As with any international city, London is awash with traditional tourist sites, from crowded cosy pubs to its famous landmark buildings and vast museums. If you’re planning a trip across the pond to London anytime soon, here are some of V&VPR’s favourite cultural attractions to add to your itinerary.
Whether you’re looking for art or architecture, a visit to London is not complete without an excursion to ‘the world’s leading and largest museum of art and design’ – the infamous Victoria & Albert Museum. The museum has over 2.27 million objects on permanent exhibition; from furniture, fashion and jewellery to ceramics, theatre, sculpture and paintings, you’ll be agog at the treasures within.
Kensington Palace sits parallel to Hyde Park in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. As a place of residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th Century, it is a treasure trove of royal paintings, items, wardrobes and interiors. The Orangery, situated in the grounds of the palace, is the ideal location for a cup of tea after exploring the exhibitions.
The Tower of London & Tower Bridge
The Tower of London is at the heart of much of Britain’s history, William the Conqueror built this London fortress in the 1070s and now, nearly 1000 years on, the Tower still fascinates and horrifies residents and tourists alike with its rich and complex history. Home to the Crown Jewels, recognisable Yeoman Warder’s and the pampered ravens, the Tower of London is a must-see when in the capital. From the Tower, visitors can also see what is arguably the most famous bridge in the world.
The world’s largest antiques market, Portobello Road Market in West London features over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible you could ever imagine. Whether it be from tiny trinkets to one-of-a-kind antique furnishings, Portobello Road Market has something for everyone.
Nowadays, there is an increasing demand for authentic and immersive experiences, and the search for spiritual travel is also growing. This concept allows guests to focus on their inner exploration to examine themselves, and self-reflect.
We’ve outlined a list of our favourite itineraries that will allow active travellers to embark on an eye-opening off-the-beaten-track journey of self-discovery this year.
The Kumano Kodō is a series of ancient pilgrimage routes that crisscross the Kii Hantō, the largest peninsula of Japan. The routes are registered as UNESCO World Heritage and played an integral part of the pilgrimage process, as pilgrims undertook rigorous religious rites of worship and purification. Walking the sacred Kumano Kodo is a fantastic way to experience the unique cultural landscape of Kumano’s spiritual countryside, offering an immersion into more than a thousand years of Buddhist history.
Committed to maintaining excellence in the craft of hospitality, Capella Hotels & Resorts have launched Capella Curates. The series has been carefully cultivated by the expert team in each locale, to offer exclusive adventures, meeting interesting characters, experiencing whimsical traditions, and the opportunity to hone unexplored skills.
Capella Ubud’s Confined to Quarters is a life-changing Capella Curates experience, whereby couples can escape the humdrum of daily life with 24-hours spent in total solitude within their uniquely styled tent. The day begins with a traditional Balinese blessing ritual and yoga session, enabling guests to reconnect with one another and refocus. After a restful night’s sleep, made possible by the day spent in solitude, guests can take part in a sunrise purification ritual at the property’s Wos River Temple – a profoundly spiritual process designed to leave a lasting feeling of calm and positivity.
Scott Dunn’s itineraries to Bhutan capture the pure energy and spirituality of one of the last true unspoilt countries on earth. As a Himalayan Kingdom of stunning natural beauty, travellers will discover the awe-inspiring sights – from lush-green rice paddies running alongside fast-flowing glacial rivers to the endless forested-mountains and the snow-capped peaks beyond.
Bhutan carefully manages the numbers of tourists to the country in order to preserve its unique culture and traditions, and so a trip to Bhutan ensures a remarkable vacation with a first-hand, intimate look into the secrets of this extraordinary country. A Week in Bhutan introduces the spiritual and cultural highlights, from experiencing the fascinating capital of Thimphu, home to Bhutan’s national animal in the Takin Preserve, to trekking towards Taktsang Goemba or the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Paro. Tailored to travellers who wish to be accompanied, all itineraries in Bhutan are escorted by a driver and specialist guide.
Perth is a city with a plethora of beautiful restaurants, bustling cafes and vibrant bars. The V&VPR girls have selected their favourite spots of where to eat and drink:
Famous for its fresh local seafood, invigorating tipples and gorgeous sunset views across the sea, Bathers Beach House holds the key to the perfect summer evening in Western Australia. Diners can order the seafood board to share, featuring an assortment of the day’s catch including flaky grilled fish, tangy squid, buttery prawns and chargrilled octopus. The menu also boasts a fine selection of draught beers and ciders, as well as a curated selection of sundowners to sip on.
Helmed by Chef Matthew Sartori, Wildflower is perched on the top of COMO The Treasury and has gained international acclaim for being one of Western Australia’s top restaurants. Diners will be treated to a curated menu of dishes that evolve according to the seasons. Many of the offerings at Wildflower are made using local produce including wildflower honey, eucalyptus, pepperberries and a myriad of native herbs.
Down by Watermans Bay lies The Little Bay café, a charming dining establishment with lush foliage, minimalistic coastal interiors and a phenomenal ocean view. Guests can expect impeccable service, and a contemporary breakfast and lunch menu that also caters for gluten/dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian diets. Highlights include the Turkish Eggs with dill, Greek yoghurt, and poached eggs served with toasted ciabatta, and the Beef Ragu Pappardelle with beef brisket, radicchio, hazelnut, saltbush and parmesan. Dishes can be paired with the café’s curated wine and cocktail list.
Having started 25 years ago, family owned Vans has become something of an institution in Perth and a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. Renowned for curating an ever-changing menu that features the freshest seasonal and local produce, Vans reinvents bistro classics with a twist for an impressive array of contemporary fusion –indulge in Vans’ healthy house made sodas, and the delicious spicy Indonesian style fried eggs. Diners will enjoy a relaxed and bustling atmosphere, with seating areas either indoors or outside.
Overlooking Swanbourne Beach, The Shorehouse is a coastal culinary haven that showcases modern Australian cuisine, combined with a Mediterranean influence from head chef Oliver Gould. Designed as a celebration of coastal living, The Shorehouse features a large deck, whitewashed walls and bright pastel colours for a laid-back beach-side eatery. As well as delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, there is also a ‘small deck menu’ that includes oysters, sandwiches and other seaside-friendly snacks ideal for watching the waves and surfers on an afternoon.
Renowned for its sprawling vineyards, bustling markets and tasteful bars and restaurants, Perth positions itself as the quintessential holiday getaway just a stone’s throw away from Singapore by plane. Here are some of the V&VPR girls’ top picks for travellers making their first foray into this mesmerizing part of Western Australia.
WHERE TO GO
Located along the streets of Fremantle, this prominent weekend market has a rich history spanning more than a century since its humble beginnings in 1897. Open every Friday to Sunday, the market features a range of stalls selling unique and locally made gifts, products and souvenirs as well as a range of eclectic food offerings and fresh produce.
Cottesloe Beach comes alive in the summer with snorkelers, swimmers and surfers. This beloved seaside destination is a favourite for both locals and tourists alike, and boasts sapphire blue waters, stunning trails along the coast and beachside dining establishments with a view. Travellers making a trip down in March will be able to catch Sculpture by the Sea, a free exhibition on Cottesloe Beach with giant sculptures dotting the coastline.
Nestled in Caversham, Swan Valley – the oldest wine region in Western Australia, is Mandoon Estate, Western Australia’s most awarded boutique winery. Guests can take part in a private wine tasting in an underground cellar, tour the grounds of this iconic destination, or go on a 30-minute chopper flight over picturesque Perth. More adventurous travellers would enjoy the Bush Tucker Tasting, which will give them insight into the area’s history and culture whilst tasting local indigenous food.
Just 45 minutes by ferry from Perth city is a little island paradise. Surrounded by crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and an abundance of smiley, furry marsupials – namely the quokka – Rottnest Island brings together the best of both worlds for lovers of nature and wildlife. Guests can frolic on the beach in the summer, go whale-watching in the winter, glamping on the island’s beachfront estate, and meet friendly wild quokkas (who are apparently the world’s most photogenic animal).
3-hours from Perth city by car lies the Margaret River region, an area south of Perth that’s well known for its premium wineries, picturesque coastlines, and natural limestone caves. Travellers can stop at Canal Rocks along the cape-to-cape track taking in grand views of the swirling Indian Ocean; have lunch at Leeuwin Estate, an established winery with an international reputation; or go on tours of Lake or Mammoth Cave – natural limestone caves that formed thousands of years ago deep below Australian soil.
Right on the western tip of the African continent lies Cape Town, a city that offers some of the most breath-taking natural beauty in the world. With stunning beaches, towering peaks to climb, and remarkable vineyards, this idyllic locale city offers all that and so much more.
MUST SEES AND CULTURAL SITES
A place to start the tour of this city is a visit to the historic Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, which is famed for its bright and colourful houses. The area’s inhabitants are predominantly made up of Cape Malay who are descendants of Indonesian slaves from the 1650s.
The community is incredibly vibrant, and everyone is friendly. There are multiple stalls along the main street where different families sell a myriad of snacks – the koeksisters are a must (imagine doughnuts taken to the next level with a spiced infused honey with ginger).
Singita opened Kwitonda Lodge on 1st August in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The brand new lodge and private house is positioned on an unrivalled location where a third of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas can be found, marking the next exciting chapter of the brand’s ongoing conservation journey in Africa. As well as supporting important conservation efforts during their stay at Kwitonda Lodge, guests will be able to enjoy awe-inspiring views across the vast Virunga mountain range and volcanoes.
Kwitonda Lodge is designed to honour Rwanda’s people and the country’s fertile land, contributing significantly to conservation efforts, community partnerships and ecotourism to preserve and protect Africa’s wilderness for future generations. Situated a ten-minute walk away from the park’s headquarters, guests can take part in a humbling gorilla-trekking experience to witness these incredible animals in their natural habitats.
Each of the guest suites are beautifully decorated and include private heated plunge pools and massage areas, as well as indoor and outdoor fireplaces for travellers to relax in their secluded haven. Singita has included a dedicated conservation room, gear room for all trekking equipment, and an extensive on-site nursery and vegetable garden to provide fresh produce for the lodge’s farm-to-table food ethos.
More than 500 local artisans and builders were involved in crafting features like the lava rock walks, exquisite woven ceilings and hand-fired terracotta brickwork – ensuring an authentic translation of local culture into the design, while boosting local employment and business.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge and Kataza House are go-to destinations, offering an experience unlike any of Singita’s other destinations. It embodies the gentle, rejuvenated spirit of Rwanda with finishes that include raw and burnished timbers, natural pigments on walls and hand-fired terracotta tiles, and long-lasting furniture pieces anchor each room and space, providing a profound sense of groundedness. Its design creates a sense of place, purpose and perspective, tying in perfectly with the serious and soul-centering experience of meeting gorillas up close on treks.
If you’re looking for some fun activities to spend time with your friends and family, Scott Dunn is here to make your wildest dreams come true. From stunning wild walks or airborne adventures on hot air balloons, Scott Dunn curates experiential excursions to discover areas of outstanding beauty in some of the world’s most inspiring destinations.
Being the pioneers of luxury travel, Scott Dunn crafts walking itineraries and hot air balloon adventures providing a multi-sensory way for you to explore a country and uncover the culture, history and landscape while admiring magnificent views.
Scott Dunn’s Rainbow Mountain Trek in Peru is an off-the-beaten-track exploration of diverse landscapes and remote corners of the Peruvian high Andes. The tour includes a trip to the ancient Inca citadel of remarkable wonder of the world, Machu Picchu for a privately guided tour.
The most exhilarating part of the journey is the high-altitude Ausangate Trek, when you will embark on a challenging 4-day trek through the Vilcanota Cordillera mountain range, reaching altitudes of over 5,000 metres. You will get to visit and take pictures of the well-known Rainbow Mountain with its vivid colours and snow-capped Ausangate peaks. After a long day of trekking, comfortable lodges with spectacular views of the Vilcanota mountains, comfortable beds and thermal feather duvets await. You will also get to take a trip in a hot air balloon drifting gently high up in the sky, and sweeping over dramatic landscapes.
Scott Dunn’s balloon adventure across the Maasai Mara gives you a chance to float above the untouched beauty of one of Africa’s greatest wildlife Reserves. You will have the opportunity to watch the sunrise over impressive plains, home to Africa’s most diverse and renowned eco-systems and wild animals. Ideal for families or groups, Mara House is a private residence tucked away in a prime wildlife area outside the Maasai Mara, fully staffed with an in-house chef, house manager and its own safari guide for flexible game drives and safari walks through the national park.
Through these activities, Scott Dunn offers exclusive experiences mixed with adrenaline-pumping adventure, and without substantial loss of creature comforts.