How to plan sight-seeing in the capital
If you have 4 days, so no need for bus tours. Those tours are ideal for visitors with limited time who want a quick overview of all the main attractions.
You have the luxury of time, and if used to research well, you can target in an orderly fashion the attractions you are particularly interested in.
One consideration should be where you'll be staying. That would dictate travel times to different parts of this big city.
The most popular locations are Bayeswater, Hyde Park, Paddington area. Reason: close to the green parks, tube stations right beside, and loads of museums in South Kensington, short distance from Bayeswater. People also like Earl's Court.
Museums are: V&A, Natural History, Science (all in Sth. Kens.), Imperial War Museum (Lambeth/Waterloo), then in Holborn the VERY big & impressive British Museum. Please check the website to focus of the areas/civilisations you're interested in as this museum is huge.
There's the architectural, quirky Sir John Soane's museum in Holborn too.
A very insightful, interior decor over the centuries museum: Geffrye Museum (Shoreditch, close to Old /Liverpool St tube)
Galleries: National Art Gallery in Trafalgar Square, Tate Britain in Lambeth, Tate Modern in South Bank (opposite St Pauls, connected via the Millenium foot bridge)
History: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral, Banqueting House, Hampton Court Palace, Westminster Abbey (Parliament Square), Westminster Cathedral (Victoria station), etc.
Entertainment: Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Covent Garden
Shopping: Regent St, Oxford St, Carnaby St, Portobello St, Camden Town
FURTHER OUT TRIPS: Windsor Castle, Bath, Canterbury
*** Familiarise yourself with the tube/bus routes at www.tfl.gov.uk & plan your outings accordingly to avoid back-tracking thus saving time :-)
You'll love London :-)
Fabulous referb, but ...
We recently stayed at the 4* Hyde Park Paddington in London in July. The indications on booking were that this hotel had recently been completely refurbished including installation of air-con in all the bedrooms. The 'istallation' bit was true but none of the units were connected to the power supply, consequently very uncomfortable at night, although the hotel did provide fans.
The refurb itself was fabulous with lovely dark wood furniture in the rooms, but on entering the double room allocated to us it was clearly a single sized room with a double bed pushed up against the wall. Two people could not have stayed in this room without stepping on each other. After discussing this with the Hotel Manageress she agreed to let me look at two other rooms. Although these were a little larger in size again the layout of the rooms were such that the beds were pushed up against the wall making it impossible for one person to get out of bed without climing over the other. Cosy, some might say. I'm told that all the rooms have the same/similar layout.
That said the reception area and restaurant are light and airy with some fabulous art work on the walls.
I think a huge effort has been made in this refurb but can't help feeling the hotel has been let down by its designer.
HORRIBLE!!!! Not a 4 star! More like a 2 star! Do not stay here!
Just thinking of our stay at the Hyde Park Paddington infuriates me! It used to be called the Senator and has a new name now. It used to get terrible reviews. Don't be fooled. This hotel stinks. They gave it a bit of a face lift but they must not have hired new staff because they were the rudest women I have ever dealt with in all my years of travelling. Check in was a horrible experience for me and the woman at the front desk made me cry! She refused to say sorry and her English was terrible. I was meeting my husband there and almost had to wait 6 hours in the lobby because they wouldn't let me check in without him, even though he called twice to make sure I would be able to. I was travelling alone from Paris.....horrible treatment! The room was smaller than my closet at home (really!) and my husband and I could not walk past each other without one of us standing ON the bed!!! Mini fridge did not work. Air conditioning had never been installed for which the front desk's response was "What do you want me to say?" UNREAL! We checked out a day later and stayed at a Thistle chain hotel which was wonderful, friendly, better location, included a big breakfast and was 5 times the size....worth a little extra money.....trust me. Other people were unhappy and talking about it in the hallway.
Bad service, tiny rooms, great location
There are only 2 good things that I can say about this hotel. The first is that the location is great for access to public transportation. The second is that the hotel is clean. Other than that, it was an uncomfortable and painful experience. The front desk staff were indifferent, slow, and hardly spoke English. Apparently, there is still a lot of rennovation taking place. We found that the ground floor bathrooms were without electricity and unusable when we arrived to leave our luggage. (Early July, 2004) After a long flight this was rather frustrating. The hall outside of our room smelled of mildew and the carpet was stained. The elevator was tiny, the room was tiny, the double bed was tiny, the sink was tiny, and the shower was a nightmare! We could never get more than a dribble of water and the temp was SCALDING if it wasn't freezing. The handle came off during a shower. I didn't wash my hair for 4 days - I would never be able to wash the shampoo out! The facilities were new and clean, but weren't installed properly. There was a horrible noise coming from the wall every time we ran the water. We were happy to leave this place! I wouldn't reccommend this hotel as it is not a good value for the money.
Bad bad experience ... run away from this place
This place deserves at least a 5* rating in the worst hotel experience of my life.
Don't trust pictures on the website ... I never saw smaller "rooms" in any place in the world, as a matter of fact, "closet" -instead of "room"- would be more appropriate. We didn't notice any sign of refurbishment in any of the rooms we visited (we of course asked to change room when we saw the one we had been assigned).
The hotel entrance looked more like a building site than a 4* hotel (!!!) entrance. The staff is either totally incompetent, or incrediblely rude, depending on the kind of request/complain you have.
NOTHING in this hotel deserves a 4* rating ... I feel sorry I didn't take a look at the reviews before booking (unfortunately prepaid).
Last but not least : the breakfast which was allegedly included when we checked in (this point was specifically confirmed when we asked to the desk staff about), was charged when we checked out !!!
To cut a long story short :DON'T EVER EVER GO THERE !
Damp days dry nights
Stayed here just recently with my family,(2 adults 2 children). We had a spacious two story family room that was tastefully decorated. However, in their re-fit they seem to have used up Britains supply of hallogen bulbs, combine this with an air conditioning system that is only decorative, windows that hardly open and no obvious working ventilation in the tiny bathroom and you have to be prepared to spend most of your stay feeling damp in one way or another.
There also appears to be a plumbing problem as on our first night there what would appear to be a neighbours used bath water gurgled up through our bath plughole bringing with it the smell of the drain which permeated the entire room. We didn't bother to complain as most of the staff seemed to have a limited grasp of English.
If you stay with children there is not a lot of 'family entertainment' nearby. The hotel has a well decorated restraunt/bar, but be prepared to dig deep into your wallet.
not exactly as advertsied !!!
I am so annoyed ! It appears that this hotel have old rooms that you may be allocate as I was !! The service is some of the worst i have experienced - you are lucky if they can understand you and my English is University Standard !! I would prefer to stay in a youth hostel. even the air conditioning does not work properly - its a disaster.
Unfinished - Shouldn't be open for business
BEWARE!!! I stayed in this hotel for one night in mid June. My boyfriend and I were in London for our anniversary and were staying with friends, but I decided to "treat" us to a nice swanky 4 star hotel for the first night. The website showed spacious rooms and described it as a "4 star boutique hotel". On arrival, we waited ten minutes for the receptionist to deal with a very irate american who had a list of complaint. This didn't fill us with confidence. We finally checked in and were ushered to the tiniest lift in the world (Barely contained the 2 of us and our 2 sports bags). When we opened the room I was shocked - There was a small double pushed against a wall, and literally 6 inches of space to walk past the bed. There was no closet/drawers/anywhere to put your clothes. Oddly enough, there were about 20 plastic hangers sitting on the floor, along with a new 14 in tv, which wasn't plugged in/connected. I pushed the hangers under the chair and put the tv on it. I then checke out the bathroom which was TINY! There was no hot water, and when we informed the desk clerk, he said he'd put the water heat on (?!!) After an hour, the water was luke warm and the pressure was terrible. When we were checking out, I waited 20 minutes as there were 2 groups of people complaining about their rooms and another group who's room had been let out. Breakfast was ok but this hotel is simply not fit to be in business. The rooms aren't ready for guests, and even when they are, they are the SMALLEST I have seen in my LIFE! We just stayed here for one night and I am so glad we weren't stuck there for more. I had paid in advance and the website misled me enormously. Also, staff at this hotel seem really jaded and unaffected by the many complaining customers. Probably because they hear it day in day out. their grasp of English wasn't the best either. DO NOT STAY HERE!!!
I arrived at 8pm expecting to be booked into the suites (4 rooms with a/c). No suite rooms were available for my party. I tried to find my room as I couldn't get help but was unsuccessful. Finally after 30 minutes we were escorted up and down stairs for about 5 minutes to get to our room. I checked out in the morning. NEVER AGAIN!
Hyde Park Paddington Hotel .. COMMENTS?
We're a family with grandparents, parents and a 3 year old, heading for London in March 05. Any comments on the Hyde Park Paddington Hotel?
In surfing travel sites we didn't find consistent comments and most seemed to be around their recent renvoations this past summer.
Re: Hyde Park Paddington Hotel .. COMMENTS?
All I can remember is meeting a family staying there (we were at another nearby place that i won't bother recommending) they had 3 children and were staying there because there were bigger rooms (suites?) they liked it alright, but didn't rave over it...