flymia
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London Must Do?

Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:33 am

I'll be heading to London to catch a cruise out of Southampton. I will have the day we arrive, a Friday and the day we get back from the cruse a Saturday to be in London. My question, what are the must do things that one could do in, let's say two full afternoons in London and two nights? I've been before, but haven't been in a long time, beed 10 years. My wife has never been to London. We travel often, enjoy cities, history, sights and most museums etc...

Also, any good recommendations for breakfast lunch or dinner as well? Would enjoy one "nicer/upscale" dinner as well.
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Dreadnought
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Re: London Must Do?

Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:59 am

Good God, where to start. You could spend weeks in London just seeing the sights.

As far as hotels go, I would recommend that you stay around Leicester Square, that way you can spend the evenings wandering around the area sampling the nightlife. If you like museums and such, Madame Tussauld's is fun and even gives you a bit of British popular culture. Tower of London is a must if you've never been there, Parliament, Buckingham Palace and the nearby St. James Park, the list goes on and on.

But those are the daytime activities, which you are just going to have to take your pick. But after-hours, I think you'd enjoy the whole area around Leicester Square/Piccadilly.
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YVRLTN
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Re: London Must Do?

Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:25 am

Its tough to enjoy much in a half day as there is so much.

As generic as it sounds, if you are not comfortable with finding your own way with the underground & buses as I would, the hop on hop off buses are good to physically "see" all the sites.

Another good way to see London is a Thames boat trip Westminster to Tower Hill or v/v, or even a full trip to Greenwich but that takes a while.

HMS Belfast is probably a must see. Right next to Tower Bridge too, you can go look inside how it works. Le Pont de la Tour restaurant is also upscale and good. The Tower of London is also very good, but half a day will be a rush, really you need a full day to see everything properly.

Another thing, very touristy and over priced, but the London Eye does give you a great view of London and if you go at dusk its great as you go up when light and then all the lights come on as it gets darker.

Leicester Square / Covent Garden area is a good call for restaurants and nightlife. Rules is Britains oldest restaurant and I always enjoyed it. I used to work next door to The Porterhouse, Irish micro brewery, nice for a lunch, short walk up from Trafalgar Square on the way to Covent Garden. But in fairness there are lots of places like that.
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bennett123
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Re: London Must Do?

Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:18 am

Thinking about Leicester Square and Piccadilly at night.

My understanding is to stay where there are lots of people and the bright lights.

Wandering round Soho is perhaps not a good idea.

Just like any big city.
 
vrbarreto
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Re: London Must Do?

Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:00 am

vrbarreto wrote:
bennett123 wrote:
Thinking about Leicester Square and Piccadilly at night.

My understanding is to stay where there are lots of people and the bright lights.

Wandering round Soho is perhaps not a good idea.

Just like any big city.


Soho is safe enough. Used to have a bad reputation. If you want to see All of London then the shard at dusk is pretty cool especially on a clear day

Dare say it you could go on one of the guided tour buses on a 2 day pass and hop on and off as you like.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: London Must Do?

Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:47 am

bennett123 wrote:
Thinking about Leicester Square and Piccadilly at night.

My understanding is to stay where there are lots of people and the bright lights.

Wandering round Soho is perhaps not a good idea.

Just like any big city.


Today the center of London doesn't have any unsafe areas anymore, it's one of the most safe cities in the world. The unsafe areas are in some of the outskirts away from the center where you usually don't go as a tourist.

As for nightlife, I can recommend Covent Garden. It's a place that lives 24 hours a day. There's also the London Transport museum at Covent Garden, nice to see how they built that giant underground system for example. Keep in mind that if you want to visit a park you mostly have to do so during the daytime, I know Hyde Park closes at night.

Furthermore I agree there's so much to see in London, you can spend a week sightseeing and you still haven't seen everything. I've been to London about three times now and every time I discover new things.
 
Bostrom
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Re: London Must Do?

Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:24 pm

flymia wrote:
Also, any good recommendations for breakfast lunch or dinner as well? Would enjoy one "nicer/upscale" dinner as well.


For a "nicer/upscale" dinner there are a lot of restaurants to choose from. http://www.visitlondon.com/tag/michelin ... CWu86jb.97
 
flymia
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Re: London Must Do?

Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:52 pm

Thanks for all the tips! Yes, wish we had more time, but with work schedule and other trips it was hard to get any more days. Will basically have two full nights and two full afternoons. We will make the best of it.
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Channex757
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Re: London Must Do?

Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:01 pm

Go to Camden Market or the Borough Market. Avoid tourist trap places that want to rob you. Those markets have some of the absolute best quality British food at decent prices, including eat-in venues.

People visiting here often come away with their prejudices over British food reinforced by tourist places offering poor quality at top dollar. Never eat on Oxford Street, for example. Real foodies hit the markets.
 
sw733
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Re: London Must Do?

Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:01 pm

God, I've spent countless months in London as a tourist and I am still finding new things to do. You really can't go wrong, but I would recommend a few things like:

1) Just walking along the river from Parliament to the Tower Bridge

2) British Museum...get there before it opens to avoid as much of the crowd as possible.

3) Westminster Abbey, while incredibly touristy, is touristy for a reason. I've been several times and still enjoy it and find new things each time.

4) Churchill War Rooms - if you're a history buff, like I am, you'll really enjoy this

5) If you drink, find a pub away from the tourist destinations, have a few pints and enjoy the environment. This is my favorite thing to do.
 
JonathanRP
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Re: London Must Do?

Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:44 pm

Firstly, for getting around I'd thoroughly recommend downloading the CityMapper app, it's very reliable and effective and even tells you how much each route will cost. Public transport in London, especially the Tube (London Underground) is fantastic for the majority of the time and run late into the night or even 24hr, there are 24hr buses too.

As a Londoner, I'd implore you to avoid the touristy stuff at all costs, it's so overpriced and just not worth the scrum with what feels like half the world's population. For a free, great view of London I'd thoroughly recommend getting yourself to 'One New Change' there's a bar on the roof and an observation terrace, and it's situated directly next to St Paul's Cathedral but has views across the entirety of the London skyline - if you do wish to visit the bar and not just the viewing terrace, make sure you're wearing smart/casual shoes (they do not allow sneakers/trainers/flip flops/sandals etc)

Another free great view is from the SkyGarden on Fenchurch Street, though it's free, you'll have to book in advance, so I'd recommend looking online now. There's also nicer/upscale dining and drinking options up there too.

If you're looking for really fancy, there's amazing restaurants and bars in The Shard (tallest building in Western Europe), I can personally recommend Hutong in the Shard, none of the restaurants/bars are at the very top, but you get incredible views, and if you have a booking at one of the restaurants or if you're drinking at one of the bars, you're effectively saving the £30 you would have had to pay for just admission to the observation deck at the very top (about 20-storeys higher than the bars and restaurants).

In terms of things to do, the wonderful thing about London is the best museums are free, my personal favourites are the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and National Portrait Gallery.

If hipster food/lifestyle is your sort of thing definitely check out Shoreditch. If you want fun in the evening, Soho is fantastic (And completely safe, I assure you).

For an ultimate tourist tour just walk around Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Buckingham Palace, Westminster etc

You'll have the most amazing time, I'm sure of it, no matter what you do!
 
jumpjets
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Re: London Must Do?

Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:07 pm

In the free museums category I'd put in a recommendation for the Wallace collection close to Oxford Street [Bond street tube station]/Baker Street and Tate Britain. The Wallace collection is a very manageable size if your time is limited.

I am a sucker for a restaurant with a view, so as well as the shard mentioned earlier I'd consider the Oxo tower [there are two rerstaurants with different price tags to chose from] and also Skylon adjacent to the Festival Hall - both on the south bank a short walk from Waterloo Bridge.

Another fascinating place is Highgate Cemetery [it is still there despite being blown up in a recent episode of SS-GB (a BBC tv drama) :-) :D ] which could be coupled with Hampstead village/heath - they are a short way north of central London on the tube but might eat into your limited time too much to get there and back.
 
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readytotaxi
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Re: London Must Do?

Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:19 pm

If you like London then https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london is a great place to go.
And what ever you do in the short time you have try and take the wife for afternoon tea at the Dorchester Hotel, Wow !
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flymia
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Re: London Must Do?

Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:30 pm

More great recommendations! Thanks all. Skygarden, One New Change and The Shard sound like what I am looking for in one of my dinners/nights there.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
bryfly9
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Re: London Must Do?

Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:13 pm

Hi!

If you're looking for some airline-themed entertainment from 'The Queen of the Skies', check out Pam Ann at the Leicester Square Theatre. She's doing a 6 week run starting next Tuesday.
She sends up different airline staff - but mainly cabin crew - it's her 20th Anniversary and she's always lots of fun.

Check out her show here: http://pamann.com/tour/

:D
 
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MillwallSean
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Re: London Must Do?

Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:42 am

If shes never been to London, just do the touristy stuff in the city. Seems pretty clear on what to do already.
The Shard is good food, I concur, but it can be pricey, so think it through and plan in advance.
There is the option of high tea a Shangri la there. Personally its never been a hit with me, but many will swear by it and the panoramic windows. A little bit more pricey for high tea, its the shard. Be early to get a seat next o the windows.

However, Id recommend you to do afternoon high tea (This may be authentic for the upper class but normal Londoners did not have afternoon tea in saloons...) elsewhere. Next to Piccadilly is Cafe Royal, cheap - 42 pp, and well, its a British themed experience that you'll remember. Its worth doing once and the environment is high class so the partner will find it impressive. 2 hours and the partner will from there on think back on the experience everytime there is a show featuring British high class on tele.
Fortnum and Mason offers another classic but the environment lack that upper class Hollywood-British theme.

Skygarden is ok for the views, but if you go up in The Shard you've already had them. The cocktails at Skygarden aren't really that good for the price. Take her there if needed but bugger off after a drink.

Simple drinks - Its a cliche, but it always works. Hit Gordons Wine Bar when you want a drink and fancy a classic Dickens environment. Vaults and candles, wine and cheese...
While its not exactly for Londoners, all foreign colleagues partners have enjoyed the ambiance and said it felt so European and that its exactly what they wanted. So for foreigners traveling with their partners Gordons winebar does the trick, but its not awesome wine or special cheese, its a winebar and as unpretentious as they come. Right smack in the middle of your preferred neighbourhoods as well. Family owned and not a franchise which I always appreciate. But its not upper class instead almost like a pub ie wont kill your wallet.
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Channex757
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Re: London Must Do?

Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:27 pm

There's so much to see, try and experience in London it would take months. For example there's tourist London, hipster London, historic London. Different aspects of the same city to explore.

If you like food destinations have a look at the Guardian and Telegraph websites for some great reviews by seasoned food critics on a par with New York's Frank Bruni.
 
Danny319
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Re: London Must Do?

Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:00 pm

There is a lot to see depending on your taste, but I would say London Eye, a river boat tour, a walk around Piccadilly and Leicester Square, and visiting the Cutty Sark.
 
sandyb123
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Re: London Must Do?

Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:59 am

I'd use a website like Experee.com or Getyourguide.com to book stuff and they often offer fast track to avoid waiting.

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flymia
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Re: London Must Do?

Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:25 pm

Well I booked a 20:30 reservation for Hutong in the Shard that Friday night. Have a friend who lives in London and he also said its a great place. My hotel the first night is at trafalgar Square. Seems like a good location to do some of the main sites during the day.

Any suggestions for lunch near some of the more touristy spots would be appreciated, something British would be nice, as we are having Chinese that night. We try to avoid the overly tourist stuff and especially restaurants, but sometimes you have no choice, especially when its someones first time at such a famous city.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
Socrates17
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Re: London Must Do?

Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:57 pm

As a science fiction fan, my 1st stop was always Forbidden Planet. One year, I went to their old New Oxford St. location and it was gone. I started to hyperventilate when a kindly native told me it had moved to Shaftesbury. Foyles is also a wonder. Murder One on Charing Cross was great for the crime/spy fan, but I think it's defunct. Since The Marquee closed there isn't much rock and roll history left. The D'Oyly Carte is running shows that take bits from various Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, but not currently any complete ones. Last time there I was lucky enough to see a complete production of The Mikado. I did a quick search and nothing appears to be running in the West End that couldn't be seen on Broadway but you could luck out. The BFI Southbank usually has a good program of films. My favorite museum is the Tate Gallery. Not so large as to be unmanageable and always interesting. Pick up a CAMRA guide if you want real ale. Mine is outdated.
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PatrickZ80
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Re: London Must Do?

Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:03 pm

flymia wrote:
Any suggestions for lunch near some of the more touristy spots would be appreciated, something British would be nice, as we are having Chinese that night. We try to avoid the overly tourist stuff and especially restaurants, but sometimes you have no choice, especially when its someones first time at such a famous city.


You could have a look at Gabriel's Wharf, a quite nice place that is a bit unknown to tourists. When I was in London I had a real good English breakfast there overlooking the Thames. It's one of those (many) places you discover by accident.
 
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readytotaxi
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Re: London Must Do?

Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:36 pm

flymia wrote:
Well I booked a 20:30 reservation for Hutong in the Shard that Friday night. Have a friend who lives in London and he also said its a great place. My hotel the first night is at trafalgar Square. Seems like a good location to do some of the main sites during the day.

Any suggestions for lunch near some of the more touristy spots would be appreciated, something British would be nice, as we are having Chinese that night. We try to avoid the overly tourist stuff and especially restaurants, but sometimes you have no choice, especially when its someones first time at such a famous city.

Get yourself over to Covent Garden.
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glbltrvlr
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Re: London Must Do?

Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:13 pm

I spend a lot of time in the UK in general and London specifically. If you are looking for an amazing dinner experience, I highly recommend the Bateaux dinner cruise on the Thames river. I prefer the Symphony over the Harmony as the view from your table is a bit better, but the Harmony has an open roof deck that is nice if the weather cooperates. It's not cheap and if you get the top package, you'll be seated at the very front of the boat which makes for jaw dropping views. In addition to a full dinner, they have live music and dancing onboard. https://www.bateauxlondon.com/
 
directorguy
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Re: London Must Do?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:38 am

If you enjoy museums and have limited time, then the British Museum, and the National Gallery, are must-visits. Both are free of charge, so no advance planning necessary, and you'll have a wonderful time. Another personal fave is the Victoria & Albert Museum, but 3 museums might be overkill given you're only there for 2 days or so.
If you want to do something outdoors-y, then Hyde Park for some nice greenery. Maybe buy a food hamper from nearby Harrod's Food Hall and make a picnic out of it.
If you want some shopping ahead of your cruise, then Westfield Shephard's Bush is a shopping center that has everything (major brands to well known UK retailers like Marks & Spencer's), plus some decent restaurants and a movieplex. For conventional high street shopping, then Regent Street or Oxford Street towards Selfridges/Marble Arch are the place to go.
What area of London are you staying in?
 
jumpjets
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Re: London Must Do?

Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:00 am

flymia wrote:
Well I booked a 20:30 reservation for Hutong in the Shard that Friday night. Have a friend who lives in London and he also said its a great place. My hotel the first night is at trafalgar Square. Seems like a good location to do some of the main sites during the day.

Any suggestions for lunch near some of the more touristy spots would be appreciated, something British would be nice, as we are having Chinese that night. We try to avoid the overly tourist stuff and especially restaurants, but sometimes you have no choice, especially when its someones first time at such a famous city.


Instead of doing lunch try afternoon tea usually served from about 3pm - plenty of smart places do a classic British tea - but if you have plans to eat a full dinner in the evening, tea as well might be overkill. The following link will give you a few ideas.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/desti ... noon-teas/
 
silverfox
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Re: London Must Do?

Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:19 pm

Would suggest the riverbus to the 02 arena.from the London Eye stop mega horsepower once you pass under Tower bridge and if you get a late night run back the quickness of them getting to a jetty and powering off again is unbelievable, PLUS yuo get to see London from the river. As others have said too much to do ...too little time. Just come back,again and again and again........
 
eastern747
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Re: London Must Do?

Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:25 pm

Even though the pound has shrunk to the dollar LONDON is expensive. Use the tube on a 2 day pass. It is easy and someone will always help you. I live in downtown Chicago and try to help people avoid tourist traps. I love history so that is where I gravitate. I tell people to take a bus tour that allows you to get on and off so you don't see stuff you don"t want to. I especially went to Churchill's war room.If the weather is nice stay outside. Cold and rainy....Victory and Albert Museum. Go off the beat and path and find a pub where the locals go. Bangers and mash. Don't bring up politics...they are disgusted as we are now.

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