One of the most important decisions to make for your wedding is your venue; are you looking for a classic church with an elegant ballroom reception or a regal country house ceremony and reception together with stunning scenery for the perfect photographs? Maybe you’re looking for something a little different, something that will give your big day one that none of your guests will forget. Here is just a small sample of locations within London that will leave your guests awe-inspired.
At the end of the 19th century, a competition was set a carriage ride away from the Hyde Park Hotel in North London, whoever was able to design a building that would accommodate the public swimming baths would not only have their designed built, but would win a £50 prize. Harold Burgess ultimately won the prize with his innovative design and the building opened in 1911, much to the delight of Londoners who cherished it for many years.
In the 1990’s, renovations were made to the building to give it a new lease of life, keeping its original features and charm that won so many people’s hearts; the original pool can still be found underneath the floor of the main suite. The Decorium opened its doors and has retained the popularity in the community as it did in its past life due to its beauty, style and adaptability as well as the staffs incessant need to cater to every whim possible. The neoclassical design gives character and provides an elegant setting for your special day; the foyer is breathtaking with a sweeping staircase and pure crystal chandelier, making it a prime spot for photographs. Through the foyer is the Emperor Suite which is 5,500 square feet of astounding architecture comprising of columns and detailed ceilings. This large space comes equipped with a dancefloor and the Anthony and Cleopatra suite to allow the bride and groom privacy to calm their nerves before the ceremony or to quickly change ready for the reception.
The Caesar Suite is smaller but no less spectacular due to the room being illuminated by natural light. It is a much more intimate setting for those who wish to have a more personal wedding but it can also be adjoined to the Emperor Suite to accommodate a much larger guest list.
Dominating the London landscape is 30 St Mary Axe or, as it is more affectionately known as, The Gherkin. Mainly made of glass, it has become an iconic symbol of the city and opens the top three floors exclusively for private use. The ceremony takes place with astounding 360 degree views of London as well as holding a reception of 140 sitting guests or 260 standing and dancing ones. The catering is all taken care of by Searcys, who have a large quantity of restaurants, bars and royal houses on the resume. It really is a unique way to celebrate your big day but your guests will never forget having a 360 degree view of the sunset over the London.
House of St Barnabas
The House of St Barnabas has a wonderful history that began in 1679 when William Pym and Richard Frith built Soho Square, including a beautiful corner house with stables and a coach house. Even though it is a stone’s throw away from the London budget hotels, it’s history is one of grandeur with a wealth of aristocracy gracing its doors including the second Baron Crew, William Archer MP and Lady Cavendish who all taking residency here. The Grade I listed building still holds many of its original features and has been decorated with a sympathetic nod to its heritage as well as adding a dash of modernity.
The House of St Barnabas has four main rooms that are let out for private engagements such as weddings and parties; the Drawing Room is decorated in 18th century rococo plasterwork and overlooks Soho Square itself while the Bazalagette room is painted in a striking red and is perfect for smaller, more intimate gatherings. The Dickins Room pays homage to the great writer as well as acknowledging the House’s role in ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, this is a great place for any true book lover to hold their reception while the cream silk room, named so due to the decoration on the walls, is perfect for a casual drink. If that wasn’t enough, the house holds a very private and secluded garden with ivy growing along the walls which adds to the historical feel of the building. It is a beautiful place to hold a special day, especially as all of the proceeds go towards The House of Barnabus-in-Soho charity that helps London’s homeless get back on their feet and back into the world of work. So not only will you be saying ‘I Do’ in a place steeped in glamour, history and elegance, but you will also be giving many people a second chance.
Find your sea legs and hope aboard HMS President, an anti-submarine ship built at the end of World War I. She was the first of her kind and has inspired the modern day Frigate which has made her an important factor in maritime history. Today, HMS President is docked at Victoria Embankment and is now open for a delicious dining experience, or for private hire for your special day. You can take your pick out of the Ballroom that accommodates 350 guests who are surrounded by floor to ceiling windows so they can take in the beautiful sunset on the Thames, or there is the Gun Room that has a fully stocked bar, tub chairs and a balcony for a champagne reception before your meal. If you are looking for a small, intimate space, the Presidential suite is just the ticket as it is housed in the bow of the ship and holds up to 100 guests, or you may like the Ward Room which was originally the Officers Mess and it has lost none of its original features. It really is a unique way to spend your special day but one that you will remember for the rest of your married lives.
Amsterdam Food Guide
If you think of Amsterdam you don’t think of food. However if you try the food here in our Amsterdam food guide you might get lucky.
We are total foodies and our travelling has allowed our passion for food to grow considerably (not to mention our waist lines)! We love trying new food when we visit foreign countries and always make a huge effort to eat the local cuisine. Check out some of the food we ate below in our cheap and delicious Amsterdam Food Guide.
We had heard from a number of people that the Amsterdam food was nothing to rave about. To be honest food was not really our main interest in visiting but then again neither was an Amsterdam Peep show and we ended up enjoying that!
However we were pleasantly surprised. I think the people whom we had talked to had it wrong. Sure Holland doesn’t really have a local cuisine but once we got over this fact we realised there is still some damn good food to be had from the various Amsterdam Restaurants.
The best meal we had was actually next door to the Red Light district in Chinatown. Crossing the canal to the east away from the neon lights your nostrils are attacked and your mouth begins salivating from the delicious smells wafting along the narrow cobbled streets.
As we walked into Bird Thai restaurant the enticing aroma hit us instantly leaving us drooling in anticipation. It was definitely up there with some of the best Thai food we have had. We went for the classic Green curry, fried rice and duck combo.
The Green curry was so flavoursome with the richness of the coconut milk blending perfectly with the traditional spices. The duck was cooked to perfection and for the first few minutes of the meal all you could hear was the crunching of the crispy outside layer as we devoured the duck in minutes. Needless to say the fried rice was a taste explosion too!
Cheap and delicious Amsterdam food is easy to come by. With hangovers and munchies affecting your hunger it is no surprise that there are an abundance of Fast Food chains and takeaways in Amsterdam. In fact it was actually more the way that the fast food was served that surprised us as you could buy it out of massive vending machines at Febo!
Hidden workers stand behind the vending machines churning out burgers, fries and sausage rolls so all you has to do is insert a Euro and “hey presto” you have a hot meal in your hungry hands.
Then there were the frites stores which seemed to be on every corner. The first thing you noticed about these was the tantalising smell. There is nothing like the smell of chips straight out of the fryer and covered in salt to get you tummy rumbling. Served in a triangle cardboard carton and covered in mayo which meant that that you couldn’t reach the chips at the bottom without covering your greedy fingers in sauce. Just a tad annoying!
But there is nothing like hot chips to warm you up on a cold day.
Finally, while hot chocolates are not typically food I feel they still deserve a mention especially because the usually come paired with waffles! Ahhhh the perfect breakfast.
We loved nipping into a cafe or bar like Cafe Bar Eddy in Amsterdam to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate. It literally tasted like they had melted chocolate down and added cream. Heaven in a cup. And the choice of waffles was daunting as you could have whatever you wanted. Fruit, chocolate, syrups, cream or all of the above!
If you are heading here then don’t expect to find an array of traditional Amsterdam food. Instead treat yourself to a hot chocolate and waffle for breakfast, grab a quick bite from a vending machine and sample some of the different cuisines found near the Red Light District.
If you stick to this Amsterdam food guide then your taste buds will have a great holiday too!
If you have visited before then what did you think of Amsterdam food?
How to smoke weed in Amsterdam
Check out our guide for the first timer in Amsterdam visiting a coffeeshop.
Before getting started I just want to clarify that we are not drug users. We don’t condone using illegal drugs. And we are not telling you to go and smoke weed in Amsterdam. BUT, our goal of this travel blog is to help advise, educate and provide travel tips for ALL situations. So if you are headed to Amsterdam then we hope our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam will help you out.
And check out this smoker friendly accommodation for your next trip.
When you tell people that you are visiting Amsterdam then they immediately think of one thing and one thing only. Weed. Dope. Herb. Buds. Spliff. Whacky Tobbacky. Pot. Marijuana. Cannabis.
Call it what you will but just know that the biggest name for it is “ILLEGAL”.
Yes it is actually illegal to smoke weed in Amsterdam. But for now the Netherlands government do tolerate smoking in designated “coffeeshops”. This is slowly changing as the Government tries to moderate the tourism drug trade and in 2013 there will be new laws which we won’t go in to now as they are continuously changing.
In the meantime if you obey the rules, are not a moron and use our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam then you are going to be fine.
How to smoke weed in Amsterdam
Don’t smoke weed in Amsterdam in public such as on the streets. There are over 300 designated coffee shops where you are tolerated to smoke weed. These places are regulated and everything is done in the open.
Don’t get confused and try to smoke in a koffiehuis (coffee house) which sells coffee and light meals or a café that is a casual restaurant and/or bar.
The coffeeshops are super easy to spot with marijuana leaves in the windows and Bob Marley paintings on the doors. Not to mention the smell wafting through the cold breeze. There will also be the usual tourists that have stupidly over-indulged and are glassy eyed.
We visited one of the five Bulldog coffeeshops when we were in Amsterdam and had no complaints. We even enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate while we were there!
Buying weed in Amsterdam
As long as you are over 18 then you will be allowed to buy up to 5 grams of weed in the regulated coffeeshops. Plus you have the added security knowing that your marijuana is not going to be laced with anything else if you are attempting to buy it off someone on the street. And who knows, they might be setting you up to get busted.
We were (and are) total amateurs and had no idea what to do once we actually stepped foot in the coffeeshop. But quickly sussed it out. There will generally be a “dealer bar” with full menu’s and everything for you to choose. So if you are an expert you will probably know what to order! Prices will of course vary by quantity (grams, bags, individual joints) and quality.
For a beginner ask lots of questions. Don’t be shy like we were. Ask the staff what they recommend and what effects each type has. They will know then that you are a newbie and will guide you. Just know that they are very accustomed to tourists who don’t know exactly how to go about the whole process.
What we found out is that it is actually perfectly fine for you to visit other coffeeshops and smoke weed that you have already purchased somewhere else. However, it is considered rude not to at least buy a hot chocolate or coffee if you do this. Coffeeshops do also have some of the best coffee in Amsterdam.
Don’t be an idiot
Number 1 rule: Don’t smoke too much weed in Amsterdam! Even if you are a pot loving hippie from a commune you are probably going to find the marijuana really strong in Amsterdam. Just take it slow.
If you are enjoying a drink as well then again take it easy with the booze. All the coffeshops won’t sell you beer as well as cannabis.
EAT! Don’t go drinking and smoking on an empty stomach as cannabis lowers your blood sugar level and this can turn a fun day into a disaster if you haven’t eaten recently. Check out our Amsterdam Food Guide for some quick eating tips here.
A final word of warning, please watch out for the spacecake! Eating cannabis will knock you on your ass and is much stronger than when smoked.
Finally, enjoy yourselves and for goodness sake obey the rules, laws and customs while you are smoking weed in Amsterdam.
If you have an addiction to drugs then reach out and seek some help.
Check out these Weed Products for your next travel adventure.
Four Jandals Visits an Amsterdam Peep Show
Have you ever wanted to visit an Amsterdam peep show? We had the chance to go and embraced it with open arms. Check out our experience here
An Amsterdam peep show is a must, just like visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Okay slightly different. But you have got to go!
And if you have ever wanted to visit Amsterdam then more than likely you are going to be interested in checking out a peep show in the red light district. It might be worthwhile checking out this Amsterdam’s Red Light District – The ultimate guide.
There is something about the red light district that draws the punters and tourists alike in. Maybe it is the bright red neon lights that illuminate the darkened alleyways that pull them in like moths to a flame. Or the bars and coffee shops that let a certain smell waft lazily across the glistening canals.
Or maybe it is just the fact that sex really does sell.
When we visited Amsterdam with a couple of friends we actually spent what I now consider an embarrassingly long time in that same area. The fact is that we seriously could not get enough.
Not like that of course!
We just couldn’t believe that everyone is so open and carefree about what is for all intents and purposes, window shopping for sex. The number of guys knocking on windows and being ushered behind the curtains of every room were staggering.
However, we were not enticed ourselves to fork over $50 euros but were intrigued enough to want to check out an Amsterdam peep show. I just want to clarify here that it was actually Adela that was the most keen. I just didn’t want to let her down so went along with it…
Visiting the Amsterdam peep show
Much to our surprise, there is only one Amsterdam peep show left in the whole city back in 2012!
The very originally named “Sex Palace” is situated on the banks of one of the main canals in the heart of the red light district on Oudezijds Achterburgwal street. Walking under the neon flashing lights into the entrance way your senses are assaulted by sights, sounds and disturbingly smell.
All around the walls are posters and screens showing ladies in various states of undress and positions. A white board lists the movies that you can rent out for your viewing pleasure in one of the many private booths. But we were only there for one thing:
The circular structure sitting slightly to the left of the entrance with a dozen small doors along it’s walls.
Each of those small doors lead into equally small rooms no larger than a traditional UK phone box. A small covered viewing window blocks your view forward.
The money box clinging to the wall to operate the viewing window only accepts coins. But don’t worry if you only have notes as they handily have a large coin machine dishing out $2 euro coins for ease of watching.
Once you close the door and chuck in your money, the viewing window pops open for 2 minutes and allows you to view the large, slowly-rotating stage on which a scantily-dressed woman displays herself. With her flexibility she could have represented any country in the upcoming Olympics!
I was cracking up laughing the entire time I was in there because you can actually just make out the rest of the “audience” in the opposite booths. I even got a little wave and smile as the girl slowly revolved past my window.
The Amsterdam peep show was a little bit creepy. But even though we were there late on a Saturday night the booths were doing a roaring trade. Obviously nearly everyone else, from the hens parties to the couples, were there for the same reason as us. To check out one or two rounds before heading back into the night giggling like school girls at a sleepover at what we had just done.
The shifty eyed single men on the other hand skulked away to their respective viewing windows again and again with pockets full of coins.
If you ever get the chance then we actually do highly recommend taking the plunge and visiting an Amsterdam peep show. Just make sure that you are always respectful of the women in the shows and the ones on the streets!
Have you ever been to an Amsterdam Peep Show or Sex show? Tell us about your experience below.
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...
New on Four Jandals
- 5 Spanish Beach Holiday Destinations Off The Beaten Track February 20, 2020
- HOW TO CONVERT A BETTING BONUS INTO CASH February 20, 2020
- Why is the Grand Central Station Worth a Visit? February 18, 2020
What Are You Looking For?
- Adventure Travel (227)
- Africa (25)
- Asia (29)
- Auto (1)
- Business (3)
- Canada (2)
- City Guides (25)
- Education (2)
- Entertainment (2)
- Europe (176)
- Events (3)
- Fashion (2)
- Finance (2)
- Fitness (1)
- Food (15)
- Health (3)
- Home (1)
- Inspiration (12)
- North America (51)
- Oceania (31)
- Other (219)
- Personal Musings (8)
- Reviews (15)
- Technology (8)
- Travel Blogging Tips (9)
- Travel Tips (220)
- Work (1)
- Travel Tips3 months ago
Planning Trips For Senior Travelers
- Travel Tips3 months ago
Here are Some Things you Should Know before you Visit Australia
- Travel Tips3 months ago
Living in Portland Why So Many Are Embracing the Weird
- Asia3 months ago
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE TRAVELING TO SINGAPORE
- Business3 months ago
Established Marketing Agency in Phoenix Now Provides Branding & Storytelling Services
- Travel Tips3 months ago
Essential Things to Equip Yourself for the Perfect Camping Trip
- Travel Tips3 months ago
Finding Culture in the Tourist Hotspot of Benidorm
- Travel Tips3 months ago
Tips for Celebrating Christmas While Travelling