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Thread: Going to London for vacation/holiday

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Going to London for vacation/holiday

    OK, so I'm going to London for a week next month. I'm staying at a friend's flat, in Kensington off Brompton Road. Anyone familiar with the area? Any good restaurants?

    Things I know I want to do:
    The Eye
    British Museum
    The Tower (including a lot of what's inside, so possibly most of the day inside)
    See the changing of the guard
    Walking tours - especially ones that showcase architecture, royalty, or both
    Kew Gardens

    I will have most of the days to myself, as my friend has to work. But we're both doing the museum, so that'll be a weekend thing.

    Things that I might do, depending on other factors:
    West End show
    Jack the Ripper tour
    Victoria & Albert museum
    Double-decker bus tour
    Buckingham Palace

    So, what am I missing? Remember, I only have a week! If there's something you think I shouldn't miss, let me know!!

    For any of you Londers out there: do I need to get advanced tickets to any of these events? Nothing is set in stone except arrival and departure from the airport, so a couple days in advance is no problem.

    I am very excited about this trip!!
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  2. #2
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Two places i went to (and loved)

    1. Westminster Abbey (its $$ but well worth it for the history)
    2. Tate Modern (if your an art fan)

    If your at the Tower of London, you may as well go to Tower Bridge
    and a trip to Trafalgar Square and Oxford Street

    From what i know, you have to book ahead to get into Buckingham Palace, and im not sure that they allow the public in all year round.

    How exciting, hope you have a great time!!
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    How wonderful! I hope you have a great time!

    I really enjoyed Camden Market. I think you have to visit Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square but you might hit those as part of one of your walking tours.

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Definiately go to St. Paul's Catherdal and certainly to go the top of the dome.

    Also, I really enjoyed the Imperial War Musuem.

    Lastly, just walk around and get "lost" in the inner nieghborhoods - it was/is great to just witness how "average" Londoners live.

    I spent a week there in 2000 over a long spring break - it was great.
    Last edited by mendelman; 27 Oct 2010 at 9:33 AM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  5. #5
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Salmissra View post
    OK, so I'm going to London for a week next month.
    London in November? Brrrr...it won't be really cold, but it will be damp/chilly (and likely raining).

    I'm staying at a friend's flat, in Kensington off Brompton Road. Anyone familiar with the area? Any good restaurants?
    Great location! You'll be close to the Science Museum and Harrod's. Hyde Park is at your doorstep too. We found a great pub called "The Victoria" which is on the other side of Hyde Park from you, near Lancaster Gate.

    Things I know I want to do:
    The Eye very expensive but at least the line-up shouldn't be too long!
    British Museum You could easily spend the whole day here - and it's free!
    The Tower (including a lot of what's inside, so possibly most of the day inside)
    See the changing of the guard Not sure if they do the full ceremonies in the off-season
    Walking tours - especially ones that showcase architecture, royalty, or both
    Kew Gardens

    If you're interested in royalty I would consider adding Windsor Castle (a short rail journey from London), Hampton Court, Clarence House.
    Things that I might do, depending on other factors:
    West End show
    Jack the Ripper tour
    Victoria & Albert museum
    Double-decker bus tour - Expensive, and if you're doing a lot of walking anyway not really worth it unless the weather is bad. If you have no particular destination just hop on a regular double-decker bus for a bit
    Buckingham Palace - As Natski said, it might not be open (usually not when the Queen is home)
    So, what am I missing? Remember, I only have a week! If there's something you think I shouldn't miss, let me know!!
    Doing any shopping? Like I mentioned, your place should be close to Harrod's. If you're into gourmet food stuff visit Fortnum and Mason's. Oxford Street is the main shopping drag, but it is mainly chain stores that you can get most anywhere. For something funkier try Soho or Camden Market.

    If you like Shakespeare, the rebuilt Globe Theatre is pretty neat. The London Museum is also good.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post

    If you like Shakespeare, the rebuilt Globe Theatre is pretty neat.

    Oh, that reminded me, you should try to catch a show. Les Mis, Oliver, Phantom, and Wicked are all playing.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    I'm thinking of adding a day in Bath. I can take the train out there, catch the Mayor's Guides first tour of the day, then roam for a bit before heading back to town.

    Anyone have some ideas about what to see in Bath that might not be on the guided tour?
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Bath is a wonderful town. We enjoyed two days there many years ago.

    We went through the historic Roman baths, walked and spent time at the Crescent and Circus (both very good planning related items). The day we were there hot air balloons were taking off from the Crescent Lawn.

    You might want to consider a day trip to Cambridge also.

    It's worth the day to get out of London and see something different.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  9. #9
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Salmissra View post
    I'm thinking of adding a day in Bath. I can take the train out there, catch the Mayor's Guides first tour of the day, then roam for a bit before heading back to town.

    Anyone have some ideas about what to see in Bath that might not be on the guided tour?
    Not sure what the guided tour takes in. The high points of Bath are the Georgian architecture and Roman baths (already mentioned). Can't think of much else to see there, though it is certainly worth a day trip.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Salmissra View post
    I'm thinking of adding a day in Bath. I can take the train out there, catch the Mayor's Guides first tour of the day, then roam for a bit before heading back to town.

    Anyone have some ideas about what to see in Bath that might not be on the guided tour?
    I spent 2 nights in Bath- took the train from Paddington Station. Day 1 i went on the free tour (was really good) and visited the Cathedral and Roman Baths. Second day i took a tour to Stonehenge as it isnt too far away from Bath, and we went around the Cotswolds, which i would also recommend.

    I also went to the costume museum there.

    I really liked Bath, is such a pretty place. Another place i would recommend is Oxford, which isnt far from Bath as i recall
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Draft Agenda

    OK, here's the very rough schedule for the trip. Comments/suggestions/alternatives welcomed.

    Saturday, November 20
    Arrival: early morning
    Iím thinking Kew Gardens if the weatherís clear, and shopping (Fortnum & Mason, Harrods) if itís not

    Sunday, November 21
    British Museum, getting there when they open at 10am. Might spend all day there, donít know yet. Depending on timing/weather, a walk

    Monday, November 22
    Morning: start day with walking tour of South Kensington, with a stop inside the V&A (don't plan on seeing it all)
    Afternoon: Walking tour including Trafalgar Square and The National Gallery (10-6p)

    Tuesday, November 23
    Morning: St. Paulís (opens at 8:30) and surrounding area
    Afternoon: Tower of London. Plan on several hours to see all items, including the Crown Jewels, and lunch/snack Ė closes at 4:30. Trip includes a walk across Tower Bridge.

    Wednesday, November 24
    Option 1:
    Walk around St. James and Picadilly Circus, shopping, maybe some of Hyde Park
    Option 2:
    City of Bath

    Thursday, November 25
    Option 1:
    Westminister area (Abbey opens at 9:30), and depending on time, a walk through part/all Hyde Park
    Option 2:
    River Thames walking tour, including the Eye

    Friday, November 26
    Option 1:
    Westminister area (Abbey opens at 9:30), and depending on time, a walk through part/all Hyde Park
    Option 2:
    River Thames walking tour, including the Eye

    Saturday, November 27
    Depart: early afternoon
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  12. #12
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Wow thats jam packed! Sounds great!!!
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  13. #13
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Sure.....

    How about a visit to the Imperial War Museum?
    I also enjoyed walking around Brighton and visiting the museums and Royal Pavilion.
    How about a train ride to Stratford upon Avon to visit the Bard
    Skilled Adoxographer

  14. #14
    Cyburbian oldy's avatar
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    Before moving to the USA three months ago, I lived and worked in London for two years. It's funny though, I'm not particularly hot on the tourist type activities. Your friend lives in Kensington, eh? He/She must do fairly well for themselves

    Bath is lovely.

    Another beautiful city is York, where I went to university. It's small, quaint, has museums and tea shops, and is surrounded by the ancient city wall. It's quite far North though, a two/three hour train journey, which will be expensive.

    Or Cambridge. Cambridge is great.

    Windsor is also very nice, and not too far out of London.

    The Eye... personally I wasn't too impressed. It was a great view, sure, but I was a bit bored after 15 minutes. I think it's quite expensive as well, if I remember rightly.

    The British Museum is great. You could definitely spend the whole day there, and more, although it might be advisable to break it up into more manageable chunks.

    I'd disagree with the poster above who recommended just jumping on any bus! Probably not a good idea. You'll get whisked away to somewhere you don't want to be! I've heard the double decker tours are good, but the problem is that they are much better on the open topped buses, and when you're there it'll be quite cold. Wrap up if you're going to do it!

    Hyde Park is quite nice. I'd recommend Green Park or St. James Park which are nearby, or if you take a short tube journey north, Regents Park and Hampstead Heath are worth a visit.



    Haha! I'm not very good at this. Maybe I'd be better at responding to specific questions you might have about London life, or practical issues

  15. #15
    maudit anglais
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    Pretty good agenda - think you've grouped things logically so that you're not having to do too much traveling between your morning and afternoon itinerary.

    Have fun!

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    I realized I haven't let all of you know that I had a wonderful trip to London, despite the freezing temps at the end of it!

    Did the British Museum's Book of the Dead exhibit, and saw a few of their 100 Objects project. Walked around afterwards, and then did a bus ride home.
    I saw everyting on my original must-see list, but not in the order of my draft agenda. Oh well. I also had some extra time, so I went to Hampton Court - Henry VIII's palace. While I thought it was very interesting, the freezing temps kept me from viewing the garden or the maze. I'll do that next time (and I really hope there is a next time!).
    Did get to Harrod's and Fortnum & Mason's, and I think I prefer F&M. National Gallery is awesome, the V&A was not to my liking, and I will definately go back to the British Museum if given the chance. Kensington Park is fabulous, Hyde Park is beautiful with the colored leaves, and I think the Eye should be done either in full daylight or full night, but not dusk.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

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