by the crust which could be discarded when he was finished. This semicircular pasty can only be called a Cornish pasty if it has been made in Cornwall as it has recently been granted Protected Geographical Indication status.

Top 10 London Hotels

London attracts almost 30 million visitors every year, and that amount is expected to increase with the upcoming Olympic Games. Although there is no shortage of accommodation options in the British capital, this article will provide readers with a list of the 10 best London hotels in terms of uniqueness, location, and amenities.

 

1- The Zetter

Located near the international train station at St Pancras, this hotel is a living lesson in architecture and design. The Zetter was built over a 19th century warehouse, from which it still conserves many features, like spacious rooms and high ceilings. The rooftop studios are particularly charming, with their sundecks affording panoramic views over London.

 

2- Hotel 41

For many, this is as British as it gets. The 41 is a 5-star venue on Buckingham Palace Road. Each of its forty-one rooms are individually appointed to the highest standards of style, comfort, and luxury. Marble bathrooms and mahogany furniture complete the look.

 

3- The Hoxton

A hotel room for £1? The Hoxton offers a special sale on 5 of its rooms every night, and we’re not talking hostel accommodation here! This hotel’s speciality is elegance and comfort, with many little details that will impress the visitor.

 

4- The Sanderson

Ideal for those who are in London to shop or attend a West End show, the Sanderson is a dream-like space featuring outstanding interior design and luxurious spa facilities.

 

5- The Cavendish

According to some, this hotel affords the best views of London, given its location by Piccadilly Circus. The hotel’s restaurant is an exceptional venue that has been awarded an AA Rosette, featuring the best of British and continental cuisine.

 

6- Crowne Plaza

One of the best hotels in the freshly re-designed Docklands area. The hotel is particularly apt for business travellers, due to its location near City airport and the business district.

 

7- The King’s

Located in the heart of bohemian Hampstead, the King’s is a boutique hotel that sits on a listed building. All rooms have private balconies, which are ideal for chilling and people-watching.

 

8- The Andaz

This hotel’s main selling points are its location (in Liverpool Street), and its stunning modern design. The rooms feature an organic minibar, an iPod dock, and a fast-fill bath tub.

 

9- The Intercontinental

Expensive, but worth it, especially for those looking to relax and rejuvenate. The Intercontinenal offers some of the best spa treatments in town, such as its dry flotation therapy rooms or their signature English Rose package.

 

10- Pavilion Fashion Rock and Roll

This is one of London’s most interesting themed hotels. Every room has been decorated following a particular “rock-based” theme. The rooms’ themes include Marilyn Monroe, Metallica, and Craig David. There is also a room that reproduces a groovy 70’s atmosphere (disco ball included!).