Vacation in London

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 19, 2012 8:33 PM GMT
    Hello fellow RJ members, I was hoping I could get a couple of tips. I am going to be in London from the 3rd until the 7th of January in London. This is my first time in Europe and I am completely lost as to what to do or where to go. I think I'm mainly interested in museums and cultural venues, possibly a little bit of shopping. I haven't booked lodging yet because I'm also not sure where the most convenient place would be, I'll probably end up reserving something on airbnb.com as I'd rather not spend that much money, so any tips on that would be welcome too.

    Also, weather, I'm expecting cold and dampness?

    Vacation buddy would be nice too maybe?

    Thanks!
  • Suetonius

    Posts: 1842

    Dec 20, 2012 5:43 AM GMT
    Could be very cold and damp. Get a copy of Timeout when you get there - lists everything going on in London for a week -also reviews shows.

    Former posting - see: http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2496123

    also search on London
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 20, 2012 5:50 AM GMT
    i think wikitravel has everything so just study it

    http://wikitravel.org/en/London

    go for high tea to get the traditional british experience. british food is horrendous so just do indian food (the best in the world). eat british desserts (the best in the world this time) such as pudding (try all flavors!). have fun!
  • seafrontbloke

    Posts: 300

    Dec 26, 2012 10:43 PM GMT
    Hi Communication

    Hope you enjoy your trip here.

    1) Wet and Cold - bring a good coat.

    2) Culture - London (though I say so myself, is one of the best cities in the world for this. The main London museums, British Museum, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, National Gallery, Tate Gallery, Tate Modern, National Portrait Gallery are all free entry.

    There are day tickets available at the Royal Opera and the English National Opera.

    3) Food - this british food is horrendous - is untrue. It may have been correct in the 50s and 60s after WWII but many of the best restaurants in the world are in London. being a cosmopolitan city you can pretty much get any cuisine you like.


  • GWriter

    Posts: 1446

    Dec 27, 2012 12:54 AM GMT
    For lodging (if it's not too late) I highly recommend Base2Stay in Kensington. Very tiny, but modern, efficient, and clean rooms at a very reasonable price. And two blocks from the Kensington subway station!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2012 1:10 AM GMT
    Go to Borough Market for coffee and cake! It's a dream of a farmers market

    http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/


    Go to the Tate Modern for culture and architecture

    http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern

    For hip area go to the Hoxton Square area

    http://www.londontown.com/LondonStreets/hoxton_square_9b3.html/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2012 1:49 AM GMT
    I've been to London loads of times and these are my favourite places:
    1) Covent Garden(shopping mainly)
    2)National Gallery
    3)British Museum
    4)Westminster Cathedral(you've got to pay to go in, but it's worth it, I promise)
    5) a stroll along the Southbank
    6)Camden market (awesome in a sunny day, although I dont' think u'll get it)
    7)Shoreditch for a night out

    And go and see a musical. That's a must in London, although prices will be high(Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Billy Elliot etc.)

    And there's a lot more to see in London
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2012 1:50 AM GMT
    And New Bond Street is where the high class shops are. It's worth window shopping there.
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    Dec 27, 2012 1:54 AM GMT
    Italian_Stallion saidAnd New Bond Street is where the high class shops are. It's worth window shopping there.


    Yup there too, and stop in for tea at Claridges
  • GWriter

    Posts: 1446

    Dec 27, 2012 2:03 AM GMT
    Agree about Westminster Abbey. It's breath-taking.

    And don't forget Harrod's!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2012 2:16 AM GMT
    Take a walk along the South Bank of the Thames from Vauxhall Bridge to Tower Bridge. It is about a 3 hour walk (plus stops), but packed with interest and you'll get to see most of London's landmark buildings (on the opposite side of the Thames).

    There are a lot of high end shops in Knightsbridge, which are worth looking at, even if most ordinary people cannot afford to shop there. Oxford Street is the main shopping area, though generally more impressive in volume than in style.

    The weather could be anything from cold and bright to mild and wet, so be prepared.

    London is a great walking city and the centre is relatively compact, with something architecturally interesting around every corner, so wear some comfortable shoes and walk as much as you can.

    As for accommodation, you should be able to get something pretty central and hotel-like for less than $300 (inc taxes) for 4 nights. Try this site:
    http://www.lastminute.com

    Have fun and let us know how it went.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2012 2:30 AM GMT
    Four things I always do whenever I'm in London:

    1) Tate Modern Musum- My tastes tend toward modern art and the collections are always changing, so it's a new experience every time. http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern

    2) The Tower of London - That never changes, but it's such an integral part of British history, I'm drawn to it over and over. Plus, the Royal jewels are stunning. http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon

    3) Eat Indian food - it's amazing.

    4) Eat pub grub - that's more difficult since many of the traditional pubs became gastropubs, but you can still find a few pubs with old-fashioned pub faire.

    I'd give recommendations on 3 & 4, but I lived in Kensington and always stay there when I go back, so my go-to places are pretty neighbourhood specific.
  • Suetonius

    Posts: 1842

    Dec 27, 2012 6:54 AM GMT
    Try Lolndon Walks
    http://www.walks.com/
    guided walking tours in areas of London - The Best guides - very well informed about the history of the area. Inexpensive.
    Quite a few to choose from - Especially good: the nighttime "Jack the Ripper" walk, stops where many of the murders took place; A walk through Greenwich,(Including a boat trip down the Thames)

    Also, visit Churchill's bunker, from where the war was conducted. Preserved as it was during the blitz.
    http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/churchill-war-rooms/directions

    For a walk through late 18th to 19th century London, take the tube to Hampstead, and walk north on Holly Hill to Admiral's Walk. After a walk, near the tube station, is Louis' (32 Heath Street) an old fashioned tea coffee and pastry place - just as it was 50 years ago - not cheap - but the real thing.

    Take a train to Richmond (short ride) to visit Henry VIII's palace, Hampton Court.
  • kew1

    Posts: 1595

    Dec 27, 2012 10:22 AM GMT
    Suetonius said

    Take a train to Richmond (short ride) to visit Henry VIII's palace, Hampton Court.


    Better off going to Kingston (about 1.5 mile walk) or Hampton Court stations , Richmond's about 4-5 miles away. Teddington station would be OK with a pleasant (though probably muddy) walk through Bushey Park.

    Italian_Stallion saidI

    And go and see a musical. That's a must in London, although prices will be high(Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Billy Elliot etc.)



    http://www.tkts.co.uk/leicester-square/
  • training_guy

    Posts: 270

    Dec 27, 2012 10:27 AM GMT
    Bring a good coat! (I'm freezing!) but when in town walk everywhere, you see so much more and realise how close everything is!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2012 10:39 AM GMT
    The only thing I'll add is make sure you visit the Saatchi gallery. They have some interesting art there and the building itself is gorgeous with a nice bar next door.

    I 2nd watching a show while your there. You have to it's London ! icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2012 10:52 AM GMT
    I lived there for several years before moving back home. if you're a culture and food person, here's what i'd do

    Culture

    Museums - there are way too many to cover in four days. the must sees for me are the British Museum (where you could easily spend two or three days) and the natural history museum (as much for the architecture as for what's inside). There's lots more, of course, so pick and choose depending on what you like.

    Music - if you like the opera, there's the national opera. the camden area has a very nice independent live music scene

    Theatre and musicals - The west end is full of it. check timeout london (magazine or online) to see what's on. i didnt see as much as i should have, but i've seen les mis, and it was good. there's a lot of really famous ones like wicked, billy elliot, etc.

    Food

    Being indian, and a complete foodie myself, I can offer up some recommendations. There's a restaurant called Tayyab's in Whitechapel that is bloody brilliant for what most people in the UK think of as indian food (which is essentially Punjabi food). There is also a hidden gem called Ragam on Cleaveland Road just next to the BT tower that serves south indian cuisine (ask for a masala dosa, and tell them to make it crisp).

    But of course, you don't want to restrict yourself to just Indian food. Save that for when you're here in india. london is a foodie's paradise. there's excellent ethiopian to be had on caledonian road, excellent middle eastern to be had around edgeware road, and so on.

    Foodie heaven, to me, is the sunday afternoon upmarket at Brick Lane. Its essentially an alternative fashion clothes market, but it has a section devoted to food, and there's lovely food from around the world. the ethiopian and moroccan stalls are my favourite. And clothes shopping at the up market isnt that bad either, though its turning pricey.

    Do make it a point to have 'high tea'. there is nothing more sinfully enjoyable than good british tea (which, of course, is either from assam or darjeeling, so indian teas, but made in the british way) with scones. Most high end hotels do it, but they charge a bombshell. my favourite place that specialises in high tea is bea's of bloomsbury. its a small delightful little shop, and they do all sorts of wonderful deserts as well.

    Also, the weekend markets are great places for food. my favourite market for food was the borough market - best to go early on a saturday morning. the cheeses, the chocolates, the cheesecakes... lovely.

    shopping

    There's two kinds of shopping in london, really. there's the high street shopping, which would include oxford street, new bond street, the westfield mall, etc. then there's the weekend market shopping, which is by far more enjoyable. my favourite was the sunday camden market, but that's because i lived there. brick lane is good on sundays, then there's the portobello road market.



    Have fun! london's a lovely place, if you accept it for what it is!
  • aznmtl

    Posts: 137

    Dec 27, 2012 11:08 AM GMT
    The SOHO hotel is my favourite! It's also perfectly located!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2012 11:20 AM GMT
    I've been to London twice, back in 2006 for 1 day via Paris and 4 days back in 2010 via Rome.

    Be prepare for the cold weather, take the tube/train from the airport/Heathrow, it's usually very convenience. Lodging might be expensive, my ex and I paid about $300 just for 3 nights there in a bed and breakfast hotel close to Notting Hill. Just search around on the net.

    Some sights and stuff I've seen there:

    . Red bus tour (will take you all over London).
    . Westminster Abbey
    . Notting Hill area / Portobello Rd
    . I signed up for a Rock and Roll/Beatles tour (1 of those red buses)
    . Take the boat tour on the Thames
    . British Museum / Tate Modern / Tate Britain
    . There is a gay area? I think it's SoHo? very trendy, close to Chinatown (which I also recommend).
    . Trafalgar square
    . London Bridge
    . Tower of London
    . As far as food, you get a lot of pubs over there and Indian restaurants and Chinese food. Try any really, they're good.

    (I bought a Gay guide Out in London and also a Top 10 London, read those first, you will learn much more about the city before you arrive and oh yeah EXCHANGE your money to the British Pounds before you leave, it will make life so much easier when you have cash in hand instead of running around looking for a bank).

  • runningjoe

    Posts: 2

    Dec 27, 2012 1:18 PM GMT
    Have a fantastic time in London. I hope you like our city - I think it's the best city in the world.

    Here are a few other things people haven't mentioned yet:

    - Hire a Boris bike and cycle round Central London. They're the blue pay-as-you-go bikes. They're £1 rental for 24 hours, and the first half an hour each time you cycle is free. They're in hundreds of docking points across the centre of London. I'd hire one and go for a cycle round Hyde Park.

    - The parks. A third of London is covered by green space. Go for a run or a walk around some of the parks. Regents Park and St James's are my
    favourites, and St James's is right by Buckingham Palace.

    - On a Sunday morning go east and check out three street markets: Columbia Road; Brick Lane; and Spitalfields. Start at Columbia Road. It's a flower market that's only open from 8-2 on Sundays. The road is packed with proper cockney flower sellers and the shops at the side of the road are essentially houses that have been turned into shops. There are some good cafes there for coffee and bacon sandwiches. Brick Lane was mentioned by someone else but it's London's trendy market. There's good food, too. At the bottom end of Brick Lane cross the road and you're at Spitalfields.

    - Nearly all of London's museums and galleries have free entry. The British Museum has an incredible collection of ancient artefacts, and the Tate Modern (on the south bank of the river in a converted power station) has some amazing modern art. You'll need to pay for the special shows but the main collections are all free.

    - Don't believe what you hear about British food. It's more diverse
    and eclectic than any other city, except perhaps New York. Borough Market is a great farmer's market. It's on the south bank of the Thames by London Bridge tube. It's having some work done at the moment so is smaller than usual but is a good place to stroll on a Saturday morning. There's great coffee at Monmouth Coffee at the market.

    - Finally, buy an Oyster card. It gets you cheaper fares on all tubes and buses. You can get one at any tube station, incl at Heathrow.

    Have a great time.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2012 4:20 PM GMT
    I'm a tiny bit overwhelmed with options right now, but I appreciate everyone's input, I managed to find cheap lodging close to the tube on airbnb.com in South London. I'm equals parts nervous and excited about traveling by myself in Europe for the first time but I'm sure I'll have an awesome time in London!

    Thanks everyone!

  • seafrontbloke

    Posts: 300

    Dec 28, 2012 11:25 AM GMT
    A small addendum - Afternoon Tea - fantastic experience but expensive (and you'll probably need a jacket and tie for Claridges) Book in advance - weeks in advance!

    Borough Market - there's a shop there called "the Wine Pantry" It only sells English Wine (and can do it by the glass to drink there)

    As good as if not better than Champagne. (and my family's wine is sold there Meonhill)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 29, 2012 11:37 PM GMT
    sitr7 saidI lived there for several years before moving back home. if you're a culture and food person, here's what i'd do

    Culture

    Museums - there are way too many to cover in four days. the must sees for me are the British Museum (where you could easily spend two or three days) and the natural history museum (as much for the architecture as for what's inside). There's lots more, of course, so pick and choose depending on what you like.

    Music - if you like the opera, there's the national opera. the camden area has a very nice independent live music scene

    Theatre and musicals - The west end is full of it. check timeout london (magazine or online) to see what's on. i didnt see as much as i should have, but i've seen les mis, and it was good. there's a lot of really famous ones like wicked, billy elliot, etc.

    Food

    Being indian, and a complete foodie myself, I can offer up some recommendations. There's a restaurant called Tayyab's in Whitechapel that is bloody brilliant for what most people in the UK think of as indian food (which is essentially Punjabi food). There is also a hidden gem called Ragam on Cleaveland Road just next to the BT tower that serves south indian cuisine (ask for a masala dosa, and tell them to make it crisp).

    But of course, you don't want to restrict yourself to just Indian food. Save that for when you're here in india. london is a foodie's paradise. there's excellent ethiopian to be had on caledonian road, excellent middle eastern to be had around edgeware road, and so on.

    Foodie heaven, to me, is the sunday afternoon upmarket at Brick Lane. Its essentially an alternative fashion clothes market, but it has a section devoted to food, and there's lovely food from around the world. the ethiopian and moroccan stalls are my favourite. And clothes shopping at the up market isnt that bad either, though its turning pricey.

    Do make it a point to have 'high tea'. there is nothing more sinfully enjoyable than good british tea (which, of course, is either from assam or darjeeling, so indian teas, but made in the british way) with scones. Most high end hotels do it, but they charge a bombshell. my favourite place that specialises in high tea is bea's of bloomsbury. its a small delightful little shop, and they do all sorts of wonderful deserts as well.

    Also, the weekend markets are great places for food. my favourite market for food was the borough market - best to go early on a saturday morning. the cheeses, the chocolates, the cheesecakes... lovely.

    shopping

    There's two kinds of shopping in london, really. there's the high street shopping, which would include oxford street, new bond street, the westfield mall, etc. then there's the weekend market shopping, which is by far more enjoyable. my favourite was the sunday camden market, but that's because i lived there. brick lane is good on sundays, then there's the portobello road market.



    Have fun! london's a lovely place, if you accept it for what it is!


    That's not true the UK eats loads of south indian and quite a bit of gujurati food too.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 29, 2012 11:40 PM GMT
    karson said
    sitr7 saidI lived there for several years before moving back home. if you're a culture and food person, here's what i'd do

    Culture

    Museums - there are way too many to cover in four days. the must sees for me are the British Museum (where you could easily spend two or three days) and the natural history museum (as much for the architecture as for what's inside). There's lots more, of course, so pick and choose depending on what you like.

    Music - if you like the opera, there's the national opera. the camden area has a very nice independent live music scene

    Theatre and musicals - The west end is full of it. check timeout london (magazine or online) to see what's on. i didnt see as much as i should have, but i've seen les mis, and it was good. there's a lot of really famous ones like wicked, billy elliot, etc.

    Food

    Being indian, and a complete foodie myself, I can offer up some recommendations. There's a restaurant called Tayyab's in Whitechapel that is bloody brilliant for what most people in the UK think of as indian food (which is essentially Punjabi food). There is also a hidden gem called Ragam on Cleaveland Road just next to the BT tower that serves south indian cuisine (ask for a masala dosa, and tell them to make it crisp).

    But of course, you don't want to restrict yourself to just Indian food. Save that for when you're here in india. london is a foodie's paradise. there's excellent ethiopian to be had on caledonian road, excellent middle eastern to be had around edgeware road, and so on.

    Foodie heaven, to me, is the sunday afternoon upmarket at Brick Lane. Its essentially an alternative fashion clothes market, but it has a section devoted to food, and there's lovely food from around the world. the ethiopian and moroccan stalls are my favourite. And clothes shopping at the up market isnt that bad either, though its turning pricey.

    Do make it a point to have 'high tea'. there is nothing more sinfully enjoyable than good british tea (which, of course, is either from assam or darjeeling, so indian teas, but made in the british way) with scones. Most high end hotels do it, but they charge a bombshell. my favourite place that specialises in high tea is bea's of bloomsbury. its a small delightful little shop, and they do all sorts of wonderful deserts as well.

    Also, the weekend markets are great places for food. my favourite market for food was the borough market - best to go early on a saturday morning. the cheeses, the chocolates, the cheesecakes... lovely.

    shopping

    There's two kinds of shopping in london, really. there's the high street shopping, which would include oxford street, new bond street, the westfield mall, etc. then there's the weekend market shopping, which is by far more enjoyable. my favourite was the sunday camden market, but that's because i lived there. brick lane is good on sundays, then there's the portobello road market.



    Have fun! london's a lovely place, if you accept it for what it is!


    That's not true the UK eats loads of south indian and quite a bit of gujurati food too.

    Haha.. So we are going to fight here too about North Indian and South Indian things. icon_lol.gif
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Dec 29, 2012 11:51 PM GMT
    Doesn't the BBC have weather on the web? That would give you an idea of what is going on.