Planning the Perfect London Break

London is undoubtedly one of the world’s great cities. It’s somewhere that’s alive with culture and activity. So, here’s how you should plan for your break there.

Plan Your Accommodation in Advance

The last thing you want to be doing when you’re taking a trip to London is turning up with somewhere to stay. Hotels can get filled pretty quickly at peak times of the year, so make sure you’re prepared in advance. You could even rent an apartment instead of staying in a hotel. This allows you a bit more space and privacy than you’d get from most hotels.

Prepare an Itinerary

When you’re taking on a city as vast as London, it makes sense to have a detailed plan in mind before you go. Some people don’t like to do this because they feel that it takes some of the spontaneity out of the trip. But when you break is short, you want to be spending your time doing things not making plans. Sit down with your family or whoever you’re going with and see what everyone wants to do.

Embrace the Free Things

There are so many free things to do in London. It has a reputation for being a very expensive city. And it is if you don’t know where to look. If you’re someone who likes galleries and art, London is the ideal city for you. There are literally hundreds to explore, and you can get into most of them for free. There are just as many fascinating museums like the Natural History Museum you could explore too.

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See the Sights

As far as tourist destinations go, there aren’t many places in the world that are better than London. There’s Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, London Bridge and the London Eye, to name but a few. You should look into all the possible tourist destinations in London before you go and see which ones interest you most. You probably won’t have time to visit them all.

Explore Off the Beaten Track

Yes, sightseeing is great fun, and there are plenty of sights to see in London. But don’t stick to the common tourist locations when you’re in London. This will lead to you spending more times in big crowds and long queues than actually doing something that is actually worth doing! Take some time to explore the streets and don’t follow a guide. You can often find the most interesting places in London when you leave the beaten track.

Catch a Show

One of the great things about London is the vibrant theatre culture. And you simply can’t visit the city without catching a show on the West End. You’ll regret it if you go home without doing so. There are all kinds of options for you to explore. There are the huge West End productions, or there is the smaller scale shows that you can find dotted all over the city. You’ll be sure to find something for you.

Travel To London And Don’t Miss A Thing

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Each visit to London is more rewarding than the next. This cultural city center is packed with history and art, parks and beauty. You can absorb a lot just by driving through the city streets in a taxi cab, but make sure that on your vacation you visit these ten places on foot before you leave.

1. The British Museum has millions of items and artifacts to peruse. What started as Sir Hans Sloan’s collection of 71,000 items in 1753 has blossomed into one of the biggest storehouses of ancient artifacts in the world. Best of all, admission to this venerable museum remains free of charge.

2. Saint Paul’s Cathedral is one of Great Britain’s most beautiful spiritual centers. Although it is a historic building (rebuilt in 1666 after the Great London Fire), it is still home to modern weddings and funerals. Living members of British royalty and national leaders have held ceremonies there.

3. The Tower of London is a fascinating step back into time. Here, you can be horrified by the dungeons and you can marvel at the Queen’s Jewels. Try not to imagine too much of the Tower’s deadly history though, or you might have nightmares.

4. The Natural History Museum is a great place to take children, because of its treasure trove of dinosaur bones. Kids and adults alike will love roaming the halls of this museum, checking out its many collections in its gothic hallways.

5. Westminster Abbey is one of London’s most famous and beautiful churches, but it is most famous for its dead residents. Take a walking tour of the abbey and hear about all the famous literati who are buried within its walls.

6. The Tate Modern is the best place to see modern art in London. The Tate houses paintings by such 20th century masters as Matisse, Warhol, Bacon, and many more.

7. The London Zoo houses over 12,000 animals within its gates. This is not one of the world’s most famous zoos for no reason. There are so many animals, that you cannot see them all in one day. Plan on taking a few trips to absorb all the fauna.

8. The British Airways London Eye is an observation wheel high above the city that allows visitors to London to get a bird’s eye view of the landscape below. The Eye is host to millions of visitors a year and is the best way for a tourist to get the lay of the land. Sightseeing will be much more fun once you have seen the whole city from above.

9. The National Gallery is a museum of both ancient and modern masters. You can spend hours roaming through the halls of this 19th century museum. Its location is also ideal – you can find the National Gallery in the center of Trafalgar Square.

10. The Madame Tussaud’s Experience is one that can’t be missed when you travel to London. This is as close as a tourist can get to living history. Historical people and events are recreated in wax and animatronics. Be prepared to be surprised and enthralled by their realistic qualities.

London’s Fashion Hotspots

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Chances are that any fashionista heading to London has done some research on the best places to make a beeline for, but I couldn’t help but choose a few of my favourites to help my fellow fashion lovers on their way. According to HouseTrip’s Where to Stay Guide, there are umpteen fashion hotspots in London ranging from the edgy scene in Camden to the glamour of Chelsea, but here are a few personal favourites.

For anybody who has a love of men’s tailoring, head over to Savile Row in Mayfair. I mean, who doesn’t love a man in a suit?! This iconic street has been home to world famous tailors for hundreds of years, and continues to be London’s acting host to some of the main players in menswear, namely Gieves & Hawkes, William Hunt and Savile Row Co. Depending on when you’re going, keep an eye on the London Collections events, as there have been many a fashion exhibit behind Savile Row’s elegant walls.

Next on the agenda has to be Portobello Market in Kensington, but don’t let the posh postcode fool you. Portobello is a treasure trove for shoppers with a keen eye and solid bargaining skills. Think the beard scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and you’re pretty much there. There are over one thousand vendors selling clothes, jewellery, antiques and collectables in their millions. An awe-inspiring way to spend a few hours in London town.

Already aforementioned in HouseTrip’s London guide, one of the best places for fashion lovers is Camden Lock Market. There’s a stunning array of vendors selling everything from original one of a kind pieces (who knows, they could be famous one day) to basement vintage shops stretching out for what feels like miles in the form of dated goodies. And if that isn’t enough for you, the food vendors at Camden Market will give you enough free tasters to create a whole deliciously international meal, meaning more money to spend on clothes! Hooray!

Last but certainly not least, the well-renowned Oxford Street and Regent Street, the holy grail’s of London high street fashion. Sprawled across the extensive shopping scene of Fitzrovia, this is the place to find all your high street favourites, from Topshop to Primark. Dangerous for your purse, but absolutely mouth-watering in terms of finding those staple pieces to define your season attire.

So save up your pennies, because next time you head to London you can guarantee you be finding a multitude of fashion pieces that you just can’t leave behind.

 

Rome’s best fashion shops

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Straight to the Colosseum by RaSeLaSeD - Il Pinguino (CC BY SA 2.0)

There is no way to deny that Rome is one of the top destinations for those who love fashion and style: from glamorous designers’ boutiques of Via Condotti to the little quirky shops that sell unique clothes and accessories, in Rome you surely can find what suits your personality and taste. Find your accommodation in Rome on sites like Venere.com and don’t miss the best fashion shops of the Eternal City. Don’t forget to bring an extra bag to pack all your new clothes!

Via Condotti

Via Condotti and the surrounding streets are well-known all around the world as it’s where some of the best and most famous international designer brands have their own boutiques. Walking around these streets it’s like living on a catwalk. Fendi’s flagship store is situated in Largo Goldoni, at the end of Via Condotti and there, you can find their entire product line of Fendi’s collection. The store was designed by Peter Marino and it covers two levels of authentic style and elegance with travertine details and lavastone floors. You should pay a visit to theBulgari boutique in via Condotti, which looks like a real museum that exposes its most beautiful treasures in a very sumptuous building, surrounded by green African marbles and luxurious stucco decorations.

Pantheon and Piazza Navona

If you’re interested in looking for something original and special to light up your style, go shopping in one of the beautiful little vintage stores and design shops near the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. We recommend to visit the Massimo Maria Melis boutique in Via dell’Orso to buy amazing jewellery inspired by the Etruscan, Greek and Roman art: there you will find all kind of pendants, bracelets, earrings and necklaces with an antique taste to bring home as a memory of your holiday in Rome. Stop at the Susanna Liso’s Le Tartarughe store in Via del Piè di Marmo to take a look at their playful and experimental line of clothing, which is very well appreciated in the city, to buy beautiful items made of silk, cashmere and merino wool.

Campo de’ Fiori

Campo de’ Fiori is the place to go if you want to buy something unconventional and exclusive, without spending a lot of money. Borini, in via dei Pettinari, might not look like a very stylish place from the outside, but it is definitely one of the greatest shoe shop in Rome which sells women quality leather shoes at a valuable price. In Piazza Cairoli, there’s Momento, a nice shop where you can buy shabby and boho accessories and clothing items for both men and women within the budget.

Air Travel and Pets

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Do you have to travel by air in the near future? If you do, are you a pet owner who needs to bring your pet along with you? Although most of us leave our pets at home, you may not want to do so or your purpose for travel may be to move, as opposed to taking a fun filled vacation. Regardless of your reasons for wanting or needing to travel with your pet or pets, there are a number of important points that you will need to keep in mind.

The first step in traveling with a pet is to make sure that you can do so. Although a good number of airlines will allow pets on their planes, not all will. You may be in a predicament if you plan to depart from a small airport with only one or two airlines. If they do not accept pets or if their rules and restrictions are too much for you to handle, you will want to examine other nearby airports, especially those that are larger in size.

When traveling by air with your pet or pets, it is important to remember that you will be charged an additional fee. Unfortunately, many first time pet travelers believe that they can use their pets and their pet carriers to count towards as a carry-on bag or a checked bag. This isn’t how it works though. You will, almost always, be charged an extra fee for traveling with a pet. This extra fee will likely depend on the airline in question and well as your pet’s location, such as in the cabin or in the baggage compartment.

That leads to another important point. Even with some of the airlines that allow pets, like cats and dogs, aboard their flights, not all allow pets to be in the cabin with other passengers. This is particularly common on small planes where allergies may be a big concern. If you cannot part with your pet, be sure to search for an airline that will allow you to keep him or her in the cabin with you. With that said, remember that the size of your pet will also play a huge factor in your options.

Regardless of where your pet is stored for the plane ride, you will need to have a pet carrier or crate for them. Many airlines have specific rules and restrictions on what type can be used. Resections often include materials used, as well as size. Most will provide you with that information when asked. Speaking of pet crates and carriers, it is important to make sure that you give your pet enough room to stand and move around a little bit. In fact, most airlines will refuse to transport pets that they feel are unsafe from small pet crates and carriers.

It is also important to make sure that you get your pet checked by their vet. You will want to make sure that your pet has all required vaccinations and that they are fit for travel. Also, all airlines require that you receive a health certificate, which will state that your pet is healthy and safe for travel.

The above mentioned points are just a few of the many that you will want to take into consideration when traveling with a pet. Added tips include booking direct flights, making sure your pet’s collar is marked with the proper identification, as well as their pet carrier.