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With the Summer Olympics upon us, the already swarming city of London will be flooded with visitors. It behooves those planning to attend to take a word of advice from those in-the-know. On my recent trip to London, I sat down with Sophie Campbell, journalist, Daily Telegraph travel columnist, and Blue Badge Tourist Guide for London to learn how to navigate London amidst the frenzy.
Do you have any tips for out-of-the-ordinary and unique things to do while visiting London for the 2012 Olympics?
Take the District Line on the Underground to Bromley-by-Bow station and, instead of walking up to the Olympic Park, walk south down the Limehouse Cut to Limehouse Marina, where you can see multi-million pound yachts moored and watch boats leaving the marina via the huge lock. Then go and have lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s pub, The Narrow, which has a huge terrace overlooking the lock entrance.
Also, on August 2 make for the Whitechapel Gallery – celebrating its 101st year in the East End this year – for the Time Out First Thursdays night, when East End contemporary art galleries open their doors late and there are talks, walking tours, discussions, and plenty of eating and drinking options on offer.
Finally, anyone going up to the canoe and kayak events further up the Lee Valley at the Lee Valley Whitewater Centre should go to Waltham Abbey just down the road. Get the train from Liverpool Street Station out to Waltham Cross. It’s one of the least visited and most fascinating churches in England: parts of it date back to Anglo-Saxon times, King Harold, the last Anglo-Saxon monarch, is supposed to be buried here and the abbey itself is just stunning. Read more
Just 65 miles east of London, in Sandwich, Kent, the famous lunch snack, the sandwich, was born. The Sandwich Celebration in mid-May coincides with British Sandwich Week and commemorates the 250th anniversary of the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, “inventing” the sandwich. A food fair, street music, children’s events, and concerts will take place during this two-day festival honoring the genesis of the sandwich.
The story goes like this: in 1762, the Earl of Sandwich asked for meat to be served between slices of bread, to avoid interrupting a gambling game. So, his servants brought him what is today known as the sandwich, and the rest is (delicious) history.
Not one of the 20,000 international travelers that are flying in for Oz’s greatest, gayest event of the year, Sydney Mardi Gras (née Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras)? Well, dry those eyes with your yet-to-be-used boa: You can still shake your booty with the best of ‘em and join in the fun of Australia’s most iconic public parade as Optus streams it to a worldwide audience for the first-time ever at MardisGrasTV.org.au — in high-def so you can be sure to catch every shimmering sequin.
Always a hoot, the festivities are shaping up for a banner year, expecting to top the $30 million it pumped into the local New South Wales economy last year. One reason: pop star Kylie Minogue, who returns after 25 years to be queen of the parade, in addition to a sure-to-be-show-stopping performance at the signature main event Mardigrasland. (See below for a video from the diminuative diva.)
Before Miami Beach Gay Pride takes over Ocean Drive in April, the 12th Annual Winter Party Festival rolls into town for three days of dancing under the sun (held March 2–4, 2012). Consider it an amped-up amuse-bouche for the celebratory fundraising season; the events benefit local Miami–Dade LGBT organizations, as well as the lawyerly set at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Some $1.2 million has been raised since 2004. Read more
Something tasty this way comes: Whether you’re an avid fan of Top Chef or looking for a unique night out, former Butt magazine mustached gay pinup and celebuchef Ty-Lör Boring is popping up shop in NYC’s Nolita neighborhood with T.B.D. Restaurant. The dinners-only engagement will last for just six nights next week, February 6–11, in City Grit, an industrial antiques store by day and pop-up restaurant by night, housed in the old St. Patrick’s Elementary building (Martin Scorsese’s alma mater!). Read more
Beaver Creek’s slopes may be the star attraction at this sister resort to Vail in Colorado, but they have some competition from an increasingly delectable culinary scene. The latest manifestation of this new foodie fervor is the first annual Beaver Creek Food & Wine Weekend, held January 26-28.
Events range from casual après-ski noshes to semi-formal multi-course dinners with wine pairings. You’ll also find cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, and a meet-and-greet with the chefs. Throughout the three days, event-goers will sample exquisite culinary creations from visiting celebrity chefs – like Tim Love, John Besh, and Stephanie Izard – as well as local talent from area restaurants.
Planning to make a weekend of it? Beaver Creek has lodging packages on offer starting from $425 per person, per night that bundle accommodations, multi-day lift passes, and select event tickets. Click here for more information.
For general trip-planning information, see our Vail and Beaver Creek Travel Guide.
Chicago’s set to enjoy some time basking in the international spotlight this spring, when it will host several major events like the G-8 and NATO summits and the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. But international VIPs and political bigwigs aren’t the only ones who should be looking to Chicago in 2012 – the city has an exciting roster of new attractions and events for new and repeat visitors alike. We’ve rounded up four of the best of them below: Read more
Miami’s LGBT scene will be sizzling come spring. First up on the docket, the Miami Beach Pride, held on April 15 this year, will be bringing buzz back to the Deco District. Last year’s event saw 40,000 people march down Ocean Drive, making it the largest single-day event in South Beach’s history, and with the addition of the post-Pride party cruise, one of the most unique.
Setting sail Monday, April 16, through Friday, April 20, onboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky, the Miami Beach Pride Cruise offers a chance to extend the party with a 4-night voyage to the Bahamas with stops in Grand Bahamas, Nassau, and Great Stirrup Cay, the cruise line’s private island. A portion of the proceeds will be donated back to Miami Beach Gay Pride’s charitable causes. Read more
Steve Cohen, dubbed “the Millionaires’ Magician,” has been a mainstay at New York City’s legendary Waldorf Astoria for the last decade, entertaining upper-crust crowds (royalty, celebrities, and politicians frequent his audience) with his Chamber Magic show – the longest running solo magic show in NYC – held in a Waldorf penthouse on weekends.
In his latest bag of tricks, he’s taking his show on the road in 2012 with a brand-new, bigger-and-better Theater of Wonder show brimming with new illusory acts designed for a much larger setting – the new traveling show is kicking off tonight with a one-night-only performance at NYC’s Carnegie Hall (where tickets have been sold out for two months). Here, Steve sits down with us to offer up a magician’s guide to travel, with insights on his Waldorf Astoria home base, reflections on his former stomping grounds in Japan, tips for travelers interested in magic, and insight on what to expect on his new road show. Read more
Next time you pass over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, you should be sure to wish it a happy birthday – the bridge is 75 years old this year. While the official celebration won’t be held until Memorial Day weekend in May, the anniversary comes with a full year of events that start this month. 75 community tributes from art galleries and films to dances and hikes, inspired by and featuring the bridge, will take place in the Bay Area throughout the year. (This month will bring an exhibit at the Marin History Museum entitled The Golden Great Bridge – An Icon that Changed Marin and feature the story of the bridge and how it fundamentally altered Marin County.)
The main event, though, is the Golden Gate Festival on May 26 and 27. The free community festival will span the waterfront from Fort Point to Pier 39, and venues include the Marina Green, Crissy Field, and Fisherman’s Wharf, among many others. Expect art, self-guided walks, bike trips, historical displays, music, films, and more, including a firework display to mark the end of the festival.
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