• Free Things To Do

    Be Inspired at the Imperial War Museum London

    A short walk from Lambeth North tube station in the imposing and impressive Imperial War Museum, with huge military guns guarding the entrance. Originally homed in Crystal Palace from 1917, the idea was to record the civil and military war effort and sacrifice of the British Empire during World War I, before expanding to include all conflicts in which the British Commonwealth have been involved in since 1914. The museum moved to its current home in 1936, what used to be the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Southwark (also known as Bedlam, an infamous psychiatric hospital). Tribute and Sacrifice With the sheer number of young men that sacrificed their lives during…

  • Events,  London

    Triple Review: Instagram tour of London with a social media expert

    I came across Triple.Co while browsing the internet on a typical morning commute (you know what it is like, Alice falling down the rabbit hole!). They offer a number of local run tours in numerous cities across Europe. They appealed to me as I love anything where locals can teach me about my own city and being a guide may be something I consider in the future. It’s sometimes hard to find something to do in your own town and end up doing the same things over and over, so I was looking for inspiration! London Heading over to the London section of the website to browse the various events…

  • United Kingdom

    From Balloch to Tarbet – The West of Loch Lomond

    Where the sun shines fair on the banks of Loch Lomond Britain’s largest loch (or lake) is one of the most beautiful destinations in Scotland (and trust me there are a lot of places to chose from). I have spent many childhood summers visiting my grandparents who are only a 10-minute drive away. Situated in the heart of the ‘Trossachs’ Scotland’s first national park, is a miniature version of the highlands, only an hour from Glasgow. Balloch The start of the Loch Lomond & Trossachs park is Balloch, which has plenty to do and see. Balloch Castle Country Park Initially developed in the early 19th century, the country park and…

  • Getting Around

    Things I Wish People Knew Before Visiting London

    London is my home city, and yes I may be incredibly biased, but there is nowhere else like it. There may be capital cities but none with the history, diversity, and culture of my own, and rightly so we have a plethora of visitors every year. But… (there had to be a but right!) But it frustrates me how everyone’s experience of London could be improved with just a few small changes and some heartfelt advice. This article isn’t meant to be a bitch fit rant at tourists, but a few tips from a local might make your trip a bit calmer! Please let people off the tube before boarding The whole…

  • Things To Do and See

    The Magnificent Seven – Brompton Cemetery

    A slightly morbid and macabre London destination compared to the local tourist attractions is Brompton Cemetery. Nestled in Kensington and Chelsea, the cemetery has been opened since 1840, making it one of the large seven ancient private cemeteries in London. Brompton Cemetery During one of the population booms in London, local parish churches who would customarily bury the public couldn’t cope with the increased demands and were becoming increasingly overcrowded. An unexpected Parisian inspiration led to the consecration of the first London public cemeteries as an alternative to local churches. One of Seven One of the youngest of the seven, boasting 39 acres and over 205,000 burials at over 35,000 graves.…

  • Travel Advice,  United Kingdom

    How To Stay Safe During The UK Heatwave

    As the UK enters its longest ever heatwave, it is essential to remember to protect yourself from the sun. Travel safety is critical, with everyone being savvier overseas, but not considering that the UK sun can be just as hot! Here are the top tips for staying safe this summer The main risks associated with the current heatwave are dehydration, overheating and sunburn or sunstroke. If you are vulnerable to heat, stay in the shade between 11 am and 3 pm. This time is the hottest part of the day. Regularly drink cold drinks such as water, and avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Wear loose cool clothing. Make sure you wear a…

  • Events

    London Pride

    The weekend, central London hosted the annual Pride Parade, with the LGBT and the extended community painting the town a rainbow with a colourful and vibrant parade of over 500 different groups celebrating across the iconic backdrop of London. The UK’s most significant and diverse Pride Parade, London has hosted a festival since 1972. The first event was held on the nearest Saturday in July to the Stonewall Riots in 1969 in New York. This incident caused a movement. Within a few years of Stonewall, there were Gay rights groups and events in the US and the UK. In 1988, with the update Clause 28 of the Local Government Act,…

  • United Kingdom

    Bletchley Park

    Situated an hour north of London, is an inconspicuous estate close to Bletchley train station. A mansion and grounds, that was pivotal in the modern era of information technology and cloaked in secrecy. The home of the code breakers in World War II has exceptional historical importance and is still relevant today. The Mansion and grounds were purchased in 1938 by the head of the secret intelligence service, in the event of war. On the train link between Oxford and Cambridge and only 50 miles from London, it was a prime location to attract academics that the secret service would hope to hire.  Bletchley was to be the new home of…

  • Free Things To Do

    Tower Of London

    An impenetrable fortress on the north bank of the river Thames is the Tower of London. A long and multi-functional history since being built in 1066, the Tower has been a palace, a prison, an armoury, a royal mint, a treasury, a public records office and the home of the Crown Jewels. Most famously the Tower of London was a prison, with grisly rumours of torture. Some famous names during the medieval period were held and/or executed at the Tower, including Anne Boleyn (Henry VIII’s second wife), Guy Fawkes (gunpowder plot) and even Elizabeth I was imprisoned here.  A plague immortalises Guy Fawkes and his fellow plotters, both in remembrance and as…

  • London by Locals

    Barbican, London

    A brutalist concrete jungle casts shadows over the City of London. An ambitious community project from the 1960s oozes with character and charm. Formerly a gateway to the London Wall, an original part of Roman Londonium. Incredibly part of the wall still survives as you walk around the complex. Population blossomed in the area during the 1850s, as did the ‘rag trade’ or textiles markets, especially at the Cripplegate end of the Barbican complex. Devasted during World War II, the area was rebuilt in the 1960s. The idea was to populate the city, to build a community in the heart of the tragedy of the devastation. Brilliantly ambitious to create…

  • London

    Best Songs About London

    With Manchester and Liverpool representing English pop music for decades, it is easy to forget that the Capital City has produced some fantastic artists and provided the inspiration for many incredible songs. Here is just a selection: ‘A Foggy Day (In London Town)’ – Ella Fitzgerald ‘London: the best place on Earth to be miserable’ surely resonates with the majority of commuters stuck on a crowded and delay train/tube/bus. Ms. Fitzgerald beautifully croons on this number which has been covered by many artists, about the infamous fog that would haunt the capital, but the sun is always shining. ‘American Boy’ – Estelle feat. Kanye West London born Estelle uses a…

  • London by Locals

    London’s Best Parks

    An unusual seasonal heatwave hits London over a bank holiday weekend; it is like hitting the jackpot! One of the chief joys of London is the numerous green spaces within the labyrinth of old cobbled streets and high rise buildings. Other major cities will have one large park but London has so many, and here are the big five to visit: Greenwich Park For most people who know me, Greenwich is probably my most favourite part of London. Greenwich means ‘green settlement’ in old Saxon, and this park is monumental in honouring the origins of the name. The oldest enclosed royal park in London, covering 180 acres, used to be an old hunting ground.…

  • United Kingdom

    The First Emperor and Liverpool’s China Town​

    The first Chinese immigrants to Liverpool arrived in the 1830s when the first vessel direct from China arrived in Liverpool’s docks to trade such goods as silk and cotton wool. More immigrants came in Liverpool in the late 1860s with the establishment of the Blue Funnel Shipping Line. The commercial shipping line created strong trade links between the cities of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Liverpool; mainly importing silk, cotton and tea. Liverpool is still a twinned city with Shanghai. From the 1890s onwards, small numbers of Chinese began to set up businesses catering to the Chinese sailors and some married working-class British women, resulting in many British-born Eurasian Chinese being…

  • Getting Around

    Going Underground

    Dramatically busy, feeling like a rock concert mosh pit, with shouts of ‘can you move further down please’ as you manoeuvre and contort like some standing game of Twister, generally a sweltering hot sweatbox with suspicious and potent odours. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Still one of the most reliable and frequent underground services in the world, it helps connect London. The London Underground is the iconic transport network of the capital, but given the history and development of the tube, it can seem quite like an ancient labyrinth, near impossible to navigate! With 11 lines, 270 stations and 400km of track, it can be quite daunting…

  • Events

    London Marathon

    Electricity sparks in the air, the gentle excited laughter and soft pounding of trainers of thousands of runners heading to the start. Spectators trying to find a perfect vantage point, ensuring they make the most of the sun shining. Final preparations before the race begins. “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try'” (Yoda, Star Wars) The London Marathon was first established as an annual race since 1981. The question was to whether London would be able to host such a spirited and community festival. Looking back with the success of the race, it is amazing to think that this was even considered. Before this time there was the London…

  • United Kingdom

    Liverpool – Road Trip Playlist

    Liverpool has been synonymous with music since the Beatles burst on the scene in 1960s, and of course any road trip requires a banging playlist. Liverpool has been awarded a UNESCO City of Music status in 2015 for its influence on popular music that still resonates today, it seems that the only problem of making a playlist would be what songs not to include. The Beatles Liverpool’s famous sons are regarded as one of the most influential musical bands encompassing various styles of music and spreading ‘Beatlemania’ across the world. Living is easy with your eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see – Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles Not without…

  • London by Locals

    Old Royal Naval College & Painted Hall, Greenwich

    The Old Royal Naval College is the centrepiece of maritime Greenwich, just located on the River Thames towards the east of London. Maritime Greenwich is a listed UNESCO site, including Queens House, Royal Observatory and Greenwich Park (blog post to come!) What is now the Old Royal Naval College was once originally the site of the Palace of Placentia (Greenwich Palace) but came into disrepair and was demolished before the start of the 18th century. The site then became the Royal Hospital/Greenwich Hospital, where sailors would live once they retired (hospital originating from the word hospitality, meaning a place to stay rather than a place to receive medical care). The plan was…

  • United Kingdom

    Happy Hogmanay!

    Wishing you a very Happy New Year or Happy Hogmanay! Hogmanay is the Scottish word used for New Years Eve, and is a huge celebration in Scotland, especially the capital Edinburgh. Although I have never spent a Hogmanay celebrating in the centre of Edinburgh or Glasgow, I have spent it with my family in Scotland and still have some of the traditions in my celebrations in London. Generally Hogmanay is spent with family, friends or neighbours, visiting their homes. On Hogmanay, we do not eat until just gone midnight, with a meal of steak pie (the table needs to be laid and full at midnight to bring a full table…

  • United Kingdom

    Shakespeare’s Stratford and Warwick

    William Shakespeare is one of Britain’s most iconic writers, play-writes, poets and manipulators of the English language. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, and on a very wintery Friday whilst staying Birmingham I ventured down to Stratford to see what this quaint market-town. William Shakespeare’s birthplace and childhood home is located in the centre of Stratford, among cobbled streets and mewses. This restored building is owned by the Shakespeare centre and is a haven for lovers of literature. Although I did not visit the centre inside, so I cannot give an opinion on the attraction, it is a steep price at £15.75. Just walking along the Henley…

  • United Kingdom

    Glasgow Patter

    I am currently in Glasgow on a short surprise trip to visit my wee granny and have been thinking quite a bit about the language. Not the accent but the actual words used. Language is something that I have always found fascinating, not that I can speak anything other than English (know some very basic German and Turkish) and the UK is beautifully diverse in its regional dialects. Having spent many summer holidays in and around Loch Lomond, and my mum being Scottish I never really understood that there was such a difference until I starting talking to Londoners (friends and colleagues) that they maybe didn’t understand what I was…

  • United Kingdom

    The White Cliffs of Dover

    The famous white cliffs of Dover on the Kent coastline has always been a focal point for people entering and leaving the UK. With is close proximity to mainland Europe, Dover was the home to the first settlers to Britain with historical relevance from the Bronze age. When the Romans expanded through Europe though, Dover was the start of the network connecting the UK to Europe. The White Cliffs are part of the National Trust and for a small fee you are able to walk along the cliffs. The cliffs themselves stretch for about 8 miles! Apparently on a clear day, you can see France from this viewpoint (To be…

  • United Kingdom

    People Make Glasgow

    Glasgow is often given a bad reputation compared to its elegant and sophisticated sister Edinburgh, being more industrial and gothic to the pretty and romantic capital city but for what Glasgow may lack in aesthetics it makes up for in charm and character. Glasgow was crowned the City of Architecture, Capital of Culture and Commonwealth Games Host in 2014. What was once a city of gangs and slums, now shines with tolerance and diversity. George Square & Merchant City George Square and the City Chambers is the grand space that forms the city centre (almost like Trafalgar Square in London). There are some prominent statues in the square and depending…

  • United Kingdom

    Brighton Rocks

    Brighton is an iconic seaside town on the south coast of England. This resort is a day-trip haven in the summer months for Londoners, giving it the nickname ‘London-by-the-sea’. A lovely clean pebble beach, with lots of little shops and arcades all the way along. Beautiful in the summer months as well as a stroll along in the winter and you can’t go without pier doughnuts! Brighton Pier is open all year round so you can enjoy all the fun of the seaside any time of year. From fish ‘n’ chips to arcade games and funfair rides and free deck chairs. The pier does get very busy so be prepared for some crowding. The Lanes…

  • United Kingdom

    Exploring Edinburgh

    Edinburgh is one of the prettiest cities I have ever visited. This historic old town has a wondrous range of activities and things to do, with heritage, culture and festivals. The contrasts of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Sites of the Old Town and New Town has bundles of history. The city was leading the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century and retains its cosmopolitan feel with its summer festivals. Having lived in Dunedin (Edinburgh of the South) in New Zealand, before visiting Edinburgh, it was really extraordinary to see the similarities. Mostly with the street names and styling of buildings and monuments, but they really did attempt to make Dunedin an Edinburgh…

  • Free Things To Do

    Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

    Kew Gardens are the world-renowned botanical gardens based in South West London. It is a bit of a journey from the city centre out towards Kew, but the gardens are well worth a visit. The commonly used image of Kew is its gigantic Palm House overlooking a large freshwater lake. This Victorian glass palace recreates a rainforest climate for some unusual species of palms (some growing as high as the glass house). Top Tip: it is hot and humid, so protect your camera! Kew prides itself on conservation and education, and one of its recent installations in a giant hive. Bumblebee numbers are in decline in the UK, and without…

  • United Kingdom

    Giants and Dragons on the Northern Irish Coast

    On Christmas Eve, two of my girlfriends said that they had booked a super cheap flight to Belfast (£25 return flight) for February to see the Giants Causeway. So, naturally, I decided to gatecrash! We were flying out on Friday night after work and returning Sunday lunchtime, so we arranged a guided coach/tour company for our whistle-stop tour of the Northern Irish Coast. Our first stop was the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery. Bushmills is Ireland’s oldest distillery, operating since 1608 and they have numerous different blends available in their store. Being half-Scottish, I am quite partial to a wee dram so upon our arrival, we decided to have a little tasting…

  • United Kingdom

    On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond

    O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road, And I’ll be in Scotland a’fore ye, But me and my true love will never meet again, On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond My momma was born in Glasgow, and my Granny moved to near Loch Lomond while my mum was still little. Although my Mum has now lived in London since she was 18 when my sister and I were little we used to spend our summer holidays visiting the Loch and nearby Glens. I try to go and visit my wee Granny once a year, and I always take my camera to snap around…

  • United Kingdom

    Breathtaking Belfast

    My father-in-law is initially from Belfast, and my husband used to travel to see his family over there in the 90’s, but this was during the time of the ‘Troubles’ and he never really got to see Belfast. As things have settled since the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ the city is now a buzz of redevelopment and energy as it really opens its doors to the world. We were invited to a family party in Belfast, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to visit and explore. I had been to Belfast before, for work a couple of times, but sadly travelling for work meant I got to see the…