The Modern Monarchy: Royal Family Tree infographic

By Vanessa Teo

Want to know a little more about our Royal Family? We've done our research and found some interesting facts about the Modern Monarchy. From the Queen's gifts, to Princess Beatrice's hat, learn about some royal revelations with our Royal Family Tree infographic.

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Plan Your Trip - What to Pack for London

You’ve booked your flights and hotel, your itinerary has been planned and now the only thing that remains is figuring out what to pack for London. Here’s what you’ll need in the English capital! Sorting out what to pack for London should be a fun way to start preparing for your trip. Wherever you’re coming from and however long you’re staying in this great city, there are a few essentials you really shouldn’t forget. Use this handy guide and get your packing right! Umbrella Everything you’ve heard about London rain is true and there’s no way of predicting when the next shower will strike. Avoid the rush to Tesco when the rain clouds start gathering and bring your own portable brolly, one you can slip into your day pack while you’re taking on the town. It’s not a question of if it’ll rain in London. It’s an inevitability. Portable Charger There are so many amazing things to see in the city and don’t let a dead phone battery be the reason you can’t take the perfect shot. Invest in a portable charger and bring your relevant cables along, especially if you’re planning on being out the whole day. Image via Pinterest Easy to Carry Suitcases One thing that takes a lot of tourists by surprise is the fact that the London Underground has very few escalators. This means that if you’ve brought an incredibly heavy suitcase, you’re going to have to lug it up and down flights of stairs to get to your destination. Save yourself the stress and try to travel light. A Thick Sweater or Coat If you’re travelling to London in the colder months, you’re definitely going to need to wrap up warm. In the winter, the temperature frequently drops to below ten degrees and the wind can be biting cold when you’re walking around the city. Layers of clothing are also key. It might be chilly out on the street, but go down the escalator and step onto a Tube and you’ll be roasting in seconds. A quick-on, quick-off jacket with enough wiggle room for an extra jumper underneath should help keep you comfy above and below ground. Good Walking Shoes A lot of attractions are pretty close to each other in London, so sometimes it’s just easier to journey around on foot. For example, The Globe Theatre, Tate Modern and Millennium Bridge are all just minutes away from each other. A day spent pounding the pavement can wreck havoc on your feet however, so it’s best to leave the heels for another occasion. Capturing memories Ok, this is an obvious one and should really be right at the top of your list. But we don’t just mean the camera on your phone. It might be fine for a selfie with a Beefeater, but London deserves better than that. The panorama from the top of The Shard, Tower Bridge at night, the Houses of Parliament... To really do justice to these iconic views you need a proper camera with good lenses and flash, a tripod if you can squeeze one in, and lots of memory. If you want to learn more about the art form, the Photographs Gallery at the V&A has a brilliant collection chronicling the history from 1839 to the present day. Alternatively, the Michael Hoppen gallery in Chelsea nurtures and promotes new artists alongside exhibitions of past masters of the form. Travel Adapters The U.K. has a three pin 220 voltage system, so if you’re coming with electronics from the States or anywhere else, it’s worth investing in a travel adapter. Nowadays, there are multiple models that support various voltages which is a great choice for the constant jetsetter. Image via Pinterest Pack light London has some of the world’s best shopping, from the designers of Bond Street to the vintage market of Portobello and the hipster boutiques of Shoreditch. If fashion’s your thing, we suggest packing for London with as little as possible so you can shop, shop, shop and take your case home filled with new purchases. Or if your baggage allowance, well, allows, you could bring a whole separate, empty bag. Even if you just fancy browsing a few shops, a canvas shopping bag is still a good idea: a law passed in 2015 means that most large stores now charge a small fee for single-use plastic carrier bags. Reading material There are hundreds of good guide books available to help you get the most out of your trip to London, including your free London Pass guidebook and it’s certainly worth doing a bit of homework before you arrive! But, it’s not all about planning and maps... Why not pack yourself a bit of London-based fiction to read when you get back to your hotel at night? With stacks to choose from, there’s something for every taste: Bleak House (Charles Dickens), Brick Lane (Monica Ali), Mrs Dalloway (Virginia Woolf), Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) are just a few ideas. Don't forget to check out some of the best literary landmarks around the city!
Megan Hills
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London Neighbourhoods: Our Guide to Camden

Explore one of London's most diverse neighbourhoods with our guide to Camden There's always something to do and see in Camden, whether you're combing the markets for amazing handmade jewellery or grabbing a bite to eat at a quirky street food stall. With so much going on, we've narrowed the highlights down for visitors below. Things to Do London Zoo Wander over to Regent's Park and enter London's own animal kingdom, away from the bustling city. Filled with varied enclosures ranging from chilly Penguin Beach to the walk-through spider enclosure BUGS exhibit, explore and meet over 750 different animal species. There's a number of special activities for visitors including an animal encounter accompanied by zoo keepers, photography courses and even the option to stay overnight at Gir Lion Lodge, just a stone's throw from the zoo's sleeping lions. Camden Market There's not a single London tour guide that doesn't mention this vibrant market, full of colourful stalls and even more colourful people. With over a thousand different stores, stalls, bars and restaurants to explore, Camden Market has been open since 1974 and continues to thrive to this day. With everything from sunglasses to hot chocolate, there's something for everyone here. Jason's Original Canal Boat Trip See Camden from the water on an authentic canal boat, trailing along the canal between Little Venice and Camden. A tour guide accompanies the Little Venice to Camden route, providing information about the 108 year old boat, the surrounding area and the history of the original Regent's Canal tour. For those who want to take in the scenery without the commentary, hop on the boat going towards Little Venice from Camden. The Roundhouse Camden lives and breathes creativity, so it's no surprise that it has its own performing arts space. There's always a live performance on at The Roundhouse, a theatre whose main mission is to promote arts and creativity with young people, and their shows feature spoken word artists, musicians and more. Have a look on their site for their current line up and arrive early to grab a drink at one of their bars. The Jewish Museum Founded in 1932, the Jewish Museum of London celebrates Jewish life, culture and heritage from 1066 to present day. Whether you're part of the Jewish community of not, it's a fascinating museum filled with key objects and artefacts of historical and modern Jewish life as well as exhibitions and interactive displays. Currently, you can visit the Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait exhibition (16 March - 24 September 2017) and learn about the woman behind the music. Featuring a collection of her personal belongings, it's an up-close and personal exploration of the real Amy Winehouse. Image via KERB facebook Things to eat KERB Camden KERB specialises in street food markets and they've set up a forever home in Camden Market, just a little walk away from the main hustle. Located by the water, it's absolutely picturesque and worth a visit after you've tuckered yourself out in main throng The 34 food stalls range from the classics to the truly adventurous - Swedish, Mexican and Korean fusion tacos anyone? Poppies You can't come to the U.K. and not have fish and chips. Poppies is one of our favourite places to indulge ourselves with a charming, retro vibe inspired by the founder's childhood. Using only sustainable seafood caught by their in-house fishmonger, their menu not only serves fish and chips but other seafood dishes, as well as delicious rotisserie chicken.
Megan Hills
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London New Year's Eve Fireworks 2019: FAQs

All you need to know about the London New Year's Eve Fireworks 2019, including... - Where to watch it if you don't have a ticket - What to do if you do - What to expect from the event - And much, much more Is there a main London New Year's Eve fireworks display? Yes there is. It’s held every year on Victoria Embankment and the South Bank areas of the River Thames. It’s the main London New Year's Eve fireworks display, because it involves the London Eye and Big Ben in proceedings...and 100,000 people are turning up for it. Do I need a ticket? To be permitted to the fireworks watching areas, yes you do. These went on sale in September and are now sold out. They cost £10. Previously, they didn’t cost a thing. But then you had something like 3 million people all trying to get a prime bit of oooooh ahhhhh real estate by the Thames. If you bought a ticket, you’ll get some info through the post telling you where to go and when. If you missed out this year, there are plenty of other ways of seeing the official London New Year's Eve fireworks. [caption id="attachment_6021" align="alignnone" width="1000"] london.gov.uk[/caption] Such as? Well, first off, it’s good to point out that organisers ask that those without tickets stay away from the main viewing areas, so as to avoid congestion and overcrowding. That is good advice. Jostling with such a number of people, only to have an inferior view of the event...it’s not worth it. Particularly when there are other places to see the display, unimpeded and uncrowded. Other places to see the display, unimpeded and uncrowded, like the following... A New Year's Eve Thames Cruise One of the best ways of seeing the riverside fireworks is to get out onto the river itself. There are plenty of different cruise options to choose from as well. From the three courses and live band option, to the champagne, canapés and house DJs one. City Cruises have a wide variety of cruise options to choose from, including deluxe experiences where you’ll be tucking into luxury hampers and champagne, as well as thrilling Thamesjet rides that get you a grandstand view of the pyrotechnics. Thames Rockets are running speedboat, champagne and fireworks experiences for those wishing to start the New Year with the wind in their hair. A Bar or Restaurant or Some Other Building Overlooking the Event You can go big or small with this option. Going big could see you heading to Royal Festival Hall for their New Year's Eve Spectacular, offering five floors of themed rooms, live orchestras (!), DJs, dance lessons and photo studios. And, of course, unbeatable views of Big Ben and the big bangs. If you go a little smaller, you might find yourself somewhere like Pergola Olympia. Its NYE Black and Gold dress code will add a touch of class and splendour to proceedings, but a ticket won’t get you in debt the minute the clock strikes 2020. Their rooftop will have great views of the fireworks. From a Free Vantage Point Somewhere in the City You’ll get all the thrills of the fireworks and the warm, fuzzy feeling of money well saved if you find somewhere free and high up to watch the London New Year's Eve fireworks from. Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath is a good option. Primrose Hill is another. Both will be busy, but if you get there early enough, they’re two of the best spots in the city. If you’ve got a mate who lives somewhere high up, it could be the perfect time to get in touch and arrange an impromptu housewarming bash. Make sure you do a recce beforehand to make sure the London New Year's Eve fireworks will actually be visible from their place. On TV The London New Year's Eve fireworks will be broadcast on BBC One from 23.55 on New Year’s Eve. Those watching from the comfort of their own home or hotel will witness the whole shebang. So ditch the crowds, pour yourself a drink (home measures, of course) and enjoy the show. You can see last year's show below... What are the London New Year's Eve fireworks all about? The whole thing, as with many celebratory traditions, kicked off in 1999. Thus the template for partying was set. We are now forever destined to party like it’s 1999. But the London New Year’s Eve fireworks display has changed somewhat over the years. As previously mentioned, it used to be absolutely free. And it used to only go on for three minutes or so. 2012 was a big year for the tradition, with the feel good factor from London’s hosting of the Olympics spilling out into longer and bigger and bolder NYE celebrations than ever before. The next year was billed as the world’s first multi-sensory fireworks display, with viewers given fruit flavoured sweets and radio controlled LED bracelets upon arrival at the event. The sweets were flavoured so as to prepare the audience for the tastes and scents they’d experience throughout the evening. The 2017 show featured a soundtrack rich in female pop talent, marking 100 years since women were allowed to vote in the UK. Ariana Grande’s One Last Time was played as 22 red fireworks flew up into the night, paying tribute to the 22 people who lost their lives in the Manchester Arena attack in May of that year. The 2018 event made reference to Brexit and London’s place in the future of Europe. It proclaimed ‘London is open’ as its key phrase, spoken in multiple languages as the fireworks began. The theme for this year is the decade just gone and the decade ahead. The spectacle will reference events that affected the lives of Londoners and Britons over the last 10 years, and look forward to all the awaits in the decade to come. Who knows what songs they’ll pick out for that theme. Things Can Only Get Better? This is the End? Who knows. Any advice for those with tickets for the London New Year’s Eve fireworks? First off, travel light. No backpacks or suitcases will be allowed into the event. Next up, bring photo ID with you. It might not be required, but with secondary ticketing banned for the event, it’s good to have some proof of ID with you. You’ll be getting your tickets and entry details through in the post. They will tell you which arrival gate to go to, the nearest tube station and your entry time. Stick to these things, don’t just go to the arrival gate that is closest to the pub you’ve spent the afternoon in. You won’t get in and you’ll have been queuing for ages. Speaking of logistics, make sure you plan your journey to and from the venue. It will be busy, busy, busy. But a little forward planning is all that’s needed to make sure you get there in time to enjoy the whole show. Right, that’s the whole thing, laid out in some easy to digest FAQs. Whatever you’re doing, whoever you’re doing it with, wherever you’re doing it - stay safe, have a blast and all the best for 2020.
Matthew Pearson

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