Visit London this Spring

It’s our capital city, and no-one would argue that it is also one of the most magnificent cities in the world. Of course I’m talking about London. Spring is a fabulous time to visit, the parks are in full bloom and everything looks better with a bit of sunshine. I have put together a short guide of places to visit this Spring if you are heading for a day out, a quick City break, or a longer trip. Don’t forget to look into getting a London Pass which could help you save money on a range of unmissable attractions, including historic buildings, sporting venues and beautiful gardens.

Harrods

Harrods is a must visit at any time of year.  As well as being an absolute icon of shopping and retail history, it is also a wonderfully stunning store, with incredible architecture that you can enjoy even without making a purchase and getting one of those little green bags.

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A River Thames Cruise

A river Thames cruise is just the best way to see the great city of London. They operate a hop on/hop off ticket so you can choose the parts of London to see in more detail, and you can also get more glamorous packages which include a gourmet meal or a dinner dance. There truly is no better way to enjoy the city, and all its incredible bridges, including the iconic Tower Bridge.

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Wembley Stadium

For lovers of football, a trip to Wembley Stadium is a must do. The stadium runs tours regularly and there is also a pretty brilliant stadium megastore where serious football fans can make a huge dent in their spending money. Make sure you get lots of photographs of that famous Arch.

Carnaby Street

It’s no longer the centre of cool London like it was in the 1960s, but Carnaby Street and the surrounding area is still a great place to find independent boutiques, vintage shops, and branches of more unusual High Street stores – Monki and Irregular Choice amongst my faves. Carnaby Street is still a place to find an unusual gift, independent food vendors and some pretty good street entertainment.

 

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The Shard

If you want to get a view across London, then the viewing platform from The Shard is certainly the best place to get it. You can see almost 40 miles across the city from the platform, and your ticket is weather guaranteed, meaning that if the day turns out to be foggy or drizzly, you can come back for free.  If the view doesn’t take your fancy you can always check out the  growing retail arcade situated on the pedestrian route between London Bridge underground station and the main entrances to The Shard.

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Architecture, Architecture

If, like me, you are interested in beautiful buildings and interesting architecture, then London is the city to visit. It has everything to savour, from the Art Deco beauty of the Hoover Building and the Daily Express building, to the Regency buildings of John Nash, and the artistry of Sir Christopher Wren. The newer architecture is also interesting and awe inspiring. Take a bus tour and just enjoy the sites.

Visiting Harlech Castle

If you are looking for somewhere to visit this half term, you could pay a visit to the magnificent Harlech Castle. The huge fortification is one of Edward the 1st’s Welsh giants that were designed to keep Wales enclosed under English rule, and is the subject of the famous Welsh Song ‘Men or Harlech’, which talks of a siege during the Wars of the Roses. Harlech is a fabulous place to visit and relive history, a formidable Welsh giant that has history pouring through every brick.

Harlech Castle has been a Welsh heritage site since 1986, but it was once much more difficult to access if you had mobility issues or a pushchair. I remember visiting Harlech in 2011 and couldn’t take Joe into the castle as the only access was steps. But the creation and opening of a new visitor centre, and an adjoining floating bridge means it is now accessible for all. The visitors centre has a rather lovely gift shop and cafe, with a terrace with stunning views across Snowdonia, and there is also a room where you can watch a film setting the scene for Harlech’s place in history.

The floating bridge

The visitors centre

Inside the castle there is evidence of the battering it has taken over the years, with a large number of cannonballs left in situ. Much of the castle is a now a ruin, left open to the elements, but this is what makes it fascinating for children and adults alike, as they can run and climb the battlements, looking out at the views that have captivated and terrified people throughout history.

Inside the towers of the gatehouse there are reconstructions and models showing how Harlech would’ve looked int he past, and telling of its history in both English and Welsh.

 

Outside the Castle grounds there is a lovely wooden playground that is safe and enclosed with a gate, the perfect place for little ones to enjoy an ice cream, with benches for adults to sit and enjoy the sea air and the wonderful views.

 

This October you can enjoy Civil War reenactments at Harlech Castle.

Dates
28 Oct – 29 Oct 2017

Times
11am – 4pm

Prices
Adult – £6.50
Family – £19.30 *
Senior citizens, students and children under 16 – £4.20
Member – Am ddim / free
Disabled and companion – Am ddim / free
*Admits 2 adults and up to 3 children under 16

Click here for more information.

Wolves in Wolves – Touring The North Route

This summer, the city of Wolverhampton has been overtaken by Wolves, beautiful decorated wolves. The #WolvesinWolves2017, is the largest public art event ever to take place in the city with 30 wolf sculptures located in and around the city centre. The wolves have been created by a range of artists that range from High Schools and University students, to renowned artists from around the world. The wolves are on display around the city, with two trails that you can access at your leisure, or through an organised wolf walk. On Wednesday night I took my boy Joe Luca on the Northern wolf walk which lasted for two hours and took in wolves at The Molineaux, West Park, Marstons/Banks brewery and St Peter’s Square.

The organised wolf walks are a great way to see the wolves and learn a little about the design, inspiration and the artist. You get to find the out of the way wolves which may be a little harder to find if you don’t really know your way around Wolverhampton, and you can explore some of the amazing architecture and history of the city as you make your way around.

We were very lucky as the wonderful Wolverhampton Art Gallery (which houses an amazing collection of Pop Art) had agreed to stay open so we could explore their wolves gallery which contains two full sized wolves sculptures, and then a whole gallery of mini wolves, including a stunning design that had padlocks all around it’s neck.

 

The wolves are truly beautiful, with my personal favourite being ‘Sunset’ which is sponsored by Wolverhampton Speedway and is located on Darlington Street and is decorated with squirrels and wildlife. I also loved Flame that is located outside the offices of the Express and Star building, and Wolf Ver-Hamtpon, which is based at the Civic Centre and has been decorated with mayoral chains. Claude is the naughty wolf, he travels around the city, reappearing in different destinations.

The wolves will be auctioned after the exhibition ends on September 24th and is well worth a visit before then. For more information check out the website here.