Staying in any of the convenient Hostels in London is a top choice for the visitor on a budget. Here are some excellent day trips out from London.
If you’re travelling on a budget, staying in one of the excellent hostels in London doesn’t mean you can only explore the inner city. These top destinations will only take you anywhere between 20 minutes and a couple of hours by London’s famously reliable rail system.
1. St. Albans (20 minutes by rail) – Over 2,000 years of history have moulded this city, and everyone from the Celts to the Romans to the Benedictine Order has left their marks. Lovers of history will definitely want to pay a visit to St. Albans, and it’s certainly within easy access of any of the central hostels in London.
There was an Iron Age settlement known as Verulamium, Verlamion, or Verlamio, near the site of the present city, the centre of Tasciovanus’ power and a major center of the Catuvellauni from about 20 BC until shortly after the Roman invasion of AD 43. The name “Verulamium” is Celtic, meaning “settlement over or by the marsh”.
2. Windsor (30 minutes by rail) – Fancy learning a thing or two about the royal family? Windsor is the place you’ll want to go, especially since it is home to the famous royal residence, Windsor Castle. There’s also the Windsor Legoland theme park, which can be quite fun to explore for the young or young at heart.
Catch the traditional military parade and Changing of the Guards up the high street and into the castle to the Lower Ward. The ceremony lasts 30 minutes and starts at 11:00 (but you can catch the march up the hill at 10:50) and weather permitting they’re accompanied by a band. The Guard March takes place all year round on alternate days from August to March and daily during April, May, June and July (apart from Sundays).
The early history of the site is unknown, although it was almost certainly settled some years before 1070 when William the Conqueror had a timber motte and bailey castle constructed. The focus of royal interest at that time was not the castle, however, but a small riverside settlement about 3 miles (5 km) downstream, possibly established from the 7th century.
3. Epping Forest (40 minutes by rail) – Nothing quite beats strolling through a tranquil forest, especially if you need to decompress from the typically crowded areas around the hostels in London. Just make sure to check before you travel though, as Epping Forest is closed to the public on certain days.
The area which became known as Waltham, and then Epping Forest has been continuously forested since Neolithic times. Embankments of two Iron Age earthworks – Loughton Camp and Ambresbury Banks – can be found in the woodland, but pollen profiles show that Iron Age occupation had no significant effect on the forest ecology. The formerlime/linden Tilia-dominated woodland was permanently altered during Saxon times by selective cutting of trees. Today's beech-birch and oak-hornbeam-dominated forest was the result of partial forest clearance in Saxon times
4. Brighton (1 hour by rail) – It only takes an hour by rail to reach Brighton and you'll have a wonderful time exploring the nooks and crannies of this gloriously eclectic and creative city. The Royal Pavilion and the beach with its fun fair on the pier are world famous, and there's pretty much something to entertain any kind of visitor, old or young.
Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. The ancient settlement of "Brighthelmstone" was documented in the Domesday Book (1086). The town's importance grew during the Middle Ages as the Old Town developed, but it languished in the early modern period, affected by foreign attacks, storms, a suffering economy and a declining population. During the modern period, Brighton began to attract more visitors following improved road transport to London and becoming a boarding point for boats travelling to France. The town also developed in popularity as a health resort for sea bathing as a purported cure for illnesses.
In the quaint Lanes shopping area of Brighton, Café Rouge serves a fantastic range of French dishes. The cosy interior adds to the ...
Café Rouge – Brighton Marina Standing out on the marina with its red façade, Café Rouge Brighton serves a tasty array of French ...
5. Oxford (1.5 hours by rail) – Another acclaimed university has its home here in Oxford, while plenty of museums will keep you occupied. Oxford’s Blenheim Palace is also worth a visit, with movies like the Harry Potter series and A Little Chaos filming scenes there.
The city is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Buildings in Oxford demonstrate notable examples of every English architectural period since the late Saxon period. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold.
Oxford was first settled in Saxon times and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning "Ford of the Oxen" (according to theEnglish Place-Name Society, who base their result on a passing reference in Florence of Worcester's work "Chronicon ex chronicis"); fords were more common than bridges at that time. It began with the establishment of a river crossing for oxen around AD 900. In the 10th century, Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia andWessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes.
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6. Cambridge (1 hour by rail) – Here you can visit one of the world’s most acclaimed universities and go punting on the river – or get someone else to row for you! This picturesque city is every bit as lovely as you've heard.
There is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area in the Bronze Age and in Roman Britain; under Viking rule, Cambridge became an important trading centre. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although city status was not conferred until 1951.
Cambridge is the home of the University of Cambridge, founded in 1209 and one of the top five universities in the world. The university includes the Cavendish Laboratory, King's College Chapel, and the Cambridge University Library. The Cambridge skyline is dominated by the last two buildings, along with the spire of the Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church, the chimney of Addenbrooke's Hospital and St John's College Chapel tower.
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7. Bath (1.5 hours by rail) – The aptly named city is home to the only natural hot springs in Britain. The Roman baths and spas may be a welcome treat for those hankering for a nice, long soak to relax those travelling muscles and tired feet.
The city became a spa with the Latin name Aquae Sulis ("the waters of Sulis") c. AD 60 when the Romans built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon, although hot springs were known even before then. Bath Abbey was founded in the 7th century and became a religious centre; the building was rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries. In the 17th century, claims were made for the curative properties of water from the springs, and Bath became popular as a spa town in the Georgian era.
During the English Civil War, the city was garrisoned for Charles I. Seven thousand pounds was spent on fortifications, but on the appearance of parliamentary forces the gates were thrown open and the city surrendered.
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8. Canterbury (1.5 hours by rail) – Lovers of religious history and architecture simply must take the time to visit Canterbury’s famous cathedral. St Martin’s Church and St Augustine’s Abbey are two notable landmarks worth visiting as well.
Canterbury is a popular tourist destination: consistently one of the most-visited cities in the United Kingdom, the city's economy is heavily reliant upon tourism. The city has been occupied since Paleolithic times and served as the capital of the Celtic Cantiaciand Jute Kingdom of Kent. Many historical structures fill the area, including a city wall founded in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th century, the ruins of St Augustine's Abbey and a Norman castle, and the oldest extant school in the world, the King's School. Modern additions include the Marlowe Theatre and the St Lawrence Ground, home of the Kent County Cricket Club. There is also a substantial student population, brought about by the presence of the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University for the Creative Arts, and the Girne American University Canterbury campus. Canterbury remains, however, a relatively small city in terms of geographical size, when compared with other British cities.
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9. Stonehenge (2 hours by rail) – Stonehenge is a marvel of Neolithic construction and is well worth spending the time to visit. It’s only eight miles north of Salisbury.
Keep all these destinations in mind when you’re based in one of the many excellent hostels in London and you’ll realize just how much you can see by rail.
Walk in the footsteps of your Neolithic ancestors at Stonehenge – one of the wonders of the world and the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe.
10. Salisbury (2 hours by rail) – Salisbury boasts beautiful religious architecture as well as a lush countryside ideal for walks, cycles and sightseeing tours. It’s also home to the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta, of which only four intact copies remain.
The hilltop at Old Sarum lies near the Neolithic sites of Stonehenge and Avebury and shows some signs of early settlement. It commanded a salient between the River Bourne and the Hampshire Avon near a crossroads of several early trade routes
If you were to visit Portugal and have a traditional Portuguese Grandma as your gastronomic guide, she would feed you a variety of dishes rich in meats and seafood.
Traditional Portuguese food tends to be hearty, which is my polite way of saying “quite caloric”. Back in the day and, still in the rural areas, families raise their own cattle and kill animals to make the most out of every single gram of meat! No wonder Portuguese cuisine has developed a lot of regional “enchidos”, that is, sausage look-a-likes that come in all shapes and flavors and make sure that, at the end of the day, no meat goes to waste.
Depending on the region of the country, you will find distinct typical dishes. Cod fish (“bacalhau”) will be a staple no matter where you go. Some say there are more bacalhau recipes than days in a year!
Grandmas in Portugal will tend to cook what’s more typical in their region, but a super hero grandma with a love for Portuguese food, would cook you at least these 10 delicious dishes, for a true taste of Portuguese tradition.
Posted by Zara on 28th June 2012
Article source: http://bkpk.me/10-traditional-dishes-a-portuguese-grandma-would-feed-you/
1. COZIDO A PORTUGUESA
Please meet the king of all stews! Portuguese stew is the perfect example of the importance of using all the meat an animal can provide. This meaty bomb includes beef, pork, chicken and a variety of pork derivatives such as blood sausages and smoked pork parts. There are also some vegetables thrown in the mix, but one must admit this is a dish for meat lovers.
2. CALDO VERDE
The most traditional of Portuguese soups is as simple as it gets: onions, potatoes and kale, cooked with garlic and olive oil. Nothing says winter comfort food like a good serving of caldo verde in a traditional clay pot. This soup would normally be served with a slice of “linguica” (typical smoked pork sausage) and cornbread. Dip it and enjoy!
3. FEIJOADA TRASMONTANA
Do not eat this on the same day as a Cozido a Portuguesa, unless you have a true desire of exploding! Feijoada stands for bean stew, but you know it wouldn’t be a Portuguese stew if you didn’t throw a variety of heavy meats into the mix! All the funny parts of the pig end up here, as the dish was created when people couldn’t afford to waste anything the human body could eventually digest. Meats included may vary, but if you are too picky, ask before you put something in your mouth. It’s not at all uncommon for Feijoada to include delicacies such as pig hocks, knuckles or ears!
4. BACALHAU A BRAS
Out of the numerous ways to prepare salted cod fish in Portugal, “Bras style” is one of the most popular and I honestly salivate just to think about it. The shredded cod is sauteed in a pan along with plenty of onions and straw fried potatoes. This dish is finished up with beaten eggs that cook as they join the pan, and topped with parsley and black olives. This is the essence of a country inside a plate!
5. AMEIJOAS A BULHAO PATO
More than a meal, clams Bulhao Pato style are a snack, best enjoyed with ice-cold beer. It’s very popular as appetizer as well, and a tasty way to get your juices flowing. Clams are cooked until tender in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and plenty of cilantro. Other similar clam dishes might feature this seafood cooked in white whine, butter and herbs, which is as good! Very important: you will need bread to dip into the sauces, as I can guarantee you wouldn’t want a drop to be left on the plate.
6. ROJOES A MODA DO MINHO
Because Portugal has a never ending affair with pork, rojoes are abundant to keep the spark alive! Chunks of pork loin cooked in the very same pig’s lard, and seasoned with garlic and white wine. Served with stewed potatoes, variations of this dish may include roasted chestnuts. It can sometimes be served with a side of ”arroz de sarrabulho”, which is a loose rice dish that includes little bits of meat and pork’s blood. I wouldn’t judge you if you find it too hardcore.
7. BOLINHOS DE BACALHAU
A super Portuguese Grandma wouldn’t let you leave Portugal after trying only one cod fish dish alone! Also known as “pasteis de bacalhau” these cod fish fritters can be savored as a starter or snack, or along with rice and salad as main dish. The batter behind this fried goodness is made of shredded cod fish, potatoes, eggs and parsley and is cooked until golden crispy on the outside but smooth and melty on the inside.
8. AÇORDA ALENTEJANA
This typical dish of the southern region of Alentejo is as good as it gets when it comes to comfort food with a rustic touch. The basic recipe for açorda would be made of mashed bread with olive oil, coriander, salt, eggs and water but more complete versions might include cod fish or shrimps. It’s not a soup and it’s not a stew, it’s something in between: the unique açorda!
9. ALHEIRA DE MIRANDELA
Translate “alheira” into sausage doesn’t almost make justice to this unique combination that, yes looks like a sausage, but is so much more than that! Meats stuffed into an alheira may include veal, chicken, duck and rabbit, compacted together with bread. If you have “alheira de caça” it means that it will only have game meat. This unusual sausage was created by the Jews in Portugal when they were forced to convert to Christianity. Their true religion wouldn’t allow them to eat pork but by preparing this sausage looking dish, they could easily fool others that will think alheira would be made out of pork, like all the other Portuguese cuts looking alike. No matter what religion you follow, eating a fried alheira, with a fried egg and fries can make you feel an outer-body experience!
10. ARROZ DE PATO
In case you don’t appreciate pork meat and are frustrated by most of the suggestions above, let’s end on a ducky note. In Portugal, duck rice is cooked until the meat is ridiculously tender, simmered in red whine, and oven toasted along with the rice until the top is crispy. The rice absorbs the juices of the duck and is traditionally topped up with sliced smoked sausages. It’s a true feast of flavour.
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Wine is a social drink which should be enjoyed in the company of friends and .. food.
The right combination between food and wine is a source of ultimate bliss for every connoisseur. Both wine and food can benefit from the right pairing. The right wine can accentuate unexpected gastronomical aspects of food and vice versa, wine can shine in a new light when accompanied by the right dish. In order to savor the splendor of such combinations, one does not need to frequent expensive restaurants and buy overpriced wines. Rather, when combining food and wine it is one’s intuition and curiosity that are of paramount importance.
Most rules for agreeable food – wine combinations date back to the 19th century and are made by French cooks who travel around Europe showing other nations the French savoir-vivre. It is since then that we know that champagne goes well with oysters, white wine – with seafood, and red wine – with game and red meats. Those rules, however, have been broken many times throughout the years because the nature of certain dishes and the rich wine variety available allow for a much freer interpretation. For example, some red meats could be made more enjoyable by stronger white wines.
A more practical approach for combining wine with food is to avoid any possible dissonance between them. For example, an exceptional wine stands out much better when accompanied by a not so sophisticated dish that will bring out the wine’s superb qualities instead of fighting with it. Certain wines and foods have “found” each other over the years and represent especially suitable combinations. Generally those are the regional wines and foods. Almost all local dishes go best with the wines from their regions.
Some tips for making good food – wine choices:
Try to balance the weight of both, i.e. heavy dishes and those with a strong taste, such as game and red meat should be enjoyed with an equally heavy wine. In most cases those are red wines but some full-bodied whites could be an equally suitable alternative.
Dry wines could develop a very unpleasant sour or even bitter taste if served with desserts. Generally deserts are served with wines that are at least comparably sweet, if not sweeter.
Wines with high acidity go best with heavy, rich in fat dishes. This is because the high fat content negates the impact of the acid.
High-tannin wines should be combined with foods rich in proteins. The proteins combine with the tannins, thus diminishing the tannin taste. Wines made from grape varieties that contain a lot of tannins, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are an excellent match for red meats and other protein-rich foods. On the other hand, high-tannin wines acquire an unpleasant metallic taste if combined with fish and other seafood. Or they could have an extremely bitter taste when combined with salty dishes.
So finally… which wine? You could have in mind the rules above when making your selection but don’t be blinded by them and never take things for granted. Even when you are convinced that you have found the perfect wine for a certain dish, a small change, such as a bad yield, a change in the production technology, or other, could disappoint you. So have an open mind and be ready to experiment. Needless to say, a lot of times the results would be a bit strange but that’s what will make the whole experience interesting!!
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5573
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