Many cities clamour for the acclaimed title of ‘the world’s capital’. New York is a leading media and financial hub. Tokyo tops the megacity list. And Hong Kong beats all others for having the most skyscrapers over 150m tall.
But ask travellers which city they’d most like to visit and many will tell you that London is top of their wish list. In 2011 alone, 15.3 million people visited. But just what is it about the city that makes people tick?
1 - Heritage
For many, a city break is all about soaking up the history and atmosphere of somewhere very different from home. London’s unique heritage, from its links to famous writers and artists to its many sights for Royal Family buffs, means holidaymakers will never be short of new delights to discover.
2 - Sport
London made its mark on the sporting world with the success of the London 2012 Olympics. But it was a sports capital long before the David Beckham sped up the Thames to the Olympic Park, Flame in hand. Watch your favourite team play at the new Wembley Stadium, the largest football stadium in the world, or explore the city’s parks on a famous Boris bike. London’s a great place to get active.
3 - Food
Wander the streets of London and you’ll be taken on a culinary tour of the globe. From the aromatic curries of Brick Lane to the bustling European-style street food vendors of Borough Market, British food now has a higher status than the stereotypical meat and two veg of former times.
There’s a reason that the British are so obsessed with cookery television shows, and the standard of London food certainly matches up.
4 - Academia
With more bookshops in total than New York City, Londoners are a learned lot. And the academic institutions of the city are just as varied as its inhabitants. From the Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design to the London School of Economics, many people choose London as a place of lifelong learning.
5 - Language study
Studying while travelling is a popular trend and London is well known as a centre for language learning. After all, what better way is there of getting to know London than by spending time there learning English?
London is home to some top-quality language schools for students looking to study in the UK for a specific purpose, such as application to university, or just to top up on English language skills.
Those who study English in London can get to the very heart of the action at a language school such as Malvern House, which welcomes more than 6,000 students each year. The school has sites in Piccadilly and King’s Cross, and facilities equipped with the latest technological innovations in language learning. Click here to find out more about some of the courses on offer.
6 - Architecture
It might not be as lofty as New York or as glitzy as Dubai but the London skyline has a varied beauty which few other cities can rival. Take an evening walk along the Thames and see the dome of St Paul’s contrast with the stark industrial tower of the Tate Modern. Visitors should look out for the newest addition: the spectacular Shard, designed by Renzo Piano, completed in April 2012.
7 - Fashion
Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Anya Hindmarch: British design is unmistakable. London is the UK’s creative hub for fashion with about 85% of British designers based there. That’s why visitors love to pick up the edgy London designer and high street offerings.
8 – Weekend getaways
London is many things, but it isn’t often relaxing. If the fast-paced energy of the capital gets too much, visitors are a short train journey from the South Downs, Windsor Castle and the beautiful countryside of East Anglia. What could be better for short weekend hop?
If you weren’t convinced of London’s merits, you should be by now. Why not book your visit today?
Scotland is mainly known for its whisky but also for its numerous castles, some of them famous for being haunted! It isn’t very surprising than in a country of legends, fighting clans and mysterious highlands, haunted places are legions. In fact, Scotland has been named as one of the most haunted countries on the planet.
You don’t even need to go far to find what is considered as the most haunted place on Earth: Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh. In these ancient cobbled streets buried under the city, some of the walls are said to be made of human ashes from the victims of plagues. The legends say that these are those who came back to haunt the close. After it was out of bound for the public for years, Mary King’s Close can now be visited.
Glamis Castle is certainly the most famous of Scotland haunted castles. Within its walls is said to be a secret room that was bricked up many centuries ago and where the Earl of Crawford and Satan play cards. On top of that, Glamis Castle is haunted by the Lady in White who was wrongly accused of witchcraft and burned, but also an old lady who can be seen at night dragging a sack through the grounds, as well as hammering that can be heard at night.
These are just a couple of examples of what you can see in Scotland if you are a fan of ghosts story and spooky places and you can find more here.
Barcodes, as most people know, provide a way for a machine to read product-related data. For many artists, however, the barcode is a powerful symbol. For example, it can be used to represent soulless consumer homogeneity – or as a form of Orwellian control by money-hungry capitalists.
Other creatives view the humble barcode as a starting point, and as a challenge. The familiar striped rectangle can be manipulated in a variety of ways that challenge peoples’ perceptions and, in doing so, allow them to perhaps learn something new about themselves and the world around them.
1. Barcode building
Situated near Volodarsky Bridge in St Petersburg, Russia, there lies a particularly large homage to the barcode. The so-called ‘Barcode building’ creates the appearance of a massive barcode by the innovative placement of its long, thin windows, which each have a number above them.
The striking red rectangular building is owned by Vitruvius & Sons and adds a playful aspect to the otherwise dour surrounding landscape of grey high-rises.
Increasing numbers of designers are using barcodes for inspiration for anything from seating to illumination. Jason John Muscat from Demuzz Designs created a black rectangular sofa with gaps between the cushioned parts to make it look like a barcode, Hampstead lighting created a wall-mounted light with barcode-style lines glowing in red or blue, Marian Lassak used the barcode’s familiar lines to create a triangular CD holder.
Street art is where the idea of manipulating barcodes first originated. Bristol’s Banksy is often credited with starting the trend for stencilled barcodes with often anti-capitalist messages. Such barcodes now appear on the walls of cities throughout the world.
Several design companies have realised that the barcodes that feature on everyday products don’t have to adhere to the familiar rectangular format. Design Barcode Inc is a Japanese company that specialises in creating innovative barcode designs that enhance the product by being directly related to it.
For example, a bottle of apple juice will feature an apple-like barcode, while an easy-to-prepare food product features a barcode in the shape of an apron. Those with a product to sell can also find barcodes at www.southeastlabels.co.uk or places like Vanity Barcodes LLC, in Lakewood, New Jersey. Click here for help designing a barcode.
Conceptual artists love the barcode. One of the foremost purveyors of barcode art is Scott Blake. Blake specialises in creating huge portraits of cultural icons that on closer inspection are made up of barcodes significant to the subject. For example, he used the barcodes from Marilyn Monroe DVDs to create a portrait of the actress.
Art in Aisle 5: Barcodes Enter Expressionist Period
Leading US barcode artist
Examples of barcode graffiti
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and a famous holiday destination where the sun shines almost every day. The weather is always relatively warm and with an average temperature of 25 °C it’s internationally known as the “Island of the Eternal Spring”.
Tenerife is one of the best destinations for scuba diving where you can see a lot of different and variety flora and fauna thanks to the ecological diversity that the Island has.
If you decide to go to Tenerife scuba diving is one of the activities you should try. If you have never done it before we recommend you to do a baptism in one of the scuba diving clubs as this one. Here you will experiment with your first experience of the scuba diving world.
Other things you will enjoy are the beautiful marine animals and the scenery under the sea water with plenty of colours and amazing sights. On this island situated in the Atlantic you will find more more than 500 endemic plants and around 6,000 animal species.
Some of the more amazing marine fauna species you can find diving in Tenerife are the Armeñime turtles, dolphins such as the “short-finned pilot whale” or the Angel Shark.
Enjoy your time off and go to Tenerife; you will have a great time doing some scuba diving and having traditional island food.
I’m sure you won’t regret it!
Have you heard about Parkour? This is a sport discipline, which was born and practiced in the street. It was created by Sebastian Foucar and David Belle from Lisses, France, 15 years ago and it means ‘the art of movement’
It requires a good combination of technique, speed and strength. The objective is to overcome all the obstacles that traceurs or traceuses, people who practise this sport, find on the street (trees, walls, buildings, street lights, fences, etc.). But it’s not as easy as that - you have to try to connect all your movements with fluency and ease.
Although they prevent the risk that they are unable to achieve, each traceu will always try to take some new challenges necessary to surpass oneself.
If you have the opportunity to see one practitioner of this sport, enjoy them and do not be scared because one of their highest priorities is to not disturb the other pedestrians. They say that they do not compete; they just join a meeting and share its knowledge and new challenges.
I leave this video in order to see if it gets impressed and wakes up your interest to practise this exciting sport.
Rio is a huge city and has a large number of beaches. Each of the beaches offers something slightly different, from the vibrant Copacabana and Ipanema beaches to the secluded Praia Vermelha beach. This guide highlights some of the best beaches in Rio.
Best for couples
Another beach very popular with couples on holiday is the small Leme Beach. It’s a quiet beach but you’ll still find some restaurants to enjoy lunch in. The surroundings are very picturesque too, as it lies below the Moro de Leme Mountain.
Best for posing
Best for families
Ipanema beach is one of Rio’s most well-known beaches, second only to Copacabana. It is a little more sedate and is better suited for families. Ipanema is a huge beach with something for everyone, so make sure you head for the spots where you see families congregating.
Best for water sports
Botafogo Beach is the ideal place to enjoy some fantastic water sports. The beach is perfect for sailing, sail boat racing and ski boating. After you’ve had fun you can enjoy a relaxing stroll on this unique beach and enjoy stunning views of Sugarloaf Mountain and Corcovado Mountain.
Rio is a great spot for surfing enthusiasts and you’ll find plenty of beaches to ride the waves. Head for Arpoador Beach, which is the next beach down from Copacabana, and watch the ‘surfistas’ glide on the water. If you want to have a go yourself get some lessons – Rio has some really big waves, so it’s a great place to learn!
Brazil’s official tourism board.
The Guardian’s articles about travel.
The Telegraph’s family holiday guide.
Estate agents have bad press. Nobody really knows why, but the general consensus that estate agents are hard to deal with has been around for decades. We’ve seen many chains of high street estate agencies come and go over the decades too, living through 2 recessions and a boom and bust housing market has taken its toll on some property companies.
It is believed the title “Estate Agent” became commonly used in the 20th century. The title was derived from “House agent” and “Land agent” and “Real estate broker” titles used previously to describe the separate parts of the service provided in the past. However, there are records of Estate Agents dating back to the 18th Century – such professionals were charged with taking care of a large home and the land surrounding it, known as the “estate”.
The estate agent has always been looked upon as an expert in all matters concerning their local community and how this reflects on the house prices at any time. Estate agents know which areas are most desirable, which landmarks or amenities put people off homes and which main roads and motorways are easiest to get to from certain areas. These are all selling points or tipping points in a house purchase decision that without the advice of an expert, a home owner may not realise or be aware of.
Like most industries in the UK, Estate Agents are able to join a professional body, which in the property industry is the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) Joining a professional body is a mark of quality of service, awareness of training and professional development and adherence to strict guidelines. The existence of such a governing body has help to relieve the estate agency industry a little of its bad reputation.
One Estate Agent in the UK has taken advantage of the negative reputation his industry has and turned it into a positive selling point with his witty property descriptions.
“Mr Green” cleverly write the most honest descriptions he can.
“The hallway on its own is bigger than most of those horrendous lounge/diner/kitchen combos in new-build flats. This place has a proper balcony too, not a token balcony that you can’t fit a chair on. When do you ever hear “I’m just popping out for a stand-up on the balcony”?! What is the point in putting a balcony on a property that you can’t sit out on?”
Since the millennium, the estate agency industry has changed dramatically with the introduction of massive online property portals covering the entire UK. Estate agents have to work a lot less harder now they have tools to sell your home online, yet they prices are still high. Entrepreneurs spotting the potential of online home sales as a way to cut down high street office overheads have developed a market for online estate agents to co-exist with the traditional high street branches. But with the way shop rent prices are increasing on the high street thanks to the recession, could the traditional estate agent be a dying breed?
There are many beautiful and natural parts of our world and the same goes for some man-made landmarks too.
The ‘Burj Khalifa’ in Dubai is currently the tallest building in the World, standing at over 2,000ft. It seems to me that the competition for the tallest building will go on for a long, long time.
Most skyscrapers across the globe are simply astonishing. In these times, the architecture of new buildings has developed in many ways; opening the doors for a lot more creativity in structure and design.
The image below shows some of the tallest buildings in the World, which are mainly in USA and the Middle East.
This excludes buildings that are still under construction, such as the Freedom Tower in New York:
The building is next to the site where the World Trade Centre used to stand. The new building represents freedom & liberty, and has been designed with 9/11 in mind, stating that this building is ‘terrorist proof’. The Freedom tower will not be taller than the Burj Khalifa, but will dominate the New York skyline like the World Trade Centre once did.
So as more skyscrapers are built, I can’t help but wonder where the next tallest building in the World will be. All I know is that I’m sure there will be a lovely view!