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London Travel Tips

Halloween in London is a relatively new holiday. For years, it was mostly a North American holiday. But recently, the British have joined in on the scary fun. Kids like to dress up and go tick-or-treating while the adults will don costumes and party as well. And there are few cities that can party like London.

The London Dungeon The London Dungeon

And with London’s long and often ghoulish history, it makes for a great place to spend the scariest night of the year. Whether you are looking to party or visit the sites of some of the most horrifying moments in history, London has it all on All Hallows’ Eve.

One of the most frightening places to spend Halloween is at The London Dungeon, an interactive horror experience and every year they put on a themed Halloween show. The scary Dungeon is located in the neighborhoods of Southwark and Bermondsey.The rest of the Dungeon takes you through some of the darkest times and places in London’s history, like the Great Fire of 1666, the plague, Bedlam, and Jack the Ripper. There are shows led by a group of actors and there are three rides, including the new Vengeance 5D ride where you shoot lasers at ghosts while on the fast-moving ride. Read the entire story here…»

 

Charles Dickens Portrait Charles Dickens Portrait

This August marks the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, “Great Expectations” being published.

Luckily, London has been keenly aware of its literary history and numerous sites related to Charles Dickens are still around.

The most notable is the Charles Dickens House Museum in Bloomsbury and West End. Located at 48 Doughty Street, this was the most lavish home Dickens had lived in up to this point, which he occupied from March 1837 until December 1839. Two of his daughters were born in the house. But it was also the site of one of the most tragic moments in his life, when his beloved sister-in-law died in his arms when she was 17 from a suspected heart problem. Dickens was grief-stricken and put off publishing for a while. But he would base many of the young women in his novels on her. The house is the only remaining Dickens residence, saved from demolition in 1922. Inside, you can see how the home would have looked during his life, completed with numerous artifacts. Read the entire story here…»

 

New York Habitat is always looking to offer our customers interesting opportunities and advice on the New York Habitat blog. Recently we had a chance to learn about Context Travel, a company that provides unique walking tours of some of the great cities around the world. We recorded a video interview with Lily Heise about the company which you can watch below to learn more about Context Travel’s walking tours.

Context Travel Unique Travel Tours (8:08)

In this video, we learn that like New York Habitat, the innovative touring service Context Travel favors quality above all else when it comes to introducing visitors to a unique culture. Never exceeding groups of six individuals, their innovative “walking-seminars” allow vacationers to retain profound discoveries about a city that can be lost amidst noisy double-decker buses and masses of picture-snapping tourists. Perhaps the most alluring aspect of these tours is that they provide a certified field expert as a guide. Whether it is a local sommelier, a graduate student writing his dissertation in Art History, or a European Architecture Professor, their inspiration will engross you in the local fabric of a culture. In essence, clients are truly able to walk a mile or two in the expert shoes to learn about the city. Frequent travelers will surely be delighted by these intimate alternatives to the run-of-the-mill vacation experience. Read the entire story here…»

 

Abbey Road Photo Abbey Road Photo

As Beatles fans surely know, Paul McCartney is touring North America this summer. But while not everyone will be able to see the legend perform, they can all see places in London he made famous.

The most popular Beatles site in London is certainly Abbey Road. The mythic road is located in the St-John’s Wood and Regent Park areas.  While you can’t get access to the recording studio, you can get a great look at it from the outside. But the Beatles are probably more known for their iconic “Abbey Road” album cover where the four Beatles are walking across the zebra stripes outside the studio. It should be warned that Abbey Road is a busy London street and the drivers aren’t always happy to stop for tourists posing in the middle of the road. But that said, it’s possible to recreate the famous shot. Whether you do this barefoot as Paul did or not is up to you (you can leave your shoes on the sidewalk, you probably won’t be the only one doing so). Are you afraid to have your shoes stolen and want to walk all the way barefoot to Abbey Road, check out accommodations in the St-John’s Wood and Regent Park areas. Read the entire story here…»

 

View from the London Eye View from the London Eye

Despite being one of the major cities in the world, London doesn’t really have a single skyline that comes to mind when you think of it. In fact, with much of London’s building being a hundreds of years old, many of the buildings aren’t very tall like in a city as New York.

But the relative shortness of London has some advantages. Namely, it creates some great views from above, giving you the chance to see across a great deal of London.

Here are the three best places to see London from above.

1.St. Paul’s Cathedral – Built after the Fire of 1666, St. Paul’s is a landmark in itself, the masterpiece of Christopher Wren. The church sits imposingly on Ludgate Hill, the tallest part of The City and is visible from all over London.

After climbing some 250 steps, you stand around the upper ring in the giant dome and can look down over the church below. This is not for the faint of heart, but it lets you appreciate the three-century old building even more. Read the entire story here…»

 

Photo of the Tower Bridge from a Thames River cruise Photo of the Tower Bridge from a Thames River cruise

While London seems to be perpetually changing, the Thames River has been the one constant through London’s history, snaking its way through the heart of London, passing by (and under) many major sites.

And on a sunny day, there may be no better way to see the city than from on the Thames. The best way to do it is to make a day out of it and take a boat to Greenwich, where you can visit the famed site of the Prime Meridian as well as the quaint, historic town. You can also take a boat to Canary Wharf to see the modern side of London with it’s towering glass skyscrapers. Catch the boats by Westminster Bridge and pass under London Bridge, going past the Tower of London and beneath the picturesque Tower Bridge and into the historic docklands of London. As a bonus, London Travelcard owners get up to a 33% discount on the ride. Read the entire story here…»

 

London Pub London Pub

In London, there’s no shortage of cheap eats for on the go that also taste great: pasties, kebabs, samosas, and traditional fish and chips among them. But with the popularity of cooking and restaurant shows on TV, why not stop in on some famous-name chefs the next time you’re in town? And with the money you’ll save on a New York Habitat vacation rental in London, make sure to leave plenty of room for dessert!

One of the most ubiquitous names in the food industry is Gordon Ramsay—and while he’s stuck in “Hell’s Kitchen” or fixing “Kitchen Nightmares” on television, his culinary empire is alive and kicking in London.

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is one example, located on Royal Hospital Road near the lovely Chelsea Embankment. This stylish and contemporary eatery was the chef’s first independently owned endeavor, garnering three Michelin stars, and is clearly still a labor of love. Consider a Chelsea accommodation to be able to run to this amazing restaurant every night! Read the entire story here…»

 

shopping in London shopping in London

There’s been a similar trend popping up in a lot of major cities around the world lately: the pop-up shop. And nowhere is this more evident than in London. Small retail boutiques with limited-edition merchandise appear for a few days, often in unlikely places, then disappear without a trace. While this adds an element of surprise to shopping, there’s always one bargain that can be easily found: New York Habitat vacation accommodations in London. So book one today and pop over to the city.

Of course, as with most things, England’s capital puts its own spin on this latest trend. So instead of just clothing labels, expect to see pop-up photography exhibits, restaurants, even theatre spaces. Each year, London has had a pop-up pavilion in Hyde Park designed by a renowned architect, as well as pop-up ice skating rinks every winter, and recently there have been pop-up Polaroid shops, gourmet cupcake vendors, tea rooms and underground art exhibits. Read the entire story here…»

 

Photo of Christmas lights in London Photo of Christmas lights in London

They say there’s only twelve days of Christmas, but the holiday season in London lasts much longer than that. Throughout December and January, nonstop events and attractions get visitors in the spirit and take the chill out of winter. With carols, holiday lights and ice skating all over town, what better place to stay than a New York Habitat vacation rental in London? We know it’s on your wish list!

For eco-friendly, festive food—and free samples!—head to the Christmas Market at Inn the Park restaurant in St. James’s Park, Westminster. Traditional British favorites will be on hand and we guarantee visions of sugar plums and figgy pudding for all!

To see the city of London lit up with colorful lights, bundle up for a walk from Marylebone to Regent’s Street and Carnaby. But while your eyes are wide with wonder, don’t forget to keep an ear out for carols by candlelight at Royal Albert Hall and Westminster Abbey. Read the entire story here…»

 

Enjoy a beer at the Ship Tavern in London Enjoy a beer at the Ship Tavern in London

New York Habitat’s final pick for a must-visit London pub is The Ship Tavern in Holborn, Bloomsbury. This pub is tucked away on the corner of a narrow, cobblestone street, hidden from the throngs of tourists museum-hopping in the area. Like many New York Habitat vacation accommodations, it has the perfect location—so stop in for a quick pint or stay awhile before heading home to your convenient rental flat.

The Ship Tavern has been in business since 1549. As part of its illustrious past—in particular, during the heinous reign of Henry VIII—The Ship served as a hideaway for local Catholics, who would sneak in for a mass given from behind the bar by outlawed priests. Even today, some of the original hidden passages and panels still exist. Read the entire story here…»