For music fans there are plenty of historical venues, museums and hotspots to see first-hand while you’re on holiday in the UK. Even if you’re a full time resident you might not realise all the musical offerings tucked away in cities across the country. Here are a few of our favourite highlights.
The Hard Rock Cafe, London
Hard Rock Cafes are now in many major cities around the world, offering a great dining experience and a tour of musical history all rolled into one. There are collections of memorabilia relating to iconic musicians in each branch around and world, and London’s is no exception. The pieces on display include Madonna’s expired credit card, an extravagant coat owned by Elvis Presley, and iconic “War is over!” postcards from John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
British Music Experience, Liverpool
Although you can’t actually visit the BME at the time of writing, it’s due to be re-opened later in 2016 at its new home in the Cunard Building in Liverpool. Until 2014 it occupied The O2 in London, showcasing the history of popular music in the UK over the past century. The exhibit is made up of different galleries representing periods of time, dividing according to when significant changes in the music scene took place. High-tech interactive exhibits and an extensive collection of records, instruments, outfits and other items make this a must-see.
London is a relatively compact capital city for tourists, since despite its sprawling surroundings the majority of the main attractions are fairly central. This is great news if you don’t have long to get between places and you want to see as much as possible during your visit, but you’re still likely to find yourself at the opposite end of the city to where you’d like to be a couple of times.
That’s why there are so many different ways to travel across London, and frequent visitors or local commuters might argue that various options are the best, or the quickest, or the best value for money. Here is a summary of a few options you have, whatever reason you have for visiting London.
Let’s start with an often-overlooked option for getting around, since you might be choosing this from the moment you arrive. If you’re coming direct to the centre of the city from a major London airport , an airport transfer minicab to or from Luton, Stansted or Gatwick might be a great option for you. This means you can be taken directly from door to door without the hassle of public transport, ideal for when you first arrive at your hotel and when you’re in a hurry to catch your flight home.
When you’ve put in all the time and effort to plan your perfect wedding, you will want to ensure that memories of your happy day are perfectly captured, so a good photographer is essential.
Weddings in the UK can be in many different forms dependant on the religion or beliefs of the couple involved, and can vary vastly so it is important that your photographer has a knowledge of the traditions and ceremonies that are going to make up your wedding.
Historically Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was among the first people to pose for long exposure photography, at the time couples were then inspired to pose for photographs before or after their wedding.
Wedding photography, a picture of the bride and groom in their wedding attire, didn’t happen until the late 19th century. Due to the restrictions of technology there were no location shots, quite often the couple were required to pose at the photographers studio and came away with just one of two images. As photography technology advanced and became more portable, photographers were then able to take photographs at locations more convenient to the bride and groom.
Want to push yourself to the limits and find out how fast you can really learn a new skill? Maybe you’ve been waiting for the opportunity to experiment with something you’ve always loved but never had the time or skills for, such as musical theatre or screen acting. Whatever, you might be surprised at what’s on offer close by. Here are some of the best crash course classes around for various performing arts.
Film & Screen Acting Classes
Screen acting is a specific discipline that requires certain knowledge and skills. Experience is a massive advantage, but there’s a lot you can gain from even a one-week course. The International School of Screen Acting is an excellent place to try one of these affordable film acting classes and drama courses in London, designed to prepare you for auditions and developing a CV in the world of TV and film acting. This crash course is suitable whether you have experience on-screen, only in theatre acting, or none whatsoever.
Students within the UK, and those from other places looking to study abroad, will find themselves spoilt for choice in most cases when looking for a place to study. Since we’re fortunate enough to have one of the most respected and popular education systems in Europe (and indeed the world), it’s no wonder that universities are constantly competing for the best students to join their ranks.
Luckily, the Times Higher Education (THE) provides one of the most trusted annual ranking systems for universities in the UK, which makes it easier for students to choose. In fact, “student experience” is now valued increasingly highly as a factor for students selecting a place of study, sometimes even above things like quality of teaching and the variety of courses available. The ranking by THE for student experience, as voted for by 15,000 current students for the benefit of prospective undergraduates, has now been released annually for over a decade.
In 2016, Loughborough University finds itself at the top of the chart. Staff and lecturers are considered exceptional on average, social life is rated highly and the modern campus facilities also help secure the top spot. Student lets and accommodation in Loughborough are also very affordable and easily available within very close reach of both the university and the town’s main attractions. It’s a small but well-connected place that’s ideal for student life.
Do you ever feel like you’re working too hard? Well, research back in 2014 claimed that people in the UK enjoy more leisure time than almost any other country in the world, second only to Norway. We’re not entirely convinced about this news, as it feels like we’re always hard at work, but perhaps that’s just us. However, we all do our best to make the most of that leisure time, however much we are able to get each day.
In fact, in a modern, fast-paced world there is almost a sense of urgency about making the most of any leisure time one can get. In the UK people have dramatically changed their habits over the last few decades when it comes to leisure time, increasingly spending their time doing activities that didn’t even exist a few years ago. Meanwhile, traditional pastimes are generally less popular and some are fading away altogether. Having said that, some of the most popular activities of all seem to be staying around for the long haul.
For example, the most popular use of English leisure time remains going out to eat.
Well over 90% of adults surveyed recently have done this in the last six month, and nearly half of the population do it at least once every month on average. British food is well and truly in fashion, and while large chain restaurants are always growing in popularity and taking up more space in our towns and cities, smaller pubs and eateries are certainly popular too.
221b Baker Street, London is the famous address of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional Victorian detective, Sherlock Holmes, but of course the address itself is very much real. In fact, thanks to its iconic status due to the popularity of the famous stories, the building has been granted special protected status and remains immaculately maintained as a museum dedicated to Sherlock Holmes.
In-keeping with the mystery/detective theme, the museum devoted to the history of Jack the Ripper is also well worth a visit when you’re in London. It reveals a huge amount of detail about crime in 1880s London, and not only can you explore re-created Victorian crime scenes inside the museum, but you can also take a guided tour of the real-life locations from Traders’ Gate at Tower Hill.
This unusual mash-up of influences describes itself rather mysteriously as a “lifestyle space”. It takes the form of a restaurant serving traditional Korean food, a cafe/bakery offering fresh coffee and pastries, and a 1950s-inspired hair salon all wrapped into one. The concept is an experiment by stylist and director Ki Lee, who has since expanded the hairdressing business to a small chain, but the cafe keeps evolving too and is well worth a visit.
Offering an unusual concept, this Russian cafe provides unlimited cups of tea as well as biscuits for customers no matter how long they stay – you just pay for the time you’re there. The fee is only a few pence per minute so you can pay hardly anything for a quick drink, and even if you stay for an hour or two you’re only spending a few pounds.
For many tourists visiting England, the royal family represents a particularly interesting part of our history and culture. The legacy of the monarchy in the country goes back countless centuries and there is an enduring fascination with all things royal. Fortunately there are plenty of opportunities across the country to visit important landmarks and historical sites where you can learn more about the amazing characters that have ruled our country in the past, as well as our current Queen Elizabeth II.
The State Rooms, Buckingham Palace
The Queen’s iconic London residence is of course the most recognisable and impressive royal landmarks in the country by most people’s reckoning. The State Rooms are the part of the palace that guests are allowed to visit today, although they are still in use for official ceremonies and occasions. There are nineteen State Rooms, mostly retaining the style they were given in the 1820s by King George IV (it was during this renovation that the building was transformed from merely Buckingham House into Buckingham Palace). In the State Rooms you’ll find stunning pieces of furniture and works of art from the Royal Collection, and be given a guided tour explaining the fascinating events that have taken place in each one.
The UK is an excellent place to visit, and we’re always finding more reasons why, but what about places to live permanently? As with tourism, London is often the most popular answer, but the rest of the country has a lot to offer and it’s not just the most obvious places that give buyers and renters great value for money. Here are some of the most underrated cities in the UK that you might want to consider living in if you haven’t already.
Right in the centre of the country, Leicester is only just outside the top 10 cities in the UK in terms of population. It made headlines in recent memory with the discovery of Richard III reigniting interest in the city’s history, but other than that remains relatively unknown to many in the UK, let alone those overseas. However, Leicester is actually one of the most culturally diverse cities in the UK and offers a lively and exciting atmosphere without the pressure of larger urban areas. It’s currently having more and more investment put into its development for the future, so now is a great time to look at buying or renting property in the area. With many large suburban areas unusually close to relaxing countryside villages, you might need the services of quality Leicester letting agents and estate agents to help you find the perfect property to rent. With reputable companies, you’re almost guaranteed to find something that suits your needs at an affordable price.