We are often see ourselves caught up in a routine that doesn’t allow to think further, it’s like being stuck in a cycle. We start losing perspective, and slowly before me know it depression and anxiety hits us. I have experienced this for myself, and talking to therapist does help but I did not find that as a permanent solution because you are again trapped in the same surrounding that is not making you happy. The times when I actually felt good was when I took a break from the monotony and got out, it could have been only a weekend get away, or a vacation to a destination that’s been on your list for the longest time. I am listing down reasons why travelling has been therapeutic for me and how it’s really helped me in many ways I probably didn’t realise.
Out of your comfort zone I realised I got too comfortable in one place, be it home or work, even if the space I was in wasn’t making me happy, I was just to comfortable where I was in that moment. The time I decided to travel, have different experiences and see the world that’s beyond my problems and comfort zone is when I could put in a lot more perspective to my life. Being in a city, opening up maps to locate places and area, communicating with sign language and overcoming the language barrier, experimenting different cuisines that your palate was probably unaware of. All of this opens up your mind to other things in life, you start becoming more open towards different ideas and things that would be out of your comfort zone.
Makes you more confident The moment you start experimenting and experiencing different things in life, the times when you get lost and find your way back, or manage to make a friends that may not communicate in your language. All these small things unknowingly starting making you more confident, it’s an unconscious confidence boost because you’re somehow doing things you feared or thought weren’t possible. Eventually this reflects upon you as a person, you are not seeking for validation from anyone for this. You’re simply just going to a place that’s been on your list for the longest time and you weren’t sure if you’d ever actually go.
Change of surrounding A getaway or a much-needed vacation brings you a change in your surrounding, you always return from a holiday feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Sometimes, we need this break to feel good about where we are mentally and physically. When work gets too dragged or there is meaningless night outs going to the same places, non of this helps in refreshing your mind, you feel stuck and that’s when there must be realisation for change. Utilise those holiday leaves before they expire and book your next holiday!
No judgments Let’s be real, you’re out of your city at a place where you don’t know people, and holidays come’s with no rules which equals to no judgements! For me this means not worrying about what I wear, what I eat or how I look, not being bothered what someone might think. This really makes us stress free and let’s us live and enjoy to the fullest, you could be waking up at noon to pizza’s and beers as your breakfast and hangover cure and no one cares till you’re having the best time, that’s all that matters at the end of the day.
Explore yourself At times, we forget about our capabilities and other things we can do because we don’t give ourselves that time, this often leads to a lot of frustration. Long weekends and time away from your routine gives you time and space to explore your hobbies, think about the things you are good at or a skill you may want to learn. For me, taking a break post college, a few weekend getaways and holidays was the time I realised that I enjoyed photography and writing, this time away I was able to explore things of my interest and just to figure out things you may want to do, a vacation away allows you to be in a head space where you think beyond deadlines, you think about your passions, interests, hobbies and different ideas.
Travelling has definitely helped me in a lot of ways, and I hope this article inspires you to travel and leave your worries behind xx
Well, we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But you know what’s more important for me, a big Sunday breakfast to cure my weekend hangover and get me prepared for my Monday.
Disclaimer, these top 5 breakfast places are my personal favourites and where I would go eat whilst living in London after a night out, obviously cause who eats breakfast during the week? Not me, weekday morning struggles were too hard for me to make myself some breakfast. Hence, it’s all right to treat myself once in a while. You get what I mean, right?
So, now let’s see my top 5 breakfast places in London.
This one’s on top of my list when it comes to getting a hearty breakfast, inspired by the 80’s classics, it totally lives up to that and you’d feel like you’re in one of those cosy, American diners where a lot of stories have been told. The interiors have fairy lights, pictures of customers and just amazing vibes breakfast and brunch vibes. And the most fascinating or rather exciting part is there is a secret door at the Liverpool Street Breakfast Club, this secret door is basically a refrigerator, which leads you to a bar section and you could just convert your breakfast into a champagne brunch. It’s really cool and if you’re in London you should definitely check out Breakfast Club. It surely wouldn’t be a disappointment. What to order: Egg Florentine, Pancakes and Classic Burgers Location: Breakfast Club is at 9 locations across Central London Timings: 7:30am – 11pm Price: £30 – 40 for two
Dishoom is inspired by Bombay’s Irani cafes from the 1960’s and founded by Zoroastrian expats. Dishoom was my go to place whenever I missed home food. There were detailed interiors, having that old Bombay charm to it. Dishoom isn’t only great for breakfast, but their Indian street food, lunches and dinners. The only downside is, no matter what day of the week it is, it is very likely there will be an hour-long queue. But we all know, those good things are worth the wait, right? No need to worry, while waiting to get a table you’ll get constant refills of hot chai for free! So if you’re missing Indian food on your holiday in London or craving it, I highly recommend Dishoom. What to order: Kejriwal, Bombay omelette, Naan rolls and chocolate chai Location: Dishoom is at 4 locations across Central London Timings: 8am – 11pm Price: £30 for two
My Old Dutch:
My Old Dutch is what I call ‘pancake paradise’, opened over 50 years ago serving authentic Dutch pancakes in enormous portions here. My Old Dutch is my number one pancake place in London, they have a mind-boggling menu of sweet and savoury pancakes. I can assure you to be confused about what to order off the extensive menu. Cheeky tip there, go with a group of friends make them order everything you would want to try and order for the best, dilemma solved. Also, they have “Madness Monday’s” where all the pancakes on the menu are priced at 5 pounds. It’s a great bargain and a perfect Monday motivator. Forget your diet while going here and just dig in the perfect Dutch goodness. What to order: Everything, sorry it’s too hard for me to pick favourites here! But you could order one sweet and one savoury to balance the flavours. Location: My Old Dutch is at 3 locations across Central London Timings: 11am – 11pm Price: £25 – 30 for two
Cereal Killer Café:
Now the name gives it all away, this place takes their cereal very seriously. To begin with, let’s talk about their creative interiors, it’s probably one of the reasons why I used to keep going back here. Cereal Killer’s colourful, quirky and artistic décor is done using cereal boxes, milk bottles and artwork made out of cereal itself, I bet you’d take a lot of Instagram-worthy pictures here. Now, this isn’t your average cereal bar, they offer 100 types of cereal, 30 flavours of milk and 20 toppings besides, they internationally ship their cereal so if you’re a big cereal fanatic you can have it shipped at your doorstep. Check this one of a kind cereal café and reminisce your childhood. What to order: chocopottomus, unicorn poop or be creative and make your own. Location: Cereal Killer Café is at 2 locations in London – Bricklane & Camden Timings: Bricklane – 8am – 8pm, Camden – 9:30am – 7pm Price: £15 for two
The Ivy Chelsea Garden:
The Ivy is a posh, sophisticated Richard Caring’s Ivy franchise that serves European continental food, lot’s of truffles (duh, it’s a fancy place) and smashing brunches. This isn’t the kind of place you’d want to go in your jumper and smudged mascara from the previous night! Here, you want to put on a cute dress and on and go for a special occasion. It’s a lovely place to go to on a sunny summer afternoon as they have an outdoor garden and rooftop space. The interiors are very eye catching and elegant having a Persian feel, and a lot of plants, greenery and garden elements around you. They’ve got a tantalising menu to fit for everyone. I would suggest giving this place a shot for your birthday or any occasion per say. A tip, always try and get a table outside. What to order: Truffled eggs, Avacado and tomato toasts, mushrooms on toast and a glass of rosé, please! Location: 197, King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW3 5ED Timings: 8am – 11pm Price: £50 – 60 for two
There you have it, all my favourite breakfast/ brunch places in London that will cure your hangovers and cravings. And forget about the calories you will be consuming just enjoy your meal and then you have the entire day to burn them off! Also, always remember breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so let’s try and not skip it.
If you want to know about my favourite rooftop bars in London, you’ll find them here.
One of the biggest barriers to travelling is being broke and, there is a way around this. Money shouldn’t be stopping you from taking off for an adventure. Rather than fantasising of that dream holiday, make it happen just with a few compromises. Here, I am going to give tips on travelling whilst being broke. So stop scrolling through all the destinations you want to go to on your Instagram and make it happen this way.
Take a bus, instead of flights and trains:
Buses are a long ride, but it’s a lot cheaper than taking a flight or a train. Hitting the road is the most cost effective way to get away. The example here, taking a flight or a train to Paris from London would cost anything between £60 to £200 whereas taking a bus which would be an overnight journey would cost you as little as £20. Besides, being cheap overnight bus rides will save one night’s stay cost. So, bus it out, folks!
Couchsurfing as the name says it, is literally crashing on someone’s couch for a couple of nights. This is pretty simple, you sign up with Couchsurf, put in your enquiry and find someone that would be willing to accommodate you for a couple of nights. What you could do in return is probably cook a meal for your host or get them a bottle of wine. This would be a sweet gesture for them offering a place to stay.
Exchange of skills for accommodation:
There are a lot of sites like WorldPackers that are tied – up with hostels around the world where you could stay for free in exchange for your skills. So if you’re good at digital marketing, photography or even attending guests at the reception you could apply to hostels and they’d offer a free stay, laundry and even meals at certain places just for your skills and services in return. Working at one of these hostels is a great way to make new friends, meet travellers and on days and evening off explore cities.
Walk or cycle:
I have managed to cover travel and stay in a super budgeted way, but you’d probably wonder what to do on your vacation being broke? You obviously can’t pay for expensive museum visits, guided tours and taxis. The best ways you can explore the city is by taking a walk around, cycling and immerse yourself in the local culture. You’d be surprised how many things you could do and explore for free or minimal cost, it could be something as simple as a picnic in the park or exploring the local markets or spend a day playing volleyball on the beach. What’s so great about not spending money and yet travelling, you will end up doing the less touristy things and see a different aspect of the city.
Cook your meals:
Okay then, you are broke and managing holiday, unfortunately, you can’t be out dining and sipping on some fine wine. So what do you do now? COOK, yes I mean if you’ve found yourself a cheap Airbnb or Couchsurfing, you have the facility to make your own meals. How about visiting some farmers markets, getting yourself fresh ingredients at a bargain and just be experimental with the cuisine and cook yourself a great meal and probably pick up a bottle of cheap wine from the supermarket and celebrate your little getaway.
So, if you think you’re not a digital nomad or don’t have big bucks saved for a holiday and that’s stopping you from taking a vacation. I suggest, just follow your heart and these tips, I am pretty sure if not your dream holiday you’d definitely be able to take a long weekend off. Just save a small sum of money and just travel, life is too short to let anything stop you from travelling.
Dubai is a cosmopolitan city, with one of the best partying scene having clubs from all around the world, and even designers have opened up their signature nightclubs. From my experience, the culture in Dubai is about larger than life, everything’s extravagant and super fancy, and the nightlife is no exception to that. You would see a lot of people from East and West coming for a night out to all these places I’m going to list down. Here are few of the best nightclubs in Dubai that you should go to have a crazy night out in this magnificent city. Here, I am mainly listing out all the swanky high-end clubs and bars you could visit in Dubai.
360 is a bar set-up 1km into the Arabian Ocean, giving a panoramic views of Dubai and the spectacular Burj Al Arab is known to have one of the best views at a bar and is also one of the best bars in the world, it’s definitely worth visiting. The most popular are the Thursday Brunches, watching the sun go down by the sea is mesmerising. The music played here is generally house and R&B. Location: Marina Walkway, Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Armani Privé is launched by the fashion tycoon Giorgio Armani, it’s a chic club located in Downtown Dubai, it’s surely a fancy club where you’d want put your best dress on, and well you don’t need to wait for the weekend to hit this club. Tuesday nights at Armani are suppose to be the best. Location: Armani Hotel, Dubai Downtown, Burj Khalifa
Cavalli is another designer club by Roberto Cavalli, the interiors speak for the designer’s flamboyance having zebra print chairs, furry lifts, elaborate eye-catching chandeliers. This club, speaks luxury and offers special Roberto Cavalli cocktails while the DJ spins latest R&B and Hip-Hop music and have had celebrities like Paris Hilton, Chris Brown, Will Smith and many more have partied here. Yes, this club is slightly over priced, but it’s definitely worth the experience. Location: Dubai Fairmont, Sheikh Zayed Road
VIP Room, is one finest clubs where you’d see celebrities partying at St. Tropez, Paris and Cannes is now also in Dubai. This club has some amazing music, don’t be surprised to find well known artists playing at this club on a Thursday or a Friday night, this club is exploding with energy and you could find yourself rubbing shoulders with Will Smith, I guess he loves partying it up in Dubai. Location: J.W Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Business Bay
Cirque Le Soir
Cirque is a circus themed club, which gives it an edge over any other club, the atmosphere inside the club is incredible and what you could expect here would be a world class live circus performance by performers such as stilt walkers, midgets, contortionists, burlesque dancers, fire eaters, magicians, drummers, jugglers and tattoo artists to glam up your face for the circus. That’s not it, you can even get yourself circus snacks like popcorn and candy floss alongside your drinks. This clubs gives you an exceptional experience which you’d not have anywhere else. Cirque’s there in London and Shanghai as well, if you’re missing out on the one in Dubai. Location: Fairmont Hotel Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road
Blue Marlin Ibiza, UAE This is the first Blue Marlin Ibiza, set up outside Ibiza bring the beach club concept to Dubai, Blue Marlin Ibiza is best known for it’s themed boozy brunches like the Brazilian Brunch, Water Activities, Summer of Love. Here, you can be dancing to house and EDM beats by the beach while sipping on some bubbly. It’s surely a vibrant atmosphere and what could be more perfect than the dancing on the beach to some good beats. Location: Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotel, off Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Barasti Beach Bar Barasti Beach Bar is one of the most popular bars un Dubai, having a very chilled out relaxed atmosphere its a perfect place for brunches, watch games and matches as it has the largest live screen in Dubai by the beach. What’s the best part about this bar that they’ve free entries throughout the week and daily offers on drinks. Besides this, they usually have artists coming here and playing, I feel it’d be the best place to go when you’re looking for a fun, chilled night out in Dubai. Location: Le Meridian Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, Jumeirah Beach
ToyRoom Dubai ToyRoom Dubai is a relatively new club open in Dubai, replacing Vanity. ToyRoom is known for playing the best Hip-Hop and R&B music and having a club’s mascot grooving to the music, he’s a person dressed as a live-size teddy called Frank happens to drive a lot of attention to the club, best nights here being ‘Franks Fridays’. Good news here is that drinks are at standard prices of 55 dhs, which is pretty amazing for a high-end club. This the club to be at for everyone Hip-Hop fanatic.
Besides Dubai, you could get the ToyRoom experience in London and Mykonos. Location: Al Murooj Rotana, Downtown Dubai
Sass Cafe Sass Cafe is a lounge where you’d want to indulge in their food made with exquisite cheese, truffles and wine from Italy. The interiors here are fancy, velvet couches, crystal chandeliers giving it an fashionista feeling, as the night prolongs this lounge turns into a club with live performances. This could be super swanky date place, and their weekend brunches are happening as well. Location: Al Fattan Currency House, Sheikh Zayed Road
White Dubai White Dubai is a one of a kind clubbing experience, which is completely different from the mainstream nightclubs. The concept at White is of a night club inside an arena, giving it a feeling of a festival you’d be attending. Here, you’d be in an open arena with house and EDM, there is white lighting and a circular bar at the centre of the arena where there would be performances taking place. A night out at White is surely a euphoric experience, it’s rated to be one of the best clubs in Dubai and been awarded a couple of times. This concept is absolutely amazing, the only flaw here is you’d need to book a table with minimum cover for a sick night and White Thursdays are suppose to be the best of the week. Location: Meydan Racecourse Grandstand Rooftop, Dubai
There are a few things you should be keeping in mind while clubbing in Dubai, the minimum age limit is 21 years, make sure you have an ID proof. Dress code at most high-end clubs is formals, you have to make an effort to be let in and they are pretty strict on girls to guys ratio being equal or more girls.They are pretty much basic clubbing rules, but somehow in Dubai they are pretty stringent about these.
For all those who love partying and clubbing, Dubai is the place to be as they bring the best of best clubs from all around the world to Dubai, it’s literally a one stop party destination offering a variety of options and a complete baller experience.
Students, this one’s for you or rather for anyone who wants to travel on a budget but still have one of the best experiences. Ground rule for traveling as a student I experienced was budget myself, and it’s difficult, as you want to explore the city, party and we can’t forget a tad bit of shopping. Budgeting with so many quests is a task, so here I have a perfect guide that will allow you to do all of it just with minor compromises.
Let’s get started now!
Decide an Estimate you want to spend:
This should be the first step in to planning your vacation, have an estimate of how you want to spend on your trip, this will allow you to pick a destination, the kind of hotel/hostel you would want to stay in, transport and the duration of your trip. After having an estimate, you could plan out 2 to 3 options laid out to make the final choice. As much as I love spontaneous holidays, here it’s advisable to plan at least 3 months in advance, as a student you will curb and budget your daily expenses for the coming months to have extra cash for this trip and besides you will get good deals with the advance bookings. Here, you will be able to find sites that will help you decide a budget for your holiday.
Book Hotels/Hostels & Flights:
This is obviously the biggest and the main expense of your trip, once a destination has been finalised it always good to keep a tab on flight deals and offers, book as soon as you get a good deal, For hostels, it’s the same prices tend to be inflated closer to peak season or the hostel you’d be hoping to book could be sold out, its preferable to complete hostel bookings along side flights and bag a good deal.
For hostel and hotel booking, compare prices from HostelBookers, Booking.com, HostelWorld and for flights the best sites to compare various airlines would be Skyscanner and Kayak, so I would suggest look up all these sites, compare prices and book.
Visas (if required):
Depending on where you’d be traveling a visa may or may not be required. Incase there is a visa requirement, the best thing to do is do the application as soon as your flight and hotel bookings are done. I would suggest this as you can apply for visas three months prior to your travel and from past experience, the closer you apply for your visa to the holiday season there are chances of delay in your visa arrival. Just to be safe and assured about your holiday, don’t be lazy and leave the visa for the end.
Make A To-Do List:
For me this is one of the most fun and exciting part of planning a holiday, do a little research on the places you’re going to be visiting, make a list of what you want to there. This would include activities/water sports, museums, restaurants, bars and clubs that you’d like to cover. After this is done, check prices (budgeting needs us to do this). This will give you an idea how much you should keep aside for you expenses per day. My favourite bit would be finding stuff to do for free, I mean besides being on a budget who doesn’t love freebies? Imagine a museum is on your list and then you know it’s got free entry for students (excitement right there), I would be buying couple of beers and fancy cocktails with this saved money. Also, before I forget, it’s good to find out if places give student discounts and offer good deals for a group incase you’ll are traveling in a bunch.
Let’s get packing:
Girls, this is probably for you’ll. You have to be smart while packing on budget holidays, check the weather forecast, bars and clubs you would be headed to and get an idea of the local culture then start with your packing, letting it be appropriate and minimal. I have made this mistake in the past of carrying heels along with me by just assuming all the clubs else where would be like London and guess what it was the complete opposite. Silly me, let those heels take up so much space in my bag that I could barely shop and had the worry of paying excess baggage with cheap airlines. So just be smart while packing.
So this how you students will be able to plan in a budget but still have a sick vacation, and trust me you’d be surprised by how much you’ll end up saving following this planning process for your holiday.
Venice is such a picturesque city, literally whatever image you capture which may or may not be with a professional camera, I can guarantee you, it’ll look amazing just by adjusting your brightness settings, the captured image can be printed into a postcard.
I am going to share few of my postcard photography images of Venice which is visited this ‘city of love’.
I’m going to let the pictures talk for themselves about this beautiful city.
The Falaknuma Palace represents the luxurious lifestyle of the late Nizam, this palace was built-in the 1890’s with Italian marble, timeless architectural design is spread over 93,971 square metres.
What are truly admire about palaces in India is the intricate details to everything even in those times, this palace was no exception to this. Located up hill in Hyderabad, this iconic palace is now taken over by the Taj Group and converted into one of India’s luxury hotels giving you a Nizam style living experience.
Reception area at the Taj Falaknuma Palace with Italian marble interiors
While I was visiting the palace I happen to meet a couple of people staying at the hotel and I really wanted to know what it was like living in this fabulous crib, and they told me its an experience that comes with the hefty price tag, but is truly worth it if you can afford paying £350 a night.
Well, what comes with that price is a king size stay with butler services, spas, breakfast in bed and all the prince and princess pampering that you’d imagine of.
Stairs that lead you to the ballrooms
But, don’t be disappointed you can get an essence of the luxuries at the palace by opting for high-tea or dinner with a guided tour around the palace just for £30 this is the fair deal I opted for, and this the only way you would be able to get into the palace. I must say they are quite stringent on rules to let people come visit ever since the palace has been converted into a luxury hotel, which is understandable.
So my evening started by being warmly greeted and taken to the palace in a chariot (how I wish that was true), but as you go up, there is a chariot right outside the palace for visitors to take pictures. After strolling around for a bit, we were all called in to take the palace tour, I got to be honest here I felt like I was in school doing this with another bunch of tourists or locals coming to dine here. This tour comes free along with high-tea or dinner.
Chariot at the entrance of the palace
As the tour starts, I noticed the high ceilings at the reception and the grand staircases going up, and now it was time to absorb all the facts and figures of this beauty. So, to begin with the palace consists of 22 halls and 60 rooms lavishly furnished and decorated with paintings, artifacts, one of kind master pieces and chandeliers. Falaknuma is known for its largest Vientiane chandler collection with 40 being only in the hall. It’s also known for its unique jade collections and paintings of well-known personalities.
Crystal Ballroom with an infinite chandler reflection
Thereafter, we arrived in the Nizam’s games/activity room, this room was where he would spend most of this time with friends playing chess, billiards on the one of a kind billiards table which is designed by Burroughs and Watts who designed two identical billiards tables out of which one being in the Buckingham Palace and the other at Falaknuma. Then, I noticed this massive hookah pot which had five pipes and was probably two feet tall. Wow, the Nizam could smoke quite a bit I must say.
Burroughs & Watts Billiards table
Now, we moved to the ballrooms, it’s absolutely magical with beautiful tapestry and glittering chandeliers, imagine having your party or wedding in one of these ballrooms it would be a complete fairytale. Moving on to the dining hall where the worlds longest table is with 100 guests can be seated on the table at once, here the chairs are made of carved rosewood and green leather upholstery and the tableware is made of gold and crystal. This is open to guests with a minimum booking of 20 guests.
The tour was about to end, and I almost lost my way around wandering in the palace, the only bit that was left was the bedrooms and library which was a replica from the Windsor Castle having the best Quran collection here. Going back to the reception, it was time for tea at the coffee shop.
I was really excited and hungry about by this time, after a day of work, walking around the palace I needed this to fuel me. There are two types of high-tea that you can choose from The Nizam Special – this has a variety of arabic teas and indian snacks along side or The English Tea – you can choose from a variety of green & black teas which are served with sandwiches, scones and parties. Knowing my palette I chose the English Tea.
High-tea with a view
I have to talk about the great hospitality I was provided here, at first my tea was served indoors and it was about evening time. I noticed there was a terrace area and requested to be shifted there to enjoy the city view while the sun goes down and I sip on my tea. Though there was dinner setting being laid out outside, the staff made arrangements for my tea to be shifted there, which I thought was nice, they ensured all the guests were provided with first class service.
And finally, managed to get someone to take my picture (even though its unclear)
This was definitely a blissful experience and of the best ways to spend my evening in Hyderabad. Whenever you would be visiting this city, a visit to the Taj Falaknuma would be a must. Make sure, you call the restaurant and make reservations as they could deny you entry at the palace if your name is not at the entrance.
And if you’re staying here, I am pretty sure you’d have a once in a life time king size experience.
It’s summer solstice, and time to unleash the summer wardrobe and what better way to do it than a sundown or a rooftop brunch. I have always been a bar person, and rooftops are always on top of my list. While London has to offer a variety of rooftops in the city with a mesmerizing view, while visiting London, make sure you visit at least few of these and get a better view of the city while sipping on your rosé. Here are all the rooftops I went to while living in London and are my absolute favorite.
Madison Summer Sundowns
Madison has a separate viewing area for tourists to capture a glimpse of the St. Paul’s Cathedral, and an indoor bar serving signature cocktails, my favorite being the Porn Star Martini here. During summer, there are Möet & Chandon brunches organized here, with a lot of cocktail experimentation. It’s perfect for a champagne brunch kind of afternoon. Location: Rooftop Terrace, 1 New Change, St Paul’s, London, EC4M 9AF Nearest Tube Station: St Paul’s Prices: £9–£12 for signature cocktails Timings: Mon – Sat: 10 am – Midnight, Sun: 10am – 9pm
Radio Rooftop Bar is a swanky bar on the 10th floor of the ME hotel, this modern rooftop bar gives you a 360 of the city from the Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s to the Shard. It has stylish interiors, and poppin’ EDM beats start playing as the sun goes down. Downside would be long queues on busy nights and the bouncers may refuse entries. It’s better to get a reservation with a minimum spend of 50 pounds to skip the long wait. Must haves would be Spanish Tapas along with wine or try the Bellini popsicle. They even offer brunches and high tea. Dress to impress at this lavish bar, as being in casual would be a problem to entry. Besides, there are boozy brunches and sundowner happening through summer, which cannot be missed. Location: 336 – 337 Strand, London, WC2R 1HA Nearest Tube Station: Covent Garden Prices:£13 for signature cocktails Timings: Mon – Wed: 10am – 1am, Thurs – Sat: 10am – 3am, Sun: 10am- 12am
Sushi Samba a fusion of Brazilian, Japanese and Peruvian Sushi, on the 38th & 39th floor of Heron Towers, it takes under 30 seconds through the glass elevators to see the Gherkin at eye level. The glass wall gives you a very close view to London’s skyscrapers. The interiors are pretty eye-catching, with an orange tree light up outdoor post sunset. This is one of my favorite rooftops as it gives such a close up, panoramic view of London’s skyline. This would be a perfect place for a birthday or any celebration. Location: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY Nearest Tube Station: Liverpool Street Prices: Culinary Cocktails –£14, Signature Cocktails –£13 Timings: Mon – Sun: 11:30 am – 1:30 am
Duck & Waffle is located on the 40th floor of Heron Tower, looking over the financial district of London. This is a 24 hours open bar, serving traditional English and European cuisine. This would be an after party delight to indulge in their ‘Late Night Menu’ of champagne cocktails and cheeky mid-night treats with a stunning view. I would also recommend sticking around till sunrise and enjoy breakfast with probably one the best sight. Location: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY Nearest Tube Station: Liverpool Street Prices: Mid-night Champagne cocktails at £15 Timings: 24 hours
Oblix is located on the 32nd floor of the Shard, this fancy spot at the Shard is obtained by restaurateurs Rainer Becker for bring a New York style high-end dining luxury. Oblix would be a perfect date place, as tables are available only for dining, which would overlook the Thames and give a sparkling view of Tower Bridge. They have a variety of Steaks and Vintage Wine to choose from, this would be an ideal date setting with a stunning view, sometimes have live jazz performances and there would be a cover of £5 on weekends. Location: The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY Nearest Tube Station: London Bridge Prices: £100 -£120 for a meal for 2 Timings: Mon – Sun: 12 Noon – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm
Aqua is located on the 31st floor of Shard, having high glass windows and a table setting around it, allowing you to stick your face to the glass to get an iconic view of London. They have Signature English cocktails, high tea and brunch all year round. It’s advisable to make reservations in advance as it gets booked pretty quick, and you should also keep up with special events happening here during summer. Something I found interesting is, the bathrooms here have long glass windows, having a panoramic view while doing your business. Location: The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY Nearest Tube Station: London Bridge Prices: Signature Cocktails for £16 – £20 Timings: Sun – Thurs: 12pm – 1am, Fri – Sat: 12pm – 2am
Sky Garden is a concept of landscape garden, with open decks and a terrace, this is London’s highest public garden and an amazing social place spread across three floors on the 35,th 36th and 37th floor of 20 Fenchurch Street also known as the “Walkie Talkie Building.” There are free tours, which allow you to explore the gardens and enjoy a 360 view of the city from the South Bank, London Eye, and Gherkin to the Wembley Stadium. Booking for this must be done 3 days in advance. In this big landscape there are two restaurants and a bar. What better way to spend a sunny afternoon than sipping on Mimosa on a rooftop garden with a city view like this, imagine the sun going down while you’re sitting in the garden on the 37th floor. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Location: Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF Nearest Tube Station: Monument Prices: Sky Pod Bar Cocktails £12 – £16 Timings: Mon – Sun: 7am – 1am
Kensington roof Gardens is a little Alice in Wonderland, spread across one and half acres, comprises of three different kind of gardens where you can pop in for a glass of champagne or a free tour on advance booking, it has the Babylon Restaurant by the garden and a members on nightclub alongside an open air terrace. Fancy an afternoon high tea or a brunch in the Spanish or English Garden, to a late night partying. This place has it all, for you. Also, you should look out for events happening through summer. Location: 99 Kensington High St, London W8 5SA Nearest Tube Station: High Street Kensington Prices: Signature cocktails from £12 Timings: Gardens & Restaurants: Mon – Sun: 8am – 11pm, Night Club: Fri – Sat: 10 pm – 3 am
Queen of Hoxton is funky bar and club in the heart of Shoreditch, it’s got three levels and a barbecue rooftop. There are drag queens, live performances, photo booths, games installation in the club, with dimed lights and artistic interiors, this place gives the chilled, fun vibes with young kids getting drunk and dancing to the beats. Throughout summer, they have movies being showcased on the rooftops and events happening, which requires prior booking. On weekends it’s usually very busy due to which there is a £5 cover charge. Location: 1 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3JX Nearest Tube Station: Liverpool Street/ Shoreditch High Street (overground) Prices: Cocktails have a standard price of £8 Timings: Sun – Wed: 12pm – 12am, Thurs – Sat: 12pm – 2am
Big Chill House
Pop – up barbecue & drinks at Big Chill Terrace
Big Chill is a large bar and event place with a roof terrace, they open up a bar during summer on the terrace, its perfect for barbecue and sangrias. This is literally a house, with a large drawing room, ping-pong table, private rooms and photo booths. It’s an easy going atmosphere, with art work around the house and a perfect pre-drinking place for the summer as you can get cocktails by glass or a big pitcher. Sounds like a perfect way to get the late summer evening started. Location: 257 – 259 Pentonville Road, London N1 9NL Nearest Tube Station: Kings Cross Prices: Cocktails starting from £8.5 Timings: Sun – Wed: 11am – 12am, Thurs: 11am – 2am, Fri – Sat: 11am – 3am
So, here are all my favorite rooftop bars in London for all, fancy high – end bars, Gardens tours to fun, chilled out bars and night clubs. I would suggest at least visit a few, and enjoy the serene view of London, it’s definitely worth that expensive cocktail!
During most of my travels, I am flying Emirates or Eithad airlines. Now these airlines fly only via their respective countries Dubai and Abu Dhabi. If you haven’t visited any of these Middle Eastern countries it’s a good way to add them in your itinerary just to get a glimpse of Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
To begin with, anyone traveling from a western country i.e the United States, Canada, Europe, UK, Australia etc. can get visa on arrival while traveling by Emirates. This allows you to explore Dubai for a couple of hours, which is more than enough if you have an 8 to 12 hours layover. It’s the same policy for Eithad Airways as well.
Both these cities are fantastic and there is a lot you can explore and see in a couple of hours since everything in the city is in close proximity.
Things to do in Dubai during a layover:
Fancy a drink with this view at Atmosphere on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa
First on the list would be the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building. I would recommend going there first, it would be only a 15 – 20 minutes drive from the airport. This is located at Downtown Dubai, one of the prime areas with a lot of high rises and the Dubai Mall of course.
Going up to the Burj Khalifa should be on the top of your list, there is a coffee shop called Atmosphere if you fancy having coffee on top of the world with a breath taking view.
Underwater Aquarium & Zoo at the Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall is located right next to the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall, you could easily spend 4-5 hours here with a complete shopping spree, to lot of restaurants to go to and for kids there are a lot of attractions here, like the underwater aquarium and zoo, watch the beautiful fountain show outside the mall and by the Burj Khalifa its one of the best ways to spend the evening in Dubai if you’re visiting for the first time.
Sunset by Jumeirah Beach
For the ones that want to explore something outdoors, you could go to Jumeirah Beach side and explore that part of the city, by tanning on the beach or doing the water sports by the beach. This isn’t enough, families with kids can go visit Wild Wadi Water Park and spend the entire day splashing into those notorious water rides. If not this, relaxing on the beach and enjoying some sheesha would be ideal.
Things to do in Abu Dhabi during a layover:
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Iconic Sheikh Zayed Mosque
This is one of the largest mosques in the world, and has the largest knotted carpet in the world. This mosque is majestic and an architectural beauty, this one is a must visit during your layover, it’s the best way to appreciate the culture and this piece of art. You could take a guided tour to understand the history, architecture and purpose of the mosque.
Fastest roller coaster in the world at Ferrari World – Abu Dhabi
Ferrari world is a Ferrari themed amusement park, which has the fastest roll-coaster in the world. Yes, it’s actually the fastest at 240 km/h in 4.9 seconds. This ride is definitely gives you an adrenaline rush by the end of it. Apart from this attraction Ferrari world has a lot other rides, car shows, movies to enjoy for the day. It would be a perfect way to spend your day during a lay over in Abu Dhabi. One-day ticket would cost 350 AED, which would be 65 GBP and the timings are from 11 am to 8 pm.
These are a few things I did during my layover in these middle eastern countries, personally I feel layovers which allow to go explore a new city are amazing, its one of the best ways to explore a new place, get an essence of a different culture and have another destination to add on your list without any extra cost.
It’s that time of the year, I mean its SUMMER! Finally, something to look forward to, while I was planning my trip this summer, and the one thing I was pretty sure about is adding a music fest to my itinerary but I wasn’t sure which one was it going to be, as Europe has so many festivals happening every summer.
Europe has one of the best electronic dance music cultures, and I am not surprised as 70% of the top 100 DJs in the world are European, this list would include Armin Van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Avicii, Hardwell, Tiësto, Calvin Harris and many more. If you feel you’re missing out on big festivals like Tomorrowland and Glastonbury, don’t worry there are SO many other festivals on that scale that you could attend this summer.
Date: June 16th – 18th 2016
Place: Barcelona, Spain
Headliners: Richie Hawtin, James Blake, Fatboy Slim, James Rhode, Underground Resistance, A-Trak and many more
Sónar was established in 1994, and is positioned very differently in the electronic dance by uniting established artists as well as emerging artists. Sónar has now travelled to 50 different parts of the world like Cape Town, Seoul, Frankfurt, New York, London, Boston and the list goes on. This festival will definitely have some new artists that you would discover.
Date: June 22nd – 26th 2016
Place: Somerset, England
Headliners: Coldplay, Muse, Adele, Ellie Goulding, Foals, Disclosure, Skepta and about 100 more artists performing over 5 days at Glastonbury.
The festival goes back in the 70’s being started in 1971, it is a contemporary art festival, and a hippie culture is usually found at this gigantic 5 days party! Unfortunately this year all tickets are completely sold out, but hey! There is always next year right.
Date: June 25th – 26th 2016
Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Headliners: Richie Hawtin, Adam Beyer, Dave Clarke, Maya Jane Coles
Awakenings is known as the Techo Festival and one of the important electronic event in Europe. This is one of the world’s largest outdoor techno festivals in the world. This would be a perfect fest to attend for any sunshine and techno lover!
Date: June 26th – 30th 2016
Place: Island of Pag, Croatia
Headliners: Skepta, Jamie XX, Andy C, Jamie Jones, Adam Beyer, Gorgon City and over 100 artists and underground DJs lined up over 5 days of complete madness.
Hideout started in 2011, and the festival has been expanding year by year and 2016 is suppose to be the biggest with the festival, boat parties, after parties on the beach till wee in the morning. Plus, this festival is fairly affordable with tickets at 135 pounds and stay at 20 pounds a night. This surely sounds like a deal!
Date: June 29th to July 3rd 2016
Place: Lärz, Germany
Headliners: To Be Announced
The Fusion Festival is an underground electronic festival in an abandoned military base in the northeast of Germany, the festival does not release it’s line up in advance, which would leave you quite curious. This festival is now being known as the “Burning Man of Europe”. If you’re an electro underground fan, discovering this mystery would be interesting.
Sensation Angles & Demons
Date: July 2nd 2016
Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Headliners: Yellow Claw, Robin Schulz, Nicky Romero, Sam Feldt, David Guetta, Mr. White, Rob, Don Diablo
Sensation is an indoor electronic dance festival originated in Netherlands and now traveling around the globe, the uniqueness of sensation is that it takes place in indoor Arenas and has some mind blowing live acts. My sensation experience last year was insane! Read about it more here.
I would 100% recommend going for this festival.
Date: July 6th – 10th 2016
Place: Budapest, Hungary
Headliners: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Martin Garrix, Armin Van Buuren, Chris Brown, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Robin Schulz, W&W, Nervo, Tyga, The Chainsmokers, Lost Frequencies, Steve Aoki, Alan Walker
This year is going to be the 1oth edition of Balaton Sound held in Zamárdi. It is going to a banging summer beach party with this amazing line up and boat parties by the Lake Balaton. Isn’t the line up tempting enough to be at this fest?
Date: July 7th – 9th 2016
Place: Salzburg, Austria
Headliners: Yellow Claw, DVVBS, Hardwell, Jack Ü, Don Diablo, Nero, Kshmr, Darkraver, Angerfist, Coone
Electric Love as the name says it is all about electric music and love, located in the mesmerizing Salzkammergut Lake District surrounded by the beautiful nature of Salzburg. If you want a picturesque and a nature covered location with electro beats, this would be the festival for you.
Date: July 7th – 10th 2016
Place: Novi Sad, Serbia
Headliners: Wiz Khalifa, David Guetta, Nicky Romero, Richie Hawtin, Bastille, The Prodigy, Ellie Goulding, Robin Schulz and many more.
Exit has won the award of the ‘Best Major European Festival’. Exit started as a student movement fighting for peace and democracy in Serbia and has grown into one of biggest festivals in the world. For Exit being on such a big scale it costs as little as 107 Pounds and is held in one of the best locations in the world. I would surely not miss this if I were traveling around Serbia.
Date: July 13th – 17th 2016
Place: Dour, Belgium
Headliners: The Prodigy, Rudimental, Wiz Khalifa, Underworld, Pixies
The Dour festival is the biggest and one of the most touristic destination for the French speaking part of Belgium. It is a 27 years old fest, getting bigger year by year having 9 stages, thousands of music lovers and a cozy camping site.
Date: July 15th – 17th 2016
Place: Split, Croatia
Headliners: Above & Beyond, Adam Beyer, Afrojack, Alesso, Armin Van Buuren, Dash Berlin, David Guetta, DeadMau5, Hardwell, Martin Garrix
Ultra is a heavyweight EDM festival, having insane yacht parties, after parties and the festival comprises of 4 state-of-art stages with over 150 acts over 3 days, this festival has a maximum euphoric energy till sunrise. If you’re an EDM fanatic this is where you should be this summer!
Date: July 15th – 17th 2016
Place: Ferropolis, Germany
Headliners: Illes Noise, Oliver Koletzki, Acid Arab, Forest, Isolation Berlin
Melt is a festival inviting new comers in the industry to perform and the big artists as well, and there are no boundaries in the genre, you would find EDM, hip-hop and indie. If you are into discovering new artists, this would be an apt festival for you.
Secret Garden Party
Date: July 21st – 24th 2016
Place: Abbots Ripton, England
Headliners: Caribou, Air, Primal Scream, Lissie, Milky Chnace, Izzy Bizu
This is a crazy creative party, spread over 220 acres of garden bordered by a lake and a river. These gardeners take their party seriously theming this years party as ‘The Gardeners Guide To The Galaxy’, it doesn’t only have so many artists performing over 15 stages but its filled with a lot of fun activities like water dance floors, mud fights, astronaut training, laser wars and a lot more.
Date: July 22nd – 24th 2016
Place: Boom, Belgium
Headliners: Alesso, Armin Van Buuren, Adam Beyer, Alan Walker, David Guetta, DVBBS, R3hab, Tiësto, Axwell, Afrojack, Nicky Romero, Robin Schulz, Lost Frequencies, The Chainsmokers, Dada Life, Steve Angello, Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix, W&W, Yves V and many more.
Tomorrowland the worlds’biggest EDM festival that is larger than life having people travelling from around the world for this three days fantasy, all the best artists from around the world come for this festival and make it a 3 days wonderland. I know tickets are SOLD OUT, but there is always next year! This year’s theme is ‘The Elixir Of Life’ with the best acts with all the world-renowned artists, it’s a once in a life time experience.
Date: August 4th – 7th 2016
Place: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Headliners: Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Martin Garrix, Hardwell, Tiësto, W&W, Nervo, Lost Frequencies and many more
Untold is a festival in the city center in Romania, this is one of the newest EDM fest making it on the charts of one of ‘Best Major Festival in Europe’ with gaging an award in 2015. Untold is representing big EDM and House DJs and is creating a busting line up for this summer.
Date: August 6th 2016
Place: London, England
Headliners: Seth Troxler, The Martinez Brothers, Richy Ahmed, Eats Everything
Eastern Electric is an English electronic festival lined up with a lot of budding local artists, it’s a 25 minutes train journey from London to Hatfield House. It’s a day full of dancing to electro beats across 9 stages, hoping around raving tents, VIP island paradise and to top it off high-quality food vendor. If you’re visiting London, this fun day could be added to your itinerary.
Date: August 8th – 15th 2016
Place: Island of Pag, Croatia
Headliners: Paul Kalkbrenner
Barrakud is a perfect combination of music, partying and traveling. This festival takes place over 5 locations, and also includes a lot of boat and pool parties to commute to these various locations. This is a non-stop party on Zrce Beach for eight days straight.
Date: August 10th – 17th 2016
Place: Budapest, Hungary
Headliners: Rihanna, Muse, Sia, The Chemical Brothers, Hardwell, David Guetta, Nicky Romero, Travi$ Scott, Afrojack, DVBBS, Yves V, ZEDD
From 1993 to now Sziget has grown into Europes largest music festival, with 60 stages, 400,000 visitors per day, thousands of international artists from various genres. Sziget has a lot to offer besides music, its got theatre, films, classical movies, fine arts, and performances all across one week. I would rate this as one of the best festivals where there is literally something for everyone. If you’re traveling in Eastern Europe make sure you attend this mega festival even if it’s for a day.
Sonne Monde Sterne (SMS)
Date: August 12th to 14th 2016
Place: Saalburg Beach, Germany
Headliners: David Guetta, Paul Kalkbrenner, Rudimental, Robin Schulz, Dada Life, Knife Party, Nina Kraviz, Tiga, Sven Väth, Die Antwoord
SMS is an open air EDM festival, this festival is all about Rave-Beach-Party-Repeat for 3 days non stop. This year the passes are already sold out sadly. But like always, there is next year!
Date: August 17th – 20th 2016
Place: Hasselt, Belgium:
Headliners: Bloc Party, Big Sean, The Chemical Brothers, DJ Snake, Izzy
Bizu, Nina Kraviz, Rihanna, Lukas Graham, Twenty One Pilots, Greenday
Pukkelpop began in 1985 by the ‘Young Humanist’. The line up here is selected with an alternative fringe, there will around 200 be current sensations, living legends and upcoming alternative artists performing across 8 stages over a span of 4 days. This would be a mix of all levels of artists that makes this festival so unique.
Date: August 25th – 28th 2016
Place: Cheshire, England
Headliners: Alesso, Armin Van Buuren, Knife Party, Nervo, Kshmr, Sam Feldt, Avicii, Martin Garrix, Above & Beyond, Alan Walker, Nick Romero, Tiësto, Hardwell, Calvin Harris, Robin Schulz, Adam Beyer and many more.
Creamfields is held on the bank holiday weekend, one of the biggest dance music festivals in UK and winning awards for being ‘UK’s Best Dance Music Festival’. Having live acts by all superstar line-up, Creamfields has been traveling across the globe in the past years, but still this one is the best! No better way to spend a long four days weekend.
Date: August 27th – 28th 2016
Place: Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands
Headliners: Afrojck, Martin Garrix, Diplo, Lost Frequencies, Don Diablo, Kshmr, Sam Feldt, Robin Schulz, DVBBS, Dubfire, Alesso
This is the longest running and the largest electronic music festival in the world and Netherlands, Mysteryland is known for being sustainable and creative with there set up and achieving its uniqueness amongst all the other fests, this to me is pretty dam impressive!
Date: August 31st – September 4th 2016
Place: Pula, Croatia
Headliners: Andy C, Stormzy, Kano, Mala, Goldie MBE, Slum Village
The European Summer coming to an end, Outlook takes place at a unique location with a breath taking view and a big party. Outlook has a lot of heavy reggae, dub step and drums n bass, besides this there are green garden areas that provide styling experience to the attendees, I would love that!
Date: September 8th – 11th 2016
Place: Isle of Wight, England
Headliners: The Cure, Major Lazer, Diplo, Years & Years, Skepta, Richie Hawtin, Bastille, Fatboy Slim, Katy B, Hot Chip and more
Bestival is an award winning 4 days boutique festival set at Robin Hill. The founders of the festival have a creative vision which makes this festival special, they camping site is divided into sections like Cosmic Commune, The Bollywood Tent, Fancy dress emasse, Spaceport. If you’re into camping at festivals, maybe you should give this one a shot!
Date: September 10th – 11th 2016
Place: Berlin, Germany
Headliners: Radiohead, Kings of Leon, Major Lazer, Paul Kalkbrenner, Lost Frequencies, The Chain Smokers, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, ZEDD, Alan Walker, Years & Years, G-Easy and more.
This will be Lolla’s first European edition and what you can expect is a lor of dance, hip-hop, rock and even country. This is going to be an artsy affair as Lollapaooza is known to be artistic and colorful, representing a giant lollipop! This would surely be a surreal experience and the best way to bid summer goodbye by welcoming a new fest in Europe.These are most of the amazing festivals in Europe this summer from indoor and outdoor festivals to beach parties. This should help you’ll have a raving and a banging summer if you’re traveling around Europe also add a new experience.
Please comment below and let me know if you have been to any of the festivals above or are planning to go, I would love to know about your experiences and plans!