The city of London lights up for the holiday season
It’s that time of year again! Snow is glistening and Jack Frost is nipping at your nose. Christmas spirit has settled over London like fresh snow as the city lights up like a Christmas tree. In this article we’ve compiled all the best things to do for the holiday season, including holiday markets, outdoor ice skating, seasonal must-sees, and of course all those great Christmas activities you can’t live without.
The Winter Wonderland holiday market in Hyde Park
Hotly anticipated every year is the first day the holiday markets open. Glittering little shops spring up throughout the city, all of them great places to pick up a hot cocoa or a present for that difficult-to-shop-for relative. But of all the markets in town we’ve tracked down the very best. So be sure to visit one or two this holiday season!
- A gorgeous park any day, Hyde Park looks like it’s straight out of a snow globe around Christmas. For that reason it has one of the best holiday markets in the country. The whole attraction is called Winter Wonderland but the market section is known as the Angels and Yuletide Christmas market, known for its unique stalls offering handmade gifts and hot cider. You can buy tickets to Winter Wonderland’s Christmas circus and ice sculpture garden, as well as to the biggest outdoor ice skating rink in the whole United Kingdom. The Angels and Yuletide market itself is, of course, free of charge. It runs every day from November 21st to January 4th, but the best time to come is just before dusk so you can watch the sun set over the park as the shops light up one by one. Read the entire story here…»
The sun sets behind Tower Bridge
Sunsets are as unique as snowflakes – you’ll never watch the same one twice. A vibrant sunset between the towers of New York City or a soft sunset over the banks of Paris is are all well and good, but nothing beats the restrained glory of a red London sunset. Fortunately, London also has some of the best places in the European Union from which to see the sunset. From the towering Shard to the Victorian glamour of Primrose Hill, you simply can’t beat these top 5 spots to watch the sunset in London.
1. Primrose Hill at Regent’s Park
The sunset from Primrose Hill is a riot of color. Photo: Matt Brock.
There’s a reason this area is home to some of the most exclusive and expensive residences in London. From the top of Primrose Hill you can see all of central London splayed at your feet. With the sky above you and the city below, it’s no wonder that those who visit feel as if they’ve reached the top of Mount Olympus. Turn northward for an unrivalled view of Belsize Park and Hampstead, or explore the seven English Heritage blue plaques in the park itself commemorating famous residents. Or go for a stroll around the lovely Victorian neighborhood and pick out your future furnished rental apartment. Read the entire story here…»
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” This quote, by the illustrious 18th century writer Samuel Johnson, may seem like a hyperbole. But to the more than eight million people who call it home (not to mention the millions who make it their vacation destination each year), London is a life force – spanning thousands of years of culture, history, and architecture. Whether you’ve paid a visit to the city known as the Smoke many times or are eyeing your inaugural trip, here is our list of the Top 10 Must-See Sites in London: classic, modern, multicultural, and everything in between.
1. London Eye
The London Eye provides spectacular views of the city
Open to the public since March 2000, the London Eye – also known as the Millennium Wheel — is the UK’s most-frequented paid attraction. And it’s no wonder: with 360 degree views from each of the 32 capsules, the Eye provides what many consider to be the best panorama of London. Unlike most Ferris wheel structures, all of the glass pods are attached to the metal frame; in other words, you won’t feel the swinging sensation associated with most observation wheels. Additionally, each rotation lasts about 30 minutes, so you’ll have plenty of time to take in (and photograph) the scenery, which stretches up to 40 kilometers away.
The Eye is a hugely popular attraction, especially for tourists, so be prepared for a long queue. Each cabin (which can fit roughly two dozen people) has air conditioning, heating, and bench seating. Although the Eye maintains its slow pace for passengers boarding and disembarking, it will stop for elderly or disabled guests. General tickets are £20.95 for adults, £15 for children 4 to 15 years of age, and £17.50 for seniors (discounts are available if you book your tickets online) as of July 2014. We recommend you spend a little extra and spring for the day and night experience, which allows you to view the heart of the city in the midday and nighttime hours. The Eye is open from 10am to roughly 8:30pm year round (extended summer hours apply), with closings for Christmas Day and a week in January. Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, the attraction is accessible via bus, boat or Tube. Take the Bakerloo, Jubilee or Northern trains to the Waterloo Underground station for a short walk to the wheel. Interested in seeing the views from the London Eye before you go? Take a look at the London Eye! Read the entire story here…»
Brick row houses make South Kensington a picturesque neighborhood
Chic, educational, vibrant: these are just some of the ways you might describe London’s South Kensington district. The neighborhood – part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – has long been associated with culture and luxury, spurned by the extensive building of museums and real estate following the Great Exhibition of 1851. You’d be hard pressed to find another enclave of the city with such a dense cluster of cultural and academic institutions, from world-class galleries to prestigious universities. It’s also an elegant residential area, attracting the attentions of visitors and residents alike.
Welcome to South Kensington
Map of the points of interest and our selection of discounted Vacation Rentals in the neighborhood of South Kensington, London.
South Kensington is bordered by equally stylish neighborhoods; it lies north of Chelsea, south of Hyde Park, west of Knightsbridge, and east of Earls Court. Its positioning in London places it in a prime location and near the center of all the action! An abundance of shops, museums, parks, restaurants, and the theatre arts give the area its dynamic character – and make it one of the most popular visitor spots and real estate markets in London. Here abound upscale boutiques, art galleries, antique dealers, and designer furnishing retailers. Any Francophiles in your party? They’ll love South Kensington for its influence française. As well as the many French expats living here, you’ll find the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle secondary school, the French Institute, and the Consulate General of France in London. Needing a visual to picture the scenery? Our video guide of Kensington covers the region, as well as the bordering neighborhood of Chelsea. Read the entire story here…»
Most people travel to escape from the daily grind or to open their eyes to different cultures, geology and scenic views that will be remembered forever. According to search engine reports, searches involving the phrase “best things to do in ___” skyrockets during peak holiday seasons. With London standing at the forefront of the world’s best travel destinations, is it any wonder people want to know what’s happening in the Smoke City? Fear not! Through a careful selection process we have narrowed down the list of London’s best events to the truly exceptional top 10. These events are always internationally renowned, frequently attended by A-List celebrities, and often free or low-cost . If you’re heading to London this season, mark your calendars with these great events, and don’t forget to brush up on your London etiquette!
Runners cover the final stretch in the London Marathon
Founded by previous Olympic Champions, the London marathon is a long-distance running event spanning over 26 miles (42+ kilometers). The majority of the route is over level ground along the Thames River. The course begins at three different points – the “red start” in southern Greenwich Park, the “green start” in St. John’s Park, and the “blue start” on Shooter’s Hill Road. All three routes converge in Woolwich and the finish line is on Birdcage Walk in Westminster. The London marathon is one of the top six world marathons that form the World Marathon Majors (for which there is a $1 million dollar prize). As such, it regularly attracts world-famous athletes and Olympic champions. The event is free and is usually held on a Sunday in April. Read the entire story here…»
Aerial View Of London
We all know how fulfilling it can be to escape the daily grind of full-time jobs and responsibilities through relaxing vacations, perhaps even more so during summer months when sun rays remind us just how much we have to live for! What some do not realize, however, is the ease and simplicity of booking short-term destination vacations, perfect for people on a budget or time constraint. Well, don’t fret – we’ve got a tip that might just make your weekends a whole lot better!
Short stays in the city of London are ideal for quick breaks from the hassle of real life, and many Europeans visit for a long weekend with help from high speed trains called Eurostar, located only two hours from the center of Paris. Looking to plan an itinerary? You can read all about the free events being hosted in London on our blog about the Top Ten Free Things to do in London. For a look into the neighborhood highlights of London’s many communities, check out our blog featuring London travel videos.
New York Habitat wants to help you find the home-away-from-home that best suits you from our long list of vacation rental apartments! Unlike hotel rooms, which can feel cold and empty, these furnished apartments aim to maximize the authenticity of your trip. After all, it can be overwhelming to find oneself in a foreign place – why come home to a foreign hotel room? Each vacation rental apartment presents an authentically local environment complete with nicely equipped kitchens and unique styles that offer personality and comfort. Find which one is best for you by scrolling through our list of London vacation rentals. Or continue reading to find six of our favorite, hand-picked homes! Read the entire story here…»
The exciting cityscape of London.
1. Museum Donations
In London, most museums are free with a request for donation. In the excitement of learning something is free it’s easy to walk right past the lobby to the exhibits. However, stopping to make a donation is expected – and appreciated! It’s considered impolite to deny the museum a donation, and rightly so. Cultural institutions such as these require large sums of money to remain open to the public, and they can only do so with the money given to them by grateful visitors. The easy accessibility of museums to people of all classes is crucial for the betterment of society. If you have a spare pound in your pocket (that’s the British currency!), consider giving it to the educational space that allows you such a magical experience. Of course, in the same regard, visitors who do not have money should feel free to explore the museum grounds free of charge. If this is the case for you, consider making a small donation on your next visit! For more fun things to do on a budget, read our blog on the Top 10 Free Things to See and Do in London. Read the entire story here…»
The Tower Bridge in London crossing the Thames River.
Ah, London in the summertime. Filled with warm breezes and cloudless skies, the city is most pleasing during this season – and there is no shortage of activities in which to revel! Whether it be kicking it in the shade or cheering on your favorite sports team in the open air, London offers a variety of fun and exciting events to make your summertime memories extra special.
Read on to discover all that London has to offer in the sunshine of the 2014 summer season– with this list of festivals, cultural events, movies and more!
Watch Outdoor Movies in London:
View of the Film 4 Summer screen at the Somerset House.
- Pop Up Screens: Looking for a romantic night out with your significant other? Perhaps you’d like to spend some down time with friends? This cult-classic movie night takes place all over London, and is usually outdoors. Film lovers can indulge in popcorn and a bar while watching a favorite flick. This summer will kick off with a showing of the hit-film Notting Hill at St. John’s Church in Notting Hill on May 4th. It will be indoors – rain or shine! Tickets cost £12 plus a £1.20 booking fee. If you’re interested in staying in the area, you may want to learn how to live like a local in Notting Hill. Read the entire story here…»
View from the River Thames in London.
From the skyscrapers of New York City to the parks of Paris, to the waters of London and the mountains of the South of France, New York Habitat offers a variety of sublet and vacation rental apartments boasting inspirational views of natural landscapes and city scenes. These charming homes in picturesque locations ensure relaxing, one-of-a-kind experiences in some of the most beautiful areas of the world!
In this article we invite you to tour our London apartments, featuring unique scenes of the famous River Thames. Flowing through the southern part of England, this body of water is the second longest river in all of the United Kingdom and the longest in England at approximately 346km (215 mi). Over one hundred species of fish have been recorded swimming in its flowing waters over the past thirty years, many of these in the London area – giving visitors a chance to spot the array of wildlife from their very own balconies or windows! The following list is a series of six homes showcasing an ideal setting above the River Thames. Read the entire story here…»
London, along with the entire UK, is famous for its bustling pub culture. In recent years, however, the city’s coffee culture has become a close second! The new specialty coffee wave that has swept the globe has finally taken a firm hold in London. Expert baristas from Australia and New Zealand have persuaded lovers of tea and pints alike to give their freshly roasted coffee beans a try, and their success can be seen across the city. Coffee shops serving single origin coffee made with high quality coffee beans from all over the globe have sprung up in almost every neighborhood of London!
In this article, we’ve selected ten of our favorite coffee shops in London. We’ve tried to focus on cafes that offer something a little different than your run-of-the-mill coffee place. From coffee shops that also sell bike parts to cafes that serve coffee-based cocktails at night, we’re confident this list has something for everyone!
A perfectly brewed cup of cappuccino in London
Inspired by the coffee culture in Australia and New Zealand, Kaffeine brews some of the best coffee in town. The experienced baristas use quality Square Mile beans, which you can really appreciated when you order an espresso. Besides coffee, Kaffeine also serves delicious, locally sourced food. The banana bread is something to try! The small café can get quite crowded during lunchtime, so it’s best to visit in off-peak hours. You’ll find Kaffeine on Great Tichfield Street in Fitzrovia, just a couple of blocks north from Oxford Circus. Read the entire story here…»