London Travel Guide

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If It's True, This Palace Guard is in For a Royal Spanking

August 28, 2014 at 10:44 AM | by | Comments (0)

The latest travel video to go viral concerns those oh-so-serious Buckingham Palace Guards - you know, the ones tourists try their hardest to break on a daily basis.

Apparently, a tourist caught the guard on tape making faces and sticking out his tongue, a big no-no when it comes to British tradition. Indeed, a slight slip of the tongue can put a Palace Guard in hot water faster than a tea bag on a chilly London afternoon.

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Why the UK Will Turn Off the Lights on Landmarks August 4

July 31, 2014 at 11:10 AM | by | Comments (0)

Travelers to the United Kingdom will be in for a surprise next Monday, August 4, when the country suddenly turns off the lights.

The Telegraph explains:

The Houses of Parliament, Blackpool Illuminations and Tower Bridge will go dark on August 4 to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

They are among hundreds of sites taking part in Lights Out, a Government-backed project aiming to achieve a nationwide switch-off from 10-11pm – the hour in which Britain declared itself at war with Germany 100 years ago.

The Foreign Office will leave a single lamp burning in a room overlooking the Cenotaph, and another in a room overlooking St James’s Park. The inspiration for the event is the remark made by Sir Edward Grey, foreign secretary, on August 3 1914.

Knowing that war was imminent, he gazed out at gas lamps being lit in St James’s Park and said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

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Frequent Flying Tips Straight from Virgin Atlantic's Flight Attendant Style Guide

July 28, 2014 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

This year's 30th Anniversary of Virgin Atlantic combined with the launch of the airline's snazzy new Vivienne Westwood-designed uniforms means more than just partytime in the skies on VS; these milestones will also bring about a revamped beauty and grooming guide for the already fresh and polished Virgin crew.

You see, when a new hire receives their uniform, they're also handed a Virgin-produced book titled Runway. It's essentially a guide to the "Virgin Atlantic look" regarding how to wear the uniform, suggested hair styles, and the like. It's meant for maintenance employees, gate agents and Clubhouse staff just as much as for cabin and flight crew, but the pages dedicated to the minutiae of a flight attendant's jet setting lifestyle are among the most enlightening.

Runway is right now in the process of being updated, but there are some choice sections worth preserving for all.

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The Little Things: Virgin Atlantic's Champagne Obsession

July 14, 2014 at 4:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

In the midst of the bustle of travel, it's all too easy to overlook the details. We're talking about special touches others have stressed over just so you can enjoy a unique experience, whether you know it or not. Every so often we'll highlight The Little Things like this, so now you will know.

The Little Thing: A dedication to serving Lanson Black Label champagne in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic.

You've just settled back in the leather seat, put your smartphone on "airplane mode," and flipped open the Upper Class in-flight menu. Before you can turn to the extensive list of options "from the bar" on this Virgin Atlantic flight (and yes, there is a real bar), a flight attendant sashays your way with a tray of bubbly.

It's a scene now so signature to Virgin Atlantic service, this stylish pour of Lanson Black Label Brut accompanied by a scarlet smile, but it hasn't always been that way.

The coupe-shape glass was first introduced onboard Virgin Atlantic flights with the revamp of the A330 bar in 2012, but the glass is now part of all Upper Class services regardless of aircraft type. The long, thin stem topped with a sultry bowl evokes the glamor of old Hollywood, and champagne bubbles look damned fine in it.

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A Complete Look at Virgin Atlantic's Hotly High Style Vivienne Westwood Uniforms

July 7, 2014 at 3:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Virgin Atlantic look is sharp, iconic, sizzling; there’s no denying the head-turning appeal of a crisp white blouse tucked into a scorching red pencil skirt, topped off with red heels. But, with the celebration of the airline’s 30th Anniversary this year, it’s about that time for a snazzy refresh so as to continue “flying in the face of ordinary,” as the airline’s slogan goes. For this, Virgin Atlantic paired with UK designer and punk powerhouse Vivienne Westwood. The new uniforms were just unveiled July 1 in London, and will roll out for all Virgin Atlantic staff, from cabin crew to flight crew, and desk agents to Clubhouse hospitality.

Alas, a flash of the new uniform as it swishes down the airplane aisle isn't enough to appreciate the detail. Aside from the fact that it’s now easier to care for with a new tech “nano finish" (the earlier uniform was dry clean only) and yarn made from recycled plastic bottles, there are small secrets hidden in every dart and under each lapel, telling the story of the collaboration between England’s flag-carrying airline and one of the country's most iconic fashion influences.

Although the uniforms don’t officially take flight for the entire Virgin Atlantic fleet until September 1, keep an eye out for a preview on your next VS flight; crew have been heading to the airline’s Base near Gatwick Airport to pick up their full looks since this past weekend. Here's what to look for:

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Inside the Amenity Kit: A Pouch and PJs in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

July 1, 2014 at 1:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

We come across some downright awesome airline amenity kits in our travels, and the surprises of each zippered pouch can often make or break comfort on a premium flight. With this in mind, here's to our new series: Inside the Amenity Kit, wherein we unzip, unwrap, and expose the loot inside:

It's crazy to think that a passenger flying Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class could be in for more treats after experiencing the delights of the airline's airport Clubhouses, but it's true. Following a spa treatment, cocktails, and a full hot dinner (all complimentary) at the JFK Clubhouse, for example, Upper Class flyers then settle into the full-flat seats onboard and are handed an amenity kit (plus a small, appetizer snack bowl of Tyrrell's crisps).

The grey felt pouch has a looped leather-like strap and an interior lined in Virgin's signature scarlet. It's made of recycled materials, plus it's unisex, chic, and easy to reuse for purposes beyond stashing your in-flight amenities. In plainer terms, it's just right.

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How to Get Tickets to the 2014 Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace

June 30, 2014 at 7:55 PM | by | Comments (0)

A little riddle for you: What costs $35 per person, doesn't allow you to take photographs, and is gold all over? Ding ding ding—the State Rooms at London's Buckingham Palace, which opens very soon for their annual round of public tours. To be specific, the Queen's address will accept visitors from July 26 - September 28, 2014.

As we've experienced in past years, travelers to London will be clamoring to get in, not only to tread on the Queen's lush carpets and gawk at heirlooms, but to view this year's exhibition on "The Royal Childhood" and what it's like to grow up living in a palace.

Tickets for walk-ups will be rare to nonexistent, so going online for guaranteed tix is the best route. Here's how to do it:

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The Cars of James Bond are Currently Parked at London's Film Museum

Where: 45 Wellington Street, London, United Kingdom, WC2E 7BN
June 25, 2014 at 4:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

Few things are as closely associated with James Bond as his cars: gleaming and tricked-out when introduced by Q, usually in less-than-stellar condition by the time the credits roll. For fans of the franchise, and even those just interested in how (stunt) movie scenes are created and brought to life, the London Film Museum should be on the shortlist of places to visit this year for the “Bond In Motion” exhibit, with the largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles.

Having walked by plenty of times, we recently made a spur of the moment visit, which was totally worth it.

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Here's Your Chance to Sit in a British Airways Concorde Seat

Where: London Heathrow Airport, London, United Kingdom
June 16, 2014 at 8:37 AM | by | Comments (0)

The chances of any of us that didn’t fly Concorde back in the day to experience what it was like to fly Mach 2 on the iconic plane are slim to none. Supersonic travel shows no signs of resurgence, and even if it were coming back, we doubt the original Concorde would be part of it.

While you can see a stationery Concorde in a number of places, there is one airport plenty of travelers pass through where you can still sit in a Concorde seat, even if it is before you get on a plane and take off. We're referring to London’s Heathrow Airport or, more specifically, British Airways' appropriately named Terminal 5 flagship lounge, the Concorde Room.

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Why London's City Airport is Looking Better Than Ever

June 9, 2014 at 4:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

London’s smallest airport, London City-LCY, does a lot of things right; it’s close to the city and easily accessible by public transport, its size means passing through is quick and easy, and it manages to do the tiny things that make travel so much better well.

Having overhauled the pre-security area you find when you go up the single escalator to departures a little while ago, we saw some major changes to the pre-gate waiting area when we took a flight from City airport last week. Since you only make your way to your gate when it’s announced on the screen right before boarding, this is where you will spend most of your time before your flight. Above what it looks like today; a shot from a few months ago after the jump to compare.

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Play Pilot and Win Free British Airways Flights (Again!)

May 8, 2014 at 3:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

How badly do you want to win free airline tickets? Perhaps bad enough to wait in a line during your commute and bite your lip while flying a British Airways Boeing 777 simulator to several BA tropical destinations? Hopefully you've answered "of course," because that's exactly what's in store for intrepid travelers heading through London's Victoria Station this week.

The promotion, which gives away an unbelievable amount of free flights, returns after a successful run in early 2013, which we wrote about then:

It’s not a state of the art simulator, of course. This is more the kind you’d see in an arcade game. Every day this week, it’ll be loaded with a different airport approach, and your job is to land the plane. That alone is fun enough. But here’s the best bit: every 15 minutes, the person with the highest score in those 15 minutes will win a pair of flights to the airport in question. Yes – they’re giving away 60 flights a day. This is inspired.

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How to Get Tickets to the UK's 2014 Wireless Festival

May 6, 2014 at 3:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

The annual Wireless Festival is headed back to the UK this summer and, as always, tickets are in high demand.

The 2014 fest will take place July 4th, 5th, and 6th at Finsbury Park in London and Perry Park, next to Alexander Stadium, in Birmingham with performances from Kanye West, Drake, Bruno Mars, Pharell Williams, 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa, Ellie Goulding, J. Cole, Salt-N-Pepa, A Great Big World, and Neon Jungle.

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