Best Winter Activities in London
London is a magical city to visit during the winter months and despite the chill in the air, and the increased risk of grey skies and rainy days, there is still plenty happening in the city to keep everyone happy and occupied. Lots of the major attractions in London transform themselves completely for the build up to the festive season with outdoor ice skating rinks, Christmas markets and special family events being just some of the ways in which you can enjoy winter in London.
So if you are planning a trip to London over the coming months and want to know the best winter activities then here are just a few suggestions to get you started:-
Browse the Christmas markets
It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a last minute Christmas present or you simply want to soak up the festive atmosphere and enjoy a cup of mulled wine, there are a fair few Christmas markets which crop up across the city during the months of November, December and January. Many of the markets also have fairground rides, carol singers and other festive treats so you can really make an entire experience out of your visit. Some of our favourite Christmas markets include Belgravia Christmas market, Tate Modern Christmas market, Christmas by the River at London Bridge, Greenwich Market at Christmas and Christmas at Camden Market to name but a few. Set aside a few hours to browse the market stalls and wooden cabins which are set up before following it with a glass of mulled wine or a cup of hot chocolate and a spot of people watching as you warm up. Is there anything more Christmassy than that?
Go to a carol service
If you are in the mood to listen to some carols then you will find that a number of London’s best concert venues host festive concerts and Christmas carol services over the winter period. These often feature internationally acclaimed singers and musicians and there are often a number of family-friendly shows and concerts as well for those with younger children to consider. The Trafalgar Square carol concerts are truly spectacular with more than 50 carol groups gathering to sing for an hour beneath the towering Christmas tree in order to raise money for charities. The dates have yet to be set but it will take place during the month of December and if you are able to get along you will certainly leave feeling a lot more festive. Another incredibly popular season of services to attend are the Advent and Christmas services held at St Paul’s Cathedral. There are several events taking place throughout December from A Celebration of Christmas with celebrity readings to a more traditional Christmas carol service on the 23rd and 24th December. The events at St Paul’s are free but they do get busy so it is worth turning up early to ensure you get a seat, especially if you are travelling in from one of the hotels near London City Airport or further afield.
Try an outdoor ice skating rink
Many of us will have been ice skating at one point or another in our lives, but how many of us can say that we have ice skated in the shadow of one of the country’s most historical landmarks? If you head to London during the winter season then you will have the opportunity to do just that. Get yourself booked into the Montcalm Royal London City and then head into London to attractions such as the Natural History Museum, Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, Canary Wharf and Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. Many of these ice skating rinks are also surrounded by other festive goings-on so you can relax and embrace the winter atmosphere once you have had your fun spinning and circling on the ice.
Sit by the fire in a pub
London has a large number of cosy, traditional British pubs which can really come into their own during the colder months of the year. Think roaring open fires, real ales on tap, comfy armchairs and plenty of local people to have a chat with; there’s no better excuse than when the weather has taken a turn for the worst and you need somewhere to hole up for a couple of hours. Some of our favourites include Greenwich’s oldest pub: Plume of Feathers, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, The Flask in Highgate, The Holly Bush in Hampstead and The Prince Albert in Battersea although there are many more you could choose from. The majority of these pubs also serve a menu stuffed full of hearty and heartwarming dinners as well, perfect for the festive period.
Pamper yourself at the spa
Sometimes a trip to London isn’t about haring around the city trying to squeeze in as much sightseeing as possible; sometimes it’s about taking some time out for you and making the most of the world-class facilities which London has to offer. A visit to one of the city’s best spas could be the exact thing you need to take your mind off the bitterly cold weather and the stress of planning the perfect Christmas celebration. Or maybe you don’t need an excuse to pamper yourself and just love the opportunity to enjoy a treat or two! Think deliciously warm saunas, temptingly good jacuzzis and a signature massage that will have you relaxed and rejuvenated in no time. Who could say no to that?
Walk around the parks
If you’re touring around the City on your motorbike then it’s worthwhile slowing down for a bit too. We’ve talked a lot about getting out of the weather and inside somewhere cosy but if you want to make the most of the crisp winter days then why not take a walk around one of London’s wonderful royal parks? The parks seem to transform with each passing season and they are just as glorious in winter as they are at any other time of the year. Plenty of them also have refreshment booths so you can grab a hot drink as you go too. So park up and take a walk, you’ll soon warm up in your motorcycle jackets and boots.
A Beginner’s Guide to Yacht Charters: How to Choose the Right Yacht and Plan the Perfect Trip
Yacht charters offer a unique and luxurious way to explore the world’s most beautiful destinations. Whether you’re looking to spend a week exploring the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, or you want to take a romantic trip to the Mediterranean, a yacht charter is an excellent option. Phuket is an excellent location to charter a yacht and is one of the most popular destinations for yacht charters in the world.
However, choosing the right yacht and planning the perfect trip can be a daunting task for those who are new to yacht charters. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make your yacht charter experience a success.
Consider the Size of the Yacht Needed
Yachts come in a variety of sizes, from small sailing boats to large motor yachts. Consider how many people will be traveling with you, and how much space you’ll need for your trip. You’ll also want to think about the type of activities you want to do on your trip. If you’re looking for a more adventurous trip, a smaller sailing yacht may be the way to go. But if you’re looking for a more luxurious and spacious experience, a larger motor yacht may be a better choice.
- Small Sailing Yachts: These are typically 30-50 feet in length and are ideal for more intimate and adventurous trips.
- Mid-Size Motor Yachts: These yachts are typically 50-80 feet in length and offer more space and amenities than small sailing yachts.
- Large Motor Yachts: These yachts are typically 80 feet or longer and offer the ultimate in luxury and comfort.
- Superyachts: These are the largest yachts, typically over 100 feet in length, and are often custom built to the highest standards.
Consider a Place to Discover
Yacht charters are available all over the world, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, so choose a location that appeals to you and your travel companions. Research the destinations you’re interested in, and find out what the weather will be like during your trip. You’ll also want to consider the time of year that you’re traveling, as some destinations may be more expensive during peak season.
Here are some popular yacht destinations:
Mediterranean: The Mediterranean region is a top destination for yacht charters, with its turquoise waters, stunning coastline, and rich cultural heritage. Some popular destinations include the French Riviera, the Amalfi Coast in Italy, and the Greek islands.
Caribbean: The Caribbean is a popular yacht charter destination for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and clear waters. Some popular islands include the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin, and Antigua.
Bahamas: The Bahamas are another popular yacht charter destination, known for its stunning crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and tropical landscapes.
Maldives: The Maldives is a group of 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean, known for its stunning coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and abundant sea life.
Thailand: Thailand is known for its stunning beaches, lush tropical forests, vibrant local culture, and rich history. Some popular destinations for yacht charters in Thailand include the Andaman Sea, Phuket, and Koh Samui
When it comes to planning the perfect trip, timing is everything. Booking your yacht charter early is key to ensuring that you get the yacht and destination that you want. Don’t wait until the last minute to book, as yachts can fill up quickly, especially during peak season. It’s also a good idea to book well in advance if you’re traveling during the holidays, as yachts tend to be in high demand during these times.
Yacht Charter Cost
Another important factor to consider when planning your yacht charter is the cost. Yacht charters can be expensive, so you’ll want to budget for your trip carefully. Consider the cost of the yacht, fuel, food, and other expenses. Some yacht charters may include some or all of these expenses, so be sure to ask about what’s included when you’re booking. You may also want to look for yacht charter deals or discounts to help save money on your trip.
Think About the Crew
Finally, you’ll want to consider the crew. Yacht charters typically come with a crew that includes a captain, chef, and other members. Consider the size of the crew, and make sure that they have the experience and skills you need for your trip. You’ll also want to make sure that the crew is friendly and professional, and that they can accommodate any special requests or needs you may have.
A yacht charter is an excellent way to explore the world’s most beautiful destinations in style and comfort. With a little bit of planning and research, you can choose the right yacht and plan the perfect trip for you and your travel companions. So start exploring your options today, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!
Medieval Towns with German Castles Near Munich & Frankfurt
Our favorite castles in Germany near Frankfurt and Munich:
We were crazy enough to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a public holiday. This meant that along with all the Asian tourists, there were an awful lot of Germans. Plus, even though we arrived by 11 am, the soonest tickets we could buy were for the German tour at 2.30 pm, as the terms in English were sold out until 4 pm. So, if you don’t have German friends at hand to translate the tour for you, we recommend booking in advance online. The castle was impressive, and the time was undoubtedly fascinating! Don’t worry, I won’t spill the beans, but the manmade Grotto room made my jaw drop!
Mespelbrunn Castle is located on a pond between Frankfurt and Wurzburg. Unfortunately, we arrived 30 minutes after its closing time of 5 pm, but it looked cool from behind the fence!
Lichtenstein Castle is located on a clifftop near Stuttgart and costs 6 euros per person for a tour in German; however, they did give us a very informative written guide in English. This castle is small compared to Hohenzollern castle, but its story is fascinating. Tanks shelled it in World War II, and today you can still see the cracked mirror from where a small fragment of a tank grenade ricocheted!
Hohenzollern Castle is not too far from Lichtenstein Castle. It is located on a hilltop near Hechingen, and we enjoyed the guided tour. Along with getting to wear GIANT slippers, make sure you explore the casemates and secret passages. One sign made me want to learn more. It read, “Exactly where these steps lead to is unknown. More casemates and secret passageways are likely waiting to be discovered in the heart of the mountain”!
Heidelberg Castle was a lot larger than we expected! Unfortunately, we had spent far too much time at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, so we did not have time to explore this castle. But if we get the chance, we will explore the town and its castle next time in Germany.
On our drive from Munich to Frankfurt, we also loved:
The beer garden at Andechs Monastery was just like Oktoberfest but amongst trees and more family-friendly. The beer was cheaper, and the food was great, including the giant pork knuckle, which Moss could not finish. It was also fun walking up multiple flights of stairs to the tower’s very top.
Three hours in Rothenburg was not enough to explore this wonderful medieval town! We recommend getting your hands on a city map from the tourist information office. We enjoyed Roder Gate, walking along the wall and exploring the 17th-century spital bastion, plus Moss lost me in the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop for over half an hour, and I didn’t even buy anything!
The average person would Google Munich to Frankfurt and see that it only takes about 3 ½ hours depending on how fast you wish to drive on the autobahn! However, we are NOT typical. We took one look at train prices and decided that hiring a car wouldn’t cost too much more.
Suppose you’re interested in traveling to Germany for a damn good deal. In that case, plenty of tour companies have some pretty unique and affordable vacation packages to Berlin, Munich, and Bavaria.
We aren’t going to tell you our exact route. Still, after surviving Oktoberfest in Munich, we did a giant zigzag to see as many castles and medieval towns as possible. So to save you doing so much driving, we have picked our favorite cities and castles. First of all, ‘Ausfahrt’ is not a destination accessible from every off-ramp! It means ‘Exit’! Another word of wisdom to keep in mind is that the autobahns with speed limits do have speed cameras… and the flash is blinding!
Running with the Bulls Video
Our shaky Running with the Bulls Video footage from the Festival de San Fermin in 2012. Experience it first hand in Pamplona. Enjoy.
We recently wrote about our life or death experience of Running with the Bulls this year at the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. On that run, I carried along with our GoPro video camera and tried to shoot some footage for our running with the video of the bull.
All our travel video shooting techniques went out the window when the bulls’ hooves started to shake the ground beneath our feet.
Once we had lined up for the running with the bulls, there was no escape from it as we were walled in by apartment blocks, shopfront windows, and 3-meter high wooden barriers packed with photographers along the entire length. At one end lay the relative safety of the bull ring pulsating with the cheers of the crowd who were still partying from the night before. Behind me, a dozen wild bulls pawed the stony ground looking for freedom.
Unfortunately, I was standing in their path.
What we ended up with is below. However, I think what we filmed for our running with the bull video captures the chaos, craziness, and complete madness a lot better than if I had stood my ground.
Enjoy it and watch for the guy that nearly gets trampled to death near the beginning!
Running with the Bulls Video
Would you ever consider running with the bulls?
While we are very aware that not all people agree that the San Fermin Festival should be allowed to go ahead mainly due to animal cruelty, we think there are two sides to every story. We wrote a post about the controversy surrounding Bullfighting in Spain and the Festival de San Fermin.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the Festival de San Fermin and whether you would ever consider running with the bulls.
If you want to join the next Festival of San Fermin or any other wild festivals in Europe, such as Sail Turkey, book with our partners Busabout.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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