Category Archives: United Kingdom

Tips on Using & Buying the London Pass: Is it Worth It?

buying The London Pass tips advice

If you are planning a trip to London and want to spend some time admiring great artwork and visiting grand royal palaces, you’ll likely save money and time by purchasing the London Pass. The London Pass not only allows for free admission to over 60 of the top-visited attractions in London (i.e., Windsor Castle, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey), but it also allows you to skip the long entrance lines at several of these attractions and includes a 1-day free Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour ticket. In many cases, the London Pass is a good value and will save you money; however, in some cases, the London Pass may not be a good deal for you, especially if this is not your first visit to London or you have very limited time in the city. We’ll help provide all the information you need to know to decide if the Read the Rest…

Attending the Edinburgh International Science Festival in the World’s Festival City

street art Edinburgh International Science Festival City Festivals in Edinburgh

We recently attended the Edinburgh International Science Festival which kicks off the annual festival activities in Edinburgh. Scotland may bring to mind images of rugged castles, grazing Highland cattle, lush green glens, sheep, bagpipes, haggis, and men in kilts. However, Edinburgh, the country’s capital, also lays claim to being the world’s leading festival city. Edinburgh is currently host to 11 major festivals held throughout the year, celebrating art, music, dance, storytelling, books, military tattoos, science, and even the arrival of the New Year. The Edinburgh International Science Festival is the first of these festivals, held for 2 weeks each Spring, and was founded in 1988 as the world’s first public science festival! The science festival hosts a variety of fun and informative workshops, demonstrations, and talks celebrating science and technology with events geared towards both children and adults. We attended several festival events around the city during the science festival Read the Rest…

Planning an Oxford Day Trip: A Perfect Day Trip from London

Exeter College chapel Oxford day trip from London England UK

Oxford is a university city situated about 60 miles from London, making a Oxford day trip an ideal way to get out of the bustling capital for a day or weekend to explore this compact historical city. Nicknamed the City of Dreaming Spires, Oxford is best known as the home of England’s oldest university, the University of Oxford, which is still one of the most respected in the country. However, while a trip to Oxford wouldn’t be complete without touring a couple of university buildings, Oxford has much else to offer. A visitor might go on a walking tour of the downtown, browse for souvenirs at the Covered Market, go punting on the River Cherwell, take a tour of a medieval castle, stroll in a pretty garden, enjoy a drink in a historical tavern, or even take a short drive to visit one of England’s most beautiful and famous country Read the Rest…

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Train: A Luxury Train Journey from London to Venice

Belmond Venice Simplon Orient Express

This past October we had the pleasure of riding the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train from London to Venice where we held our wedding ceremony. The original Orient Express train service ran from 1883 to 2009, and its name became associated with glamour, luxury, intrigue, and even murder! In its heyday, it was the most luxurious train in Europe and today this tradition lives on with Belmond’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE). The VSOE makes regular luxury train journeys across Europe, offering gourmet meals, private overnight cabins, and attentive staff within its wonderfully restored historical train carriages. The signature trip is the 36-hour luxury train journey from London to Venice which has to be one of the most elegant ways to arrive in Venice! We’ll share all you need to know to decide if this trip is a good fit for you, from the historical background of the Orient Express to how to book Read the Rest…

Wedding at Sea: Our Cunard Queen Mary 2 Wedding

Cunard Queen Mary 2 wedding at sea cruise

I have been wanting to write a post about our Queen Mary 2 wedding at sea for a few months. In August, Laurence and I got married at sea aboard the Cunard Queen Mary 2 ship as we sailed from New York City to England. We had struggled for a few months to decide on a wedding location given that we have different nationalities, residences, and family and friends spread out across the world. We already wanted to do a transatlantic cruise aboard the RMS Queen Mary 2 as a way to get to the UK and once we booked this, we decided to also hold our wedding here. We were married by the ship’s captain, Captain Kevin Oprey, about halfway between the United States and England while sailing on the high seas of the Atlantic Ocean. It was a wonderful experience for us, but a wedding at sea is not for Read the Rest…

The Most Fashionable Afternoon Tea in London: Prêt-à-Portea Tea at The Berkeley

Prêt-à-Portea Tea at The Berkeley London

Afternoon tea in London is one of those quintessential travel experiences and I was very excited to try the Prêt-à-Portea tea at The Berkeley. The name for this fashion-inspired tea is a clever play on the phrase prêt-à-porter which refers to ready-to-wear clothing (a.k.a. off-the-rack) within the fashion industry. There are of course hundreds of places serving afternoon tea in London, from the traditional to the quirky, but for fashionistas looking for something different, I’d suggest booking an afternoon tea at The Berkeley. First served in 2005, Prêt-à-Portea brings a creative twist to the traditional English afternoon tea with cakes and pastries resembling the latest catwalk designs from the collections of the world’s top fashion houses and designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Elie Saab, Valentino, Alexander McQueen, and Chanel. Feel like eating a Oscar de la Renta princess gown sponge cake, a Alexander McQueen hat vanilla shortbread, or Manolo Blahnik Read the Rest…

Seeing the Best of London in a Full Day London Walking Tour

full day best of london walking tour with city wonders

During my first visit to London, Laurence and I did a full-day London walking tour with City Wonders to get a good orientation of the city and see some of the most iconic sites. The tour takes you through the heart of the capital city and during the day we saw so many recognizable landmarks, including the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of Parliament. In addition to seeing all these iconic London sights, we also got to visit and partake in some fun London experiences, including a visit to the Tower of London before the crowds, a short boat ride on the River Thames, witnessing the Changing of the Guard in front of Buckingham Palace, and savoring a formal afternoon tea in a London hotel. We’ll share what we saw and did during this City Wonders Best of London walking tour, everything Read the Rest…