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Subject: recommendations for summer sight seeing in London rss

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Steve H
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For 5 days, Andrea and I will be in London late July/early August. She has been a few times before, having been to the museums and West End theatres. As for me, having never been, I am asking for advice on what to see and do. Normally I am interested in places of historical reference, good food and drink, and perhaps a day trip or two outside the city proper (Cotswolds, Salisbury, etc). We would also entertain other ideas. We certainly will do our research prior to going, but would like to get feedback from others.
 
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Rachel Wolfe
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I recommend a day trip (an afternoon trip, really) to Windsor to take a castle tour. It's really an amazing place. Salisbury/Stonehenge (do both if you're going to do either) is an OK trip too, best for photography at Stonehenge if you get a nice day, and there are some great places to stop for tea in Salisbury. I also took great day trips to Oxford and Canterbury; both will require a couple of hours on the train.

In the city: I love the British Museum (the Bloomsbury/Russell Square area), it has some wonderfully unique things. And the British Library up by King's Cross/St. Pancras has the collection of illuminated manuscripts -- I haven't seen them there; I saw them when they were in their previous home at the British Museum. The Victoria & Albert Museum ("the V&A") in South Kensington/Knightsbridge has some great collections, including some wonderful William Morris/Arts&Crafts stuff. And a hall of sculpture copies, including Trajan's Column (in two parts) and Michelangelo's David.

Food: Try Wagamama (www.wagamama.com) in Covent Garden! I also like Santini's in the Grosvenor Square area (I think; only been there once, but it was reportedly Frank Sinatra's favorite spot in London), Bombay Brasserie just outside the Gloucester Road tube stop, and Le Palais du Jardins on Long Acre near Covent Garden/Piccadilly.

And I always enjoyed the touristy stuff like the Tower of London. The beefeaters are great storytellers and really make it fun for visitors, but expect the whole city to be quite crowded with tourists that time of year. If you're going to try to get theatre tickets, order them ASAP...
 
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David Tracy
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Wagamama is good! Geeze, I forgot about that place. There is just so so much to see and do in and around London. Each day must in some way involve a pub and a proper pint, I can tell ya that.

Also, the Indian food in London is not to be missed.





 
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Rachel Wolfe
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You're right about the Indian food, it's so good there that I was completely spoiled when I moved back home. Another good Indian place in London (if it's still there): Khan's in Bayswater.
 
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Melissa
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Just one link for you - http://www.walks.com/

I've done their tours the last three times I was in the UK, starting in 1989.

They run daytime and evening walking tours around London, with fantastic guides who really are well-versed in their special subject.

One of our favourites was the Spies' and Spycatchers' London (2.30pm on Saturdays) - the ghost walks and pub walks are also just fantastic.

You can buy multi-walk passes or pay as you go - they're very reasonably priced, and there's no need to book. They only cost £5.50 and last about 2 hours.

Really, really recommended.
 
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Fraser
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Checking your ratings there are a couple of WWII games you rate highly. If Andrea is also interested in history, and particularly WWII history, then the Cabinet War Rooms and the Imperial War Museum are musts.

I also would recommend the walking tours (I haven't been on as many as Melissa, but we did go on a few in 1998 and the spy one is great and I liked the Westminster one too).

Another possibility is last minute type tickets to a West End show.

There really is such a lot to go and see and do in London.
 
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Steve H
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Quote:
Rachel said: [day trips to Oxford and Canterbury]...[Try Wagamama ]...[If you're going to try to get theatre tickets, order them ASAP... ]...

We both have mentioned a desire to see Canterbury, so we'll add that to our list of possibilities. Andrea loved the website for Wagamama, and she remembers great Indian cuisine as well. Thanks for the heads up on tickets. I had no idea they would go so fast.

Quote:
gashly said: Each day must in some way involve a pub and a proper pint, I can tell ya that...

Sound advice indeed and we plan to do just that!

Quote:
melissa said: walking tours (...Spies' and Spycatchers' London (2.30pm on Saturdays) - the ghost walks and pub walks are also just fantastic).

ghost walks sound very exciting! Andrea will certainly want to research the weblink.

Quote:
Karlsen said: Cabinet War Rooms and the Imperial War Museum are musts.

I'm with you there. I've already been doing my research in that regard!
 
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T. Rosen
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Hey Steve,

I spent my junior year abroad at LSE, so here are a few recommendations for things to do/see in London, have a great time

1) Cabinet War Rooms - Churchill conducted WWII from this bunker, very interesting museum (http://cwr.iwm.org.uk/)

2) Quality Sandwiches - Amazing sandwiches, get the "Italian Chicken," I think it was on Marchmonte Street, just north of the Russell Square tube station.

3) British Museum - You definitely have to see the Elgin Marbles, and the Rosetta Stone, especially for free.

4) Wimbledon Museum - If you are a tennis fan then you should definitely take the tube out to Wimbledon to see this museum.

5) British Library - Very eclectic collection, it's free, and right near King's Cross. They have a Gutenberg Bible I believe, as well as handwritten Beatles lyrics for Yesterday, and a letter from Lenin (not Lennon), plus all sorts of other random odd stuff.

6) St. Paul's - Climb to the very top if it's a clear day and you want the best views of London, better than Tower Bridge and London Eye in my opinion.

7) Tate Modern - Wow they have some weird stuff in there, but it's free if I recall correctly.

8) Shakespeare's Globe - Right next to the Tate Modern (and across the river from St. Paul's, you can walk across on the Millenium Bridge, which is neat), the tour of the Globe is interesting.

9) Abbey Road - How can you not go see Abbey Road?

meeple
 
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Melissa
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Thommy8 wrote:
5) British Library - Very eclectic collection, it's free, and right near King's Cross. They have a Gutenberg Bible I believe, as well as handwritten Beatles lyrics for Yesterday, and a letter from Lenin (not Lennon), plus all sorts of other random odd stuff.


The reading room at the British Library can suck your brain.

Original artwork for Winnie the Pooh ::sigh::
 
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Johan L
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Rachel42 wrote:
Another good Indian place in London (if it's still there): Khan's in Bayswater.


I wouldn't bother with Khan's in Bayswater, it has definitely seen its best years. Last time we went there, service was awful (or should that be non-existent), drinks were served in cans (we got a plastic cup each but had to pour ourselves), we got minuscule paper napkins, and (perhaps most importantly) the food wasn't very good (I cook better curry myself). gulp

Most of the curry places in Soho should be just as good, so no need to trek out to Bayswater IMHO.
 
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Johan L
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I'll second the suggestions for the British Museum and the Tower. Just across from the British Museum (on Museum Street I believe) there is also 'Playin' Games', the best game shop in central London (another very good option if you want to check out game shops while here is Leisure Games, www.leisuregames.com, but that will need a tube ride out to Finchley).

If going to the Tower, I can also recommend the Jack the Ripper walks, as they start close-by. The walks end near Brick Lane, so speaking of curry that might be an option (I've never seen as many Indian restaurants in one place).

I'll also second the Cabinet War Rooms suggestion. If you go in the afternoon and it's a nice summer evening, I can recommend walking down to the Thames afterwards and get a pint on Tattershall Castle (a ship converted to a bar/restaurant). For nice summer evenings, you should also consider a walk along the south bank of Thames (take the tube to Embankment and walk across the bridge then turn east).

If into theatre, you should try the half price ticket booth at Leicester Square, where you can normally get good tickets on the cheap(er) for some of the evening's performances. To get the really good tickets you usually have to queue up at least half an hour before they open though.

Oh, and as others have said, Covent Garden is well worth a visit or two.

I can also recommend buying an issue of Time Out magazine as soon as you arrive (well, unless you arrive on a Tuesday, as it is published on Wednesdays ), as it has listings of what is going on, as well as theatre (and cinema) reviews.

If you haven't booked a hotel room yet, check out www.laterooms.com, I have been very happy when using them.

Hope you have a good time while here! Any questions just ask.
 
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Johan L
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As for going outside London, I'd choose Windsor as someone mentioned (who knows, you might even catch a glimpse of Mr Knizia as he lives there ) or perhaps Oxford. I'm also quite fond of Brighton.

Personally I wouldn't bother with Stonehenge/Salisbury if only here for a few days. You would have to spend most of the day getting there and back, and it's really not that much to see (I'm sure others will disagree cool ). Stonehenge was a bit of a disappointment, it isn't nearly as big as I had imagined. Too long a trip for a pile of stones in a field in my opinion.

As for Salisbury, sure, the cathedral is nice, but you are as well off going to St Pauls in London and using the hours saved having a pint down the pub or something.
 
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simon craddock
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If you plan on going to Windsor try taking a boat trip up the Thames
from central London (the embankment).
Also good on the river is the one hour trip down river to Greenwich.
 
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Rachel Wolfe
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Johan wrote:
I wouldn't bother with Khan's in Bayswater, it has definitely seen its best years...


I'm so sorry to hear it! It used to be good. Oh well, try the Bombay Brasserie instead...or a million other places, I'm sure!
 
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Devin Smith
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On the subject of Wagamama: there's a whole stack of them in london. You just have to keep your eyes open. Typically there's a little tiny sign above a nondescript door, followed by a couple of flights of stairs and a reasonably large restaurant. I don't think I've ever been in the one in Covent Garden, but there's one on High Street, Kensington that I ate at a bunch of times.

They are, however, great.


Other things to do: wander around. I mean it. See the Parks, etc.

I strongly recommend going to see a show of some description. Even if your wife has been to a show, she hasn't been to /all/ the shows. Heck, go see the Mousetrap if you must. The Half-Price Ticket Wicket (which now has some other name) in Leicester Square is a great deal. Don't be fooled by the array of 'half-price' and 'discount' stalls on the street by the tube station--walk down the street until you get to the square proper. The Wicket is the building actually in the square.

Have fun!
 
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Steve H
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Thanks for all the recommendations so far. To date we have decided upon the following: We've secured a hotel/inn in Kensington while we stay in London proper. Also, the Tempest is being performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, so we will make an overnight excursion and visit Windsor while there. Everything else has yet to be determined.

However, a visit to a game store will certainly be worked into the itinerary.

 
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Johan L
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g0dolphins wrote:
Also, the Tempest is being performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, so we will make an overnight excursion and visit Windsor while there.


Just to pick a nit, Windsor is quite some distance from Stratford (close to 90 miles). Note that there are several Stratfords, and talking about Shakespeare this is probably Stratford Upon Avon rather than Stratford in London. It is probably worth checking which one you are going to before booking train tickets.
 
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Steve H
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We're all set! Our plane departs this evening!

The 'Must Do' list thus far:

Whilst in London:
London Tower
Buckingham Palace
Cabinet War Room
Portobello Road Market
British Museum and a side trip to ‘Playin' Games'
A theatre production (last minute Leicester Square purchase)
One or more walking tours
Pub Crawl
Boat trip on the Thames
Plus lots of eats and free time to walk about the city and adjust the itinerary

2 day/1 night excursion:
"The Tempest" at Stratford Upon Avon
Warwick Castle
 
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Toby Roworth
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If you're going to the British Museum (which isn't bad, although some areas can get a bit tedious - "Oh look - a spearhead. Oh look annother spearhead..."), there's a games shop called "Playin Games" very near by if you need to stock up.

The London Eye's quite good too, although it's quite expensive, and probably more interesting for someone who is very interested in London inself, and what can be seen from the Eye (your call).

If you get really really really bored, Waterloo Station has three WHSmith stores - good if you want a laugh, although only if you are really really really bored (which I doubt - I just wanted to point out how many WHSmiths there were).

The Natural History Museum is worth a look, and the science museum might be - the last time I went there was when I was 5.

Of you're nearby Harrod's, they do some great Donuts called Krispy Kreams (99p each), but don't go halfway accross London for them - that would just be stupid.

As someone else said, Winsor Castle is good, although it's a residential castle, so doesn't have loads of battlements to walk round (there are loads of castles in Britain that do though).

If you're in London, make sure you go on the tube - it's just something you have to do (if you're brave, try going on the tube during rush hour - it's amazing just how busy it gets).

This probably hasn't been much help, but it might have made you laugh - thinking back on it, I would recommend the London Eye, as you are sight seeing. And next door is the Houses of Parliment, home to Big Ben (the name of the bell - not the clock).

Whatever you do have a good time in my fair country (or at least it was till the chavs invaded!!!)
 
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Tony Barrett
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For a good pint and wholesome food, make sure you buy a copy of the "Good Pub Guide"

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Pub-Guide-2007-Anniversary/dp/009...

Will definately give you some good places in the Coltswold, also The Eagle on Farringdon Road, London is a little way out of the touristy parts definately worth visiting at Lunch Time the food is excellent.
 
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