A Trip To London With Snap And Buckt

Half term is now over, and the kids are heading back off to school, but hopefully more memories will have been made this school holiday, more trips taken and more days out enjoyed. One of the nicest days I spent with my boy this half term was a trip to London which we took, using Snap coach travel to get to the capital from Birmingham City Centre.

I booked the trip for myself and Joe using my Buckt subscription. A Snap trip for two was one of the month’s options, and with Joe having a training day on the Friday before half term I thought this could be a fun way to spend a few hours in the capital without having to worry about over subscribed trains which seem to cost more every time you use them and often prove to be unreliable.

I was really pleased with Snap. We had a coach booked for 10.05am from the Bullring, but there are other stops in Birmingham where you can get on, including Moseley Village and Kings Norton. You get a text that confirms you coach is on its way, and can then track its movement. It was bang on time, almost to the minute, seriously impressive in the mess of roadworks that is currently the state of Birmingham.

The coach was comfortable and warm and you could choose your seats. There is a rule about no hot food which is stated at the time of booking, which means you are not dealing with someone’s smelly breakfast, but you can bring you own hot drinks/cold snacks. The driver was friendly and the journey passed fairly quickly, with multiple points in Central London where you can get off. I was pleasantly surprised that this is a cheap and easy way to get to London, and was very impressed that even in the very busy traffic of Friday in the city, the coach was punctual in picking us back up. (we did our return journey on the same day, but you can do it whenever you like if you are staying for a longer period.)

London was chilly but bright, and we spent some time shopping on Regent’s and Oxford Street, checking out Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden, and basically enjoying a pleasurable few hours in the Autumn sunshine. Joe really enjoyed his day and is already looking forward to a return trip to London, where I would definitely use the Snap service again.

Visit London this Winter.

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. Winter, particularly Christmas, is a fabulous time to visit as the whole city looks sparkling and pretty with its festive lights, and there is an awful lot to do. I have put together a short guide of places to visit in December and January if you are heading for a day out, a quick City break, or a longer trip.

Harrods

Harrods is a must visit at any time of year, but at Christmas the whole building just sparkles with the effects of thousands of Christmas lights. Add into the equation the Christmas shop where it is quite easy to spend A LOT of money, and you have a must visit experience. Selfridges and Harvey Nichols are also beautiful, magical paeans to shopping at this time of year, and you can also check out the Oxford and Regent Street lights.

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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. You can get great ticket prices from Discount London.

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Winter Wonderland

This is the most wonderful time of the year, a time when a section of Hyde Park becomes Winter Wonderland, filled with fairground rides, food stalls, fun and festivities for all the family. Some people find it tacky, but most seem to love it, this year the main attractions are The Nutcracker on Ice, Cirque Berserk and Bar Ice.

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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. Head to Kingly Court at this time of the year and try the Mulled Cider – it is amazing!

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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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Driving on the right side of the law

As I have mentioned in a few previous posts, after almost 20 years I have recently started the learn to drive, and amongst the minefield of actually learning to drive, there is also the task of learning the law when it comes to the road. Speed limits, things that you can and can’t do are all things that you need to learn in order to be driving safely, and not risking points on your precious licence. But a recent study by  SimpsonMillar.co.uk shows that breaking the law whilst driving is easier to do than you might think, especially as there are some pretty strange laws about. They have put this information in a fun infographic that you could read in full here.

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Honking the horn at some idiot driver in front, driving around with a car for sale sign in your window, or simply driving too slowly, all these are fairly innocuous ways that you could be breaking the law. They are probably things that most drivers have done at one time or another, but are law breakers all the same.

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And, as well as these little known laws, there are also some rules and regulations that just defy believe and can only be categorised as coming from the World of the Strange. For instance, did you know that London Black Cab drivers, as well as needing to have ‘The Knowledge’ should also never be traveling without carrying a bail of hay and a sack of Oats at all time? I’m assuming this dates back to a time when a cab meant a horse drawn Hansom cab, but this is still a law that has never been revoked, so watch out when you are sticking your luggage in the boot at Euston Station. It is still illegal to hail a cab in London if you happen to be suffering from the Plague – which I guess sort of makes sense!

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I am so hoping some of these date questions come up when I am doing my theory test…