October 11, 2009

Family Vacation : 5 Things To Do In London

Family Vacation

Article Summary: There's a variety of things to do in London, especially for a tourist with limited time and budget. With a little guidance, a London trip can turn out to be the experience of a lifetime!

London has been one of the forerunners of cities that command a lion’s share in the United Kingdom’s as well as the world’s economy and entertainment arena. Named by New York Magazine as the world capital of the 21st century, London is definitely the place to spend a good vacation. With so many places to visit and so much to do, one may easily be lost in the quagmire of things to do in London. However, to make matters easy, here’s a checklist of 5 things you must not miss out while visiting London:

* Visit Everything Royal – So what is London, or for that matter, UK famous for? A large majority would answer ‘royalty’! The rich history and traditions of the Victorian past and the best features of the erstwhile-imperial power has been kept intact in various areas of London. This includes the Buckingham Palace, where the Queen resides. Apart from this, the various forts and towers and domes (The O2) would provide an architectural wonderland for the uninitiated. London is probably the best place to revisit British monarchy at its peak of power in the 17th and 18th century!

* Sightseeing – London, though being the economic and commercial capital of the world, will surprise you with its variety of sightseeing options, especially parks and natural places. The Tower of London is one of the biggest sightseeing attractions, mostly because of the folklore and mystery surrounding it through fables down the ages. Other popular sightseeing spots include Hyde Park and Regent’s Park, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, The Hampstead Heath, The O2 and the Trafalgar Square.

* Westminster Abbey and Piccadilly Circus – London is famous for its theater and film industry, including ballets and other Shakespearean dance-dramas and musicals staged here. Therefore, while in London, missing out on the famed theatre shows will be a mistake you will regret ever after. Also, visit the famous shopping plazas in and around the Westminster Abbey and Piccadilly Circus, where products from fashion designers and international brands can be found aplenty.

* Music and Sports – If you are a fan of rock and roll, or go ballistic when Chelsea or Arsenal wins the English Premier League, you have come to the right place. London is famous for its music concerts, with a huge number of artists and bands hailing from the British capital. Earls Court, the O2 arena and the Wembley Arena are specifically designed for rock concerts and music festivals. No fan would like to miss out on it by any chance. Spectator sports, especially, soccer (with 13 league teams including five from the famed English Premier League), cricket (with legendary cricket grounds including Lord’s and The Oval), tennis (Wimbledon) and rugby are a popular pastime for Londoners. Hence, if possible grab a ticket to a match and enjoy the vibe and colorful ambiance all along.

* Pubs – Exhausted and wasted from the whole day’s trip? London still has more – its ever-effervescent pubs! The world-famous Hard Rock Café or any of the other award-winning pubs and taverns can provide a multitude of cocktails and beers to refresh you within minutes. Live bands and the all-round ambiance of the pubs can easily help you rejuvenate yourself, preparing you for another day of discovering London!

These can be called, in a nutshell, the five things that should be given the topmost priority while touring to London. With some homework on more details about London, you can very easily enjoy the taste of London without emptying your pockets or running around the enigmatic city confused!

by Matt Morris

Article Source: http://www.upublish.info

Family Vacation : Getaway to the Exotic Virgin Islands

Family Vacation

Article Summary: Here is a fun article about getting away to an exotic island vacation

without needing an passport: A trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands! Bring the comforts of home with you, because, in a sense, you ARE still home... or at least your home in the U.S.A.

Road Trip Planners in the United States know that Fall is breathing down their backs and if they still want to go on an exotic beach getaway before Summer gives way to Fall, they better already have their passport in hand or... they can go to the U.S. Virgin Islands!

The U.S. Virgin Islands are tucked between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico. The northeast islands are called the British Virgin Islands and the two regions comprise the Virgin Islands archipelago. If diamonds are rated by the four Cs (caret, cut, color, clarity); then these islands could be rated by the four Ss (sun, sand, sea, surf). And as in Hawaii, all beaches in the Virgin Islands are public, meaning that even though you might arrive at a gated community, you must be given access to the beach, even at the fanciest resorts. Oooolala!

* You'll have sunny days no matter when you go. Winter is a comfortable 77ºF (25ºC), and the average summer temperature is 82ºF (28ºC).
* The currency there is the U.S. dollar. ATMs can be found throughout the three islands and most places accept credit cards and travelers checks.
* Even though you can visit it year round and get great weather, the best bargains are actually during the summer months.

* No adapters are required since they use the standard 120-volt current there.

The above reasons make these islands a shoe-in to add to your road trip planner because you get to experience the foreign flavor without having to be out of your comfort zone, not the least of which is that you drive on the left here as well so... awkward adjustments averted! (Yes, I snuck in a 5th fact for you ;o)

Below are some other facts (and tips) on the four islands that make up the U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix and since 1944, Water Island. You can choose to stay all week on one island and take day trips to the others or you can stay the bulk of your trip on either St. Thomas or St. John then include an overnighter at St. Croix because it's further south.

* St. Thomas (called Rock City by the locals) is enchanting and romantic with a population of about 51,000, nearly half of the total population in the US Virgin Islands. The district is a bit larger than 31 square miles and special points of interest include: Fort Christian, Magens Bay, Magens Bay Arboretum and Blackbeard's Castle. Magens Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and from the harbor in Charlotte Amalie, you'll come across a picturesque village.

* Water Island (a.k.a. Small City) is right below St. Thomas and is accessible by boat (ferry service from Crown Bay on Saint Thomas to Phillips Landing takes only about 10 minutes). Water Island is the fourth and most recently acquired main island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. With 491.5 acres, Water Island is also the smallest of the main U.S. Virgin Islands and is a residential island, with a population of 161 (2000 census). There aren't many commercial establishments and only a few homes that are available to visitors, so it's mainly a day trip excursion. The main attractions are its beaches, including Honeymoon Beach. You can also find plantation ruins, and Fort Segarra, an underground fort partially constructed by the U.S. during World War II.

* St. John is to the east of St. Thomas and has the Virgin Islands National Park. Saint John is an amazing island in the Caribbean Sea and part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is the wealthiest and most expensive of the U.S. Virgin Islands, enjoying a level of affluence that is comparable with the nearby island of St. Barts. The island's high level of wealth and prestige has earned it the common distinction of being the "Beverly Hills of the Caribbean". Called Love City by the locals, St. John is one of the world's premiere honeymoon destinations with several notable world class resorts and one of the top ten beaches in the world. St. John is located about 4 miles east of Saint Thomas. It is about 20 square miles in area with a population of less than 4200. It doesn't have an airport so you need to fly into St. Thomas and take one of hourly ferries over to it.

* St. Croix (dubbed Twin City by the locals) is the furthest south. St Croix rocks! Saint Croix is an island in the Caribbean Sea and part of the United States Virgin Islands, an unincorporated territory of the United States. It is the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, being 28 by 7 miles. However, the territory's capital, Charlotte Amalie, is located on Saint Thomas. Buck Island Reef National Monument preserves a 176 acre island just north of Saint Croix and the surrounding reefs. This is a popular destination for snorkelers.

Whether you stay at the affordable at Villa Santana ($114-$174/night) or the Ritz Carlton ($279 to $989/night), the beaches and the exotic settings are the true stars. Whichever hotel you end up adding to your Road Trip Planner won't mar the feeling that you're in paradise!

by David Reichman

Article Source: http://www.upublish.info

An Accessible Family Visit to Richmond, VI

Article Summary: Take your family on a weekend trip to Richmond, Virginia. There are many activities that are designed for people of all abilities. You especially want to visit the Children's Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Pack your bags and jump in the car and head to Richmond, Virginia. It will be worth the trip if all you do is visit the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. The entire Botanical Garden is accessible, but the Children's Garden is designed beautifully for children of differing abilities. The designers of the garden used Universal Design principals to create a play environment where every child can participate in the entire experience.

According to the Lewish Ginter website "Diversity is the main theme of this garden – diversity of environments, ecosystems, plants, adaptation and human culture." To ensure that everyone can learn through their own learn styles the staff of the Children's Garden offer self-directed, informal learning and organized education programs.

Here is what you can expect to experience while exploring the 1.5 acre Children's Garden:

1. Climb a 100 year old tree.

2. Visit and play in multiple play houses designed and landscaped from countries around the world.

3. Get wet in the water spray park (during the summer)

4. Learn about farming at the Farm Garden where the produce that is harvested is donated to the local food back.

6. Explore the tunnels, willow forts, and bridges in the Butterfly Meadow.

7. Check out the weird and contrasting plant area and see the multiple textures and growing patterns of plants.

8. Play in the sand area or create a master piece in the arts 'n craft area.

Parents don't need to worry, there are rest areas with shade and water fountains throughout the garden, so they can relax while their children play.

Don't forget about the accessible treehouse!! Everyone regardless of their gross motor ability can now climb to the top of a tree and play in a treehouse From the treehouse you can look out and see dramatic views of the Conservatory, the Rose Belvedere and all of the Children’s Garden. To reach the top of the 13' feet high treehouse you wind and climb a 500-foot ramp winds that starts at the main entrance. As you wind your way up, you can stop play with interactive learning stations.

While in Richmond you can also visit The Science Museum of Virginia which features hundreds of hands-on exhibits on a wide range of science topics. Except for Wonderplace Lab which cannot be altered due to historic status,the entire museum is barrier-free.

The Children’s Museum of Richmond is geared for young children and provides tons of opportunities for play and learning. While it is warm visit their "backyard" and explore nature and get wet. All of the exhibits are wheelchair accessible.

Then, of course, there is King’s Dominion, a theme park for children of all ages. King’s Dominion is open throughout the summer and on weekends through October. For young children there is a waterpark and a place to meet friends like the Rugrats and Scooby Doo.

by Mara Kaplan

Article Source: http://www.upublish.info


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