London has an endless supply of sights, shops and restaurants – there’s just so much to see and do! As the poet Samuel Johnson famously wrote, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” It’s the UK’s most popular tourist destination – according to Groupon, London attracted almost 20 million visitors in 2017. Getting around all of those sights and museums can be exhausting, though, and you can end up feeling like all you’ve seen is other tourists! If you want to get off the beaten track and see the real, authentic London, a good place to start is by exploring its many gorgeous and quirky cafes. They’re the best place to meet locals, take a break, get a new perspective on the city, and savour your time in the capital. Cafes also offer a great backdrop for photos, adding some authentic local charm and cultural interest to your Instagram feed. Here are three of the most Instagrammable London cafes to include on your next visit:
1) Chief Coffee
A hidden gem tucked away in Chiswick, Chief Coffee is a fantastic find for coffee lovers. The prices are quite good for London, the food and drink are excellent, and the bar is stunning. Check out their custom copper and wood filter coffee brew station, granite counter and exposed brick walls. The atmosphere is chilled out and you won’t be rushed to move on if you linger over that first cup. Downstairs in the Pinball Lounge, there’s a fairly impressive collection of classic 80’s and 90’s pinball games to play. Gamers will love to have a go on these vintage machines, installed there by pinball-fan and owner Sam for “big kids as well as little kids”, and they make another quirky Insta photo op to enjoy. They’re also dog-friendly, so nobody is left out of the fun!
I had my childhood dream come true last year when the husband and I spent a day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida whilst on our honeymoon. We spent the next day covering Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure (Yaay, Harry Potter!) bringing my adolescent dreams alive. Managing to successfully cover three huge theme parks in two consecutive days, without skipping out on any of the important rides has been a feat I pride myself on. I’ve been an amusement park junkie all my life, so I decided to compile everything I have learnt along the way to make your next theme park visit seamless and enjoyable. Read on!
For most travelers, a vacation in Kerala has become synonymous with the backwaters experience – cruising down the labyrinthine waterways in your own houseboat or enjoying the sights and sounds of nature through the eyes of your resort. While the waterways of Alleppey and Kumarakom, the cultural experiences in Kochi or the idyllic beach life in Varkala are major crowd pullers – we decided to forego all of the above for a tête-à-tête with Kerala’s mountains and forest reserves. This was my second time in ‘God’s Own Country’, and I decided to travel to the eastern part of the state this time. If like me, you’re returning to the southern state the second time around or looking at extending your trip post the mandatory backwaters experience, this Kerala itinerary may be of help to you. Read on –
When we think of Manchester, we think of football, and justifiably so. Manchester is the second largest city in the UK and home to two of the largest football league clubs in the world. But the city has a lot more to offer apart from football stadium tours and live matches. (Though I really think you should see atleast one United match at Old Trafford if you ever happen to visit.)
But Manchester’s history is long winding and arduous. It is the world’s first industrialized city owing to it’s significant contribution to the textile manufacturing industry during the industrial revolution. It is culturally rich with a vibrant art and music scene that is constantly evolving. And more recently, Manchester has been voted as the most LGBTQ-friendly city in the UK, and has the largest LGBTQ population outside of London. All these reasons make Manchester a cultural hot-pot, often overlooked by tourists and overshadowed by it’s larger more popular siblings – London and Liverpool.
In the last of my three part series documenting my travels through South Africa, we explore and appreciate South Africa’s Drakensberg mountain range located in the Kwazulu-Natal province.
‘Great things are done when men and mountains meet. ‘
As we left Durban and drove down further into the countryside, I couldn’t help but notice the landscape undergo a drastic paradigm shift. We were leaving the hustle and bustle of the sunny city, and driving into an idyllic countryside filled with lolling fields, grazing cattle and wooden barns – not to mention a random ostrich strolling down the highway. A drop in the temperature, pristine air quality and plenty of greenery around could only mean one thing, we were approaching the mountains!
The Drakensberg Mountain Range is South Africa’s highest and longest mountain range stretching to over 200 kilometers in length. The original Dutch settlers christened the mountain range as ‘Drakensbergen’ or ‘Dragon’s Mountain’ owing to the sharp peaks that may have resembled a dragon’s scaly back. Apart from being home to some of the most picturesque views, what makes Drakensberg a popular hiking tourist destination are its accessible passes and slopes. It is also home to the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park – a world heritage site where you can find rock paintings of the San Bushmen from 40,000 years ago. While these mountain ranges offer plenty of options right from hiking and white water rafting to horse trails and canopy walks, here are my recommendations to enjoying Drakensberg and its beauty to the fullest…