Visiting the Delightful Chelsea Attractions

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The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea attracts hordes of visitors every year and tourism is a large income generator for the area. So what is it about those Chelsea attractions that draw in the crowds so eagerly?

A Brief History

Strangely, the age and lineage of the borough has been a little lost in terms of 20th and 21st century perceptions, but this is an ancient area full of interest. Chelsea was a small village in Saxon days, on the doorstep of what was, for a time, the largely abandoned Londinium. The origin of the name in Anglo-Saxon English tends to suggest it was a landing place on the river for chalk, although what is certainly clear is that by the later Saxon period, when London had become re-settled and was now growing, Chelsea was a small and probably relatively isolated village.
However, its proximity to the ever-growing London meant that isolation wasn’t going to last long, and by the Tudor period (1485-1603) Chelsea had become fashionable with royalty and nobility.

Both Henry VIII and Thomas Moore were associated with the area and those with power continued to be drawn here in later epochs as well. Charles II built the world-famous Royal Chelsea Hospital here and William and Mary moved into what became Kensington Palace to escape the ‘bad air’ of London.

Today, visitors coming to explore the many Chelsea attractions can see echoes of these past times in and around the borough, through exploring the old sites and buildings.

Literary and Trendy

For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, famous poets, artists, writers and philosophers made their homes in this area. This gave the borough a certain reputation for Bohemian lifestyles and, above all, an intellectual air. Tourists today can walk the same streets as Carlyle, Virginia Woolf, John Stuart Mill and J.M. Barrie and perhaps get a sense of what inspired them.

Of course, in the 1960s and to some extent earlier 1970s, Chelsea was the centre of the great ‘Swinging Britain’ phenomenon that swept the globe. Even today the area remains ‘trendy’, if in a less exuberant way than 50 years ago.

The Big Chelsea Attractions

Every year people are drawn to this lovely part of London to visit the great museums, the Albert Hall, Olympia and the Thames itself. This is conventional tourism but the sheer concentration of massive attractions all in one relatively small area means that visitors to the area are never going to be bored.

Atmosphere

One last thing is worthy of mention: the atmosphere and ambience that can be enjoyed when strolling the streets of these two now joined areas. Unusually for inner-city areas, this borough has managed to retain a certain ‘village’ feeling to it. The streets are leafy and full of interesting little gardens and squares and it’s on the borders of some major parks and gardens.

It’s an entirely different world and one that’s very relaxing – the best of both worlds so to speak. It’s possible to walk the streets and escape the hectic London tourist lifestyleBusiness Management Articles, and that fact is one of the Chelsea attractions that isn’t mentioned much but is very real and well worth experiencing.

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Visiting Sloane Square, in London

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When people speak about the west side of London, quite often they’ll mention a range of locations including Sloane Square. Amusingly though, if questioned, many will admit to knowing the name but not knowing exactly where it is or what’s there that’s worth visiting!

Let’s put that right with some information below.

Location

Sloan Square is on the west side of London and sits astride the boundaries of Chelsea, Belgravia and Knightsbridge. It is in one of the most desirable parts of London from a property and real estate point of view. Historically, it was developed in the 1770s by the successors of Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753), which is where the name Sloane Square came from.

Why it’s Famous

Although it’s perhaps odd to think so, for most people above a certain age the square is most commonly associated the ‘Sloanies’ or ‘Sloan Rangers’ of the 1980s – typically young, high-income people who gained a reputation for a free-wheeling and heavy spending lifestyle. (The term also had slightly negative connotations and could be used in the accusative form.) However, that’s now becoming almost ancient history.

Today, the square is best known for a famous department store (Peter Jones) and the (arguably) even more famous Royal Court Theatre. The latter is world-renowned as being the cradle of new writing talent, and many works that went on to achieve global success actually premiered in this small but important venue. Examples include works such as ‘Look Back in Anger’. The square also houses Cadogan Hall, a concert venue.

The area is also well-known in London for its hotels and restaurants. As you would imagine, given the prestigious location, most of these are up-market establishments aiming at tourists, local well-heeled residents and theatre-goers. You’ll find a huge selection of cuisines to choose from and some of the local hotels are well-known for their restaurants. You can dine out very well in and around the square, although it’s perhaps not likely to be a location for those looking for budget dining.

Odd Facts

It’s not widely known that one of London’s tiny and virtually forgotten rivers, the Westbourne, is actually diverted over the top of the local tube station here in a large pipe. The local underground is also one of the prime locations for buskers. Although London Transport has made periodic and even partly successful efforts to remove them, they do re-appear in areas frequented by tourists. You’ll see plenty of performers around Sloan Square – although some, it has to be said, can appear to be of questionable musical talent.

Want to Visit?

This small square is well located at the very heart of London’s entertainment districts.
Staying at one of the local hotels will position you to explore all that the West End has to offer. Of course, hotels here do not exactly come cheaply, although you may find some that are more reasonably priced not too far away.

If you’re looking for a busy vibe and a brilliant location from which to explore LondonHealth Fitness Articles, Sloane Square and its surrounding areas might well prove to be ideal base for you.

Essential Tips for the London Traveller

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Visiting London for a holiday? This is a city whose history is written into the tangled mess of its streets and alleys. Buildings and bridges sprawl half-random from the twisted length of the Thames and spires of metal and glass leap upwards, competing with centuries-old architecture in an anachronistic cityscape of organised chaos. People from all over the world live in communities or mingle in a blinding patchwork of culture, combining with the city’s history and endless variation to make London one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

Unfortunately, because of this, as well as London’s status as a financial centre and a city blighted by high rents courtesy of property investors, life in the UK capital doesn’t come cheaply for visitors. From the moment you step off your airport shuttle, service, food, entertainment and transport all come at a premium. It’s well worth following a few tips to minimise expenditure during your visit.

Black Cabs

Keep the number of a good minicab firm handy as the ubiquitous black cabs are enormously overpriced. Their price tag is justified by the Knowledge of London, the set of examinations whereby a driver is deemed to have full knowledge of every route, landmark and street in London. This qualification theoretically ensures that a driver should be able to take you anywhere you care to name, in absence of postcodes, street names, and addresses. A black cab driver is supposed to be able to take you the quickest route to anywhere based on a visual description of any distinguishing marks of your destination. Unless you really like the novelty of travelling by black cab, save your money and take the same journey in a minicab with a satnav.

Booking in advance is another good way to save money on cabs (and, in fact, on trains should you be visiting anywhere outside of the city), and this goes for airport travel as well. Plan your route in advance and book an airport shuttle service rather than catching a cab on the day. Airport shuttle services travel to and from all London airports, and you’ll find them cheaper than taxis, due to the fact that while a taxi is private, an airport shuttle service can be either private or take several travellers at once, thus spreading the cost.

Theatre & Opera

London has a world famous theatrical tradition, with the West End being considered by many to be the heart of the theatre scene. Many West End productions are, however, prohibitively expensive, charging £50 or more per ticket. There are plenty of other highly regarded and historically valuable theatres throughout London, including but not limited to the Barbican, the National, and the Almeida. There is also a plethora of lesser-known theatres such as the Tricycle, the Bush and the Orange Tree. Tickets for these theatres tend to be available for around the £20 mark but are often lower, dropping below £10 at the smallest theatres, which have the added advantage of a small, intimate auditorium where you’re more likely to be only a few feet away from the actors.

The opera is similarly famous and even more expensive; many visitors want to visit the Royal Opera House, where tickets frequently run into three figures. If you have your heart set on the spectacle and fame of the ROH, book well in advance and you can get standing tickets, often for under £10. Alternatively, visit one of the other famous, but less expensive, opera houses such as the English National Opera, or enjoy one of the myriad “guerrilla” operas, performed in small, often virtually unknown or repurposed venues.

Station Restaurants & Pubs

Avoid eating or drinking in station pubs or restaurants – that is, a pub or restaurant in or very close to a busy station (or indeed anywhere with a high volume of foot traffic), unless acting on a trusted recommendation. These establishments often inflate their prices, and have little incentive to court repeat custom, as the high volumes of foot traffic will ensure sufficient business. It’s better to visit places which you’d be less likely to walk into by chance, as they’re more likely to draw regulars with a high quality experienceBusiness Management Articles, or to visit places that come highly recommended.

Festive London: Visiting Over Christmas

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If you’ve been to London, it’s likely you’ll have visited during the summer. It’s true that London’s eclectic architecture and busy streets are especially beautiful bathed in August sunlight, but it’s not just a summer city. Visiting over the festive period has many of its own benefits.

Crowds

With the peak tourist season over, you’ll find London much less crowded over the winter (provided you avoid popular Christmas shopping areas). While visiting the city’s parks may seem counterintuitive in the bitterly cold December air, the bare trees and biting frost leaves them with their own, stark beauty, and you’ll be able to avoid the crowds of sunbathers.

Public Transport

Travelling on the tube becomes significantly less unpleasant in cold weather. Not only is it rarely excessively warm during winter, but the higher temperatures are actually welcome when it’s close to freezing outside. In the dead of winter, people also move around the city less and there are fewer tourists, meaning that public transport is less crowded.

In particularly biting weather, you may find the journey to and from tube and bus stops unpleasant, so it’s worth considering using cabs to travel around London. It’s a good idea to book an airport shuttle service in advance of your arrival as well, as there are fewer things more demoralising (especially if you’ve come from somewhere warmer) than stepping out of the airport straight into an icy wind. The comfort, warmth and convenience of a pre-booked airport shuttle service are more welcome than ever, plus they’ll help you avoid finger cramps when dragging your luggage around in the cold air.

Airport shuttle services are available to and from every London airport. Shuttle service providers will also wait for you in case of flight delays, meaning you won’t have to worry about missing the last train.

Seasonal Events

London is full of seasonal events, many of which take place over the Christmas period. There are mini festivals all over the city as Christmas lights are switched on, ranging from the most famous display at Oxford Street to local evenings of celebration in the various suburbs and boroughs. At the same time, winter-themed attractions such as ice rinks pop up, with some of the most famous being in King’s Road and in Westfield, White City.

If you do feel like attending some seasonal events, consider the Winter Festival at the Southbank Centre. This event includes themed cafés and a Christmas market, and last year it even played host to a Christmas tree maze, comprising 300 real trees.

Atmosphere

London’s broad brick facades and ancient streets are in their element in the gusty chill of winter. Wander the cold pavements, enjoy a bracing pint by the river and then warm up with roasted chestnuts from a street cart. Spend the day braving the winds and walking through London’s parks, markets and squares, then enjoy the well-earned cosiness of a café (London is slowly moving away from the chains that have hitherto dominated the city’s café scene), pub or tea-room. This is a city built for the coldPsychology Articles, and sometimes it’s best enjoyed that way.

Discover London’s Best Coffee

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Once your airport transfer service has dropped you off at your accommodation in central London, one of the first things you might want to do is relax with a good coffee. And the good news is you’ve landed in a city that boasts a host of excellent places where you can get an expertly-made brew. Ask your airport transfer service driver for some locals’ only tips, but the ones below might get you off on a good start.

Timberyard: Old Street + Seven Dials

This café is described as a ‘dynamic workspace fused with speciality tea and coffee’, and it proves itself worthy of this claim. Timberyard will welcome you in whether you are meeting a few friends, taking a break from running errands and want a pick-me-up, or holding an informal business meeting with a small group of clients. If you’re flying to or from City airport, you might also find that your airport transfer service will pass close to Old Street or Seven Dials (depending on where you’re staying).

Unsurprisingly, coffee is at the heart of what they do at Timberyard, with delectable beans supplied by the renowned Has Bean company and skilful baristas delivering top-notch brews. If you have time to spare, order the Chemex filter coffee: it takes over ten minutes to brew, but the result is a cup full of plenty of aromatic goodness.

Tap Coffee: Rathbone Place + Tottenham Court Road + Wardour Street

Tap Coffee is one of those cafés that is proud of what it does and how it does it. It sources the finest ingredients, and serves them up in a comfortable, welcoming space.
If you’re looking for something slightly different, Tap Coffee’s cold brew cannot be missed. Brewed overnight with cold water, it creates an end product that is both invigorating and unexpected; plus, it comes in quirky glass medicine bottles, if you love the extra little details. Another speciality is their Jam Jar Latte: strong, milky coffee sweetened with syrup, shaken, and served in a jam jar.

FreeState Coffee: Southampton Row

Freestate is a quaint espresso bar in the centre of London that holds itself up to very high standards, both with regards to their coffee sourcing and barista training. It regularly showcases the best coffee blends from countries as diverse as Ethiopia and Denmark, as well as having a small selection of beans and coffee paraphernalia on sale. FreeState Coffee’s menu is also full of pleasant surprisesBusiness Management Articles, such as homemade almond milk and absolutely luscious cakes.

Coffee aficionados will be spoilt for choice in London and these are just a few of the many recommendations to sample the best the city has to offer.

The Wonderful World of London’s Best Street Markets

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London is undoubtedly at its best when it showcases all the different people, cultures, and cuisines that intermingle within it, and one of the best ways in which this remarkable city shows off its diversity is through its numerous street markets.

Once you’ve landed in London, a convenient pre-booked airport transfer service will get you to your accommodation without hassle. The airport transfer service drivers are a wonderful source of local information, so it’s worth asking them for some recommendations on their tips for the city’s best markets. Here are a few to start you off.

The Food Market in a Charming Location

Maltby Market is a small, bustling market full of charm. Set among the railway arches of Bermondsey, in southeast London, it boasts a unique location that is easily reachable both by Tube and bus. Maltby Market is never too crowded; you can browse and eat at your own pace, without feeling rushed by crowds. In fact, many of this market’s vendors will encourage you to stop by their stall to peruse and have a taste of whatever they have on display.

Maltby Market offers both fresh produce – such as cakes, meats, and breads – and made-to-order food stalls. Highlights include The Cheese Truck, a stall offering delicious, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, and The Beefsteaks, where steak is cooked to perfection and accompanied by mouthwatering hand-cut triple-cooked chips. If you’re still feeling energetic after lunch, wander back to London Bridge to admire the breathtaking view of the city at sunset.

The Vietnamese Food You Just Can’t Miss

Broadway Market in Hackney is, without a doubt, the place to go if you are after lip-smackingly good Vietnamese food. After plenty of underwhelming tourist food, this market really is the best place to awaken your senses. If you get a taxi to the south end of London Fields, you will find yourself only a short walk from Banhmi11’s stall at the market, where many food-related dreams come true. For only £5, you can choose between five banh mi meats, including crackling pork belly and catfish fillet, which come with a baguette and traditional pho. For dessert, make sure to check out Violet Bakery’s delightful and original sweet offerings.

Stroll Through a Romantic Flower Market

If you decide to venture out to Columbia Road Flower Market, you will be faced with thousands of flowers overflowing in one single Victorian terraced street; the shout of ‘three for a fiver!’ will quickly become the morning’s soundtrack.

Best visited early on a Sunday morning (get there around 8:00h for a peaceful wander) or towards closing time (at around 14:30h stallholders significantly reduce their prices, although stock might be limited), this market is packed full of Londoners seeking out a good deal for their gardens and mantelpieces.

Can I Take Anything Back Home?

Most of London’s street markets offer products that you can easily pack to take home, such as artisanal peanut butter, vacuum-packed delicious local cheeses, and unique, vintage home décor. If you’re carrying medium-to-big or delicate items, you should definitely book an airport transfer service to drop you off. Airport transfer service drivers are used to handling all kinds of luggage and will transport you and your purchases safely to whichever terminal you are departing fromScience Articles, without fuss.