The Royal Pavilion Brighton


The Royal Pavilion in Brighton was built by King George IV, and was constructed over a period of 35 years. The Indian style palace is filled with lavish furnishings typical of these dusty old royal palaces… fun to visit if touristing in Brighton however. There is a fee to enter.


October to March 10.00am-5.15pm (last tickets at 4.30pm)

April to September 9.30am-5.45pm (last tickets at 5.00pm)

Closed 25 & 26 December

Buckingham Palace

The tourists crowd to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.

One of the biggest attractions in London is Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II’s home when she’s in town. Tourists flock here to see the changing of the guard, to visit the palace (summer tours help pay for the maintenance), and to see special exhibitions.

The palace is open to the public in August and September. The Queen’s Gallery which displays many of the Royal Treasures including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Poussin, Canaletto and Claude; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; French porcelain, and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world is now open.




Open 5 August – 29 September
A timed-ticket system is operated, with admission every 15 minutes.
Adult £11.50, Over 60 £9.50, Under 17 £6.00, Under 5 Free, Family £29.00



Buckingham Palace
Phone: (+44) (0) 20 7321 2233

Royal Academy of Arts

Since 1769, the Royal Academy has been putting on the Summer Exhibitions, which are one of the major tourist attractions in London.

Check their website for the exhibition schedule.

Admission: £7 adults, children 12-18 £2.50, children 8-11 £1.50

Open: 10am to 6pm, until 10pm on Fridays. Last admission to the galleries is thirty minutes before closing.

Underground: Piccadilly

Burlington House, Picadilly
London WIJ OBD
Phone: 020 7300-8000


Totnes is a small market town nestled at the mouth of the beautiful river Dart surrounded by the green hills of the South Hams in Devon. New Age happened here before it hit most other places, and although time has taken its toll and the pace of the place has changed, it still remains a magnet for artists, musicians, healers, pagans, witches and searchers. If you want to pay a visit make sure you come on a Friday or Saturday – market days – when the whole place comes alive…and more so in spring and summer. Vegetarian restaurants galore, vintage/retro clothes shops, organic health food shops, colourful cafes to lose track of time in…..and from spring to the end of summer pay a visit to the castle at the top of the hill.

Totnes may be small, but its the magic of the place that counts, and I’m sure you’ll feel it. Walk along the river towards Dartington and you’ll arrive at Dartington Hall, a college for the arts set in a beautiful green valley, and where Ravi Shankar came to study dance as a boy. Further on you’ll get to the Dartington Cider Press, a centre selling local crafts such as hand-blown glass and pottery, with adjoining Crank’s cafe, serving great veggie food.

London, The City of Old and New, and Everything In-between

London is famous the world over, both as an ancient seat of power for the British Empire, and as a hyper-modern capital of literature, art, music, food, finance, and architecture. The old city itself is only a small fraction of the more recognized Greater London that grew up around it, spanning over 600 square miles. This large region houses a great number of historic monuments and landmarks, alongside large music venues and concert halls, and a bewildering labyrinth of shops, clubs, and restaurants. The style and architecture in London is as varied as its people; just a stone’s throw away from a cozy, cobbled street of family-run pubs and gardens stand vast, glinting skyscrapers of glass and steel; high street fashion stores are interspersed with gothic, stone churches, while neon nightclubs look out over the River Thames towards cathedrals and castles. The mix of old and new styles is often bewildering, sometimes stark, but always leaves the impression of a city steeped in history, while embracing change.

Connecting all of the sights and places of interest scattered throughout London is the world famous London Underground, known locally as "the tube". You can purchase tickets for a single journey, or buy a day ticket which lets you use all the tubes and buses in London for a whole day, making it extremely handy when bouncing around shops or art galleries. The other commonly used mode of transport is the black cab taxis, which are similar to those in New York. Be careful about traveling too far in a cab, as the prices can become quite steep, especially if you hit traffic.

A tour of London’s sights is best spread over several days, as there is a tremendous amount of places to visit and a lot of walking involved to see it all. The most significant historical landmarks include: Buckingham Palace, the seat of British monarchy and home of The Queen of England; St Paul’s Cathedral, one of England’s most famous attractions; Westminster, containing The Houses of Parliament and The Tower of Big Ben; and the Tower of London, a massive English fortress, and the home of the Crown Jewels.

If this venerable heritage is not to your tastes, why not take a tour of the world-class art exhibits such as the Tate Modern, the Tate Britain, or the Saatchi Gallery? There are also a number of museums to indulge all interests, from science to natural history, and large gardens and parks to enjoy. Get a view from the Millennium Eye, the gigantic Ferris wheel overlooking the Thames, or stop at Trafalgar Square to admire Nelson’s Column. If shopping is your thing, there are few better places in the world to be. Whether hunting down designer clothes in Bond Street, or wandering through the hippy micro-culture in Carnaby Street, shopping in London caters to all desires. Notable streets to peruse include Notting Hill, Oxford Street, Covent Garden, and Knightsbridge.

There is a rich myriad of entertainment to fill up an evening in London; from theatre, opera, and recitals to concerts, comedians, and art exhibitions. The indispensable magazine "Time Out" lists everything going on in and around London every night, and is widely available throughout the city. The tube runs until a little after midnight for most central stations, opening again at around 5 a.m., so be sure to plan your journeys with this in mind. For the sleepless, the underground transport is replaced by the night bus service, where London Underground tickets are usually still valid.

Accommodation in London is variable, ranging from luxury, 5-star hotels to snug and comfortable bed & breakfast pubs. Be sure to get the latest on inclusive packages and hotel deals, and ask around for personal recommendations. For more information, try visiting our international travel forum to ask questions and get answers before you book your destination vacation.

Author Bio-
"Tina Halford" is a Senior Writer & Journalist working with TripMama. Tina writes articles with special focus on airlines discussion boards, besides sharing travel tips and nuggets on booking air deals, cheap hotels, car rentals and travel destinations.

Cornwall is the Best of Britain

And not the inane comedic characters from the BBC show either, this is the real thing.
Cornwall is the southwest tip of England facing the Atlantic Ocean, and guarding the English Channel.
Some of the things to see and do here include the Eden Project, castles ranging from Tintagel on the north, windy shore, to St. Michaels Mount near Penzance. Continue reading

BritRail – Journey by Train

Rail travel in Britain has seen better days. The privatization process has been completed and the results are mixed. Privatization was supposed to encourage competition, but we’ve yet to see all the benefits. Prices have gone up, service is spotty, accidents are more frequent, and delays are the norm.

Still, taking the train is often the best way to get from Point A to Point B. There are express trains to the airports and between major cities. But for long trips to distant cities, the low-cost airlines are a much better value and can save you time too. Smaller towns all over the country, are still serviced by trains, although many of these lines are being discontinued as unprofitable.

Rail tickets are not cheap, and prices continue to rise. A word of advice: don’t buy one-way tickets unless you must. They’re now priced like airline tickets, meaning a round-trip costs only a pound or two more than a one-way, so you’re paying a big premium. If you’re planning an extensive rail journey around the country, you should opt for one of the many passes available through BritRail. This will save you a lot of money and time waiting in queues.

I was very impressed with some of the new trains coming into service. Virgin Rail is putting its new Voyager trains into service and these are almost like airplanes inside (with much more leg room). You can even jack in your headphones and listen to several channels of very good music and interviews with artists. But then again, you’d expect that from the company that owns Virgin Records. Virgin Voyager trains are all non-smoking, and they have special mobile phone prohibited cars. Their restroom facilities are state-of-the-art too!

I had an interesting experience on a trip from Brighton to London. There were several short delays and the train conductor was so apologetic, getting on the P.A. system each time, giving long detailed explanations about each incident, and expressing such heartfelt regret that we were arriving late. He was so concerned that we might be inconvenienced. All this for delays that totalled together less than 15 minutes. I felt like patting him on the back, to let him know it was O.K, and we weren’t too upset about it. This is how it used to be, when service was the name of the game. Don’t expect such personal concern on a regular basis anymore.


Many foreign visitors to Britain never go further than London on their trip. There’s a good reason for this. London is one of the greatest cities in the world, and there’s so much to do and see here, there’s little reason to venture beyond the city for those mainly seeking the cosmopolitan experience.

London is Britain’s center of government, finance, publishing, art, music, shopping, fashion, dining, theater, museums, clubbing and more. Few places on the planet offer the diversity of options to the visitor as does London.

Changing of the Guard

Continue reading

Design Museum

The Design Museum focuses on modern design from the 20th & 21st Centuries. It includes the Digital Design musuem which highlights computerized interactive design for the Web.

28 Shad Thames
020 7403-6933
Open Daily: 10am – 5:45pm, till 9pm on Fridays
Admission: £6, Families £16
Wheelchair Access
Underground: Tower Hill

British Pubs

English public houses have a long history and are an essential part of British culture. Pubs can be found everywhere, even in the smallest village, and they tend to be the center of social life for most adult males.

Most pubs have fanciful names, and unique interiors that in many cases are centuries old. Whereas in other countries they try to recreate the British Pub ambiance, here you can experience the real thing. Ancient wood beam ceilings, stone floors, heavy wood furniture, fireplaces, old paintings and antique bric-a-brac give these pubs so much of their country charm and cozy vibe.

Many pubs have beer gardens where you can sit outside in nice weather and relax in a beautiful floral environment. English gardens are legendary and some pubs pride themselves on their gardens.

The wonderfully tasty beers, brown ales, bitters, porters on tap are always a joy to imbibe. Pints are the standard, filled to the top, with no head. And apparently there’s no limit on how much the Brits can consume. Unless you’re used to drinking till you drop, I’d advise you not to try and keep pace.

Hard cider and whiskey are also popular in pubs. If you’re not a big beer drinker you can try a Shandy which is beer mixed with lemonade or ginger beer. Of course other soft drinks and tea or coffee are always available. Pub etiquette requires each person in the group to buy a round at some point, so don’t forget your turn!

Then there’s Pub food. Once upon a time pub food was based upon the traditional English diet of meat and potatoes. I was amazed at the variety of items and the quality of the food being served in pubs these days. Italian food seems to have found its way onto most pub menus, increasing the choices available. Even a few vegetarian items appear on the list. Some pubs have very talented chefs who specialize in international cuisine. You should keep in mind that Pubs are the main restaurants in most small towns in England, so don’t be shy about checking out the menu, you won’t be disappointed!

I was surprised to find out that Pubs close around 11pm or earlier in some areas. This seems to cause everyone to gulp down as much beer as they can in the last 20 minutes, which isn’t a good idea for those who must then jump in their car and drive home. Even big new supermarkets close down their liquor sections after 11pm, making it impossible to get anything to drink later in the evening. I suppose this is for the good of all, since it prevents people from staying up all night getting too drunk to work the next day. Still it is rather disconcerting if you’re coming from a country with more liberal drinking hours.

So don’t miss out on this very British of institutions. The English Pub is an experience that others may copy, but can never be authentically duplicated elsewhere.