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Trip Report ATP at The O2 & St. Katherine's Dock

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Last November my husband I traveled to London with the #1 objective of attending the ATP Tennis Finals at the O2. We have been to London several times, once getting to the outer courts of Wimbledon. In August we decided that if mileage and bosses permitted, this would be the year. I secured frequent flyer BA tickets and talked my husband's boss into letting him be gone 11 days for this event and London, which I longed for. We purchased tickets ahead of time (Viagogo) for 4 days of play, including the final. We rented a 1-bedroom flat at St. Katherine's Dock (28 Nightingale from hamlet_uk@globalnet.co.uk) for 10 nights ($1600). We purchased a 7-day Oyster upon landing at Heathrow.
We flew BA's Premium Economy on the way to London and BA's Business class back to San Francisco, 10-hours each way, both quite comfortable. I love flying nonstop to London and have enjoyed both Virgin and BA's business class. BA's business class has that different configuration where some seats face backwards. I flew this way and loved my little cubicle by the windrow. My husband was right next to me flying foreword and he didn't enjoy the aisle seat as much though he had the same leg room, etc.
We arrived to our first of only two rainy London days. Though Janisj warned us not to take the tube, we did. I forgot to prebook a car. So we took the Picadilly Line , transferred at Hammersmith and got off at Blackfriars (no stairs) to catch a taxi to St. Katherine Docks (8 pounds!). Anyone staying at St. Katherine Docks--pre-book a car!! Our taxi took us to our doorstep and right across the street was the Waitrose where we later purchased breakfast goodies and drinks for our apartment that had a full kitchen.
The complex appears to have many owner occupied flats. Ours rental was on the first floor (2nd floor US) and had a plenty of room and storage space. It had a balcony and a table and chairs--too cold to use--overlooking the marina with its myriad of boats and yachts (including the black & gold one the Queen sailed down the Thames during the Olympics and/or Jubilee). There was a partial view of Tower Bridge--so exciting to wake up to that wondrous view.
Staying at St. Katherine Docks was fun and a great value. $160 per day for a nice size one-bedroom flat, fully equipped kitchen washer/dryer, good shower and okay beds in a location oozing history, nearby eating establishments and plenty of transportation options. I really had to tell myself a few times, "you are indeed walking by the Tower or you are indeed walking over London Bridge" on my way to the bus stop, the pub, etc..
After unloading our suitcases in our flat, we walked a short distance to the Dickens Inn where we had arranged to meet our friends, good food and good service and array of TVs where we watched our first tennis match. As night approached we then set out for a truly memorable walk across London Bridge where a docent happened by and explained the mechanics of opening the bridge and told us to look for it Saturday in honor of the Lord Mayor. (Missed the bridge opening but bumped into the new Lord Mayor as she got in her car to travel to the parade--she had been staying in our neighborhood!!)
We loved The O2 and enjoyed trying the many modes of transportation we had to get there. Taking the River Boat service, which you catch at the Tower marina, was our favorite because you passed different London river neighborhoods, including the very modern Canary Wharf. We also experienced the DLR and snagged the front seat with no driver aboard. We took the tube to experience our first ride on the Jubilee Line. And even bussed from Greenwich one night. We used bus #15 to get into the Trafalgar Square area. The bus, tube, boat and DLR are approx. 10- minute walks from St. Katherine Docks. Convenient!
The O2, though I really don't like its looks from the outside, is a gem inside. It houses over 20 restaurants and and even a movie theater. We enjoyed the tennis and the venue for tennis. We visited nearby Greenwich (enjoyable and charming town) , including the Cutty Sark and Greenwich Maritime Museum (it helped that are friends are docents there!).
Another highlight for me was the Lord Mayor's Parade. I wanted to do something "local" so our friends joined us on this 2nd rainy day--marched us through the streets from the Tower towards St. Paul's to watch the Parade for a few hours. I enjoyed the parade an hour (the others huddled under store fronts) and then let a cafe's hot tea rescue me from the rain. St. Paul's beckoned at the parade's end and we entered to once again savor the splendor St. Paul's. It was free this parade day!
After fish & chips (so scrumptious I dare hot eat any here) we walked through interesting parts of London and with our friends, one of who should work for London Walks! He pointed out so many interesting facts that we would just normally walk by without giving thought to them. We met two different London Walks groups visiting the areas we were. We continued our walk back to the Thames and enjoyed the fireworks over the river and the jubilation of all the Londoners welcoming their first female Lord Mayor.
We've been to London several times and decided we would pick random restaurants/pubs and visit the items on our list at whim. We enjoyed The National Gallery again, the British Library, the Science Museum, Cutty Sark and Greenwich Maritime Museum for the first time. We visited friends and the O2 several times. We never made it to Borough Market or Jersey Boys, though high on my list. We did run into 7 Dials, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and 84 Charring Cross (alas, only the marker remains). We met interesting people in pubs watching tennis matches we had no tickets for and at shared tables enjoying tea.
As I rummage through the few papers I saved from our trip I have just come across a small note from Bill & Dorothy, our friend''s parents, two delightful Londoners who put the sugar in our London tea this trip.
Thank you janisj, Rubicund and PatrickLondon for your accurate and generous tips. And to other Fodorites whose insights I have stored for my trips abroad.
Janisj, my husband is a Raider fan and we are hoping to see them September 28 in London. I saw your 49er trip report--most helpful. Get ready for some questions!

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