51 reasons to visit Manchester. And more!

Imperial War Museum North – Manchester

Ay Up!

As you know, I’m The British Berliner, and my original home country, is England.

You know the one.

Ye Olde England!

That’s right!

That famous and historical city – Manchester!

Now if you’ve met me in real life, you’d be shocked to discover that I actually hail from the Northern part of the country.

But you wouldn’t know it if you heard me speak!

When I talk, I sound as posh as any Sloane in Chelsea.

Put that down to an independent private education!

The Angel of the North – Gateshead – Tyne and Wear

Having said that, even though I sound rather plummy, I am in fact, a Northerner, and my original home town is Manchester.

Not industrial steel Manchester mind you, but the leafy suburbs of Cheadle!

In fact, not far from my parent’s home is Abney Hall Park – the inspiration for country house life, and indeed, many of the scenes – of Agatha Christie!

Makers Market in Cheadle Village

What I’m trying to say is that even though I sound as if I come from the manicured landscapes of Surrey, I’m from Up North!

And what was once the suburbs of Greater Manchester in Lancashire, is also part of the suburbs of Cheshire!

Follow the path and route in Cheshire

If you would like to know a little bit about England, Scotland and other British things, just follow the link here!

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MANCHESTER

Manchester really needs no introduction, but if you insist…

Manchester began as a Roman fort called Mamucium or Mancunium, in about AD 79 and was historically a part of Lancashire, and until the 20th century, became a part of Cheshire.

The lovely Just So Festival is an annual weekend camping festival that’s actually in Cheshire, but billed as Manchester!

Manchester is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the South, the Pennines to the North and East, and an arc of little towns surrounding it!

In fact, where I grew up, is technically no longer known as Manchester, but Cheshire!

Throughout the Middle Ages, Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand around the turn of the 19th century, brought on by a boom in textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, bringing extreme wealth to Manchester, and making it the first industrialised city in the world!

Now even though I’m a Mancunian, I haven’t lived in Manchester since I went to university!

I haven’t been back to Manchester for quite some time!

And that’s quite some time ago!

I had planned some day trips but we went to Liverpool instead!

That notwithstanding, we did a historical walk, had a few beers, and then went to hipster Ancoats and the Northern Quarter!

Yippee!

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Grab a few beers at Pot Kettle Black in Manchester!

There are so many things to do in Manchester that you need at least a week to do them all, so here’s a list of things you could do whenever you get there.

Go on then, choose your poison!

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51 REASONS TO VISIT MANCHESTER. AND MORE!

Dracula, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, in Victorian England
© Nino Munoz/NBC

1.  Discover the Victorian historical past of Manchester
I found a large collection of self-guided walking talks distributed by Discovering Britain and created by the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers – IBG), which you can find online! I picked The Slums, squalor and salvation – A self guided walk around Victorian Manchester. Being that I was named after Queen Victoria, I’ve always had a fascinating interesting in the era of that period! I enjoyed it very much, but ran ut of time!

2.  Read a book at one of Manchester’s oldest libraries
The John Rylands Library is one of Manchester’s most majestic buildings, and as a little girl, I was very much a bookworm and a bit of a boffin, so this library was one of the libraries of my dreams! It’s a masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture and looks more like a castle than a library! Go see for yourself.

3.  Go to Victoria Square – the first “industrial suburb”in the world!
Victoria Square in Ancoats was built in 1894, and is the first “industrial suburb” in the world! Ancoats became a cradle of the Industrial Revolution and was a thriving industrial district before it suffered economic decline and became quite a horrible slum! You can still see bit and pieces of it’s historical past, but you’d have to hurry as Ancoats is being turned into a gentrified Quarter of horrible glass and steel!

4.  See the home of one of North England’s most famous writer
Once the home of famous novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, the building – Elizabeth Gaskell’s House is now open to the public, exhibiting her old kitchen, servant’s hall, a tea room, and beautiful recreated gardens.

5.  Learn about Manchester’s industrial past
The Museum of Science and Industry is one of my favourite museums and is based on the site of the oldest passenger railway station in the world! As you know, I really like museums but most importantly, it’s completely free of charge, so why shouldn’t you visit?

Walter Greenhalgh in Tudor costume at Ordsall Hall – Manchester

6.  Travel through time
Ordsall Hall is a fine example of Elizabethan architecture. Dating back to 1340, Ordsall Hall is one of Manchester’s oldest buildings and was built by the Radclyffes, an influential local family with close links to the monarchy! And certainly, when I was a young girl I never forgot the importance of Tudor and Stuart! Oh, and it doesn’t cost a penny!

7.  Explore Art!
The Manchester Art Gallery is an amazing gallery that houses a huge collection of paintings, craft and design, and early 20th Century British art. Entry is free!

8.  Imagine life during WWII
Be a modern day Doctor Who and wander through time via the original tunnels from the Stockport air raid shelters used during 1940 Wartime Britain. Opened in 1939, the shelters were the largest purpose-built civilian air raid shelters in the country, and provided shelter for up to 6,500 people!

9.  Visit one of England’s finest Grade II listed buildings
One of the finest pieces of architecture is the Manchester Central Library. With it’s original historic features, cutting-edge design, impressive Wolfson Reading Room, as well as a fascinating collection of reading material, as a young girl, it inspired in me a love of dusty books!

10.  Hail the Suffragettes!
The Pankhurst Centre was the home of Emmeline Pankhurst and her family, who led the Suffragette campaign for Votes for Women & the Women’s Social and Political Union. She was named as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, and is a must visit for anyone interested in political history at the turn of the 20th century! It’s also free of charge!

Buying records in the Northern Quarter is a very good thing!

11.  Stay trendy and cool in the Northern Quarter
Similar to Berlin’s Kreuzberg, the Northern Quarter is one of the most popular places to head to. Situated between Piccadilly and Ancoats, the Northern Quarter retains a unique character and charm, and is Manchester’s urban creative, urban heart and home, to countless independent fashion designers and stores, record shops, cafés, bars, restaurants, street art, and other creative hubs! We spent a little bit of time hanging out here. Note that the Quarter also has the bohemian hippy air of Copenhagen’s Freetown of Christiania!

12.  Lose yourself in music
Since it opened in 1978, Piccadilly Records has become one of the world’s best independent record shops selling a wide variety of musical genres spanning from indie, disco, funk, house, psych and everything in between. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, they’ll tell you where you can!

13.  Rip your jeans at the centre of Manchester’s punk scene!
Manchester was very much a prominent part of the punk scene in the 1970’s where the Buzzcocks, the post-punk band The Fall, and Joy Division used to play before they hit the big time! Occupying a grand old Victorian building is the pub where it all started – Band on the Wall – with a reputation for hosting respected artists from all over the world. Visit, if you want to reveal Manchester’s 20th century music scene!

14.  Take a stroll and do business
Situated in the heart of Manchester, Spinningfields is one of Europe’s most successful urban regeneration projects! It’s the leading regional business quarter in the UK and the centre of Manchester’s corporate community, over 165 world-class financial and commercial services organisations, luxury international fashion brands, restaurants and bars, and over 5.5 million tourists a year!

15.  Be dramatic. Do theatre!
Once the largest trading hall in England, the Royal Exchange Theatre is soaked in history and was a prominent target in the Manchester Blitz in 1940! Today, the Royal Exchange Theatre attracts the very best acting and writing talent to the seven-sided, glass-walled capsule, and is uniquely suspended in the middle of the historic Cotton Exchange, so that each and every seat, is less than nine metres from the circular stage. We went to see a play there and it was remarkable!

The Imperial War Museum (IWM) North – Manchester

16.  Experience the reality of war at the Imperial War Museum North
The Imperial War Museum North (IWM) at Salford Quays was initially established during the First World War! Housed in an iconic aluminium clad building, it represents a globe shattered by conflict and is the first museum in the UK to be designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind, and of course, is free of charge.

17.  Power to the People!
My second favourite museum in Manchester is the People’s History Museum. It’s a national museum that shows the way ordinary people used to live, as well as the history of labour and democracy, in the UK. It’s very interactive and hands on. We visited a few years’ ago, and The Tall Young Gentleman was amazed to see an 1800 telephone that had both a mouth piece and an ear piece. He was so astonished, he didn’t know how to use it!  Absolutely free of charge!

18.  See the oldest library in the world. Probably!
Chetham’s Library was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world! It’s housed in a building from 1421, and it’s entire collection is deemed to be a national and international treasure!

19.  Visit Whitworth Park Gallery
The Whitworth is a gallery that I remember well as a young girl! It’s located in Whitworth Park, and is now a part of the University of Manchester and exhibits an extensive and eclectic collection of art and design, which is of international significance. It’s free of charge.

20.   Run away to the circus. No! Visit the theatre!
The Lowry represents a diverse programme of theatre, opera, musicals, dance, music, comedy and visual art, as well as events and activities to expand the horizons of audiences and artists alike. One of the most familiar childhood places that I remember is that of the Lowry Gallery. The Gallery presents paintings, sculpture and photography, as well as the exhibitions of one of Britain’s best loved artists – LS Lowry.

Party on in Manchester!

21.  Party on!
Housed in a venue built in 1878, The Deaf Institute, is a music hall ballroom with velvet curtains, a domed ceiling, a massive mirror ball, and parrots on the wall! It also hosts live gigs, comedy and club nights for big names in the early stage of their career, as well as craft beers served to rock ’n roll sound tracks!

22.  Listen to live classical music
As one of the BBC’s six performing groups, the BBC Philharmonic offers a wonderful opportunity to experience live classical music at its very best. The BBC Philharmonic gives many concerts, nearly all of which are broadcast on BBC Radio 3, it also appears at the annual BBC Proms. If you’re interested, you can apply for free tickets for concerts in the studio, or purchase tickets for the annual season at Bridgewater Hall.

23.  Experience musical talent at the Hallé
In my younger days, I used to play the clarinet and was a member not only a jazz-like Big Band, but also a symphony orchestra! And one of the places that I delighted in visiting was the Hallé. The Hallé is an 1857 English symphony orchestra that ranks among the UK’s top symphonic ensembles and supports youth choirs, children’s choirs, and youth orchestras, as well as releasing its recordings, on its own record label! It was a huge deal to perform there, and we did!

24.  Listen to music under the Arches! 
It can’t get any more authentic when you dive under the arches along the railway tracks. Gorilla is a mixture of film, comedy, live and club music space. It’s also a little gritty and is one of Manchester’s music haunts. And isn’t that what we all want!

25.  Get it in, at Manchester City FC!
Enjoy an exciting Manchester City Stadium and Club Tour and bask in the pride and heritage of Manchester and it’s very own football team – Manchester City!

Sculptures of football legends, at Manchester United

26.  Kick a ball for Manchester United
Travel to the home of the most successful football club in the world! Book yourself a Manchester United Museum & Stadium Tour, and enhance in the experience of a life-time as a premier league football player and a behind the scenes look at the most recognised football team in the world at Old Trafford!

27.  Be a Viking and throw an axe!
If you’re looking for something different, why not visit the Great Northern Warehouse where Whistle Punks will show you how to throw an axe. Jaaaaaa!

28.  Go to the clouds on the 23rd floor!
The highest point in Manchester is a unique venue on the 23rd floor! Cloud 23 at the Hilton has the most fabulous views of Manchester’s skyline as well as genteel afternoon tea, and elegant cocktails. Dress smartly. Note: Children under 18 are only allowed between 11:00 and 17:00.

29.  Sip gin at the City of Manchester Gin Experience
The City of Manchester Gin Experience is a purpose-built space with a cinema screen and private bar. Take your time and tour the distillery, explore the history, learn about the intriguing history of gin, as well as drinking it. And then top it off by creating your own personalised bottle of gin!

30.  Welcome to Chinatown!
Manchester, twinned with Wuhan in China, has the second largest Chinatown in Britain, and the third largest in Europe! Originally created in the 1970’s as a cultural hub for Chinese families in the north of England, Chinatown is now famed for its restaurants, grocery shops and bakeries, as well as Chinese New Year celebrations which attract thousands of visitors. In 1987, an impressive archway (a paifang) shipped from China – was built!

The original Bury Black Pudding – a breakfast delicacy of the North!

31.  Put your finger in a Bury Black Pudding!
Black Pudding traditionally served with hearty favourites like bacon and fried egg is the ultimate Lancashire delicacy and dates back to 1865! There is an English speciality called Bury Black Puddings! It’s a Bury institution and a must have, when having an English breakfast in the North of England! I’m not a fan myself, but why not give it a try at least once!

32.  Eat street food at a Farmers’ Market
Manchester has a huge number of local food and drink, produce, and Farmers’ Markets, so why not enjoy all that Manchester, and the North of England has to offer!

33.  Sing carols at the Manchester Christmas Market!
Step into winter with a dose of European / British  local food from the number of Christmas Markets scattered around the city. It won’t be traditionally German, but you’ll get food, drinks, wooden gifts, hand-made products and a good sprinkling of glühwein and sausages!

34.  Visit Manchester’s Edwardian Corn Exchange
Take a step back in time and immerse yourself in Manchester’s rich past via the Edwardian Corn Exchange. Bask in the Gothic Quarter and take your senses through the quaint medieval cobbled streets, away from the hustle and bustle of Manchester city centre.

35.  Sip coffee at Pot Kettle Black
Established in 1871, Manchester’s Barton Arcade is an  industrial vintage space that is home to a speciality coffee shop – Pot Kettle Black. We went there for a snack and a few drinks, but sadly, they stopped serving meals at 16:00, and the cakes they had on offer were either filled with nuts, or crammed with chocolate! A beer it is then!

Manchester craft beer – Chorlton Pale Ale –
©thebeerinreview.co.uk

36.  Enjoy craft beer
Manchester has a growing craft beer scene, with more than 80 breweries operating across Manchester! Try the beer, slap someone on the back, and buy a round for the locals!

37.  Laugh your head off!
Located along Deansgate Locks, the Comedy Store Manchester is right in the heart of a popular nightlife spot. Housing a spacious bar and canal-side restaurant as well as an auditorium, this hugely popular venue showcases some of the best comedic talent from around the world building on its impressive heritage from the original London venue, which helped launched the careers of French and Saunders, Jack Dee, Paul Merton, Julian Clary, and Eddie Izzard. We went to one of the performances, and it was pretty alright!

38.  Pub crawl through Deansgate Locks
The Deansgate Locks’ is home to not only the Comedy Store Manchester,  but also ten converted railway arches with six bars, a walkway, and a bridge hanging over a part of the Manchester canal beneath! Not far away is the real Deansgate and also the longest road in the city centre, one of the oldest thoroughfares ,and dating right back to Roman times! Can you imagine that just 30 years ago, many of the gentrified gastro-pubs used to be working men pubs, or packed with underaged kids either wearing tightly ripped jeans and second-hand leather jackets, or listening to the 70’s post-punk music of The Police, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths, and The Cure, before the area beame a desolated mess! In fact, when I went back a few years ago, I was shocked at how gentrified Deansgate Locks had become!

39.  Drink at some of Manchester’s finest pubs and ale houses
You wouldn’t be in Manchester if you didn’t have a bevy of good old British pubs, serving real beers and traditional ales. Check out the Peveril of the Peak – one of Manchester’s most celebrated pubs – as the only ‘detached’ pub in Manchester city centre, and it’s distinguished two-tone green tiled exterior. It dates from the early 19th century and is said to be named after a stagecoach that ran from Manchester, across the Pennines. It’s an architectural gem, has original wooden benches, stained glass, etched mirrors and bells. Or perhaps The Briton’s Protection – a historic, grade II listed pub dating back from 1806! As well as serving real ale, it is known for offering a wide range of over 200 whiskies. A real British find!

40.  Be fabulous and glow, at Manchester’s Gay Village
Located just south of Chinatown, along and around Canal Street, the Manchester Gay Village is both a place to party, and a piece of the people’s history. Like New York, London, and Berlin, Manchester is one of the world’s leading gay-friendly cities, so whether you’re part of the LGBT community or just a supporter of the cause, head out to Canal Street and paaarty!

Head to Manchester University!

41.  Head to university!
Manchester is a university town and has over 99,000 students across four universities namely the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford and the University of Bolton. It’s also home to the University Campus Oldham and the Royal Northern College of Music. Like London and Berlin, Manchester has one of the largest student populations in the UK, and therefore, one of the largest entertainment and nightlife available and very cheap beers!

42.  Shop ’til you drop
Manchester Arndale, otherwise known as the Arndale Centre, or the Arndale, is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, and receives up to 41 million visitors every year! The Arndale was built in the 1970’s but was redeveloped after the 1996 Manchester IRA bombing, making it Europe’s third largest city-centre shopping mall! It’s so worth a visit!

43.  Hop on the train
The best way to explore the North England region is by train! Northerners have a soft spot for heritage trains which can’t really be used for travel, but are a picturesque reminder of how we used to live! One of such, is the East Lancashire Railway. With a history stretching back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the East Lancashire Railway is the steam-powered heart of the Irwell Valley, pumping goods and people around the region for nearly 200 years!

44.  Be a Children’s BBC (CBBC) presenter for a day
The CBBC, otherwise known as Children’s BBC, is the British children’s television strand owned by the BBC and aimed for older children aged from 6 to 12. BBC programming aimed at the under 6-year-old child is broadcast on the CBeebies channel. If you have young children, let them go behind the scenes, join one of the interactive tours, and discover how it feels to be a TV presenter. The CBBC tour lasts about 1.5 hours and is suitable for ages 6 to 11! Note: You can only watch the CBBC videos and games online, if you’re actually in the UK!

45.  Visit a farm!
Set on 70 acres of rolling countryside, the Smithills Open Farm is a family run business, where children can meet and learn about a mixed bag of animals such as goats, cows, pigs and sheep, as well as reptiles, and more unusual species like Burmese pythons. Most animals can also be fed and held!

Hats off!

46.  Hats off!
Hat Works is Stockport’s hat museum! It’s an attraction with two floors of interactive exhibits, taking you on a journey through the history of Stockport’s once thriving hatting industry. At Hat Works, visitors can step back in time and experience the world of hatting from its humble beginnings in the cottage industry, to the mass production of the early 19th century when hat manufacturing was a thriving industry, with over 100 hat factories and businesses in the area. You can even try on a huge collection of hats, or try your hand at making your own! Utterly free of charge!

47.  Go rambling through the country
Manchester isn’t just city centred, but encompasses rural environments too. The Dovestone Reservoir lies at the convergence of the valleys of the Greenfield and Chew Brooks, above the village of Greenfield, on Saddleworth Moor. The reservoir is on the edge of Oldham and the Peak District National Park in the South Pennines, offering several walks amongst picturesque landscapes. The reservoir has its own sailing club, a permanent orienteering course, an extensive network of footpaths, and good links to areas of open access moorland. If you’re looking to ramble in the countryside, go sailing, cycling, orienteering, or horse-riding, then this is the place to do it!

48.  Sail across the oldest man-made canal in the world!
Pack up your troubles nd put it on a barge by river cruising along the historic Bridgewater Canal opened in 1761! The canal flows through Dunham Massey, Sale, Stretford, Barton-upon-Irwell, Old Trafford, Boothstown, Worsley Village, and beyond. Relax in the gentle sounds of Manchester’s most historic waterways, or use Manchester Water Taxis, or a Waxi, to travel around!

49.  Travel for free with the hop-on, hop off bus!
Within the Manchester city centre, you can travel for free! Yes, for free! The Metroshuttle is a free of charge ‘hop on, hop off’ service, linking all of the main rail stations, car parks, shopping districts and business areas. There are three services which operate on circular routes and operate in Manchester city centre (routes 1, 2 and 3), Bolton and Stockport. When in “town”, we also used the metroshuttle, and it’s very efficient. Just look for the bus stop signs dotted around the city centre. Free of charge!

50.  Pop into Greggs for a meatpie
Greggs is the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom! It specialises in savoury products such as pasties, sausage rolls, sandwiches, vanilla slices, and cream finger doughnuts! The first Greggs was opened in 1951 and is generally considered to be primarily based in the North of England. Prices are low and quality is really good for a quick snack. To be candid, you’re not in Manchester if you don’t pop into Greggs for a cheese pasty or a sausage roll!

That’s it for now!

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51 REASONS TO VISIT MANCHESTER. AND MORE!

The beautiful Edwardian Corn Exchange – Manchester.

This article isn’t sponsored, and even though I thoroughly enjoyed myself in my original home town, and some of the ideas are inspired by Visit Manchester, absolutely all opinions, and the great times I had in my childhood, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

Yippee!

November is going to be exciting!

The Music Producer at Piccadilly Gardens – The Northern Quarter – Manchester

Watch this space!

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51 reasons to visit Manchester. And more!
51 reasons to visit Manchester. And more!

Have you ever been to Manchester? Do you like black pudding? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

So last week, I was at the BBC.

You know.

As you do!

And of course, I had to be in London in order to do the BBC Radio 4 recording.

The city of London hasn’t been having a good time of recent, what with two (2) terrorist attacks, a devastating fire in the Grenfell Tower building, and just a few nights ago, a fire outbreak in the market of Camden Lock!

What a disaster!

Thank goodness Londoners, like Mancunians, are the type of people to rally together, and keep each other close. They’re strong, and not easily over-whelmed.

Definitely no #reeling!

If you’re just joining, here’s what I’ve been up to in the past few weeks:

Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner for Bild am Sonntag
©Christian Spreitz

UK:

SWEDEN:

SLOVENIA:

Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek!

GERMANY:

Book your hotel here! 

Arriving at Heathrow Airport – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

Now my time in London was awfully short – 24 hours to be exact!

I literally flew in from Berlin on the day, and after checking into my business hotel – The Wesley – promptly left to go to the museum!

Yes.

I’m that girl!

Tate Modern – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

I didn’t have a lot of time to do “stuff,” but if you plan well, you can really pretty much do a lot of things, and on a budget too. I’ve spoken about 6 easy ways to spend 48 hours in London, and how to save money before.

I know!

So here we go:

24 HOURS IN LONDON: 24 THINGS TO DO!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

VISIT:

I love museums so whenever I’m in London, I try to go to as many as I can, in order to get a heads up on some art and culture.

Here are my favourites:

  1.  The Museum of London:
The Museum of London – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

The Museum of London is my absolute favourite London museum, and tells the story of London and its people, from archaeological interest, and is also the largest urban history collection in the world!

It’s located between the Barbican centre, the old Roman London Wall and St. Paul’s Cathedral! It looks pretty drab on the outside, but once you venture inside, you’ll be excited!

The Museum of London Docklands – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

A second site was opened in 2003, called the Museum of London Docklands. It’s housed in a Grade I listed warehouse at Canary Wharf, not far from the river Thames. I’m inclined to say that I liked it even more than the original site!

Cost: £0.00

I flew in & after checking into my business hotel – promptly left to go to the Charles Dickens Museum!

This museum was such a great new find that I had to go there, and was kindly sent a complimentary ticket.

Thanks so much!

The Charles Dickens Museum is a large Georgian terraced house, and the first family home of Charles Dickens! He wrote Oliver Twist, Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby right there, and achieved international fame as one of the world’s greatest storytellers!

I really had a great time there and was able to explore how he and his family lived, his books, furniture, and even some of his clothes. In fact, by all accounts Mr. Charles Dickens was a bit of a dandy!

At the Charles Dickens Museum – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

A delightful visit and well worth, the admission fee!

Cost: Adults – £9.00. Students – £7.00, Children from 6 – 16 – £4.00. Under 6 – Free of charge.

3.  The National Gallery:

The National Gallery – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

Founded in 1824 to display a collection of just 36 paintings, the National Gallery is home to more than 2,300 works of art, from medieval classics to world-famous pieces by French Impressionists.

The National Gallery is located at Trafalgar Square which can be quite packed with tourists and busy Londoners out and about for a drink, or a bit of lunch. So if it all gets too much, just pop into the nearest pub!

Cost: £0.00

4.  The Science Museum, London:

The Science Museum, London – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!
©Plastiques Photography, courtesy of the Science Museum

When I lived in London, this was actually my favourite museum!

I remember getting scammed by a man who sold us magic jumping beans, and once we left Kensington & Chelsea, those beans never jumped again!

Anyhoo! The Science Museum features seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command module and a flight simulator, as well as medical history treasures, and developments in contemporary science, medicine and technology.

The Natural History Museum – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

But the best bit is the hands-on gallery where children can explore basic scientific principles, the oldest display of clocks and watches in the world, and the fact that the Science Museum is right next door to the Natural History Museum!

Cost: £0.00

Book your hotel here! 

SEE:

There are loads of things to see in London such as:

5.  Movies on the River!

Movies on the River – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!
©Time Out

Yep!

London has the first ever open-air cinema!

This amazing and unique addition to London’s buzzing outdoor cinema scene is a summer-long collaboration of London’s Time Out Magazine. However, this being England, make sure that you have a brolly handy!

Cost: £29.00. Over 18’s only!

6.  Sutton House:

Morris Dancers at Sutton House in Hackney, London!
©Kbthompson

Sutton House is a beautiful Tudor red-brick manor house which surprisingly, can be found in the middle of Hackney!

It’s the oldest house in East London and is owned by the National Trust.

It was built in 1535 and is now beautifully restored with authentic original decor, London’s oldest loo, and a mural under the roof, painted by a group of squatters in the 80’s!

Cost: Adults – £5.40. Children – £2.70. Family – £13.60

7.  The Old Vic:

Old Vic 12
©2017 The Old Vic

The Old Vic is an 1818 venue named after Queen Victoria.

The Old Vic is the crucible of many of the performing arts companies and theatres in London today and formed the core of the National Theatre under Laurence Olivier, becoming a highly successful touring company.

It received considerable media attention when Kevin Spacey was appointed artistic director in 2003!

The Old Vic – Girl from the North Country
©2017 The Old Vic

The Old Vic is one of London’s oldest theatres and is located near Waterloo Station.

Cost: £10.00 for the first five (5) previews of every production, except otherwise stated. Thereafter, £15.00+

8.  SPORT:

On the cricket field at one of my best friend’s wedding on the Isle of Wight.
In the UK!

If you don’t have the stamina to plod through the city and queue with the masses, not to worry. Get yourself a basket, pack a picnic hamper, grab a blanket and a deckchair, plop in some champagne, and head to an outdoor open-air screening of whatever you fancy.

Next stop Wimbledon!

All you need is, some strawberries, a picnic hamper & a bottle of Pimms!
©British Tourist Authority

Don’t forget the Pimm’s!

Book your hotel here! 

EAT:

A lovely batch of fish n’ chips!

It’s true that London is known as one of the world’s most expensive cities, but amazingly, you can still eat well, and save quite a lot of money at the same time, by being diligent, keeping your eyes and ears open, and thereby saving yourself a pretty penny!

But how?

9.  LOOK FOR SPECIAL OFFERS:

Look for specials offers in the Evening Standard Newspaper!

A few years ago, I was in London and found that for the month of January and February, twenty-two (22) fine dining / top London restaurants, offered specially priced menus from only £15.00, including an alcoholic drink!

Lunch at Rotunda – A riverside restaurant in London.
Potted salmon & pickled cucumber

That food event was sponsored by the London Evening Standard newspaper, which believes that everyone can afford to eat at the best places, for only a fraction of the cost.

Lunch at Rotunda – A riverside restaurant in London.
Roast free-range chicken, cream potato, white onion sauce & onion petals!

Sponsored by the London Evening Standard Newspaper once again, June saw the launch of London Food Month, for the very first time featuring over 400 events and midnight feasts across the city of London!

I managed to fit a two-course meal plus a drink, at a London restaurant, on the riverside, for just ten (10) quid!

That’s right.

Lunch at Rotunda – A riverside restaurant in London.
A refreshing rosemary lemonade drink!

Cost: £10.00

10.   GET YOURSELF A SANDWICH:

A sandwich anyone?

In Britain, pretty much every shop, supermarket and pub, will sell you a large variety of wonderful sandwiches, spanning from an egg and cheese buttie to a BLT sandwich.

I usually get myself a lovely prawn and cocktail sandwich, which simply, never fails!

Cost: £1.80+

11.  EAT HUMBLE PIE:

A steak and kidney pub meal pie!

I never go to Britain, without having at least one helping of pie.

This trip wasn’t about being a tourist but luckily for me, there was a pub opposite my hotel – The Wesley – so I had a steak and kidney pie meal there!

Cost: £6.00

12.  UNICORN FOOD:

Freakshakes – An instagram monster of a drink & a dessert, all thrown together, and piled up with goodies!

It hasn’t yet reached Berlin, but the craze in London right now are freakshakes!

A freakshake is a milkshake topped with cream, cake, sauce, and sprinkled over with bubblegum, marshmallow, and a handful of sweets!

Cost: £8.00

Book your hotel here! 

DRINK:

Drink up!
©The Churchill Arms

Need I say more, but if you insist. A few words!

13.  Go to the pub and get yourself a pint of ale, bitter, lager, stout, or cider!

Get yourself a pint at a traditional pub in Kensington & Chelsea – London!
©The Churchill Arms

Trend at the moment – The Churchill Arms in Kensington:

The Churchill Arms was built way back in 1750, making it one of the oldest pubs in London!

14.  The London Cocktail Club:

There’s always time for cocktails – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

Opt for up-market cocktails at the London Cocktail Club.

Club membership is free and there’s a choice of eight (8) bars all over London! Over 18’s only.

What more do you want?

Cost: £9.00 – £12.00

15.  GIN & TONIC:

Gin & Tonic has been around for a very long time & we’ve never looked back since then!

A gin & tonic is a highball cocktail made with gin and tonic water poured over ice. It’s usually garnished with a slice or wedge of lime or cucumber, and commonly referred to as a G and T.

G & T has been around as far back as the 16th century, and we’ve never looked back since then!

A favourite of The Queen Mother.

Cost: £5.00

16.  AFTERNOON TEA:

Tea isn’t just a drink. It’s a way of life – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

Tea isn’t just a drink.

It’s a way of life.

The world is a better place with a cup of tea & delicate savouries – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

The world is a better place when you order your cup of tea accompanied by delicate savouries, such as thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, crumpets, sponge cakes, and a glass of refreshing champagne!

The most outstanding servings are to be found at historical hotels such as Afternoon Tea at The Ritz and Claridge’s. But of course, a more budget-conscious way is to go to a typical cream and tea shop such as Bea’s of Bloomsbury and the Urban Tea Rooms.

Cost: £3.50 – £50.00

Book your hotel here! 

PLAY:

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

London is a 24 hour city, and if you know where to look, there’s always something to do. Read on!

17.  URBAN BEACH PARTIES:

Brixton Beach party – 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!
Ⓒ Brixton Beach 2017

London isn’t Miami and you’ll be lucky if you get even the slightest tan, but when the sun does come out, you’ll need to use your elbows in order to jostle Londoners out of the way!

Beaches can be found all over London. Most are free like the Urban London Beach and The Beach at Brent Cross (free with the App), but some like Neverland London or Brixton Beach, have an admission charge.

18.  FESTIVALS IN THE CITY:

Music festivals are key to having a good time! 24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

South West Four (SW4), is a popular UK music festival that takes place on Clapham Common! Over 18’s only!

An alternative music festival would be OnBlackheath.

OnBlackheath is a music, arts and food festival for the discerning music and food lover, with bizarre yet wonderful fringe entertainment, and a safe and nourishing children’s area! It’s held in Blackheath! Families are welcome.

19.  CLUBBING:

There are loads of London clubs to try out and discover. I mean. Whatever. Right!

There are loads of clubs to try out and discover. Get yourself Time Out London, to find out what’s going on in town. Failing that, why not try a former residential block turned into a two-floor club and bar in the heart of trendy Dalston. The name? Birthdays!

Over 18’s only.

Cost: £5.00 – £10.00

20.  CONCERTS & GIGS:

Life is a party. If you’ve only got 24 hours, then dance on!

London is a trendy, hip, city. There’s just loads of live music, concerts and gigs to discover, and if you’ve only got 24 hours, then you’d best check right here!

Book your hotel here! 

SLEEP:

I was exhausted and really, really tired. So I nipped off for a nap!

I know that London is expensive, but my expert recommendation is to actually stay in the centre of the city.

Yes, the centre!

There’s a logic to my madness ‘cos transport around London is iffy and unreliable. You’re better off staying in Central London, where you can either take the bus, or walk!

My business hotel – The Wesley  was booked for me by the BBC, and even though it’s not my usual choice of an art-design or boutique hotel, it was a mere two (2) minute walk to Euston train station.

My hotel at Euston was very practical, and close to all forms of London public transport!

It’s very practical as the mainline train, the underground train stations, and bus stops, were right next to each other.

In fact, during my free time, I used the opportunity to walk right down to Covent Garden!

My hotel was that close!

And then I went to Covent Garden!

Book your London hotel here!

21.  SPLURGE AT DUKE’S LONDON HOTEL:

Splurge at DUKE’S London Hotel!

I’ve been wanting to come here but on this visit, I didn’t have the adequate amount of time to really indulge, but if YOU do, take a stroll down, have some refreshment, or stay for the night!

DUKES LONDON  is a majestic, historical, sophisticated, luxury hotel nestled in the heart of historic Mayfair, and only a 5 minute walk from Buckingham Palace!

Cost: £450.00+

22.  LUXURY AT THE GORING HOTEL:

Choose luxury at The Goring – © The Goring 2016

The Goring Hotel was opened in 1910 and is the only remaining hotel in London that is still owned and run by the family that built it!

The Queen Mother was a regular at The Goring Hotel, and Kate Middleton was based at the hotel during her wedding to Prince William.

Cost: £285.00+

23.  AFFORDABLE LUXURY AT THE HOXTON:

Trendy, affordable luxury at The Hoxton, Shoreditch hotel!

The Hoxton is the first trendy hipster destination hotel to open in East London!

This being London, the rooms are small but cleverly designed, with Wi-Fi, an hour of phone calls, fresh milk, tea, coffee, water AND a light breakfast bag provided, for free!

There are now two branches in London – Hoxton, Shoreditch and Hoxton, Holborn.

I’ll take it!

Cost: £139.00

24.  BED & BREAKFAST AT PARKWOOD:

Bed & Breakfast at the cute Parkwood / Parkwood at Marble Arch Hotel, London!

If you’re looking for a warm family atmosphere, opt for a B&B instead of a hotel.

I went to the Parkwood Hotel, now Parkwood at Marble Arch, back in 2010, when it was the UK Award Winner Bed and Breakfast for 2009 – 2010!

The Parkwood is a beautiful 200-year-old Regency townhouse. It’s just across the road from Hyde Park at Speaker’s Corner, and mere minutes from Marble Arch, Oxford Street & Harrods – ready for some serious shopping! Most of the West End theatres are also within walking distance and Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, etc, are just across the park!

Cost: £120.00

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Book your hotel here!

24 HOURS IN LONDON: 24 THINGS TO DO!

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the swift time that I had in London, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll be writing about the great time I had in Slovenia, and spending the summer in France and Germany!

On August 23rd, I’ll be at Gamescom!

I’ll be there. Will you?

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

Watch this space!

SPECIAL OFFER!

For two days only (17.07.17 and 18.07.7) Blue Host are offering their webhost programme at a rate of just of $2.65/mo for 36 months on their Basic Plan.

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Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

What would you choose to do in 24 hours – Visit. See. Eat. Play or Sleep? How many things have you done? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Vienna – the world capital of music, music everywhere!

Vienna – the world capital of music, music everywhere!

So last week, we returned from Vienna.

And what a marvellous time we had!

‘Remember how I told you that Vienna has the most frequently photographed monument in the city – the golden statue of Johann Strauss, has the circus fairground of Parter, the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, and a history to be jealous of.

Vienna - a city with a precious heritage, charming traditions & imperial architecture!
Vienna – a city with a precious heritage, charming traditions & imperial architecture!

Well, I wasn’t joking when I told you that Vienna has a precious heritage, charming traditions, imperial architecture, museums, art collections, works of art, the world’s first psycho-analyst – Sigmund Freud, the home of musical geniuses such as Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Brahms and Mahler, as well as the era of the Habsburgs who reigned for more than six (6) centuries!

Oh yes!

Vienna is rich in baroque, historicism, art nouveau, as well as a nod to a world-class cultural complex and a future-oriented design of 60,000 square meters of space for a highly creative cultural scene in the Museums Quartier where we stayed, and in fact, all of the city!

Vienna is a highly creative cultural scene in the Volksgarten, and in all of the city! © WienTourismus / Christian Stemper
Vienna is a highly creative cultural scene in the Volksgarten, and in all of the city!
© WienTourismus / Christian Stemper

All!

Of!

The

City!

It was a miracle that we had the energy and enthusiasm to do anything else as I spent most of the time, staring at the glorious buildings, with my mouth wide agape.

And it’s not that I’m a novice either.

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

I’ve travelled the world. I’ve been to many a country with wonders, but I’m of the school of thought that whatever funds a nation has, it should use it to restore it’s buildings, it’s history, it’s music, and it’s culture.

And most of that, you’ll find nowadays, in it’s museums and art galleries!

Near the Wien Museum Karlsplatz, Vienna!

I like music.

I may be a lifestyle travel blogger today, but none of that stuff ever left.

I still love music.

And art.

And literature.

MUSIC! MUSIC! EVERYWHERE!

Vienna – the world capital of music, music everywhere!

At first glance, Vienna seems to be all about classical music. And that’s a very good thing!

Did you know that Vienna has:

  • Around 10,000 music fans are treated to live classical music. Every night!
  • More than 15,000 concert events of various sizes and genres
  • Around 120 music & theatre stages
  • An impressive 2,000 hours of dancefloor music at 450 balls each year
  • Around 750 bars, dance venues, and discos
  • Vienna State Opera with a line-up 300 nights of the year!
  • The Vienna Boys’ Choir – Established in 1498, it’s the oldest boy band choir in the world!
  • The only surviving Viennese apartment used by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and located at the Mozarthaus Vienna! In fact, we visited this apartment which has now become a museum.
The only surviving apartment used by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and located at Mozart Haus in Vienna!
The only surviving apartment used by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and located at Mozart Haus in Vienna!

We couldn’t really take photographs so I only have a photo of the outside!

This apartment on 5, Domgasse 5, is the apartment that Mozart and his family lived in between 1784 – 1787, and where he composed his most famous opera piece – The Marriage of Figaro.

The price includes an audio guide in twelve (12) languages as well as three (3) floors of fascinating information about Mozart’s time and some of his most important work. In fact, the street opposite in its narrow cobbled nature, has hardly changed at all, and you would feel fully engrossed in Vienna of the day!

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

This museum was impressive, and I absolutely loved it!

Price: Adults: €11.00. Under 19 – €4.50. Students & Concessions such as the Vienna Card – €9.00. Families of 2 adults & up to 3 children – €24.00

In fact, Vienna is the only city in the world where it’s been the home and inspiration of so many composers of international renown!

  • Composers such as – Ludwig van Beethovan
A genius such as Ludwig van Beethoven.

Whilst in Vienna, we visited the Beethovan Pasqualatihaus. This house was where Beethovan lived and worked for eight (8) years of his life. Some of the pieces he worked on were his 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th symphonies, and most of all, his opera – Fidelio. The house was pretty basic and not as comprehensive  as that of Mozart. And moreover, we went on a Sunday where the Beethovan shop, and a possible tour of the building weren’t possible.

I found the inner yard of Beethovan Pasqualatihaus – where he lived & worked for eight (8) years of his life – to be quite authentic!

However, I found the inner yard to be quite nice and authentic!

Note that Beethovan’s apartment is on the 4th floor with no disability access. However, I found it endearing that normal Viennese people were living and gettng on with their lives in the apartments below, and next door! Note also that the original apartment was actually in the building across!

Price: Adults: €5.00. Under 19 – free of charge! Students & Concessions such as the Vienna Card – €4.00. First Sunday of every month: Free of charge! Guided tours – Free of charge!

  • Johann Strauss II – Otherwise known as Johann Strauss Jr., the Younger, or the Son!
Johann Strauss II ©August Eisenmenger, 1888 - composer of light music, dance music & operettas - also known as The Waltz King!
Johann Strauss II ©August Eisenmenger, 1888 – composer of light music, dance music & operettas – also known as The Waltz King!

A composer of light music, dance music and operettas, he also composed over 500 waltzes, polkas, quadrilles, and other types of dance music, as well as several operettas and a ballet! In his lifetime, he was known as The Waltz King, and the reason why waltz became one of the most popular dances in Vienna and throughout Europe!

For more info: go here!

Price: Adults: €5.00. Under 19 – free of charge! Students & Concessions such as the Vienna Card – €4.00. First Sunday of every month: Free of charge! Guided tours – Free of charge!

Joseph Hayden – A friend / mentor of Mozart & a teacher of Beethoven in Vienna!
Vienna – the world capital of music, music everywhere!
  • Vienna has the most successful German-language musical of all time – Elisabeth, otherwise known as Sisi, the Empress of Austria – translated into 7 languages, seen by 10 million spectators worldwide, performed in 11 countries!
The most successful German-language musical of all time – Elisabeth, otherwise known as Sisi, the Empress of Austria!
Photo @Juliane Bischoff
  • The only city in the world with it’s own musical genre!
  • Europe’s largest free open-air festival & party! – Danube Island Festival
  • Music Film Festival on Rathausplatz – Europe’s largest culture and culinary festival!
  • ImPulsTanz – Europe’s largest contemporary dance festival!
  • New Year’s Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Vienna – the world capital of music, music everywhere!

In fact, one of the musical highlights of the year is the New Year’s Day Vienna Philharmonic Concert, which is organised by the Musikverein, otherwise known as the Vienna Music Association, and hosted in the Golden Hall.

It’s such a huge deal that only the best musicians in the world are invited to perform, and tickets are so hard to get, that the waiting list is three (3) years long.

In order to make it fair and easier for international visitors, tickets for the New Year concerts are drawn by lots, at the beginning of each year!

Not only that, but hotel availability at this time is non-existent.

‘Best to book early!

At the Vienna Opera Ball.
@ WienTourismus / Peter Rigaud/Couture Vivienne Westwood

Thankfully, there is a live world broadcast that is seen by up to 50 million people, in 90 countries! In fact, we watch it too!

Yes, we’ll be in our jammies, with glitter, balloons, and champagne glasses, strewn all over the house, but we never fail to sit down and watch the concert, as it’s actually so much fun!

Gustavo Dudamel – the youngest music conductor ever to lead the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Day concert!

However, Vienna today is much more than that.

Vienna has traditionally accorded the arts great respect, and over the centuries has never failed to foster creativity, and attract people from all over the world.

Vienna today is much more than classical music!
Vienna today is much more than classical music!

Vienna boasts:

  • 15,000 concerts. Every year!
  • 150 museums
  • 60 different operas and ballets
  • 50 theaters
  • 4 opera houses
  • Several stage theatres
  • Numerous galleries as well as renowned drama, music and dance festivals
  • And the largest repertoire in the world!

Vienna isn’t Berlin. Not for a single second, but you can have your music fix in a variety of places such as cafes, bookshops, wine taverns, at the Summer Night Concert in the Schönbrunn Gardens (a bit like the Proms), and even during the Vienna City Martathon where classical melodies fill the air, so that you can jog and strut your stuff, while running!

Vienna isn't in any way, like Berlin. Not for an item of a second! Beissoul & Einius at the BMVA.
Vienna isn’t in any way, like Berlin. Not for an item of a second!

Vienna is the world capital of music everywhere.

I really can’t think of anywhere nicer!

I’ve got lots more to say about Vienna, so I’ll tell you all about it next week. If you really can’t wait, there are loads of pictures and funny quips on Twitter!

Book your hotel here!

VIENNA – THE WORLD CAPITAL OF MUSIC, MUSIC EVERYWHERE!

Vienna – the world capital of music, music everywhere!

This article is part – sponsored by the Vienna Tourist Board and I received a press discount from the 25 Hours Hotels, but all opinions and the delightful music that we heard, are my very own! Thanks so much!

In April & May, I’ll be visiting Croatia, Sweden & Finland!

From 07.03.17 – 09.03.17, our friends – the British musical and comedy duo – Carrington Brown – will be performing Germany’s premiere of Carrington-Brown feat. The Swonderful Orchestra: Comedy meets Classics at Tipi!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in March, where are you?

Vienna – the world capital of music, music everywhere!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Vienna – the world capital of music, music everywhere!

Do you like music? What kind of music do you like? Share & let me know below! 

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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