OUR TRIP TO THE ISLANDS OF VENICE - MURANO, BURANO, TORCELLO (ITALY)

BURANO
Burano
BURANO

One of these days, I will write about our spontaneous weekend trip to Venice - it was magical (not without its ups and down but still an excellent time). One of our favorite parts of the trip was our time visiting the Islands of Venice - there are three of them - Murano, Burano and Torcello. This is one of the highly recommended things to do when visiting Venice. It is a half day trip taking off from Venice (just off Saint Mark Square) in the morning or afternoon. At the time of our visit, it cost about 20 Euro per person - we bought our tickets online but you can get them off the main square as well. If you are planning to go be aware of a few things

MURANO
MURANO

There are three towns in total and because this is only a half day tour the tour are very strict on time alloted on each Island. We had about 45 mins in Murano ; an hour in Burano , which is the most famous of the three islands and about 45 mins in Torcello. We missed our boat from Burano to Torcello and had to bargain with the next tour group to take us (we got lost trying to find our way back to the dock); We were lucky to find a boat with space. If that happens to you and you don’t have the luck we did - you can take a public taxi to get to the next stop or back to Venice. Basically, it is NOT the end of the world if you miss your boat.

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Murano was the first stop and if you know nothing about Murano - know it is home of glass blowing, crystals and glass making and with our tour we were able to visit a glass blowing factory and seea demonstration. For over a century artisans have lived here molding glass from sand using air and fire to create the most exquisite, intricate pieces and passing that skill down to the next generation. The main street was lined with shops selling the intricate pieces if you want to pick up some as souvenirs. It is extremely hot in the factory but it was very cool to see the process of sculpting from glass. We did not attempt to do much here, we walked around, took some pictures, visited the Church of San Donato and then headed back to the boat. If you have time, you can visit the glass museum.

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Murano
Murano
Murano
MURANO

The colorful Island of Burano was our favorite, there is quite a bit to see/do here and we felt very rushed here. We discovered after our trip, this was actually an archipelago of five Island connected by bridges (never would have guessed that in a million years). It is also the home of the most beautiful hand crafted lace - thankfully, we had restricted ourselves to our budget - I might have returned how with several lace pieces. Burano is also home to the leaning bell tower in the main square - not as distinct as Pisa; yet a wonderful find in Burano.

BURANO
BURANO
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Burano
Murano

Torcello was our last stop and we did not do much here at all. We heard of the Devil’s bridge legend based in this city; It was the first thing we saw as we approached the town from the dock - it is about a 7 to 10 minute trek from the dock to the town; once we saw bridge - we called it a day at that point. We just could not be bothered after spending over an hour trying to sort out how to get here after missing our tour (this was before we discovered the public taxies). The Cathedral of the Assumption was also highly recommended but we did not make that far into the town. Instead, we found a restaurant and had an incredible Italian lunch at Ristorante al Torno di Attila. The tiramisu was incredible.

We returned to Venice will a full stomach and full heart.

TORCELLO
TORCELLO
TORCELLO
TORCELLO
BURANO
BURANO







THE BERLIN CITY GUIDE - HOW TO SPEND 48 HOURS IN THE GERMAN CAPITAL

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Within the first few hours of arriving in Berlin, I had a mini panic attack that fed into an already rocky start to the trip which included standing in the security queue in Bordeaux for way longer than normal and nearly missing my flight and realising that the extra money I paid for Easy Jet flexi was a waste as I did not enjoy many of the benefits on this flight and a flight delay. I arrived in Berlin several hours after I hoped which ruined my “perfectly planned” itinerary; then my connections failed; my phone for some reason would not pick up an network in Berlin (and I could go one)….it was a rough start and given that, I did not expect to have as great a time as I did. I since visited Berlin again and it is a city I quite enjoy visiting. It is relaxed and laid back.

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VISA REQUIREMENT. Germany is a Schengen member Country which means you can gain access with a valid Schengen visa. Pro tip - when applying for Schengen visa, make sure to request multiple entry - not two entries. Certain Schengen countries have the option for “two entries” on the application so make sure you select “multiple entry” on your application. Also make sure to apply in the Country you will be spending the most time - I cannot stress that point enough.

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GETTING THERE. Flight time from London to Berlin is under two hours (about an hour forty-five minutes) direct flight are available from all London area airports via most major airlines - British airways and Luftansa or a low budget airline like Easy Jet and Ryan Air. There are also direct flights from most major cities in Europe - my flight was direct from Bordeaux (READ: Guide to 48 hours in Bordeaux)

GETTING AROUND. The city has a great transport system, you can take the train from the airport to city center and once you are in the city center; the trains are a great way to get around. Even if you choose to walk everywhere - visit the train stations - the Berlin train stations are a work of tiling art.

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HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED. I spent (almost) exactly forty hours in the city and I packed in a lot in that time. I did not realize how much until I started putting the post together. For context, I arrived at my hotel about 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon and I was on the 7:30 p.m. flight on Friday evening back to London. There were a handful of things I did not get to; but all in all I enjoyed my time in the city and did not leave with major fomo. I did not take my usual day trips while in Berlin - if that is something you want to add to your itinerary, then make it three days / a long weekend.

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WHERE TO STAY. Unbeknowst to me, I had booked a hotel that was right in the center of the city - the train arrived in city cen ter and I was in my hotel less than 5 minutes later. I highly recommend the Park Inn by Radission Alexanderplatz - it was ann excellent base camp for my Berlin excursion. On a subsequent trip, I stayed at the Soho House Berlin which is located 7 mins from Alexanderplatz, if they have availability and you are looking for somewhere really lush - that is a great option as well.

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WHAT TO SEE / DO. You are in Berlin, so you should highly consider visiting the various memorials of world war II. I recommend it but I also want to say visit with caution - I was not alive at the time; but visiting some of the sites and reading through the events (especially in Germany) affected me very deeply. At one spot, I broke down in sobs which is not something I do (in public ever). I visited the topography of terror monument/museum build around a section of intact Berlin wall on the site of the former Gestapo HQ; About a 10 minute walk from here, you will find checkpoint Charlie - the US army checkpoint between the former west and east berlin (you can even get your passport stamped as those who were living in that time would have needed to going back/forth from west to east. Across the street from Checkpoint charlie is a monument with some remnants of the Berlin wall. If you want to see more of the Berlin wall - you can visit the Berlin wall memorial and/or the East side gallery. I did not visit the latter but I am told it is best to go early as it gets incredibly crowded. On a lighter note, Trabi World safari is mid way between the topgraphy of terror and Checkpoint charlie and presents a unique way to experience Berlin’s History. For more on the history of the Berlin Wall and its fall - there is a great exhibition at Potsdamer Platz just outside the train station - this wall monument is not the best kept (as many is covered in chewed up gum), but the information and exhibit is excellent.

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The museum Island is a must visit - the UNESCO world heritage center is located in the heart of Berlin and home to five museums - Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Museum) ; Bode-Museum; Neues Museum (New Museum); Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery); Altes Museum (Old Museum). If you only have time to visit one - I personally enjoyed my time at the Bode-museum. he Island is also home to the Berlin Cathedral with interior and exterior that is an architectural spectacle. If you visit the interior of the cathedral - I recommend visiting the dome as it has excellent view of the city. Lustgarden is the park in front of the Pergamonmuseum and Berlin Cathedral - the park/fountain in front of the cathedral is great place to picnic and rest in between exploring or just to read a book if the weather is nice out.

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Whether arriving by air or train - you will most likely be arriving to the city center at the evry busy Alexanplatz - the largest square in the city lined with shops ; restaurants and hotels. It is also a major stops for trams; trains and buses (so at some point during your visit, you will find your self here). It is also where you will find some must see attractions including the world clock ; fountain of international friendship and the Berlin TV tower.

The Brandenburg gate is one of the city’s best known landmark - the gate once represented division but is now seen as the symbol of unity. If you are visiting in summer - part of the gate may be covered up as it is often used a stage for summer concerts and events. A short distance from here is the Reichstag Building (aka the Parliament) and the glass dome - the dome and roof terrace is offers great views of the home of Government. Reservations are required to access the dome. The Memorial of Murdered Jews of Europe (aka Holocaust memorial) is located in the same area. This is another one I recommend making a decision on for yourself.

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Gendarmenmarkt square is home to the French Church and German Church as well as the Konzerthaus Berlin (Berlin Concert hall). If you cannot attend a concert, you should still visit the hall; you can get a glimpse of the beautiful concert hall and the interactive exhibit in the lobby when I visited was a personal favorite. The book burning memorial in Bebelplatz is another chilling site - it is easy to miss if you are not looking for it. Look for the glass plate on the spot of the book burning - the memorial is about what is missing. There a few other spots in Bebelplatz so walk around and visit those that peek your interest. Looking for something not on the tourist book, go in search of the house that used to stand in two countries - it is not an easy one to find. Here is a picture of it so you know what to look for (if you are interested)

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For a bit of shopping - the Hackescher markt was my favorite spot. Although I did not buy anything (carry on luggage struggles); I enjoyed exploring the unique shops here. The shipping center is also quite unique as it spans multiple courtyards in the Mitte area of Berlin. You cannot go wrong with Galeries Lafayette if you are looking to shop during your time in the city.

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(“HALF”) DAY TRIP. While I did not plan a day trip, I did escape the city center for a few hours to visit Charlottenburg Palace. The lavishly designed baroque style palace is one of my favorite ones in Europe. To get your monies worth and to fully explore the palace and grounds; I recommend planning three to four hours to explore the new wing; old palace; tea house; Belvedere and the the Mausoleum.

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WHERE TO EAT. I could do a standalone blog posts with all the place I shortlisted to try while in the city; but there is only so many place I could try in 48 hours (even wearing stretchy pants). If you only try one place - make sure it is Benedict. It is a bit outside city center but it is worth the journey. It is open 24 hours and they serve breakfast ALL day. The blueberry pancakes are EVERYTHING. If you are close to the plaza - may I recommend Burgeri - a Asian burger spot for lunch and/or dinner - all the burgers are under 10 euros. Lokal is a Michelin Inspector/Guide pick and they sever up excellent dishes - any place that can make me crave Cauliflower soup is a winner in my book (reservations are recommended). The bakery chain zeit fur brot bakery is a great spot for quick and delicious. It is one of my favorite bakeries, anywhere. Depending on what time you arrive, you may experience long queues but it is worth any wait. On my last day in the city, I stumbled on Kantine and I regretted not finding it sooner. It is located on architect David Chipperfield’s Berlin campus so it is great food and great ambience. The lunch menu changes frequently, but if the offer a fish soup and you have no qualms with seafood - get it and I will await my thank you note.

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GUIDE TO A WEEKEND IN MILAN - WHAT TO SEE/DO ; WHERE TO STAY AND EAT // MILAN , ITALY

Milan
Milan Cathedral

It has been a challenge putting this guide together because I did not feel like we fully explored Milan. Due to flight delays, we arrived four hours later than planned and the weather was working against us most of the weekend. Our carefully curated itinerary had to be tossed out quickly. We made the most of our time there and although we did not get to see and do all the things, we still had an incredible time. Milan is very different from most other Italian cities I have visited - it is more formal/business like; its architecture is more modern and while other Italian cities thrive on their history; I think Milan is thriving on its present. 

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VISA REQUIREMENT. Italy is a Schegen member state which means you can gain with a valid Schengen visa. Pro tip - when applying for Schegen visa, make sure to request multiple entry - not two entries. Certain Schegen countries have the option for “two entries” on the application so make sure you select “multiple entry” on your application.

HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED. That depends. Milan is a great base for exploring parts of Italy and Switzerland. If your plans involve day trips then you should consider staying longer than I did. I spent three nights in the city with two day trips. I was on a mid morning flight out of London and had a half day to explore Milan. The main purpose for the trip to Milan was to get to Como so our time in Milan was limited to a few hours before and after our day trips. We spent Saturday in Verona and Sunday in Lake Como. Verona was not planned but it was raining very heavily in Milan on Saturday, we opted for the trip to Verona over staying cooped up in our hotel room.

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MILAN
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Milan

WHERE TO STAY. Although we stayed in the suburbs - we were within a 20-minute bus or tram ride to city center and only an eight minute uber ride to/from Milano Centrale. We stayed at a three-star hotel - Hotel Ideale. It was clean; comfortable; rates included breakfast and the staff was very friendly and helpful. If I find myself in Milan again, I could see myself staying here on a return trip to Milan.

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WHAT TO SEE. I don't think you can claim a visit to Milan without visiting the Milan Cathedral (Duomo). What sets this apart from other Duomo is the gothic style architecture and it fills its space. I don't quite know how to describe it. Just trust me and put this on your itinerary. If you can withstand the queues, you can walk around the top. I stuck to viewing it from the Piazza and I am still in awe.

Next to the Cathedral is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which is home to high-end boutiques and fancy cafes. Walk to the center and look up to admire the intricate details that makes this one of the most photographed spots in Milan. If you superstitious, find the image of the bull and spin on it for some good luck. 

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On the other side of the Galleria, you will find the famed opera house - Teatro alla Scala. If you can get tickets to a show, I hear it is one of the most impressive opera houses in Europe and a great way to glimpse into the culture of Milan.

Santa Maria delle Grazie. This is one of the reasons I will be returning to Milan. I missed out on visiting this place. It is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site and the place that displays the famous Leonardo da Vinci mural - The Last Supper. 

Watch the sunset from Naviglio Canal. If you have visited Venice then you may not be impressed by this. If you want an escape from the center then here is an option. It is quieter than the area around the Duomo and has a variety of restaurants; bars and cafes.

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LUINI MILAN

WHERE TO EAT. I discovered this Italian culture of snacking while we were in Venice and I definitely embraced it (wholeheartedly). Our first stop in Milan was to Luini which is an incredible snack shop near the Milan Cathedral. They do snacks well here. For Pastries and sweets, head to Paticceria Marchesi located above the Prada store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

For Pasta and Pizza visit one of these Milan spots - Ristorante da Teresa; Norin Cafe and Bistro; Pizzeria Di Drago and El Brellin.

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DAY TRIPS. I did not realize how close Milan was to several Italian cities. We knew it was close to Lake Como (that was half the reason we were there), but thanks to mother nature ruining our plans to spend Saturday in Lake Como, we discovered several other Italian cities within a two-hour train ride from Milan. We visited Verona, Bellagio, and Lake Como. You can read all about our time in Verona here. Other day trip options we considered: Venice (2.5 hrs via train); Rome ( 3 hrs via train); Bergamo (1/2 hr train ride) ; Cinque Terre (3 hrs via train); St Moritz, Switzerland (2.5 hrs via express train).

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Milano Centrale

THE SEVILLE CITY GUIDE - HOW TO SPEND THREE DAYS IN THE CAPITAL OF ANDALUSIA , SOUTH OF SPAIN

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We were desperate to be in Europe in December but wanted to avoid the cold as much as possible. The south of Spain proved to be the perfect destination. Earlier in the year, I wrote a blog post about traveling Europe in Winter. Seville is one of those destinations you can visit in winter as it has with milder winter compared to other parts of Spain and Europe. I had my eye on this region of the world for ages and I could never get the pieces lined up to take the trip that was until a while ago when the opportunity presented itself. We flew British Airways out of London Gatwick and despite the drama of getting through security (read: I almost missed the flight); we arrived in Seville ok; took a cab to our residence for the week.

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WHERE TO STAY. By sheer coincidence, we ended up staying at two different hotels during our stay. They were both excellent; except for the spotty internet at the first one; both had an insane view of the city and within walking distance to the Royal Alcazar palace and the Seville cathedral. We absolutely loved our time at Hotel Palacio Alcazar and Eurostar Seville.

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Sevilla

GETTING AROUND. Because there were three of us, we opted for taxis when the destination was not within walking distance. Cab fares split three ways was cheaper than getting a transport card. We used cabs to get to and from the airport ; to and from the train station for our day trips and once to get to/from the national museum. Almost everything else we did was within 20 to 30 minute trek of our hotels.

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TIME OFF WORK. We planned a full week in the South of Spain from Seville to Granada. We spent 3 days in Seville and it did not feel nearly enough. If I had to do it over again I will probably plan to spend four full days in the city as I felt we rushed thing. You will need a day dedicated to the Royal Alcazar and the Cathedral. If you want to take your time, you could stretch out the Royal Alcazar to a full day; we rushed through it because we knew we were short on time and want to do and see as much as possible.

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WHERE TO EAT. We did not have a bad meal in Seville, on our first full day, we stumbled on spot that became our default dining option when we could not agree. A note to bear in mind, meal times in this part of the world are typically later than meal times in London or the States. Once we showed up to dinner at 8:30 p.m. and were the only ones in the restaurant for about forty-five minutes. Our favorite spot for Tapas was Postiguillo and we loved every dish we ordered here. We especially enjoyed the OxTail. I grew eating OxTail in Nigeria but had a rediscovery while we were in Seville - we ordered it at every Tapas meal. Other favorites were Ovejas Negras Tapas and La Gorda de Las Setas. Curros was recommended to us but we did not get a chance to visit. Panypiu bakery was one of my favorite spots for coffee and a baked good in the morning. I recommend drinks at Hotel Alfonso XIII - the hotel was commission was the king of Spain in the 1920s and remains an iconic cultural landmark - we stopped by for tea and drinks before dinner one of the evening. I loved the vibe of this place. The Eurostar hotel rooftop bar with an excellent view, I cannot recall the quality of the drinks, but I remember the view. We also dined at La Moderna - while I did not enjoy the meal here, others in our party did, so I am including on this list due to that fact.

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WHAT TO DO. I have written blog posts of two of the highlights of our time in Seville - The Royal Alcazar of Seville and the Seville Cathedral - check those out here and here for details. The blog archives also contain all the details of the various days trips to Cordoba ; Granada and Carmona that we to completed during our time in Seville. If you can, I recommend spending at least forty-eight hours in Granada - our day trip was very rushed. Besides those, I recommend visiting the La Giralda, a bell tower next to the Seville Cathedral. Visit one of the many museums in the city - my personal recommendations are the museum of fine arts and Archaeological Museum. The Metropol Parasol (aka the Mushroom building) is a stunning structure that you should see if you are into that sort of thing. The Jewish quarter is a great area to explore. Besides the Jewish Quarter, I also recommend exploring Plaza Nueva outside city hall and Barrio Santa Cruz. My one regret of our trip was not visiting Plaza de Espana, do not miss it on your trip.

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THE LONDON GUIDE - THIRTY-FIVE FREE THINGS TO DO IN LONDON

I have avoided sharing a London guide for the last year and a half because there is just so much to do/see/ eat and pulling a post together was a tad daunting. I decided to break up the blog posts between the attractions; the food; markets; festivals, etc. and that way it seemed significantly less daunting. Kicking off the London series with a list we can all get on board with - FREE. Thirty-five things you can see and do in the city without spending a penny

London
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1. See Big Ben. If you are visiting before summer 2020, you will likely find this icon covered in scaffolding for long overdue renovations; but that does not make it any less of an iconic site in the city. Stop by to visit and explore the area around Big Ben; stroll along Westminister bridge including an incredible view of the London eye (riding the London eye will cost you money, but you can see it for free).

2. Visit the Tate Modern. Perhaps one of my favorite museums in London (and the World). I love this museum for so many reasons including the view of the St Paul’s from the 6th-floor cafe - very few views of St. Paul’s Cathedral as amazing as this one. The permanent exhibitions are free to see; a temporary exhibition carries a price tag.

3. Visit Regent's Park. Visit Queen Mary's garden to see the most extensive collection of Roses in London; pack a picnic and have a lazy afternoon exploring the grounds. If you are feeling to a trek/light workout, then make your way across the park to Primrose Hill.

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4. Hike Primrose Hill. The hill is located on the northern side of Regent's park and on a clear day you get a clear view of central London; Belsize Park and Hampstead.

5. Visit platform 9 3/4. London is home to several Harry Potter specific sights; you can catch the play or take a Harry Potter tour of London and while all of those will cost you. Visiting Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross (outside the Harry Potter shop) is free. The queue can be long, but it is always orderly.

6. Visit the sky garden. Spectacular view of the city from the Sky Garden; if you are in search of greenery in the cold months or just want a fantastic city view - head over to the Sky garden. While it is free, you have to reserve a spot on their website here and make sure to arrive early. There are restaurants and bars you can dine at with a reservation which also gets you access to the garden. However, if you just want access to the garden - reserve your spot and prepare to be awed.

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7. (Window) Shop on Oxford Street. Oxford Street is one of the busiest shopping street in the world and while I try to avoid it as much as possible - if you are visiting here; I think it is a spot to visit at list once. Stop by Selfridges for the ultimate window shopping.

8. Visit the National Gallery. Located on Trafalgar Square, the national gallery is a personal favorite in the city; it is home to over 2,000 paintings some of which date back to the 13th century.

9. Explore Kensington Gardens. Access to Kensington palace requires a ticket (paid ticket); However, exploring the gardens is entirely free home to one of the city's most ornate monuments - the Albert memorial. It is also home to the statue of Queen Victoria and Peter Pan. You can also visit the Italian garden or wander the allotment.

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London

10. Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. This generally occurs on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sundays at Buckingham Palace. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m., but you are advised to get there early - I recommend taking your spot no later than 10:15 a.m. The celebration lasts about forty-five minutes. Before visiting, you can confirm the dates and times of the event here.

11. Visit Holland Park and the Japanese Garden. One of the lesser know parks for those who do not live in London; but a very favorite destination for residents. There is quite a bit to see/explore here, but my favorite spot is the Japanese garden. Watch the majestic peacocks and if you visit at the right time in spring - you can photograph the most beautiful cherry blossoms.

12. Explore Portobello Market and Notting Hill. While it was the backdrop for the famous 90's RomCom featuring Julia R and Hugh G; the market is famous all by its self. It is the most notable street markets in Europe where you can shop for antiques; second-hand clothes; food; and enjoy street performances. - then you already know about Portobello road and the market which was featured in the movie Notting Hill.

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Portobello Market
Notting Hill
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13. Flower shopping at Columbia Street Flower Market. This Sunday market is one of my favorite things to do on Sundays. Come rain or shine, the market is open till 1 p.m., and you can pick up the lushest floral arrangements. The area around the market has also got some fantastic bakeries; restaurants and coffee shops so you can make a day of exploring this part of London.

14. The Mayfield Lavender Farm. This is not free, but for 1 pound admission fee it might as well be. While Provence will always hold the price for sighting lavender; a very (close) second best is the Mayfield Lavender farm.

15. Recreate the Album Cover on Abbey Road. Warning - do this at you peril. This is a bustling road; but if you are patient and plan accordingly, you can recreate the iconic Beatles album cover on Abbey Road, just outside the studio where some of their hits were recorded.

16. Explore Borough Market. This is possibly the most known street food market in Europe; obviously, you have to pay to eat here (and I highly recommend it and have shared a post here to help you with the dining options); but you can also just walk through the market taking in the sights and scents and characters of the market.

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17. Visit Barbican Conservatory. I cannot think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Keep in mind the conservatory is only open certain Sundays and bank holidays during the year; it is the second largest conservatory in the city, and it is entirely free to visit. For a fee, you can also have afternoon tea in the conservatory; afternoon tea requires reservations on the conservatory website.

18. Visit Somerset House. Somerset house is known for its winter skating rink; During the summer months, the water fountains are a perfect destination to cool off from the summer temperatures. The house also hosts several exhibitions during the year; most of which are free including free guided tours three days a week.

19. Photo op at Trafalgar Square. The iconic Trafalgar square is one of the most known public squares in Europe and if you are heading to the National gallery; then you are already there; get your picture in the iconic square with the fountains as a backdrop; if you are visiting London at Christmas, don't miss the annual Norwegian tree.

20. Spend an afternoon at Neal’s Yard. Hidden down a tiny/narrow street in the seven dials; this is one of the prettiest streets in the city and while it covers a small area; you can spend hours here. It is a destination for locals and visitors alike with a variety of shops, spas; coffee bars, and restaurants.

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Neal's yard
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21. Explore Covent Garden. If you are visiting Neal's yard; then you should make a stop to Covent Garden for a shopping and food experience that is uniquely London; you will also find the transport museum here (paid), and you can take in a variety of street performances.

22. Explore the colorful streets of Hampstead. Hampstead does not come up on a lot of London guides, but you will be doing yourself a disservice if you don't explore this part of London. It is like a village within the city. My favorite way to explore is on foot starting from the high street; then on to the Holly Bush; Hampstead Heath; Flask wall and others.

23. Explore the Natural History Museum. This is one of my favorite destinations to escape to in London; entry is free, but you may have to pay to visit a special exhibition. It is located in South Kensington and if you are already here; you should plan to stop by the Victoria and Albert Museum

24. Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum. While the museum is free; a donation is requested (if you can) and why not. The museum is the world's largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design including Michaelangelo's David. When you are done exploring, you can retire to one of the three cafes on the grounds for nourishment; treat yourself to afternoon tea in the historic Morris room (Fridays only) - reservations required. There is also a kid-friendly courtyard for your little ones to run around.

Victoria and Albert Museum
Covent garden
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London

25. Walk along Tower Bridge. It will cost you to visit the tower bridge exhibition aka the glass floor above the bridge; however, the trek across the bridge is free, and you can plan your itinerary to coincide with the lifting of the drawbridge. You can find the lift schedule here. The closest train station to access the bridge is Tower-hill.

26. Stroll along the Thames. The Thames path is about 23 miles long starting at Hampton court to the Albert Bridge with lots of beautiful scenery along the way, so I don't propose you trek it all; pick a start and stop point and stick to that. Save the rest for a different trip.

27. Explore Street Art in Shoreditch. You can pay a tour guide to take you around the area to see all the street art, or you can save your coins and wander Shoreditch on your own. You will have the best luck spotting street arts on these streets - Shoreditch high street; Fashion Street; Brick lane and Toynbee Street.

28. Explore Tate Britain. Not to be confused with the Tate Modern; The Tate Britain is a must visit - it holds the most extensive collection of British art after the National Gallery. The art collection, which includes the works of Turner; Reynolds and Hogarth is exceptional

Tower Bridge
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29. Complete the South Bank Walk. The South Bank walk itself begins at Westminster bridge and ends at St. Pauls. However, my favorite bit is abridged. I start at Borough market and trek along the bank toward Tate Modern; passing Shakespeare globe along the way; I like to make a stop in at the Tate Modern to take in the latest exhibition before making my way across Millenium footbridge to get to St. Paul. For the best view of the Cathedral, head over to the rooftop terrace at One New Change.

30. Explore the British Museum. It reportedly is home of a permanent collection of over eight million works of art sourced during the era of the British empire.

31. Visit the House of Parliament. Watch British democracy unfold at the house of Commons or House of Lords. To observe the proceedings, it is recommended you reserve well in advance.

London
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British Museum

32. Visit St James Park. At watching the changing of the guides; take time to explore St. James Park. The park is in proximity to Buckingham Palace and other landmarks and includes the mall and horse guard parade.

33. Explore Camden Market. Another favorite market - we have got a load of those here; I love Camden market because it still seems like a secret place for locals and it has got vintage shops; food and artisans - everything my heart craves.

34. Stop by Picadilly Circus. This round open space is one stop I recommend you make at night - it is so much more magical at night. It located in London's West End and connected Piccadilly to Regent-street.

35.Watch Deers at Richmond Park. Charles, I created the park in the 17th century as a deer park, and you can see these beauties on a trek across the park. A trip to Richmond park can take up to an hour and a half depending on your base in the city so plan accordingly.

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Camden market
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