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Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by ----Bowie----, Feb 19, 2006.
taking the chance that you mean London, UK and not London, Ontario... [who wants to go to London, Ontario anyway ] a good hotel in London would be the Victoria Park Plaza, it's right by the Victoria station so going anywhere is easy, you can even catch a train down to Brighton if you desire... To see in London... hmm.. the British Museum is great [I love museums ] or just walking around and looking at people, also go to Westminster to look at all the tombs [like Isaac Newton's] or the London tower to look at all the torture devices... to think of it, all those time I lived in London and I've never been to those locations except the British museums [Like living in Ottawa and never been to Parliament Hill]
There were a few threads on London trips last year. One particularly long one with hotel recommendations for Chipnovomac amongst others.
Have a hunt through those... or you might have to wait til the UK crowd have woken up in the morning since it's past midnight here now.
Hey, London Ontario is great stuff! They've got a Best Buy and quite a few places to eat...(my mum loves visiting there because a lot of people seem to think I go to school there).
As for hotels, my family seems to like the Royal National in Russell Square. They tend to generally get a decent price and for location, you can't beat it.
As for things to do...can you be more specific in where your interests may lie? There is an excellent cocktail bar in Covent Garden called Freud's...a wee bit expensive, but I highly recommend it! Chinatown is always a classic place to visit, and there is a Chinese bakery right on Gerrard St at the corner where it meets with Wardour St that I suggest infinitely. If you walk up Wardour St from there a bit, there's a great Thai restaurant called Busaba that has excellent food for the price! There's always the touristy things as lemon's already suggested, and taking a look at Tower Bridge and the area around it is never a bad idea.
As for theatre shows, if you've not seen the Lion King yet, it's one of those things that you shouldn't miss! Or if you're into something a bit different, Blue Man Group just opened on Drury Lane. Another classic thing to do is just take a walk down Oxford St and Regent St to look at the stores (and you can see London's Apple Store by doing this). If you're up for shopping and are looking for a more indoor experience, there's the Whiteley's Shopping Centre in Bayswater. And the markets are always interesting too: Camden Market and Portobello Road Market being personal favourites.
If you figure out what area you'll be based out of, it'll be much easier to suggest things As right now, you've basically got a lot of suggestions from around my area here.
I hope you have a great time in London, as has been said before let us know what you are interested in and then we can target our suggestions. In the meantime here are a few ideas.
First of all be prepared for the high prices. The UK is more expensive than the North America and especially so for London. First of all the markets are good so try to get to either Portobello Market on Saturday or Camden market on Sunday. If you are into food then a good choice is Borough Market. One place I would avoid is Harrods, it is overrated, trashy and full of tourists buying Harrods merchandise. It is overpriced even by London standards. Much better is Harvey Nicholls (for fashion and accessories only) or Selfridges (for everything). Neither a cheap but Selfridges in particular is worth a visit, especially for the quality cafes and restaurents. Don't miss the basement for funky stuff.
Eating & Drinking
For good quality cheap eats there is a chain of noodle shops called Wagamama's that always serves fresh quality food. There are many, many restaurants of all types. it's hard to recommend without knowing a budget or a preference so will just throw a few things your way. Indian: Bombay Brasserie has a great sunday buffet, Veeraswamys is a great and again has a great sunday buffet. Cheaper indian food is Masala Zone near Carnaby Street. There are lots of good thai and italian places. Try to avoid the commercial chains such as the Steak Houses and go for the smaller better quality establishments. If you like Lebanese or such like food then go to The Levant, a superb atmosphere (including bellydancers and hubble bubble pipes). There are some good Tapas places too, I like La Tasca in Covent garden. If you like fish then J Sheekeys is a classy and well respected place and you might rub shoulders with a few stars. For a cheaper less atmospheric option try a Sofra restaurant. There is a rack of good but cheap restaurants near Selfridges in 'St Christophers Place' which is just off Oxford St. There are plenty other more expensive options out there too
A fun thing to to, but pricey is have Afternoon Tea. The best places are the Ritz (over the top and glitzy) or Claridges (laid back class). Neither are cheap but both ooze quality - expect to pay £30-£35 in these places. Fortnum and Masons for tea is overrated so try to avoid if you can but the food hall is cool. If you like bread or pastries then try Paul in Covent Garden, a wonderful French baker in the heart of London.
I personally dislike Pubs so can't recomend any but I'm sure you will get some recomendations from people on the board. I have heard that the Lamb in Covent garden is good and has history. There are coffee places all over London but try to avoid the chains, there are plenty of good non-chain places around. of the chains I prefer Caffe nero for it's Coffee. I normally avoid staying though as the euro style coffee appears to attract euro style smokers.
Where to begin, some one mentioned the British Museum, if you like history, especially the classical era it is wonderful, especially the new courtyard with the old Britih Library in. Equally impressive are the Natural History Museum and the V&A. If you are interested I can provide links. All are free for general admission they only charge for special exhibitions. The same goes for the National Gallery in Trafalgar Sq., the National Portrait Gallery around the corner and the two Tates, Britain and Modern. Tate Modern deserves a special mention and is just an amazing place in itself. The Turbine Hall is just stunning, irrespective of what's in it.
My favorite walk is to go from Trafalgar Square down to Parliament and then walk across the bridge and turn left towards the London Eye. Get a ride on this if it's a fine day. Then keep walking down the South Bank past the Royal Festival Hall and the National Theatre. You can then walk all the way down to the Tate Modern with a series of interesting views and plenty of things to eat or buy (20 -60 mins depending on speed/distractions). Once at the Tate Modern make sure you go to the seventh floor cafe for a view across the river to St. Pauls. Once you have finished cross the Thames on the famous 'wobbly' bridge (don't worry, they fixed the wobblng) and then walk straight up to St. Pauls Cathedral. From here you can get a Tube on the Central Line back into the Oxford Circus for your visit to Oxford St and Regent St (including the Apple Store).
A warning on price again, London hotel prices are crazy and so be prepared to pay. Try to avoid paying full Rack Rate if you can. I had to get an emergency room once and ended up paying £160 for a single room in a 3* hotel, My current favourite hotels are the Chesterfield Mayfair or the Montague Gardens (http://www.chesterfieldmayfair.com/) Nothing amazing but oases of calm in a busy city with good staff. You should be able to get a good deal on them.
A mention must go to http://www.lastminute.com, it is a good site for booking quality hotels and restaurants at Bargain prices. They often have bargain four stars at sensible prices. It's a good way to get cheap restaurant deals as well.
Try to pick up a magazine called Time Out at the airport. I assume you are coming to Gatwick or Heathrow. It is a good listings magazine and often has two for one offers. It has the full theatre and events listings. Check out their site http://www.timeout.com/london/
One more thing - if you are going to Germany you might want to check out shops from Gravis, a really good German Apple reseller.
Many fine suggestions, Londoners. But one experience natives may forget to suggest to visitors is strolling in one or more of the city's great parks, especially Regents or Hyde. I wouldn't miss that, especially in Spring. As far as London department stores are concerned, I suppose I'd also pass on Harrod's but last time I was there, Liberty & Co. was still a great place to visit, even if you buy nothing. The Victoria & Albert is an incomparable museum if you are interested applied arts. The British Museum, is, well -- the British Museum. A person could burn up an entire day in any of them.
I'd also suggest buying a multiday pass on London Transport. It may not save you any money, but you'll appreciate not having to ante up for a fare each time you board the Underground or a bus.
Go to a pub and have an Aussie serve your beer.
Yeah, definitely forgot the park idea and I live 5 minutes from Regent's...*shame* Maybe since the weather's been kinda crap lately...forgot Bowie'll be visiting in March.
Good advice on the transport. I'd say definitely go for the multiday pass...it should actually save you some money if you wind up travelling during peak times. And you'll definitely want to get a travelcard ASAP...you don't want to get hit w/our insanely outrageous single fair prices. London is trying hard to get everyone to use plastic, refillable travelcards (oystercards) so the price for a single fare w/o has been hiked immensely.
For transport prices and info: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/fares-tickets/2006/downloads/tfl-fares-2006.pdf#page=12