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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!

London Marathon

Photo of the London Marathon finish line 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…»

 

Picture of London from an aerial perspective. 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…»

 

Picture of the streets of London. 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…»

 

Picture of the Tower Bridge in London. 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:

Image of the Film 4 Summer screening. 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…»
 

Picture of the view from the Thames River. 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!

1. Kaffeine

Picture of a cup of cappuccino in London 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…»

 

Aerial photo of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London

Hackney is one of the most exciting areas in London. The borough has an absolutely thriving art scene, many beautiful parks, and if you’re looking for some of the best cafes, pubs and clubs in the city, you’ve definitely come to the right place! Hackney is one of the largest Inner London boroughs and can be found just to the northeast from the City. The area comprises many famous neighborhoods and areas of London, such as Shoreditch, Hoxton and parts of the Regent’s Canal. It also borders the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which was the site of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The area flawlessly combines the old with the new, and will definitely take you by surprise!

Welcome to Hackney

Hackney is roughly bordered by City Road and the City in the south, Southgate Road and Islington to the west, Amhurst Park and Harringay to the north, and the River Lea and Stratford to the east. It’s serviced solely by the London Underground along its southern and northern borders, but is easily reachable with the London Overground, which has several stops in the borough. The southern neighborhoods of Hackney are internationally renowned for their nightlife and many galleries and creative shops. Meanwhile, the center and north of the borough are up-and-coming areas that provide attractive options for affordable accommodation within an urban environment. The many fantastic markets, restaurants and pubs in the area also attract their share of celebrities! For example, Russell Brand is often spotted in Hoxton cafes such as Love Shake. In this article we’ll tour some of the top spots in the neighborhood, and show you what it’s like to live in Hackney like a local! Read the entire story here…»

 

In our previous London video tour, we explored the historic area of Westminster. In this video tour, we’ll show you around the thriving district of Southwark on the south bank of the River Thames in London. Southwark is a wonderful combination of the old and the new: featuring ancient wharfs and warehouses, but also wonderful new buildings such as the skyscraper The Shard.

Southwark is roughly bordered by Tower Bridge and Tower Bridge Road in the east, Elephant & Castle in the south, Blackfriars Bridge and Blackfriars Road in the west, and the banks of the River Thames in the north. In this article we’ll tell you a little more about the places that are mentioned in the video tour, such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, Borough Market, The Shard and more!

Welcome to Bankside

View of the London area of Southwark and The Shard The neighborhood Southwark in London and its new skyscraper The Shard

The video tour kicks off in Bankside, which is a wonderful place to start your exploration of Southwark. Bankside is easily reached by taking the London Underground to either Southwark Station or London Bridge Station. Both stations offer just a short walk to Bankside on the southern bank of the River Thames. In Tudor times, the area was known for its many theaters, such as the Rose, the Swan and the famous Globe Theatre, which was the theater of William Shakespeare’s theater company the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Read the entire story here…»

 

For the better part of the past two decades, the Harry Potter books and films have enriched the lives of millions of readers across the world. They have also introduced foreign readers and moviegoers to the wonderful country that is England. From the gorgeous film locations showcasing some of the country’s most magical places to J.K. Rowling’s amazingly detailed stories about life (both magical and non-magical) in Britain, Harry Potter has provided a wonderful introduction to the United Kingdom, and to its capital London.

London has played a big part in the Harry Potter universe. It’s the fictional home of some of the most astonishing places in each book, such as the Ministry of Magic, Platform 9 ¾ and Diagon Alley. London was also emphatically used in the Harry Potter movies to bring the magical universe of these novels to life. Today, you can still find many of the wondrous Harry Potter locations from the books and the movies in London. These locations aren’t just great fun to visit for Harry Potter fans, but also provide visitors with the chance to discover some fantastic lesser-known landmarks in London they wouldn’t necessarily see otherwise. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 Harry Potter locations in London to inspire you to go on a magical exploration of the city!

1. Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station

Picture of a plaque of Platform 9 ¾ at London’s King’s Cross Station Harry Potter’s Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station in London

To start off with the beginning – and ending – of Harry Potter’s magical journey, head to King’s Cross Station on Euston Road. King’s Cross is the station where students board the Hogwarts Express on Platform 9 ¾. Unfortunately, J.K. Rowling was actually thinking of London Euston Station when she was writing the books, so you won’t be able to find the secret barrier between platforms 9 and 10. You will, however, find a lovely plaque stating Platform 9 ¾ on a wall with a disappearing luggage cart at King’s Cross. Here you’ll have the chance to take a picture (complete with a Gryffindor scarf) and to check out the adjacent Harry Potter shop where you can buy merchandise from the books and films. Incidentally, the beautiful Victorian building of next-door neighbor St. Pancras Station was used as the exterior of King’s Cross Station in the Harry Potter films.

2. The Reptile House at the London Zoo

Another defining moment for Harry took place at the London Zoo in Regent’s Park in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. While visiting the Reptile House with the Dursleys, Harry found out he could talk to snakes, and accidentally released a huge boa constrictor. The first Harry Potter film also shot this scene in the Reptile House, and you’ll find a plaque beside the tank that held the snake in the movie, but in reality is home to a black mamba. Also be sure to explore the other parts of the London Zoo, which is a great attraction for kids. For more family-friendly activities, see Visit London with the Kids. Read the entire story here…»

 

Explore London’s Notting Hill Discover Notting Hill in London

Colorful houses, a strikingly blue door, a bustling snow-topped antique market: these images will forever be linked to London’s neighborhood Notting Hill because of the famous 1999 movie bearing the same name. Surprisingly, the neighborhood isn’t so different from the picture painted in Notting Hill. Well-known for its Saturday market among both visitors and Londoners, the largely residential neighborhood boasts beautiful secluded gardens and impressive Victorian townhouses. It’s one of the most sought after areas to live in London, and a wonderful neighborhood to stay in during a visit to the city!

Welcome to Notting Hill

Notting Hill is located to the northwest of Kensington Gardens. It’s roughly bordered by Westway to the north, Inverness Terrace to the east, Notting Hill Gate to the south, and West Cross Route to the west. Ladbroke Grove, Kensington Park Road, Westbourne Grove, and, of course, Portobello Road, are all central streets in the neighborhood. The area is serviced by several London Underground lines, and Notting Hill Gate, Holland Park and Bayswater are its most important stations. While the neighborhood wasn’t fashionable until the 1980s, it’s now an affluent area with many great shops and restaurants. It’s still best known for two things: the annual Notting Hill Carnival and the weekly Portobello Road Market.

In this article, we’ll show you the best spots of the neighborhood, and give you a peek into what it’s like to live like a local in Notting Hill! Read the entire story here…»