The grand, the hip and the heritage – a shopping tour of London

With Christmas fast approaching, a shopping trip to London makes a great day out, and a surprisingly affordable one, if you’re visiting from abroad, due to the favourable exchange rate. Here’s a quick tour of the different shopping neighbourhoods of London and what they each have to offer.

Selfridges, Oxford St in London Photo by Freefoto.com

Selfridges, Oxford St in London

Oxford Street for the big name brands

Let’s start with the more renowned places to visit. Oxford Street is situated right in the centre of the city and is home to all the famous chain stores as well as a large number of independent fashion outlets and the flagship Selfridges department store. While Oxford Street has something for everyone, nearby Regent Street will suit the more affluent shopper and offers a wide array of excellent jewellery stores, upmarket boutiques and the Liberty store for unique prints and gifts. The Apple store is also situated in Regent Street as is Hamleys, a fantastic toy store over five floors and a great place to take the kids! Adjacent to Regent Street is Carnaby Street, which came to life as the place to hang out in the 60s and nowadays still has a vaste number of independent shops, offering all manner of clothes, shoes, music and general paraphernalia dating back to that era.

Unique gifts at Liberty Regent Street, London Photo by DG Jones on Flickr

Unique gifts at Liberty Regent Street, London

Speciality shops in Kensington, Luxury in Knightsbridge

Heading south west across the city, we reach the trendy borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Here we find the King’s Road, a meeting point for punks in the 70s and still considered an in-place to visit and shop. Again, we find a large number of independent retailers in this long street offering everything from fashion and design wear to furniture and music outlets. Peter Jones is a large department store at the Sloane Square end of Kings Road offering quality clothes and goods. Nearby Kensington High Street, close to the Royal home of Kensington Palace is also a great place for some retail therapy with a good selection of different shops. Not too far away in Knightsbridge is the famous Harrods Department store which is reputed to be able to sell you anything you may wish for! The food section in Harrods is excellent with many different types of meats, cheeses and fruits to buy and after a hard morning of shopping your way through this huge department store, the Georgian Restaurant offers an excellent afternoon tea at very affordable prices.

Harrods Food Hall Photo by rc! on Flickr

Harrods Food Hall in London

Visit neighbourhood markets for local flavour

Markets are a great way to pick up a bargain and to interact with locals at the same time and London offers a number of different markets through the week. Camden Lock (Sundays) and Portobello Market (Saturdays) are two of the more well known markets however certain other markets are also very interesting for both locals and tourists. Petticoat Lane Market (Sundays) located near Aldgate in London’s East End offers a wide range of clothes, household goods and general bric-a-brac. Old Spitalfields Market, likewise in the East of London is one of London’s oldest markets and is open all week, specialising on different goods each day. Near to Spitalfields is Brick Lane, home to some of London’s best curry houses and a great place to stop for lunch with a difference!

Clothing and Vintage at Camden Lock Sunday Market Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Clothing and Vintage at Camden Lock Sunday Market

More things to see in London:

Three Great Ways to spend a day in London
A winter break in London – things to enjoy at Christmas and into the New Year
Your guide to the vintage markets of London

LDH LOGO 150x150(1)This article was brought to you by www.london-discount-hotel.com, a one-stop shop web portal for hotels, tickets, transfers and sightseeing tours in London.

Photo Credits: Selfridges by FreeFoto.com, Liberty of London by DG Jones, Harrods Food Hall by rc!, Camden Lock by Heatheronhertravels.com

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read the original article here

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Six great things (and more) to do in King’s Cross, London

At one time the area surrounding King’s Cross was associated with dingy late night bars and some of the city’s most untoward activities: Today though it couldn’t be more different. The unwelcoming bars and clubs have mostly gone and instead one of London’s newest and hippest area to hang out is developing. In the last few years this area has had an astronomical amount of money and creativity poured into it and the results are showing as interesting, classy and entertaining ways to spend your time in London are appearing. The British Library, the Welcome Collection, Central St Martin’s and the Guardian are all there now and it seems a fabulous new restaurant or attraction opens up every day. So, if you’re looking for a great autumn break, this could be just the answer. Book your ticket to London and we’ll fill you in on the best things to do in King’s Cross…

Soak Up Some Culture at Kings Place

One of the real triumphs of the newly developed area of King’s Cross is King’s Place. It’s a hub for music, art and food which is all found inside one award winning building. There’s a wide range of events going on there from the wacky to the wonderful – Perhaps join a Piano-Yoga class (Yoga for Pianists) or see some Classical Music, Folk or Jazz, or go to the regular Thursday evening Comedy night, Off With Their Heads. Also well worth a visit is Pangolin London, a wonderful gallery dedicated to modern and contemporary sculpture, as is the King’s Place Gallery which features regularly changing art exhibitions.

Kings Place Gallery in Kings Cross London, Photo:www.kingsplace.co.uk

Kings Place Gallery in Kings Cross London

Visit the London Canal Museum

The canals are a fascinating part of London’s history and there is no better place to find out about them than the London Canal Museum. Today the canals are a place of leisure, with many Londoner’s using the tow path as a place to walk, jog or cycle, though once these canals provided vital transport connections for the city. The Museum gives an extraordinary insight into Victorian London when the canals were first created and you and you can take a look inside a narrow boat, learn about the cargoes carried on the boats and the horses that pulled them. The museum also has a genuine Victorian ice well where imported Norwegian Ice was stored after arrival before being sold to wealthy Londoners and even an early Ice-cream Maker! This is a lovely museum, a little off the beaten track and all the better for it.

London Canal Museum in London Photo: www.canalmuseum.org.uk

London Canal Museum near Kings Cross

See Platform 9 and ¾

If you’re a Harry Potter fan it will be a little hard to resist visiting this spot, where in all of J.K. Rowling’s best-selling books the legendary Hogwarts Express leaves for wizard school. Of course, unless your own magical powers are up to scratch you won’t actually be able to take a train from the platform but you can enjoy taking a few snaps in the famous spot and taking in the impressive architecture of this huge station.

Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station Photo: eddiejdf on Flickr

Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station

Explore the Oldest Christian Worship Site in Britain

Founded in 314 AD St Pancras Old Church is literally bursting with history. The church that you see today was actually rebuilt in 1837 but the site is itself is the oldest of its kind in Britain. The graveyard has become the final resting place for many famous people including, composer Johann Christian Bach and Mary Wollstonecraft, the ‘mother of Feminism’. In 1968 the Beatles even famously visited – for a photo-shoot! This is a fascinating spot and really is quite unlike anywhere else.

St Pancreas Old Church in London Photo: Paul Hudson on Flickr

St Pancreas Old Church in London

Dine Railway Style

If you are treating yourself to dinner out whilst you’re in King’s Cross we recommend Plum + Spilt Milk at the Great Northern Hotel, where Mark Sergeant (Gordon Ramsay’s protégé) cooks up Modern British cuisine in chic and lively surroundings. There’s a real buzz to this place as business travellers and locals, young, old and everyone in between gather to dine in the beautifully designed restaurant, which can be accessed from the station’s main concourse. Try the Moons Green charcuterie plate to start and follow it up with the fantastic Salt Marsh lamb shank hot pot. And whatever you do don’t miss pudding. The citrusy Lemon posset, or the very English Kentish Gypsy tart, or even the Baked Alaska? It doesn’t matter, they’re all delicious – preferably order them all!

Plum + spilt milk restaurant at Kings Cross Photo: plumandspiltmilk.com

Plum + spilt milk restaurant at Kings Cross

Take a Walk

London’s Canal network links the city together in a way that takes you away from traffic and into another pace of the city. You’ll pass countless runners and cyclists and probably spot the odd heron and moor hen too. The stretch that takes you to Regents Park is lovely, it takes about half an hour and leaves you free to wander around the park on arrival. Once you are there you could visit the famous London Zoo, where last week 300 people streaked to raise awareness of the plight of the Sumatran Tiger!

Regents Canal in London Photo: Michael Jones 51 on Flickr

Regents Canal in London

Stay at the Gorgeous Great Northern Hotel

The Great Northern Hotel in St Pancras is London’s original Victorian Railway Hotel and it stands proudly right next to King’s Cross Station. It reopened this year after a huge £40m restoration project and is now looking better than ever. The hotel has 91 rooms, all expertly decorated, with free WIFI, in room entertainment and a ‘pantry’ on every floor where guests can help themselves to home-baked cakes and nespresso coffees. The hotel has a rather glamorous bar too, the GNH Bar and the restaurant (which was our foodie pick!) is great at all times of the day.

Great Northern Hotel in Kings Cross, London Photo: www.gnhlondon.com

Stay at the Great Northern Hotel in Kings Cross, London

We hope all of this has given you some ideas for your next trip to London – we are always happy to hear if you have any great ideas too! A little tip for King’s Cross though – pick up a map as many of King’s Crosses spots are so new Google Maps hasn’t necessarily caught up yet, so you can’t rely on your smart phone! Enjoy.

This article is brought to you by the Great Northern Hotel, an iconic boutique hotel metres from St Pancras International and home to the Plum + Spilt Milk restaurant.

Photo Credits: Kings Place, London Canal Museum, Platform 9 3/4 by eddiejdf, St Pancreas Old Church by Paul Hudson, Regents Canal by Michael Jones 51, Plum + Spilt Milk, Great Northern Hotel.

More tales from London:

A River trip in London up the Thames to Greenwich
High in the Treetops at Kew Gardens
Three great ways to spend a day in London

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read the original article here

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

Regent’s Canal: London’s Best kept Secret

If you want to visit London but wish for something a little more sedate than Oxford Street or Bond Street, then the myriad of relaxed attractions along Regent’s Canal will be just what you are looking for. Linking a diverse cross-section of some fantastic London must-see destinations, the canal starts at Little Venice and ends in the Docklands.

Regents Canal in London Photo: Davide Simonetti on Flickr

Regent’s Canal in London

Little Venice Basin

Located in Maida Vale, this tranquil area full of colourful narrow boats is where the Grand Union and Regent’s Canals meet, and is home to number of waterside bars and restaurants. While in Little Venice you can take a waterbus that journeys eastwards towards Regent’s Park, Camden Town and London Zoo. Or simply follow the tow footpath for a peaceful stroll through the heart of the city. Known as a celeb hotspot, it is not uncommon that you could be sitting one table away from Radio 1’s Greg James or Emile Sandé on a break from recording at Maida Vale studios.

Little Venice in London Photo: Michael Jones on Flickr

Little Venice in London

Camden Market

Notorious for its market, Camden is a quirky mecca for delicious food, must-have alternative clothing and amazing music. On Saturdays and Sundays the market comes alive with indie types milling about inspecting what Camden has to offer. Most stalls are open 7 days a week though, so if your visit is during the week you can still find interesting souvenirs or treats for yourself. Do not be fooled by Camden Market being just for the young and trendy types, as you can also find some beautiful antiques, furniture and pottery for something a little more refined.

Camden Market in London Photo: Fernando Bueno on Flickr

Camden Market in London

Regents Park

Regent’s Park is home to the London Zoo and the Open Air Theatre and provides a scenic walk amongst the beautiful and leafy surroundings. Open during the summer months, the open air theatre brings Shakespeare, comedy, musicals and drama amidst the lush green of the park. This summer you can enjoy To Kill a Mocking Bird, Pride and Prejudice and The Sound of Music amongst others in this unusual theatre setting. A trip to London Zoo is not a tourist trap, but is a wonderful and exciting oasis filled with over 760 species of animal. You can enjoy the Penguin Pool, the Gorilla Kingdom and experience Rainforest Life as you get up close and personal with nature’s wonders. New for 2013 is the Tiger Territory which has been revamped with a £3.6M investment for the two endangered Sumatran tigers.

London Zoo Photo Loz Flowers on Flickr

Giraffe at London Zoo

Primrose Hill

As a hamlet of exclusive haunts, Primrose Hill is where the rich and famous choose to live. Notable residents include Gwen Stefani, Daniel Craig and Kate Moss, so a trip to one of the high-end boutiques or quaint bookshops is bound to involve a celeb spotting. With a grassy park to meander through, you can enjoy fantastic views over London in this, the perfect place between the city and the suburbs. You can access the park from a walk along Regent’s Canal from Camden Town affording more pleasant scenery. After a leisurely stroll through the park you can stop off for a quick bite to eat at one of the cosy cafés, before treating yourself to something special in one of the must-see shops.

Primrose Hill in London  Photo Duncan Harris on Flickr

Primrose Hill in London

This article was brought to you by Short Let London who specialise in short term lets in London. If you plan on making Regent’s Canal one of your must-see destinations on your trip to London, then the Paddington apartments through Short Let London can be your home from home.

Photo Credits: Regent’s Canal by Davide Simonetti , Little Venice by Michael Jones, Camden Market by Fernando Bueno, London Zoo by Loz Flowers, Primrose Hill by Duncan Harris

More things to do in London and around

High in the Treetops at Kew Gardens
Three great ways to spend a day in London
A River trip in London up the Thames to Greenwich

This guest article is originally published  at Heatheronhertravels.com - Read the original article here

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

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