Category: UK & Ireland

A View From The Shard London

London

A View From The Shard London

Tourism. It’s a funny old game and ever since London 2012 I’ve become even more aware of how our capital is bending and changing to meet the needs of an ever lucrative tourist market. Perhaps I’m over sensitised to it, but with families and the average joe not really getting out and about to see what is on their own back doorstep, London is looking further afield to attract visitors to it’s slightly overcast shores.

And that my friends, is where The Shard comes in.

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Unseen London Walking Tours – an amazing way to see the capital

London

Unseen London Walking Tours – an amazing way to see the capital

Being the London geek that I am, I love to find out and hear more about my city in every way possible. Be that through my insatiable thirst for knowledge via both wikipedia, museums and books or my love affair with The London Underground, London has got under my skin and isn’t about to go away any time soon. So when I got the chance to go discover Unseen Tours last year, I was ecstatic.

Run by Sock Mob Events, they are a unique social enterprise that offers walking tours of London led by homeless or formerly homeless guides where the lion’s share of the income goes directly to the guides. With each particular tour, your guide will tell you things about London you didn’t know – they will show you nooks and crannies that you didn’t know existed. And, most importantly, they’ll talk to you about life as a homeless person in that area of London, and it’ll hit you between the eyes like a shovel.

At times I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but I was moved. And that was awesome.… Continue reading

A guide to boating on The Norfolk Broads

Norfolk

A guide to boating on The Norfolk Broads

For years and years I’ve daydreamed about a canal boat holiday. Cruising along the water, waving to dog walkers, mooring up at the local pub for a Ploughman’s lunch and sunbathing on the deck. Pretty painted boats full of flowers, heart pints of local beer and huge slabs of homemade cake. Mr S and I shared these dreams with our friends, and luckily for us they are far more sensible.

You see, that daydream is likely to be constantly interrupted by the good old British weather, endless locks that take hours to open and close, long stretches of water without a pub and tiny living conditions. However there is a way to enjoy a holiday on the water without all that – by boating on The Norfolk Broads.

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Down Street Station Tour – Churchill’s Secret Station

London

Down Street Station Tour – Churchill’s Secret Station

My friends and family think I’m bonkers, and can’t understand where my obsession has come from – but I’m nuts about the tube. Not riding on it you understand. I loathe my commute with every fibre of my being. But the history and uniqueness of it – that is my bag entirely. And it is in that vein that I found myself in an online queue 8 months ago trying to buy tickets for the one thing I’ve been excited to see for years – Down Street, known as Churchill’s secret station.

You see, I’ve got this thing for abandoned, secret places in London and tube stations rank highly on the list. I’ve already seen Aldwych, but none of the other secret stations appeared to be any closer to opening. Until last year. The Hidden London series of events got started and I purchased my golden ticket.

So what exactly happens on a Down Street station tour?

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A little trip to the London Transport Museum Depot

London

A little trip to the London Transport Museum Depot

A little while ago, I finally got a chance to visit the London Transport Museum Depot which houses lots of items, trains, buses and other London Transport related paraphernalia that can’t be housed at the Covent Garden site.

I did warn you I was a bit of a tube geek!

The Depot is open one weekend a month (accessed via the Piccadilly Line to Acton Town), and is pre-bookable on the London Transport Museum wesbite for £12 per person. They also host super special open weekends with all sorts of events and it is a great way to get under the skin of London’s tube system. Despite its faults, it is the oldest in the world and is the blue print for many other systems such as the New York Subway and Paris Metro. Now THERE is a fact you can take into your next pub quiz!… Continue reading

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