Galleries and Museums can be very crowded with hundred of school children, particularly at the end of term time, so the best thing is to plan your visit after 2.30pm during the term time.
At other times of the year, visit early in the day and try your very best to avoid the weekends.
The buildings are fascinating to look at, with so much history behind them. And there is an outstanding selection of productions. The half price ticket booths open at Leicester Square and around town after noon on the day of the events assure that the prices are reasonable. Broadway was good, too, but I think this Yank prefers the London stage.
I enjoyed "The Mousetrap" here in 2000--its been playing here for more than 50 years--and "Whistle Down the Wind" which was an Andrew Lloyd Weber production. In 2006, I saw "The Producers" and "Evita" and both of these were terrific too.
One of the things I like about London is the unexpected! You can turn a corner and see something you had no idea was going to be there. In this instance, I was walking past Cleopatra's Needle and saw a Bollywood Film being shot. One Indian Guy who I am still trying to definitely id (any ideas, please let me know) and several European ladies (no doubt swooning at his Indian charm...)
It's worth taking a look at one of my subsequent shots here, they are looking at me like I am dirt, no, I wasn't obstructing filming, I was only taking pictures before and after filming, they just seemed to object to my presence!
Fondest memory: The less than adoring looks I got from the girls!
London is in love with books.
Bookshops abound everywhere, from the large, 5 storied Waterstones, to the small (and slightly dishevelled) backstreet bookshops. I am fond of both, for different reasons.
This particular branch of Waterstones is one well-thumbed by me as I walk past it every day to and fro work and the tube. It happens to be the flagship stor of Waterstones. There are 5 floors and they have every conceivable book in every conceivable theme you could imagine.
Fondest memory: During a lunch hour, its really nice to grab a book and go and sit in their coffee shop, 5th view, reading away. There is no pressure to buy the book, one just has to be very careful when reading it that one spills no coffee over it! haha
They hold quite a few signings here, from Enid Blyton, to Paul McCartney, to Bill Clinton. I am not one to stand in a frozen queue from 4am to get a book personally signed (lol), but have had the good fortune of spotting Bill Clinton as he was walking to the back entrance of the book shop.
There are many places in London that allow you to listen to and enjoy music, for free.
Many churches have free lunchtime classical music recitals during the week.
St James, a lovely old church across the street from my office, have daily recitals at 1pm. From the flute, to the piano to the trumpet. It's very popular and I love going :)
There are other places too, you just need to do your homework to find out if the one near you does too! :)
When visiting London, don't just take photos of the typical tourist things like Big Ben, the Horse Guards and a London taxi. Here are some ideas for other, perhaps more unique, photos of London:
- a traditional London phone box: these are all over. We have quite a few pics of in laws - playing in them haha
- a routemaster bus: if you are fortunate enough to see one, and then to actually get on it now (as they have been decommissioned), then grab the chance while you can!
- take a shot of one of the many little animals that frequent London pathways... foxes, squirrels, all types of birdies etc.
- take an interesting photo of a street performer (plenty in Covent Garden!).
- interesting window displays, especially along Regent Street and Oxford Circus, and Kensington - some are truly amazing :)
- street signs - a personal favourite. I LOVE taking shots of well known places plus interesting/quaint names.
- often there are dedications on plaques and benches etc. I love taking shots of these!
- take an ordinary monument and take the shot at an interesting angle!
A statue to the king of the silent movie Charlie Chaplin stands quietly in the middle of Leicester Square. Charlie Chaplin was born in London in 1889 and was orphaned at the age of 5. At 17 he moved to America - and the rest is history! He died in 1977 and the statue by John Doubleday was unveiled in 1981.
Charlie Chaplin History
Fondest memory: A night out at this Rolls Royce of cinemas is no ordinary evening at the pics. The Edwardian building, the UK's oldest purpose-built cinema, has been luxuriously fitted out with leather armchairs, footstools, tables for food and drink in the auditorium and an upmarket brasserie. Of course, such pampering comes at a slightly higher cost; on full-price nights the seats are ?12.50 or ?30 for a two-seater sofa.
West End is a must for theatre-lovers, but how many shows can you watch when each one sets you back ?30 for a good seat?
Here's a tip for all those still lucky enough to enjoy a student status-- bring your institution's ID card (with your photograph on it) for the trip. DON'T buy any tickets at the Half Price Ticket Booth. Simply turn up at the theatre box office itself half to one hour before the show starts proper (most shows start at 7.30pm) and ask if there are still Student Discount Tickets available. You'll get a seat in the best two seating categories (Stall seats!!) for 50% of the selling price. (~?20 for centre row, stall)
This works on Mon-Thurs. I've seen 11 musicals/plays this way and Wed is the best bet.
These tickets cannot be pre-booked and must be bought at the box office itself.
Fondest memory: Recommended shows:
Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, the Producers, Lion King.
Enjoy the show!
While we were in Leicester Square we noticed they were preparing for the premier of the Magic Roundabout at the Odeon. We didn't see it but we went round the corner to Shaftsbury Ave to see a proper film, Garden State.
Check the website for London cinema listings
The Mouse trap at StMartins theatre been running for 52 years now. I know someone who have seen it for 10 times.
It is not all that exciting and wonderfull play,usually parties goes just to say they seen the show..
Fondest memory: Used to go many times to theaters once,lately they become more expensive and now we got DVD,videoes,many tv channels so one dont bother with theaters any longer sad to say..
Favorite thing: In Trafalgar Square there are four plinths...three have statues of military or naval hero's...but the 4th was vacant. Recently they introduced a yearly program of 'guest' statues. This years is of a disabled artist...I really like it...but its pure white marble is already attracting the bloody pigeons!
London is without doubt one of the world's premiere music scenes, and most of the famous acts on tour will make an apperance, including... 'Queen'.
Having been too young (plus living behind the iron curtain) when 'Queen' last played live with Mercury, I never thought there would be another tour... Let alone that I would manage to get in :))
Large crowd, great music, fantastic atmosphere all amounting to a memorable evening
In September 2005 a new statue was unveiled in Trafalgar Square. It will remain on the 'empty' fourth plinth for 18 months. "Alison Lapper Pregnant", of an expectant disabled artist, is 12-feet high and made from white marble. Sculptor Mark Quinn wanted to represent a different type of hero - Alison was born with no arms and deformed legs but is a successful artist and parent.
IMO the idea of having a 'peoples' statue in Trafalgar Square is a nice one. There are too many statues of nobles and warmongers. And Alison Lapper is extremely brave to sit naked and pregant for all to see in the middle of London :-)
But it is not the first statue of a disabled person in Trafalgar Square - for example, look above you to the top of Nelson's Column where you will see a guy with only one arm, who was blinded in one eye!!
The Victoria Palace Theatre is off on its own, but can be worth the trip depending on what’s playing.
Fondest memory: I had one of my great travel learnings in London. It was the weekend and I wanted to find some entertainment but didn’t know where to go. I stopped in at a tourist office and got a couple of addresses to some clubs, but when I went looking for one of them it turned out to be closed. Disappointed, I was standing on the platform of the tube waiting to head back into London. A group of people came onto the platform and we all headed into town. More and more people boarded the train at each stop. Then at one particular stop most of the people got out, including the group that had got on at my station. Curious, I followed and found that there were even more people already converging from streets above ground. A special event? Nope… I’d discovered Leicester Square, the theatre and restaurant district. And there in lay the learning. If you’re looking for the main attractions in a city, follow the crowd. Once you’ve found those, you’re in a better position to explore off the beaten track.