Best Gifts to Bring from a UK Trip

There is no denying that travellers are always on the lookout for gifts and souvenirs to bring home—a certain something that will help to remind them of their exciting trip. However, many travellers can often become caught up in buying cheap knick knacks and gifts from tourist traps. Putting together a list of top souvenirs to bring home from a UK trip can be difficult since there are just so many amazing things that you can shop for. To avoid purchasing something you may only decide to throw away in a few months, we’ve put together a short list of some authentic items that you may wish to consider when travelling to the United Kingdom.

Tea from Whittard and British Tea

If youtea cup are visiting the capital of England, London comes with its very own Whittard tea shop—a very popular chain tea shop that sells exquisite teas, both hot and iced. They provide a lovely selection of quality teas from across the globe. From fruit infusions and flowering teas to oolong and flavoured green. Why not sample a few of their teas from their house blends? If you’re not a big tea drinker, they also have a wide selection of coffee and hot chocolate for you to choose from. Not only that, they have incredibly creative flavours such as strawberry, tiramisu, and even salted caramel! If you miss out on shopping in London and are perhaps visiting somewhere further afield, there are plenty of tea shops hidden around most towns and cities. It’s certainly well worth a visit.

Chocolate and Sweets

cadbury chocolateIt’s no secret that the British are absolutely in love with sweets. The British are well-known for making some of the most delicious sweets (candy) and chocolate that is often craved across the globe. The famous British Cadbury chocolate bars taste so much better, compared to the reformulated ones that you can easily find in your local supermarket. Some fantastic favourites to try are Dairy Milk, Wispa and Aero. For travellers coming from the United States of America, the Hershey Company has banned the sale of Cadbury’s chocolate in the US, which means bringing back a bar of Cadbury’s chocolate will certainly be a special treat.

Museum Gifts

museum shopThere are plenty of museums dotted around the UK, but for travellers heading to London, you should take

some time out to visit The British Museum and V&A Museum, which offer more than your regular museum souvenir shop. Admission to most museums in London is free, so your budget might be able to accommodate a visit to the museums’ shops. Both museums are known to commission special pieces and gifts for their own lines of accessories, homeware, and jewellery, which are based on their exhibits. Not only are some of the most commissioned artists based in the United Kingdom, but the collections are typically only available for purchase at museums. How’s that for a unique gift?

Vintage Treasures

Vintage piecesEngland is a treasure trove of gifts and unique antiques that range from small simple trinkets to extravagant historic artefacts. With so many different shops for you to visit and what seems to be an endless selection of vintage goods for you to choose from, you are bound to discover something that will catch your eye. If you are spending enough time in London, you should definitely focus your treasure hunt on the numerous marketplaces, such as Camden, Brick Lane or the Old Spitalfields Markets.
The weekends, in particular, see markets popping up throughout London. In East London you can easily visit Old Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane Market and Greenwich Market to fill your bags up with authentic vintage gifts.

Union Jack Souvenirs

union jack souvenirsFor travellers visiting London, a short walk along the streets of Central London will unearth a world of ubiquitous souvenir shops selling key chains, hats and t-shirts emblazoned with the Union Jack. You can discover incredibly interesting keepsakes that will certainly commemorate your trip to the UK!
If you are one of those, who start to think about gifts just when you stand at the airport and realise that your trip is nearly over. Union Jack souvenirs are obviously the option for you. As you can easily get literally anything labeled with an Union Jack at any British airport. 🙂

Brick Lane Street Sign

What to Do in East London

East London

Touring around London, you will likely find yourself checking out all that East London has to offer. It is a popular location for all ages, but especially for anyone in their 20s. This is an area of the city built around the interests and needs of early 20s individuals. You have the shopping, restaurants, nightlife, and activities that appeal to youth in a way that you cannot find elsewhere. In East London, two of the most popular stops are Brick Lane and Shoreditch. Both offer some exceptional dining, shopping, and sightseeing, giving visitors a memorable experience that opens their minds up to all types of new things.

Brick Lane

Brick Lane was once a rundown area of London. It is covered in slums and known for its proximity to the Jack the Ripper killings. It recently began to bounce back, however, and see an improvement. Brick Lane is on the rise. The crowds flock to this part of the city to have fun and shop in the numerous vintage stores. Mostly full of pubs and shops. This area is a great place to hang out with friends or to stock up on items that you need. You can check out Blitz, Rokit, and East Gallery, as a few options for shopping and galleries. For food and drink, head over to Cinnamon, The Brickhouse, Big Chill or visit the Brick Lane Food Market on Sundays. Plenty more places are around Brick Lane, too. They brighten and liven up the streets. Even during the day, the streets are alive with musicians, entertainers, and creativity. It brings these streets to life at all times of the day and night.

Shoreditch

Shoreditch has even more to offer. This location is a trendy place for younger individuals to grab a bite to eat, go shopping, go partying, and live life. You have everything from Golden Heart. A tavern that will capture your heart from the moment that you walk in, to Cereal Killer Café, a café where you can enjoy cereals from across the globe. Whether you want to party or you want to sit for a quiet meal, there is always something right up your alley.

The huge variety of locations means that it is near impossible to list everything here. You can go have fun in places like Queen of Hoxton or you can go find food stalls and view the beautiful architecture and street art around the city. You can even check out the lively individuals that take to the streets in these locations.

charlie-sheen-wombats-hostelworld

Hostelworld brought Charlie Sheen to wombat’s London

Over the past years Hostelworld.com has launched campaigns starring celebrities, such as Chris Eubank or 50cent. In 2017 they rolled out their clickbait campaign featuring scandalous Charlie Sheen.

Having a filming in a fully booked hostel

We had been asked if this piece could be filmed at wombat’s CITY Hostel London on quite short notice – roughly a week before the filming.

If you have ever hosted a filming, you know how exhausting it can be to stand on the organisational side. Although One of our hostel managers was on annual leave at the time, Zsuzska, the remaining manager took on this challenge. Together with Katja, our front desk manager, she dealt with approximately a billion emails over the following days, shifted reservations and organized some additional manpower for the special occasion.

Fortunately, our hostel was fully booked and it was a day with plenty of departures and arrivals. Furthermore we had to hold back a double room in order to facilitate some takes there.

‘Sorry, would you mind to check in a bit later? Charlie Sheen is shooting in your room.’ So, that cost us some additional free drinks later in the evening 😉
We also had a huge group of 100 people having breakfast when filming started next to the breakfast area. Keeping noise at an acceptable level cost us another couple of rounds in our bar.

Overall, everything went smoothly and Charlie Sheen turned out to be a real asset to our hostel that day. He was laid back, hanging out on our terrace and in our chill-out areas, chatting and taking selfies with everybody.

The campaign behind it

Charlie`s clickbait campaign reached over 30 million views and had a broad reach throughout all social media platforms.
In 6 short videos, it plays with trending topics such as leaked and fake news. Hostelworld.com wanted to address misinformation around hostels and “highlight how their reputation, similarly to Sheen’s, is outdated”.
As thedrum.com puts it: “The films in the campaign end with a twist, revealing Sheen is actually just enjoying all the facilities a modern hostel has to offer. The series will run as skippable video and pre-roll ads across YouTube and Facebook as well as sites like Ladbible, TMZ, and Vice.”

A beautiful idea to polish up the reputation of hostels and we’re glad to be part of it. Big ups to Hostelworld.com and their marketing team!

All in all Charlie, it was a pleasure having you with us!

Furthermore find all videos in our favourites playlist here:

Grafittis in East London

East London – Off the beaten path

London’s East End, formerly known as “that part beyond the Tower”, is a vibrant area, comprised of a number of boroughs. With an area full of artists and hipsters, the home of the cockney dialect and a history that dates back to medieval times, East London holds many places that are ‘off the beaten track’ and perfect for backpackers to discover.

Hang out in Hackney for the day and enjoy an up-and-coming neighbourhood. Check out eclectic shops, great streetscapes and stop by the Wilton Way Café for great coffee and music to relax after your walk.

Want to run away with the circus? Check out an experience day at Circus Space where participants can get a taste for various circus arts including trapeze, tightwire, juggling and acrobatics.

Getting a drink in London can get a little expensive, but that’s where Happiness Forgets comes in. A little hard to find, this basement bar is located at Hoxton Square and offers a dark, cozy atmosphere and reasonably priced high end cocktails from 5 pm to 11 pm every night.

The house at 19 Princelet Street has a long and often interesting history. It has been a family home, a workshop for weavers and a synagogue. In 1969 a man disappeared completely from the third floor. Due to it’s age and condition, access is very limited, so be sure to check ahead to see when public visits are possible.

Wilton's Mahagony Bar

Wilton’s Mahagony Bar is great for a drink and if you’re lucky enough, you can enjoy some live music.

If you enjoy theatre and music, you need to visit Wilton’s Music Hall. It’s one of the oldest surviving grand music halls in the world and it opens its stage to artists of all sorts. You can also just enjoy the atmosphere with food or drink at the newly renovated Mahogany Bar, the oldest section of Wilton’s, built in 1725.

Hidden throughout London are images of the 8-bit video game monsters Space Invaders. Created by a French artist, some can be found in East London. There are more scattered around London, Hong Kong and Paris.

Graffiti in East London (Lost Souls)

If you’re into street art, East London is the place to be.

Take a walk around and check out the graffiti and street art. You can see one of the last Banksy pieces in East London, along with many other talented artists. There are many organised tours or you can try a self-guided tour.

If you prefer a more macabre tour, you can try out a Jack the Ripper self-guided tour. Visit the places where the murders took place and imagine London’s East End in 1888.

Get back to nature in the city with a walk over the green bridge, which connects Bow Common to Mile End Park. Continue on to Victoria Park in the north or walk the Regent Canal along the west side of the park.

Finally, take some time to visit the free Museum of London Docklands, to learn some of the history of the area from Roman and Viking use of the area to more modern times. You can also shop at Canary Wharf, the modern shopping, food and entertainment district build on the old West India Dock site.