Monday, December 22, 2008

London Apartments: Everything You Need To Know About Choosing A Serviced London Apartments

A few weeks ago a secretary telephoned me in absolute desperation. She was desperately searching for accommodation in central London for some VIPs from abroad. She stumbled onto my website, not really understanding what the service was about. I think the words 'free service', 'apartments' just helped her to figure out that Quality London Apartments had something to do with accommodation. Apologies for my long opening, but it is a prime example of how little travelers in the UK and Europe know about the serviced apartment industry. After explaining the concept of serviced apartments and helping her find an apartment, I realized that I needed to share this knowledge further afield. Thus, this article is my contribution to open up this elusive industry and offer tips to travelers.

What is a serviced apartment?

A serviced apartment is a flat in a block, which has a separate bedroom, sitting room/lounge, fully equipped kitchen, your own private keys to own door. Serviced apartments can be in the form of a studio flat (all in one room with a kitchenette), one, two or three bedrooms.

All apartments enjoy maid service, utilities and a management team to help....just like a hotel. Guests only pay for a nightly rate and can live in a flat with everything they would have in their own home.

Pros: Serviced London Apartment vs Hotels

 More value for money and cheaper. In a hotel, no matter which star rating, you pay per night for one room which will have a TV, bathroom, sofa and a bed. This is similar to a studio apartment! In an apartment there is a separate bedroom, kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and dining table (exception is studio)

 Pay per apartment and not per person. An example would be paying £250 per night for a two bedroom apartment, which could accommodate up to 4 people, that works out at £62.50 per person.

 Freedom and privacy. An apartment is like being in your own home and there is plenty of space. You have your own keys to your own door.

 Booking is easy, just like hotels. The majority of apartments require a credit card to guarantee, pre-payment before you arrive and that's it. No deposits, no tenants' contracts.

Cons: Serviced London Apartment vs Hotels

 Apartments lacks the buzz and services of a hotel such as restaurants and Room Service. Albeit some apartments are owned by hotels and offer you the use of their restaurants and other services.

 No 24-hour service around the clock. The apartments are ran by a small team who work Monday to Friday 9:00am - 6:00pm, so you are on your own during the weekend. There are emergency numbers to call should you suffer an electric cut, but no 24-hours hotel Duty Manager to run to your room.

 No pool, massages, saunas like hotels

What to look out for when booking a serviced London apartment?

1. Quality of the apartment - make sure you find out if they are clean, well furnished and well maintained. How? Check the photos, and ask if you can book an appointment to view the apartment. This is very important if you are staying over a long period of time.

2. Do they have a friendly and efficient management team? If you need the comfort of a welcoming face to greet you on arrival, then ask for an apartment with a reception. Some apartments provide key boxes, so you can arrive any time, but there is no-one to meet you. A friendly and small team will be able to give you a very personal touch.

3. Opening time of the apartments office - doesn't sound important? Well it is because the majority of apartments' operations team open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 6:00pm. If you arrive at your apartment during office open hours, then fine, but any other time and weekends will mean that you will need to pick up the keys from a different location.

4. Key delivery by car at the airport? - If you are flying from abroad to London, and do not fancy traipsing throughout London at night to pick up keys, the majority of apartments will hire a taxi to deliver your keys to the airport upon your arrival. Convenient for a small charge.

5. Payment procedure and cancellation policy - every apartment vary in their guest terms and conditions. All will accept a credit card as a guarantee of reservation, some will ask for 100% pre-payment at least 7 days prior to arrival and cancellation can range from 12:00pm on the day of arrival to 28 days. So, before you confirm the reservation, be very clear about the terms and conditions. Ask your apartment agents to explain the procedure to you and read the terms and conditions on your confirmation emails. It will save you a great deal of trouble and headache later.

6. Apartments are always allocated on arrival. This policy is the same as any hotel, so unless you are a regular guest to a specific apartment, apartments are on allocations. In the same breath, some apartments only have a small number of flats, so if you are reserving the only 3 bedrooms penthouse in their collection, then you are guaranteed that specific apartment.

7. Rates become more competitive the longer you stay. In this, we mean you have more bargaining power if you are staying for one month or longer. This is when your apartment agent can really help you by negotiating with a variety of apartments to get you the best deal.

8. Using an apartment agent will also save you time searching, but most importantly they will work with your budget and negotiate a great deal for you. Of course, you also need to be realistic about what you can book, don't expect to spend £80 per night for a luxury apartment. For example, one of our clients had £300 budget per night for a two bedroom apartment and he wanted something luxury. For those readers who know London well, also understands that this budget is actually very small. Despite that, we booked him and 3 friends into the Victoria Park Plaza luxury apartment (£150 per night less than the usual price) for £300 per night with free breakfast, gym and access to the executive lounge. Any apartment agent worth their salt can and will move mountains to help you.

What if I don't like the apartment when I get there?

If you really feel that you have been hard done by, tell the apartment management team and ask to be moved to another apartment. All of the apartments that we work with are very customer focussed and try to help guests enjoy their stay. If this does not work, talk to your apartment agent, if that is how you booked. Best advice though, is to ask all the right questions before you book an apartment.

Your appetite for apartments is now whetted - how do you find London apartments?

1. As already explained, you can choose a free search and book service of an apartment agent or go direct to a specific apartment that you know. Both methods are absolutely fine, dependent of your knowledge of London apartments. Using an agent will mean that they will search far across their portfolio and present you with a variety of choices...all within 10-15 minutes. Agents are impartial and will only (good agents anyway) recommend the quality apartments for your needs.

2. You can use search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN to find apartments. Type in keywords like 'London serviced apartments' or 'quality London apartments' and so on.

3. Stating the obvious but, ask for a recommendation from friends and acquaintances.

4. Check on Tripadvisor and other customer review websites.


If you have read this far, then thank you for your time. I have tried to make this article clear and as helpful as possible, but I welcome your comments and any further information that you feel is very important.

By Binh Zientek

Binh Zientek is an Accommodation Specialist

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Dirty Facts About Liverpool

Every city looks good, beautiful and safe. But, are all the towns, cities and countries just good and safe? Do they also have certain dirty, filthy facts which are usually hidden from the tourists?

As said and believed that every coin has two sides, every city has its own positive and negative aspects. No matter how hard you try to keep your city clean, safe and secured from the negative issues like prostitution, drugs and crime, they always make their own way into our life and thus the city.

Liverpool is believed to be a very friendly and loving city but even it has a different dirty face which appears in the late nights of the city. The city is not completely safe from crime, though the crime rate in the city is still lower than the other larger cities in England. You never know, when you could become a victim of such a crime. Thus, it is always better to take the necessary precautions for the safety of your own life and that of your loved ones.

There may be people on the streets asking you for a trains or a bus fare due to absurd reasons like having lost their wallet etc. But as a matter of fact, they are mainly fooling you and to earn some money. They make various stories just to fool you and indirectly beg you for money.

The hotels liverpool is not much of a problem for the tourists as well as the new crowd. It has a wide range of huge classic, exotic hotels with all the imaginable facilities and also has the simple yet well furnished and properly serviced apartments for everyone. But, many people like staying in the hotels while there are some who wish to feel the real spirit of the city and so live in these serviced apartments.

The city is famous for its night life which includes the big dance clubs, bars etc. people usually stay and enjoy the night in these bars till the wee hours of the morning. But, they don't realize that they might be risking their life by walking back to their home or the hotel alone after these parties or by not waiting for the cabs. Also, prostitution is another problem faced very often in many parts of the city like the other big major cities in England. Hence a few areas in the city are tagged as the red light areas like the Shiel road in Kensington.

Also, some of the areas in the city are generally avoided by the local people and also the tourists due to the local gang violence. Thus for the purpose of safety, people try to avoid the use of the commercial areas around these localities. These gangs deal with large number of illegal activities like drug peddling, human trafficking etc.

Soccer is a big passion for nearly everyone in England. People are crazy for their city clubs or their favorite clubs. Sometimes it this craze amongst the people has even caused many violent activities amongst the crowd where in a few hard core soccer fans have attacked and even brutally murdered the fans of the opposite team. Hence wearing the football t shirts is avoided by people especially on the D-day or the day of the match.

Thus, when you are traveling around the various cities in England it is always suggestible to know in brief about the city so as to avoid the darker side of the city.

By: Jessica Thomson

About the Author:
For more insights and further information about accommodation liverpool visit our site

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Top Ten Tax Tips for Foreign Property Owners

1. Don't Forget You Still Have UK Tax To Pay!

Arguably, this is more of a warning than a tip, but it is vital to remember that any UK resident individual buying property abroad is still exposed to UK tax on that property. This may include UK Income Tax on rental income, UK Capital Gains Tax on property sales and UK Inheritance Tax on any foreign properties you leave to your children.

The UK tax burden is often greater than any foreign tax liabilities, so it makes sense to undertake UK tax planning for your foreign property. Many of the same planning techniques that work well on UK property can be used equally on foreign property, although the overseas angle adds an extra dimension and brings both additional opportunities and additional pitfalls to be wary of.

2. Main Residence Relief for Foreign Holiday Homes

There is nothing in the UK tax legislation to say that a foreign holiday home cannot be a UK resident individual's main residence for Capital Gains Tax purposes.

A holiday home can be treated as your main residence by making an election to that effect, generally within two years of buying the property.

The foreign property must be your own holiday home for at least part of the time but, by making the election, you will be able to exempt some or all of the capital gain on your foreign home from UK Capital Gains Tax.

Beware, however, that you're only allowed one main residence and, if you're married or in a civil partnership, you're only allowed one between you, so electing to treat your holiday home as your main residence could backfire if you sell your main house back in the UK.

You can get the best of both worlds though, if you only elect to treat your foreign property as your main residence for a short period, say a week. How does this help? Well, since every main residence is also exempt for the last three years of ownership, that week buys you three years. In other words, you lose one week's worth of exemption on your main house but gain three years (and a week) of exemption on your foreign holiday home.

3. Travel at the Treasury's Expense

If you're renting out foreign property, you have a foreign rental business. Like any other business, you're entitled to claim tax relief for your business expenses. That includes any travel costs which you incur for business purposes.

Furthermore, all foreign property rentals are treated as one business. Hence, for example, you could claim the cost of going to Dubai to look for a possible new rental property against the rental income from a villa which you already have in Spain.

4. Understand the Local Taxes

Most countries will tax foreigners on any property they own in the country. Local taxes often apply to property purchases and sales and to rental income. Furthermore, you will often have to pay annual taxes on foreign property, even if you do not rent it out, and many countries also have gift and death taxes.

You will get double tax relief in the UK for any foreign tax on the same income or capital gains when the UK accepts that the foreign tax is broadly equivalent to the UK tax you are paying.

Beware, however, that every country has a different tax regime and not all of them are compatible with the UK tax system. If you suffer a foreign tax which is different in character to any UK tax, or which arises when no UK tax is due, you may not get any relief for it in the UK.

So, a foreign tax at 30% which is deductible from your UK tax liability on the same income may actually cost you less than a foreign tax at 10% for which no double tax relief is available. All these factors need to be considered before you invest in foreign property.

5. Do You Want Double Tax Relief?

As a general rule it is usually worth claiming double tax relief for any foreign taxes whenever you can. By claiming double tax relief, you deduct the amount of foreign tax paid from your UK tax liability.

However, you cannot get any repayment of foreign tax through a double tax relief claim and the best you can ever do is to reduce your UK tax liability to nil.

Sometimes, the foreign tax may actually exceed the amount of the taxable income or capital gain for UK tax purposes. In these situations, it is better to claim the foreign tax as an expense rather than to claim double tax relief.

Where you claim foreign tax as an expense, it reduces the amount of the taxable income or capital gain and can even create a loss. This loss can be carried forward to give you future tax relief and hence, in some situations, can actually give you better value for your foreign tax than a double tax relief claim.

6. Reduce Your Foreign Exchange Tax Risk

All UK tax calculations for individual taxpayers are carried out in pounds sterling. This creates some particular problems when it comes to capital gains on foreign property. You may make very little gain in the local currency, but when you translate your purchase and sale costs back into sterling, you may have a big Capital Gains Tax exposure in the UK.

Let's say you buy a property in Utopia for 100,000 Utopian Dollars at a time when the exchange rate is two Utopian Dollars to the pound. That means you have a purchase cost of �50,000.

Later, you sell the property for 120,000 Utopian Dollars. In local terms, you have a modest gain of 20,000 Utopian Dollars. However, let us suppose that the exchange rate is now 1.2 Dollars to the pound. This means that your sale proceeds for UK Capital Gains Tax purposes are �100,000 and you have a taxable gain of �50,000.

Maybe that's fair: after all, if you bring the money back to the UK, you will have made a profit of �50,000 on your investment.

Beware, however, that if you hang on to your Utopian Dollars, they will become a new chargeable asset for UK Capital Gains Tax purposes and may give rise to a capital gain or capital loss when you eventually spend them or exchange them into sterling or any other currency.

The real problem to watch is that if you make a capital loss on your foreign currency in a later UK tax year (year ended 5 th April), you will not be able to set that loss off against the earlier capital gain on your foreign property.

The tax tip here, therefore, is to make sure that you dispose of your foreign currency sale proceeds in the same UK tax year as you dispose of the foreign property itself.

7. Get VAT back with leaseback

In the UK, we are accustomed to the idea that any purchase of residential property is exempt from VAT. This is not the case in every country, however, and many European countries charge VAT, at rates of up to 20%, on new residential property purchases.

One way to recover the VAT on such a purchase is to enter into a 'leaseback' scheme. Under these schemes you, the owner, lease the property back to a hotel operator. This means that your property becomes a business property and you are able to recover the VAT. Typically, you are allowed a few weeks of personal use of the property each year and, eventually, after a suitable number of years, it is yours outright again.

The scheme only works for certain types of property, such as hotel rooms and apartments, and may carry disadvantages for other foreign taxes, such as higher Income Tax rates; so it's one to investigate carefully before you sign up.

8. Borrow to Save

Many countries impose Wealth Tax, Inheritance Tax, or both, on foreigners owning property in their country.

Wealth Tax is usually an annual charge on the property owner's net wealth in the country.

Foreign Inheritance Tax also usually applies only to a foreigner's net assets in the country.

In most cases, you can reduce your net wealth in the foreign country for tax purposes by taking out a mortgage on your foreign property. In this way, it will usually be just your net equity in the property which attracts foreign tax.

If you don't actually need a mortgage, you can invest the borrowed funds somewhere else outside the country where your property is located.

9. Avoid Evasion

When you buy property in a foreign country, you will usually also be acquiring tax obligations in that country. In fact, many countries require prospective foreign property purchasers to register themselves with the local tax authority before they can complete their purchase.

If you want to sleep at night, you need to make sure that you fulfil your local tax obligations in the country where your property is situated. Many foreign tax authorities have the power to seize property where taxes are unpaid.

Naturally enough, the local tax authority will write to you in their own language. Do not ignore this correspondence just because you don't understand it: this is no defence. You will need local help and advice to make sure that you deal with the local tax authority appropriately and meet all of your obligations as a taxpayer in the country.

10. Expect the Unexpected

If the UK tax system is all Greek to you, or seems like Double Dutch, why should you expect foreign taxes to be any different? Every country has its own tax and legal system and, when you buy property abroad, you must abandon all of your preconceptions.

Assume nothing until you have investigated the local tax system thoroughly. Your destination country will have different taxes, different tax rates, a different tax year and a whole different set of rules, regulations, reliefs and exemptions.

Local property law and succession law is likely to be different too and a UK investor who overlooks this fact may suffer a great deal more than just tax!

By: Carl Bayley

About the Author:
For more info on Overseas Property Tax visit Foreign Property Tax or Property Tax Abroad.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top Shopping Destinations In London

Top Shopping Destinations In London
By: Gabriel Adams

London is the top tourist destination in the world, and for very good reasons. The numerous historical landmarks will make your trip a memorable one, and the diverse atmosphere is not like any other city. Another thing that many find notable in London is the numerous shopping opportunities. Because of the high amounts of tourism, retailers have stepped up and created shopping destinations that you won’t want to miss.

You’ll have to decide exactly what you want to shop for, since stores are generally grouped by type. If you want to see the really top-notch shops and department stores, Knightsbridge is the place to go. The hyper-fashionable person will find all of the latest trends, and all of the name brand items that you can handle.

If you aren’t looking to stay on the bleeding edge of fashion, and you’d rather just have some fun, then Covent Garden is the place for you. It has a little bit of everything, including some surprising stuff that you wouldn’t quite group with �oeeverything”. Even if you aren’t looking to buy anything, it’s still fun to window shop and eat at one of the many caf├ęs.

Notting Hill has a very unique blend of shops. You’ll find many different eclectic shops that give you alternative options. If you appreciate antique clothes or furniture, you’ll find many shops to provide you with exactly that. It is also home to a popular market that makes for an interesting afternoon visit.

If you’re looking for computers or electronics, then you should look on Oxford Street. It has literally dozens of shops selling everything from cameras and batteries to compact discs and video games. With a little haggling, you can get better prices than you would find anywhere else in the city.

Finally, arguably the most infamous shopping destination in London is New Bond Street. It is filled to the brim with the most premium (and expensive) fashion boutiques. If you just need to go on a shopping spree for some of the most famous brands in the world, then New Bond Street is the place to do it.

As you can see, there truly is something for everyone in the many London shopping destinations. You can do casual window shopping, or you can do extreme fashion shopping. So if you are headed to London soon, consider what sort of shopping you want to do �" because there is almost surely a destination to do it at.

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About the Author:
The Glass Slipper provides services to improve your personal styling. Visit personal styling london and personal shopping london.

Best places to dine out in Glasgow

Best places to dine out in Glasgow

Chardon D’ Or
176 West Regent Street
The menu is succinct serving Scottish –French cuisine in a luxurious surround. Receives a lot of business men. Service is excellent. Three-chocolate mousse tower is to die for.

11 Exchange Place, Buchanan Street
One of Glasgow‘s most notable restaurants. Original Scottish cuisine is a must try. The menu is beautifully prepared and cooked from only fresh ingredients.

Ubiquitous Chip
12 Ashton Lane

Don’t miss original Scottish cuisine at Ubiquitous Chip. The food is classic nouvelle. The extensive menu offers a wide range of more than 150 superb Scott Whisky.

Mother India
8 Westminster Terrace
Since opening, this place has held the crown for the best Indian restaurant in Town. Some say, the best curry in Scotland is served at Mother India. Homemade Indian cuisine makes this an experience to remember. CHICKEN TIKA CHASNI (Chicken tika cooked in a sweet creamy sauce) is worth to try.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Enjoy the Stupendous Museums in Chester

Chester is a county place in Cheshire, England, placed in what is called the English Northwest. Chester occupies on the River Dee, a water body that borders Wales. Chester is most familiar for the Roman settlements that made the center's embattlements. These embattlements were made to beat off the incoming Welsh from the selvage. Known as Deva Victrix, Chester was already an active city as early as AD 79. After the Romans left the metropolis, the Saxons displaced them and smartened its fortification against the Danes. Today, Chester is labeled one of the exceptional feudal municipals in England

Chester's most well known places are notable architecture that depict England along the Roman settlement. Beside from the city centre, the River Dee that runs through the city is one feature you can't miss. The river runs through Grosvenor Park, one of the rudimentary public parks in Britain. Another enjoyable open space is the Groves. The Groves is integral of a long Roman wall in the bank of the river. As the river gives life, so it gives trade. This section was chock-full of leather craftsmen that worked on shoe trade, and in front that, the Groves was a quarry where stone walls were erected.

Chester has modern attractions and contemporary tourist activities on top of the classic tours and museum exploration that one can do. Play seekers can visit the Catton Hall paintballing station, a 200-acre field that depicts Chester's fortifications, villages, bridges, and forts. Another fun combat simulation is available in the Catton Hall archery field. You can try out test targets with a wide variety of bow and arrows. Archery is a demonstration of England's roster of arrow snipers that helped fortify the place against foreign invaders. Other activities in Chester include adventure sightseeing and heritage tours.

Like other English municipals, wining and dinner is a staple for day-trippers in Chester. Chester's amassment of restaurants is further emphasized by the local fresh produce that makes these foods. The Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor is a French gourmet restaurant that has a big accumulation of food and wine. Travelers show to shell up the money for formal jackets to get in. If you want a more casual feeling, the Upstairs at the Grill gives you a combination of relaxation and soothing wines along with specialty cuts of meat and fish. The Upstairs at the Grill is a two-floor expanse of sheer distraction and intrigue.

The best entertainment in Chester lies in its festivals - and they have quite a collection of festivals. The Roman festival celebrates the city's Roman heritage. Held once a month, you can experience the Roman roots of the metropolitan area up close and personal. From June to July, view the great mystery plays, one of the oldest running play cycles in the world. The Chester Music festival opens with these mystery plays. That is why June to July is the best time to visit Chester because there is something new going on. Chester also has exciting events for the sport enthusiast, especially those who are into horse racing and football.

Roman... Novel... Classic... The urban place has a little bit of everything for everyone. Despite its reputation as a notable conurbation, Chester has much more to offer than its cobbled streets and old walls. Once you experience the metropolis in overflowing bloom, you will be impressed by the conurbation's depth and character.

By Gracia Westolick

Gracia Westolick is a former beauty model. She used to be a very successful autarchical Manchester companion, having spent many years escorting in Chester and being a Manchester airport model.

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Would you like a cup of English afternoon tea served with scone, jam and cream?

Your trip to UK is not completed if you have not tried the famous afternoon tea. Complete your memorable traveling experience with English afternoon tea served with scone, jam and cream at one of the places listed below.

Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly, W1
Pavilion Tea Rooms, Royal parade, Eastbourne, BN21 3EL
Shepherds tea Rooms, 35 Little London, Chichester
Bo-Peep Tea Rooms and Restaurants, Riverside, Burton- on-the water
The Marshmallow, High Street, Moreton-in-Marsh
Cake Table Tearoom 4-5 Fishmarket Street, Thaxted, Essex
The Canary, 3 Queen Street, Bath.
The Bridge Tea Rooms. 24a Bridge Street, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire BA15 1BY

Where to eat at London’s China Town

Where to eat at London’s China Town

Thinking of having Chinese food for your dining, you have to come to London’s China Town around Gerrad Street . Try the restaurants listed below.

Harbour City
46 Gerrard Street, W1

Great taste with reasonable price, good service, must try the famous dimsim.

Fung Shing
15 Lisle Street WC2

Renowned as one of the best Chinese restaurants in London. Booking in advance is recommended.

Wong Kei.
41 Wardour Street , W1

Famous for fine Cantonese cuisine. Bur sometime the service is not that good.

London’s restaurants you must visit

London’s restaurants you must visit

Brian Turner Mayfair
Millennium Hotel, 44 Grosvenor Square, W1K 2HP

Want to try excellent English cuisine? You have to visit this place.

Gordon Ramsay
68-69 Royal Hospital Road, Brompton, London, SW3 4HP

Highly recommended for your dinner guaranteed by the famous Hell’s Kitchen chef Gordon Ramsey.

Locanda Locatelli
Chuechill Intercontinental, 8 Seymour St,W1

Fine Italian Cuisine, favorite restaurants among celebrities like Madonna. Booking in advance is a must.

Meson Don Felipe
53, The Cut, SE1

Only a Short description for this Spanish restaurant - Tapas to die for. Most nights there's a flamenco guitarist.

Pizza on the park
11, Knightsbridge, SW1

Fresh baked pizza, opposite to Hide Park, Suit for families with kids.

The Blue Elephant
4-6 Fulham Broadway, SW6

Wan to try spicy Tom Yum Kung? Come to The Blue Elephant for original authentic Thai cuisine.

Top 5 budget hotels in London

Traveling to London with tight budget or want to safe money for shopping, excursion and everything else? Below are 5 recommended hotels worth for your limited budget

Airways Hotel
29-31 St George;s Drive SW1v 4DG.

Cheap and comfortable, the hotel is located closed to The Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral and Harrods. Booking in advance is recommended.

Lonsdale Hotel
9-10 Bedford Place, WC1B 5JA

Lonsdale Hotel rooms feature comfy beds and nice decoration. Locate in the heart of Bloomsbery.

Hotel Strand Continental
143 Strand, WC2R 1JA

Renowned as one of the cheapest hotels located in the heart of London. Good location, just a short trip to public transportation.

Curzon House Hotel
58 Courtfield Gardens, SW5 ONF

Small but lovely budget hotels closed to Glocester Road Underground Station offer guests with friendly service and comfortable beds to make your stay complete.

Clearlake Hotel
18-19 Prince of Wales Terrace

The hotel features bed and Breakfast, nice location, and reasonable price.

Classic Perfume Shops

Looking to buy a bottle of Perfume? You should go to Floris at 89 Jermyn Street, St. London and Penhaligons at Wellington Street. Floris and Penhaligons sell a range of classic perfume for men and women. Cotswold Perfumery at Burton-on-the-Water is also recommended.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Realism Returns To The UK Property Market

The average number of transactions per surveyor fell further in July as a lack of mortgage finance continued to weigh heavily on the market.

However, sales expectations have improved, driven by sellers beginning to offer more realistic asking prices says RICS' UK housing market survey published 12 August 2008.

83.9 percent more Chartered Surveyors reported a fall than a rise in house prices, a decrease from 86.9 percent in June.

The inability of many to secure mortgage finance is reflected in the collapse in transactions.

Demand remains weak with the balance of surveyors reporting new buyer enquiries still at a low ebb. Last month, new buyer enquiries improved again with 27 percent more Chartered Surveyors reporting a fall than a rise compared to 35 percent in June and 50 percent in May.

In June, surveyors reported that 'predatory buyers' were bargain hunting for property. This month, surveyors report that 'realism' has returned to the market with many sellers dropping asking prices to more realistic levels.

New instructions to sell property edged closer to positive territory with three percent more Chartered Surveyors reporting a fall than a rise, up from 13 percent in June.

The current period of economic weakness has led to higher levels of unemployment but the latest repossession figures still remain well below the levels seen in the early 1990's.

RICS spokesperson Ian Perry said: "The lack of mortgage finance has brought the housing market to a virtual standstill with first-time buyers rapidly becoming an endangered species. Going forward, there are signs that sales activity might pick up a little as sellers start to re-evaluate unrealistic asking prices.

"However, the current confused messages from the Government regarding stamp duty risks damaging any returning confidence and may discourage mobility."

The average homebuyer put down a 22 percent deposit in June, up from 20 percent in May, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). The majority of lending continues to be on conservative terms, as lending criteria have tightened in response to the shortage of funding and current market conditions.

Gross lending decreased slightly to 23.6 billion pounds in June, down 4 percent from May and 32 percent lower than June last year. The largest share of gross lending was remortgaging (44 percent) with 75,000 loans worth 10.3 billion pounds in June. Loans for house purchase accounted for 30 percent of gross lending with 47,000 loans worth 7 billion pounds.

While all parts the mortgage market are suffering a reduction in business volumes, the majority of mortgages continue to be obtained through an intermediary. The credit crunch had a particularly marked effect in the first quarter of 2008, when there was an increase in the proportion of borrowers seeking the advice of an intermediary.

In the second quarter of 2008, 78 percent of first-time buyers and 61 percent of home movers used an intermediary to obtain their mortgage.

CML head of research, Bob Pannell said: "Mortgage lending activity remains relatively weak and will decline further in the coming months as a result of funding constraints and lower consumer demand. The majority of lending continues to be to people with larger deposits, which is prudent for borrowers and lenders in a slowing housing market."

By Karl Hopkins

For further information on the uk property market visit Residential Landlord the free online resource for landlords and property investors. In addition the website also offers free document downloads such as tenancy agreements.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Property Investment Advice to Buy UK Real Estates

UK's top moneymakers reduce their winning investment policies to their most fundamental points, divulging what they believe is the most important property investment advice they can give. There are circumstances when the owner may not permit you to assume the loan or the seller already owns the property. In such situations, the owner can use a trust deed, permitting you to make a lower down payment and setting more flexible terms. If the condition allows you to abide by this bit of property investment advice, you can benefit from a lower transaction costs and you have the chance to for lower interest costs as well.

Some of the other complications with these events include failure to disclose commissions, the promoter having relationships with the actual properties being sold or proposed and as a result misrepresenting the investment.

Here are some property investment advices to take care of to ensure an intelligent purchase:
- Look into the demographics. This is the key to learning what your clients need. For example, the rising aging population and high divorce rate of the UK means more demand for city center flats or smaller-sized homes for an individual person. Usually, young investors want a fashionable and urbane home while families concern with safety and accessibility to school and transport as priority.
- Stick to what you know. Suppose having your property investment buying in an area that you know well. Research entirely and consider the local economy. Above all, assure that you are buying a property located in a bustling or up-and-coming part of town.

This property investment advice is helpful only for those individual who have some extra funds they could use to purchase a new loan in case the original one is called. Believe there are probability for anyone out there, whether you are a first time buyer, and not sure where to buy, someone seeking for a hands free property investment with assured returns, someone seeking to top up their pension, or someone who is willing to give 10 hours a week or so and be in a position to sack the boss in 3-4 years time!! However for anyone to succeed at property investment, they must have some good knowledge from property investment advice- a clear strategy, concern about property tax, mortgages for investment properties and mainly understanding what a good property investment deal is and the core of leverage.

So, first start exploring online, then you came across some excellent resources and invaluable information - however there are also some who are more interested in charging you a fee than getting you a good deal.

Author: PARMAR12

About the Author:

Jay Parmar provides information about property investment advice,property investment,off plan properties discount properties landlord,buy to let, uk property investment. To know more about uk property investment,investment properties,but to let,Property investment seminars,investment properties,Discount properties landlord, Property investment Advice visit:,for seo services

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The Malmaison Manchester Hotel

Malmaison is a luxury hotel in Manchester with a stylish bar and brasserie located near Piccadilly Train Station for those arriving by train. Very close to the city centre, bars, clubs and restaurants. The hotel offers you stylish, spacious, individually designed rooms with all the bits and some more to choose from. Malmaison hotel is perfect for you as a business trip or for a relaxing luxurious city break. All of the rooms have comfortable, luxurious beds, CD players with CD libraries and satellite TV. The hotel also offers you

• 24 hr return laundry service
• Accept children (Minimum age)
• Additional meal details
• Air-conditioning throughout
• American Express accepted
• Available for wedding receptions
• Bar
• Business facilities (eg. Fax/ modem)
• Cater for vegetarians

Also guesses will find The Malmaison’s gym tonic health club facilities and soothing petit spa are truly memorable.
1-3 Piccadilly
Greater Manchester
M1 1LZ

Investing in UK Property – a Wise Decision for High Return

The price of land in UK has been increased by almost 92% in the past 20 years. Thus investment in UK land has proved to be highly rewarding as returns on investment in land have outperformed the returns from stock market. Investing in UK land for long term capital growth has returned stunning rates of growth. In addition to the potential returns from a speculative UK land investment the land owner can actually utilize and enjoy the actual amenity value of the land whilst they wait for planning permission to be granted or for their land to be re-zoned. In addition, the actual land is likely to increase in value in real terms. This is because even agricultural land is currently increasing in value at a greater rate than real estate.

UK Land Investments Group one of the specialists at investing in land, source and purchase the very best strategic land, with real development potential. This highly professional team believes in offering the very best land to clients and help to improve standards in rapidly growing land investments industry. UK Land Investments always work hard to ensure that their clients feel well informed at every stage of the way. UK Land Investments believe in researching the development sites that they offer to clients very thoroughly before offering them to clients to invest in.

Investing in a UK property would act as a hedge against the falling US Dollar. This mean that one’s monthly rental would allow him to take advantage of the falling US Dollar against the British pound. This would result in more rentals even if the monthly rental does not increase due to currency gains. A good idea would be to analyze one’s global investment property portfolio and do some portfolio analysis and examine how the currency movements might affect his returns on investment and make some corresponding changes in portfolio allocation.

Investing in the UK is good as there is a strong rental culture in the various parts of the city. This will let one earn more for his buck as compared to investing in some other areas in the world. UK is a strong magnet for education like some parts of the US, one has lots of opportunity to rent out his property to overseas students. If one has decided to migrate to the UK, for settling, renting the property or guesthouse might be something interesting for him to consider doing.

In conclusion, investing in the UK is a good move, as it would enable anyone from the USA to take advantage of the rising pound against the dollar. One can take advantage of strong rental yields and increased rental from areas such as London, the tourist areas and university towns. As with most investments option one should spend some time talking to real estate brokers and agents and spend some time learning about the particular area of his interest and in which he is intended to invest. It will help one to do better in the UK investment property.

Author: Article Manager

About the Author:

This website is your gateway to the wide range of free information Investing in UK Property and various places of UK such as Invest in Yorkshire and Humber.

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History Of Reading Berkshire by: Rebecca Hollis

Reading is in the county of Berkshire in the south east of England. Reading has served as the county town since 1867 and was founded in the eighth century. Reading began life as a Saxon settlement and was originally called Reada Ingas, which means the people of Reada.

Reada was a Saxon leader who settled in the area with his tribe in the 6th century. Reading Abbey was founded by King Henry I in 1121 where he moved with his family and was later buried there in December 1135.

The Abbey was opened by St. Thomas A'Becket. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury who was hacked to pieces in his Cathedral because he wouldn't do what the King wanted.

Reading prospered in the middle ages because it was on the main road between London and the West of England. There were many fullers in Reading as well as dyers, weavers, and tailors. The leather industry was one of the largest trades in Reading were the Leather was tanned then was used to make shoes, hats, bottles and saddles.

There were also many vintners (wine merchants) as the upper class mainly drank wine. The Sun Inn in Castle Street is the most fascinating of Reading's old pubs. It has a Norman archway which once led to a large underground hall.

There were 3 parishes in the town, St Marys, St Giles and St Laurence’s. In the middle Ages each parish had to have butts where all men practiced archery.

By the end of the 16th century Reading was home to over 3,000 people during the medieval period and Tudor times.

Reading also started to grow rich on its trade in cloth which was the main source of income for the economy, however the taxes levied on the town by the garrison badly damaged its cloth trade, and it did not recover.

Reading, like other towns, suffered outbreaks of plague in the 16th and 17th century. From 1646 the town council set aside houses where people suffering from the plague could be quarantined.

The 18th century saw the beginning of a major iron works in the town and the growth of the brewing trade for which Reading was to become famous.

The opening of the Kennet and Avon Canal in 1810 made it possible to go by barge from Reading to the Bristol Channel. This brought not only better transport but opened opportunities for trade and tourism.

In the 19th century the town also made 'Reading Sauce', described as a sharp sauce flavored with onions, spices, and herbs, very like Worcestershire Sauce. During World War II Reading was considered a 'safe' town (one unlikely to be bombed). Therefore many children from London were evacuated to Reading early in the war. But it was not entirely safe. In an air raid on 10 February 1941 41 people were killed and 153 were injured.

The local shopping centre, The Oracle, built in 1999, is not named after the US database company but rather after the 17th century workhouse founded by John Kendrick which previously occupied the site. The original 'Oracle' gates can be seen in the Museum of Reading in the town hall and still stands proud today.

About The Author
Rebecca Hollis


Met Quarter

Are you looking for something gorgeous to buy in Liverpool? Go to Met Quarter - Liverpool's newest shopping center. Met quarter is full of fashionable clothes/ accessories and make-up.You'll find all the hottest brands such as Armani, DKNY, Hugo Boss, Flannels and Diesel and many of them are exclusive to Met Quarter. Met quarter is situated in the heart of Liverpool, a destination where people can meet, drink, relax, eat and shop in beautiful stylish surroundings.

For me, Met Quarter is very nice, very luxurious, modern shopping centre feels very new and - uh – expensive.

Met Quarter
35 White chapel
L1 6DA

Really Interesting Places To See In Kent, UK

If you are interested to know everything about wines, at least the British wines that is, then go to Chapel Down Winery at Tenterden Vineyard which is the largest producer of English wines. Visitors can take a guided tour to how they grow vines and make wine. Then there's a whole refurbished yard that features a large wine and fine food store selling both local and seasonal produce, plus a wine bar & a bistro serving the best of English cuisine and a free wine tasting is also available in the shop. It's just 2.5 miles from Tenterden High Street (A28) and is open daily from 10am to 8pm.

You can come here to Tenterden for a magical ride on a vintage steam engine & through the beautiful British country side then come to Tenterden-Northiam-Bodiam which is under the control of Kent & East Sussex Railway. These vintage trains dating from Victorian times provides you free parking at Northiam and Tenterden, refreshments, railway museum, gift shops, children play area, special packages for groups, buffet car and disabled facilities on many trains, Luxury Dining Car Services - dinners, lunches and teas (booking essential) and you can entertain your corporate colleagues too.

Biddenden Vineyards & Cider Works is located 1.5 miles west of old Wealden village of Biddenden, the legendary home of Biddenden maids, is Kent's oldest commercial vineyard. Take a walk through its sprawled fields of 22 acres, visit the winery and shop if you want to as it contains the 17th century cider press and you can see or sample wines, Kentish ciders and tasty apple juices. Coaches there are simply welcome and guided tours can easily be arranged. These are open daily except Sunday in January & February and from 24th December to 1st January and it has free Admissions and Tastings.

If you want to go back 2000 years to the fascinating Roman era or to see living English History during the Second World War period then come to Dover Castle & the Secret Wartime Tunnels and take an atmospheric tour down the tunnels within the White cliffs and see the underground hospital & the place where Winston Churchill and Admiral Ramsay planned on how to evacuate Dunkirk.

Never miss the light and sound 1216 siege experience, medieval underground works, Roman lighthouse, battlements walk and Princess of Wale's Royal Regiment. Here you can also visit a museum, Land train, restaurant and other shops.

If you wish to go to Tudor times then go to Walmer Castle and Gardens, now a country residence of the Cinque Ports. It has beautiful gardens including the Queen Mother's Garden. It used to be the residence of the Duke of Wellington and Her Majesty Queen Mother. You must see the room in which Wellington died and also the room where the Queen Mother used to entertain her guests and also included is an audio tour of the castle with many shops, plants sale and a tearoom.

Kent is highly recommended to all UK tourists and should definitely be on your "Must See List".

Author: Ram Singh

About the Author:
Ram Singh offers detailed info for a London transfer to Kent on his site. A wide range of vehicles are available for London Transfers

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Skiing in Scotland

Scotland may be the home of golf, but it's also a great place for skiing enthusiasts. With numerous world class resorts
, and such a depth of history and culture, Scotland is a great place to visit on your vacation
, regardless of your interests and hobbies. When you think of Scotland, you might think of kilts, and rural mountaintops and sheep, but if you actually get to know the place, you'll find it is both beautiful, with its bustling, classy cities, ensuring you're going to have an enjoyable vacation wherever you go in the country.

One of the most famous Scottish ski resorts is Aviemore. A classy, traditional ski resort, Aviemore is located within the Scottish Highlands, and is the ski resort of choice for many across the world. Loved for its friendly atmosphere and great skiing, Aviemore is more than well equipped to give you a great time. It's bars and restaurants are simply first class, offering wholesome food and drink to keep you well refreshed. Additionally, it's holiday village feeling enhances its friendly, relaxed ambience, and makes you feel a million miles from home whilst still comfortable.

Alternatively, there are some more ski resorts in the Scottish Highlands which are particularly good value for money. It is important to watch out, though, given that some resorts cater for the top end of the market, and you could end up paying a lot more than you bargained for. As long as you do your homework before you leave, you should fin the resort that is perfect to cater for your needs, and your wallet.

One thing to watch out for before you arrive in Scotland is to change your currency into Sterling Pounds. Your best option is to go to your local travel agents, or your local currency conversion centre before setting off. That way, you will be sure of exactly what you are getting for your money. It is a good idea to be wary of the commission, and the exchange rate you are being offered, and it can sometimes be quite tricky to get your head around the numbers. Make sure you work everything out before hand, and shop around so that you don't get wripped off.

For excellent deals on Scotland, why not go online? Additionally, there you will find a great deal of information on what to do in Scotland, and information on the depth and variety of Ski Resorts. If you choose not to go to a ski resort, but rather a city, and you want to cram in some top quality, affordable skiing during your trip, you are also in luck. There are loads of dry ski slopes in and around the cities, like at Polmont for example, which is located midway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, which is ideal for some quick and cheap skiing. Additionally, there are several indoor artificial snow ski slopes which you can visit. These innovative inventions are used to help train national level skiers, and are also open to the public at certain times, so why not pop along during your visit?

Why not consider Scotland? With so many excellent deals on skiing package tours at the moment, you'll definitely be glad you did, and you are guaranteed to have an enjoyable, fun holiday in this picturesque, ski-enthusiast's heaven.

Author: Jasmine Stone

About the Author:

To learn more about skiing, including skiing tips and the best ski resorts, visit

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Berwick Street Market

Berwick Street Market is a small market on Berwick Street. The market offers you fruit, vegetables, fabrics and some clothes and household items. In addition, there are a collection of shops along the street, including some delis and some independent record shops. It is located right in the heart of Soho.

Oxford Circus Tube

Tottenham Court Road Tube
Piccadilly Circus Tube
Goodge Street Tube

Leicester Square Tube

UK Property Sale

1. Take advantage of a buyers’ market. With the UK property market slowing down, the current climate brings good news for those looking for investment property for sale. According to Hometrack, agents are seeing the return of a buyers’ market with sales being achieved at 94.3% of the asking price.

2. Buy off-plan. Buying investment property for sale off plan can be a great way of getting quick returns on your investment. There are many developers who will offer significant savings on units in new developments purchased before the build is complete. Current examples include The Cube and The Mews developments in Manchester, both marketed through The apartments for sale range in price from £116,450 to £152,150 and are available with a 15% discount for off-plan purchasers.

3. Look for areas of economic growth and regeneration. In 2008, property forecasters are expecting Scotland to experience the UK’s greatest property price rises due to economic prosperity from high oil prices. The good news for investors is that Scotland is currently one of the most affordable places in the UK with investment property for sale at prices almost one-third less than the national average. With its great transport links and history, Aberdeen is full of potential for investors. Gavin Bain & Co currently holds a wide range of properties in the area from £68,500 to £450,000, including a two-bedroom apartment in Candlemakers Lane for £165,000. Some forecasters also highlight Northern Ireland as a good prospect for property investors. Northern Ireland has been enjoying a period of considerable investment and regeneration and there is a wide range of investment property for sale. Ireland’s property finder,, is currently marketing over 800 properties with something to suit all budgets. Among these are several 5-bedroom character properties in the university area of Belfast for around £350,000 each.

4. Areas of high rental accommodation need. Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds are all enjoying a period of regeneration with many new property developments and business investment. All three cities have good transport links and thriving business and university populations with a great need for rental accommodation. In the fashionable Ancoats area of Manchester, the Ellesmere Property Group is offering 17% discounts to off-plan purchasers of apartments in the cutting-edge Ingenta development. Within the development there are 30 properties for sale with gross prices starting at £181,260. In Liverpool, investment property for sale includes a number of trendy one-bedroom warehouse flats in Cornwallis Street L1, marketed from £120,000 to £140,000 on the website. In Leeds, Your Move is currently listing a five-bedroom terrace for £149,995 in the Holbeck area, which is the latest area of focus for reinvigoration. Prices in this area are expected to see dramatic price increases over the next five years.

5. Go to auction. According to the Sunday Times, “90% of cheap property is sold at auctions”. In the current UK property market, houses that are in need of modernisation are being snapped up quicker than those in pristine condition. Due to the growing popularity of auctions there are now companies that will keep you up to date with the latest auctions for a small subscription fee. These include IPDS whose website,, also has handy step-by-step guides to buying investment property for sale through auctions. Several other websites that list auctions can be found on

This summary shows you just a taste of investment property for sale in the UK right now. Using careful research and good timing, there are still some great investments to be found.

Author: Damian Qualter

About the Author:

Interested in investing in buying property? Look for great opportunities at

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London Apartments: Top 5 Travel Tips During Downturn!

Credit crunch, downturn, really is all doom and gloom everywhere you look. Seriously, you are probably considering staying at home under the bed covers every day. This is understandable in the short term, but unfortunately, it is a depressing way to live and live you must! But, there is good news amongst all this bad news. Prices have dropped in London and all companies are bending over backwards for your business. We have compiled a few tips for travellers seeking to visit London economically and have a great time.

Shop 'til you drop

Take advantage of the drop in sterling and visit London to buy your Christmas presents. At time of press the pound was 1.55 against the dollar, so if you are a traveller from the US, there is rich pickings, especially luxury goods like handbags and designer clothes. Even the sterling is dropping against the euro, so European and Middle East travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding bargains. The sales have started already and it is only October.

Hotels Accommodation

Hotels are slashing prices by at least 20% so it is worth shopping around. I find a great directory to find all the latest hotel promotions. Also don't be afraid to call the hotel directly and negotiate, during a downturn everything is negotiable. Many hotels offer promotions such as stay for 3 nights and pay for 2, or free breakfast with weekend stays.

London Serviced Apartments

Serviced London apartments are a really cost effective choice of accommodation, even when compared to hotel promotional rates. For example, if a 4 star hotel rate is £140 per night for a double room which works out to be £70 per person. Whilst a one bedroom apartment at the rate of £150 per night and can accommodate up to 3 people, so that is only £50 per person. You will also enjoy more space with a separate bedroom, lounge and kitchen.

For families, it is even more of a good value choice. For example, an average two bedroom apartment is £220 per night so that is £44 per person for 5 people staying.

Apart from just price, serviced apartments are better value, ensure that your group can enjoy more living space and save money by cooking your own meals.


The price of oil has dropped now to a more realistic level, so the price of flights has reflected this. When in London, it is best to open an oyster card and top up for daily travel this is much cheaper than paying by cash, in fact it is half price. Visit

Or you can purchase one day or family travel cards. Another way to save cost is using a taxi sharing service. This service is available at a taxi rank in Paddington station.

Eating out on a budget

One of the best ways to find deals in restaurants and bars in London is to search on At the moment, there are 2 for 1 promotions, or hefty discounts to entice diners.

So, as you can see it is not all bad news at all. There are so many bargains this autumn/winter, travelling to London is much cheaper than ever.

Author: Binh Zientek

About the Author:
Binh Zientek Accommodation Specialist offering serviced apartments in London and throughout UK cities and Europe. Tel: +44 (0)20 7476 7963 Official Company Websites:

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Investing in UK Property Requires Careful Planning

It is true that careful planning and foresight fullness is required for doing investments. But it is also true that knowledge of investment just needs a little study and financial research. Some people are scared of doing investment due to lack of knowledge. Some people think they don’t require it. But, nowadays many people are utilizing investment solutions UK for having a prosperous future.

Investing in UK land is an opportunity for investors to get astronomical returns with very little downside risks. It does not usually require big chunks of money like conventional property market, where investors require financing through banks. Today, there are number of lands for sale, companies serving smaller investors select plots or land to buy, and investments typically start at about $10,000. There is a serious housing crisis in UK right now and government is implementing housing development programs which will effectively force local authorities to meet strict new housing targets resulting in chance for rise in return on investments from UK Land. These factors have combined to make it possible for common investors to get high returns on his investments.

Many overseas investors are looking at the potential for investing in UK land. Land ownership in the UK can give high returns, and also offers low risk, making it a solid investment for long-term capital gains. Investing in UK land is considered as a good investment because of simple supply and demand. With demand for land higher than ever for the construction works it's leading more investors to invest in the UK land. The main reasons for the growth are the demand for about 3,500,000 new homes over the next 15 years. 90% of the houses in UK are un-affordable for first time buyers. The demand for new homes has increased by 35% and house building rates has been dropped by 55%. Average number of new homes built per hectare has increased from 25 to 40.

While investing in UK land one should watch for the scam artist and seek for the established companies. Investing in UK land is all about planning and finding the right location because if one does not get the right location, then the profits can be stunning. UK property is becoming saving and investment option for more and more people and it is attracting a lot of investors who are looking for the option of great investment opportunities. There are few factors that have made investing in UK a brave decision. House markets are being driven higher as a growing number of people are seeking to invest their money in property which is considered as the most secure type of investment. Property investing in the UK is a lucrative endeavor, but if you don't feel too confident about being able to do it, finding an experienced property investor that can guide you through the deal.

Author: Article Manager

About the Author:

There should be a right plan for Investing in UK Property that can help to find right places in Investing in Yorkshire and various places in UK.

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