Local guide: London Airports, England

Local guide: London Airports, England

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to London Airports by A4A guest writer, Edward Alvaro.

Local guide posts provide recommended destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.

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Overview of the Capital

Together with Paris, Madrid, and Rome, London is one of the first European cities to come up on a traveller’s bucket list. It presents a rich, dynamic culture fit for every type of wanderer. You have posh commercial areas highlighted by Michelin-starred restaurants, specialty cafés, and shopping districts, as well as affluent residential communities such as those in Kensington, Chelsea, and Notting Hill.

On the flipside, there are also a bunch of free activities and less expensive neighbourhoods perfect for the budget explorer. Nomadic Matt even had a 10-day trip in the city for just $700 (£573). In short, London ideally combines the best of both worlds to come up with a legitimate tourist destination in Europe. However, with the constant wave of travellers going in and out of the city, congestion problems arise in the blink of an eye.

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How London Offsets These Difficulties

When talking about London, it’s inevitable to think about the notorious congestion not just on the roads, but also in its aviation hubs and parking spaces. Luckily, the capital belongs on Jalopnik’s list of the cities with the best public transit systems in the world.

City Metric even reinforces the notion, owing it to London’s underground network and light railways, as well as its buses and cable cars – relatively cheap especially if you have an Oyster Card. But despite these timely transportation solutions, the city’s airports and its car bays still present a different challenge.

Since London has two of the world’s busiest landing fields in Heathrow and Gatwick, airport authorities have made it a point to provide convenience and service inside and even outside its premises. These aviation hubs also have fantastic restaurants, but if you’re on a budget, there are Pret A Manger, Café Nero, and Costa branches – just to name a few – in both airports. Although don’t expect them to be as cheap as you might think.

When it comes to car bays, as a way of offsetting the ever-growing number of vehicles, Heathrow and Gatwick put a premium on on-site and off-site parking options offered by online companies. Parking4Less even highlights an efficient airport hotel with parking, ideal for travellers who have an early morning or a late night flight. All of these are aimed to lessen your worries and make travelling to London a breeze. In a way, considering all the variables, these solutions also help you save much-needed travel funds. However, in terms of the overall navigation inside these labyrinth-like establishments, the airport hacks below offer distinct kinds of time-saving advantages.

london_heathrow_t5_ab1_wikimedia

Since London has two of the world’s busiest landing fields in Heathrow and Gatwick, airport authorities have made it a point to provide convenience and service inside and even outside its premises. These aviation hubs also have fantastic restaurants, but if you’re on a budget, there are Pret A Manger, Café Nero, and Costa branches – just to name a few – in both airports. Although don’t expect them to be as cheap as you might think.

When it comes to car bays, as a way of offsetting the ever-growing number of vehicles, Heathrow and Gatwick put a premium on- and off-site parking options offered by online companies.

London Airport Hacks

Heathrow and Gatwick are more or less the same in such a way that both are brimming with thousands of airline passengers daily and have almost similar facilities. Say you’ve already sorted out your parking space, whether in a hotel, or at an on-site, or off-airport car bay, it’s highly recommended to snap a photo of your spot so you won’t get lost in all the craziness after your trip.

Inside, the left queue is generally fastest, as – in theory – most airline passengers naturally veer towards their right. It also speeds things up at the security line if you avoid wearing belts and jewellery. Lastly, it makes all the difference in the world if you sign up to an airport membership program. Heathrow and Gatwick both have their respective loyalty schemes that give you access to dining, shopping, and parking discounts. You can even get fast-track security features and departure lounge access.


A4A guest writer – Edward Alvaro

Aside from raising his 7- and 10-year-old daughters Carmela and Natalya, Edward Alvaro is a passionate world traveller and writer. He frequents Asia for its beaches, as well as Europe to feast on its best signature cuisines. During his downtimes, Eddie practices his skills in the kitchen, as he hopes to put up his own Asian-European fusion restaurant someday.

All photos in this article are the were sourced from Pixabay and Wikimedia and are free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. This is a guest post written by Edward Alvaro for which I received a small payment to go towards the costs of running this website.


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Adoration 4 adventure's local guide for visitor's to London Airports including hacks for eating on a budget, parking and getting through security quickly.

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Local guide: Plymouth, United Kingdom

Local guide: Plymouth, United Kingdom

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Plymouth, United Kingdom by A4A guest writer, Claire Summers.

Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.

Overview of Plymouth

Plymouth is the largest city south of Exeter with a population of 256,000 (around 50,000 of this is the student population). Best known for its huge naval base and water front area (Plymouth Hoe and the Barbican), Plymouth is also home to the National Marine Aquarium.

With its positioning on the border of Devon and Cornwall it is the perfect city stop off on your way down to explore the Cornish coastline.

Planning a trip to the the United Kingdom? Read our local guide for Camden Town

The Big Prawn Aquarium - The Barbican. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Claire Summers.

Top 5 places to visit

5. Mount Wise

This is one of the city’s hidden treasures! It features two FREE lidos (outside swimming pools – only open May to September), some of the best views of the city, an outdoor gym and some great walks. Downsides are that it is out of town, and you need to walk through one of the less desirable areas of the city to get to it. If you come by car, it has a free car park (unheard of in Plymouth) though.

4. Royal William Yard

A short ferry or bus ride from the Barbican Royal William Yard is the perfect place to dine Al Fresco. Make sure you take a walk around this historic ex-naval store’s base, as there are some incredible views of the waterfront looking out across the sound to Cornwall. As well as places to eat and drink, you can hire bicycles from Rockets and Rascals, do outdoor Yoga and visit one of the many galleries or independent traders.

3. The National Marine Aquarium

Plymouth has the largest aquarium in the UK and it is in the heart of the city on the historic Barbican. It’s huge and there are sharks in the largest tank amongst other things. There is plenty to do and you could easily spend a whole day in there.

2. The Barbican

There is always something to do (Pirate weekends, Sailing races, Jazz festivals, etc.) so make sure you check out the Visit Plymouth website events calendar. As well as events and festivals, the Barbican is packed with shops, galleries, places to eat and drink, a theatre, and an art centre. Once you have had enough wandering, take a walk through the Elizabethan Garden.

Cobbled Streets in The Barbican - Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Claire Summers.

1. The Hoe

You cannot come to Plymouth and not visit Plymouth Hoe. Like the Barbican, there are often events and festivals held here so keep a look out for these. Take a stroll, have a picnic, play Frisbee, skateboard, play a game of bowls or crazy gold. After the obligatory photo of the lighthouse, take a walk along the sea front, be sure to have a coffee at the Terrace and if it’s a nice day you can swim in the sound or in the Art Deco Lido.

Eating and drinking

Sutton Harbour

This is close to the Barbican and it has some really nice, slightly off the beaten track restaurants and cafes. If you are looking for lunch then try The Hidden Olive – Kitchen Deli & Coffee Shop.

Sutton Harbour. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Claire Summers.

The Barbican

This is the best area to eat for all budgets. You can’t visit Plymouth without eating fish and chips on the Barbican under the “Big Prawn”. I recommend Platters and Rockfish. If you want a true Plymouth experience, then head to Captain Jaspers! It’s a biker cafe and does the best greasy-spoon (fatty) food.

Royal Williams Yard

This is the old Naval Stores yard, which was developed by urban splash. There are some great places to eat here, although most of them are chains. This is outweighed by the views and walks though, which are spectacular. You can get a ferry, bus or walk (about 30 minutes out of town).

Transport

Transport in Plymouth is pretty straight forward as most places can be accessed on foot. It’s quite a small city and all of the main attractions, food and accommodation are in close proximity. The train station is very central and there is a subway path into the city centre.

There are plenty of buses operated by several companies (Plymouth City Bus, First, Stagecoach and Greyhound). You can get day tickets on most of them for around £4 giving you unlimited travel for the day. Be aware though if you get a “dayrider” on Plymouth City Bus, you can only use it on Plymouth City Bus!

If you need a taxi, I recommend Need-A-Cab (01752 666 222) they will text you when they are on their way and again when they arrive with information about the car and its driver.

Accommodation

If your budget can stretch, check out the bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) on Citadel Road. West Hoe is also fine but be aware that it is a red light district. That said, it is a really nice area with some lovely accommodation. Prices for B&B’s start at £30 per night.

There is only one hostel in Plymouth, the Plymouth Backpackers, and it’s normally £18 per night for a dorm bed. If you can’t get in here and a B&B is out of your budget then there are plenty of rooms on Homestay.com from £10-£60.

For all accommodation options, I would recommend staying in the city centre or the Barbican areas. Any other areas would require that you use public transport to get around.


A4A guest writer - Claire SummersA4A guest writer – Claire Summers

Claire Summers is a Writer, Blogger, Producer, Traveller, Social Media Manager, Photographer and Dancer. Currently living in the South West of England Claire will soon be packing up and embarking on a long-term travel adventure.

Follow Claire at www.clairesitchyfeet.com, on Facebook and Twitter.

If you would like to work with Adoration 4 Adventure, contact A4A.

All photos in this article are the property of A4A guest writer Claire Summers (except the feature image which is an Abobe Stock photo purchased by Claire).


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Adoration 4 adventure's local guide for visitor's to Plymouth,. Including top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around on a budget.

Have you visited Plymouth or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

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Local guide: Camden, London, United Kingdom

Local guide: Camden, London, United Kingdom

Adoration 4 Adventure’s local guide for visitors to Camden, London, United Kingdom by A4A guest writer, Katie Hughes.

Local guide posts provide recommendations for destinations from locals who are currently living or have lived in that particular place. Including information on the top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around with an emphasis on saving money.

Overview of Camden

Camden Town is in North London, not far from the centre, and easy to get to by all forms of transport (zone 2 of London’s zonal fare system).

Camden is famous for its market at Camden Lock on the Grand Union canal, as well its musical links, including association with Amy Winehouse. It’s also super close to London Zoo and the open spaces of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill.

Planning a trip to the the United Kingdom? Read our local guide for Plymouth.

Camden Lock - Lock. A4A guest writer - Katie Hughes

Top 3 places to visit

3. Hawley Mews (Free)

Hidden off Chalk Farm Road, north of the canal, Hawley Mews is where street artists have taken over. There is plenty of street art to check out all through Camden, however this street showcases an ever changing wall of different artists. This is a great place to take funky photos that rivals the hipster area of Shoreditch!

Street Art Hawley mews. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Katie Hughes

2. Primrose Hill (Free)

Walk up the hill overlooking Regent’s Park for a view across London and join others taking selfies at the top. Perfect for a sunny day to see everything from Canary Wharf (East of London) to St Paul’s (in the City), the Shard and the London Eye. Truly iconic!

Take a picnic and some wine from a local shop (plenty of deli’s on nearby Primrose Hill high street) or the Sainsbury’s supermarket near Chalk Farm Underground station.

Primrose Hill from the bottom. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Katie Hughes

1. Camden Lock (Free)

The Lock market is famous! There is something for everyone here, from antiques and vintage in the Stables, to home-wares, jewellery and souvenirs.

West Yard food area Camden Lock. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Katie Hughes

Eating and drinking

Food stalls at the Camden Lock market showcase different dishes from around the world and are a cheap option to eat. The Cuban is right in the middle of the market area for Cuban food and cocktails.

Inside Cuban bar Camden Market. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Katie Hughes

When showing visitors around, I like to splash out and try the ‘frozen in front of your eyes’ ice-cream from Chin Chin Labs.

For a drink, make like Amy Winehouse and hang out at one of her old haunts. She was frequently spotted in The Good Mixer on Inverness Street (where there are also lots of bars like Made in Brasil that do happy hours) and also the Hawley Arms right by the railway bridge. Can you believe I missed seeing her by being in the toilet?! A pint of the local beer is obligatory here.

The Good Mixer Pub. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Katie Hughes

Alternatively you can come off of the main streets and find a local pub away from the tourist trail. The local pubs have great food and beer gardens. Try one of my favourites, The Colonel Fawcett, which has a selection of 80+ gins and hosts a free gin tasting once a month.

There are loads of pubs that host gigs that are cheap or free. Check out the Dublin Castle and the Green Note on Parkway or Barfly on Chalk Farm Road. Famous larger venues include the Roundhouse, the Underworld, Koko, the Purple Turtle, the Jazz Café and the Electric Ballroom, proving that Camden has something for every taste!

Underworld. Photo credit: A4A guest writer - Katie Hughes

For a late night boogie the Blues Kitchen on Camden High street has a late license and live music every night. Also a perfect date spot, I’ve been there on Sunday’s and mid-week!

Transport

Camden itself is easy to walk around. To get there you can use the London Underground (the “tube”) or the iconic red London buses. All public transport is cashless so you need to buy your ticket before you ride. My tip is to get an Oyster card if you are intending using public transport in London for more than a couple of days. You can also use contactless debit or credit cards for any fare on the bus or tube.

Camden Town tube is on the Northern line. On Sunday’s the station is closed, only allowing  passengers to exit into Camden. To catch the tube back, use Chalk Farm or Mornington Crescent stations which are both within 10 minutes walk. Camden Road Overground station is a 10 minute walk away, connecting to train lines and the Underground.

The app Citymapper is a lifesaver when it comes to getting around London – it lets you know whether it’s quicker to walk, bus or tube and when you need to get off and change. You can save journeys for offline use too.

Camden Tube station (underground). A4A guest writer - Katie Hughes

Accommodation

Camden has a whole heap of accommodation options. Near Camden high street are several hostels, like St Christopher’s and Smart Camden Inn. There are also your standard cheap chain hotels, like the Holiday Inn overlooking Camden Lock, or try out Airbnb for a more local experience.


A4A Guest Writer - Katie HughesA4A guest writer – Katie Hughes

An ex-banker turned word traveller, Katie has lived in Camden in North London since university (16 years!). After spending a summer reacquainting herself with the good and great of Camden, including the low cost bits, she shares her neighbourhood with you.

Follow Katie at http://whatskatiedoing.blogspot.co.uk/, on Facebook and Twitter.

If you would like to work with Adoration 4 Adventure, contact A4A.

All photos in this article are the property of A4A guest writer Katie Hughes.


Pin it for the next adventure!

Adoration 4 Adventure's local guide for visitor's to Camden, London, UK. Including top places to eat, drink, stay and how to get around on a budget.

Have you visited Camden or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!

And if you liked the post – share it with your friends on social media.