London is an incredible city, you can easily spend a month here exploring all the sights, museums, parks and more. But there’s also lots to do off the beaten track. Here are some of my tips:
This may be one of the ugliest buildings in London, but it’s a good place to go to get great views over the city. What’s more, tickets are free, you just need to book in advance.
With locations in Clapham and Balham, this is a great place to sample a wide range of local beers. The staff can help you find the perfect ale, which you can drink on the spot or take home with you.
Richmond is the perfect place for a quiet break. You can walk by the river, spot deer at Richmond Park, or spend a whole day wandering around Kew Gardens. It’s easily accessible through the District Line, but it feels so different from London!
Most tourists will visit the National Gallery and the British Museum, but further afield there are lots of less popular (and less crowded) galleries and museums. The Dulwich Picture Gallery is a short train ride from London Bridge, and always has something amazing on.
What are your favourite things to do in London?
2015 was the year that I really decided to focus on Airbnb for my trips. I had previously considered the site as a second option for when hotels were too expensive, but now that’s the first place I look.
So far I haven’t had any bad experiences – and you can have truly unique experiences: a view over a canal in Venice and the most amazing riad in Marrakech are among the best places I’ve ever stayed.
Everyone will tell you that the key to booking a place through Airbnb is to check the reviews. But I realised that my experience is also determined by another factor which can only be assessed on arrival: the kitchen cupboards.
The main appeal of staying in an apartment is that you feel like you almost live in the city you’re visiting; you can stay where locals live and relax without any of the formalities of a hotel. And part of that is, of course, cooking your own food.
We stayed in a nice flat in Toronto for five days. In the kitchen I found everything I needed and more: lots of pasta, an incredible variety of tea and spices, and many unopened jam jars. I made sure to reorganise everything – a bit much, I know, but that’s exactly what I’d to at home.
At the other extreme was the very well-located flat in Berlin. We arrived quite late, and after a mix-up with the keys, we got to the flat past midnight. I opened the cupboards in the kitchen to find them completely empty. I’m not saying that hosts should provide fully stocked cupboards, but all that white space made me wonder: what do they do with all the leftover salt?
Surely at least once a week someone buys some salt alongside with some other supplies, and most of that goes unused. Why not leave it for the next guests, along with sugar, cooking oil and maybe some other basics?
As with everything else, it’s the little things that make a huge difference. Sometimes, all you need for good hospitality is being able to make yourself a cup of tea on arrival.
A relaxing weekend in Budapest was a great way of finishing out trip through Transylvania. I’d been to Budapest twice before, so all I wanted was a comfy hotel and a day at the thermal baths. Just perfect!
There are lots of thermal baths in Budapest, and the most famous of them is Szechenyi. This impressive building has a massive selection of indoor and outdoor pools at different temperatures, and it’s the perfect place to relax for a day. Tickets cost 4700 HUF per person (around £13).
I have a friend in Budapest, and she is the perfect guide. We went for drinks at local brewery Jonas, the perfect place to watch the sun set over the Danube. This is also a great area to walk around.
We then visited one of the many cool bars in the centre. Szimpla is the most famous place (it’s been selected by the Lonely Planet as the best bar in the world a few times), but there are lots of good options around.
Napfenyes Etterem is a vegan place with an extensive menu which includes anything from Hungarian dishes to pizza. Dinner for two including tips cost 5300 HUF (around £14).
We stayed at Fraser Residences. It is located a bit off the city centre, but it’s easily accessible by metro – or you can walk to the centre too (takes about 20min). Rooms have their own kitchen and washing machine, and breakfast is included. Rooms cost us £60 per night on a sale.
We took a train from Cluj in Romania to Bupadest, which took a little over 8h. There are lots of flights from London and the trip takes about 2h30.