OK, not really something you as a traveller really needs to worry about, but I just had to take this picture on a street in SOHO. A lot of cities in the world have some strange laws in effect that just never get taken off the books.
In case you can't read what it says from the picture it states: "You may face imprisonment if discovered drunk in charge of a steam engine or a cow."
Although this tip can be applied to anywhere in the world while you are on a vacation (holiday), I am putting this here since London was our first stop recently. If you are going to a timed event (Buckingham Palace 1:45 p.m. entry) be sure to know how long it will take to get there and anticipate various waiting times, traffic etc. Although my wife and I made this time with 5 minutes to spare on our first day to London it felt a little too rushed for me when I was on a relaxing vacation to even cut things this close. We made a conscious decision from that point forward to not schedule anything by time, but just be aware of opening and closing times.
In every NT property you will find the chairs all have something placed in the centre - a piece of holly, a teasle (thistle) or as in the picture, a pine cone ... it's to discourage you from sitting on them (the chairs are antiques - often a couple of hundred years old, delicate and fragile - 21st century bums are heavy - so no sitting allowed!)
I had to discourage my American friend from asking in a fake "I'm not from around here so I'm allowed to ask stupid questions" way...
"Didn't they find it uncomfortable sitting on pine cones in the 18th century??"
I was supposed to have been in England when the bombings took place in the summer of 2005 but an unexpected opportunity arose to go to Hong Kong, and I had never been there so I went. Nevertheless, many of my dear friends continued with our British plans and I was quite alarmed when I heard of the bombings and associated investigations. For the latest security status of transport in and around London, please visit www.met.police.uk or www.tfl.gov.uk
As late as September of 2005, the Piccadilly Underground line (a subway, not some clandestine organization), a vital source of transport from Heathrow Airport to central London was closed. A check of the Transport for London (TFL) website earlier today (October 30, 2005) indicates that Piccadilly is fully restored.
I ordered theatre tickets online for the first time. Previously, I'd either bought them through a travel agent or directly from the theatre. This time i used Londontown.com's service. They have some good deals and some discounts and low service fees. They use an outside agent, though, Keith Prowse. Two things i discovered about this experience. Yes, you can sometimes get good discounts. But you do not get to choose your seat. It is allotted to you though you do get the choice of where in the theatre you wish to sit (stalls, dress circle etc.) You also cannot change your seats. The only way you can do that is if you had bought the tickets directly from the box office. You must pick your tickets up at the box office on the day of the performance, not before as they are courier-sent to the theatre on the performance date. It wouldn't hurt to ring the theatre first to check that the tickets are there because they could be delivered any time during the day. You will be able to pick them up within an hour before the curtain rises, though. They *will* be there as long as you have your confirmation.
If you are allotted lousy seats, however, there's no recourse. I think this is the case with most online ticket sellers unless you are booking directly with the theatre but many of the theatres also work with a ticket agency that does the booking. If you are particular about where you want to sit, it's best to contact the theatre directly. You may pay full price but you'll have the seats you want. Now... if you could just find a way of making sure that person that's taller than you doesn't sit in front of you, you'd have it made!
Some of the bartenders can get overzealous in their quest to keep the pub tidy. Don't leave your pint unattended, or it may be gone when you get back, even if it is still half full! Some people will even leave a beer mat on top of their glass to say "don't touch" when they go to the restroom, if they don't have a friend handy to watch their pint for them.
Does this sink look a little small? Of course it does. You really couldn’t actually get full sized adult hands into it. Then it gets worse. Much much worse. You see the twisty water control? Well to get hot water you have to turn the stupid thing ALL THE WAY AROUND. This means that the water comes out with immense pressure, lands inside the stupidly small sink and then ricochets right on to YOU! It of course lands mostly in the area around your crotch as this is the low level they have put the sink at. You now leave the toilet cubicle and return to an open-plan office looking like you just wet yourself. Then they start talking about you….
I actually banned my builders from installing these idiotic sinks and taps when I used to oversee the building of retail shops. They couldn’t understand why. I can’t understand why they are still manufactured. They waste water and create a cleaning and slip hazard.
Just another example of BAD BRITISH PLUMBING
My suggestion? Just wash your hands in the cold water.
I have no doubt that when water taps were first invented they had separate taps like these. Not only are they still made like that here, they are all too common. So what’s the problem? Well one is hot and one is cold. You are supposed to put the plug in the sink and mix the water together to wash you hands. Now where does it all go wrong? Well for starters there are rarely and sink plugs in these in public toilets found in pubs, bars, restaurants, etc. Then there is the idea of actually touching the sink that God knows what has been doing God knows what in. This can only be done if you have that missing plug. This is also a huge waste of water. So what have you got left? That leaves getting your hands scaled by the superheated water or freezing cold hands in winter. That’s because most toilets in the UK are unheated! You could move your hands back in forth in a hellish attempt to get something in between. This wastes water and creates a cleaning and slip hazard.
It’s hard to believe a politician (John Prescott) wanted a control on the hot taps made mandatory in bathtubs so old people would not scald themselves. He obviously could not conceive of a single, modern, mixing tap!
Just another example of BAD BRITISH PLUMBING
My suggestion? Just wash your hands in the cold water.
The Globe theatre, a re-creation of the Globe of Shakespere's time is one of the great attractions of London. It is a magnificent achievement and together with the exhibition it has become a true 'must see'.
This tip, however, concerns the cheap seats in the pit or yard in fromt of the stage. In the original globe the wooden floor would have been a mess of biblical proportions where the 'groundlings' or urban poor piled in to have a good laugh at the naughty bits of the plays. The more monied of society would occupy the galleried areas. They also attracted the name 'stinkard's' for fairly obvious reasons.
In modern times you can get a ticket for this area (now with a boring concrete floor) for the bargain price of a five. This must be one of the great bargains of London.
The website of the globe has an FAQ which asks : 'What does standing mean ?' A : 'Not sitting !'. Well blow me down with feather ! They will ask you to stand or leave. Remember a play might last two or three hours. In addition, it is open to the elements, so no umbrellas allowed - you may mell get drenched.
Still, if you want an authentic experience - and be right up to the theatrical action - then this ticket is a winner.
Be aware that bags loaded into the hold of Terravision coaches(who run services to and Stansted /Central London) are not checked in by staff nor do staff check when bags are removed by passengers or others so when the bus stops, anyone can take any bag, including people standing at the bus stop. If your bag is taken the fine print says that Terravision are not responsible. Insist that you take your bag on board or get out each time the bus stops and check your bag is still in the hold.
I lived in East London for a year and was mugged once. Just going for an evening run and was stopped by 3 kids. Fortunately managed to fight them off and run, but anywhere east of Stratford isn't pleasant (Stratford is where the new Olympic Stadium is being built). Fortunately there isn't anything in this area that would appeal to tourists anyway. Central London is safe though
This is a photo of a photo by Andrew Stuart - I saw it in the London Evening Standard tonight (Dec 07) and felt it would be a good warning to anyone thinking of Christmas shopping in Oxford Street.
This was a pre-Christmas "car-free" ie pedestrians only event (2 of these days are allowed each year) but plans are afoot to increase it to three days and over a million shoppers were there on Saturday.
Anyway... even an hour in this Christmas crush would be too much for me... I guess it depends on how bad you want something... but nothing could be worth this could it??
Be careful when you book with expedia - if your flight is cancelled then you lose your booking fee - refunds can take 90 days - they wont call you back - constantly hassle with flight changes and incompitent service --- they give the wrong information - you might as well book direct with airline as you end up having to call them anyway to get things sorted
Weather is a major driving force in London. One moment it is raining heavily, the other moment is is bright and sunny. Suddenly it's chilly and sometimes hot. Be ready to get drenched or carry umbrella always.
Well, you live and learn. The joy of great cities is that they are inexhaustable. There is always something new. I didn't know that there were pelicans in St James' Park until my eye was caught by a sign admonishing one not to feed the pelicans. I kept my eyes peeled and sure enough, pelicans. I spotted a couple, and very tame they are too.
London is a wonderful place to live in or visit but, like any other major metropolis, it has it's share of potential hazards for the unwary visitor. Unscrupulous and unlicensed minicab...