5 Favorite James Bond Locations and a 007 Tour of London

Film Locations, Guides

5 Favorite James Bond Locations and a 007 Tour of London

No Comments 02 July 2013

James Bond’s secret activities have taken him all over the world, without a trace, for over 50 years. Whether he be in a suit and bowtie at some swanky European party or in nothing but short shorts coming out of the water in the Caribbean, he always seems to blend in. I enjoy seeing where Bond pops up in films and leaning about where Ian Fleming found inspiration as much as the adventures he goes on, but a few places specifically stick with me.

Glen Etive, UK :: Skyfall

The scene in Skyfall, where Bond and M are standing on a desolate road, with nothing but his Aston Martin DB35 behind and a foggy Scottish landscape ahead is chilling. Foreshadowing a wasteland sort of battle in later scenes, this image will stay with you long after the film.

If you want to Bond’s view of the Scottish Highlands, go for a cruise on Glen Etive just of A82. But don’t bother looking for the house Bond grew up in where final scenes in the movie take place. That was created for the movie specifically and located miles away in the English country side.

Jökulsárlón, Iceland :: Die Another Day

Quite a lot of filming from Die Another Day took place in this area of Iceland. It’s where Gustav Graves premiered his diamond satellite that was said to give new light to darkness in the world, but is really just a terrorist weapon meant to drown the greatest Bond girl whose ever lived, Halle Berry, in an igloo, among other things.

The scene left me wanting to visit Iceland to see its dramatic landscape for myself, wondering how people stay warm in an igloo castle (by means other than having sex with Pierce Brosnan), vowing to never stay in an igloo hotel and really wishing Aston Martin would release an invisible car to the public. You’ll love the chase scenes on ice, the icy cliffs that are hundreds of feet above the sea and pure white scenery.

Venice, Italy :: Casino Royale

Venice is a pretty classic city in the world for chase scenes in films. The confusing layout of the streets, fact that most lead to water and mass crowds make it the perfect spot for a worrisome pursuit.

In Casino Royale, Bond, played by Daniel Craig and Vesper, the reason he becomes such a cold-hearted womanizer, arrive in the city by yacht and are later chased throughout it. Along the way, viewers get a good idea of what the city is like. The feeling you get from watching this on film can almost be re-created in person, because it’s easy to actually feel like your in a movie just walking around the streets of Venice. There’s something secretive and exciting about this city that translates even to non-spies. Just don’t go into any dilapidated buildings that are already sinking into the sea. We all know how that turns out.

GoldenEye :: Oracabessa Bay, Jamaica

The place where Bond came to life. Ian Fleming first imagined James Bond at his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica. While Bond might be fictional, a real-life spy scenario first brought Fleming to this part of the world. According to GoldenEye’s website, Fleming first visited Jamaica during WWII to investigate U-Boat activities in the Caribbean on behalf of Naval Intelligence.

He fell in love with the land and the people and ended up purchasing property near the village of Oracabessa Bay, which translates to “golden head” in English. Hence the name of his property and the inspiration behind of the world’s most famous fictional spies. You can actually visit his estate too and see where Fleming first dreamed about Bond, over 50 years ago.

Dukes :: London, UK

Every author or writer has his or her bar, cafe or park to escape to when they can’t get anything more done in their home. Dukes was one of Fleming’s. The high-end St. James’s hotel and bar is known for its specialty cocktails, so it should come as no surprise that this is said to be where the inspiration for the line, “shaken, not stirred”, came from.

This last location is part of a 007 James Bond tour of London that I just wrote for Unanchor. If you want to see more of Bond in the city where MI5 is located and the country which Bond spies on behalf of, check out my tour. The 007 James Bond Tour of London will have you visiting Ian Fleming’s former hangouts, significant places in Bond’s character building and of course film locations from Dr. No (1962), Goldfinger (1964), Live and Let Die (1973), Octopussy (1983), The World is not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002), Quantum of Solace (2008) and Skyfall (2012). Plus, it only costs $1.99.

Banner photo: Skyfall Official Movie Site

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8 Live Show Tapings in NYC and LA

Destinations, Film Locations, Guides, USA

8 Live Show Tapings in NYC and LA

4 Comments 21 May 2013

Do you think we’ll see someone famous?

It’s a common question when visiting the USA’s spotlight cities for entertainment, New York and Los Angeles. If it’s going to happen anywhere, it’s going to happen at one of these places. NYC and LA are places A-listers in film, music and theater call home and do the bulk of their work.

While you might see someone on the streets, one way to ensure you definitely see them in person, and attend an amazing show for free, is to visit a live show taping.

Whether it’s politics, comedy, sports, food or just pure entertainment that appeals to you, there is a free live taping for everyone.  Below I’ve list a few big ones, where and when they are taped, why you should visit them, how to get tickets and how likely it is that you will. Make sure to read the end of the post as well, to find out what to expect and how to prepare for a live taping.

New York City

Late Show with David Letterman
Location: Ed Sullivan Theater 1697 Broadway
Tapes: weekdays, unless on otherwise noted

We’ll kick off this list with one of the absolute hardest tickets in town. The Late Show has been on CBS since 1993 and David Letterman is up there with the greats in late night entertainment. This is the show where the most trending names at any moment moment, like Barack Obama during the 2008 election, want to be seen and what’s more exciting is that Letterman is known to give some of them a hard time, like Justin Bieber.

It’s not impossible to find tickets, because the one-hour show tapes so often. Though you will have to be very flexible with your dates. Groups and individuals can request tickets using the online form on the show’s website. They can also apply for tickets in person at the box office. Located at Ted Sullivan Theater, it’s open Monday–Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m or Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m, unless the show is on hiatus. Tickets: www.cbs.com/shows/late_show/tickets/request/

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Location: 11th Ave between 51st and 52nd St in Manhattan
Tapes: Monday to Thursday, unless otherwise noted

This liberal-leaning Comedy Central show is one of the most talked about in political entertainment. Who would of thought from Big Daddy that Jon Stewart could be so witty and quick. The Daily Show can be controversial at times, but it’s always a good laugh. Come for Stewart, other rising comedians and and political debates, but don’t always expect well-known guests. While Stewart often has history-making politicians and Hollywood A-listers on, he also has people not everyone will recognize, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Plus, Stewart takes time before the 30-minute show to answer questions from people in the audience and spends some time after thanking them for coming. What a man!

Look for tickets about two months in advance. The good news is that their ticket page is extremely well organized, so just get there two months ahead and you should find something. Tickets: www.thedailyshow.com/tickets

The Colbert Report
Location: 54th St between 10th and 11th Ave in Manhattan
Tapes: Monday to Thursday, unless otherwise noted

The Colbert Report is very similar to The Daily Show except Stephen Colbert is much more eccentric and tickets are a lot harder to find to his show. From Colbert you can expect elaborate sets, extreme interviews and hilarious interactions. Like Stewart, Colbert takes time to chat with the audience before and after the 30-minute show.

Booking tickets to The Colbert Report is pretty tough. It’s the same Comedy Central system as The Daily Show, but you’ll only find tickets available for maybe two shows a few weeks away as oppose to eight a few months away. Just keep check with this show or sign up to receive notice when more tickets become available. Tickets: www.colbertnation.com/tickets

Rachael
Location: 221 West 26th Street between 7th and 8th Ave
Tapes: Two per day usually on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

The bubbly and beautiful Rachael Ray is a welcoming vision for a show that requires people to arrive in the morning. Come to this CBS show for free food and goodies. She often has competitions that members of the audience can take part in on the one-hour show. Plus, Ray books some incredible guests and makes them feel comfortable, so you see an interesting side of people. Don’t expect dramatic or ground-breaking interviews, but the show is a lot of fun. You only have to be 16 years old to be in the Rachael audience, but those under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian.

Tickets for this show are a lot more unsure than the ones mentioned above. People are asked to fill out a general request form online, but they don’t know about specific dates while filling it out. So do it a few months early and see what happens. Tickets: www.rachaelrayshow.com/show-info/audience-tickets/

Los Angeles

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Location: NBC Burbank Lot Studio 11 3000 W. Alameda Ave
Tapes: weekdays, unless otherwise noted

Host of The Tonight Show is the most-respected position in late night. The one-hour show has been on air since 1957. Once held by Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, Jay Leno took over the position in 1992 and has been a household name since then. They tried to switch Conan O’Brien into the position in 2009 and send Leno to his own later show, but the move was controversial to say the least and Leno was given his spot back not long after.

It’s filmed at NBC Studios in Burbank, California, which is an important Hollywood film lot, so it’s exciting just walking to the show. Plus, Leno gets the best in Hollywood A-listers and music acts almost every night of the week. They recommend booking tickets four to six weeks in advance via an online form. You can pick out a few possible dates when requesting tickets online. Guests must be at least 16 years old to attend. Tickets: www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/tickets/

Conan
Location: Warner Bros. Studios 6564 Forest Lawn Drive
Tapes: weekdays, unless otherwise noted

Though Conan was sort of screwed over in the whole Tonight Show transition. He has an extremely loyal fan base, known as Team Coco and is still one of the biggest names in late night entertainment. Conan is on TBS and features the biggest names in Hollywood and music at the moment as well as up and coming comedians. Don’t be surprised if popular comedians like Will Farrell just pop on the show from time to time, not just for interviews either. It’s definitely one of the funniest late night shows on TV.

Plus, you get to walk through Warner Bros. Studios, where the show is filmed. Along the way to the studio you might see Chuck Lorre’s parking spot, the studio where Ocean’s Eleven was filmed and more.

Tickets to this show are known for being hard to come by, but you’ll also find last minute tickets pop up quite often. I found tickets the day before. Visit Team Coco to request tickets. Tickets: teamcoco.com/tickets

The Ellen Degeneres Show
Location: Warner Bros. Studios 6564 Forest Lawn Drive
Tapes: weekdays, unless otherwise noted

Out of all the show mentioned on this list, Ellen is probably the hardest to attend. Not only is she a well-known name in entertainment, but she always has the best guests and giveaways. Expect to see her Hollywood friends, like Jennifer Aniston. If they’re going to show their face anywhere amidst controversy, it’s Ellen. But the show is usually pretty upbeat and hilarious. She dances in the audience and people are often asked to volunteer. Further, you’ll have to go through Warner Bros. Studios to get to her show, which, as I mention above, is cool no matter what.

You must be 14 years old to attend this show and all minors must be accompanied by an adult. Just keep checking online to find tickets for Ellen. They go fast and aren’t available very far in advance. This is one of those shows it might be worth trying for stand-by on the day, because it’s pretty unpredictable otherwise. If you want to do that call (818) 954-5929 before 12 p.m. on the same day of the show you wish to attend. Tickets: www.ellentv.com/tickets

The Soup
Location: E! Network Studios 5750 Wilshire Blvd
Tapes: Usually Wednesday mornings

This taping is somewhat of a secret, so thank me later if you end up going. The Soup is not nearly as large as the rest of the shows mentioned on this list and that’s a good thing for audience members. During the 30-minute E! Entertainment show, host Joel McHale who is also known for his role in NBC’s Community, makes fun of everything that’s happened on TV In the past week, especially Tyra Banks.

On E!’s website, they say that the taping is not public and those laughing in the background are only staff, but Joel McHale has tweeted to email SAudience@comcastnets.com for people who want to see the show in person. I’ve talked to people who have been and they say it’s a lot more personal than other live shows, because the crowd is small and McHale will even take photos with people at the end.

What to expect and how to prepare

  • Tickets to shows like Ellen and The Tonight Show tend to go quick, so if you’re planning a trip to one of these spots request tickets ahead. This can almost always be done online.
  • Tickets are always free to the shows mentioned in this post and most live tapings for that matter, so if you’re asked to pay, it’s probably the wrong website.
  • These shows usually just run straight through without re-takes but not always, so expect them to run longer than the their usual duration.
  • Shows are taped usually hours before the they air on TV.
  • You must be 18 years old to attend all these shows unless noted otherwise.
  • Make sure to bring identification, dress business casual and don’t chew gum.
  • You are not allowed to use cameras or phones once you enter a studio. In fact, you’ll be asked to leave professional cameras with security in most places, so it’s really not worth bringing them. Do not bring any bulky bags or luggage either.
  • Visiting a live taping is often a full-day event, so be prepared to wait in line for hours, even if you do have tickets.
  • Presenters hate hecklers or people trying to get attention in the audience. If you’re that person they’ll either poke fun at you or they’ll have to re-tape a segment and you could be asked to leave. Be prepared to clap and laugh though.
  • Some of the shows have time before or after each taping during which you get to chat with the presenter, but it’s not always guaranteed.
  • You’re going to watch a show, so don’t expect to end up on TV.

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A three day London tour highlighting the city’s free attractions

Destinations, England, Guides

A three day London tour highlighting the city’s free attractions

3 Comments 10 May 2013

I’m the biggest dork when it comes to travel. Ever since I was little I’ve been an aspiring Danny Tanner, itinerary printed out for everyone traveling and heavy knowledge of every stop on the tour, even at Disney World.

Sometimes I think I like planning trips even more than actually taking them and recently I’ve come to the conclusion that the very best possible job for me in travel would be to design tours and itineraries.

So you can imagine my excitement when I learned about Unanchor from Clare Auchterlonie, known as @restourist on Twitter. She was a huge help when it came to planning my road trip around western USA and in the process she passed along some of her own Unanchor travel guides.

Basically, the company allows people to create tour guides and self publish. But they’re very hands on with what gets published on their website. Cat Crews, a member of the Unanchor team, was with me every step of the way to offer tips and advice to making my itinerary the best it could be.

Which brings me to the point of this post!

I’ve just published my first itinerary for the website, London for Free :: Three-day Tour.

Walking to Big Ben from St. James’s Park. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

As you might all know by now, I adore London. I’ve lived here twice and both times have spent ridiculous amounts of time just walking the city. I don’t know what it is about walking here, but I could do five miles without even realizing it, because there are so many random things along the way to keep me distracted.

I love touring the city with no destination in mind and discovering alleyways or sections I never knew about. Loads of miles later and several tours for work and pleasure and I know I have a pretty good grasp on the city’s layout, history and best attractions, most of which are free.

The guide includes detailed maps to help you on your walking tours. Map created by Bobbi Lee Hitchon using Google Maps

I’m always amazed at how many free museums, events and activities there are in this city. I think it’s something people don’t realize when planning a trip here, because all you hear about London is how expensive it is.

Well, it doesn’t have to be.

My three-day tour is designed so that you don’t have to pay a dime while touring. I point out museums and activities that are free and take you on walks pointing out sights that you’d have to hire a guide to know about. I even show you where to find free comedy, theater performances and food, as well as how to get into places that normally charge admission, like St. Paul’s Cathedral, for absolutely nothing.

The V&A is one of many free museums mentioned in my tour. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

The tour includes a major attractions like Shakespeare’s Globe, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, as well as lesser known places to visitors like The Wallace Collection and Regent’s Canal. Every stop includes a historical description, so you’ll learn about the culture of the city and its past every step of the way.

I also include affordable food and drink options for lunch and dinner and an index with everything you need to know about visiting London.

Dim sum in Chinatown anyone? Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

London, for me, is the best city in the world, so I would love for people, on any budget, to find out why. This guide is especially good for summer, so I hope people get to enjoy it in summer 2013. Click the link in the widget below to have a look.


Powered by Unanchor.com

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The ‘Great Gatsby’ world tour

Australia, Destinations, England, Film Locations, Guides, USA

The ‘Great Gatsby’ world tour

4 Comments 07 May 2013

Traveling the world this summer, old sport? Why not stop by a few bars and locations having to do with the first big blockbuster of the summer of 2013, The Great Gatsby.

Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel has taken over the world. Suddenly the jazz age, flappers and speakeasies are all popular again. Are we all just in the mood for a throw back? Is everyone simply enamored by anticipation of another Luhrmann spectacle? Or can this generation relate so much with the main message and times of the novel, they’re slipping back into the era?

Regardless, the recent 1920s throwback trend in entertainment and fashion can just as easily be added to your summer travel itinerary. See Fitzgerald’s Paris, visit places that inspired the author in New York, spot film locations for the recent film adaptation in Sydney and more with this ‘Great Gatsby’ world tour.

Tour Gatsby’s New York

Any good Gatsby world tour must start in the story’s location, New York. The book was set mainly in Long Island, which Fitzgerald fictitiously split into East and West Egg. While visiting the Empire State, people can tour Oheka Castle, a house that inspired Gatsby’s mansion, stop by the Plaza Hotel for a round of whiskey, visit Bobby’s NYC for a Gatsby-style party and much more.

Walk in Fitzgerald’s footsteps in Paris

Paris was a retreat for many American expatriate artists and writers in the 1920s including F. Scott Fitzgerald. The author lived in the city of lights from 1924-1931, during which time The Great Gatsby was published (1925). Though Fitzgerald actually completed the novel after moving to the French Riviera in 1923. Harry’s New York Bar is one known hangout of the author during his stay. ARTINFO.com has put together a more extensive city walk dedicated to Fitzgerald.

Spot Luhrmann film locations in Sydney

Baz Lurhmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby has added yet another destination to this world tour, Sydney, Australia, where the movie was filmed. The Aussie director used several locations in and around his home city, including Centennial Park; which was used for Gatsby’s estate, St. Patrick’s Seminary; which was used for Gatsby’s mansion, and Waverley Cemetery; we’ll leave out what this was used for in case you haven’t read the book yet. Writer Jerry Garrett elaborates on these and more Sydney film locations on his blog.

Party like it’s the Jazz Age in London

London saw a rise in speakeasy openings and 1920s-themed parties long before the premier of The Great Gatsby in New York City last week. Sure, the parties written about in the novel and shown on screen are intended for the Big Apple, but in truth, no one quite throws a party like the Brits. Plus, they have something extra to celebrate about with Londoner Carey Mulligan playing Daisy, the film’s golden girl. Some Great Gatsby party ideas in London Town include Prohibition 1920s; which is a monthly era-themed party held at a secret location, S.S. Atlantica; a monthly 1930s-themed party held on a boat on the River Thames and countless speakeasies located around the city. Dress in time-attire.

An evening in a 1920s California mansion

One last Gatsby style attraction is Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. Built for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in 1919, this lavish Pacific Coast mansion still looks just as it did when Hollywood stars and icons came to visit during its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. They offer an evening tour in the spring and fall that allows visitors to see what it would have been like to visit the castle during those times with actors and guides roaming the area dressed in time attire.

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

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What’s in my suitcase?

Favorite Things, Guides, Style, Vintage World Shopping

What’s in my suitcase?

8 Comments 02 April 2013

Over the past three years of traveling I’ve exchanged clothes with people around the world, been given some very special items and purchased a few amazing finds. Basically, the contents of my suitcase are pretty eclectic. No item has made it along with more the entire trip, but a few have been with me for years and are pretty close to my heart. From a feather ring in Port Douglas to Genie pants in Thailand, this is what I’m packing.

Cowboy boots

These boots are made for walking and they’ve done their fair share around the world. It was love at first sight when I laid eyes on these bad boys at a vintage shop in Brisbane, Australia. I can’t remember the name of the shop, nor what year they were made, but I do remember dishing out $AUD60 without hesitation. It was my birthday and I’ve wanted cowboy boots forever. They don’t go down well at say, a locals hangout in Donsol, Philippines (everyone stared and one guy even said, “Western boots,” like he was spitting something gross out of his mouth), but they make you feel like an American bad add and are very easy to walk in.

Photo by Richard John Hackey

A Bobbi hat

This item has been with me the longest of all the pieces on my list. My friend Bobbi, who I road tripped Australia with, made it for me at the end of our tour. That’s right, she made it. It’s pretty cool looking and I’ve worn it in all climates, from the tropics of Port Douglas, Australia to the snowy city of Queenstown, New Zealand.

Photo owner unknown.

Yellow dress

I found this little number at a market in Chiang Mai. I paid about $5 for the dress and a belt to go with it. It makes me feel like a dainty traveler, like I’m on my own Roman Holiday. I wore it on my 26th birthday, which might be my best yet.

Photo by Richard John Hackey

Liverpool jersey

I’m sure anyone who has dated an English man can relate to this. Ric is a Liverpool supporter, so naturally the first gift he ever bought me was a Liverpool top. I like it not only because I’m a fan myself, but also because it reminds me of the first Christmas Ric and I ever spent together, Melbourne 2010.

Leopard Coat

A definite impulse purchase, but I don’t care. I’ve always loved the 50s style leopard-print coat and have been looking for one for a very long time. It’s hard today, because new coats in that style are either expensive or cheesy. So when I spotted one that was neither at a vintage store in Santa Cruz, California, I just couldn’t say no. It’s a fake, from the 50s and cost $100. I feel like Caggie Dunlop whenever I wear it.

Photo by Emily Kostic

Leather coat

I never would have attempted to wear leather before this coat, but Ric convinced me, so how could I say no. I do love it. I bought it at a boutique on Chapel Street in Melbourne for $AUD99. I’ve had it for over two years now and it’s starting to fall apart, because I wear it constantly. When it finally does, I’m not sure I’ll own another leather coat again considering it took 24 years to finally find one I like.

Photo by Richard John Hackey

Genie pants Thailand

Part of my SE Asian uniform, I admit it, I f*cking love genie pants. I don’t know if they’re the most stylish digs, but they’re so comfortable, easy to throw on at the beach and you don’t have to worry about whether what your wearing is too short for the temples when you have these bad boys on. I’ve owned four pairs in the past two years.

Photo by Richard John Hackey

German dress

This dress isn’t actually from Germany, but it reminds me of the traditional dresses that girls wear at Oktoberfest, so I always associate it with the country. I bought the dress while studying abroad in London in 2007. Another vintage item, I bought it in Soho and its from the 1960s, so a pretty ideal shopping experience in the city considering this dress is definitely swinging 60s and Soho was the place to shop at that time.

Photo by Richard John Hackey

Thai skirt

This is another one of my favorite purchased in Thailand. I bought it on Khao San Road, where most tourist do their shopping in Chiang Mai, for no more than $4. Like my dress from Chiang Mai, I love traveling in this.

Photo by Richard John Hackey

Australian opal earrings and feather ring

I don’t carry a lot of jewellery with me, because I rarely wear it and I don’t really want to worry about it in hostels, but there are two pieces I bring along everywhere I go and both are Australian. First are the Australian opal earrings my dad got me for my 21st birthday. He purchased them in Aruba, because my birthstone is opal but he’d never seen the stone like this. I hadn’t either, but it became my favorite. Australian opal is a greenish blue, compared to the white we’re used to in the USA.

My next Aussie jewellery item is from the Sunday Markets in Port Douglas. I’ve always like feathers, because of my Native American ancestry, but I never owned anything with feathers except for a dream catcher. When I saw this ring, I had to have it. It was the feather item I’d always wanted. But I actually associate Ric with it more than my ancestry. We started dating not long before I found this ring and there was only one available at the stall. That one fit my wedding ring finger perfectly.

Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Everyone says it’s bad luck to wear anything other than an engagement or marriage ring on that finger and I’m usually very superstitious, but I didn’t care for some reason. I was definitely just too lazy to go to a jewelers and get it fixed, but now that I look back, maybe it was a sign.

What are you packing? If you liked this post, let me hear what’s in your suitcase.

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The road tripper’s guide to Las Vegas

Destinations, Guides, Road Trip, USA, USA

The road tripper’s guide to Las Vegas

No Comments 22 February 2013

The whole idea of Las Vegas, a mirage in the middle of the desert, makes it the perfect road trip city.

Its centrally located campgrounds allow road trippers to park up and leave the car for a few days. But for those who want to keep exploring there are plenty more interesting road side attractions, like the Hoover Dam, located less than an hour from Las Vegas Boulevard, otherwise known as “the Strip”.

Since the city packs so much, the only real problem is choosing what to do with your time here. This guide will help you decide that.

KOA at Circus Circus is the only RV Resort in Las Vegas located on the Strip. Perfect for road trippers. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Sleep

Las Vegas has quite a few campgrounds and RV resorts, but only a couple are located either on the Strip or right next to it. If you want to camp and be close to all the action, check out KOA at Circus Circus or Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort.

Further options can be found in the city, but Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Red Rock Canyon are two conservation areas located just outside the city that offer camping, making them ideal places to escape the 24/7 party, but still be within reach of it.

However, if there is one city you might consider ditching the RV or camper for a few days and staying in a hotel, it’s this one. Las Vegas has a very wide range of hotel rooms, some as low as $19 and centrally located. Staying in a hotel can be more affordable than camping in Las Vegas, but make sure to weigh out the two options.

Best part about road tripping into Las Vegas from the West? Passing the “Welcome to the Fabulous Las Vegas sign” on arrival. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Go

Vegas is a lot bigger than most people expect. The city limits stretch out much further than just one road full of casinos, so look into locations when booking or planning things here. It’s very easy to get around the city by car. Fuel is fairly affordable all over, though the further from the city center you are, the more affordable it becomes. Don’t forget to check out traffic reports during long weekends and holidays as this holiday destination will be a lot busier at those times. Always expect to drive slow down the Strip.

RVs or campers with height restrictions might have trouble finding parking in certain areas, especially Las Vegas Boulevard, because the parking is often in garages. Be mindful of this and plan ahead. Those who want to travel the Strip without their car, should purchase a one day pass for $7 with The Deuce, a double decker bus that runs up and down the Strip all day and night. Also look into what free shuttle services your hotel or campground offer.

Try Gordon Ramsay’s Burgr, which allows people to visit a famous chef’s joint, but at a decent price. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Eat

Fine dining in Sin City is endless and delectable. Some of the world’s best chefs work here and the city is known for its unique restaurants. For those on a budget, there are a lot of grocery stores, like Wal-Mart and Trader Joe’s, just off the strip to stock up food before parking up or heading out.

How about a drink of Absinthe? Or you could just see the show! Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Drink

Those who intend to take part in this city’s renowned nightlife scene should stay on the Strip to be closest to all the action. This will help you avoid expensive taxi fares or the hassle of worrying about public transportation on nights or days out, which you’re likely to have several of during your stay. Plus it’s easy to find nice, affordable rooms in this area, so there’s no reason not to book here.

Drinks are free to gamblers, whether they’re spending pennies on slot machines or Bejamins at poker tables. Tips are expected and you might have to wait longer for the following drink if you don’t. Another idea for affordable drinking is to check Spy On Vegas, which organizes open bars around the city during the week.

Walk across the Memorial Bridge for the best and scariest view of the Hoover Dam. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Play

Though visitors don’t really need to leave Las Vegas Boulevard during their stay, it would be good to also check out Downtown Las Vegas. This is the original Casino strip in Vegas. It’s great to check out the funky signage on Fremont Street here, though you probably won’t feel much like Sinatra walking through the somewhat cheesy enclosed area.

Remember that there is a lot more to do in Vegas than drink. If you’re getting a bit tired of the constant boozing, check out the city’s spas and shows, which are among the best in the world.

It’s amazing how many great things are within reach of Las Vegas and several tour operators use Vegas as a starting off point to see the Southwest. Less than thirty minutes from the Strip is Lake Mead, which is the largest reservoir in the USA, and Red Rock Canyon, which is known for its rock formations and Native American history. Beyond Lake Mead on Route 93, about 45 minutes from the Las Vegas city center is the Hoover Dam.

One final trip people often take from Las Vegas, but is very far out is to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It takes about four hours to reach the South Entrance of this National Park and under three hours to reach the entrance to the skywalk, which goes out over Grand Canyon West, though this is not open all year.

Road tripping to San Francisco or Los Angeles? There’s a guide for that!

Thanks to Jucy Rentals USA for sponsoring my trip out West. Visit their website to start planning your own US road trip. Use the code “BobbiUSA” to receive 10% off your booking. Follow my trip right here on Heels and Wheels, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

As always, all opinions are my own.

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

The road tripper’s guide to Los Angeles

Destinations, Guides, Road Trip, USA, USA

The road tripper’s guide to Los Angeles

2 Comments 19 February 2013

More than any other city, people need their own vehicle to tour Los Angeles. Getting around on public transportation is extremely time consuming and can be quite complicated. The city is very spread out and public transportation is, unfortunately, somewhat unpopular here. To make matters worse, because of how large the city is, taxis can be expensive as well.

So by choosing to road trip to Los Angeles, rather than just arrive by plane and spend a few days here, you’re already one step ahead.

Basing your trip on the fact that you will need a car, makes things like picking a campground to stay a lot easier, because location doesn’t matter. On the other side, it makes things like planning nights out a bit more difficult because either someone must volunteer to be designated driver or you need to split the the cab fare. This guide will help you understand the city of LA better, from a road tripper’s point of view.

The view from Malibu Beach RV Park. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Sleep

Since Los Angeles is very spread out, finding the perfectly-located accommodation is not as much of a concern. Most of your camping options in Los Angeles are going to be on the coast, which makes for some gorgeous beach locations, slightly out of the city. Dockweiler Beach, a state park close to LAX, is a favourite among campers. Malibu has quite a few camping options, including Malibu Beach RV Park, which is located right on the Pacific Coast Highway with an incredible view of the coast. Plus there are options outside Disney Land in Anaheim.

Staying at a campground or RV will save you a lot of money in LA as they average about $35 for partial hook up per night, whereas you’re looking at spending at least $60 per night on a hotel in the city. But if you choose to stay in a hotel, whether or not they’ll have free outdoor parking depends on their location, so call ahead to find out if they do and if there are any height restrictions.

Go

Those driving in LA should avoid doing so during rush hour. Since almost everyone here drives, the traffic is horrendous. If you can, always have at least one passenger in the car so you can use the carpool lane on the freeways. There are a lot of parking options here, usually affordable ones depending on the area. However, fuel is not. Stay away from wealthy areas like Beverly Hills and Malibu when fueling your car.

A crab cake sandwich from Neptune’s Net, located right on the Pacific Coast Highway. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Eat

Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods rule this city, as well as a few high-end grocers. I would say Trader Joe’s is the most affordable and plentiful option to choose from. It’s very easy to find grocers with parking inside the city. It might be better to go during the week rather than the weekend to avoid any kind of rush by locals off work.

For meals out, take advantage of having a car by visiting restaurants on the coast with the perfect view of the sunset in beach towns like Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice Beach. A lot of these are going to be pricey. A popular option that’s very affordable is Neptune’s Net in Malibu.

Whiskey A Go Go is a major venue in music industry. The Doors were the house band here for a while. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Drink

While there is no one party area in this city, there are plenty of places to party. LA is known for its trendy and unique bars and clubs as well as a few timeless rock venues like Whisky A Go Go on Sunset Blvd. If you want to have a big night out, research LA’s most popular clubs at the moment, choose one then plan your night around getting to and from there whether it be by public transit or sharing a taxi. If using public transit, check to see if your service runs late.

Having a car in LA makes it a lot easier to reach spots up in the hills like Griffith Observatory. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Play

Arrange your trip by accomplishing everything you want to do in one section of the city in one day. For instance, spend a day in Hollywood doing the Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater, Hollywood sign and any tours you fancy. Let another day be all about Disney Land. This will avoid you wasting money and time going back and fourth to an area.

Some musts for those with cars include cruising on the Pacific Coast Highway, driving up to the Griffith Observatory and visiting famous homes like the Getty Villa.

Road tripping to San Francisco or Los Angeles? There’s a guide for that!

Thanks to Jucy Rentals USA for sponsoring my trip out West. Visit their website to start planning your own US road trip. Use the code “BobbiUSA” to receive 10% off your booking. Follow my trip right here on Heels and Wheels, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

As always, all opinions are my own.

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

The road tripper’s guide to San Francisco

Destinations, Guides, Road Trip, USA, USA

The road tripper’s guide to San Francisco

8 Comments 14 February 2013

Road tripping to San Francisco is a thrilling experience. Driving around this city, you’ll feel more like you’re on a roller coaster than a street due to the extreme incline of its hills. But other than a few scary moments on the road here, this city is a dream destination for California road trippers.

Find out what your best option is for camping in the city, some much-needed tips to driving around it and a number of the city’s best attractions that you might not be able to visit without a set of wheels.

Sleep

San Francisco only has one centrally-located campground, which is at Rob Hill. Only two sites are available to groups here from April until October. But you will find a lot of options just outside the city. One stunning option is the San Francisco RV Resort in Pacifica, located on the ocean about 15 miles south of the city center.

Those who wish to stay in a hotel instead, as the city has some affordable options centrally-located, make sure to see if the hotel has free and outdoor parking. A lot of hotels in the city do have outdoor parking, so there are no height restrictions, but some have an overhang at the entrance, limiting certain vehicles, so make sure to ask.

Go

Once in the city, getting around is fairly easy and fun. The traffic is not too bad in the city center, it’s highways connecting to areas like Silicon Valley that you really have to worry about. As you would expect, there are some serious hills in San Francisco. Be very careful when switching from your brake to gas pedal at red lights on hills. The incline is so dramatic, you will fall back as soon as you lift from the break. Also remember to turn your wheels towards to curb when parallel parking on hills.

Affordable parking is hit or miss in this city. Sometimes you’ll find free or cheap parking on the street, but you’ll also find lots that cost $5 per hour. Take the car when heading up to Twin Peaks or hitting Baker Beach. Ditch the car when visiting popular tourist attractions like Fisherman’s Wharf. Make sure to try out San Francisco’s famous cable cars at least once. Also, look into whether or not the campground or RV resort you stay offers free or affordable shuttles to and from the city.

My Jucy Champ cruising down from Twin Peaks, San Francisco in the background. Photo by Garret Standrowicz

When not using your own car or public transportation, try out Lyft, which is a ride-sharing application on your phone exclusive to San Francisco. You’ll know these drivers by the big, hot pink moustaches attached to the front of their car. Book your Lyft through the app and pay a suggested donation at the end.

Eat

Some affordable grocers to visit, so you can eat back at the campground, include Safeway and Trader Joe’s. Safeway offers free membership cards which gives its shoppers access to tremendous discounts. Visit this grocer prior to entering the city, where there are more parking options. Those who like to check out local city markets should try the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

San Francisco is definitely a food city. Some places to check out include Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf. Also try North Bay, a local secret, for incredible Italian food.

Drink

Ready to ditch the car and try the wines that this section of the state is known for? Your best bet for drinking in the Bay area is heading to the USA’s most famous wine country, Napa Valley. Several companies offer tours with pick up from wherever its guests are staying in the city. Another option if you have enough people would be to rent a car, limo or shuttle for the day and tour Napa on your own.

No trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to Napa Valley. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

More of a beer person? Anchor Brewing, San Francisco’s most famous brewery, offers free tours and tastings. This is a very popular activity so register in advance.

Play

There are a lot of great things to see and experience in this city on foot, but having a car gives visitors an advantage in San Francisco sight seeing. Take a drive up to Twin Peaks for the best view of the city. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge and explore Golden Gate National Recreation Area on both sides of the bridge. Legion on Honor can be a pain to reach for those without wheels, but for those with a vehicle it’s a great museum with even better views of the city

Visit Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay to check out the bluff and watch the sun set. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Finally, take a trip to Half Moon Bay, located about 30-minutes outside the city. This is a vacation destination for people who live and work Silicon Valley. Plus, home to Mavericks, a well-known surfing location.

Thanks to Jucy Rentals USA for sponsoring my trip out West. Visit their website to start planning your own US road trip. Use the code “BobbiUSA” to receive 10% off your booking. Follow my trip right here on Heels and Wheels, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Road tripping to San Francisco or Los Angeles? There’s a guide for that!

As always, all opinions are my own.

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

The first day of the rest of your life in Big Sur, California

Destinations, Guides, Road Trip, USA, USA

The first day of the rest of your life in Big Sur, California

4 Comments 24 January 2013

Big Sur is one of those places that people bond over the mention of. Before I planned my visit to this 90-mile stretch of California, I didn’t think I knew anyone who had ever been. As soon as I spoke about my trip out loud, so many people came out with advice to offer or just wanted to tell me how much they loved it.

Make sure to go to the Henry Miller Library and check out the view at Nepenthe. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a must and make sure to visit McWay Falls while you’re there.

I’ve never had such direct advice from so many people about one place. I didn’t quite understand what people were talking about through the recommendation process, but after spending two days in Big Sur, I know exactly what they meant, how unbelievably gorgeous this place is and how often I’ll think about it for the rest of my life.

Big Sur has been written about over and over. It’s beauty attempted to be explained and the many stories of how locals come to end up staying forever still inciting questions by visitors. The best of all things nature: forest, beach, the sea, as well as the other world: unique shops, restaurants and lodging, you might not be able to see yourself ever living in Big Sur, but a piece of you wants so badly to never leave.

So like the many before me, I’ve tried to explain this mysterious section of California and will pass on the ‘musts’ in this reclusive piece of Highway 1 in what I think is the best order to do them.

This is the view of the Bixby Canyon Bridge from a vista point before it to the north. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

First stop: Bixby Canyon Bridge

Driving south on Highway 1, my first ‘must see’ in this patch of Big Sur is an architectural marvel. The bridge was built in 1932 and made it a lot easier for visitors to enter and leave Big Sur, as well as for locals to travel from the area in the winter months, which was almost impossible before.

It is one of the tallest single span bridges in the world and has been the object of many photographs as well as films and songs. Death Cab for Cutie produced a song about the bridge you might want to download to make the crossing even more special. A white bridge snugged between two cliffs, rocky hills behind it and a tiny beach below, it’s located right on the water. Stop at a vista point before crossing it from the north for the best photo opportunity. Time your visit here for late morning or early afternoon when the sun is high.

 

The walk to McWay Falls is short and easy. It’s basically across the street from the entrance to the park, but there is a tunnel under Highway 1 to walk through when parking across the street. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Second stop: Julia Burns Pfeiffer State Park

The trip from Bixby to this State Park is going to take at least 40 minutes. During the trip feel free to stop at shops along the way and grab something to eat. This is going to be the furthest south we venture. Get to the State Park, by 3 or 4 p.m. if you only want to visit McWay Falls, earlier if you want to see more of the park.

Named after a rancher who lived in Big Sur in the early 20th century, the six-square miles of this park includes forests, beach, several hiking trails, 300-foot tall redwoods and McWay Falls. Another photogenic road stop, McWay Falls drops from an 80-foot cliff directly onto the beach and into the Pacific. This waterfall is very easy to reach. Located right on the side of Highway 1, it’s only about a ten-minute walk from the parking lot at Julia Burns Pfeiffer State Park.

The reason I recommend getting here by 3 or 4 p.m. is because the sun falls really nicely on McWay Falls at this time of day, whereas any earlier it might be blackened by the shade of mountains to the east. Also, our next stop is best at sunset and only a short drive from the Falls.

This is one of many incredible views from Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur, California. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Third stop: Nepenthe Restaurant

Drive about ten minutes north on Highway 1 to reach our next stop: Nepenthe Restaurant. The modern, yet still rugged wooden building located on a cliff looking out to the Pacific has a massive deck that is the perfect place to spend the entire day in Big Sur, but especially sunset.

From this restaurant, people have an unobstructed view of Big Sur’s forest, jagged cliffs and dramatic drops to beaches on the coast and of course, the sun setting on nothing but ocean. I didn’t even attempt to eat here as every guide book I read and person I spoke to said it is very expensive, but the restaurant was very busy, so if you do want a nice meal in Big Sur, this is an option to think about.

If you just want an incredible view, walk along the deck at Nepenthe to the very back and give yourself some time to take in Big Sur in its last moments of light.

It’s easy to spend hours at Henry Miller Memorial Library just looking through the shop. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Fourth stop: Henry Miller Memorial Library

Depending on what day of the week it is, you might need to set off for this next stop immediately after watching the sun set as it usually closes around 6 p.m. Only a few miles north of Highway 1 is the Henry Miller Memorial Library, a non-profit organization that features works of art and literature by the late writer and Big Sur resident, Henry Miller, as well as others. A hippy haven in the woods, the quaint wooden house is no-frills on the outside but an eye full of color and design inside.

The Library is worth a trip on its own, but it often has live music acts on the weekend by local independent artists, as well as well-known performers like Patti Smith. Spend as much time as you can looking through everything this place has to offer. Make sure to give a donation outside in exchange for tea, coffee or just the joy you get from visiting a place like this. The Library has free wi-fi and the most incredible cat called Theo.

Fernwood Resort is one of many ideal places to stay in Big Sur and a definite stop for a few drinks with locals. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon

Final stop: Redwood Grill and Restaurant at Fernwood Resort

I’m going to finish this list of ‘musts’ in Big Sur with my own personal recommendation. I camped at Fernwood Resort in the most adorable spot right on the Big Sur River, next to a wooden bridge with colored lights. I thought the campground was amazing as soon as I parked my camper van there, natural, quiet, the staff friendly and fun.

Then a local guy who works at Henry Miller Memorial Library recommended a friend and I visit the restaurant attached, Redwood Grill, as he said it was ‘basically [his] living room’. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my travels, it’s that when you get a recommendation like that by someone who lives in the place you’re visiting, you follow it.

Inside, the restaurant has a small bar with lots of wines, beers and spirits. The restaurant includes several rooms set up like a house: one with leather couches, a TV, board games and a few tables. I spent a good few hours there chatting to locals and finding out what brought them to Big Sur. I couldn’t quite fathom where all these people live as I saw maybe two houses on the entire stretch.

What I got from my conversations with people who live in Big Sur, during my last night there, is that it just keeps getting better and better. The five things I mention in this post only scratch the surface. The longer you stay in Big Sur, you’ll notice tiny private streets coming off Highway 1, natural wonders that have yet to be photographed and people who came to this area for a visit, but still haven’t left.

I was perplexed about how people come to live in Big Sur, but I guess the longer you stay, the more it just makes sense.

Thanks to Jucy Rentals USA for sponsoring my trip out West. Visit their website to start planning your own US road trip. Use the code “BobbiUSA” to receive 10% off your booking. Follow my trip right here on Heels and Wheels, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

As always all opinions are my own.

Like what you see? Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what I’m writing about. ;)

24 hours in London, England

24 hours, Destinations, England, Guides

24 hours in London, England

1 Comment 31 July 2012

The 2012 Olympics are well underway and if you’re in London for the big event chances are you’ll want to take some time away to check out local sights and culture. Unfortunately, attending an event as big as as the Olympics, not to mention staying in an already expensive city during it, will leave visitors with very little spare change to spend on touring.

Not to worry. The city’s free activities and affordable food spots will allow you to have a full day of exploring for under £50. So when you have a day off between women’s skeet shooting and men’s artistic gymnastics, here’s how to see London on a budget.

8 a.m.

First things first, purchase a Day Anytime Travelcard for London’s extensive transportation system. At £8.40, this card will allow you to travel around zones 1 and 2 by Tube, bus and more. If you’re staying in the city and moving about for a longer period of time, look into their 7-day and monthly travel cards or even consider purchasing an Oyster Card. You can purchase cards online and at various tube stations.

Now that transportation is covered for the day, let’s get moving. First stop is the St. James’s Park Tube Station. You’ll exit at a roundabout, head left down Petty France toward Buckingham Gate (these are street names). At the very end of Petty France, on the right corner, you’ll see Bon Gusto, our first stop, a small cafe with blue awnings.

This Italian cafe serves Full English Breakfasts, a staple in any Brit’s diet, at £4.50, which is a great price for the meal anywhere in England, let alone one of its most tourist areas.

So what exactly is a Full English Breakfast?

Photo by JohnEWootton (Flikr)

Bacon, sausage, hash browns, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, toast and fried eggs. While black pudding is the final ingredient to a full, Full English, you won’t find the pig’s blood delicacy included in every cafe’s breakfast. With or without the black pudding, it’s a hearty meal, perfect for a full day of sightseeing. The total for this meal along with a drink: £6

Total for the day: £14.40

9:30 AM

Whether rolling away or walking, it might be a good idea to get just a little bit of exercise after such a massive breakfast. After your meal head over to St. James’s Park for a quick browse around.

If there’s one thing the English know how to do right, it’s parks, and with this one being pretty much in Queen Elizabeth’s front yard, minutes away from Buckingham Palace, you can bet it’ll be in top form. While an hour isn’t nearly enough time to explore this park to the fullest, here are a few spots to start with: The Blue Bridge, Pelicans (fed daily 2:30-3 p.m.) and Horseguards Parade.

Hyde Park is nearby, but a bit too far to reach in the time allowed. It’s well-worth a visit and a great way to spend a few hours in London in the Summer.

Total for the day: £14.40

To reach St. James’s Park from Bon Gusto, turn right on Buckingham Gate and another right on Birdcage Walk and you’ll see St. James’s Park to the left.

10:30 a.m.

Don’t get too lost in St. James’s Park as you’ll need to head back to Buckingham Palace for its famous Changing of the Guard.

The ceremony kicks off at 11:15/11:30 a.m., but it would be a good idea to arrive somewhat early to find a good viewing spot. This is one of London’s most notable activities. The event will give you time to check out one of the UK’s many castles and watch a royal tradition.

Who knows, maybe Liz will even give a wave from her window.

Note: Changing of the Guard does not happen every day, so check the link above to make sure it is scheduled the day you wish to visit Buckingham Palace.

Total for the day: £14.40

To reach Buckingham Palace from St. James’s Park just head down The Mall in the direction of the Palace. It’s hard to miss.

12 p.m.

After viewing one of the country’s most famous royal traditions, it’s time to take in its political and religious icons. Only a 15-minute walk from Buckingham Palace down Birdcage Walk and right on Abingdon Street is Westminster Abbey, Parliament and of course, Big Ben. (Fun fact: Big Ben is actually the name of the bell in the tower.) All these attractions are worth a proper visit and tour, but since we’re on a tight time and money budget, a walk around the area and a few photos will suffice.

Marked on this map is all the stops mentioned above in order from A to F.

1 p.m.

One thing you’ll notice about travel in London is that almost everything you do is a cultural, even public transit. Instead of taking the tube again, let’s grab one of England’s red double-decker buses and travel from London’s political Westminster to its old-world and artistic South Bank.

The route will be from where we left off in the Westminster area (ex. Westminster Station) to Borough Market. To avoid getting too technical now, we’ll leave planning of this route up to you on the day and hour you choose to take it. There are a few options available and you can always plan your journey online.

Photo by Danny McLaughlin (Flikr)

Borough Market is not only a great foodie experience, but a serious historical experience. A food market in the Borough area dates back as far as 1014. The current market location on Borough High Street near London Bridge has been there since the 13th Century.

It really feels like you’re visiting another century when walking through the packed market. Traders from all over go there to sell an array of goodies from specialty meats to artisan breads. The market has so much to offer and the best thing about it: free samples! You could literally fill yourself with food just sampling the goods here, but the market also sells affordable food and drinks.

The only drawback is that this place isn’t 24 hours. Closed on Sundays, only open for lunch Monday to Wednesday and offering the full market Thursday to Saturday. Check their website before visiting for updates times and events.

You could spend your whole day as well as all your money here. But since time and money are of the essence, we’re going to say £10 is enough for a decent lunch in the area, whether you buy a savory pie and coffee or a baguette and dips.

Total for the day: £24

2:30 p.m.

South Bank offers two parallels in arts and entertainment. Dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries people can learn about one of the country’s greatest writers by visiting Shakespeare’s Globe. Not far away, people can view some of the country’s most recent treasured masterpieces at the Tate Modern.

While this is a reconstructed version of Shakespeare’s Globe, the real one was located nearby and you can see an outline of its layout there, it will give you an idea of what it was like to be in London during the English Renaissance. The theater is still very active. It features several Shakespearean plays a year as well as tours. Unfortunately, both these things are costly so a quick look around is all for now.

Photo of the Globe by Stephskimo (Flikr)

However, our next stop, Tate Modern, is free. The museum features modern and contemporary art from 1900 to today, including works by Damien Hirst, Salvador Dali and Henri Matisse. Plus, the gallery is always featuring new, exciting and even playful exhibitions. This massive building once hosted three massive silver slides by Carsten Holler, as high as 5 story’s. Now that’s art I think everyone will enjoy. Check their website before visiting to find out what’s on now, or just be surprised upon arrival.

If the modern and contemporary art isn’t your cup of tea, the city has a plethora of museums to visit, most of which are free to enter.

To reach the Shakespeare’s Globe from Borough Market (Southwark/Borough High Street), head northwest on Bedale Street, this becomes Cathedral Street (slight right) and than Winchester Square (slight left). Turn right toward Clink Street and left onto Clink Street. Turn right onto Bank End which becomes Bankside with a left at the Thames. Continue straight until you reach the theater on your left.

Tate Modern is pretty much next door. Continue on Bankside to The Queen’s Walk and you’ll see the museum located in an old power station to the left.

The route from Borough Market to Shakespeare’s Globe. Tate Modern is next door.

Total for the day: £24

4:30 p.m.

Complete your tour of South Bank with a stroll across the Tower Bridge. You might want to call it London Bridge, but the one we’re looking for is called Tower Bridge. Built in 1894, this is the city’s most symbolic bridge, which will feature the five-colored rings on it throughout the Olympic games. While walking across check out the Thames even have a look at the Tower of London when you reach the other side.

Check out this tour by London Toolkit. For this section of our tour take the route from marker 14 (Tate Modern) to the Tower Hill Tube Station.

The walk above provided by London Toolkit offers the most scenic route which will keep you along the Thames as much as possible. Follow markers 14 (Tate Modern) to Tower Hill Station across the Thames. From Tower Hill take the Tube back to your accommodation for a quick rest and shower to get ready for the night.

7 p.m.

While there is much debate over what is England’s national dish these days, chicken tikka masala is definitely a national favorite. For this reason, instead of heading to a chippy for fish and chips or a pub for bangers and mash (you’ll have plenty of chances to do both while in London), you’ll be heading to Brick Lane for curry.

While so much of London is idyllically British, these days the city offers strong influences from all over the world, including Asia. You can sample an array of curries here and for a bargain, literally. Shop workers stand outside their restaurants throwing out deals to passer-bys.

“Free poppadoms.”

“I’ll throw in a bottle of wine.”

Test your haggling skills before sitting down for a serious feast.

We’re going to recommend spending about £20 here for food and drink, maybe less. Regardless, you’ll have enough for a pint at a bar on Brick Lane or at one of the many pubs you passed by during this day of touring London. No recommendations for this item on the agenda. London has plenty of pubs to offer. Whether it be the classic pub look or people singing inside, one is sure to lure you in.

To reach Brick Lane in East London, take the tube to Aldgate East Station. Exit on Whitechapel High Street and head northeast toward Commercial Street. Take a right at Osborn Street, which turns into Brick Lane.

Hope you enjoyed this one-day tour of London. Note that this is only scratching the surface of the British city. There is so much left to see, taste and drink, of course. You might have to stay much longer than just the Olympics.

This photo of Tower Bridge decorated for the 2012 Olympics is by roger.w800 (Flikr)

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