Travelling to London for the first time? Here are the things to know


London is one of the most popular international destinations packed with so many good things but you do need to plan in advance to make the most of your time in this wonderful city. This huge fast paced metropolitan city can be hard for the first time visitors if they do not know where to start from. To make your planning simpler, here are few important things that you should know to relish your time in London. Here are few tips that we have put together that first time visitors must know to make their trip easy and exciting!

London Travel Tips

Look before you step – While walking on the streets of London, be mindful and watch the traffic that can be coming from the other side of the road. So to help the pedestrians, there are many signs on the pavement, at street crossings. Look for the signs and it will remind you which way to look.

Transit in London – Take bus rides or walk to see the city. You can also use the underground for quick transportation and avoid the rush travel during non-peak hours between 9:30 am and either before 4 pm or after 7 pm. This way you can also save yourself a few pounds. Grab a Tube map, showing the network of tube lines, stations as well as the layout of the city. This will help to avoid any confusion.

Get an Oyster Card – You cannot pay your tickets in cash. If you want to take a ride on the bus, you must buy a ticket or an Oyster Card. In case you are traveling a lot in the city, it is better to buy an Oyster Card that can be used to pay for all your public transport in London. The card with credit of £20 can cover a return journey from Heathrow plus travel around Central London for one or two days.

The local currency – Unlike the rest of Europe, the UK has Great British Pounds. In many shops euros are still accepted but in return as a change you’ll get the currency in pounds. In ATM also, you’ll get money in pounds. Whether you take out cash or use a credit card around, 3% will be charged by your bank. Also some credit cards have no foreign transaction fees as it depends on the cards you are using.

English are serious about breakfast – If you like simple, home style food, you will surely enjoy indulging in English food. Relishing English food can be bit heavy, particularly the breakfast. Though you’ll get to see many attractive restaurants, offering full English breakfast but you must know what you’re getting into before sitting down. There are many variations, but in general an English breakfast includes two eggs, toast, streaky bacon, baked beans with a grilled tomato. Sometimes, black and white pudding is also added to this feast. Even if a full breakfast may not appeal to all but it is an experience that you must try at least once, if you are in the city.

Learn to say it right – Learn the tricks of saying simple words rightly. In London, some common words are used differently altogether like elevator is referred as a lift, lines are called queues, the toilet as loo, chips are called fries. So know the words well!

Where to stay in London – If you are only staying in London for a short time it would be best to stay in the neighbourhoods of central London. This will save your travelling time and you can easily avoid wasting time traveling. Getting around the city via public transportation is also very easy and fast so don’t worry too much. To get the feel of a local, you can choose to stay in a homestay rather than an expensive hotel. Get a great deal in rental apartments that are fully-furnished and well-maintained. Surely you’ll find a home away from home!

Visit the Museums – During your short stay in the city, makes sure to visit the Museums. Entry to these Museums are 100% free. Must visit Museums are the British Museum and the Natural History Museum –these are also two of London’s most popular and best ones.

Go for bargain Shopping – There is nothing new when I say London is one of the world’s most expensive cities to visit but London is a paradise for shoppers’ as well. The city has lots of bargain options to checkout for high street fashion. Some of these stores include Absolute Vintage, H&M, Monki, Primark and TK Maxx. In all these stores, you can pick and shop your latest fashions essential without a designer price tag.

Leaving London is permitted – If you are in London, extend your travel schedule for more than a week as you are allowed to leave the city without any permit. There are many great nearby cities to explore, which are just 1-2 hour journey from London. Use your extended holidays and explore the nearby location like Cambridge and Bath in an easy day trip.

Visiting London’s best coffee shops


There’s more to London’s cafes than just finest cups of Joe out there. From flatties to espresso, latte to even double-shot-macchiato and everything in between it’s no secret that London’s coffee culture has grown significantly since Flat White arrived on Berwick Street in 2005. Both locals and tourists starting flocking to their new favourite Cafe Milkbar to taste the speciality coffee and today, it still remains the favourite among all coffee lovers. Speciality-focused cafes, such as Silhouette and Lanark have been meeting the demands of good quality coffee in the town and by far best area for best coffee is in the East London.

The growth of speciality cafes has accelerated in the recent years, catering to a wider demographic. Today, the capital is brimming with high-profile cafes, with outlets on every other street in London but we have rounded up some of the best cafes and coffee shops to understand why there’s more to London’s cafes than just great brews.

Kaffeine, Fitzrovia

kaffeine-fitzrovia

Opened in 2009, Kaffeine is best known for offering A solid Square Mile espresso along with a breakfast and lunch menu. The cafe is very much popular with locals, especially amongst young office workers, who visit this place any hour of the day to enjoy lunchtime. Minimalist decor includes wooden bench-type tables either high or low. This Australian style cafe is all about excellent coffee and simple food that is creating a buzz and setting an example for all other cafes to follow.

  • Address: 66 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 7QJ. 020 7580 6755

Prufrock, Leather Lane

prufrock-leather-lane

Image Credit – thecoffeevine.com

For coffee enthusiasts, Prufrock tops the lists of best cafes in London and this is for a good reason. Savour baked goods made in-house, including gluten-free options and nicely crafted brews in a welcoming ambiance. Menu here changes regularly based on the seasonal delights. One of the major highlights of the cafes popularity is that the coffee beans that are sourced from all over the Europe, so there is something for every coffee lover. If you’re very serious about the coffee education, this is the place to be as the cafe boast of a full training centre.

  • Address: 23-25 Leather Lane, London EC1N 7TE. 020 7242 0467

Brooklyn, Spitalfields

brooklyn-spitalfields

Image Credit – Bloomzy.co.uk

Boasting a distinct aesthetics, Booklyn located in Shoreditch East London is a creation by Bryan and Reina. Slick design dominated by concrete island bar, the cafe looks absolutely stunning even with minimal decor. Taste the coffee here which is crafted with perfection and made with Caravan beans. Serving coffee since 2013, Brooklyn is one of the very best in the town and famed for their cold brew.

  • Address: 139 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ. 07525 861 964

Workshop Coffee Co., Fitzrovia

workshop-coffee-co-fitzrovia

Image Credit – sprudge.com

Lovely cafe, the fourth location of Workshop Coffee is now in Fitzrovia joining popular cafes like Curators, Kaffeine and Mother’s Milk in this location. Filter coffee and espresso served here are-best in both taste and presentation! Also serving tasty brunch menus and pastries, Workshop is a gem in the heart of Fitzrovia. The cafe has an open communal sitting area that makes the atmosphere here inviting and warm but it is the coffee that takes the centre stage.

  • Address: 80A Mortimer St, London W1W 7FE

Take a break for a caffeine upgrade in the cafes that we’ve rounded up for you from around the capital. You’ll surely fall in love with these beautiful coffee shops before you even taste the coffee. Meet new people, chat to friends, relax and plan new outings over a coffee in London!

While you are in the city to explore the amazing tourist destinations that the city has to offer, make sure to book to accommodation one week prior to your visit. You can plan to stay in an attractive neighbourhood like Fitzrovia in central London. The upmarket Fitzrovia, known for its thriving community boast of several premium serviced apartments that are best suited for both leisure and corporate travellers.  These apartments are located centrally and well-connected via public transportation.

Comparing the places of New York – Tourists vs. Locals, who prefers what


New York, one of the major cosmopolitan cities in the world, attracts 50 million foreign and American tourists every year. The city is best known for its lush green parks, skyscrapers, art museums and historical sites. During your visit to the city, you will never have enough time to see them all. New York tourist attractions are endless including Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park and Metropolitan Museum of Art, to name a few. These are the tourist attractions that both locals and tourists adore equally. Plan to visit the city any time of the year and you will be floored with endless choice of things to see and do here.

New York

There are many programs followed in the city to attract tourists and help them to live like a local but in case of New York, it has been found that tourists still prefer to live like tourists. It has been quite predictable in New York that tourists love to stay near major attraction in the city whereas locals avoid areas around such attractions. Midtown and Lower Manhattan are the major destinations or neighborhoods where tourists prefer to stay.

Over the years, tourism industry of New York has increased. It has been found that the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rockefeller Center and Battery Park were some of the most visited attractions by tourists in the recent years. All these attractions are also frequented by locals but the number of locals are just a fraction of total visitors in the city. Take for example -The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which witnessed around 6.3 million tourists last year in 2015. According to the data around 26 percent of the visitors were locals and residents while the rest belonged to the tri-state area and other American and international visitors. City parks in New York were amongst the most visited attractions by locals as these areas serves as the chief public transportation crossroads like Madison Square Park and Union Square Park in Manhattan.

Rockefeller Center New York

If we talk about restaurants, most restaurants and eating joints that are popular amongst locals are well-known New York City restaurants chains that are located in the area around midtown Manhattan. Most destinations that are on high rankings represent New Yorkers’ commuting destinations and lunch hotspots. Although New York City residents visit the major tour. But there are many similar restaurants and tourist attractions that are visited by both tourists and locals. Locals who are employed in Midtown find it difficult to avoid the Times Square zone and Central Park for their morning walks and jogs. Both locals and tourists cannot afford to miss the chance of trying a delicious burger or milk shake at the Shake Shack located in Madison Square Park.

Here is the list

Attractions and eating joints that are frequented by both tourists and locals equally are:

  • Central Park
  • Times Square
  • Bryant Park
  • Urban Space Vanderbilt
  • Shake Shack

shake-shack-new-york

Attractions mostly visited by tourists

  • Rockefeller Centre
  • National September 11 Memorial & Museum
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Battery Park
  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

national-september-11-memorial-museum

Places Visited by NYC Locals

  • Manhattan Bridge
  • Prospect Park
  • Columbus Circle
  • Union Square Park
  • Madison Square Park

manhattan-bridge-new-york

Numerous tourists prefer to stay in crowded city centers while seasoned travelers avoid the rush and prefer to choose the destination away from the touristy grid. Tourist attractions that have title for a particular reason, are amongst the top drivers why people travel and want to know more about a particular place.

Top destinations to run a marathon around the world


Are you an adventure seeker, action lover or love to travel? Your dream of running on the picturesque streets of London or Paris can come true if you get to participate in some of the biggest and popular marathons in these cities. You can combine this exciting activity with your travel plans to these famous destinations and get rewarded with some stunning sights! It would be an absolute fun to run in a new city you aren’t too familiar with and explore the places you have never been to.

Consider this list of the best marathon locations before planning your upcoming vacation

Paris, France

What better way to discover the romantic city than enjoying a run through the heart of it? In the month of April, the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris takes place in the city and the route is spectacular. The starting point of this marathon is the Arc de Triomphe, from where the runners then stride down the Champs-Elysées and run towards Place de la Concorde. On your way you can enjoy beautiful sights such as Place de la Bastille and Château de Vincennes and the views of stunning Notre-Dame Cathedral and Eiffel Tower. If you love running, visiting Paris should be in your bucket list.

Paris Marathon

Marathon Details:

  • Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris
  • Distance: 42.195KM race
  • 38,575 finishes in 2014
  • Registration: April 6, 2016
  • Date: 2017

New York, US

The largest marathon in the world, New York marathon is held annually. The race courses through all five boroughs of New York City beginning from Staten Island, in Fort Wadsworth to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. After that the run courses through Brooklyn, mostly along Fourth Avenue and Bedford Avenue. During the run, you can also get to explore the beautiful neighbourhoods like Bay Ridge, Park Slope, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park and Greenpoint. Due to the high rate of participation the runners are chosen largely by a lottery system or those who can meet the time qualification standards.

new york marathon

Marathon Details

  • TCS New York City Marathon
  • Date: November 6, 2016
  • Distance: 42.195 km
  • Witnessed 50,304 finishers in 2013

London, England

The first London Marathon was held in 1981 with 7,747 runners. There were around 20,000 applicants. Just like the Paris marathon, the race route passes from iconic city sights like Big Ben, the London Bridge, Westminster Abbey, runs along the River Thames and finishes at Buckingham Palace. The marathon is highly popular and overwhelming. So if you’re considering it, get yourself registered early and mark your calendar to sign up for 2017.

London Marathon

Marathon Details:

  • Virgin Money London Marathon
  • Around 40,000 people run in the London Marathon every year
  • One of the largest marathons in the world
  • Date: April 24, 2016

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious races organized in the United States. Participating in this marathon is a lifelong goal even for veteran runners. To take part in this race, you need to qualify from another marathon run from the last year. The marathon begins outside of Boston in rural Hopkinton and cross several New England towns ending on Boylston Street. The marathon locations are scenic and you’ll get to explore the parts of the city that you’d never think to venture into as a tourist.

Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon Details:

  • Held on Patriots’ Day
  • 36,000 registered participants in 2014
  • 2 miles’ race
  • Date: April 18, 2016

As the best marathon season is just few weeks away, you can consider visiting any of these stunning destinations (also the world’s best marathon locations) to explore them by foot. You can get a golden opportunity to race through stunning scenery in a far-flung locale. New York, Paris, London or Boston, whichever destination you choose, make sure to book your accommodation two weeks prior to your visit to avoid last minute hassle.

Touring London’s Favourite Hotspot Neighbourhood : Fitzrovia


Home to London’s creative industries, Fitzrovia has beautiful residential streets with an eclectic restaurant scene and is best known for its contribution to the arts – poets, designers and musicians. Located in the north of Soho and south of Euston Road, this city lies in the midst of Bloomsbury and Marylebone.

The city district is named after the Fitzroy Tavern on Charlotte Street where a group of writers used to gather. It was earlier called by different streets’ name such as Tottenham Court Road, Fitzroy Square, etc., but then in 1930s, Poetry London’s founder and editor M. J. Tambimuttu used the name to describe a crawl of pubs from Soho to Charlotte Street.

One can find stucco townhouses and mansions blocks, as well as modern residential developments across Fitzrovia. A trendy, glamorous and swanky neighbourhood that has a bohemian history behind it, one can easily call it a proper city district with a dense mix of residential, business, retail, education, healthcare, and more recently, art galleries.

Things to Do

Fitzrovia has become quite popular with the advertising, media and television agencies and is known for several media units. It’s popularity with such agencies has given rise to a fashionable, stylish bar and restaurant culture. The area holds a lot of prominence for its restaurants.

Charlotte Street and Sanderson Hotels are those establishments that have been developed into hotspots and they have become so popular for the wealthy and famous that many actors, actresses and sports stars can be spotted easily here. Some of the known faces that lived here are Pink Floyd, George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Wolf.

While you are in Fitzrovia, you can go eating and drinking in Charlotte Street all the time in the finely selected restaurants that will serve you delicious food. If you are of one pf those who likes to do shopping, you can head to Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street. With your whole day busy, you’ll get tired a bit, so for relaxation you can take a walk near Regents Park that offers a vast expanse of open space.

Attractions

A beautiful peaceful little quarter situated in the middle of the busiest streets of London i.e., Soho, Marylebone and Oxford Circus, Fitzrovia has several religious buildings, prestigious boutique art galleries and museums. Here is our list of sight-seeing in the district:

Key Gardens

The Royal Botanic Garden

The Royal Botanic Gardens are almost 250-years-old, but for a modern outdoor adventurer there is so much to explore. You can find exotic flowers and wild meadows here. Apart from that you can take the Tree Top Walkway, if you want to get a bird’s eye view of some of the park’s centuries-old trees. Also, stroll down to the Chinese Pagoda, built in1762.

Grant Museum of Zoology

Grant Museum of Zoology

One of the best known attraction of Fitzrovia is this museum or art gallery we should say. Run by University College London, it was founded in the year1828 as a showcase of the wonders of the natural world. It houses as many as 68,000 specimens, you can see some extinct animals too.

All Souls Church Langham Place

All Souls Church Langham Place

It was the creation of Prince Regent’s favourite designer, John Nash in the year 1824 and was the ultimate plan for the formation of Regent Street. It is located along the BBC’s Broadcasting House. For those having a great faith in Christianity, can take the church’s popular course ‘Christianity Explored’.

Places to Eat

Fitzrovia is a hub of popular restaurants and there is an abundance of fantastic places to eat, which serves the delicious food. You can go to the below mention eating joints to satiate your hunger:

Ceviche Soho

Ceviche Soho

For the love of Peruvian food, you can go and visit this beautifully lit Soho that is famous for ceviche. But wait, it’s not just ceviche but you can also find the tasty grilled meat and skewers. Also, you’d love to try Pisco, the South American brandy. It’s the best drink you can have.

Salt Yard — If you want to taste Italian and Spanish flavours, get into Salt Yard. It’s a tapas bar and its menu is divided into vegetable, meat and fish dishes. They are famous for putting emphasis to each and every dish and specifically the quality of the ingredients.

Dabbous

Dabbous London Restaurants

This restaurant is one of the best and the most talked-about one in Fitzrovia and the menu has adventurous dishes like beef tartare with cigar oil, whiskey and rye, salad of fennel lemon balm and pickled rose petal, etc., and are beautifully presented at reasonable prices.

Places to Shop

This place is known only for its best shopping centres and the fine-dining options. If you’re a shopping freak, you’ll love this place totally. Hope into any of these shopping centres for choosing the stylish and fashionable:

Heal’s

Heal’s London

Known for its beautiful attractive modern decorations and hyper-modern kitchenware, Heal’s as established in the year and is one of the oldest shopping centres in town. You can find some of the best designs of home furnishings and can design your own home.

Fever London — Find some of the best vintage stylish and funky dresses that was earlier open for wholesale but now open for public. A great feature of this place is that you can see the artisans at work.

Lush

Lush London

Fitzrovia has the flagship store of Lush – the biggest and the most extravagant in the world. Here you can shop for your skin care, hair care, massage products, etc. The moment you’ll enter, you wouldn’t want to leave this place.

Known to Londoners as the hippest place in London, while you’re travelling to Fitzrovia, you have plethora of option to explore; it’s one place where the British elegance meets bohemian flair. For staying near Fitzrovia, you can check out the luxurious, ultra-modern and spacious serviced apartments by Ratedapartments.com to get a good and comfortable stay.

Romancing the Streets of Paris


The capital city of France needs no introduction. It is vividly known for its food, art & culture, fashion and last but not the least for its world-famous architecture. With a rich culture and history, travellers are intrigued to visit the city that has scenic beauty all-around and that’ll leave you mesmerized. Apart from the famous Eiffel Tower and the renowned museums, the city has a lot to offer to a first time visitor. Those who wish to truly understand Paris, should immerse themselves in its rich history, art & culture.

While talking about Paris, one cannot forget about their iconic designs. Each and every quarter is unique and compelling in its own way. Even if you stay for a month, it wouldn’t be possible to explore it in entirety.

Paris

Exploring the city in mere 2-3 days is a tough task, and in cases of short trips especially, a person can get puzzled on where to go and where not! Also, wandering around the streets of Paris is still easy, the tougher part comes when you have to plan your stay. Here is a two-day guide to make the most out of your trip:

The City of Love

There are various reasons why Paris is called the City of Love, the purpose of coming here is not only to romance someone but admire the architecture and culture. On day 1, fall under the spell of this city while you take a walk in the hills of Montmartre, where you’ll find Musée de la Vie Romantique and Place des Abbesses at the foot. Take a Parisian breakfast before heading out to the medieval Marai district to get a glimpse of the Picasso museum, private mansion houses and hidden spots such as the Carreau du Temple.

The Essentials and the Attractions

Day 2 can be left for the major attractions in Paris, so that in the end, you have seen the actual Paris. You can start your day with an amazing breakfast at Tribeca and take a small walk to the Eiffel Tower, which is just a 7 minutes’ walk and pass by Pont de l’Alma, the bridge to Seine. After you are through with the view of Paris from there, hop onto a boat and sail to Notre-Dame, the beautiful cathedral on the Île de la Cité. After praising its beauty, you can go to The Louvre, which is just half an hour away.

There is one thing you should consider when you plan to visit Paris, i.e., while it’s okay to rent an apartment for a small duration, but if you want to stay there for a longer period, there are few things that you should consider before finalizing any apartment:

  • The French law restricts renting out properties to holiday makers, until and unless it’s the primary residence of the person.
  • You should check out the serviced apartments from RatedApartments.com which are absolutely legal and you can rent it carefree.
  • Always go for the known agencies when you’re on the lookout to rent in any corner of the city.

Popular places to eat and drink around Canary Wharf


Whether you want to relax and enjoy a quick bite to eat, a drink after work or a leisurely brunch at the weekend, you can experience the soul of Mexico in the heart of the city if you are at Canary Wharf- one of the London’s coolest neighbourhoods. The area is filled with the very best in food and drinks available around the world. With more than 300 shops, restaurants, coffee shops to fine dining-explore an extensive range of options for dining out and some of the best cocktails in town. Canary Wharf is always buzzing with new places to try and there’s something for all tastes!

Here are the few suggestions:

Tom’s Kitchen

Tom’s Kitchen

londontown.com

The restaurant serves British favourites using the very best seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Tom’s Kitchen opens seven days a week, where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner and during weekends the restaurant serves its famed brunch. Busy food lovers can opt for take away option during the day.

Opening Hours

  • Monday –Friday 7.30am-11pm
  • Saturday-Sunday: 10am-11pm

Sticks’n’sushi

Sticks’n’sushi

sticksnsushi.com

You can indulge in some high quality and fresh combination of traditional sushi and yakitori sticks from the grill at Sticks’n’sushi restaurant. For those who are not fish lover, can try from a selection of delicious chicken, lamb, beef and vegetable skewers. All these items are grilled fresh to order. There is also a section for vegetarian dishes, salads and variety of other delicacies.

Opening Hours

  • Monday – Saturday 11.30am-11pm
  • Sunday-11.30am-10pm

Ibérica La Terraza

Ibérica La Terraza

ibericarestaurants.com

London’s authentic Spanish restaurant, Ibérica La Terraza is nestled in a leafy corner of Cabot Square just few walks away from Canary Wharf tube station. The restaurant opens from brunch through to the evening serving a selection of tapas. You can also try a range of cocktails and al fresco dining here. Visit this terrace restaurant to enjoy truly Spanish experience which is reflected in its contemporary design, lighting and ambience.

Opening Hours:

  • Monday – Saturday: 11am-11pm
  • Sunday 11am-6pm

All Bar One

All-bar-one

designmynight.com

A stylish city bar serving beer, wine, cocktails and sharing plates in a relaxed and cool ambience. The bar specialises in serving simple yet delicious food at affordable price and can serve you variety of wine for any occasion. All Bar One can be a good choice to spend some quality time over a drink right after work.

Opening Hours:

  • Monday –Wednesday 8am-11pm
  • Thursday-Saturday 8am-12 midnight
  • Sunday-10 am to 10.30pm

Obicà Mozzarella Bar

Obicà Mozzarella Bar

fluidnetwork.co.uk

Home of outstanding authentic Italian regional cuisine in Canary Wharf, Obicà specialises in offering freshest buffalo mozzarella from Campania and other Italian delicacies that’s true to its roots. The Bar is buzzing spot for after work lunch and drinks. Every evening drink is served with little bites of salumi and mozzarella. You can pick from classic, smoked or creamy stracciatella enjoy your meals and drink in a relaxing ambiance.

Opening Hours

  • Monday-Friday- 9.30am-10pm
  • Saturday12noon-8pm
  • Sunday- Closed

During your visit to London, make sure to explore Canary Wharf. You can get many good accommodation options in this neighbourhood for your short city in the city. Search for a comfortable Canary Wharf serviced apartment if you want to live like a local away from the touristy grid. Apart from being fully furnished, these apartments have separate kitchen, dining and lounge area.  Staying in a rented apartment will help you to get comfortable and familiar with the new city.