London – tagging along with my teenage daughter

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10 fun facts about London

1. The famous 221B Baker St in Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson  actually takes place at 187 North Gower Street. The apartment is located right above the now famous Speedy’s Café. Come and grab a coffee while Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman filming some scenes.

2. The price of a ticket in the Underground depends on the direction you are going.

3. There are more Londons in the world we should know about. The USA alone has 8 towns with the same name. Even in Canada there is its own London situated on the river Themes as well.

4. It will be considered a betrayal towards the government if someone in Great Britain puts a stamp with an image of British monarch in upside down way.

5. The world famous landmark of London, Big Ben is actually neither the name of the Clock nor of the Tower. It is the name of the bell that is inside the Clock. The Tower is officially called the Elizabeth tower since 2012.

6. Modern London was formed by two ancient cities – City and Westminster, which together formed a district of greater London.

7. The world’s first subway was built in London in 1863.

8. A well-known landmark of the capital of England is Marble arch, which was originally built as the entrance to Buckingham Palace, but for some reasons, it had never been used. Inside this arch there is a tiny office, which is now used as the police station.

9. The Palace of Westminster, also known as the house of Parliament has over 1,100 rooms, 100 staircases, and 5 km of corridors.

10. With about 270 nationalities and 300 languages spoken, London is considered the most international city in the world. 2.5 million people, one third of Londoners, are foreign born.

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When I asked my 15 year old  daughter where in Europe she’d like to go for a break, she didn’t hesitate a millisecond before delivering an answer: London

I wasn’t surprised by her choice. Not really. The British capital has been a trendy, cool and interesting destination long before I was a teen. And that’s a while back…

The combination of affordable discounted hotels, classic B&Bs and a world-class range of cultural and entertainment venues, including cafés, restaurants and pubs – as well as countless streets, squares and malls that cater to a variety of shopping needs – is part of what has allowed London to maintain its long-standing position as one of Europe’s preferred tourist destinations. Even for teens. 

The city’s colorful sights and sounds are in itself a great reason to visit. And with good walking shoes and a physical or virtual map in hand, most of everything worth seeing is within reasonable walking distance. 

Of course, you can always combine a few hours of street trekking with some traditional sightseeing by climbing onboard one of the iconic double decker red buses. An umbrella is always handy to bring along – regardless of how you travel. 

However you choose to do London, rest assured that it really looks just like it does in the many popular movies played out here; Bridget Jones Diary, V for Vendetta, A Fish Called Wanda, Shakespeare in Love, Snatch, Notting Hill, The Crying Game, Match Point and The Queen. 

Before our trip, I asked my daughter to do a little research, just so we’d have a short list of things she wanted to do and see. And I was amazed at how effortlessly she produced it.

We left some room for spontaneity, which turned out to be a key ingredient for our trip. Keeping strictly to our itinerary wouldn’t of left us with much of a holiday vibe. But we still managed to experience several places on her ambitious list. 

Musical: Wicked 

– a long-running spin-off from the classic Hollywood film, Wizard of Oz 

Markets: Camden Passage and London Fields Saturday Market

– both offer a wide range of antiques, retro fashion and oddities. Lots of food to be enjoyed here, too.  

Museum: London’s Fashion and Textile Museum and the Science Museum

– Science Museum has an ambitious, almost overwhelming range of topics, admission is free while the Fashion and Textile Museum charges £10/adult and £6/student, but offers a more absorbable variety for the family’s young fashionistas. 

Neighborhoods: Notting Hill and Soho

– The posh and the gritty but just two of London’s many distinct neighborhoods.

Attractions: London Eye ferris wheel and the 360 degree rooftop view at Tate Modern’s Switch House 

– Both great vantage points to grab a selfie at or snapchat from. While the rooftop view is free, the ferris wheel is almost absurdly pricey – but can be pre-booked online to avoid tiresome queuing. 


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Generator London

GENERATOR LONDON

Immerse yourself in the urban-chic interiors of the Generator London hostel/hotel that carefully blurs the lines between the city’s industrial past and the modern energy it’s known and loved for today.  Feast your eyes on art installations and bespoke graphics as you make your way through the hotel. Generator London is all but a 5 minute walk from Russell Square tube station.

It’s very much a social space with an exciting programme of events and local label nights. Generator got a newly refurbished cinema, café and bar area with a bus 95 (heading towards Bloomsbury) to boot! Experience affordable luxury in their shared rooms and private twins, book your room now.

Price:  fr. £100 per room/night

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Z Hotel Soho

Z SOHO HOTEL

Stay in the heart of London – after all you’re an Urbanite, not a tourist.

Z SOHO has everything you need for a couple of nights in town. Concentrated style, an out-of-town price, and the West End – at your feet the moment you step out the door.

The building is a designer conversion of twelve Georgian townhouses. From the outside you see classic architectural proportions, combined with contemporary style. Inside, you find 85 rooms gathered around a central courtyard. And it places you in Moor Street, between the theatre and bookshops of Cambridge Circus and Charing Cross Road – and the vivid cosmos of Old Compton Street.

Price: fr £148 per room/night

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Z Piccadilly Hotel

Z PICCADILLY HOTEL

Stay in the heart of London, Z PICCADILLY has everything you need for a couple of nights in town. Concentrated style, an out-of-town price, and the West End – at your feet the moment you step out the door.

The hotel is a designer conversion of a former office building, with 112 bedrooms arranged over lower ground, ground and five upper floors. Z Piccadilly is situated in arguably one of the most recognised locations in central London, just a short walk from Piccadilly Circus.

Price: fr. £109 per room/night

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Z Hotel Victoria

Z VICTORIA HOTEL

Don’t just have an Urbanite Stay. Enjoy a royal Urbanite Stay.

Z VICTORIA has everything you need for a couple of nights in London. Concentrated style, an out-of-town price, and a location fit for a Queen.

The building is a designer conversion of a Victorian townhouse, within a prominent block of mixed architectural styles. Inside, you find 106 rooms set over 8 floors. And it places you in Lower Belgrave Street, just off Buckingham Palace Road, and a stone’s throw from Victoria Station and the local theatres.

Price:  fr. £90 per room/night

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Qbic Hotel

QBIC HOTEL LONDON CITY

Qbic London City is designed to be a mellow oasis to return to after either a gruelling day of work or a sensory overload from eating, drinking, cycling or general East London adventures.

You can zone out in the friendly common area and take your pick from the canteen, coffee or cocktails served in QbicKitchen – the hangout that’s become something of a local hotspot.

And, of course, there’s all the standard stuff you’ll come to expect from a Qbic hotel: free WiFi and sockets everywhere, the comfiest bed you’ve ever slept in, a lovely hot shower and people smiling at you (but not in a weird way).

Price: fr. £68 per room/night

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Citizen M Bankside

CitizenM Bankside

Guests can enjoy the modern, trendy bedrooms which feature ambient lighting and a touchscreen tablet which controls the lights, LED TV, music system as well as the blinds and the temperature. The private bathroom features a rain shower.

The citizenM designer hotel has a 24-hour front desk and contemporary shared living areas furnished with Vitra furnishings. The 24-hour CanteenM has a selection of sandwiches and warm dishes and the bar serves draft beer, champagne and cocktails. There is also a breakfast bar available, which serves coffee, tea, pastries and cooked English breakfasts.

Price: fr. £107 per room/night

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