Tag: london travel

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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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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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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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Hey Boston! Virgin Atlantic's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is Coming Your Way

June 27, 2014 at 2:08 PM | by | Comments (0)

Virgin Atlantic used the occasion of its 30th birthday a few days ago (the airline flew its inaugural flight on June 22, 1984) to announce where it will be sending its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner when it joins the fleet this fall: Boston. Appropriately enough, the airplane will be called “Birthday Girl."

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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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Eastbound or Westbound: That is the Transatlantic Question

June 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM | by | Comments (0)

Paris, London, Tokyo, Sydney...a list of world capitals may make for a respectable "places visited" list, but don't consider it complete without time spent on the open ocean. To be specific, we're talking about taking a transatlantic crossing, sailing between Southampton, UK and New York, NY.

We've already done the math to discover that going by Cunard's RMS Queen Mary 2 ocean liner is half the cost of flying Business Class, but now to face the biggest decision: eastbound or westbound?

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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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Flight Review: $140 to Iceland on EasyJet is a Very Easy Decision

May 29, 2014 at 4:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

Know what sounds nice? A long weekend in Iceland. While most Americans would chose to fly Icelandair or seasonal non stops from the US on other major carriers, we managed to fit an Iceland trip into a visit to London, all because of the availability of cheap one-ways on Easyjet. What proved to be most notable about the entire EasyJet travel experience is the time spent at the airport, and not actually on the flight.

For the 7.35am departure from London's Luton Airport (LTN), we reserved a £12 4.15am National Express coach bus from Victoria Station, which arrived to LTN at 5.25am. From there, we clutched our print-at-home boarding pass and, with no luggage to check, we headed straight through to airport security. Luton seems better equipped than Heathrow to handle crowds of passengers at security as, despite the morning rush, we were through security and handled (not manhandled!) in under 10 minutes. So far, so good.

Airside, Luton is a massive food court, with the boarding gates located down hallways. Passengers find seats only in the main central area, and then stand to rush and line up at the gate the minute info screens announce their flight. This early in the morning, when budget airlines love to sell their seats cheapest, the terminal resembled a safe house during an evacuation drill. Every available seat was taken, and passengers clutched their luggage on their laps as there simply wasn't room to spread out.

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By Sea or By Air: Comparing the Costs of Transatlantic Travel Today

May 19, 2014 at 5:06 PM | by | Comments (2)

In one day, approximately 8,100 travelers fly one-way between New York and London. The journey from one airport to the other, with the stretch of the Atlantic Ocean between, takes 7 hours, during which time the luckiest passengers will manage to squeeze in a nap between tiny meals. In one year, that's nearly 3 million winging their way, one-way, through the clouds between continents.

In one week, 2,620 travelers sail between New York and London onboard Cunard's ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2. In 2014, as she celebrates her 10th Anniversary, she'll transport 23,580 via 9 westbound transatlantic crossings full of black tie evenings, three lavish meals daily, proper afternoon teas, splashes in pools, Canyon Ranch spa treatments, lectures by notable personalities, walks around deck in the sea breeze, and stargazing nightcaps on balconies before tucking into bed.

That's 3 million in the sky versus 23,500 on the seas, and you can double those totals to approximate roundtrip travel. Crossing the Atlantic by ship is indeed a niche option these days, and it's a rarefied experience in more ways than one. Still, it is first and foremost a mode of transportation—the QM2 is a real ocean liner, not a cruise ship, after all—and the small self-selecting group to chose an ocean liner over an airplane are actually getting the deal of their lives.

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How to Follow Along with the Queen Mary 2's 10th Anniversary Voyage

May 9, 2014 at 12:41 PM | by | Comments (0)

There's more than one way to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Although flights between New York and London fly nearly hourly, a far more rarified experience is to travel between continents via ocean liner. It's hardly a thing of the past; Cunard's three ships regularly feature transatlantic itineraries of seven days at sea. In fact, we're aboard one at this very moment.

Today is especially important, as the voyage begins what is...
... The 10th Anniversary transatlantic crossing of the Queen Mary 2
... A rare rendezvous in Southampton for all three Cunard ships: Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth. This is a grand send-off to the QM2 on her anniversary, complete with a 10-minute fireworks departure (one minute for each year of service so far), and an early preview of the excitement for next year, which will mark the 175th for Cunard Line.
... A royal visit. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh will preside at the anniversary ceremony onboard the QM2. You may know him better as Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who herself christened the ship in 2004.
... The lead-up for another big event, next week. On May 16, when the QM2 arrives into New York Harbour, she will turn around and leave again, back across the ocean for Southampton, completing a round-trip anniversary. New Yorkers can watch her leave in the evening of May 16. Best views can be had from the Staten Island Ferry or Red Hook, Brooklyn.

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