London is a year-round tourist centre, with few of its attractions closing or significantly reducing their opening hours in winter. London is a cosmopolitan city where it is possible to sample cuisine from all corners of the world. There are establishments to suit every taste and pocket, from burger restaurants like the Hard Rock Cafe on Piccadilly and Planet Hollywood near Leicester Square, to those serving exquisite modern cuisine such as Quaglins near Piccadilly or the Blueprint Cafe at the Design Museum. Britain is famed for its pubs and London has literally thousands to choose from, where one can sample a pint of British beer, enjoy good-value bar meals and savor the friendly atmosphere. With a population of just under eight million, London is Europes largest city, spreading across an area of more than 620 square miles from its core on the River Thames. Ethnically its also Europes most diverse metropolis with around two hundred languages spoken within its confines, and more than thirty percent of the population is made up of first, second and third-generation immigrants. For the visitor London is a thrilling place and in the last few years, the city has been in a relatively cheerful mood. Thanks to the national lottery and the millennium-oriented funding frenzy, virtually every one of Londons world-class museums, galleries and institutions has been reinvented, from the Royal Opera House to the British Museum. In the Tate Modern and the London Eye, the city can now boast the worlds largest modern art gallery and Ferris wheel, and the first new bridge to cross the Thames for over a hundred years. Londons traditional sights like the Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St Pauls Cathedral and the Tower of London have continued to draw in millions of tourists every year. Monuments from the capitals more glorious past are everywhere to be seen, from medieval banqueting halls and the great churches of Christopher Wren to the eclectic Victorian architecture of the triumph list British Empire. There is also much enjoyment to be had from the citys quiet Georgian squares, the narrow alleyways of the City of London, the riverside walks, and the quirks of what is still identifiably a collection of villages. There are large expanses of greenery to be enjoyed like Hyde Park, Green Park and St Jamess Park. Further away one can enjoy the more expansive countryside of Hampstead Heath and Richmond Park. One could spend days just shopping in London, too, mixing with the upper classes in the tiara triangle around Harrods, or sampling the offbeat weekend markets of Portobello Road, Camden and Greenwich. The music, clubbing and gay/lesbian scenes are second to none, and mainstream arts are no less exciting, with regular opportunities to catch brilliant theatre companies, dance troupes, exhibitions and opera. Restaurants, these days, are an attraction, too. London is now on a par with its European rivals, and offers a range from three-star Michelin establishments to low-cost, high-quality Chinese restaurants and Indian curry houses. One must visit London to get the complete picture of this dynamic metropolis.
Bargain hunters dont only go to Chinatown for knock off designer handbags, they also look there to find the best prices on bus tours of America. Travelers in east and west coast US cities have come to love the Chinatown Bus for their no-frills service and rock bottom prices. However, the bargains do not stop there. If you want to find the cheapest way to see the most popular tourist attractions in the US, try a Chinatown tour operator. Just as Chinatown bus service began by catering to the recent immigrant community, for years these tour operators have targeting their tours only to the Chinese speaking community. However, more recently they have been discovered by the broader market and are increasingly popular for visitors to the US and residents alike.Sayaka Singh who lives in New York said that any time she has family visiting from India they inevitably want to take a trip to Niagara Falls. She discovered several Chinatown tour companies online and has since sent many family members to the Falls with them. She said, You cant beat it, for less than a hundred dollars they get transportation in a nice motorcoach, hotel accommodations, a tour of the Falls area, and several other stops along the way. They loved it. Several of her relatives then booked a tour to Washington DC.What to expectThese are definitely budget tours, but the value they deliver is truly unbeatable. Hotels are usually 2-star level but they tend to be national chains and are quite adequate. Plan on something equivalent to a Travelodge, however many times the hotel quality is higher. Hotels are commonly not situated in the downtown core of the city or right near an attraction. In a style typical of tours throughout Asia, the tour itinerary is usually quite full. The pace of these tours is very rapid. You will see as many attractions as possible but will not stay at any one attraction for very long. This can be frustrating for people who like to linger or have time to explore. It is perfect for travelers who want to see a lot in a short period of time.People from all over the world go on these tours and it is impossible to predict the demographic makeup of a group. However, do not expect an all-American crowd. You should expect multilingual tour guide and many non-English speakers on the tour. Many people cite the mix of people as their favorite aspect of the tours (I felt like I was part of a UN delegation, it was great!). The tour guide will not give an in-depth narrated tour and will speak in both Chinese and English. The tour guide will also arrange for the group to stop for meals. This is usually simple fare such as a rest stop food court or a Chinese restaurant. How do they do it?$99 for a 3-day tour from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon; $85 for a 2-day tour from NYC to Washington DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphiait is hard to fathom how they can offer such low fares.These companies run very streamlined operations and work on slim margins. The key to their model is that the tour buses are full. They tend to operate tours only to the most popular destinations (ie. Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Niagara Falls, Washington DC), and they sometimes cancel a tour if not enough people book it. Often these tour companies use charter buses and therefore do not have the expense of maintaining and operating a fleet of buses, something that may not really be their area of expertise.Since the tour companies run tours on a regular schedule, they are able to negotiate very good room rates with hotels. Therefore they can still offer low rates even during a busy time of year. They also save money by paying their tour guides very little. Customers are expected to tip the tour guides and this really their main source of compensation. What exactly is included?All tours include hotel, tour guide and transportation. Most include entrance fees to any national parks when applicable. Some also include admission to attractions. Read the tour details carefully or inquire before you book if you are not sure. Optional tours can add to the cost of your tour and you should budget accordingly. Usually the tour guide will organize the optional tours for the group and you will pay the guide directly. How do I find these tours? Almost any city that has a sizable Asian population will most likely have a tour operator specializing in multi-day "budget tours" . New York, Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Los Angeles have dozens of tour operators. Most likely they will not advertise in the same places that traditional tour companies do. Your best bet is to look online. These tours are a terrific option for travelers who want to see some of Americas most popular sights but do not have a lot of time and want a great value. For far less than you would pay if you went on your own, you can sit back and have someone else make all the arrangements for you. As an added bonus you will also get to experience a great diversity of cultures along the way.
A buzzing seaside resort, Great Yarmouth on the beautiful Norfolk coast has all the right ingredients for a traditional seaside holiday the whole family will enjoy. Long stretches of golden beach, bags of attractions both indoor and outdoor for all ages, and many places to eatincluding of course the traditional seaside fish and chipsensure that Great Yarmouth caters for all.The most essential element of a seaside holiday has to be the beachand the 15 mile stretch of sandy beaches, dunes and unspoilt coastline between Winterton-on-Sea to Hopton, make Greater Yarmouth stand out from the crowd. Bring buckets and spades to make sandcastles, paddle in the sea or even venture in for a swim on this award winning coastline - and simply enjoy the magic of a great British resort.The resort looks out over Scroby Sands, the site of an impressive wind farm and also the home of a beautiful colony of seals, which can be visited by boat and is a great trip for all the family. Along with the Scroby Sands seals, there are many other fantastic things to see and do. For a fun-packed afternoon, visit the seafront theme parks where there are rides for small children and adventurous teenagers! Spend some time and a few pennies as you play the penny slot machines in the glittering arcades along the Golden Mile where the fun never ends! Fun family activity is what Great Yarmouth is all about! Adults and children will love playing on one of the craziest mini-golf courses, while there are opportunities to hire a pedal or rowing boat for a lake tour at nearby Fritton Park. If the unpredictable British weather takes hold for a while there are some terrific indoor attractions. Make some amazing animal discoveries of reptiles at Amazonia or find out about the incredible creatures that live in our oceans. There is also a swimming pool and a chance to step back in time to the mid-20th Century at one of Great Yarmouths newest attractions, yesterdays World. Great Yarmouth also has some wonderful history, with fascinating tales of Yarmouths famous figures including the great Admiral Lord Nelson. Discover what life was like for fishermen in years gone by or visit the birth place of Anna Sewell, the author of the childrens favourite Black Beauty. There are also guided walking tours available where youre sure to uncover more interesting facts about the historic town.And there is plenty to do in the evenings with some first-class entertainment. Experience a traditional end-of-the-pier theatre to see familiar faces take to the stage including comedy acts, while there is an amazing circus with heart-stopping trapeze acts and clowns, of course! If youd prefer to keep active there is also a bowling alley and dog racing where you can soak up the thrills and excitement either by watching or having a little flutter. An all year round holiday destination, Great Yarmouth has a terrific range of accommodation choices from hotels to holiday parks, cottages to caravan parks to choose from. So to rekindle childhood holiday memories and experience a great British tradition, consider visiting Great Yarmouth for your next family holiday.
To those living outside of the continent, Africa represents exotic locales, the opportunity to witness an incredible variety of wildlife, and experiences that will create lifelong memories. The idea of an African safari conjures up images of bumpy rides on dirt roads, lodges with few amenities, and glimpses of elusive creatures during the night. Today, while a classic African safari is certainly available, an increasing number of travelers are opting to make a safari part of a larger eco-friendly vacation that includes giving back to the people and places of Africa through volunteerism. Africa: More than You ImagineWhen you spend your holidays in Africa, you find that each country and region offers a unique array of opportunities, from gorilla trekking to white water rafting to mountain climbing to the traditional safari.With the Masai Mara's open savannah, Kenya is known for the safari experience. Yet it also offers enticing treks up Mt. Kenya, exciting white water rafting down the Nile, and scuba diving and sailing along the Kenyan coastline. Meanwhile, Tanzania beckons with the Serengeti and the world's most densely populated area of wildlife. It also features the largest volcanic depression, the Ngorongoro Crater, as well as Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the spectacular beaches of Zanzibar.If you choose to vacation in South Africa, you'll encounter an ocean lover's paradise in Cape Town, the whale watching capital of the world. After your ocean safari, you can experience breathtaking botanical gardens and a penguin colony, as well as the primate sanctuary in Tsitsikamma National Park. The country of Namibia offers a gateway to Victoria Falls, as well as subterranean lakes, enormous canyons, and a desert that brings together lions, giraffes, elephants, and rhinoceros. For the ultimate safari vacation, though, a trip to Botswana is in order. Both the Chobe National Park and the Moremi Game Reserve will give you the opportunity to view unprecedented varieties of wildlife and birds. When it comes to Egypt, culture reigns. You can experience the wonders of the Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, and the Egyptian Museum. The contrast of ancient artifacts against the backdrop of modern Cairo marries the past and the present for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.Holidays that HelpWhen you embark on an African holiday, you can do more than experience the natural wonders of the continent. You can book your travel with a company that is committed to empowering local communities and that engages in sustainable tourism. When you do, you can not only make arrangements for a safari, but you can also volunteer a few days or a few weeks of your time to help with construction, health care, conservation, or teaching. Holidays that combine a safari with volunteer work give you a unique perspective on African culture and allow you to come home with a sense of satisfaction for your contributions to a grand and wondrous continent. There's no better feeling in the world!
Cheaper flights and a wider range of European ski resorts has created a market for boutique hotels in skiing areas.Whilst many people still enjoy staying in chalets or apartments when they ski, many people are opting for a little extra individuality and luxury, and where better to get that than a boutique hotel? Small enough to maintain the intimacy of a chalet, but with services that let you truly enjoy your break, boutique ski hotels are becoming more popular by the year.Dedicated ski hotels have to offer slightly difference facilities for skiing clientele. Aside from needing a perfect location, they also have to be able to store skis, boots and other equipment safely and provide the sort of food and drink that would be expected by a seasoned skier. Comfort and quality are important too, as is access to local aprs-ski scene, and boutique hotel owners in these resorts are making sure that their guests want for nothing. Blessed with fantastic views, great cuisine and with all your needs anticipated by the attentive staff, these are the sorts of hotels that turn your annual ski trip into a holiday to remember.A boutique ski hotel offers you the best of both worlds a chic hotel experience with the convenience and service of a top quality hotel. No more finding out your hotel is miles from the slopes, or fighting to get on the bus in the morning, and no more wondering if your chalets evening meal is going to be up to scratch. Instead, concentrate on having fun on the slopes in the knowledge that you will come back to an intimate, tastefully furnished, discreetly serviced hotel that will look after your every need.In France, for example, Concept One Chalet is the perfect blend of design and service, set in the heart of Chamonix and with just five rooms. Austria has the Schloss Prielau, a medieval castle in Zell am See where glacial skiing is available in the winter. Take a look at both of these "boutique hotels" the next time youre planning a skiing holiday and make it an unforgettable one.