Joseph Reaney

Correspondent

  • London, England, UK

Joseph Reaney is the London correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide and also covers a range of other European cities for Forbes Travel Guide. A freelance British travel journalist based across Europe (in London, Prague and Vaduz), he writes articles and guides for luxury publications including The Telegraph, Virgin Airlines and Vertu Select, and is the founder and editor-in-chief of the travel writing service WorldWORDS. Reaney also blogs about his travels at josephreaney.com.

  • On June 25, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best historic hotels in London?

    The Landmark London London is blessed with a plethora of luxury historic hotels, with the city's most famous names including The Savoy, Claridge's and The Dorchester. Here are three other hotels with fascinating histories.

    The Landmark London
    Originally built as a Victorian railway hotel – one of the grandest in London – this hotel has had a long and chequered historiy. After being used as a base during the Second World War, it later functioned as a military office building and then a railway headquarters. But in the 1990s it finally reopened as a luxury hotel, boasting 300 rooms and suites and a fine winter garden – a covered central courtyard festooned with palm trees and offering various fine dining options. It's now heralded as one of London's most prestigious accommodation options.

    The Great Northern Hotel
    First opened in 1854, this King's Cross railway hotel was one of the first five-star options in the British capital. Having just re-opened in 2013, following an extensive refurbishment, it can now claim to be one of the most luxurious boutique hotels in London. Its 91 rooms bring to life all the effortless grace of the building's illustrious history.

    The Wellesley
    Another historic boutique hotel with a rather different heritage is The Wellesley. Located within a renovated 1920s townhouse, the architecture and furnishings here are all about the art deco style. It offers absolute contemporary luxury but with all the glamour of the prohibition era.
  • On June 14, 2013
    Quia Querisma is now following Joseph Reaney
  • On June 12, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best places for opera in London?

    As a tourist in London, the best place to watch opera is at the Royal Opera House. Not only as it is located in the heart of touristic London, on the edge of Covent Garden, but also because its status as the permanent residence of The Royal Opera means this venue guarantees excellent operatic productions throughout the year. During this 2013/2014 season they will show a variety of classics, such as Giacomo Puccini's Turandot and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, alongside brand new productions like Ben Frost's The Wasp Factory.

    Another good option for opera lovers is the London Coliseum in St. Martin's Lane, just moments from Leicester Square - home to the English National Opera. During the second half of 2013 they will show Beethoven's Fidelio, Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Mozart's The Magic Flute and Philip Glass' Satyagraha - plus a brand new version of Madame Butterfly by Academy Award-winning film director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient).

    Elsewhere, you will find stand-alone operatic productions in various prestigious theaters, including a production of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo at the Barbican Centre and Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado at Hackney Empire.
  • On June 12, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best holiday events in London?

    England only has eight regular public holidays (known locally as bank holidays) thoughout the year, which is the lowest in Europe and one of the lowest in the world. So when busy Londoners do get a rare day off from the office, they like to make sure its memorable.

    Visit the capital city on any public holiday, whether New Year's Day, Easter Monday, May Day or Boxing Day, and you'll be sure to find a host of activities to occupy your time.

    Here are three holiday events that are particularly entertaining:

    Spring Bank Holiday (last weekend in May): The Big Picnic at Hampton Court
    This wonderful Tudor palace – a favorite of King Henry VIII – is a wonderful place to visit all year round, but at Spring Bank Holiday it's particularly special. Come during the weekend to take part in a mass picnic on the Palace's East Front Gardens, complete with live music, food stalls, sports and games, historical storytelling and children's crafts.

    Good Friday (April): The Easter Skate Eggstravaganza
    Perfect for newcomers to the city, this annual three-hour skate takes participants past some of London's most famous visitor attrations. For those who aren't skate-savvy, there's also an Easter Bunny Stroll on the Sunday, taking in a similar route.

    Late Summer Bank Holiday (last weekend in August): FrightFest
    Always organized to make the most of the Monday off, FrightFest is an annual film festival with a primary focus on the horror genre. Hosted at The Empire, Leicester Square, and with late-night screenings of everything from early cinema scares to modern slasher movies, this is a holiday event guaranteed to get you jumping out of your skin.
  • On June 12, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best holiday events in London?

    England only has eight regular public holidays (known locally as bank holidays) thoughout the year, which is the lowest in Europe and one of the lowest in the world. So when busy Londoners do get a rare day off from the office, they like to make sure its memorable.

    Visit the capital city on any public holiday, whether New Year's Day, Easter Monday, May Day or Boxing Day, and you'll be sure to find a host of activities to occupy your time.

    Here are three holiday events that are particularly entertaining:

    Spring Bank Holiday (last weekend in May): The Big Picnic at Hampton Court Palace
    This wonderful Tudor Palace – a favorite of King Henry VIII – is a wonderful place to visit all year round, but at Spring Bank Holiday it's particularly special. Come during the weekend to take part in a mass picnic on the Palace's East Front Gardens, complete with live music, food stalls, sports and games, historical storytelling and children's crafts.

    Good Friday (April): The Easter Skate Eggstravaganza
    Perfect for newcomers to the city, this annual three-hour skate takes participants past some of London's most famous visitor attrations. For those who aren't skate-savvy, there's also an Easter Bunny Stroll on the Sunday, taking in a similar route.

    Late Summer Bank Holiday (last weekend in August): FrightFest
    Always organized to make the most of the Monday off, FrightFest is an annual film festival with a primary focus on the horror genre. Hosted at The Empire, Leicester Square, and with late-night screenings of everything from early cinema scares to modern slasher movies, this is a holiday event guaranteed to get you jumping out of your skin.
  • On June 11, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best free museums in London?

    All of London's best known museums are free to enter, from the British Museum to the Tate Modern, the Victoria and Albert to the Natural History Museum. But here are three independent museums which also don't have an entrance fee (though voluntary donations are always gratefully received).

    Sir John Soane's Museum
    I cannot bang the drum for this lesser-visited London museum enough (proof). Perhaps the greatest house museum on earth, this beautifully-designed building is home to a wealth of architectural artefacts, a sizeable selection of priceless paintings, and even the odd Egyptian sarcophagus.

    The Library and Museum of Freemasonry
    Freemasons’ Hall, the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England, was built in the 1920s... and is home to one of London's most fascinating museums. The exhibition includes a library laden with symbolic décor, a wide variety of Masonic artefacts (including ceremonial swords, regal thrones, painting and photographs) and a moving WWI memorial.

    Geffrye Museum
    Housed within a series of 18th century almhouses, this wonderful museum offers a visual history of the English domestic interior. You'll find original furnishings and fittings which chart the history of English living rooms from 1600 right up to the present day. It's also home to some period garden rooms, a small herb garden and a very decent restaurant.
  • On June 11, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the hottest upcoming concerts in London?

    Summer in London is all about music festivals – and throughout the next few months there are major fests held almost every weekend. Classic rock lovers can head to the Hard Rock Calling Festival on 29 and 30 June (featuring the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Paul Weller and Kasabian), pop fans can descend en masse upon the Wireless Festival from 12 through 14 July (now at the site of the 2012 Olympic Park and headlined by Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z), and classical music afficionados can make a beeline for the Last Night of the Proms on 7 September (featuring star soloists Nigel Kennedy and Joyce DiDonato).

    However, it's not just about the festivals – there are also some big name artists on tour in the capital. You can take in a show by the Grammy Award-winning crooner Michael Bublé at the O2 Arena (from 30 June through 13 July), come over all electropop with the Human League at Kew Gardens (on 10 July) or enjoy a prog-rock masterclass courtesy of Roger Waters at Wembley Stadium (on 14 September).
  • On June 11, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best farmers markets in London?

    Head to almost any district of London on a clement weekend morning and you are more than likely to come across a local farmers market. It's the perfect place to pick up some classic English foodstuffs – from crumbly cheeses to fruity jams, sumptuous sausages to mouthwatering cakes – along with some fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy products. Plus continental favorites ranging from Italian breads to Greek olives.

    To find the farmers market nearest to your hotel, take a look at this comprehensive list of London farmers markets. Or if you really have the time to seek out the best of the best, I recommend a trip to the Pimlico Road Farmers’ Market on the Saturday morning (from 9 a.m. through 1 p.m.), followed by a Sunday lunchtime in the Brixton Farmers' Market (10 a.m. through 2 p.m.)
  • On June 11, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best bookstores in London?

    If you are looking for the latest bestseller, there are dozens of very good chain book shops to explore in London. But if you're after something a little more niche, try one of these three.

    Stanfords
    One of the largest travel bookshops in the world, Stanfords is the place to come to browse literally thousands of different travel guides on every conceivable destination, along with travelogues and narratives, travel fiction, maps and atlases, and travel-related accessories and gifts. It also houses a lovely coffee shop, so it's the perfect place to pop in for a quick read during a visit to Covent Garden.

    Bookmarks
    Billing itself as a 'socialist bookshop', Bookmarks sells a wide variety of published works,  from dusty tomes on Marxist philosophy to recent releases on the Occupy Protest movement – plus everything in between. So whether you want to know about the economy, the Israel-Palestine conflict or the LGBT movement, take a trip to this Bloomsbury Street landmark.

    Daunts
    Another specialist travel bookshop – though it also sells everything from classic fiction to regional cookbooks – Daunts is housed in a magnificent 19th century Edwardian building on Marylebone High Street. The large glass roof allows the sun to illuminate the lines of oak shelving, giving the independent bookshop the feeling of an academic library, but without the stuffiness. Expect warm service and smiling advice.
  • On June 11, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best spas in London?

    London is a spa-lover's paradise, home to more than a dozen world-class Forbes Travel Guide Four and Five Star spa facilities. Here are three which are particularly special.

    The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel
    Located within a five-star hotel in one of London's most decadent districts, this luxurious Park Lane spa transports you a world away from the city's busy streets. Or, at least, ten floors away. This deliciously-designed facility – floor-to-ceiling windows, dark wood walls and warming fireplaces – offers an extensive range of revitalizing treatments: from massages to manicures; facials to foot treatments.

    The Aman Spa at The Connaught
    The most individual feature of this spa? How individual it is. Each guest gets their very own private spa suite, which includes a dressing area, a large wardrobe, a shower with a steam function and a range of grooming products. After they have enjoyed this, guests can either opt for one of the many treatments available, or simply enjoy a swim in the spa's unique pool, which looks like a large grotto (complete with waterfall).

    The Spa at Mandarin Oriental
    This beautiful spa, spread across two levels of one of London's finest hotels, comprises an amethyst crystal steam room, a color therapy area and a mineral vitality pool – not to mention the eight treatment rooms offering everything from facials to massages.
  • On May 28, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What is the one must do activity when visiting London?

    London is such a sprawling, historic and cosmopolitan city, with so much to do, that it's impossible to narrow it down to a single activity. Especially as it all depends on your personal interests. But if you are in London for the first time, and only have half a day to spare, probably the most rewarding activity you can undertake is a walk around Westminster.

    The most attraction-packed district of the city – at least in terms of international icons – a stroll around this area can mean taking in the following architectural highlights: Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Harrods Department Store, the National Gallery, Westminster Cathedral, Nelson's Column, Horse Guards Parade and the Natural History Museum – among many other things. Of course, you won't have time to do anything except stop for a quick photo and move on, but it will definitely make you want to come back to this incredible city.
  • On May 28, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best water activities in London?

    There's all sorts of watery fun to be had in the capital, from swimming in Hampstead Heath to white-water rafting in Lee Valley. But without doubt, the best aqua-based activity in London is a tourist boat trip along the Thames.

    The city's iconic waterway can be traversed with several different tour companies, but perhaps the most informative and interesting is the simply-titled City Cruises. Not only do they operate high-speed hop-on, hop-off services, running all the way from Westminster to Greenwich, but they provide commentary along the way - so you don't miss a thing.

    Alternatively, if you want to combine the joys of a river cruise with some street-level sightseeing, consider London Duck Tours. Their unique amphibious vehicles offer two different perspectives on this unique city.
  • On May 27, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best tours of London?

    As a major tourist center, London is home to literally hundreds of tour agencies, offering all kinds of tours. Here are three good options.

    Walking: Liars' London
    A walking tour with a hint of deceit. Two guides take you around London – one of whom tells you the truth and nothing but the truth, and the other whom exaggerates, embellishes and downright lies through their teeth. Your job is to decide which one is which. And if you're right, you'll win a prize!

    Hopping On and Off: Original London Sightseeing
    This open-top bus company offers three main sightseeing routes with more than 80 stops, and has live commentary in multiple languages. The buses are so comfortable you might find yourself not wanting to get off.

    Not Moving a Muscle: London Duck Tours
    If you want to see as much as you can without moving a muscle, try London Duck Tours. Starting at the London Eye, these amphibious vehicles – based on those used at the D-Day Landings in 1944 – drive past several key London sights before heading straight into the Thames to continue the tour by river.
  • On May 27, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best festivals in London?

    London has hundreds of festivals running throughout the year, focused on hundreds of different things. It's clearly impossible to list them all here, but here are my personal choices in five popular categories.

    Music
    Every weekend throughout the summer – and on most weekends during the rest of the year – London hosts a music festival to suit a particular taste; from beatboxing to Bhangra, folk to funk, R&B to reggae. But for those with more mainstream tastes – think pop, indie and rock – and who like to be a little silly, it's hard to beat Field Day. Where else can you watch chart-topping acts and then enjoy a team tug-of-war?

    Film
    There are literally dozens of film festivals in London, from Film4 Frightfest to Hot Tub Cinema to the Rooftop Festival. While it might be boring, our pick of the lot has to be the BFI London Film Festival.

    Books
    From the London Book Festival to the Children's Literature Festival to the Festival of Stories, there's plenty for literature-lovers in London. And at the very top of the pile is the London Literature Festival.

    Beer
    Whether it's the native brews like pale ales, milds and stouts, or the foreign imports like pilsners and malts, London has plenty of festivals dedicated to the art of ale. For the biggest beer-related party, don't miss the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival, or for more niche fun try the London Vegan Beerfest.

    Fashion
    London Fashion Week is on every February and September. And London Alternative Fashion Week is on in April.
  • On May 27, 2013
    Joseph Reaney answered the question: Joseph Reaney

    What are the best indoor activities in London?

    As a rainy city, London's skies will probably force you inside at some point during a visit. Luckily, as a rainy city, it has also developed plenty of ways to entertain you while you're there. Here are just three:

    Museums and Galleries
    London is perhaps the exhibition capital of the world. With world-renowned museums and galleries including The British Museum, The Tate, The Victoria and Albert, The Natural History Museum and The Imperial War Museum, there's no shortage of ways to spend your time. And the best thing? They're all absolutely free (though donations are welcome!)

    Theatres
    Along with Broadway, the West End is considered one of the best places in the world to catch a show. But that's just the beginning of London's theatrical heritage. Other great theaters in the capital include Shakespeare's Globe, the Old Vic, the Royal Opera House and the Open Air Theatre – all of which offer regular matinees.

    Shopping
    Oxford Street may be one of the busiest shopping streets in the world, but there are many more rain-proof shopping options in the capital. Head to Westfield London to enjoy more than 275 retailers (from high-street to high-end) all under one roof, or try Leadenhall Market for some added heritage.