By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: After the holidays, many of our friends are planning a trip to the Caribbean or otherwise staying closer to home. We've been to London years ago but that trip was in the summer. I'm considering a visit there in the next few weeks with my wife and wish to know if there are any deals.

A: London's got Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and bargoons after Christmas. According to a report published in International Travel Daily News, Britain is expecting growth in 2004 especially during shoulder season periods which it attributes is driven by a growing demand from `empty nesters."

Harley Nott of Coach House London Vacation Rentals in London says, "After all the hard work of Christmas, the most important lady in your life needs a rest and a treat. Take her to London." Nott describes his company as the "leading specialist in short term central London rentals." "Most rental properties are from Londoners temporarily away so you'll have the informality, warmth and convenience of a real home rather than the stiffness of a hotel or the impersonality of a serviced apartment."

With over 60 properties accommodating 2 to 12 people per unit, the rental company is currently providing 20% discounts of its London units in January and February.

Price includes a greeter who'll meet you at the temporary abode, a 24-hour helpline for all of your London-related questions, a neighborhood mini-guide, a London Planner travel guide as well as a breakfast starter pack. For more details visit

Once in London, you might wish to check out the following special events: Until May 2, 2004, the Victoria and Albert Museum has the work of one of Britain's most influential fashion designers, Ossie Clark, on display. Famous for flowing silouettes, summer shirt dresses and the floating daisy dress and coat, Ossie Clark's many designs will be easily recognizable.

Known as the greatest Russian jeweller and goldsmith of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Peter Carl Faberge took his inspiration from antiquities and from Arte Nouveau, breathed life into an old form and transformed jewelery making into a new art. Three hundred of his unique handmade designs are currently on view at the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace until March 7, 2004.


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All text & photos 2004.