Hip Guide to Great Britain
Welcome to the Hip Guide to Great Britain
The UK is one of the most fascinating travel destinations in the world. It’s a country with a long history, a diverse population and economy chock full of fascinating sights for the visitor.
The cultural and economic capital of the UK, London, is the center of the action, but by no means the only place to visit. Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Brighton, the English countryside all make interesting trips. Small villages, lakes, rugged shorelines, castles, stone circles, even crop circles await your discovery.
This site will help you explore all the UK has to offer the visitor including 300 Hotels, restaurants, museums, and shopping.
Discuss the UK, get travel tips on our UK forums. Visit our UK bookstore for travel books and maps. Browse around our site and let us know what you think!
Don’t forget to check out our London Super Saver Hotels! Big discounts at quality hotels with online booking.
Royal Pavillion, Brighton
Brighton is only a 50 minute train ride from London, and it can be a wonderful escape from the crowded noisy city, especially on a hot summer day. I visited in Brighton in July when London was roasting in heat and humidity. The express train, full of families with the same idea as mine, only stopped once at East Croyden, then sped down to Brighton. A few miles before the town, it clouded up, and thus what was to be a sunny warm day, turned into a cool, windy one, but refreshing nevertheless.
If you’re looking for fun in London, get down to Covent Garden, the center of London’s theater and entertainment district. There’s lots of trendy alternative shops, markets, music, and restaurants in this area to explore. Much of the area is closed to traffic, so walking around is easy. Window shopping is choice in this district with many specialty shops selling things like rare books, art, shoes, and the latest fashions. Just wander around the maze of short streets. Don’t miss Neal Street and James Street, as these are the alternative places to shop. James Street will take you right to the Covent Garden Market.
No visit would be complete without doing a little shopping in the Covent Garden Market. I found a good selection of typical tourist items like clothing, UK specialty items and knicknacks, all at very good prices. Unfortunately some of the stores in the market can now be found in any mall, ruining the uniqueness of this place.But still it’s a wonderful place to hangout on a nice day. In summer there’s live entertainment including music, magic, juggling or performance art. Now every month, on the second Friday, there’s a fresh produce market specializing in seasonal and organic produce!
The theater is alive and kicking in London these days. Major productions, including Phantom of the Opera, Bombay Dreams, Les Miserables and many others are still drawing huge audiences.
London’s Theater district surrounds the Covent Garden area, extending to Piccadilly Circus and down to Trafalgar Square. In addition to almost 50 stages, this area is also home to many other types of entertainment including movie theaters and live music venues.
If you visit the area during the day, you’ll see many ticket agents offering reduced prices, as much as 50% off, for that evening’s performances. When I was there one… Continue reading
If you need to change your currency for English Pounds, beware that rip-offs abound. Most currency changing places and banks either charge large commissions or a “handling” charge, in addition to giving you a lousy exchange rate too. I cashed a traveler’s check for US$100 and ended up paying a 7½% fee for the exchange, in addition to an exchange rate that was about 4% over the interbank rate. I ended up with £57 for that $100. That’s at least £5 less than I would’ve got using an ATM.
If you plan on using cash, which is inevitable in certain… Continue reading
London’s famed Underground, the oldest subway in the world, opened in 1863. Also referred to as “The Tube”, the Underground is one of the best ways to get around London quickly and cheaply. If you’re planning to visit a number of attractions in one day, the best way to go is to get a Travelcard for the day which allows unlimited travel through all four city zones for only £5, for the day.
It’s also valid on buses, trams and the rail service to the suburbs. This can be a good bargain if your travel takes you to the outskirts… Continue reading