Author Archives: Siska

We have a new blog!

Our new blog - Britain by Heart

We’re starting off 2011 with a new blog and name. From now on, drumroll please, our name is Britain by Heart and you can find us on www.britainbyheart.com

Last summer we looked for a new blog name and the jury fell for Christina’s suggestion – Britain by Heart. Click here to read why the jury chose this name

After we decided on the name we started working on giving the blog a new design and features. Have a look at our new blog here

We hope you like our new blog and that you’ll keep following us there!
/Siska

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A classic trip to Bath

In the autumn of 2010, VisitBritain held a competition together with Pan Vision and Classic World where Swedes could win a trip for two to five-star hotel The Royal Crescent in Bath. The lucky winner was Katarina Johansson from Dalstorp in Sweden. Here is her story about the trip:

I randomly opened my e-mail and I got this one e-mail from VisitBritain saying ‘CONGRATULATIONS! You have won first prize in our contest for a trip for two to Bath in England’. I was filled with happiness – thank you for this fantastic prize!

Bath reminds me of my first InterRail trip back in 1984 when I was 17 and my friend and I spent a couple of days there. I remember we stayed at a beautifully situated hostel and that we hired bikes and took a trip out in the rolling landscape. I was wondering – will I recognise the city when I get back?

It was my oldest daughter who got to go on the trip with me. A little bit funny because she is 17 years old – like I was when I first visited Bath.

We travelled in the beginning of November 2010, flying from Gothenburg City Airport to London Stansted and then taking the Stansted Express to Liverpool Street Station in London. From there we went to Paddington and travelled by train to Bath, which went really smooth! Except, my suitcase got stuck on the tube! My daughter was of course embarrassed over me but after a while we did get my suitcase loose.

When we arrived in Bath we got a map and walked to the hotel, The Royal Crescent. England showed it’s best side: the sun was shining, the beautiful autumn leaves were still hanging on the branches and it was about 15 degrees. It was just lovely!

At the hotel we were welcomed by two gentlemen who opened the door for us. Inside was a beautiful fireplace. On our way to our room, which was actually a suite, we walked through a picturesque garden with illuminated corridors. The size of the suite was almost as big as the entire second floor in our house.

Later that day I showed my daughter what a real English pub looks like. We went to a really cosy place and had dinner there. The murmur of voices stopped a bit when we entered and we were met by friendly smiles and greetings. Great food and great beer (I was the only one drinking) in a genuine environment made us ready to explore the city. We went window-shopping and noticed that the Christmas decorations were already up. A little bit tired after all the travelling we headed back to the hotel and decided that we would go shopping the next day.

After a wonderful breakfast overlooking the beautiful garden, we headed down to the city centre. First we explored the lovely surroundings by the hotel, like the beautiful Victoria Park, and continued with the River Avon and Pulteney Bridge. I realised that I did not recognise anything and that it had been a while since last time… The sun sparkled over this beautiful city when a very happy mother and daughter walked arm in arm.

The rest of the day we did a lot of shopping. My daughter found a nice tea/coffee shop where we tasted delicious teas and exciting coffee.

The following afternoon we enjoyed a fabulous three-course dinner at the hotel. The food was some of the best we have ever eaten.

The next day we visited the Roman Baths, one of the best preserved archaeological sites in Europe, founded after the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD. We took a guided tour in English with phone-like devices that allowed us to hear what we wanted to know more about, very smart. We highly recommend this tour to everyone travelling to Bath!

We spent the afternoon in the lovely spa section at the hotel. I took a long swim in the 46 degree warm water, tried the steam sauna and felt like my body and soul were in complete balance.

After three wonderful days, great treatment and lots of new memories we travelled home to Sweden hoping that we will soon come back to this fantastic country.

/Katarina Johansson

Did Katarina inspire you to visit Bath? Read our travel guide to Bath and get useful information about accommodation, attractions and much more.

/Siska

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London in January = SALE

If you’re a true shopaholic, you know that London in January means only one thing – SALE! And in case you don’t get the Christmas gifts you wished for – book a trip to London in January and shop till you drop. Get up to 30 – 75% discount on clothes, shoes, electronics, toys and everything in-between! Many high streets and department stores start their sales immediately after Christmas.

Here are a couple department stores you should not miss:

Sales starting December 26
Harvey Nichols

Get great discounts on designer brands, accessories, beauty, home and much more.

John Lewis
With nearly half a million products, ranging from buttons to cufflinks, beds to pillows – it’s no wonder this is a popular destination during the January sales.

Liberty
At this beautiful department store you can find everything from books to shoes by Manolo Blahnik.

House of Fraser
This is the place for the younger audience with high street names such as Miss Sixty and Warehouse. House of Fraser has great discounts during the January sales.

Debenhams
Offers British designer brands such as Jasper Conroan, Frost French and many more. Debenhams also has 153 stores across the UK and Ireland.

Selfridges
Here you’ll find everything from the world’s biggest shoe destination to household products.

Sales starting December 27
Fortnum & Mason

Renowned for their fine food, hampers, tea and wine. This is your chance to buy luxurious food on sale.

Harrods
Visit one of the world’s most famous department stores and get up to 75% discount.

Date to be confirmed
Westfield

With over 265 shops under one roof – you won’t be walking out of here empty-handed when it’s January sale.

…I can go on forever, but you get the picture – there are a lot of great bargains to be made if you’re heading to London in January! I’m already looking for tickets, are you?

Useful links:
> VisitLondon’s Shopping News
> Department stores in the UK
> London shopping guide

See you in London!

/Siska

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Calling all Chocoholics

Do you have a sweet tooth for dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate filled with caramel, chocolate cake or chocolate biscuits? No matter which chocolate you prefer, one thing is for certain – chocolate always taste like a little piece of heaven! Well, for me it does.

If you fall under the same category as me – you’re a chocoholic, you’ll love this! The Chocolate Festival returns to London for one weekend in December and has free admission! During 10 – 12 December you can go around the stalls and taste some of the best chocolates you’ve never thought existed. Also, there will be several activities for the whole family and award-winning chocolatiers such as Paul Wayne Gregory, William Curley and Damian Allsop will be at the festival.  More information about the chocolate festival can be found here.

Find your way to this sweet festival with our Britain Map

/Siska

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Filed under Attractions & Culture, Food & Drink, For families, London

Our Favourite Tea Rooms

With a slice of lemon, with sugar, with cream, with milk or just plain tea. There are a lot of preferences when it comes to tea, but one thing is certain – Brits love their tea. In fact, Brits drink 165 million cups a day! So it’s no wonder why we have tea rooms everywhere. It can be quite tricky to find your favourites though. People like different kinds of tea and different environments. So we’ve listed a few of our favourites for you to start with.

If you’re heading to Glasgow – The Willow Tea Rooms is the place to visit for a good cup of tea. The tea room is located in the heart of the city and was designed by the renowned architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904. The Willow Tea Rooms offers 14 different sorts of teas, sandwiches, scones and pastries.

Take a break from Liverpool’s great shopping streets at Leaf Tea Bar. At day time, Leaf Tea Bar is a modern and laid-back place to enjoy an afternoon tea and they have over 24 loose-leaf teas for you to choose from. When the sun goes down, Leaf Tea Bar transforms into a cool nightclub!

In London, go to The Parlour at Sketch for an eclectic and stylish afternoon tea or champagne afternoon tea. The interior at Sketch is worth a visit in itself! Situated on a side street close to Regent Street and it’s not far from all main shopping areas.

More tips about tea rooms in UK:
> Helene’s afternoon tea experience at the Berkeley Hotel
Top 10 tearooms:
> In Danish
> In Norwegian
> In Swedish

/Towe

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Harry Potter – Film Locations Map

It’s the film of the year all muggles have been waiting for – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 1″ will be in theatres 17 Nov (Denmark and Sweden) and 19 Nov (Norway and  Finland). This film picks up where Harry and his friends left the audience in suspense when they decided to take matters into their own hands and start their dangerous adventure… to take down Voldemort. What a cliff-hanger!

The film begins as Harry, Ron and Hermione set out to track down the Horcruxes while being chased by the Death Eaters. This is the seventh and final film, but it will be told in two parts and we have to wait until next summer before we get to see Part 2.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 1″, as well as the former Harry Potter films has been shot in Britain. One of the most memorable scenes in the new movie takes place at Piccadilly Circus, one of London’s most famous landmarks. Since we in the office are huge Harry Potter fans we’ve gathered the top Harry Potter film locations in Britain. Check out the map and see where you can visit the Platform 9-3/4, Hagrid’s Hut, Hogwarts and much more.
Click here to see Harry Potter’s world map

If you are travelling to UK and looking for the full Harry Potter experience I recommend you read the following blog post for inspiration and useful tips before you go:
> The Harry Potter Sensation
> Harry Potter’s England
> The Mysteries of Potter’s England

/Siska

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London Christmas Shopping Guide

Trafalgar Square ©Britainonview Now that the British Pound is so low compared to the Norwegian, Swedish and Danish kroner, why not go on a weekend trip and do your Christmas shopping in London? I always wait until the last day to buy Christmas gifts, but this year I’ve decided to be more organized and I’m starting with you dear blog readers – hope you like my early Christmas gift!

Vintage
Looking for something out of the ordinary that no one else has? Try Beyond Retro, they have the biggest collection of American vintage clothing and accessories. There’s also Absolute Vintage – great collection of vintage clothes for both men and women and one of Britain’s largest vintage shoe collection.

For more vintage stores, please click here.

Christmas Markets
I hardly know where to start, there are so many of them! However, here are two great Christmas markets that are worth a visit.
Winter Wonderland Market Hyde Park, free entry, over 100 stalls selling arts and crafts, there’s also an outdoor ice rink!
Greenwich Christmas Market, from early December there will be a special Christmas Market alongside Greenwich’s famous covered market, with arts and crafts, collectors’ items and food stalls trading every day.

For more Christmas markets, please click here.

Department stores
Harrods is a must see if you’re in London! This is one of the world’s most famous department stores. Their annual Christmas Wonderland is something for the whole family and a great opportunity for the kids to see the Harrod’s Grotto Santa. But beware; you need to book a time since Santa is a very popular man.

Fortnum & Mason is renowned for their fine food, hampers, teas and wine. You’ll also find a wide range of products that will make a great Christmas gift. Come to Fortnum & Mason and get in the right holiday spirit.

The number one shopping destination for kids is of course the legendary Hamleys. With many fun Christmas events and toys as far as the eye can see, I’ll guarantee you this will be a hit for the kids!

For more department stores in London, please click here.

Shopping streets
Take a stroll in some of London’s many classical shopping streets such as Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street and see the beautiful Christmas decorations. Along these shopping streets you’ll find several boutiques, high street fashion stores and exclusive brands.

Other shopping streets in London, please click here.

If Christmas shopping in London sounds interesting I want to remind you that you can right now fly to Britain with British Airways from:
530,- Danish Kroner from Denmark
576,- Swedish Kronor from Sweden
545,- Norwegian Kroner from Norway
106,- Euro from Finland

/Siska

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