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Top Five Places to Visit Away From London.

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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
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 cardiff
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
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 northampton
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.

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The Main Safety Concerns For Frequent Travellers

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Air travel

If you are someone who tends to enjoy travelling as much as you possibly can, you might well be keen on ensuring that you also remain perfectly safe. This can sometimes be hard to do, but the main thing is that you know what to expect, what to look out for, and what you can do to remain as safe as possible. As it turns out, there are a number of the most common safety concerns, and as long as you pay attention to those in particular, you should find that you are able to remain perfectly safe on your travels. Let’s take a look at what they are, and what you should be doing to keep safe.

Flying

For many people, flying can be a particularly scary part of travelling. This can even be a concern, sometimes, for those who fly all the time. After all, there is little you can do in a flying emergency, besides following the received wisdom of the airlines, and it can be worrying when you hear horror stories of flights going awry. However, the statistics do show that you are safer in the air than on the ground, so the main thing to be concerned with here is trying to keep your own sense of concern and worry down. Above all, try not to panic, and enjoy the flying experience for what it is. If something happens which you feel could have been prevented, or you are not sure about, consider contacting aviation lawyers like Slack & Davis. They will be able to inform you of whether what happened was up to standard, or if you might even have a legal case against the airline in the works. Above all, do what you need to to keep calm during the flight, and you should be fine.

Pickpocketing

If you have ever been mugged, you will know that it is a truly terrifying experience. However, it’s not just muggings to watch out for when you are travelling, but the much harder to detect act of pickpocketing. This is when someone takes your belongings without you knowing, and it is obviously hard to protect against in most circumstances. However, you can ensure that you are a much less likely target simply by making sure that you are not displaying your valuables while you are travelling. This is generally good advice when you are travelling anyway, so it’s something that you should ensure you are doing at all times. As long as you do that, you are a less likely target, and you will also be much more likely to minimize your losses if you do still get targeted. Nobody wants to be stolen from, so be sure to think about this when you are going travelling in the future.

Illness

Depending on where you are thinking about travelling, there might or might not be certain illnesses you need to be wary of. In some cases, the advice of your government will be to get certain immunizations, and in those cases you must ensure that you pay attention to that advice. Not getting them could result in serious illness or even death, so it’s not a gamble that you want to take. But keeping safe from illnesses does not stop there either – you also need to make sure that you are practising basic hygiene while you are travelling too. As long as you do that, you will find that you are much less likely to get ill, and as well as being generally better for you this will also mean that you are much more likely to enjoy your travels as well. It is a win-win situation when you take care of your health.

Diet & Water Changes

Going to certain countries means that you should be careful about the water, as in many cases it can lead to illness or worse. This is generally true in Asian countries and African countries, but you should always check before you go even in more trusted places. The same kind of approach should also always be taken towards food, as you never know what kind of a reaction you are going to have to foreign foods. The general rule of thumb is to try a little before you dive right in with new and exotic foods. That way, you hopefully won’t be too ill if you do get ill at all. Paying attention to your diet and water consumption is hugely important if you plan on travelling extensively, so take care.

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The Down-Low on Keeping Safe on a Winter Vacation

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The travel industry is huge, with millions and millions of people go abroad each year. While summer does tend to be the season of choice for more people to go away, there are still plenty of people that embrace a winter vacation in the cold and the snow. But due to the weather conditions and risk for things like skiing and snowboarding, it is important that you are looking after yourself and your loved ones when you go away on a winter vacation. Accidents can and do happen. So here are some of the best ways to protect yourself. Do you have a winter vacation planned?

Protect Your Health

Medical care can be expensive when you’re abroad. Even if you’re just in another part of the country, it can add up to more than you were hoping for. Cost aside, it can be difficult if there is a language barrier, as well as of questionable quality in less developed countries. So if you can avoid going to a hospital, then all the better. So to start with check if there are any recommended vaccinations for the country that you’re visiting. Take any medication that you have if you need to take them. Eat well and keep hydrated when you’re away too.

Get Travel Insurance

You should also get insurance for travel in winter (well, at all times really). A travel insurance premium can be higher if you’re going to participate in winter sports, but it is better to be safe than sorry. There are more risks in winter, due to the extreme nature of the sports and the risky conditions with ice and snow. So you may also end up in an accident that isn’t your fault. If something like that does happen, then speaking to a firm like Derrick Law Firm could be worth your time. You shouldn’t be out of pocket or health, for something that wasn’t your fault.

Protect Your Valuables

One of the simplest ways to protect your valuables is to simply not take them with you on your trip. It can be easier said than done, but do think carefully about what you are taking with you and if you really need to. If you are going to have things like expensive jewelry or cameras, then it is better to have them with you in hand luggage, rather than checked in baggage, for instance. Use a safe if your accommodation has one to ensure they are kept safe when you’re out and about. You don’t want to run the risk of losing your valuables as it can be tricky (and expensive to arrange) when you’re abroad.

Protect Your Money

It can depend on where you go, but people will know that you are tourists. And to locals, what do they expect tourists to have? Cash, and plenty of it. So to make yourself less of a target, don’t carry around cash. It can make paying for things simpler, and it doesn’t mean getting a wad of cash out when you’re buying something small. Instead, get traveler’s checks from your bank before you go, or get a credit card that enables use abroad. They usually don’t charge when it is a specific travel credit card.

Check the News

Before you travel, it can be a really good idea to check the news and any other travel advice from embassies or the government. In this day and age, anywhere can quickly become a place that you don’t want to be. So to avoid any potentially dangerous or difficult situations, just keep yourself out of the situation in the first place. Natural disasters and civil unrest can happen at any time too. So be vigilant and keep yourself in safe places, with a list of emergency numbers to call.

Do you have a winter vacation planned? I think the only other thing to suggest is to hire your winter sports equipment if that is what you are wanting to do. Though it costs you money, it does stop the chance of damage to your already expensive equipment. So unless it can go in the hand luggage, then hiring might be the best option when you get there. Just plan it in advance to figure out the costs.

Hopefully, though, these tips can help you as you travel to keep yourself safe, those around you safe, as well as your belongings and valuable things. Are there any other tips that you would add to the list here? Have fun on vacation!

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Moving Away from the USA: Top Locations Around the World

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The USA is a huge country with enough states to keep even the most nomadic of individuals occupied for a lifetime. Sure, different regions have different cultures. But sometimes our minds can wander to what lies overseas. With the current situation with the controversial President and majority right-wing views, many of us may feel distressed at the general mindset of the country and the direction it’s heading in. Now could be the ideal time to remove yourself from the torrid political climate. Others may simply want to immerse themselves in completely different cultures, surrounded by other languages, cuisines, and values. What time is better than the present to start expanding your mind and opening your eyes to what else exists beyond your native country’s borders? Regardless of your reasons for intending to leave, you can start out by taking a look at other countries and what potential they hold as a home for you. Here are some top locations from around the world to consider!

Paris, France

Paris live

Paris is one of the romanticised cities in the world. So much so that there’s an actual disillusionment syndrome called “Paris Syndrome”. The Japanese Embassy now has a twenty four hour hotline open for people who are shocked upon arriving in Paris to find that every inhabitant isn’t a chic model; that not everyone survives on a diet of rare wine, specialist cheese, and croissants; that people do indeed have to work rather than lounging in berets around beat cafes. In short, sometime people are shocked that Paris is, well, real. But if you remove unrealistic expectations of glitz and glamour from your mind before arriving, you may find that Paris is indeed a wonderful potential new home for you. The city has so much to offer! Like any other capital city, there are plenty of jobs available. This means that you will be able to sustain yourself and your lifestyle. France runs on a more circadian rhythm when it comes to work, with the majority adopting the general attitude that you should work to live rather than live to work. Working weeks tend to be between thirty and forty hours, lunch breaks are long and you are entitled to thirty days vacation a year plus eleven days off for bank holidays. Apartments may well be small, but bear in mind that you probably wouldn’t actually be spending all that much time in them. After all, there are so many museums, cafes, exhibitions, and other cultural spots waiting to be visited that it would be a crying shame to remain cooped up in your own living space. The quality of French food is superior to most, with bustling marketplaces offering fresh ingredients and restaurants playing host to world-renowned names in cuisine. The one thing that generally puts people off is not knowing the country’s native language. But once you throw yourself in the deep end, you’ll pick it up surprisingly quickly. Plus you can always fit language lessons into your weekly schedule too!

Singapore, Malayasia

live in singapore

Situated on the Southern tip of Malaysia, Singapore is a thriving city in a country that has risen to take the title of the fifth wealthiest place in the world. Now, this may not have been top of your list previously, but you may be surprised to know that people move in droves to Singapore every single year. Once you learn a little more about it, it’s not hard to see why! Not only is it widely considered one of the easiest Asian cities for expats to integrate into, but the general standard of living is high. Crime rates run low, the healthcare services are some of the best in the world, and there’s a brilliant education system for anyone planning on moving with kids or undertaking higher education themselves. As you’d expect, the cost of living is relatively high in this region. However, you do get what you pay for. Whether you move into a Condominium, apartment, or terraced housing further out in the suburbs of the city, housing is usually of high quality. Food and grocery shopping should cost around the same as you’d pay back in the USA. Public transport links are effective and affordable. However, we know that not everyone appreciates this and some would prefer to use their own vehicle to get from A to B. The good news for drivers is that you can use your own licence in the country for up to one year before having to gain a Singapore driving licence. This gives you time to get used to the roads before taking your test without having to take public transport if you don’t wish to get on board with it. The native language is Mandarin. However, many people do also speak English, which will mean that you can start learning the language without being thrown into the deep end of complete immersion in another language.

Reykjavik, Iceland

live in reykjavik

Iceland may well be a small country, but it has a whole lot to offer. Firstly, it is renowned for its gender equality and efforts to help the environment. Unlike the major cities above, Reykjavik also has a whole lot of natural scenery and stunning natural landscapes to offer. From waterfalls and glaciers to extensive hiking paths, pools and hot springs. That’s before you consider destinations such as the Blue Lagoon: a geothermal spa packed with nutrients and minerals that will give you a glowing visage. This all sounds perfect, but unless you have joint citizenships with an EU country, you’re going to have a little work on your hands, so make sure that this is a move that you’re truly invested in. There are three main ways to secure yourself a home in Iceland. The first is to be married to an Icelandic native. Unless you’ve fallen in love on a trip to the country, this may not be an option. The second is to take part in higher education in Iceland. If you’re planning on expanding your knowledge, then this might be a route to consider. Finally, you can secure a work permit for a job. So you’ll need to start applying before you purchase that one-way ticket to this stunning country!

These are just a few different places that you might like to consider. Remember that the world is your oyster and there are seemingly endless places out there that might prove to be the perfect home for you in the future! Just do your research and pick wisely.

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