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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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From Barcelona to Machu Picchu: a guide for travel lovers

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Barcelona is the Spanish most visited city for travelers all over the globe that offers many contrasts and interesting surroundings worth visiting. Although other kind of travelers prefer peaceful and at the same time adventurous walking routes by Machu Picchu.

Barcelona is still the most visited Spanish city attracting visitors from all over the world. Cosmopolitanism, modernity, the sea’s open life, gastronomic offers and culture are elements that attract people from other places, as well as Gaudí’s architecture and many other key points are part of this unique Mediterranean city.

But there’s a lot more to discover. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a beautiful region that has many contrasts worth visiting along with Barcelona as a starting point. To make it possible and smooth, barcelona tours is an agency that besides carrying out general tours, it creates private routes according to your preferences.

To get to know the most emblematic city icons, 3 or 4 days can be enough, although nobody wants to miss live music flamenco night shows in a “tablao” or going to the Catalan music Palau to enjoy classical interpretations in one of its European Sanctuaries.

Barcelona shore excursions: what visitors want

What to visit when traveling to Catalonia? barcelona shore excursions have become very fashionable and visitors themselves like it that way. Rent a boat to go bathing on the high seas or travel from Barcelona to Girona or Tarragona marina’s and get to know two emblematic Catalan cities full of ancient history are very exciting things to do, as it is traveling on a boat to Balearic Islands and discover Ibiza: the island of party and fun, or it’s sisters Majorca and Menorca.

If the aim is adventure then you should certainly go to see the Montserrat mysterious mountains and a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin, the most revered of Catalunya. Some others choose visiting Michelin restaurants in Empordà region, where Celler de Can Roca stands out. Travelers can not miss the most universal Catalan museum in Figueres town dedicated to painter Salvador Dalí.

Wine and cava wineries are very popular in Catalonia, and they are a must visit place for all wine lovers.

How to make the most of your trip

Visiting so much in little time can be tricky and stressful at times, so If you want to make the most of your trip it’s worthwhile to let others do the job and get focused on living every minute of it. Among all agencies dedicated to support tourism, BCN exclusive has a huge amount of positive testimonies and adapts to every customer preference to make the most of all barcelona city tours.

Testimonies from people around the world show gratitude to the agency for an outstanding service and how much they learned in the tours inside and out of the city. Catalonia is a surprise box, and Barcelona as its capital, combines all these contrasts that makes of Barcelona the most modern Mediterranean city. As a result, the city has become the first destination chosen by university and master degree students, well above other European capitals.

Machu Picchu: a natural marvel

Most adventurous travelers may prefer to join the Inca Jungle Trek, a 3 to 4 day road that many consider an initiation and can be done by walking or cycling, but also taking advantage and practise adventure sports as rafting or Tyrolean.

The guide accompanying travelers groups will also regale the group with anecdotes and history of one of the oldest and wise cultures of the world: the Inca. On the last day of excursion, travelers can contemplate the valleys at the foot of Machu Picchu, a natural marvel. Both adventurous and cosmopolitan visitors, if they have decided on one of these two destinations, must begin to organize their trip now and make of this journey an unforgettable time.

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Explore the royal city of Mysore

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Call it the Heritage City or the City of Palaces, the city of Mysore still emanates a feeling of au royale even in a 21st century India. A place of heritage for royal families, sultans, and legendary names in history, every corner of Mysore is steeped in stories of victory, power, and grandeur. A tour of this majestic city is only justified when you explore the royal heritage of the City of Palaces.

Getting there

Conveniently located on the southern edge of the Karnataka State, Mysore is easily accessible from major cities. It takes about three hours to travel the 152 KM distance from Bangalore to Mysore.

History and Heritage

The city of Mysore served as the capital for the Kingdom of Mysore between the 1300s until 1956. These six centuries saw the kingdom change hands of rulers and kings, from the Wadiyar Dynasty, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. But the common element of all the rulers was their penchant for art and culture. Under their patronage, they contributed to the city’s visual and cultural glory which earned Mysore the fame of Karnataka’s cultural capital.

A royal tour

If you want to experience the regal side of Mysore, you cannot but miss these structures of historical and architectural significance. You can join a heritage walking tour to explore the city on foot, or head from Bangalore to Mysore by car and stop by at monuments, palaces, and museums and learn about the legends that made Mysore. You can start your walk from the Town Hall, built in 1884, as a tribute to the first Dewan of the city.

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Mysore Palace- The official residence of the royal family of Wadiyars, the palace itself is a work of marvel. An overwhelming blend of   Indo-Saracenic, neoclassical, Indo-Islamic and Gothic architectural works, the Mysore Palace is a breathtaking sight. Built in 1912, the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts delicate works of mirrors, stained glass, mosaic and more. On any given day, you will find more tourists here than even at the Taj Mahal. Every Sunday, the palace comes alive with 97000 light bulbs bedazzling its façade and the premises.

Lalitha Palace– Yet another heritage building, the two-storied Lalitha Mahal sits on a ridge at the foothills of the Chamundi Hills, which makes for a great vantage point. The palace was transformed into a hotel and offers a royal stay. If you truly want a feeling of royalty, then a stay here would be an experience.

Jaganmohan Palace– One of the seven prominent palaces of Mysore city, is a stunning work of ancient Indian architecture with intricate interiors and exteriors. The palace, transformed into a royal art gallery since 1915, houses paintings of the royal family, art by Raja Ravi Varma and an array of rare and antique musical instruments.

Museums- Stop by the Rail Museum to explore the archaic steam engines, the Maharani’s saloon, and other railway souvenirs. There’s also the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion showcasing more than 6500 folk artifacts from all parts of Karnataka. The Folk Art Museum, one of the most visited in the city, is also known for its collection of toys, models, and figurines.

Crawford Hall- Built in 1947, this is a must visit historic structure in Mysore. The royal palace is now known as the Mysore University but still renders a rich heritage to its ambiance.

Small, medium or large-scale, every historical building and monument of Mysore has a majestic touch to it. And such architecture speaks of its glorious past, which has left traces for the modern civilization to explore.

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Sightseeing Madrid: personalized and unforgettable life experiences

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Getting to know Madrid on Segway or bicycle is becoming the in demand to discover the best places in the city.

Madrid is the capital of Spain and one of the most cosmopolitan and interesting European destinations. The city has good communications, a great airport with proximity to the city center and an excellent underground service and these are just are some of the key factors that promote tourism in the capital.

The city’s positive perception is influenced by it’s nightlife, cosmopolitan atmosphere and hospitality, it also influences its status as a LGBT friendly city and is known for its top quality restaurants.

A good way to visit the city and make the most of the experience is through segway tour madrid, tours to visit monuments, night tours, gastronomic or tapas tours that will bring the city to life, and once you get to know the city you will want to visit again and again. No city is quite like Madrid.

Segway: an ecological and very dynamic transport

Segway is a lightweight two-wheeled transport vehicle. Electric and Gyro, these personal transporters were invented by Dean Kamen and incorporate a computer-controlled swing. They been presented to the world in 2001 and thought to be used as a way of transport in big cities, leaving motorbikes and cars aside and thus help to combat pollution.

However, segway madrid is very used for leisure and all big Spanish cities have Segway tours, ideal for groups of friends who want to get to know better the city from a different perspective without need to tire yourself with endless walking.

The exciting world of Escape Room has drifted into the escape Street

Street Escape application launching for groups has revolutionized the segway sector and the next tourist season will have a new attraction: an innovative escape outdoor activity that uses a software to geolocate a route that has previously been blocked at different points and participants must unlock through different analogue and digital tests that must be completed in a certain time.

For the application development a software is used that requires a technological device and that groups will have to manage in a completely intuitive way.

And besides this popular activity, other leisure group options such as ginkanas, physical tests related to segway management, cultural and technical activities and even sporting activities like playing polo with Segway can be carried out in Madrid.

Biking is the most effective and economic way to discover a city

Alternatively, madrid bike rental is another great way to get to know Madrid. They are used by citizens and tourists to travel around the city as they do with Segway.

But there is a big difference between one vehicle and another, since bicycles are more often demanded, a good way of exercising while going from one place to another, a must have for a healthy life, that is also a environmentally friendly choice and a very economical option.

Tour the city as you like or by guided bike tours?

You can rent a bike for as long as you want and travel the city to your free will. You can also hire specific itineraries in order to discover the best hidden places and monuments. You can also access the madrid bike tour and get to know iconic places such Bernabeu stadium or Retiro park.

You can also choose night bike tours lit by the street lights of Madrid city center against a backdrop of the stunning sunset in a very special place: Debod Temple, one of the fab meeting points for locals to enjoy the setting of the sun.

Madrid is a city worth discovering and to do it by bike or Segway increases this unique experience, always exciting when it comes to discover new places.

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