Top 10 London Visitor Attractions!

When it comes to popular places to visit, London stands out as one of the best.

                                                                             UK SITE TOTAL VISITS
SOURCE: ASSOCIATION OF LEADING VISITOR ATTRACTIONS
1.  The British Museum 6,695,213
2.  The National Gallery 6,416,724
3.  Southbank Centre 6,255,799
4.  Tate Modern 5,785,427
5.  Natural History Museum 5,388,295
6.  Science Museum 3,356,072
7.  V&A, South Kensington 3,180,450
8.  Tower of London 3,075,950
9.  Somerset House 2,463,201
10.  The Library of Birmingham 2,414,860

1. In fact, London’s British Museum continues to be the most popular visitor attraction in the UK, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), and attracts in the region of 6,695,213 visitors to its doors.

 

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London’s British Museum

2. The National Gallery remains the second most visited attracting 6,416,724 people to see its fine works of art.

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The National Gallery

 

3. The Southbank Centre, with its iconic Undercroft skateboarding  cultural space, comes third with 6,255,799 visitors!

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The iconic Undercroft skateboarding space under the Southbank Centre.

4. Fourth is Tate Modern attracting a record 5,785,427 visitors to its doors and up by more than 6%. This may be due to its extremely popular Matisse exhibition it has at present.

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The outstandingTate Modern

5. The Natural History Museum will always be a big draw for people and comes in at fifth most popular.

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The Natural History Museum.

6. The Science Museum is another major tourist attraction welcoming 3,356,072 visitors and is also famous for organising many unique and fascinating events.

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The marvellous Science Museum.

7. The Victoria and Albert Museum comes in a respectable seventh place with 3,180,450 visits, a museum of art and design which has something for everyone.

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The Victoria & Albert Museum.

8. The Tower of London is the eighth most visited and saw a surge in visitors this year with the events marking the centenary of the first world war and the sea of red ceramic poppies that were installed there.

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9. Somerset House stands at number nine in the top attractions list whilst the newly-built Library of Birmingham sits at number 10,  the only one attraction outside London!

Customized Tours for Groups of all Sizes!

Are you a family that knows exactly what you want on a holiday?

Do you have other family and friends you would like to share that ideal holiday with?

Well look no further as your dream holiday could be just round the corner!

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Happy Families

For friends, families and groups small and large, we offer a tailor made tour service.

We work with groups of all standards, from student groups on a very limited budget……….. through to a more deluxe type of programme, and everything in between.

On a UK tour, for example, we could arrange an exciting trip to the National History Museum in London.

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National History Museum in London.

 

You could spend a day shopping in York.

Bettys Shop full of delicious looking treats!

The wonderful Betty’s Shop full of delicious looking treats in York!

How about a day exploring Hadrian’s Wall and the amazing Roman Fort!

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Hadrian’s Wall and the amazing Roman Fort!

 

For your European tour the choice is vast!

Include Venice in your holiday and enjoy dressing up!

Plenty of people push the boat out and hire expensive costumes

Hire costumes for the Venice Carnival!

 

Go to Spain and visit the the salamander in Parc Güell and other Gaudi delights!

The salamander in Parc Güell

The salamander in Parc Güell

Include Rome, Italy in your trip and experience the breathtaking Colosseum fireworks!

The choice is outstanding wherever you want to explore .

Special prices because of volume discounts in many hotels in major British and European cities can also be  passed onto you.

Please contact us on 0800 612 8288 for a costing for your British and European groups. We make no charge for providing you with creative ideas for some wonderful itineraries, and would welcome the opportunity to show you what we can do.

6 Family fun places to visit in London!

 Find fantastic family fun in London!

Believe it or not, London is much more family-friendly than you’d expect  to find in  such a vibrant and busy city. There is so much more to offer so bring the kids along and have fun together. Take a coach tour that will cover London and discover the wonderful sights while there!

 

1.  The Museum of London Docklands is a wealth of history from Roman settlements to the Docklands’ regeneration. Unlock the history of London’s river, port and people in this historic warehouse and discover a wealth of objects from whale bones to WWII gas masks in state-of-the-art galleries, including Mudlarks, an interactive area for kids; Sailortown, an atmospheric re-creation of 19th century riverside Wapping; and London, Sugar & Slavery, which reveals the city’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.

FREE ENTRY!! 

  

2.  The Science Museum chronicles the development of science and industry in Great Britain over the centuries, with an extensive collection from biochemistry and photography to meteorology and astronomy.

FREE ENTRY!! 

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plane

 

 3.  Diana Memorial Playground:

This free playground in Kensington Gardens thrills children of all ages. There is an enormous wooden pirate ship surrounded by a sandpit! The  kids adore this and the bigger ones love to climb the mast for the views. There’s also a sensory trail, an outdoor music space, teepees,  swings, slides and climbing frames to keep everyone happy. The cafe also serves great coffee for the grownups too. 

FREE ENTRY!! 

4. The  Natural History Museum is a centre of scientific excellence in the discovery of taxonomy and biodiversity, this world-famous museum promotes the discovery and enjoyment of the natural world through such exciting exhibits as the Life and Earth Galleries, wildlife garden and geological collections. Absolutely outstanding!!

FREE ENTRY!! 

historymus

 

5. Coram’s Fields:

A free central London playground and park, not far from the British Museum, with play equipment for all under 16’s including a huge sand pit for toddlers, slides and water features. There are even some farm animals and no adult can enter without a child so it’s a safe space to be too. 

FREE ENTRY!! 

 

6. Hamleys Toy Store:     

Hamleys Toy Store is paradise on Earth for children, teens and adults. The magnificent seasonal windows, the displays and installations of various themes and the hundreds of toys create the “myth” of Hamleys and make children from all countries want to visit. You can literally spend hours just taking in all the wonderful and entertaining surroundings.

FREE ENTRY!! 

 

Give the family an adventure to remember this summer with Explore

Give the family an adventure to remember this summer with Explore!

Give the family an adventure to remember this summer with Explore  – 

Instead of booking a week on the beach this summer, how about taking the family on an adventure they’ll never forget? Whether you’re chasing the thrill of zip wiring, canyoning and whitewater rafting, or the more relaxed pursuits of kayaking, cycling, and boat cruises, an active break is just the way to keep the whole family entertained over the holidays. With over 16 different family tours departing to Europe alone this summer – from the Azores, to Tuscany, Croatia, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy  – there’s an Explore adventure to suit all interests.

Below are a selection currently on offer in Europe:

 

Family Active Andalucia!

Cycle, kayak and walk through some of southern Spain and Portugal’s most remote areas. In this rural corner of Western Europe, discover a landscape of forested hills, mountain villages and shimmering lakes. Later, cruise along the scenic Guadiana River, travel to the coast and relax among its beautiful sand dunes. Departing in August 2013, this eight day family adventure starts from £739 per adult and £696 per child including return flights; seven nights hotel with breakfast; transport; and the services of a tour leader and driver. Minimum age is six.

 

Tuscan Active Adventure

This energetic holiday explores Tuscany’s hidden gem – the Garfagnana Valley. Combine outdoor activities such as canyoning, climbing, kayaking, and riding zip wires with time to relax by the pool at a beautifully restored Tuscan villa. Walk the ‘Cinque Terre’ coastal path, and cycle on the ancient city walls of Lucca. At the end of each day, return to a homely farmhouse and enjoy home-cooked Tuscan cuisine. Departing July and August 2013, this eight day adventure starts from £1,064 per adult and £967 per child including return flights; seven nights hotel with breakfast; eight other meals; local transport; and the services of a tour leader and driver. Minimum age is 11.

 

Croatian Active Adventure

Join this week of exciting activities in stunning Croatian landscapes. Based in a rural hamlet with access to the Dalmatian Coast, enjoy the thrills of whitewater rafting, go sea kayaking and ‘canyon’ through caves and waterfalls. There is also time to discover Croatia’s historic sights or relax, making this an ideal trip for all the family. Departing in August 2013, this eight day holiday starts from £1,099 per adult and £1,034 per child including return flights; seven nights pension accommodation with breakfast; eight other meals; transport including bus, kayaking and raft; and the services of a tour leader, driver, instructor and support staff for all activities. Participation in canoeing, kayaking, or rafting (including whitewater) requires the ability to swim 25 metres unaided. Minimum age is eight.

Azores Adventure

Bathed by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, these little-known volcanic islands rise dramatically from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Spend time on two of the nine islands, Sao Miguel and Terceira, exploring their jagged landscapes and deep lava caves. Take a boat to search for elusive whales and dolphins and try local cuisine cooked in natural ovens cut out of the ground. Departing in July and August 2013, this eight day tour starts from £1,330 per adult and £1,234 per child including return flights; seven night’s hotel with breakfast; two lunches; local transport; and the services of a tour leader, drivers and boat crew. Minimum age is five.

 

 

A Cheap Theatre Break in London

There’s no doubt that the West End of London has some of the best theatre productions in the world. Or if you live in the USA, ‘theater’. However the prices can be a little steep. If you are prepared to decide ‘on the day’ what show you would like to see there are bargains to be had in decent seats.

First of all if you don’t live in London, work out how you are going to get there. The choice of show may be spontaneous, but by planning your travel ahead, you can get to and from London for between £3 and £10 return. Try this site for buses and trains at super cheap prices when you book a few weeks ahead.

Secondly, you will need to stay the night. It’s feasible to go home after the show, but more fun to stay and enjoy the buzz of the West End. There are now so many hotel booking websites that it’s very tiresome to compare the prices on all even a few of them. Metasearch to the rescue! Hotels Combined compares hundreds of travel sites in one search to find you the best deal.

Just the Ticket

Now to purchase your ticket. You won’t often find the ‘hottest’ shows reduced like Wicked, but the shows which were hot a year or two back may now have reduced tickets available. Shows like Spamalot, Billy Elliot, Jersey Boys. There’s sure to be something to please you.

TKTS Leicester Square

TKTS latest minute ticket office Leicester Square

I visited the official half price and discount ticket booth of the Society of London Theatre on Thursday 16th May to see what they had on sale. You can also check online via their website TKTS

So you can compare their prices with other booths off Leicester Square, here are three pictures. The first two are TKTS then the next one is another ‘half price’ ticket booth 50 metres away. If the prices are very similar, check where the seats are located. The best seats are likely to be with TKTS

TKTS tickets for sale on 16th May 2013

TKTS tickets for sale on 16th May 2013

TKTS prices on 16 May 2013

TKTS prices on 16 May 2013

Do not buy any kind of tickets from scalpers who may approach you in the street – ticket touts are unfortunately still common around London’s Theatreland. You will almost certainly be overcharged, and could be sold an invalid ticket.

Leicester Square Box Office

Leicester Square Box Office

So you stayed the night in London. Why not extend your stay with some sightseeing?  One of the best value attractions and a great introduction to London is the Hop On Hop Off bus tour – you often save money by booking online in advance. So why not plan all your visits in advance and skip the lines at the more popular attractions like Madame Tussauds and the London Eye? Just click here to book them all

Now for a real example of a 2 night bargain break. Price correct on 18th May 2013

2 guests travelling from Leeds to London via Megabus  just £20 return!

  • Journey: Leeds , Kirkgate, opposite Cross York Street to London, Victoria Coach Station
  • Date: Friday, 14 June 2013
  • Number of Passengers: 2
  • Leaving: 09:20
  • Arriving: 14:00
  • Price: £10.00

2 nights at the Imperial Hotel London with breakfast included £250.00   – This for a central location 15 minutes walk from the West End. You can slash your hotel bill by either staying further out – use the filters in the search to set your own price and area. Or look for hotel bargain rooms with Travelodge and Premier Inn as they have sales every so often for £19 or £29 rooms, but you have to be really quick to get a London one!

2 tickets to Spamalot – estimate £45 – (they have to be bought on the day so we don’t know)

  • Journey: London, Victoria Coach Station to Leeds , Kirkgate, opposite Cross York Street
  • Date: Sunday, 16 June 2013
  • Number of Passengers: 2
  • Leaving: 18:00
  • Arriving: 22:25
  • Price: £10.00

TOTAL FOR TWO :  £315.00

Happy bargain hunting and enjoy your London concert or theatre break

A Day Trip To York!

Wow, just had a totally amazing day in York with my sister Sue!

Sue Carolyn and Coco

You’d think that I’d be bored of the place since I’ve lived in York in the past (during my husband’s University of York years) and visited the place so many times since. But no, you can never tire of a place like York!

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Hubby’s (second from the right) graduation day.

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The majestic York Minster.

We started the day with a spot of lunch at the world famous Bettys Café Tea Rooms. Quite simply, Bettys Café Tea Rooms are traditional tea rooms serving traditional meals with a winning combination of  influences from both Switzerland and Yorkshire. The St Helen’s Square café in York became Bettys’ York flagship. Apparently, It was inspired by the magnificent RMS Queen Mary cruise liner and became increasingly popular, especially during World War II when the basement ‘Bettys Bar’ became a particular  favourite with American and Canadian ‘Bomber Boys’ who were stationed around York. Many of them engraved their signatures with a diamond pen on ‘Bettys Mirror’  which remains on display at the branch today.

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The main Café Tea Room at Bettys in York.

After much contemplation, we decided on the delicious salmon and potato salad finished off with a mouth-watering dessert, and of course, the obligatory glass of crisp white wine to accompany it! After we had finished lunch, we browsed through all the tempting array of delicious Yorkshire and Continental confections in the shop and ended up buying their famous Fat Rascals plus their more recent Little Rascals!

Bettys Shop full of delicious looking treats!

Bettys Shop full of delicious looking treats!

Purse out - Strike a pose!

Purse out – Strike a pose!

Next, our mission was to hit the shops big time! York has a fantastic mixture of independent, high street and antique shops to choose from. The amazing boutiques and  beauty shops particularly caught our eyes and provided an experience well beyond any of our normal shopping days. Wandering around Stonegate and The Shambles is always a highlight in any trip I’ve made to York as the web of cobbled streets create a magical set for any shopping expedition.

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Amazing medieval architecture!

Let’s also not forget the wonderful choice of delicatessens, themed cafe’s and beer gardens readily available for when you need that well deserved rest!

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The Shambles wonderful cobbled streets.

Having had our fill of shopping, we next decided to explore the magical York Museum Gardens. Visiting these gardens is an incredible experience as you become witness to some of the most fascinating and historically rich buildings in York. From the remains of a Roman Fort and Anglian Tower to the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey Church, the buildings signify the rich and varied past of York’s Roman and Medieval history in glorious detail.

The Hospitium – a 14th century listed building linked to St Mary’s Abbey ; now used as a conference and wedding venue.

With the beauty and rich history of the sights we had just witnessed still in our minds, we decided to go on and look for another kind of history altogether –  GHOSTS! There are apparently numerous ghosts that have been witnessed over the years in York and  their famous ghost walks are a good way of exploring these ghostly legends. I’ve joined ‘The York Ghost Walk Experience’ in the past and found it to be really insightful and sad, as well as downright creepy. However, the place I really wanted to see again was the the ‘Golden Fleece Inn’, which has appeared on the television programme ‘Most Haunted’!

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Nothing better than having a nice glass of wine in the company of ghosts!!!

Unfortunately, the day had to end too quickly and our thoughts had to decipher where exactly we had parked the car! No worries, we had a little help on the way from a family of geese which cheered us up no end as we had to leave the gloriously ancient yet vibrant City of York! For now anyway – we’ll be back, watch this space…………….

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So cute! The little baby had trouble getting up the step but managed in the end.

 

 

Cosmos Tours Offers Travel Your Way

Using a great tour company is like hopping on a magic carpet: They take care of all the bothersome details while the traveller experiences a series of wonderful adventures in distant lands. Cosmos Tours is that magic carpet offering the four corners of the globe in well-planned holidays filled with world-renowned sites.
For those seeking the wonders of nature, Cosmos has tours of geysers in Iceland, the Alps of Switzerland or Mount Vesuvius. The relaxed charm of the Old World lifestyle can still be found in their tours of Portugal, Greece or Tuscany while others may prefer New York or Las Vegas. There is something for all tastes here.
At Cosmos, tours are suitable for all ages from 8 years to senior citizens. Multi-generational travel is now very popular. Families share an experience together. Parents, their children and grandparents alike. Travellers with Cosmos will find themselves in a group of people with whom they can feel comfortable, the first requirement for having fun.
Instead of rushing through a blur of destinations as quickly as possible, travellers can take more leisurely tours. Coach or rail tours are available in many popular locations, allowing travellers to enjoy the landscape flowing by. This is travel as it should be.
Every tour is careful planned to give maximum enjoyment without worry or inconvenience. The planners at Cosmos know what travellers love, and they are experts in supplying it. To see the world your way, give them a call today.

How school projects and Remembrance Day led to a tour across Europe.

I’ve got 3 children who were all covering some aspect of both the 1st and 2nd World Wars in their school studies and wanted to find a way of giving them some hands on experience that would help them appreciate the impact of these Wars. Remembrance Day was also upon us which placed even more emphasis on a need for more insight into war in general. We had also recently found some old photos that my Husband’s Mother had given us depicting a trio of soldiers whereby one of them was a relative.

Old photo found of relative from the 1st World War

I also wanted to book a holiday, as one was well over due, and thought it would be nice to combine the two – in other words, a restful trip that also provided some interesting knowledge about the past Wars. Looking at the Internet, I came across a website that specialised in coach tours across all of Europe as well as other countries across the world – Global Coach Tours.

 

I found an Insight Tour which was especially of interest called World War 1 Battlefields (Summer 2016) which provided an excellent and fascinating tour where the memorials and cemeteries testify to the futility and tragedy of the Great War to this day.

The World War 1 Battlefields (Summer 2016) tour takes you on an emotive and poignant journey through the countryside of northern France, dotted with war cemeteries and memorials.

 

This Insight tour World War 1 Battlefields (Summer 2016) has the lot – beautiful places to visit combined with rich and fascinating historical facts. Just hope my children can absorb all what there is to see and do and take the wonderful experiences back with them to the classroom – a worthwhile coach trip indeed.