By Shahida Sakeri on May 19, 2017
London is a city unlike any other in the world that thrives on multi-cultural flair, plethora of attractions and rich history, making it a definite crowd-pleaser, especially among ladies. Read our top suggestions below on how to make London (and beyond) the perfect getaway to bond, relax and try new things with your girlfriends.
No. 1: Fly Comfortably with Malaysia Airlines’s A380
Save time and start your trip right by flying with Malaysia Airlines A380, the double-decker aircraft that connects you directly from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Heathrow Terminal 4. Each aircraft comes with 494 seats, operated by 21 cabin crew and 4 pilots, claimed to be quietest aircraft as it generates 50% less noise during takeoff. There are also five prayer areas on board, for the convenience of religious passengers. If you want to truly spoil yourself, book First Class or Business Class for privileges such as access to premier lanes for faster security checks and immigration clearance, and free entry to to the well-appointed Golden Lounge – both in KLIA and Heathrow – where they can sample an extensive buffet of Malaysian and Western dishes, catch on work at the Business Centre or even refresh by taking shower.
No. 2: Be Brave and Go Down the World’s Tallest and Longest Tunnel Slide
It’s new. It’s affordable. And it’s definitely thrilling! Named as the Time Out London’s Number 1 thing to do in 2016, The Slide of ArcelorMittal Orbit offers a hair-rising experience for visitors of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park by descending the 178-metre slide around UK’s tallest sculpture! The whole trip down the slide takes about 35 seconds, circling around the structure 12 times while passing through light and dark sections with London’s skyscrapers whizzing by (not that you’ll notice, really) before it ends with a dramatic 50-metre drop straight to earth! Of course, there are other ways of going down to the ground floor like taking the lifts or the 455 stairs with different London soundtracks on every floor, but what could be more enthralling? The general entry and The Slide combo is sold at £15 per adult, and £10 per child.
No. 3: Splurge at Bicester Village
With over 130 boutiques of British and international brands, it is easy to see how this village makes it into every fashionista’s ‘must-visit’ list when being in the UK – this shopping paradise is the place where travellers can make a designer purchase without the designer price tag. Even Kate Middleton once disclosed that one of her favourite places to shop is indeed this village. If you admire her style, then shop for some of her favourite brands like L.K. Bennet and Reiss here at deep discounts! And while you’re at it, consider trying the hands-free shopping service that will surely take the strain away as you continue to roam around this open-air, pedestrian-only landscape. Other available services and facilities include tax refund and current exchange facility, an award-winning Tourist Information Centre, multi-lingual staff and Personal Shopping.
No. 4: Find Gems at Carnaby Street
“Everywhere the Carnabetian Army marches on, each one a dedicated follower of fashion” – The Kinks, 1966.
Need more fresh pieces to liven up your wardrobe? Head straight to Carnaby Street! Considered as a fashion mecca, Carnaby Street is a destination in its own right, brimming with cool pop-up stores, quirky boutiques, impeccable vintage shops and a long list of independent brands. During the swinging 1960s, famous music icons like The Beatles and Mick Jagger were spotted here frequently for a great retail therapy. Browse the ever-changing selection of rare findings, then grab a bite at Kingley Court and stay to watch the incredibly eccentric London crowd. We especially love the ‘We Built the City’ shop, which sells a collection of artwork and products from over 250 home-grown talented artists.
No.5: Hang Out with the Creative Crowd at Camden Market
Do you know that Camden has been the home to many illustrious stars like pop culture royalty (Amy Winehouse, Pink Floyd, Oasis) and celebrated writers (Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Karl Marx) in the past? Today, The Daily Express had named Camden “London’s trendiest Sunday hang-out” where many of Britain’s top designers were said to have started out with stalls here. The market has approximately 280 stalls and 54 shops, specialising in handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs. This was, in fact, the place where I bought my most cherished souvenirs, which were jewellery pieces made from old microchips. On top of that, Camden Market makes a perfect stop to have Sunday brunch as it boasts a long list of specialty food stalls that make you go hungry.
No.6: Have a Designer Afternoon Tea at The Berkeley Hotel
Ahhh afternoon tea, the quintessential English tradition. No trip to London should be without it, and one of the best places to have a stylish one is at none other The Berkeley hotel. Head Pastry Chef, Mourad Khiat, celebrates top fashion moments from an array of distinguished designers through impressive high tea presentations that represent iconic fashion pieces that change every six months according to seasons at the gorgeous Collins Room using exquisite biscuits, bakes and fancies served on exclusive Wedgwood Prêt-à-Portea fine bone china. A session here costs £52 per person.
No.7: Indulge in Organic Meals at The farmshop
When you’ve been shopping hard all day at Bicester Village, what you need to do next is to relax and eat something delicious and healthy. Get into the lofty, airy, muted wooden space of The farmshop, and be spoilt with their tempting list of rustic British fare! My personal recommendation is the garlic bread with melted cheddar cheese and sourdough that is oh SO good!
No.8: Wander at Warwick Castle
If you love all things medieval, soak up the romance and history of a castle life of more than 1,000 years at Warwick Castle, originally built in 914 A.D. as a Saxon fortification under the order of Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great, to defend against the invading Danes. The fort was later developed by William the Conqueror in 1068 A.D., two years after the Norman conquest of England. Today, there are plenty of things you can do here, but if I may suggest, do not miss learning about the chronicles of the castle at the Time Tower via an interactive audio visual multimedia presentation. I heard the Horrible Histories Maze is exciting too, but I had to forgo it due to time constraint. Fans of the BBC One ‘Merlin’ series should also explore the Dragon Tower where they can participate in Merlin’s quest to help Arthur Pendragon.
No.9: Join the Wizarding World at Warner Bros Studio
Located in Leavesden, Warner Bros Studio was originally an old aircraft factory turned into one of the largest state-of-the-art filmmaking facilities in Europe, receiving over 6,000 visitors every single day. Here, visitors are treated with an experience similar to what they would have seen in the movies: by stepping into the carefully-made sets like the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office and the wand room, admiring the carefully-crafted props, flying on a broomstick and discovering all the behind-the-scenes secrets. I must say, visitors will be amazed at the ludicrous amount of detail that went into making all elements as realistic as possible – some were even largely gone unnoticed in the films! The tickets for the tour are priced at £39 per adult and £31 per child.
No.10: Enjoy the Spectacular Bird’s Eye View of the City from London Eye
Do you know that both Jessica Alba and Kate Moss have been on the London Eye 31 times and 25 times respectively? Who can blame them; the Coca-Cola London Eye has been London’s number one visitor experience for over a decade. It is a masterpiece of urban architecture, standing proud at 135 metres tall. A complete rotation takes 30 minutes, and on a clear day, you will be treated to a 360° visual feast of iconic and historical landmarks up to 40 kilometres in all directions. The London Eye is the main point of the famous London’s New Year’s Eve firework show.
Get a London pass that is available online, which gives visitors access to most of London’s top tourist destinations for a fraction of the original price.
Special thanks to Malaysia Airlines and Visit Britain for making our trip to England an unforgettable and seamless experience. If you’re planning to explore England and London, be sure to refer to the Tourist Bureau (www.visitlondon.com) for free guides and coupon books to be used during your trip.