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Strong Dollar, Plenty of Options to Make London the Perfect Choice

Angeline Boekweit, Flight Centre Associate - Winnipeg, January 7, 2010

The date is set and the venues are booked. Where will you be on Friday, April 29th, 2011? You could be in London, England celebrating the wedding of the future King of England William, to Kate Middleton with the locals on what is now a U.K. public holiday. William and Kate have chosen the best season to celebrate their marriage. Spring in England is lovely. The April showers have sprung life back into the lush green land, the English gardens are full of daffodils, and the tulips and the roses are in bud. Weather-wise not only is this the best time to visit the U.K., but financially there has never been a better time to visit. England is more affordable than ever at the moment thanks to a strong Canadian dollar and a weak British pound. Hotel prices have actually gone down for Canadians; eating out is more affordable both on the strength of the dollar and also fierce competition from restaurants to get diners in, plus I offer the lowest airfare between Winnipeg and London.

Travelling to England independently offers many advantages over a tour. You have more choice and control over where you stay, what you do, how you get around and where you eat. And it’s easy to plan. I can help you with your itinerary and pre-book accommodations, transport passes and daily activities. I also offer the lowest airfare guarantee so when you arrive you can enjoy, relax and focus on the fun!

There are many different types of accommodation you can book including recognizable North American chains, such as The Marriott. Boutique hotels are unique hotels with funky features. Another option is the traditional Bed and Breakfasts--a home away from home for the budget conscious and more professionals are choosing this option nowadays. Finally, if you’re on a strict budget, there are also rooms in hostels with a shared bathroom.

Getting around
The rail network in the U.K. is fast and efficient despite the moans of the Brits. If booked in advanced, a BritRail pass which is only available to non-European residents, represents excellent value. Moving around London with the 6 million strong population, you can use the very convenient and affordable tube or the London bus service, which is also an excellent way to sightsee for one pound.

Read the London Evening Standard and decide on a location along the wedding route to stand on the day of the wedding. Go to Marks and Spencer’s Food hall for picnic type food and find your spot, relax and enjoy the day along with the other spectators taking in the party atmosphere. If it’s pouring rain, find your nearest pub with a big screen and watch the Royal nuptials in comfort and with a pint.

Apart from the wedding day, there are so many other typically English things to do. The great news is most museums are FREE in England. Among my favourite museums in London are Imperial War Museum, TATE Modern and TATE British and Hampton Court. As there are no admission charges, the museums make revenue from their gift shops and cafe which means they are fantastic places to eat and shop. Which brings me to shopping; London is a shoppers dream from High Street to designer boutiques to high-end department stores to Camden Market and Portobello Road, from the latest fashion to collectible antiques, there are unique bargains to be had. The shows and theatre are also world renown and last minute tickets can be bought in Leicester Square. You’ll find many booths selling last minute tickets, if you are happy to take pot luck. If there is a popular show, you definitely want book in advance to guarantee seats. Join members of the Royal family at a day at the races. It is so much fun dressing up and taking in the atmosphere. Even if gambling is not your thing, the races provide a great day out for all the family and there are many race courses within easy reach of London. The soccer season will be closing in late April. If booked in advance you may be able to score tickets to a Premier League match and see some of the world’s best footballers play at one of the London clubs. The nightlife is buzzing; there is so much to do including bands, concerts, great pubs and nightclubs.

What will you eat?
London is a melting pot and the food represents this fact with Chinatown in the heart of Soho and Theatre land, and to the East, Brick Lane, where you will find some of the best Indian food in Europe. There are many kosher bakeries and restaurants in Golders Green in the North West of London. English cuisine is most famous for two dishes: English breakfast and Fish and Chips both of which must be sampled. Don’t forget high tea which can be experienced in true British fashion complete with tea, cucumber sandwiches and cakes, at the Ritz or Savoy. If you are there on a Sunday, many local pubs do a traditional English Sunday Dinner featuring roast beef and Yorkshire pudding with roasted vegetables - very delicious and hearty, not to mention good value. In fact, if you are looking for wholesome, local and rustic food I would definitely try the local pubs.

England is at its most affordable for the Canadian traveler. There are cheap airfares from Winnipeg to London. Book hotels early for better deals and to get a room during this busy time. Talk to me and I can help you plan your itinerary to suit your travel style and budget. So where will you be on April 29th, 2011?

Angeline Boekweit
Flight Centre Associate - Winnipeg

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.