When to see London’s Christmas Lights switched on

It’s that magical time of the year.

The nights are drawing in but don’t despair London’s Christmas lights are being switched on this month brightening up your evenings in the city.

Regent Street christmas lights


Celebrate the pre-Christmas cheer at one these London Christmas lights switching on events

7 November – 5pm: Oxford Street

9 November – 5pm to 9pm: Carnaby Christmas Carnival

14 November – 5.30pm: Covent Garden

15 November – 3pm to 7pm: Marylebone Christmas Lights

16 November – 5pm to 9pm: Seven Dials

16 November – from 2.30pm: Kingston Christmas Lights

16 November: Regent Street

30 November: Westfield London Shepherd’s Bush with Gwen Stefani

7 December – 6pm: Trafalgar Square


London's Christmas lights in Trafalgar SquareCarnaby Street Christmas lightsCovent Garden lights switched on in London


Other festive activities include outdoor ice skating rinks, carol services and Christmas markets. Check out our events calendar for inspiration 🙂

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Tracking elephants in London

The mission – to find elephants in London.

If like me you love elephants, you’ll take any opportunity to see elephants when on holiday.

So, I decided to make it my mission to track down elephants in my home city of London.


Elephants in London, Elephant and Castle London

Elephant and Castle

Elephant number 1.

Starting with probably one of the most well-known elephants in London – the elephant and castle statue. The statue is located at the entrance to the shopping centre at Elephant and Castle. It was taken from a public house on the site before it was redeveloped into a shopping centre in the Sixties, claimed as the first covered shopping mall in Europe.

Closest tube station: Elephant and Castle


Elephants in London, Elephant Apex Temple Court Hotel London

Apex Temple Court Hotel

Elephant Apex Temple Court Hotel London

Apex Temple Court Hotel

Elephant number 2 can be found tucked inside a courtyard just a few minutes west from Blackfriars Bridge along Fleet Street at the Apex Temple Court Hotel.

Closest tube station: Temple / Blackfriars

 


Elephants in London, Elephant South Africa House London

South Africa House

Next up is Trafalgar Square! Just above a window on the left hand side of the South Africa House is elephant number 3.

The South Africa House is the base for the South Africa High Commission for United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

Closest tube station: Charing Cross


Elephants in London, Elephant Supreme Court London

Supreme Court UK

Elephant number 4 wasn’t easy to spot.

I visited this one during Open House London.

Although not accessible to the public, it can be seen through a window in Court 3 at the UK Supreme Court.

Closest tube station: Westminster

 


Elephants in London, Elephant Camden High Street

Camden High Street

The Elephants Head Camden London

The Elephants Head Pub, Camden

Camden High Street houses the most colourful elephant in London, elephant number 5.

Make sure you look up as you walk along the high street taking in the unique wall art above the shops including this amazing elephant.

Across the road you can have a drink and rest in The Elephants Head pub.

Closest tube station: Camden


Elephants in London, Elephant Frieze Sculpture Regents Park London

Frieze Sculpture, Regent’s Park

You’ll need to catch elephant number 6, titled ‘Gran Elefandret’, quickly as it’s only on display until 8 October.

Frieze Sculpture is a free outdoor sculpture exhibition in the English Country Gardens in Regent’s Park (the southern end).

Closest tube station: Regent’s Park / Great Portland Street


Elephants in London, Albert Memorial

Albert Memorial

Elephants in London, The Albert Memorial

Asia – one of the four marble figures

Elephant number 7 can be spotted at the Albert Memorial.

This ornate statue located in Kensington Gardens, just in front of the Royal Albert Hall, commemorates the death of Prince Albert in 1861. Marble figures representing Europe, Asia, Africa and America stand at each corner of the memorial. A majestic elephant represents Asia.

Closest tube station: South Kensington

 


Elephants in London, Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

The natural place to look for elephant number 8  is the Natural History Museum. See the life sized elephants and learn about elephants from different continents. You might even be able to buy an elephant souvenir 🙂

Closest tube station: South Kensington

 

 

 

 


Elephants in London, Buddhapadipa Temple

Buddhapadipa Temple

Elephant number 9 can be found at Wat Buddhapadipa

This Buddhist Thai style temple was the first to be built in the United Kingdom.

Closest tube station: Southfields / Wimbledon

 


Can’t get enough of elephants?

You can also…

Find a pair of 17th century Japanese porcelain Kakiemon elephants in the Japan Rooms at the British Museum

Go to the Blue Elephant Theatre

Live in the Elephant Park residential area

Get yourself a work space in Hotel Elephant

Have a drink at the Elephant and Castle pub in Kensington

And finally

If you want to see the real thing, you need to venture out of the city to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable, Bedfordshire

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Have we missed any?

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iHeartLondon 2017

#iHeartLondon2017

#iHeartLondon2017

#iHeartLondon2017! There is so much to see and do.

London is full of iconic landmarks, fantastic parks and gardens, diverse tourist attractions and loads of activities and adventure!

We have captured some images of what we love about London and can’t wait for you to share your #iHeartLondon2017 photos too 🙂

Whether it’s Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, Holland Park, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Piccadilly Circus, travelling on the River Thames, an amazing view from the Sky Garden or the Shard, a favourite cafe or restaurant, the list is endless!

Post your heart photos to @mybuddylondon via twitter, instagram, pinterest or facebook using #iHeartLondon2017

We’ll retweet, repost, share, pin and post on our social media pages and display in the gallery on this site.

Hearts can be made out of paper/card or making a heart shape with your hands. Why not hold a heart shaped cushion, balloon or umbrella or wear heart shaped sunglasses – or you could even add hearts to a photo you have already taken! Get creative 🙂

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Wimbledon 2017 ~ Strawberries and Cream

With the Wimbledon 2017 Tennis Championships starting in just a few days we are already craving strawberries and cream – how about serving them on a delicious cupcake?

strawberries and cream

Recipe for Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes

Preparation time: 30 minutes (plus cooling)
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Makes approximately 12 cupcakes

Ingredients for cupcakes
175 g (6 oz) self-raising flour
150 g (5 oz) lightly salted butter, softened
150 g (5 oz) caster sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for decoration
300 g (10 oz) small fresh strawberries
150 ml (1/4 pint) double cream
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

To make the cupcakes

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (350 degrees fahrenheit), Gas Mark 4
  2. Prepare your cupcake cases on a baking tray
  3. Put the self-raising flour, butter, caster sugar, eggs and vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk (or use a food processor) until light and creamy
  4. Evenly distribute the mixture into the cupcake cases
  5. Place the tray in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch
  6. Cool on a wire rack

To decorate

  1. Once cooled, scoop out the centre of each cupcake using a knife
  2. Thinly slice the strawberries
  3. Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until just peaking.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the centre of each cupcake, flattening slightly
  5. Arrange the strawberries on top of the cream

Yum… Enjoy 🙂

The Wimbledon 2017 Championships run from 3 – 16 July

How to get tickets

Watch Wimbledon 2017 on a big screen:

 

Wimbledon Tennis 2017Wimbledon 2017Wimbledon 2017

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Have you ever thought of going on a group tour?

Itching to go away but can’t find anyone with the time or money to go with you? Have you considered going on a group tour?

There are many tour companies offering you the chance to see the world!

Group tours China

China

Group tours Thailand

Thailand

Group tours Cambodia

Cambodia


Group tours are a great way to see a country or a region if you are short on time. You will definitely cover a lot of ground and see many things in the time given. One of the great benefits of group tours is that you don’t need to worry about how you will travel from one place to the next and finding accommodation as this is all arranged for you.

You will also have the chance to meet people from a range of countries, backgrounds and ages, all with a similar passion for travel. Group sizes tend to vary from tour to tour and company to company. Some companies will let you know how many people are on the tour, if requested. Some tours only run if a minimum number is reached so make sure the tour is guaranteed or you have a back up plan before booking your flights.


Group tours USA

Camping in Monument Valley, USA

Accommodation can vary with tours, tour companies and countries. You could be sleeping in a tent amongst the African wildlife or in a swag in Australia’s Red Centre, on a sleeper train through Thailand or in a monastery in China, on a boat in Halong Bay Vietnam or in a motel in Las Vegas, in an eco-lodge in Costa Rica or a hotel just minutes away from Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.

One of the greatest benefits for solo travellers is there aren’t any single supplements as you will probably be sharing a room with someone else on the tour. If this doesn’t appeal to you then quite often there is the option to pay extra to have your own room.


Overland truck

Tuk Tuk

Modes of travel also vary. Overland tours, quite often in Africa and South America, provide a large vehicle which stays with you throughout the tour and will carry your camping equipment, food, etc.

Other tours will hire vehicles or use public transport – whether it’s a plane, bus, mini bus, train, taxi, boat or tuk tuk.


Preparing lunch in Africa

Meals depend on the type of tour you’re on. If you’re camping you and your fellow camp mates will probably cook most nights. Rotas are drawn up in which people take turns to cook in teams (other duties include washing up and cleaning the truck), unless there is a chef as part of the crew.

If you’re staying in hotels you will be eating in restaurants etc giving you the chance to experience the local cuisine, whether it’s Argentinian steak, phad thai in Thailand, guinea pig in Peru, kangaroo in Australia, sea food in Vietnam or Moroccan tagine.


Group tours Patagonia

Glacier hiking, Patagonia

Group tours Costa Rica

White water rafting in Costa Rica

Many tours offer optional activities so you can choose which activities you’d like to experience.

These can include anything from turtle watching to sand boarding, hiking a glacier to going to Universal Studios and kayaking in the mangroves to bungee jumping!

Tours may also include some activities and the levels of fitness required may vary, check the itinerary before booking.


Many tour companies have offers and last minute deals, have a look at their sites and pick the best tour for you 🙂

Here are just a few options to get you started…

G Adventures

G Adventures run over 800 trips across all 7 continents designed for all budgets, all interests and all ages and are led by knowledgeable Chief Experience Officers (CEOs)

G Adventures provides

  • trip pricing (ranging from £300 to £9,000) appealing to a range of travellers
  • up to 25% off last minute departures
  • guaranteed departures
  • socially and environmentally sustainable tours

Search for a tour online, order a brochure or sign up to their e-newsletter.

Current offers:

  • Last minute travel deals
  • Save up to 30% on river cruising
  • Save up to 25% on select expedition tours

Explore

Explore run small group and tailor-made adventure holidays around the world, mostly off the beaten track and always responsibly. With 500 trips available in 120 countries you are spoilt for choice. Run by award winning Explore leaders, adventure travel options include walking and trekking tours, cycling tours, polar voyages, family adventure holidays and much more.

Current offers:

  • Save £100 off 100 summer departures, offer ends 19 June
  • Save up to £200 on selected Explore trips
  • Last minute escapes
  • Save up to 40% off Polar voyages

Tucan Travel

300 small group tours with professional tour leaders on six continents exploring over 70 countries.

Current offers:

  • 30% off Group Tours, offer ends Tuesday 4th July
  • June Madness Sale ~ up to 20% off Worldwide Adventures
  • 10% off selected departures in North America

Intrepid Travel

Small group tours with a local leader offering 1,000 trips in a variety of styles across 100 countries.

Current offers:

  • Feeling spontaneous? Get 20% off Intrepid adventures departing in June, be quick though – the offer ends Saturday 17th June
  • Last minute deals
  • 10% off family holidays
  • Summer sale: up to £200 off Asia
  • Up to 35% off Antarctica

Dragoman

Whether you just have two weeks or four months, Dragoman takes you on overland adventures off the beaten track across Asia, Africa and the Americas on 319 trips in 55 countries.

Current offers: Discounts on selected trips, regularly updated


Tip: Subscribe to Wanderlust magazine and you receive a £50 voucher redeemable with many group tour operators, check the website for details.

Booking your flights couldn’t be easier

 

For other holiday ideas, see our Travel World page

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Coming up in London

There are plenty of events coming up in London in May and June, many of them free 🙂

Make the most of the longer days and warmer weather with the many outdoor events and activities taking place.

Sign up for Walk London and take part in one or more of the free Transport for London walks taking place on 20 to 21 May. Learn about London’s history, modern architecture, the River Thames and even find out about London in the movies!

Ballet and opera are being streamed onto big outdoor screens in the city or a watch live outdoor performance by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Catch highlights from your favourite West End Shows and be prepared to get enticed into watching new ones at West End Live taking place on 24 to 25 June. It’s a free outdoor 2-day event in Trafalgar Square!

coming up in London

coming up in London


May 

June 

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Easter in London

Have an EGGcellent Easter in London!

There is a range of great events and attractions in London this weekend including hunting for Easter Eggs, watching Easter performances, marvelling at the magnificent Tall Ships whilst they float by, seeing dinosaurs and butterflies close up and so much more!

We are so EGGcited 🙂 Here is just a selection of London events and attractions not to be missed this weekend!

butterflies london


Easter Eggs HuntsEaster in London

30 Things to do over Easter in London, up to 72% off!

Travelzoo’s deal experts have rounded up some of the best deals in London to help you make the most of your Easter bank holiday weekend (14-17 April 2017). Offers on indulgent Michelin-starred meals, toe-tapping jazz evenings, sightseeing Thames river cruises, entry to top attractions, relaxing spa days and more, with savings of up to 72%.

Check out our London Attractions and Activities page for discounts and offers on London attractions.

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Space Hop Your Way Into The Record Books

Have you always wanted to be a World Record Holder? Now is your chance! Join thousands of others attempting to space hop their way to breaking the World Record for the most people simultaneously bouncing on space hoppers 🙂

Space hop LondonUnfortunately this event has now been cancelled.

Organisers TickTheBucket and London Flashmob are planning to smash the world record which currently stands at 2,943 people simultaneously bouncing in one place on a space hopper.

Join in the fun! 🙂
The event will be held in London at King’s House Sports Ground, near Barnes Bridge, on Bank Holiday Monday, 29th May 2017 at 2.30pm. Doors open at 12pm.

Tickets are £12 for adults and £10 for children, which includes a space hopper.

Hop over to their website for further details and to book your tickets

space-hopper-challenge.co.uk

If you’d prefer to get involved in other ways, why not gain some interesting work experience through volunteering in one of the marketing, PR, fundraising and event day management opportunities.

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London ~ Top Destination to Visit in 2017

We always knew London was THE place to visit, but don’t just take our word for it.

London top destination

The TripAdvisor Top 10 Destinations of 2017 places London second in the world on the must-visit list, and who can blame them! London is a top destination due to its abundance of culture, history, art, fashion, food and a whole host of events and attractions!

Need more of a reason?

There are plenty of places to stay ranging from hostels to 5-star hotels, traditional to modern and corporate to quirky. It’s so easy to get around on public transport with the London Underground, buses and trains, or go on an adventure and explore on foot or hire a Santander Cycle.

London top destinationBut London is expensive, isn’t it? There are always free things to do in London, many of the museums and galleries have free admission or why not visit one of the many parks in the Capital. Take yourself on a tour of the iconic attractions including Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Big Ben, the River Thames, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, Leicester Square, Oxford Street…

There are plenty of free events taking place throughout the year and lots of offers to be had on restaurants, theatre, shopping, attractions and activities.

And, if you’re visiting from abroad, then the weak £ means there has never been a better time to visit!

So what are you waiting for?
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Mother’s Day in London

Spending Mother’s Day in London? It’s the perfect place to treat your mum on Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day falls on Sunday 26 March this year, but why not make a weekend of it? There are a whole host of things you can do to celebrate this special day…

 

Mamma Mia!

Treat your mum to a West End Show, including:
The Girls
Mamma Mia!
Phantom of the Opera
Wicked
Dream Girls
An American in Paris

 

Sky Garden, London

Sky Garden

Kyoto Garden

Kyoto Garden

Cruise the Thames on Mother's Day

Cruise the Thames

Indulge

 



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