Coming to London is always interesting, I have never got bored of this city. Even after knowing a lot about the city, as I have been learning about it since childhood, I still feel there is lot to learn about it, and lot to experience. In my previous article I wrote about the best bars in London in my opinion. Today I will talk about the places which are not in London, but interesting, near and easy to reach. London is surrounded by some of the interesting castles, towns and English country side.
I arrived in London for an educational trip. And since you know I love to go around the places I never miss the opportunity of utilizing my free time in travelling. In a sudden change in plan we had to shift our meeting place. I had to hire a meeting room in London as the one where we had planned, was undergoing renovation. And I am glad that we did. This new place was very beautiful in the premises of a college. It had a panoramic view across the Thames and was few steps away from the famous art gallery and London landmark, Tate Britain. Sitting there after the conference, I was thinking and talking to the students about the places they prefer to go during short vacations or long weekends near London. I am glad that I had traveled to most of the places which fellow students suggested me. Here is my list of top five places to visit from London.
1. Brighton – London by the Sea
|Brighton Pier, Photo by Helen Clark|
Brighton is a famous sea side resort, a perfect getaway point for the ones in London who wish to celebrate their weekends away from the city. Brighton is known for its oriental architecture and large gay community.
Try getting down to Brighton Pier, it is a nice place to walk in the cool breeze, along the beautiful sea shore & in the calmness all around. This is a place that will get you revitalized if you need a break from your busy work schedule. It can be a long walk, there are cafes after a mile or two and public conveniences. The light reflected from the cliff is very bright making the place even more wonderful. The place is well lit at night and is good for making photos.
If you enjoy hiking like me then come to Devil’s Dyke where nature will treat you in its own way. If you are lucky to find clear sky, you will find the views over Sussex breathtaking which will make you just want to go on a long walk. It gives you a 360 degree views of Brighton out to the sea and across to North Downs. There is also a pub restaurant on the top. The pub is surprisingly good and gives you a great panoramic view if it is cold outside. The food is above average.
If you admire Indian architecture, come to Royal Pavilion, I had no idea such a thing existed in English cities when I went there to attend a friend’s marriage. Royal Pavilion is a brilliant piece of art designed with unbelievable architectural touches. Rebuilt in the 19th century by architect John Nash, this building features a unique mixture of classical and Indian styles, which has been labeled as “Hindu-Gothic. You can start your tour with the electronic headphone which can translate the history of pavilion into several languages. Paintings and other architecture inside the Pavilion gives you the Indian feeling.
2. Cardiff, Truly Welsh
|Bute Park, Photo by Sarah Barker|
Cardiff is the capital of Wales in the United Kingdom situated on the south coast of the country. The city is gaining popularity with tourists who are interested in its history and Welsh culture. Cardiff is quickly becoming one of the United Kingdom’s tourism hot spots.
Away from London if you have come to Cardiff for walking or picnicking with your family and kids, then Bute Park is one of the best places. There is an amazing animal wall silence in the park which gives you the calmness and creates a romantic atmosphere. Waterbus is a really nice touch to the park. Hop onto the waterbus which takes you along the river past the Millenium Stadium to Cardiff Bay. It is of great value and is a nice ride along the river. The park has good networks of tracks for cycling along with good cafes.
I have visited a lot of castles but Cardiff castle was one of the best I have seen in the country. It has 2000 years of history together in an eight acre site: Roman, Norman, Plantagenet and Victorian history. You can go from the old Roman, Norman and Medieval ruins to the newer wartime shelters and lavishly decorated interiors. The main castle itself in the centre has some great views of the city, Millennium rugby stadium being one of them.
3. Cambridge, a University City
|Cambridge Backs, Photo by Paul Fenton|
Cambridge allows you to form various impressions about the place. from world famous Cambridge Univeristy to breathtaking view of King’s College Chapel from across the river Cam. It is very common to see students pedaling their way to the lecture hall and people spending their lazy summers near the River Cam. The town also deserves your admiration for rich intricacy of Gothic architecture.
River Cam and the view of serene greenery and colleges makes Cambridge a place to relax being surrounded by some of the most genius people in the world. Come to the Backs which is known for their daffodils and crocuses in the spring and beautiful open areas and road through gardens behind many colleges along the River Cam. The river is a good for punting during lazy summers.
Visit a college and walk on their garden and enjoy student’s cafes and see if you can recall your college days. Entry inside the college campus may not be free unless you are member or if you have a local pass.
Also see Anglesey Abbey which is a few miles east of Cambridge, take bus no. 10 which plies every hour. It is a National Trust Property, a beautiful house having extensive trail of nature, pond with fishes, beautiful gardens big enough to lose oneself. It is a good place to take your kids and play. There is a water mill which functions whenever there are volunteers, it is fun for kids as they can mill flour. And you can buy the milled flour right there. The on-site catering is good quality, offering a fair choice of meals and snacks at lunchtime.
4. Northampton, Beautiful Countryside
|Coton Manor Garden, Photo taken by Elliott Brown|
Not to be confused with the Northampton in Massachusetts (U.S), it is a largest settlement in U.K which is not classified as city. The place has beautiful gardens, lakes art galleries and museums.
Northampton is smaller compared to Cardiff and Brighton and there are less things to do. What I like here is the peace and experiencing true English country. My favourite place here is Coton Manor Garden which is among the best gardens I have been to. I was lucky to see real flamingos here. There are less but good cafes for refreshment. Entry fees £6 per adult is of a good value and Parking is quite big. If you are a gardener yourself or pursue it as a hobby then you may learn some tips and tricks at this place and even buy some plants for your garden. There are several different types of gardens, and they give you a map. Start by the house and you will appreciate the beautiful lawn, rose garden, a large pond and terrace gardens.
Another beautiful place is Stanwick Lakes. There is lack of public transportation and its better if you go by car. Keep binoculars with you if you enjoy bird watching. The entry to the place is free and parking fee is mere £2 for the whole day. There is a nice cafe and mobile drinks van for refreshments. Cycle tracks are nicely laid if you love cycling. The atmosphere is serene, pretty and oriented for all. The place is great for relaxing with family or playing with kids. People of all ages would enjoy here including a romantic visit for couples.
5. Oxford, It is not all about the University!
|Christ Church Meadows, photo taken by Tejvan Pettinger|
Known for one of the most famous university in the world, Oxford University is also the oldest university in United Kingdom situated 50 miles (80 Km) west of London. The earlier evidence of teachings dates as far back as 1096.
Much of the development in Oxford is surrounding the university, though Oxford is not all about the university. Train ride from London takes you Thames valley. Section between Reading and Oxford gives you some of the best views of English countryside.
Christ Church Meadow is my favourite place in Oxford. It is a beautiful place ideal for picnic spot or just relaxing. This scenic park offers you to walk through the meadows and along the river. The park is just two minutes walk from the main Oxford shopping street in the city centre and leads you down to the river banks of the Isis (Thames as it is known is Oxford). Take some cheese, bread, strawberries and champagne with you and head to the meadow watch the punters and enjoy the magnificent view of the Christ Church.
Another similar place is Port Meadow. Stroll by the river, have lunch and drinks in a pub, take horse ride or even feed the horses ducks and swans. It is a great open space with horses and cows around. Whether you do cycling or run or walk, this place is good for all and if you are here during winter you can even see kids from the neighbourhood skating on the frozen lake.
Dental tourism, actually one of the most popular
Commonly known as dental holidays in Europe, it is actually a subset of medical tourism which is experiencing an important growth in this late times, since people from all around the globe is on a more frequent basis using their vacations to seek dental care outside their local healthcare systems. Today, globalization has created an interdependent market which is developing exponentially, where technologies spread out throughout the world quicker than ever, allowing people to find good dental care services at locations where costs are way lower than those at their places of origin.
But, why is this happening?
This has become an unstoppable phenomenon due to the economical differences existent nowadays amongst countries, especially between those that share borders. Obviously people seeking dental care, travel for a huge variety of reasons but an undeniable fact that affects decisions is driven by money, being able to have access to the necessary solution at a significant lower cost, is a strong element in decision making, even more when the quality of the service is as good as the local one only by passing over to a neighbor country.
For example, people from Austria travel to Albania, Hungary, Ukraine, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Bosnia. Citizens from the United States and Canada go to Dental Solutions Algodones Mexico in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador; patients from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Ukraine and Poland; and from Australia to other countries of South-East Asia. Some people travel because the funding of public healthcare at their place of choice turns out to be more convenient, or the general access to healthcare at that specific place fits their personal needs.
Freedom of practice
But not all the reasons for dental tourism are due to economics. In Europe, dental professionals are allowed to move their practice from one country to another and they are required only a minimum set of qualifications approved by the country of destination, giving them a greater freedom of practice. This is intended by the union to standardize dental services all over the areas of its members. Furthermore, dentistry universities of the union have developed programmes to help their students on completing some of their education at foreign facilities. This standardization brings down barriers for patients mobility within the area.
How about quality?
Since the main reason in most cases is related to pricing, low prices come with dentists that offer minimum fixed costs, less government issues and lower expenses including those derived from insurance to patients with a high income. Outside the country of origin, many bureaucratic steps are inexistent, allowing dentists to focus more freely on their task. Procedures such as porcelain veneers or dental implants become affordable for many people that can not pay for them back at home. And right here is where the main questions about this matter are focused. First, does price differentials imply lower quality results?, and second, Is it safe to undergo a large scale dental procedure abroad on a short period of time?.
The answers here are NO and YES, and here is why. As previously mentioned, globalization has a lot to do with this, because the latest technologies, materials and techniques are more accessible today than ever before anywhere in the world. In the first case, a dentist with a proven professional record, will charge the appropriate fees according to the country where they work, and the lower price does not necessarily mean poor quality, it means that the patient comes from a place where income is higher but expenses are higher too. In the second case, it is easy to figure out that the answer is affirmative since, as stated in the previous point, quality has nothing to do with the price in this case, and regardless of whether the procedure is something simple or complex, if the work is well done, there is no reason to expect any further problems.
Why Gran Canaria is becoming the destination of thousands of tourists every year?
Canary Islands. An authentic paradise in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of northeast Africa, that spreads across seven islands and several other islets on a blue, magnificent sea. A place to discover, undoubtedly.
With slightly over 600 square miles, Gran Canaria is the second largest of those islands, just after Tenerife, and the second most populated as well. Its capital city, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, sits on the northeast corner of the island, just by the peninsula La Isleta.
Upon arrival: Gando airport welcomes the tourist
The Gran Canaria airport, also known as Gando Airport, is one of the six highest-ranked air terminals of Spain, and besides receiving local travelers it also conveys traffic from stopover flights between Europe and South America. There’s plenty of airlines that fly carrying thousands of tourists every year from different countries up to Gran Canaria.
Its transportation facilities include several roads from many places in the island. There’s also a special bus that gives service at most towns in Gran Canaria. Taxi services are frequently requested, since distances between the airport and downtown Las Palmas are not too large.
Hotels and lodging
Canary Islands in general, and of course Gran Canaria in particular have developed large touristic infrastructures during the last decades. Each and every one of the seven main islands features highly developed lodging places, with 4- to 5-star hotels and everything the demanding tourists of today request.
Many hotels are located in Las Palmas, some of them just a few blocks away, and others even in front of the sunny beaches of La Cícer, Playa de Las Canteras o Playa Chica.
However, as any tourist says, the finest sands and gorgeous seas can be found only on the south coast of Gran Canaria. Maspalomas is one of the world-renowned touristic resources of the whole island. And there HD Hotels means an excellent lodging option, with plenty of services and only 5 minutes away from Playa del Inglés.
What to do in Gran Canaria
Wonderful landscapes and a perfect weather for any type of tourism, from quiet, relaxed beach sunbathing, to surfing strong riptides, forest hiking or biking to rappel mountaineering.
With an average temperature about 18 C in winter and 26 in the summer and more than 300 sunny days a year, Gran Canaria weather conditions are more than ideal for vacations during any season. Even in the midst of winter, Jan-Feb, the temperature does not go below 15 C during the day.
Besides the traditional sun worshipping and beach activities, these are some other options to enjoy nature in Gran Canaria:
- Golf: Eight class-A golf courses, four near Las Palmas and the other four in the south coast, not too far from Maspalomas.
- Rappel: This adventure sport is one of the most demanded by mountaineers, since Gran Canaria features many attractive rocky places.
- Hiking: A healthy practice that allows the tourist to know those intricate and remote places of the island. Thera are a dozen of hiking routes, called senderos around Gran Canaria.
- Biking: Lots of places out in the wilderness to go cycling.
- Horse riding: A different approach to enjoy beautiful landscapes.
Driving around the island
The GC1 is the Gran Canaria’s main highway and runs from the capital city Las Palmas in the northeast, to the cities and tourist places in the South, running parallel to the east coast, and rounding more than half the coastline down to Mogán harbor.
Parallel to the north coast, the GC-2 highway runs from Las Palmas to Agaete on the northwest corner, covering some 25 miles. Actually Gran Canaria is a relatively small territory and every place becomes near, especially if driving a car.
Many car rental agencies offer the service to tourists and local people, like TopCar outside Las Palmas.
Some advice for tourists arriving in Islas Canarias
Any newcomer to the Canary Islands will find these few tips pretty useful:
- Sun protection is a must, especially during summer. Light clothes, hats and sunglasses should accompany the tourist anywhere outdoors during the day.
- Tap water is not recommended for drinking. Bottled spring water is found at every kiosk and market across the island.
- Caution must be taken when entering the sea. It becomes deep within a few meters in and big waves can be frequent. Canary Islands are located in the middle of an oceanic current, not to mention the winds that frequently blow. Usually beaches are signaled with color flags: blue, meaning safe for swimming; yellow, only for skillful swimmers; and red, where entering the sea is banned.
- Electric power uses the standard European 220 voltage system. Care must be taken, otherwise ordinary 110V devices could be permanently damaged.
Standard tips in bars and restaurants are around 5% to 10% of the bill.
Enjoy a VIP Night in World’s Best Cities
Go partying can become a routine if you don’t attend to special and outstanding clubs in world’s best cities recognized for their nightlife. So now we are going to talk about the best clubs where you can book and enjoy VIP areas and tables to avoid the crowds on the dance floors but, at the same time, be able to enjoy the music of the best DJs, the company of your friends and the exclusive drink service without waiting at the bar. Let’s take a look at the best cities to going out and their best nightclubs.
The United Kingdom’s capital has a large selection of the best and most exclusive and luxury nightclubs in the world. We are talking about Cirque Le Soir, Tape, Drama, The Box, Libertine, Cuckoo, Toy Room, Scandal, Reign, Charlie, Maddox and Mahiki Kensington. In addition, there is the possibility to book London Vip Tables in these clubs and enjoy the best night of your lives. Prices are around £1000 for 10 guests, and the service includes VIP access, bottle spend included in the minimum, designated hostess service for the duration of the party and a personal concierge, so we encourage you to treat yourselves one night.
What can we say about Barcelona? Without any doubt, one of the best cities in the world, if not the best, to go out at night and people are very cheerful. There are hundreds of clubs, but if we have made an exclusive selection, we choose Opium, Bling Bling, Pacha, Eclipse Hotel W, Otto Zutz, Catwalk, Shoko, CDLC, Café del Mar and Hyde. Of course, all of them have a Barcelona Vip Tables booking service where you can enjoy a special area for you and your friends and make that night something unique. Prices range between €250 and €1200 for 5 guests, depending on whether the table is (first, second or third row). The service include fast track entry, bar spend as per minimum spend included, designated hostess service and a personal concierge, so, it’s worth it!
Marbella! The jewel of La Costa del Sol, near Malaga, one of the most beautiful areas in southern Spain. We can only imagine a fantastic night strolling through its beaches, marinas and, of course, dancing in its most exclusive nightclubs where the jet set meets every season of the year, not only in summer. If you are looking for the best clubs in Marbella, here you have them: Olivia Varele, Starlite, Aqwa Mist, Tibu, Mirage, News Cafe, Funky Buddha, Nikki Beach, Opium Beach, Nao, Plaza Beach and Sisu. The Marbella Vip Tables cost about €850 and €2500 for 10 guests depending on the club you choose and the services included, which can vary a lot. This is real luxury!
We leave the jackpot to the end: Ibiza! No matter which club you choose: Pacha, Ushuaïa, Amnesia, Hï Ibiza, Privilege, Ocean Beach, Es Paradis, Lío Ibiza, Destino Ibiza or Blue Marlin. You can book Ibiza Vip Tables from € 250 per person and you will live an unforgettable night in the best party island in the Mediterranean.
Have we convinced you to spend a VIP night in London, Barcelona, Marbella or Ibiza? Think of your birthday party, a bachelor or bachelorette party or a special anniversary and we are sure that the answer will be an emphatic YES!
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