Author: Editor

5 Top Leicester Tourist Attractions That You Can’t Miss

For a city that’s undergone an incredible shift over the past 20 years, Leicester still has its fair share of charm. Situated in the heart of the East Midlands, Leicester is home to over 330,000 people, a number which is only set to grow.

Leicester Cathedral

The home of tourism

It’s a little-known fact that Leicester was actually one of the first ever tourist destinations. In 1841, founder of the famous tourist agency, Thomas Cook, set up a route between Leicester and Loughborough that people could take via a train he’d privately chartered.

Since then, the city has progressed somewhat, but it’s still home to its fair share of charm. If you’re lucky enough to be a tourist in the area, there’s a whole host of activities to keep you occupied and enthralled. Read on to find out more.

Leicester’s top 5 tourist attractions

Take a look at the following list for some fresh ideas on what to do when in the city of Leicester.

1) The final resting place of Richard III

Strangely, Leicester is home to one of the few kings of England who was buried outside of London or Windsor. Thousands of people gathered in 2015 to witness Richard III’s reinterment into Leicester Cathedral.

Today, you can find out all you need to know about the last king of the House of York at the Richard III museum, a quoted ‘must-see’ for history buffs visiting the area.

2) Find out the secrets of Leicester Guildhall

It’s allegedly one of the most haunted buildings in the city and not without good cause – Leicester Guildhall has a remarkably dark past. Claiming to be home to 5 prominent ghosts, including the White Lady, Leicester Guildhall has been attracting tourists for decades.

Built originally in the late 14th century, the building has served many purposes. Firstly, it served as Leicester’s original police station, equipped with warden’s house and suite of damp and dingy prison cells. One of these cells still displays a gibbet, conjuring you to imagine what horrors would have taken place within the walls.

3) Get a breath of fresh air at Dimminsdale Nature Reserve

Sometimes, the best things in life are free and that’s especially true when it comes to Dimminsdale Nature Reserve.

If you’re looking to get in touch with nature, wrap up and take a stroll down the Staunton Harold Reservoir, which rests on Leicestershire’s historic border with Leicestershire. Near the B587 towards Calke Abbey, you’ll find the entrance to the main reserve, which will be dusted with snowdrops if you time your visit correctly.

There are more than a few old mineshafts that still exist around the Reserve, which has contributed to the area’s status as being of Special Scientific Interest. As a result, it’s important to stay on the paths to enjoy this National Forest to the fullest.

4) Wine and dine with a theatre show at Kilworth House

It’s not every day where you come across a hotel with its own open-air theatre, so if you’re in the area, Kilworth House isn’t one to miss.

Typical English weather isn’t a point to be concerned about, as come rain or shine, the show will go on. The theatre’s large canopy shelters both audience and cast, allowing for an enjoyable evening regardless.

Whether you’re planning on packing a picnic for an evening show or going all-out on the theatre hotel experience, Kilworth House is a place to add firmly to your itinerary.

5) See history come to life at Bosworth Battlefield

Visit Bosworth Battlefield and you’ll be greeted with realistic reenactments of some of the most important battles in British history. One of the most impressive is the display of the Battle of Bosworth Field, where famed king Richard III both fought and lost his life.

After you’ve seen the displays of armour and clashing of steel, take a walk through the BFI exhibition and find out how archeologists pinpointed the exact location of where the battle took place.

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Long-Distance Flights: Practical Passenger Tips

If you live in Europe, reaching all other continents takes hours upon hours of flying – be it transatlantic flights to the US or flights to the exotic destinations of Asia, or going down under – you need to fly long distances.

Long-haul flights (6 to 12 hours or more) can be a true challenge even for the experienced traveller, especially if there are intermediate stops. To make your time onboard more comfortable and peaceful, here are some pieces of advice for passengers travelling on long-distance flights.

Outfit
We’ve already covered the perfect plane outfit in detail. What we can add is to preferably dress in layers, so that during the flight you can take off and on certain articles of clothing only. This is also important if there are stopovers, where the weather might require different clothes.

Seat
What would be the best seat for a long flight? If you can choose, try to avoid seats located near the lavatories, as these are the most frequented spots on the plane. Selecting a seat to the front of the plane will allow you to enjoy a more quiet and undisturbed trip. Like stretching out? Go for an aisle seat. If you easily doze off on board, opt for a window seat – this will give you something to lean against. The exit rows are usually wider, so pick up a seat next to the overwing exits for more space.

Sleep
Some people never sleep on planes. But even the most hopeless of insomniacs eventually flake out after 10 hours in the air. Make sure you take your pillow with you. It doesn’t have to be a travel pillow – some people find them pretty uncomfortable. If can be your favourite cushion that you cuddle on the sofa.

Fellow travellers
Don’t forget that you are not alone in the cabin. There are people in front of, next to you and also behind you. When you want to lean back, take extra care when lowering the back of your seat. Sudden and abrupt lowering can cause injury and damage. You could easily break someone’s nose or laptop. We know that after hours of flight you might have grown slightly heedless, but, please, check before you mess around at the seat.

Entertainment
You know that time is relative. It runs in different ways depending on what you’re doing. You don’t need to take a mountain of books. But if you are prepared with entertainment for your long-haul flight, time will fly faster and you’ll reach your destination in indulgence. Get your Kindle, a hardcopy book, iPod with loads of music, player with films and what not. Make sure you follow the cabin crew instructions for use of electronic devices.

While air travel can be an annoying experience, and long-haul flights even more so, think of your dream destination and the great time you’re going to have there. If travelling for business, enjoy the time you’re out of office.

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Airplane Mode – Now Off

Have you been told to switch your portable electronic device onboard of an airplane, even though it’s in airplane mode? Many times, perhaps.

Onboard an airplane

You should know, however, that this should no longer be the case, at least as long as your airline company has adopted the recent changes in regulations. While travelling in Europe, you can use your portable electronic devices throughout the flight – take-off, flight, and touch-down.

As of late 2014, the European Aviation Safety Agency says that you no longer need to switch your PED in Airplace mode, where a portable device means anything from a smartphone to a tablet, from a laptop to a kindle. Of course, the instructions from the crew are the most important, and if the crew instructs passengers to switch their devices off for any reason during the flight, these should be followed stricktly.

Many airline companies have already updated their operational rules taking into account the new regulations and allowing passengers to use their mobile devices for communication during the flight. Others are going through an assessment period, after which they will decide whether or not to introduce the new measures. After all, safety comes first!

How about you? Do you use electronic devices onboard of an aircraft or prefer to read a book, thumb through the magazines, chat to the people sitting next to you?

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World Wide Welkin

What would you think if you hear the words “pilotless plane” and “powerful laser” in one sentence? Probably you’d panic. Don’t panic, though. Facebook’s solar-powered drone prototype Aquila is here to bring access to Internet for more than 5 billion people.

Despite the scarce technical details, we know that Aquila is part of Facebook’s giant project to spread signal to remote areas, where there is no terrestrial infrastructure, and where such infrastructure cannot be built for many reasons such as challenging terrain, lack of funding, ongoing armed conflicts and so on.

With a wingspan greater than that of a Boeing 737, Internet.org says that Aquila is one of a future fleet of drones to beam high-speed Internet coverage to those two thirds of the world that are not connected to the Web yet.

Facebook Internet Beaming Drone

Facebook has yet to deal with all the regulatory restrictions that the respective countries impose on their radio spectrum. Safety is another important question that the company needs to deal with before the first plane takes off – both related to the safety of commercial and civil aircrafts as well as the safety level of the laser communication technology used.

Space Race

Facebook is not alone in its attempt to provide free or affordable Internet access to rural and remote areas. Google, too, plans to use unmanned planes as well as balloons floating in the stratosphere in order to create a net of Internet-beaming vehicles.

Naturally, both Aquila and Google Loon are related to the companies’ wish to provide quality access to their services. The technologies as well as the aims are similar – both Google and Facebook plan to use unmanned aircrafts – pilotless superlight solar-powered drones. While Facebook is still at the prototype level, Google’s Loon is already a fact. As to the unmanned planes – the tests are announced to start this summer.

So, may the battle of the drones begin!

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The Perfect Plane Outfit

Pleasure or a challenge? What is travelling by plane for you? For many people it’s a promise for an adventure, but for some, it is a serious trial. For yet others, flights are routine. They know what’s the best travel outfit for long-haul and short-distance flights is. Here are some good pieces of advice to keep in mind when you open your wardrobe before departure.

Metals

Belts, jewellery, watches, cuffs, metal elements on your clothes and the likes will make the scanner go “beeeep”. In fact, even if we know this rule very well, we often neglect it or forget about it, when we look for the most comfortable plane attire. For example, we usually travel wearing jeans or skirts, and such garments by rule take a belt. So, make sure you have a belt with a plastic or wooden buckle, which won’t create any trouble at the security check.

Tight clothes

I’ve always marvelled at fine ladies who choose short skirts and tight shirts for their trip. While this will give you a tempting outlook, tight clothes can be pretty uncomfortable. Think about the overhead compartment and your short skirt going up with every attempt to put your bags there, or with every step you take… Well, this might call for help. But picture a situation where there are no gentlemen around and the eyes of grumpy old ladies are all on you! Besides, loose-fitting tops and trousers won’t restrict blood flow and will make you feel more comfortable during the flight.

Reasonable shoes
Yes, high heels are attractive… when you’re in a night club, perhaps. But it’s a different matter when you fly. Even if we forget about the fact that you might get foot pain or (heaven forbid!) a sprained ankle, remember about the restrictions at airports – they will make you take your shoes off and walk barefoot through the scanner. The best choice is either hiking shoes (which will otherwise take up a sizeable space in your suitcase) or loafers (slippers, moccasins, Venetian loafers, espadrilles or other type of laceless shoes), which are easy to take on and off during the flight. Foldable shoes are yet another smart idea.

Stay-warm accessories
If you are not a fan of air-conditioners or cold, make sure you have a warm garment on you. While a hat of a fur stole might not be necessary, a knit scarf, a vest, a cardigan or a pair of warm socks are among the top in-flight accoutrements to keep you warm and cozy when the air-conditioner is on full blast.

Cotton lingerie and underwear
As flights usually take a lot of time starting with the early arrival at the airport to the passport control at your destination, wearing cotton underwear is very important for your overall comfort. Lingerie made of synthetic fabrics reduces absorption of moisture and might cause issues such as skin problems. Mind you, if you are travelling to Russia and run out of underwear, you won’t be able to buy lacy underwear as it was banned from the market.

Perfume and eau-de-toilette
It’s crucial that you get acquainted with the latest restrictions at airports affecting lotions, perfumes and other liquids. Apart from these restrictions, try to avoid strong odours before boarding. While they might smell nice to you, other passengers might find them unpleasant. Not to mention the fact that some people have asthma and allergies to perfumes. Also, do have in mind that strong scents get extremely pungent in confined spaces, where people sit close together, sometimes even crammed.

Any more ideas for the perfect plane apparel? Share them with us.

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5 Facts About Flying Balloons Everyone Thinks are True

If you are a fan of flying, as ardent as perhaps Sir Richard Branson is, then you probably know what’s true and what is not about flying balloons – from their shape, features, mechanism and possibilities.

Hot air balloon

Some people, however, have a pretty romantic or naïve idea of balloons, which lets them believe some myths. While we can’t blame them for falling in love with the idea of flying, we want to share with you some popular facts that most people think are true. But are not!

Don’t spill the beans

Many people believe that a balloon flying up in the skies is the perfect place to propose. What? No, please don’t! When you are up in the skies you can’t speak about matters of such gravity, because the only think you can hear is the roar of the hot air burner. So, unless you are a brilliant mime artist, hold your peace at least till you touch down.

Air sickness

Air sickness is a perfectly normal condition in healthy people, making them feel bad or even lose their lunch during the flight. While many people believe that closing your eyes might alleviate the situation, they are all wrong – closing your eyes or trying to sleep during a balloon flight (what a waste!) will only aggravate the symptoms as this results in a conflict between the eyes and the vestibular system. So, keep your eyes wide open.

One-way ticket to open space

Can a hot air balloon leave the Earth and off it go into open space? Nope! As with all machines capable of flight, hot air balloons aren’t able to fly beyond the atmosphere. Felix Baumgartner‘s epic jump from the edge of space took place with a sliiiightly different balloon. So fear not, you can’t leave the earth with a hot-air balloon.

Balloons give wings

Popular myth has it that a bunch of helium-filled balloons can easily lift a kiddo off the ground. While a little bum might not be safe with as many as a thousand balloons attached to it, the myth busters prove that any number of balloons that a kid can feasibly lay its hands on can’t take it to the skies.

Shape of the shapes

Some people think that a balloon cannot stay aloft unless it’s in the traditional teardrop shape. In fact, there are many forms and sizes such as a castle, a ball, a popular shape from Angry Birds and what not. If you are a fan of special shapes, you can see many unusual balloons during international balloon fiestas, or during the Festival of Ballooning.

Unusual shape balloons

Now you’re super prepared to take to the skies. Don’t forget that in the UK as well as in most European countries, you need to hold a Private Pilot’s Licence in order to fly a hot air balloon. Although it might seem like a perfect retreat in nature’s splendour, please, don’t improvise with your granddad’s balloon and make sure you hold a licence.

Have a nice flight!

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Baby On Board or How To Survive Travelling with a Child

Travelling with kids can be pretty stressful as well as fun. Flying with babies or very small children is twice as challenging. Here is a short guide on how to survive your first flight with a baby or small kids on board.

Flying Child

If your kid flies for the first time, and if they are able to understand you, make sure that he or she knows what will happen step by step. Tell him about the trip to the airport, what will happen there – that you are going to bring your suitcases, check in, watch the planes take off and touch down before you board. When a kid knows what’s ahead of them, they find it easier to cope with the new situation.

If your child is reluctant to embrace new situations, tell them a funny story about flying by plane. Kids are always eager to experience positive and exciting emotions, so telling them about an exhilarating event on the way, will most certainly help them look forward to the day of the flight.

Now, what about kids that cannot understand speech and explanations. Babies can sense adults’ emotions very well. They are like radars of our moods. So, before the flight, make sure that you are well rested so that there is as little anxiety as possible. For this purpose:

  • don’t leave the packing of your suitcases for the very last time. This will create a lot of stress that the baby will feel;
  • let your toddler or baby take part in the packing if possible; boxes, suitcases and pleasant, as much as it can be, fuss can become an exciting game;
  • sing songs imitating the drone of planes;
  • show them images or models of planes – something that they will see a lot on the next day.

Non-stop flight Vs. Connecting flight
Kids’ moods change like the weather, and even more quickly when they have to wait in long queues, when among lots of people, and at a place where they can’t run free. To minimise the agitation resulting from the very length of the flight, try and pick up a direct (i.e. non-stop) flight whenever it is possible. Night flights are also a very good choice, as kids doze off on the plane pretty often, worn out by the day.

Touchdown and Takeoff

On Board

Take-off and touchdown are the two moments when kids might feel uncomfortable. There are several things to help you avoid unpleasant situations:

  • put the baby / kid to sleep
  • breastfeed him / her or give them the dummy
  • let the child look out of the window
  • bring their favourite toy on board

On Board Alone…

Children can travel on their own, which requires a fee for the additional attention that the ground and onboard crews have to pay to your kid. Usually, a child can travel by plane on their own when they are at least 5 or 6 years old, depending on the airline company. Most airport authorities require a special declaration signed by both parents that the child is going to travel alone, plus contact details of the person who is picking them up at the destination airport.

This is pretty much what you need to know when you plan your trip with a child. Bon voyage!

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