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Archive for November, 2010

If there’s any place I want to be during the holidays, it’s London. Harrod’s window displays ignite the holiday cheer in just about everyone that walks by them (and takes a moment to admire the intricacy), Oxford Street is done up in bows and Regent’s Park looks like something out of a Narnia film once it’s covered in snow.

When the wind really blows, there’s nothing nicer than curling up in a cozy cafe with a mug of apple cider or mulled wine to scare the winter blues away and dry your mittens. London has a lot of charm around the holiday time and a lot of chaos during shopping hours. This is the reason why I love to escape, to the quieter corners of the city.

London Fields

There are a lot of great and very free things to do in London this time of year that won’t freeze your knickers (at least mostly not). If you’re in London this December, I recommend grabbing a room at Tune Hotels London, (£65 a night!) and checking some of these out.

British Museum

As one of the world’s finest museums, it would be a shame to visit the city and skip over it. It’s open from 10:oo until 5:30 in the afternoon. It’s easy to spend a couple of days in there, getting lost and soaking in the history of the artefacts.

Piccadilly Circus

If you hang out here long enough, you’re sure to find some creative minds, street performers and other artists trying to make a living from the crowds. There’s a London saying that goes, ‘If you hang out near the Eros Statue in Piccadilly Circus for 15 minutes, you’re sure to run into someone you know’. It’s where all the action takes place!

Tower of London Tour

Skating at the Tower of London

Yeoman Warders come dresses in “Beefeater” costumes and give free one-hour tours of the Tower of London. Tours leave every 30 minutes from just inside the gate. This is a great way to get a more animated experience of the Tower. Another free activity here is the Ceremony of the Keys, a tradition that has taken place at the tower every night for 700+ years. It starts at 9:30 and ends at 10:05. There’s a trick though to getting tickets, you have to write via snail mail to the Tower of London.

Convent Garden

To get a closer look at London’s street culture, Covent Garden is a right place to be. There is always an abundance of street performers and artists around. Market stalls pop up over night selling handmade wares, fine=crafted jellies, spirits and baked goodness. For the real foodies, Borough Market will definitely satisfy any cravings. Covent Garden markets are just off of the Covent Garden tube stop, while Borough Market is a 5 minute walk south of London Bridge stop.

Speaker’s Corner

Have something to say to the world? Head down to Cumberland Gate Park Lane (the north-east corner of Hyde Park), it’s free! Open Sundays from noon until 7:30. Whether you get your turn in the booth or not, this corner is hopping when it’s open! There’s no other place to hear passionate people express their opinions. This phenomenon started in 182 when the government elected one corner of the city for public speaking on politics, religion and economy.

Platform 9 3/4

This spot in King’s Cross Station is forever popularized by the Harry Potter films but if you’re a fan like I am, it’s no doubt a good place for a photo opp! There’s even a trolly stuck half-way through the wall which was added some years ago when the book series exploded with popularity.

As for London, you can never find enough time to do all the things you want, which is why so many people come back year after year, after year! The city is always changing too, so there is always something more to see around London. As for me, I’m hoping I’ll be there this holiday season to enjoy the festive cheer that’s already hit the streets!

 

 

 

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I’ve never seen so many walking tours in one city before. Usually it’s just the usual historical town tour, but not in New Orleans. There’s something for every taste, time and interest it seems. There are a number of tour companies as well which means when it comes to finding a deal, there’s plenty of competition to shop. The main attraction is of course the French Quarter where tunes of sweet jazz, R&B, funky brass bands and blues fill the streets.

New Orleans has a riveting history which is part of the reason why it’s such a great city to visit. Whether you’d like to see how the city has changed since the Hurricane Katrina disaster or visit age-old taverns in the French Quarter, there is certainly something to dig your teeth into in this Louisiana city.

Which of these tours would you like to take?

Tours, tours, tours!

  • New Orleans city tour
  • Haunted tour
  • Garden District tour
  • Swamp tour
  • Plantation tour
  • Jazz music tour
  • French Quarter tour
  • French Quarter twilight tour
  • Cemetery Voodoo tour
  • Hurricane / Rebirth tour

Like I said, there is a whole lot of city to tour and one of the great things is that there are plenty of walking trails, pedestrian-friendly streets and parks to walk around. Always start your tour in the FQ and then branch out the explore the neighbouring “faubourgs”…

It may be quite a jaunt from London but there are enough New Orleans travel deals around to make it an affordable holiday destination just about any time of the year. For the most excitement though, head to Louisiana for New Years, Mardi Gras or Halloween!

 

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