Posts Tagged With: hidden gem

Visiting Camden Market in London, England

906870_10152742301495032_1409696893_oIn my most recent trip to London, I went to the Camden Markets three times.
It’s one of my most favourite places to go, and not just to shop, but to walk around.

I would have to say that it is one of London’s hidden gems for tourists. Even the majority of my British friends had never visited, which I was totally shocked by. The Camden market in Camden Town is definitely a highlight for anyone visiting London, England.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

SHOPPING. EATING. ANTIQUES. PEOPLE WATCH. INDULGE. WALK AROUND. (In a nut shell)

You could literally spend a whole day at the markets in Camden Town; from vintage clothing, to unique antiques, beautiful jewellery, delicious food, and everything in between at reasonable (often cheap) prices. Need a new dress for summer? Camden has it. Need neon clothes to go raving? Camden has it. Want to indulge in delicious homemade sweets? Camden has it. Don’t know what to buy? I’m sure you’ll find something at the Camden market.

You really has to see for yourself how amazing Camden Town is. Take a friend or your family, and you’re bound to have an amazing day walking around. It really is a great day out in London, for tourists & locals.

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HOW DO I GET THERE?

Camden is in Zone 2 and I would suggest that you not drive here, but either take the Tube or Bus, due to the congestion and limited parking spots. You can get to the Camden Market by getting off at the Camden Town Tube Station on the Northern Line (Black).

In terms of using bus transportation,  you can get to Camden Town by taking the following buses at:

Kings Cross Station: 214
Liverpool Street: 214
Euston Station: 168, 253
Victoria Station: 24
Leicester Square: 24, 29
Trafalgar Square: 24, 29
Oxford Street: 274
Marble Arch: 274
London Planetarium: 27
Tate Gallery: 88
Clapham Common: 88
Elephant & Castle: 168
Notting Hill Gate & Portobello Road: 27, 31

It gets extremely busy at the Camden markets, more so on sunny days or weekends, so be aware that it is a crowded area. BUT DON’T LET THAT STOP YOU FROM GOING! My mother, who is very claustrophobic, managed to have an amazing time at the markets. She even said it was her “favourite thing to do in London”. Apparently visiting me wasn’t her favourite thing  coming to London… Thanks mom.

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904791_10152740142435032_1449118090_oWHERE TO EAT?

If you are on a budget (like me), I always suggest taking a walk down the Camden Lock Village Market, where you can find an assortment of ethnic and savoury dishes for £4. From Thai, to Japanese, to Mexican, to Indian, this area near the water has a variety of choices to have a nice lunch at a reasonable price.903182_10152740142405032_1689839211_o

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921490_10152742300985032_1459761354_oIf you are with your family, or want to go to a restaurant near by, I would highly recommend checking out Fogg’s for some delicious British cuisine and amazing burgers + chips (fries) under £10. I took my mother and grandfather here and they really enjoyed the food and service. It’s located on the main street of the camden market and shops.

Check out the menu for the restaurant here: http://www.foggsrestaurant.co.uk/
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P.s. Stop by Mimi’s Cupcakes in the Camden Market for one of the best cupcakes you’ll ever have! For £1 you can get a mini cupcake of any flavour! They have some of the most delicious flavours like Oreo, Bubblegum, Chocolate Fudge and Wild Berries (my fav). And no, I wasn’t paid to promote this shop; they just have the best darn cupcakes I have ever had and feel the need to share it with those who visit the Camden Markets!

Have you been to the Camden Market? Do you plan on visiting?
What’s your favourite place to shop or eat in Camden Town?
Comment down below because I’ve very interested in knowing your time in Camden!

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Categories: Blog, England, London, Seasons, Spring, Survival Guide, Things To Do in London, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, United Kingdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Next Stop: Aran Islands, Ireland

Planning a trip to Ireland for a few days or even a week or two? I highly recommend taking an intensive and well-worth tour of Ireland with Paddywagon Tours. I personally recommend that it is the best (and often quickest) way to see as much as Ireland as possible in your travels.

738357_10152380997745032_552581417_oOn my 4th day in Ireland, I got the amazing opportunity while staying Galway to travel to the Aran Islands, which are among the many hidden gems of Ireland.

My best friend from Canada visited her family in Ireland in the summer of 2012, and told me about the Aran Islands, and said it was a MUST SEE. She was absolutely right. It’s not part of a lot of tours in Ireland, so if you are traveling Ireland independently, make sure this is on your list to see. (Directions on how to get there will be explained below)

The Aran Islands constitute of three islands situated at the mouth of Galway Bay, on the west coast of Ireland. The islands from west to east are named: Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer.

739963_10152380997990032_1331778413_oInishmore is the largest island and the one I was told to visit. You will have to take a coach from Galway to the docks outside of Galway where you get a boat ride to the Aran Islands. There are travel companies in Galway that offer this coach+boat ride deal to the Aran Islands, so it should be no problem getting there. When I arrived to Inishmore, there only seemed to be one bus tour awaiting for tourists to arrive. Because I went during the winter time (extremely low season), there was only 3 tourists on the whole entire island. It was absolutely deserted and we 737798_10152380995020032_580019433_ohad the whole island by ourselves to explore. It was so surreal and amazing.

In terms of getting around the Island, there are bikes for hire (great option during nice weather/summer time, but beware that it is extremely hilly and exhausting), as well as cheap bus tours. I took a bus tour of the Island with a local who spoke very interesting english, and fluent Irish. He even had a leprechaun dangling from his front mirror. He was full of knowledge and taught us about the island and its history.
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The island is constructed of limestone, and by this, I mean there are hundreds and thousands of limestone walls around the fields. The island was entirely made of limestone and almost inhabitable, but with hard work and dedication from the Irish locals, they gathered great amounts of limestone and constructed unaccountable amount of walls around the entire island. It was miraculous to see in person. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it.

On the tour, we were dropped off at Dun Aengus for about two hours to explore an ancient stone fort, with an amazing view of the coast, as well as shop and eat in the little village. The nature walk to the ancient stone fort was beautiful and relaxing. This ancient stone fort was my favourite site on the island, because of the spectacular view. Be careful along the edge of the cliff because there are extremely strong winds and no guard or rail to protect you from falling over the edge. This does offer some amazing photography opportunities however. If you don’t believe me, then take a look at the view from the edge of the cliff.

739739_10152380994755032_1868391530_oThe island is completed isolated and you get that feel when you drive around the island. It almost feels like the inhabitants are still living in the 1930’s. Many of the houses on the Aran Islands are thatched homes, which are so interesting to see and learn about. Here is an image of one of the thatched homes.

Driving along the coast of the island was also amazing to do. The island is just as green as you would expect Ireland to be (besides the innumerable amount of stone
and walls). I spent the remainder of the day checking out 737896_10152381000450032_467011268_oall the little shops that offer homemade clothing by the local inhabitants, as well as the famous Aran sweaters.

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I ended the day if a chill visit to one of the local pubs and, of course, a fresh pint of Guinness. The server even put a four-leaf clover on the top of my Guinness (as they often do this for tourists) and this made my day.

 

Overall, I had an amazing day on the Aran Islands, and it was something different to see. A place I had not expected, and still one of my favourite, and most relaxing places I’ve travelled too. If you do get a chance, it would be interesting to go during a high-peak seasons for tourists, like the Spring or Summer.

Also, make sure you finish the day off with a pint of Guinness!

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Directions on how to get there: Find a tourist agency in Galway and look for a package deal on getting to the Aran Island Ferries. This service operates a year round service, but offer limited ferry rides, so do get there early. All the ferries are passenger only, thus, no car ferries are available. Make sure you set a full day to visit the Aran Islands, and please let me know what you thought of the islands if you do plan to visit 🙂

Check out my journey in Galway, Ireland
Check out my journey at The Giant Causeway, Ireland
Check out my journey in Derry, Northern Ireland
Check out my journey in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Check out my journey in Dublin, Ireland

Categories: Aran Islands, Blog, Galway, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Seasons, Spring, Survival Guide, Travel Sights, Travel Tips, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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