England is a very expensive island. London is the most expensive. Whatever you plan to take with you as spending money, multiply it by 3. Restaurants are unbelievably expensive unless they are fish and chip shops - small cafes which serve fried foods. Most foods are fried. If you eat in a Pub your food will be better but very expensive. Picnics are a great idea and you can get an excellent selection of food in local supermarket. Best location to stay in London...Knightsbridge (if you can find something near Harrods). Worst locations... East End and South East London. Underground trains provide excellent transportation all over London and extend out as far as Kew Gardens which is beautiful. Kensington Gardens in Central London is good. If cost is not a concern, stay in hotels on Park Lane near shopping and entertainments. If you want to meet REAL cockneys, go on Sundays to The Lane in Whitechapel where the enormous flea market is but forget bargains. You may get lucky and see the Pearly King and Queen. You cant mistake them. Some of the best Jewish delis are here.
Because London is a very large city it is not wise to rent a car - no where to park it anyway. Cost of gas/petrol very expensive. Better to take taxis - also expensive but plentiful.
Many immigrants have now settled in London so important to secure money and passport INSIDE your clothing. Back pockets and purses are an open invitation to pickpockets!
Do not expect England to be disabled friendly. They have not caught up to U.S. in this regard and many areas have cobbled streets, lots of steps with no railings, and cars do not always stop at pedestrian crossings, so be careful! Oh yes, and look LEFT when crossing street.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of London is eating the finest cod in the world and enjoying the beautiful gardens. May is best time to visit.
This is where our TA cruise finishes its journey. Mike and I disembark in Southampton and continue on to London for two nights.
Fondest memory: We had two fun filled days and nights here. The morning we left we walked to a cafe for breakfast and I was choking back tears because I did not want to leave.
So, Sydney has a famous bridge. Yeah? San Francisco has the Golden Gate bridge, does it? Pah! Venice has the Rialto? Schmialto!
This is the Bridge, mate, that tops them all, and why? It opens up, don't it! So ships can get through, innit! Cor blimey guv, you don't get that for a fish and chip butty in them other places, eh!
It's been with us since the 1890s, and was construceted in response to serious riots about the cost of the ferries to get from the south bank to the City. It used to open up 500 times a month, now it opens up 500 times a year. A favoured spot for suiciders, it has a great walkway that offers incredible views of the Thames and the City - visit the Tower Bridge Experience for this.
Like all great cities there are many 'must-see's '. London has something for everyone. The weather can't be guaranteed , but because of it's position on the SE of the UK, actually gets reasonable weather most of the year,including a fair bit of sun. ( Americans be prepared ! ) Joking aside, the weather in London is usually ok. Must-see's , the following are my personal favourites
1. Trafalgar Square- See the lions of empire ( statues) Nelson's column and of course the pidgins.
2. Buckingham Palace. The Queen's residence. Architecturally impressive, this Georgian Palace is a must see. Just standing outside the gates , you will get a feel of Royal power and prestige ( beneficently wielded ) There is an aura, a kind of magic. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea , but worth seeing in any case. The road leading to the palace, the mall is worth seeing also . ( don't just get a taxi, walk down the tree lined mall from Admiralty arch ). 3.Westminster - Visit the Abbey- beautiful building , packed with history. See the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben clock, statue of King Richard ( the Lion heart ) outside. ( see the Cabinet war rooms if you have time- a reconstruction of Churchill's bunker of WW 2 London ). 4. Tower of London ( former fortress, jewel safe, garrison and former place of execution ) . The real crown jewels are a star attraction here. 5. British museum - great exhibits from 250 years of Empire and much more from Ancient Egypt to contemporary times- a must see. 6. Hyde park ( visit speakers corner ) and Kensington gardens- walk around and enjoy ! 7. Go to Harrods shop ( store ) in Knightsbridge- see where the rich and famous shop. 8. The London wheel- I haven't tried it yet and have heard mixed reviews. 9. Go to St.Pauls Cathedral ( no introduction necessary ) 10. Visit Mme Tussaud's Wax Museum. Piccadilly Circus- it may be corny, but go anyway. Say hello to the statue of Eros. 12. If you have time, take a boat ride up the Thames.
Fondest memory: I have several. I always feel ' energized ' when in London. From black taxi cabs to red buses, a ride on the tube( subway ), the great buildings, museums ...the list goes on.
This 8 ton, 5 meter high coloured glass sculpture is the latest piece of art work taking the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Designed by Thomas Schutte, it is meant to "collect and reflect light like a jewel" - but it doesn't really work on a grey dismal London day (of which there are many!!). Maybe on a sunny day it will look better.
Due to years of indecision as to what to do with the fourth plinth, there is no permanent statue here and it was eventually decided that it should be used as an ever changing display of artwork/ sculptures.
The pregnant Alison lapper sculpture has gone and this one, "Model for a Hotel" will be here for the next 18 months.
I've never been in here (as far as I can remember) but this is the pub in Whitechapel which was made infamous when Ronnie Kray shot and killed George Cornell on 9th March 1966. The Kray twins were notorious East End gangland killers who frequented various pubs in this area.
Fondest memory: If walls could talk, every building could tell a story.
Favorite thing: If you are looking to see the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, you may be disappointed (depending on the year). As of September 2007 it is under wraps undergoing evidently extensive renovation. It is so well covered that we couldn't get even a glimpse of it. As you can see in the photo, it is scheduled to come back on public display in early 2009.
Favorite thing: When visiting Greenwich, a stop at the tourist information office will be helpful. Just a short distance from the Greenwich pier or less than a 10 minute walk from tht Cutty Sark Docklands Light Rail station, it is in a lovely old building and has a nice gift shop as well as a wealth of information on the area. We picked up a very helpful map of Greenwich but they also do tickets for all the local attractions and all kinds of travel but also will help arrange lodgings if you want. There is also a gallery of local art for perusal and/or purchase and internet facilities you can use. There is also a small coffee/tea room where you can get light snacks
Favourite thing to do while sightseeing... it all depends on what each person's interest is. I think the best thing to do for a first visit is take an open top bus tour to get the lay of the land. St. Paul's Cathedral is pretty impressive as is the Tower of London. I don't recall that there was an entrance fee to the main cathedral the first time I went in 1993 but there is one now. 2007 prices are about £9.50 for an adult with seniors and childrens discounts available. This included entrance to the crypt where the gift shop and cafe are located. I'm not sure if the admission price includes being able to climb the dome. No photography allowed inside the cathedral either.
Fondest memory: The first big tourist attraction i visited on my first visit to London was St. Paul's cathedral. I was tired, still jet lagged and wasn't entirely sure if i was going in the right direction because the street name changed. I came around a bend in the road and there looming high above me was the famous dome of St. Paul's. It literally took my breath away! I didn't get to see as much of it as i wanted that first time because i wasn't feeling my best. The next time i went to London, my friend and i climbed up to the top of the dome. What a view!!! This photo was taken on my first trip, August 1993.
Where (this is the name of the publication)
This is the most useful magazine in London.
Has all attractions, theatre, dining, shopping, entertainment, museums.
They are broken down into categories and have map codes for the map included with the magazine.
It is published monthly.
Favorite thing: The Great British Heritage Pass can be purchased in the US BEFORE you travel and allows entry to more than 600 historic properties, castles and gardens throughout Britain, including half price entry to the Tower.
Favorite thing: If spotting famous people is your hobby, this is a good place to do it. I must admit to not knowing the exact address but this tower block is visible several blocks away. You will find it in the far end of Chelsea so follow the river from the Tate. When this photo was taken, famous residents included Michael Caine, Cilla Black and Robbie Williams...
This pretty mural is painted on a wall down a little side street just off of Carnaby Street. I don't know if it's still there now or not? But it was a lovely treasure to find when we did though; the colours were really vivid and looked wonderful in the late afternoon sunshine.
It's a pity that all graffiti can't be as pretty as this isn't it.
There are loads of Burger King restaurants around London and they have far better tasting Burgers than the awful McDonald's do. Anyway, here is a little story about the first time me and Chris went to London together, back in the summer of 1991.
We were sat eating a Whopper, when this young French woman came up to us and was remarking on our Tattoos. She asked if she could photograph us? I said yes, just thinking that she wanted to photograph Chris, because he is covered from head to foot in Tattoos. But no, she didn't want a photograph of Chris, she wanted one of me. She said that in France it was very unusual to see a woman with many Tattoos; I only have 5, two on each arm and one on my left shoulder, but this fascinated her. So she took my pic, so now I'm famous in France! hahaha ;)
It's funny really, over the last 8 or 9 years or so, nearly every girl and woman are getting tattoos, and no matter what the weather, they've all got to flash them off! What posers & saddos. I don't particularly like my tattoos now, as nearly every other woman having them has made them so common, so no one ever sees mine, not that I was in the posing habit of showing them off all the time anyway.
Me and my husband Chris went to London for the day in the summer of 2000. On the way back to Marylebone, in the late afternoon, we saw this really wonderful mural stretching the whole length of 'Selfridges'; the largest shop in Oxford Street. I thought that this mural was very beautiful. It had been painted and placed there to hide the renovations of the shop; what a clever way to his the renovations, and what a wonderful surprise for art lovers like me! I am so glad that we went there on the off-chance that summer.
The mural is depicting actors, actresses and other stars like Elton John, he must have been standing in for the 'Queen' I reckon?
Hmm, one part of the mural looks like it could have been rather interesting doesn't it? Er, kind of in the old lust department, must have been depicting the undies dept in Selfridge's eh? hehehe.