London’s Most Desirable Hotels

A skyline of London and a blue skyFrom the most prestigious presentations and 5 star service to the most awe-inspiring views and decadent furniture collections, London is a city bursting with fantastic hotels to make your stay special whether you’re visiting on business, enjoying a family holiday or thinking of treating a loved one to the experience of a lifetime.

The Ritz

A hotel that needs no introduction, The Ritz, is loved by celebrities and royals alike and will open its doors to anyone with a similar budget and a penchant for dress codes. Anyone staying at The Ritz will sample the most desirable of London hotels with its impeccable old-world style, service and sophistication. The Ritz offers five different suites, depending on how flash with the cash you’re feeling, and all feature fully restored period interiors and at least two members of staff per room.

The Dorchester

If you’re looking for a more picturesque stay all of the rooms at The Dorchester offer a view over London’s Hyde Park or the hotel’s beautifully terraced landscape. And if that’s not enough The Dorchester Spa is amongst the best spas in London with its glamorous Art Deco design and a whole host of treatments from across Europe.

Claridge’s

For a hotel stay that exudes luxury and modern-day elegance Claridge’s, situated in the heart of London’s chic and sleek Mayfair, is the perfect destination for designer devotees and ladies who lunch. It is located near a whole host of high-end shops as well as boasting its own restaurants including the world renowned Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s.

The Savoy

Looking to sample the A list life? If the walls of The Savoy hotel could talk, they would tell you about sophisticated soirees, government meetings, dinner dances and lucrative liaisons involving the likes of Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra and Katherine Hepburn. And when at The Savoy, do as the celebrities do by sipping on their sumptuous signature cocktails and indulging yourself in expert dining and even a chauffeured car service if you’re feeling especially plush.

Whichever establishment you choose to frequent when in London rest assured that with this little lot you will be sampling the best of British history, design and dining that London has to offer. Also, if you are looking for luxury without the price tag, holiday apartment rental websites such as www.9flats.com feature a wide range of affordable, yet luxury holiday flats to rent.

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Cultural Edinburgh

A crowd in front of the stage waiting for the artist to perform.Edinburgh is not only the political capital of Scotland; it is also the cultural capital. The city is home to the National Museum of Scotland and the Royal Museum of Scotland. Edinburgh Castle is not just a standing monument to the rich and active history of the city; it is also home to the National War Museum.
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The UK’s Most Popular Tourist Hotspots

Westminser Abbey and Big Ben at the Thames in the Evening
The UK has something to appeal to everyone, from great cities like London and Edinburgh to the magical scenery of the Yorkshire Dales and the Scottish Highlands, or the beaches and nightlife of Blackpool and Brighton.

Top Places to Visit in the UK

London, scene of the triumphant 2012 Olympics, is rightly number one for most visitors. The London Eye with its panoramic views is a hit with any age, as is Madame Tussaud’s with its famous waxworks. The great shops of Oxford Street and Knightsbridge and world class restaurants, or the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, London has something for everyone. Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city is another tourist hotspot. Rich in history and tradition, Princes Street is the heart of Edinburgh. Why not stroll along from west to east as the 1 o’clock gun booms over the gardens? With the Castle looming overhead, take in the beautiful scenery and architecture from the Scott Monument to Calton Hill. A visit to the historic Grassmarket or the statue of Greyfriars Bobby are just some of the great things to do, and don’t forget to stock up on shortbread and tartan. Edinburgh is a great base to visit the Scottish Highlands, with lochs, mountains and castles a favourite with old and young alike. Be sure to sample the world famous whiskies, or look for the monster in Loch Ness.

Best of The UK’s Great Destinations

The Yorkshire Dales is another popular tourist hotspot. From the historic town of Ripon and its famous races, to the romantic Dales villages and the windswept moors of the Bronte’s, it has something to offer for any age or taste. With a huge cave system, the area is a favourite with cavers and potholers and the beaches of the East coast like Scarborough and Whitby are beautiful and steeped in history. The Dracula fans flock to Whitby each year, and Robin Hood’s Bay is well worth a visit. British seaside holidays are world famous. Blackpool is the epitome of the UK seaside resort, with everything from traditional landladies and sticks of rock to the famous Blackpool Illuminations which light up the coastline each autumn. Finally, Brighton is the jewel of the south coast with its famous pier and its fabulous nightlife. For the sophisticated holidaymaker, looking for shopping, history, good food and beautiful scenery, Brighton is a must. The UK has so many wonderful places to visit, these are just a very few of the most popular and best loved.

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Manchester Nightlife

Girls PartySome might say that there is no greater city on Earth to party in than Manchester. The iconic northern city is packed full of life and attitude. No matter what your partying tastes, it is guaranteed that the Manchester nightlife scene will have something to suit you. From northern quarter culture to swish Deansgate bars, here are a few tips on venues that are sure to give you a cracking night out. Continue reading

Christmas holidays in London

Christmas ornaments, two presents and Christmas Tree in the BackgroundLondon is such a special place for all the family at Christmas time. Everyone has a vision of a traditional Victorian Christmas scene with singers by a lantern singing carols, or perhaps you can picture ice skaters and holly. You can experience this today and so much more and fully enjoy the festive atmosphere and activities.

Carol singing

Listening to carol singers is such a joy, especially if you are in the Royal Albert Hall, or for a true Christmas experience you can listen to the carol singers from around the world, next to the Trafalgar Square huge lit up Christmas tree.

Ice skating

As it’s so popular, there are various outdoor ice rinks set up around the city in squares or the grounds of some of the historical attractions, for example the Natural History Museum, Hampton Court Palace and the moat of the Tower of London, where you can partake of the mediaeval Christmas event too. Hyde Park not only has a rink, but also a Christmas market, and a circus for you to revel in, at its Winter Wonderland.

Christmas lights

Most of the landmarks by the Thames are lit up with bright Christmas lights. Well-known stores such as Harrods and Hamleys become beautiful light spectacles. Regent Street is well-known for its street lights and don’t forget Oxford Street and the rest of the West End lights.

Father Christmas

The children will love a visit to Father Christmas’s Grotto at Harrods or Selfridges, to name but two, for them to say what they want for Christmas.

Shopping

Christmas fairs abound all over London. Apart from doing your Christmas shopping, you can admire the store windows, decorated in true Christmas festive fashion.

Theatre, ballet and pantomime

There are always special performances during the Christmas period at the theatre. The English National Ballet puts on seasonal performances including the traditional Nutcracker which has been performed annually for more than 50 years. Christmas would not be Christmas without a pantomime. Behind you!

Geffrye Museum Exhibition

You can see period house interiors from 1600 to the present, showing how Londoners live. At Christmas each room in the transformed east London almshouses is decorated as part of the Christmas Past Exhibition which delightfully reveals the meanings of traditional customs.

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The UK’s biggest annual cultural events

The festival croud celebrating the artists on stage
Britain has a diverse programme of annual cultural events and, particularly during the summer, there are lots of arts festivals. Here is a selection of some of the biggest events in terms of scale and reputation.

The Edinburgh Festival

The Edinburgh festival, which started back in 1947, is held every summer in the Scottish capital. This huge cultural jamboree attracts thousands of performers and millions of visitors. The event is actually made up of several different festivals. The official Edinburgh International Festival has a highbrow programme including classical music, drama and opera. It is dwarfed by the Festival Fringe which, taking place around the clock, includes everything from well-known comedy acts to student troops. In addition, there is the Military Tattoo (think pipes and drums) which takes place in the castle and jazz, film and book festivals.

Glastonbury Festival

The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts takes place on a dairy farm in Somerset in June (apart from in “fallow” years like 2012) and although best known for music also includes comedy and cabaret.
Although it has grown massively since it began in the 1970s, the festival maintains a hippy ethos particularly with the Green Fields area (where healing and traditional skills are practised) and the donation of profits to charity.

Hay Festival

Hay festival takes place each May in the beautiful setting of the Welsh borders. During its 25 year history some of the biggest names in literature, politics and music have taken to the stage. Former US President Bill Clinton labelled it the “Woodstock of the mind.”

The Proms

The Proms started life back in 1895. This eight week cultural event is based at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Music spills out of this historical venue with Proms in the Park and outreach work. Each season there are around 70 concerts featuring a wide range of performances, from classical to jazz to world music. Many concerts are family friendly and are a great way to introduce children to different types of music. The Last Night of the Proms is a particularly raucous occasion with much sing-a-long action.

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