Going to London. Advice?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Fugue, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. Fugue macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    #1
    So I'm going to London in a few weeks for 4 days. What are places I must absolutely visit? Good eats? Weather in January? Any advice/suggestions, throw them at me!
     
  2. MasterHowl macrumors 65816

    MasterHowl

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    North of England
    #2
    Buy a small tube map! It's an absolute must :)

    I'd visit the Natural History Museum if I were you :) I went for the day last week and it was AMAZING. Absolutely mind blowing. It's also free!

    Enjoy
     
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #3
    Board in a central location and walk around. It's very walkable.
     
  4. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #4
    Portrait Gallery for sure. Find one of the those old double-decker buses, and use the back open platform - ride up top. Weather is going to be wet, probably.... don't wear cotton socks. Stay somewhere central, and walk everywhere. Have lunch in a pub. Find the open street market (name escapes me - but it is near or on Nottinghill). Visit Trafalgar Square. If you are Canadian, visit Canada House. Go shopping at Liberty - then read up on it's history. Go shopping at Harrods.

    Then on your 2nd day...... :D

    If you like spy novels by John le Carre, take the TTSP walking tour. Very Cool.

    Take a river boat tour down the Thames, to Greenwich and tour the observatory. Back in London, walk along the Thames and visit the Tower.

    etc

    etc etc
     
  5. Benbikeman macrumors 6502a

    Benbikeman

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Location:
    London, England
    #5
    No need for a paper tube-map :)
    http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/london-journey-planner/id331874333?mt=8
    It's a really easy way to find your way around.

    But Boris Bikes are the best way to explore London - look out for docking stations like this:
    http://www.agreenerfestival.com/blog/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Boris-Bikes3.jpg
    They are designed for short-term hire, and get more expensive after the first hour, so just get them for up to an hour, have a wander then get another one.

    The standard tourist sites will be covered all over the web, so won't repeat those, but for Tower Bridge you can see the lift times (when it opens) here:
    http://www.towerbridge.org.uk/TBE/EN/BridgeLiftTimes/
    It's usually at least once a day, though the site often only lists a few days ahead.

    Avoid Oxford Street - it's horribly crowded and only has chain stores in the main.

    I live here, so any specific questions, feel free to ask.
     
  6. lovish macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    #6
    Try some soccer club cafe's and rather then wasting ur time in art galeries and museums check out the streets and their flea markets... :D

    Love is eternal - Albus dumbledore
     
  7. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #7
    the wobbly bridge......St Pauls at one end, the Tate Modern at the other and the Thames river in between
     
  8. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #8
    Ensure that you padlock any bags you'll be carrying with you.
     
  9. Benbikeman macrumors 6502a

    Benbikeman

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Location:
    London, England
    #9
    Millenium Bridge, but sadly it isn't wobbly any more.
     
  10. rovex macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    #10
    That'd be necessary for somewhere like Glasgow I would of thought. :)
     
  11. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #11
    Only if you go to the East End, and as long as you carry some sort of long-range weapon you'll be safe enough.
     
  12. acidfast7 macrumors 65816

    acidfast7

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    EU
    #12
  13. 184550 Guest

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #13
    Took the words out my mouth. Thought I still recommend a ride on the Tube for the hell of it.

    If you enjoy history and don't already know a bit about the Tower of London, I'd recommend reading up on it and then visiting while you're there. (Though I suppose you could say about London in general. :p )
     
  14. borisiii macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    #14
    As a local I don't really visit the tourist attractions (or at least haven't visited many for years) so I'll leave them for others to recommend.

    For getting around, an Oyster card is essential. You don't need (or want) a car, and you will pay way over the odds for your transport if you don't have an oyster card - you pay a £5 deposit for the card, which you can get back by returning it once you are finished with it. Lots of Americans seem to have something against public transport (apologies if you aren't American!), but at least in London it is efficient, safe, and 24h. Everyone uses it, and it is generally the cheapest and fastest way of getting around the city centre.

    Weather will be cold and rainy but mostly above freezing. Snow is unlikely - and if it does fall, it won't last.

    For upmarket shopping head to Mayfair and new Bond Street (Green Park tube). For major international chains and lots of flagship stores, Oxford Street and Regent Street (Oxford Circus tube). Harrods and Fortnum & Mason are also good for luxury items.

    As far as restaurants are concerned, there are many excellent ones - far too many to name, so details on where you are staying and what you are into would be useful. Restaurants nearest to tourist attractions are usually overpriced and disappointing; if you go a few streets back you will likely find places that are cheaper and better.

    Crime is minimal, and if you keep your wits about you (i.e. don't flash cash about, don't put valuables in your back pockets in busy areas etc.) it won't be a problem. I have lived here all my life, and I have never been pickpocketed or had anything stolen. Once someone tried to mug me, but I just beat him up.

    If you have an iPad and want a data plan, all 5 major phone providers will give you a free sim with a one-month no-contract package. You can get 1GB from £7.50, and 10GB for around £25. 3G is fast and almost universally present, and access to maps is useful since if you are used to cities in grids, London will confuse the hell out of you.

    Let us know where you are staying and what you are and aren't into, and you might get some more specific/useful tips. Plus, as a resident I'm happy to answer other specific questions you may have.

    Oh, and don't get stabbed. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/dec/26/man-stabbed-death-oxford-street?intcmp=239
     
  15. Fugue thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    #15
    The tips so far have been excellent, thank you!

    A little more information about my trip:

    I will be staying at this hotel (The Tower): http://www.guoman.com/en/hotels/united_kingdom/london/the_tower/index.html

    Anyone know much about it?

    Also, I will be bringing my iPhone 4S with me, and I am very interested in that no-contract sim. I am currently on Verizon here in the US, so I have never used a sim before. But I do know that the 4S does have a slot for one. How does that work?
     
  16. borisiii macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    #16
    http://store.three.co.uk/SIM_Only/iPhone_Micro_SIM

    This is the best deal for an iPhone visiting the UK. You can order online for delivery to your hotel, or pick one up in one of the many three stores. £12 will get you 300 minutes, 3000 texts, and 1GB data. £15 gets you unlimited data, and £25 gets you 2000/5000/unlimited. Remember that in the UK you pay only for calls and texts you make - receiving is free, so 300 minutes may get you more than you are used to. The sim is free, you don't need a credit card, and you don't sign up for anything. You will be set up with a UK mobile number straight away and once you are finished with the sim you can just throw it away.
     
  17. Benbikeman macrumors 6502a

    Benbikeman

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Location:
    London, England
    #17
    A nice hotel, and perfectly located. Cross the bridge and turn right for a lovely riverside walk along the South Bank that will take in City Hall, the National Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall and the London Eye. Cross over Westminster Bridge (first bridge after the Eye) for Big Ben. Walk across Parliament Square to St James' Park for Pall Mall and Buckingham Palace.

    As Boris says, there are no charges for incoming calls here, but bear in mind anyone calling you will need your UK number and will be paying international rates.
     
  18. neiltc13, Dec 27, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011

    neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #18
    Don't pay money for a tube map! They are available from all London Underground stations for free, and are regularly updated.

    When I visit London I never bother with an Oyster card. I always just get a travelcard - it seems they offer a Zone 1-2 travelcard for £29.20 now that will last for 7 days. This gives you unlimited travel on the Underground in central London for a whole week - once you buy one of these you will not pay for another journey on the tube for your whole visit.

    On one day, I highly recommend getting a tour from this company. If you can get on one of their buses with a live tour guide it is a real treat as they are all very knowledgeable, and the buses go on nice routes around the city. It's a little pricy, but worth doing instead of staying underground the whole time where you will see nothing but some very rude people.

    The London Eye is definitely worth paying for as it's the best way to see the whole city and if you haven't been on an observation wheel before that is a real treat.

    I also really enjoyed the BBC television centre tour, although if you are not familiar with UK TV then this might not be of much interest.

    Do not visit Madame Tussauds. It is overpriced and not very interesting, and it is always very, very busy. Definitely not worth queueing for.
     
  19. borisiii macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    #19
    Travelcards can be useful as they allow unlimited travel on all London transport in addition to the underground (buses, DLR, Tramlink, National Rail), although only day TCs are issued as a paper ticket. Since a few years ago, longer term TCs including 7-day must be applied to an oyster card. Furthermore, OP said he is going for 4 days, meaning that he is better off using oyster pay as you go; assuming he does not travel during peak hours (7:30am to 9:30am on weekdays), the daily oyster rate for zones 1-2 (central London and many surrounding areas) is capped at £7, so the maximum he would spend over four days is £28, and may be less depending on the number of journeys made. Either way, OP will need an oyster card.

    Also, out of curiosity, is there a story behind your rude people comment? Londoners are nice enough, but you really shouldn't expect people to be friendly on the tube. On the underground everyone just stands quietly and avoids eye contact with strangers. Anyone failing to do this will be regarded with suspicion and occasionally hostility. Friends of mine from outside London always tell me how they tried to make idle chat with someone, or ask them the time or something while on the underground and are surprised when people seem taken aback or dismissive when spoken to... :D
     
  20. Fazzy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Location:
    check the tracking device
    #20
    visit the london eye- you can see all of london from up there. Also, the natural science and history museum (both free entry) and the national library if thats your thing. And make sure you check out the big train stations, such as liverpool street, london victoria (pretty cool architecture) and ride on the underground. Its nothing fancy down there but it is world famous, and the only viable way to get around Central london:D
     
  21. rovex macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    #21
    ^^^^There's no need to fret after the Oxford street stabbing, it only concerned two gangs/groups of friends from the south of the river as with most stabbing incidents in London.

    Mind you, the media hyperbole is also deceptive and defies reality.
     
  22. davidjearly macrumors 68020

    davidjearly

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #22
    I think you'll find the South of Glasgow is much worse than the East. ;)
     
  23. NutsNGum macrumors 68030

    NutsNGum

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #23
    Being a Southsider, I politefully disagree!
     
  24. ct2k7 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Location:
    City of London
    #24
    Brixton. Visit Brixton and Leyton. Maybe a bit of Seven Sisters as well :p
     
  25. anjinha macrumors 604

    anjinha

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #25
    Don't call chips "chips"!!! They're crisps! I made that mistake once and I got yelled at. :p:D
     

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