Category Archives: England

Central London Megabus Tour

Megabus tour in London

Even having lived in London for over ten years, I know there’s always more to see and learn.  I’m already a big fan of the Sandeman free walking tours so I decided to try a London bus tour for a change.

london-eye-megabus-tour

I found that Megabus has started doing bus tours!  They are already great for cheap coach travel across the UK and US, so I was happy to check out their 2-hour London bus tour with a friend.  Tickets start as low as £1, and you can easily find tickets for £5 per person.

london-megabus-tour

Here is the info from the website:

See London for less when you experience our non-stop bus tour, which will take you to up to 50 of the capital’s most famous sights in the space of just 2 hours. Prices start from just £1 plus a booking fee.

You’ll be able to get onboard one of our open top double-decker buses in central London every day of the week, every hour between 10:00 and 17:00. And you can start and end your tour from three locations:

  • The London Eye
  • Tower of London
  • Park Lane

Why choose megasightseeing.com for your open top London bus tour?

  • 2-hour tour – you’ll see all of London’s best bits in two hours
  • Non-stop – we’ll take you through the city, minus the pit-stops
  • Mega Value – prices start from £1 plus a booking fee, subject to availability
  • Seat available upstairs – so you get a great view of all of London’s best bits
  • Easy to use – just get on at your choice of three locations
  • Book online – you can book online right up to time of departure
  • Departures every hour – find the time that suits you best
  • English Commentary – we’ll give you all the fascinating facts about London with a special appearance from Sid.

I booked the tickets online.  I foolishly made some booking errors and was able to correct them easily online for a fee of £2.50.  Our pick up point was at Hyde Park Corner, a couple of minutes from the underground station.  Our bus was late by 15 minutes because of traffic, luckily it was a beautiful sunny day so we waited in Hyde Park.

We sat at the top of the bus and there was a clear recorded commentary throughout the tour.  It was really awesome!  We had great views and went past loads of things like Trafalgar Square, the new Bloomberg building, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye.

tower-bridge-london-megabus-tour

london-city-buildings-megabus-tour

royal-horse-guards-london-megabus-tour

Overall, this Megabus tour was definitely a big HIT.  It was cheap, simple to book, easy to find, then you can just sit back and enjoy!  I did learn lots of new interesting info, like the spike monument at London Bridge station (pictured below with the Shard in the background) is to remember all the beheadings that used to take place there… before the heads were placed on spikes along the bridge!  How times have changed!!

spike-monument-london-bridge-megabus-tour

Bear in mind when booking that there are various pick up points.  Make sure you pick the right one!  And take a brolly.  We did get a few minutes of rain, but what’s a summer day in London without a sprinkling of rain??

Click here to book the Megabus London Tour.

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Heart of Hollywood tour – London O2

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A friend took me to see the Heart of Hollywood that is currently on tour in London until 17th July.  It’s part of a world tour that will cover 60 cities.  I didn’t know what to expect, but it was pretty awesome!  It is a collection of memorabilia from Hollywood, including the original letter ‘H’ from the Hollywood sign, iconic art and some original costumes from movies including Superman.

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The highlight was definitely the one-hour dancing and singing outdoor performance at dusk as the sun set over London.  The performers were really amazing and it was such a lively and eclectic selection of songs.

This was a really awesome and ‘different’ thing to do in London.  It’s located in North Greenwich by the O2 arena so there is easy access and plenty of restaurants nearby.  You can find out more and buy tickets here:

https://www.theo2.co.uk/events/detail/the-heart-of-hollywood-tour

http://www.heartofhollywoodtour.com

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Filed under Art, London, Travel

Dickens Festival in Rochester, Kent

I enjoyed a lovely day at the Rochester Dickens Festival. Rochester is lovely on any given day, but even more so when the sun is shining and the streets are full of live music, plays, food stands and people dressed up in Dickensian costumes.  There was such a great atmosphere.

I was pleased to see lots of fair rides at the Rochester Castle grounds.


As well as lots of trade stores selling all sorts of arts, crafts and other things.

My friend and I went to Quills for lunch, which had been on my to-do list. I had a delicious all day breakfast (for lunch).

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And my friend’s burger looked absolutely delicious.

We spent some time along the high street and popped into some of the charity shops to look at books. Followed by some lovely hot donuts from a stall, because there’s always room for dessert!

It was a great day and I look forward to returning to the Dickens Festival in future.

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A trip to the Tate Modern #London


It’s always a pleasure to visit the Tate Modern, especially on a sunny London day with a viewing level!


I must admit that I didn’t really pay attention to the artists’ names, I just like to wander around and see what catches my eye, like this money tree:


There was a great range of different art works, plenty to keep me occupied for a few hours!

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The Hive in Kew Gardens #London

The Hive at Kew Gardens is a unique installation that is connected to a real bee hive.  The lights light up based on real interactions taking place in the bee hive.  It’s big enough to take a walk inside and really beautiful after sunset.  A friend and I went and enjoyed a cocktail and chat on the grass before going to investigate properly.  Great for a chillaxed evening. 

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A long weekend in Manchester

August 2015

I went to Manchester for the August bank holiday weekend, to visit a friend who moved there recently.  I have been to Manchester a couple of times before and always enjoyed it.

SATURDAY

I booked my tickets on https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/ for a total of £40 return.  The train went from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly where my friend picked me up.  We had a little wander through town, I especially liked the Spinningfields area with its cool restaurants and bars.  We took an Uber taxi back to her place and chilled out.

In the evening, we went to a great restaurant called Red Chilli:

http://redchillirestaurant.co.uk/manchester-oxford-road/

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187069-d2038326-Reviews-Red_Chilli-Manchester_Greater_Manchester_England.html

I really liked the food here.  The salt and pepper squid was nice and tasty (not chewy like at a lot of places) the dumplings were tasty, and my main dish of poached mutton in spicy sauce really tested my chilli spectrum!  I would have been happy to go back there.

mutton mushroom

SUNDAY

We headed out to the Whitworth Art Gallery:

http://www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk/

I hadn’t heard of this place before, but it is somewhere my friend had been meaning to check out and I was happy to give it a go.  It is free to enter, and I was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of art they had on show, including clothes, photos, watercolour paintings and quite random displays.

art art 2

We also had lunch at the gallery’s cafe.  My friend and I both had the soup with market salads and bread, which was very tasty.  It’s a very nice little cafe, very bright and located amongst the trees of the outside park.  Worth a visit.

In the afternoon, I caught up with another friend for drinks at the Joshua Brooks bar:
http://joshuabrooks.co.uk/

This place has a nice vibe.  It was a Sunday afternoon so pretty quiet, but there were some other groups there and the background music added some atmosphere.  A good place to catch up for drinks.

For dinner, I went to Bem Brasil on King Street:
http://www.bembrasilrestaurants.com/

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187069-d1434555-Reviews-Bem_Brasil_Deansgate-Manchester_Greater_Manchester_England.html

This is a buffet style Brazilian restaurant where you can help yourself to a buffet of salads, and people come around with freshly grilled/barbecued meats for you to have as much as you want.  Good for carnivores.  Everything was tasty – especially their sangria!

MONDAY

The rest of the trip involved chilling out.  On Monday we watched the ‘Adjustment Bureau’ on DVD and ordered some pizza.  I took the 3.35pm Virgin train back to London, which was sadly delayed by 45 minutes – I’m going to figure out how to claim a reimbursement!

All in all, a good little trip to Manchester.

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I’m leaving my job. And moving to Costa Rica.

After four years in my London 8-6 office job, I have decided to take drastic action and leave to do something amazing.

I am moving to Costa Rica to teach English.

Now don’t get me wrong, this was not an easy decision to make.  However, my need for change, adventure and my growing dissatisfaction with work meant the decision was made relatively quickly.

I had the idea in June.
I booked the course and flights in July.
I left work in August.  My last day was Friday the 14th of August (ten days ago).
I will fly out on the 13th of October, giving me some time to sort out any loose ends before I leave.

I chose Costa Rica for its abundant wildlife (I originally planned to take time off work to do a wildlife volunteer project with turtles there) and because I intend to be fluent in Spanish one day.

I did intend to teach English in the sun (Spain) one day – when I retire.  But while I was thinking about what kind of jobs I wanted to apply to now, I thought to myself ‘why wait?’.  Why wait to live a life in the sun, doing relatively flexible work and living somewhere I enjoy?

Stepping away from friends, family, a steady job and steady income to step into the unknown is a BIG STEP.  I have never been to Costa Rica so this is a big leap of faith.  And I am reminding myself that if I don’t like it, I can always come back or go somewhere else.

I do know that I will be doing a one month TEFL course (Teach English as a Foreign Language) in Manuel Antonio, near the beach, and staying with a host family for six weeks.  I don’t know what Costa Rica will hold for me in the long run, this is something I will have to find out…

This is a challenge, that I *think* I am ready for!

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