Stress Free Travel Out of Gatwick Airport with Hampton by Hilton

 

As a Londoner without a car, there is nothing more stressful than an early morning flight.

Let’s say, for instance, you have a 8am flight out of Gatwick. Ideally you should arrive at the airport by 6am or 6.30am at the very latest. That means you need to be on a train to Gatwick by 5am. That presents a problem since most Tube lines don’t get up and running until about 6am. Your only solutions are to (1) take a scary and long night bus (2) take a taxi to the train station (3) take a taxi directly to the airport.

None of these options are particularly pleasant and none of them solve the issue of having to wake up at 4 in the morning.

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Our Room @ Hampton by Hilton Gatwick Airport

Facing yet another morning flight out of Gatwick last week, this time my boyfriend and I finally discovered a solution that solved all our problems:

We booked a room at the Hampton by Hilton Gatwick Airport and arrived the night before our flight.

Our flights were on Sunday, so we woke up late on Saturday morning and enjoyed a leisurely day of packing and getting ready for our trip. After a nice dinner out, we took the Tube to London Bridge and hopped on a train to Gatwick. I didn’t even bother to look at the time or when our train was due to arrive at Gatwick, because it didn’t matter!

Hampton by Hilton Gatwick Airport

Hampton by Hilton Gatwick Airport

Hampton by Hilton Gatwick - Lobby (Medium res)

Hampton by Hilton Gatwick Airport

We arrived at Gatwick on Saturday evening and strolled directly over to the hotel. The Hampton by Hilton is connected to Gatwick’s North Terminal, which is where our flights were departing from. The check-in process was a breeze and we found the hotel to be clean, modern, and very practical for our needs. Here are some of the perks that as travellers, we appreciated the most:

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free hot breakfast
  • Hot food served until 10pm
  • 24/7 lobby bar with snacks available (and you can bring your drinks into your room!)

Normally when we go on holiday, the rush to the airport is so stressful that we can’t relax until we’re buckled into the plane. By booking a hotel room (one that is connected to the airport, no less) we were never stressed to begin with. We enjoyed a lovely Saturday, nipped on over the airport, and even kicked our holiday off a little early at the hotel bar.

After a lovely night’s sleep, we got up the next morning, had some breakfast, and proceeded to the airport. The whole process was so simple and stress free that I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of opting for an airport hotel stay before. There have been times when I actually paid [significantly] extra for an afternoon flight just so I could avoid the stress of early morning travel. It’s good to know that I don’t have to do that anymore and I also never have to take another 5am taxi ride ever again.

My stay at Hampton by Hilton Gatwick Airport was complimentary. However, all opinions are my own.

 

 

 

The Best Activities in London This Autumn

 
Primrose Hill, London

Primrose Hill, London

As the subtle flavours of autumn begin to permeate the air, some of us will look back and begin to miss the endless days of summer. However, a change of the seasons brings about an entirely new kaleidoscope of activities to enjoy for those who may plan on visiting London. What are a handful of attractions and events that will definitely serve to punctuate any time spent here? Let’s list a few of the most popular and interesting.

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The Ultimate Foodie Experience is Coming to London

 

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Attention all foodies! There is a one-of-a-kind culinary event coming to London.

Barclays Bespoke Offers and gastronomic geniuses Bompas & Parr have come together to create the 200 Club, an exclusive (and unprecedented) 24-hour gourmet dining experience with the longest tasting menu in the world consisting of 200 separate courses served over 24 hours, and with 10 colour-themed meals.

The Details

Diners of the 200 Club will be treated to dishes prepared by eight top chefs. Each meal will consist of 20 bite-sized courses tied to a colour theme. Here are a few examples:

Yellow Breakfast: A morning repast that zings with citrus, caffeine and craft. This culinary explosion will hybridize flavours of the East and West in a high-energy, high-end display of homely food love.

White Elevenses: A British tradition bejewelled in surreal sparkle. Expect custards, shortbread, quiches, clouds of confection sugar and a dreamy sweet vision of the classic treats.

Green Lunch: This meal will be a rustic yet refined version of the garden snacking of yore. Look forward to leafy eating including the freshest greens, meats and cheeses, plus a procession of fluorescent jellies.

Blue Afternoon Snack: A powerhouse of flavour for the lazy hours of the day. Taste an otherworldly array of vibrant and dusty turquoises in the form of naturally tinted roots and skilfully prepared fish.

Bespoke Offers_200 Courses (9)

I think it’s safe to say that the 200 Club is going to be the foodie event of the year!

The Venue

The Factory in Bermondsey, London

When

8AM, 3 September to 8AM, 4 September

Tickets

The 200 Club is offering two types of tickets to this event, but they’re going quickly so you’ll have to act fast!

  1. Ultimate dining experience for two

Treat yourself and a friend to the ultimate dining experience and take part in the entire 24-hour event!

  1. 10 meals sampling experience

From just £49 you can take part in this unprecedented event and enjoy one 20-course meal along with a carafe of wine or two beers.

(This post has been sponsored by Bespoke Offers, but all opinions are my own)

 

 

Five Things that Represent Summer in London

 

Summer has finally arrived in London! With warmer weather and longer days, this is my favourite time of the year to be in the city. Now that I’ve swapped all my winter coats for a summer jacket and dug out my sunglasses, I got to thinking…what represents summer in London to me? Well, let me tell you!

Pimm’s

Pimm’s No1 Cup (Image Source: Flickr User whitneyinchicago)

Nothing quite says summer like a Pimm’s cup. This London-bred beverage is a favourite at summer sporting events and parties. Refreshing and fruity, I think a lot of Londoners would argue that it’s the official drink – or maybe even the official taste – of summer.

Sunbathing in the Park

Summer in London

Regent’s Park

When the sun comes out, Londoners take Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, and pretty much any patch of grass they can find to sunbathe. What’s great about this seasonal ritual is that the days last so long during the summer (until about 9:30pm at the height of summer), that it gives most of us time to put in a full day’s work before squeezing in an evening sunbathing session :)

Concerts and Live Shows

As a cultural destination, there are always live shows and concerts going on in London. However, things really get kicked into high gear during the summer months. Between events like Kew the Music, Barclaycard British Summer Time Hyde Park, and Greenwich Music Time, summer is a great time to be a music fan in London…if you can get tickets in time!

For all of us who’ve experienced the disappointment of missing out on concert tickets, you’ll appreciate the latest campaign Barclaycard have put together with comedian Jason Manford.

For those of you who do have a Barclaycard, you’ll be happy to know that you can get access to presale tickets 48 hours in advance on select events. How cool is that?

Rooftop Cinemas and Outdoor Screens

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Wimbledon Screening at One New Change

 

Didn’t score tickets to Wimbledon? Not a problem. Missed out on watching a recent release in cinemas? Don’t worry, London’s got you covered with eclectic collection of outdoors screens. Catch everything from cult classics to recent hits with the Rooftop Film Club or browse an exhaustive selection of outdoor screens in the city and what they’re showing here, courtesy of Timeout London.

Outdoor Pub Buzz

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Historic Pub on Berwick Street

 

I’ve never really known what to call this, but if you’ve ever been to London in the summer you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you stroll past a pub on a warm summer’s evening, the combination of overflowing flower baskets and well dressed Londoners sipping pints of lager is magic.

How about you? What do you think best represents summer in London?

This post is in collaboration with Barclaycard. However, all opinions and anecdotes are my own.

Top 5 Parks to Visit in London this Summer

 

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The English capital is always full of all kinds of attractions and activities throughout the year. With summer fast approaching, it’s time to take advantage of the beautiful British sunshine, breathe in some of the great fresh air, and utilize some of the stunning parks London has to offer.

This is a guide to the top 5 parks to visit in London this summer:

St James’s Park

London Parks St. James's Park

St. James’s Park, Image Source: Flickr User cdpm

St James’s Park is the oldest of London’s royal parks. Spanning over 23 hectares, these beautiful grounds are surrounded by three palaces; St James’s Palace, Buckingham Palace and Westminster.

Surrounded by trees, beautiful lakes and two islands – Duck Island and West Island, and landmarks such as the London Eye in the distance, St. James’ Park is the ideal place for a picnic on a warm, sunny day.

The park also boarders one of the most beautiful neighborhood to live in London, and makes it a very pleasant area to live. Castle Estates offers accommodations around this area, as well as other letting agent services around London, just in case you visit and never want to leave!

Regent’s Park

 

London Parks Regent's Park

Regent’s Park

Regent’s Park is another one of London’s royal parks. Located in North West London, this park covers 166 hectares of land and is so big that it occupies two different areas of London – the City of Westminster and the Camden district. Features you’ll find at Regent’s Park this summer include beautiful rose gardens, as well as:

  • London Zoo, one of the oldest of the world. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover more than 20,000 animals from750 different species.
  • Open air theater; opened form May to September itis the onlyprofessional open air theaterexistingin the UK.
  • Queen Mary’s Gardens; with more than 12000 roses from 85 varieties, this garden is named after the wife of King George V and houses the largest collection of roses in the world.
  • Sporting activities; Regent’s Park is the best place to take part in London’ssports because it has the largest outdoors sport area including pitches for football, softball, rugby and cricket

Hyde Park

London Parks Hyde Park

Hyde Park, Image Source: Flickr User pahudson

Hyde Park is an historical and royal park located at the heart of central London. It is one of the biggest parks in the capital covering 140 hectares of greenery and over 4,000 trees. The Serpentine Lake divides the park into two parts. Hyde Park is open every day from 5am to midnight. There are many sporting activities to do in the park such as horse riding, running, tennis, swimming and football. There are also many children’s play areas for the little ones to enjoy this summer. In terms of cultural activities, Hyde Park has also been known to host many music festivals and concerts in the past, so keep an eye out for any taking place in the upcoming months.

Greenwich Park

London Parks Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park, Image Source: Flickr User Jonnee

 

London’s Greenwich Park is an active park which has grown in popularity and visitors since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the exposure this park gets through the London Marathon each year. Located on a hill, it offers a beautiful view on the River Thames, the Old Royal Observatory, The National Maritime Museum, and only minutes away from the Cutty Sark ship. Greenwich Park is well known for its variety of activities such as cruises on the lake, playing areas for children and its tennis courts, as well as Greenwich Village which offers a range of great outdoor restaurants and bars, making for a fun family day out.

Victoria Park

London Park Victoria Park

 

Victoria Park is described as the local’s favourite East End park, boarding Bethnal Green, Hackney, and Bow. Victoria Park houses canals, ponds and a pavilion, as well as tennis courts and sports fields which you can make great use of during the summer. Victoria Park is also used as a location that participates in many music festivals such as the famous Lovebox, especially during the warm seasons where you are able to listen to the best current bands such as the Clash and Radiohead.

Top Tips to Finding Accommodation in London

 

If you are looking to move into the city soon but don’t quite know where the best place for you is, this is a short guide to some things to consider when finding accommodation in London.

There are many different types of housing options to think about, from flat shares to renting rooms, buying properties or simply letting a room. There is also a lot of options you have in terms of who you choose to help you make your decision a little easier and less stressful. Estate agents such as Leo Newman specialised in letting out properties in central London and do most of the work for you.

Hampstead, London

The first and probably most important thing to consider when choosing where to live is the budget you have available to you. It’s no secret that generally, real estate prices in London are extortionate. According to your needs, the price will typically vary between £450 and £2000 per month and often fluctuate depending on the type of accommodation (rooms for rent, flat share, individual studio, etc). A big factor in price is also dependent on the area of your place of residence. If you’re familiar with the London Underground, you’ll understand that it works within zones. Housing located in zones 1 and 2 will usually be more expensive than those located in zones 3, 4, 5 and 6. This is because the higher the zone number, the further away from London you are moving out!

Here is quick guide of the different areas of London to help you to find the best area for you to live in:

Central London

Central London is the heart of everything London with so much to do and see! It is home to some of the most beautiful houses, flats, and apartments, but that also means some of the priciest.

North London

Some of the most popular areas to live in North London are Islington and Camden with them being residential friendly. Camden is a fun and unique area, famous for its market and bars, keeping its bohemian and hippie styles. Neighbourhoods such as Angel are also an increasingly popular area to reside.

South London

South London has the reputation for being the most popular neighbourhood. But you need to know that tube lines are poorly developed and the bus remains the preferred means of transport.

West London

West London is known to be the richest and plushest area of London. This is where the TV show ‘Made in Chelsea’ is filmed, and if you watch that you’ll know what kind of people you’ll find living here! The nicest but most expensive places to live in this region are the areas Chelsea, Kensington, and Notting Hill.

East London

Since the 2012 London Olympics in Stratford, East London has become more and more of an industrial neighbourhood and residential area. Due to the sporting event however, it has also meant that house and rent prices have gone through the roof! Some of East London’s best known places are Brick Lane and Whitechapel.

Hoxton, London

With the brief area guide, it is also important to note that when totaling everything up, often the prices do not include other essentials such as water and electricity bills.

It is also imperative that you visit the where you plan to move into before you commit, especially in regards to the roommates is you are sharing accommodation. The wrong roommate will have a huge impact on your living experience!

Once you have considered all of the above (it’s not as much as you think), you can enjoy the wonders that living in London has to offer!

Enjoy London for Less: Introducing Bespoke Offers and Beat My Price

 

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I’ve written a lot in the past about making the most of living in London. This is a city full of amazing attractions, restaurants, and things to do. The only downside is that all this doesn’t come cheap…unless you know where to look.

Introducing: Bespoke Offers

Bespoke Offers is a new service that is one-part daily deal site, one-part personal shopping site.

For those of us who live in London, Bespoke Offers has lots and lots of deals to help us really get the most out of living in this great city. You could save on everything from fitness classes and haircuts, to walking tours, spas days, and meals for two at one of any number of fabulous restaurants.

Bespoke Offers

With my boyfriend’s birthday around the corner, I personally have my eye on the Marco Pierre White three-course dining experience and cocktail for two. At £49, we can enjoy a special night out for essentially the same price as dinner and a drinks at a regular chain restaurant.

Beat my Price

My favourite part of Bespoke Offers is its handy Beat My Price feature, which essential acts as your very own personal digital shopping assistant.

Bespoke Offers - Beat my Price

All you have to do is find a product you like from a major retailer (e.g. John Lewis, Amazon, Argos, etc.) and insert the product URL into the field provided. Through a bit of magic and digital wizardry, Bespoke Offers will search high and wide for a better deal and e-mail you within 48 with a better offer.

I happen to be on the hunt for a new camera, so I went ahead and tried the service out. I went on Amazon and found the model I’ve had my eye on – a Panasonic Lumix GF6.

Bespoke Offers Beat my Price

A few hours after I put in the Beat My Price request, Bespoke Offers found a better deal online for me:

Bespoke Offers

How easy was that? Shaving a few percent here and there off larger purchases really adds up. You can use Beat My Price for pretty much any item available at a big box retailer – from common household items to electronics, gadgets, films, and toys.

To check it out for yourself, head to Beat My Price and Bespoke Offers here.

This post has been sponsored by Bespoke Offers, but my views are all my own.