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Top Museums to Visit the Next Time You’re in London

As one of the world’s great holiday destinations, there can be little doubt that London, England is home to some of the most excellent museums to be found anywhere on earth. Exploring the collections of this great city would take many lifetimes, it is true, but here are just a few great institutions that every traveller to London should visit at least once.

Victoria and Albert Museum, Knightsbridge

Featuring everything from exhibits on art, history, and fashion to exclusive concert performances, the V&A is famous among fans of London culture for its stunning holdings and cutting-edge curation policies. Just a few blocks down the Brompton Road from the favourite Harrods department store, the Victoria and Albert Museum is a must-see destination on any trip to the capitol.

Natural History Museum, Knightsbridge

With its full Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and statue of Charles Darwin, the Natural History Museum is a science lover’s dream come true. The museum’s vast complex will be a delight for people of all ages; whether you love astronomy, biology, or good old-fashioned palaeontology, a visit to the Natural History Museum is sure to foster beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.

John Keats House, Hampstead

Tucked away in leafy Hampstead, the John Keats House museum is centred around the life of a person many regards as England’s greatest Romantic poet. Keats lived here near the end of his life and composed some of his most excellent poetry on the grounds of the property. In a state of recovery after hearing the sounds of a beautiful birdsong, Keats is said to have composed his great “Ode to a Nightingale” in the front garden. Nearby Hampstead Village is also full of some of London’s most charming pubs, cafes, and bookstores.

The British Museum, Bloomsbury

With a truly astonishing collection of nearly 8 million pieces to its credit, the British Museum is undoubtedly one of the most significant institutions of public learning in the world. Its collection contains incredible artefacts and works of art spanning millions of years and hundreds of cultures. If you can only stop at one museum on your trip to London, the British Museum might be your best bet.

 The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

If you’re a fan of the visual arts, it’s hard to go wrong with a visit to the National Gallery. Set directly across from Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, the museum’s exhibits feature everything from Ancient Egyptian relics to the works of Vincent Van Gogh. Its central location in the heart of London also makes the institution an excellent spot for families and individuals to start their own unique London journey.

Top British Films

Over the years, Britain has been involved in the production of many fantastic films. Everyone has their definition of what makes a film good, with some people preferring heartwarming storylines while others enjoy stellar acting or unusual camerawork. The following are just some of the best films that are guaranteed to become one of your new favourites. 

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

An iconic parody of Arthurian legend, this 1975 comedy continues to make people around the world laugh. With jokes that still feel fresh and relevant today, this delightful blend of absurdity and political commentary is an excellent introduction to British humour.

Don’t Look Now

Filmed in 1973, this film continues to influence filmmakers around the world. With stellar performances from Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, this adaption of a Daphne du Maurier novel has groundbreaking filming techniques.

The Queen

Starring Dame Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II, this film looks at the British royal family’s reaction to Princess Diana’s death. It provides insight into a unique political institution while showcasing masterful acting.

The Red Shoes

Based on a classic fairytale, this 1948 film has a stunning blend of beautiful dancing and influential filmmaking. Underneath the cute ballerina themed dance sequences is a surprisingly dark and tragic story.

Notting Hill

This charming film is routinely voted as one of the top romantic comedies of all times. Starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, it sensitively portrays a moving romance. Grant portrays a bookshop owner in idyllic Notting Hill while Roberts plays an A-list actress looking to escape her everyday life. 

Distance Voices, Still Lives

Get a glimpse of British working-class lives with Terence Davies 1988 masterpiece. This film follows quiet events like weddings and nights at the pub to create a moving and truthful portrait of a family.

The Third Man

The noir film follows a man trying to uncover the hidden forces behind the death of an old friend. Its combination of strong visuals and mind-twisting thrills makes it truly exciting to watch.

The King’s Speech

This Oscar-winning royal drama dives deep into the life and relationship of King George VI and his speech therapist Lionel George Logue who helped George VI overcome his debilitating stutter. 

5 Classic British Authors

Whether you had to learn about them in secondary school or took a University literature course, you should be familiar with British authors. Britain has given us some of the most beloved authors. From Eliot to Fleming, their stories reflect humanity’s issues, like poverty, love, death, and grief. The following are just some of the best British authors of our time. 

Charles Dickens

You might have seen A Christmas Carol when the holidays came around, but have you read the book? It’s one of the dozens that Dickens wrote in his lifetime. He was known for releasing chapters of his novels in weekly periodicals. An advocate for the poor of England, he spoke tirelessly against child labour.

Jane Austen

Though Jane Austen became famous for her romantic novels, she never married. Her stories are seen as parodies of British society during her lifetime. They have inspired numerous movies and works of historical fiction. From Emma to Mansfield Park, Austen published her novels anonymously. 

Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte was one of three sisters who wrote and published using pen names. Anne, Charlotte, and Emily Brontë lived during a time in which female authors were not taken seriously, so they were forced to use the aliases of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. While Brontë is best known for her novels, she was able to use her words to take a modest, feminist stand against the male-dominated society.

C.S. Lewis

Born in Northern Ireland, C.S. Lewis is known best for the Chronicles of Narnia series. The former WW1 soldier and Oxford and Cambridge University professor also wrote a collection of Christian works. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, originally a radio broadcast during the Great War, was turned into a novel and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Roald Dahl

Mostly known for childhood classics, Roald Dahl also dabbled in adult short stories. Known best for James and the Giant Peach and Willy Wonka, Dahl created many unique characters who lived in fascinating worlds. Dahl spent the later parts of his career focusing on his short story collections which can still be found on bookshelves at your local bookshop. 

The United Kingdom has given us no shortage of talented authors, and they have written about a great variety of topics. If you’re looking for a good read, start with these five classics, then dig further to discover more treasures.

Britain’s Most Influential Musical Artists

Many British music artists get overlooked for their contributions to modern rock and pop because of the overwhelming celebrity of the UK’s megastars. Artists like the members of Queen, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones and solo superstars like David Bowie have decades of hits to prove their dominance. However, many others have contributed equally in how they inspire future artists and help to create singles that stay relevant 40-50 years later. 

The Jam

Formed in 1972, The Jam lured in audiences with their angry, defiant punk sound. The band did not receive the media attention given to other punk bands. Luckily, they were not on stage for the media but their broad and appreciative audience. The Jam released, in just five years, 18 consecutive Top 40 singles in the UK. A lifetime achievement award in 2006 helped to reawaken the influence and meaning The Jam still had over their audience.

Roxy Music

Singer-songwriter Bryan Ferry and bass guitarist Graham Simpson teamed up to create Roxy Music in 1970. A mixture of glam and punk, the band sold millions of albums around the world. The Ferry would become a style icon for many. Simpson, Ferry, and bandmate Brian Eno went on to have successful solo careers. Simpson was active in music until passing away in 2012, while Ferry and Eno continue to record. In 2019, Roxy Music was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Cliff Richard

Sir Cliff Richard OBE dominated the rock scene in Britain before the Beatles arrived. His achievements are many, including more than 130 singles, EPs, and albums in the Top 20 in the UK and selling more than 250 million records worldwide. Richard also uniquely transitioned to contemporary Christian music while still enjoying a career in pop and rock music. Other achievements of his include 14 number-one singles in the UK and being the only UK singer to have a number-one song in five consecutive decades. Richard is the only act to make it onto the singles charts in the UK every decade during the first six decades the list existed.

It is an impossible task to list every influential British music artist as more continue to arrive on the music scene each year. The musicians and singers listed here are examples of some of the talents that get less attention but have contributed equally to the shaping of popular modern music.

Nurture Repeat Donations for Charity With Donor Retention Strategy

Fundraisers working for charities would do well to rip a page from the playbook of experienced for-profit salespeople. The latter will tell you here is nothing worse than “cold calling.” That’s approaching a new prospect for the first time and trying to sell them something.

Salespeople know it is at least ten times easier to sell a “warm prospect.” That can be either someone who has already purchased the same or similar product previously or a name from a list of “pre-qualified prospects.” These can be bought from list brokers. Great sellers will tell you that the right path to success in sales is nurturing repeat sales.

People who fundraise for charities can leverage the same advantage. A person who has given to a charity once before is many times more likely to contribute again.

The key is to create a “house list” or donor database. This is a cache of the names of the people who have already contributed. It takes time to accumulate a significant house list, but once you have it, that list is worth its weight in gold. Then when it comes time to fundraise, “massaging the house list” will bring in more revenue faster than getting on the phone and cold calling all-new prospects.

Always be thinking in terms of donor retention when charity fundraising. Repeat donations are not only easier to get, but studies show that retaining a relationship with a donor for five years or more may result in a significant contribution from that individual.

Just one significant gift from a single donor can sometimes be more substantial than all of the small individual contributions from new donors combined over one year.

Experienced professional nonprofit fundraisers say that the best donor retention strategy for charities is about the long game. One must still do the drudge work of cold calling and searching for new givers. That involves expensive advertising, emailing brochures, sending emails and more. But when you know what part of your effort will pay off the most, you can focus more time there and less time on strategies that are not as efficient.

Finally, don’t forget the power of “thank you!” Not saying thank you in a significant and meaningful way is the fastest way to burn a permanent bridge with a promising long-term donor.

Introducing Your Children to Volunteering

There are many values and skills that can be taught through the act of helping others. Volunteering offers people the opportunity to gain more appreciation for the things they have and allows them to see the lives other people live. Parents can even get their children involved in volunteering.

This builds traits like empathy, compassion, and education regarding the different cultures. Parents looking to introduce and teach their children about volunteering will find that there are many volunteer activities for them to choose from. To find the right opportunities and guide one’s child about volunteering, the following are just a few tips:

Make Your Opportunity

Many parents experience trouble finding volunteering opportunities for their children. Most volunteer positions have age requirements for ages 12, 13, and even 18. However, children shouldn’t have to wait until they are adults to start giving back and learning the immense value that accompanies volunteering. Parents can create ways for their children to volunteer still and give back to their community. 

Fundraising is one way to do this. Parents can work with their children to build a lemonade stand where all money raised can go towards a community project or be donated to a more significant cause. Children will enjoy being able to create refreshing drinks and receive financial donations for their hard work. Fundraising also teaches children about financial responsibility, prioritizing, and money exchange.

Find Something Fun

Volunteering doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Parents of younger children may want to look into doing more fun volunteer activities. Some opportunities may involve disaster relief or feeding the homeless. Parents can give their children gradual exposure to the many conditions affecting communities so that their children aren’t emotionally or mentally overwhelmed. Most children love animals. So, volunteering at a local animal shelter should be a fun way for children to volunteer. It teaches them how to take care of things and develop accountability.

Self-Empowerment and Initiative

Parents can teach their children about taking the initiative through volunteering. In volunteering, children are helping someone or some more significant cause. A lot of empowerment can come through taking action to fix problems or help improve conditions for others. Through becoming self-empowered, children will have a boost in self-esteem and the confidence to approach issues that surface in their own lives.

The Best Day Trips From London

London has long been one of the world’s top travel destinations, but there are other places worth visiting that are within a short distance of the British capital. Taking a day trip from London offers visitors the chance to see other parts of Europe without straying too far from the city. Here are some of the best day trip suggestions from London

Bath

The city of Bath can be reached in roughly 90 minutes by train from London and features some of the most excellent examples of classic Roman architecture. The town gets its name from the Roman Baths that were built centuries ago and unearthed after many years of nonuse. Sally Lunn’s Tea Shop and Restaurant has been serving teas, pastries and delicious meals since the 15th century and is where the Sally Lunn bun was invented. It’s also possible to go on a city tour and be taken to other places of interest such as the Jane Austen Centre and the Botanical Gardens.

The Cotswolds

These off-the-beaten-path villages seem to be stuck in time and are reminiscent of classic British hamlets. Local landmarks around these villages include Chipping Camden and Stow-on-the-Wold. Bourton on the Water is sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the Cotswolds” and is also worth seeing. People who want to visit the villages can take a 90-minute train ride or drive two hours from London.

Stonehenge

No visit to England would be complete without seeing this fascinating and mysterious landmark. Tour buses are available to take visitors from London to Stonehenge on a trip that usually lasts just over two hours. Existing since prehistoric times, this series of standing stones continues to capture the intrigue of onlookers. Numerous herds of sheep can also be seen grazing in the adjacent fields and add further charm to the attraction.

Brussels

It’s even possible to take a day trip to a foreign country while visiting London, and many tourists enjoy going on excursions to Brussels, Belgium. A train travelling underneath the English channel can take passengers from St. Pancras Station in London to Bruxelles-Midi station in less than three hours. While in Brussels, visitors can grab a delicious waffle from a local waffle house and head to landmarks like the Grand Place and the Mannequin Pis statue.

Many beautiful places lie just beyond the London city limits. Taking a day trip from London is one of the best ways to spend time on vacation. 

London’s Hidden Gems (And Where to Find Them)

Without question, London is one of the most exciting and dynamic cities in the world. Covering an area of more than 600 square miles, Greater London is home to a remarkable diversity of attractions. Here are just a few of the city’s hidden gems to delight travellers, and why those in the know often make repeat visits to these stunning locations.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

Tucked away in an area of Fleet Street traditionally associated with the city’s freewheeling journalism scene of yore, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a pub that has been around since the time of London’s Great Fire in 1666. The age-old public house certainly looks like it. The building feels a bit like going back in time; that’s something of a fitting thought for a site that once played home to authors like Charles Dickens (who alludes the pub in “A Tale of Two Cities”), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Samuel Johnson (who lived nearby), and the poet Alfred Tennyson.

The John Keats House, Hampstead

If you’re a fan of literature, you can’t do much better on a trip to London than a trip to the home of noted Romantic poet John Keats. Set amid the leafy environs of the city’s upscale Hampstead neighbourhood, the Keats House is where the poet composed his legendary and timeless poem “Ode to a Nightingale.” For readers of Romantic poetry, this place is something of a literary Mecca. A stroll around the neighbourhood’s bookshops and cafes make for a beautiful outing; London doesn’t get much more beautiful or picturesque than this.

Handel House / Hendrix Flat

Although they lived in vastly different eras, it’s a strange twist of fate indeed that the musicians George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix lived in adjacent buildings to one another in the upscale Mayfair neighbourhood of London. The two certainly had different approaches to musical composition, it is true, but music fans will probably get a kick out of the contrast between Handel’s 18th Century digs and Hendrix’s modernist apartment.

Whether you are a music or literature fan keen to check out the stomping grounds of your artistic idols or want to kick back and relax in beautiful and cosy surroundings, a trip to some of London’s secret hotspots can make your next vacation to the city feel extra special. These beautiful locations will certainly make it more difficult to not fall in love with this beautiful city.

Hosting a Successful Charity Event

Holding a charity event is probably the best method for raising money for a non-profit or a charity. As an event coordinator, you probably are already aware of an event’s appeal, but how do you set one up that is sure to draw a crowd and raise a substantial amount of money?

Here are a few steps that should help you get the ball rolling:

Be Clear About Your Cause

You need to inform your prospective attendees about the reason why you wish to raise funds. Tell them about the person or group that the money will be going. You would be surprised to learn that once you are clear about your cause, promotional ideas will be more natural to come by. Your mission statement will guide you forward, providing a clear action plan.

Estimate How Much You Need to Raise

When you consider each revenue stream, such as silent auctions, ticket sales, and donations, do you feel you will reach your monetary goals? If not, it may be time to tweak your plan. Just remember, charity events also raise awareness and stimulate networks, so there are gains involved that are not all financial.

Decide Who Your Audience is

When you know which segments of the population to attract to your cause to reach the maximum benefit, it is much easier to plan your event and to market it to potential donors. If your charity has more of an appeal to particular age groups, occupations, or those that take up specific hobbies, then use that differentiation to your advantage.

Choose a Venue

Choosing a place to hold your fundraiser is, of course, utterly dependent on its theme. Is it a formal black-tie event, an informal carnival, or is it an indoor or outdoor event? These questions are crucial.

Once you narrow down a few choice places, you should shop around for the best deals. Many times, venues are willing to donate space or offer generous discounts for great causes. Don’t forget to ask what is included in the final price.

Market the Event as Much as Possible

As you know, any event needs marketing to the masses to be a success, but sometimes some need a more significant push. Charity events come under this designation because you will be unable to meet your financial goals without attendees.

You can go the old-fashioned route of sending invitations through direct mail, or you can incorporate modern technology by using email, texts, and social media to invite folks to your event and promote it widely.

You can even set up a website for your cause and utilize effective content marketing for some strategic PR.

Choose Donation Payment Methods

For the best results, you should take donations in as many ways as possible. Be sure that your guests can pay for tickets or make cash contributions with credit or debit cards, personal checks, PayPal, via specialized apps, or even using cryptocurrency. The more methods that you accept, the more funds you will receive.

There is a lot of planning that goes into hosting a charity event, but the result is a fun time had by all and knowing that someone less fortunate has received some benefit from your efforts.

The Benefits of Volunteering

Lending a helping hand shows others that they are not forgotten. There are hundreds of thousands of volunteer opportunities available worldwide. From working at an animal shelter to volunteering at a children’s center, any person can make a difference for the better. Although volunteering can be deemed a selfless act of generosity and consideration, volunteering also provides one with several physical, emotional and mental benefits. The following are some of the common benefits of volunteering:

Facilitates a Sense of Community

Volunteering builds a sense of community as many people come together for a greater good. By sharing a big overall goal, deep connections and camaraderie is built between volunteers and even those being helped. This sense of community unites the minds and hearts of many people.

Dispels Loneliness

The act of volunteering alleviates feelings of loneliness. It’s one thing to get out of the house. However, volunteering makes people a part of something bigger. One gets to surround themselves with many who are in need of help. If a person is more inclined to work with animals, then volunteering at an animal shelter might prove to be very therapeutic.

Improves Self-Esteem

One’s self-esteem and self-worth will get an immediate boost as they volunteer. Volunteering not only gives a person a sense of purpose, but it also shows them that their effort and presence is valued. They get to see the difference they make through contributing to a cause. This establishes a newfound confidence within a person which one can then exercise within the other facets of their life.

Builds Interpersonal Relationships

With volunteering, people learn and develop social skills. A person can improve their communication and patience by volunteering, allowing them to have more effective conversations with others. It also facilitates compassion and empath.

Brings Empathy & Compassion

Sometimes people aren’t aware of other peoples’ struggles until they get a closer look. Volunteering gives individuals the opportunity to see life from other peoples’ perspectives which can minimize judgmental and harsh perceptions. Empathy is not about feeling sorry for another person. However, it is about understanding others and what others go through. By having greater empathy, one can find greater resolve and peace of mind.

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