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shirley Feb 23rd, 2000 02:29 AM

1st time in England
 
I'll be making my first trip to England the first week of June. I'll be on a tour as part of my uncle's WWII unit. The group will consist mostly of WWII vets, but I will be celebrating my 40th birthday while there. We'll visit Oxford and Cambridge, and then have 3 days in London. Any advice on what not to miss and where it's safe for a woman to visit alone during my time in London. Also what weather to expect, mealtime recommendations, etc. Any advice will be appreciated.

Linz Feb 23rd, 2000 04:45 AM

Hi Shirley, <BR>I'm from England and visited l <BR>London loads of times. I love Covent Garden, there's always street entertainers, loads of restaurants and craft stalls, the restaurants get busy just before and after the shows, as it's local to lots of theaters,avoid eating in the gimmicky places right in the center they're even more expensive. A really good Italian in covent Garden is Italian Kitchen (or Kitchen Italia?) But I wouldn't be able to give you accurate directions, sorry. <BR>I'd recommend seeing a show, most places have matinees on wednesday and Saturday and if you were by yourself you can usually get a last minute ticket for 1 person. but if you want to go with your uncle I'd book it now, I don't know any web sites off the top of my head, try searching London Theaters and I'm sure you'll find direct links to all the shows and this will avoid using ticket touts, who make a fortune from tourists, by over pricing. <BR>If you 'phone now to make any booking, England is 5 hrs behind EST. <BR>Expect to wait in line about 1 hour at the Hard Rock Cafe. <BR>I wouldn't wonder round east london, but you should be fine in the center in day light, the under ground (quick rail system)is safe in day time, just keep hold of your purse. <BR>Lunch is usually eaten later there about 12.30 and dinner about 8pm but places start serving about 6.30pm so any thing goes! <BR>You never can tell with English weather it could be lovely 70's or 80's or it could be yuk and raining (one of the main reasons for me emmigrating!) <BR>I could spend hours in Harrods (in Knightsbridge)the food halls are wonderful, try some Leonadas Belgium chocolates, just ask for fresh cream centers they're the best. <BR>Great shopping on Oxford street, the further you get to Knightsbridge, the more expensive! <BR>E-mail me if I can help any more <BR>

kristi Feb 23rd, 2000 10:43 AM

Hi Shirley. London has such a wide variety of things to see and do that it would be helpful if you gave some of your interests. <BR> <BR>One of my favorite places in London is the Tower of London, a great place to visit if you're interested in the history of the kings and queens. Go early, see the crown jewels first and then get on a tour with the beefeater at the entrance of the tower (included with admission). <BR> <BR>Windsor Castle and Hampton Court are both great places to visit, once again if you are interested in royalty, each about 1/2 hour outside of London by train. <BR> <BR>London has several fabulous museums. The British Museum usually gets raves on this forum, personally I like the Museum of London (free after 4:30 every day. You may be interested in the Imperial War Museum if military history interests you. <BR> <BR>If you're not uncomfortable going to the theatre by yourself, you can arrange for tickets ahead of time or try your luck at the 1/2 price ticket booth in Leicester Square. Or you might want to see Shakespeare at the Globe ( I wouldn't recommend the cheap seats, you have to stand the entire time). You can get tickets at www.ticketmaster.co.uk. You might also be able to get seats on the day of the performance, especially if you're going solo. <BR> <BR>Harrod's and Oxford Street for shopping. You might also try one of the street markets. Portobello Road is the biggest, held every Saturday morning.

elavine Feb 23rd, 2000 01:00 PM

shirley <BR>If you feel that my London sightseeing notes might be helpful, feel free to email me and I'll send them to you. <BR>I have been to London several times, both alone and with others. <BR>good luck

MarkJ Feb 23rd, 2000 02:28 PM

My wife and I really enjoyed the Imperial War Museum (your uncle may enjoy it as well). Also, highly recommend any of the London Walks walking tours (web site: http://london.walks.com/). There is so much to see and do in London I'm sure you'll quickly find that you want to return. <BR> <BR>Have a wonderful trip!!!! <BR> <BR>

shirley Feb 24th, 2000 09:57 AM

Thanks for all the great ideas so far. Sorry, should have thought to list interets...I'm most interested in WWII history, as this is the purpose of my trip, but also in enjoying the experience of England. It's embarrassing to admit, but other than a business trip to Russia, this is my first trip outside of North America. (I should probably point out as well that I'm not traveling with my uncle; he was killed in WWII. I'm traveling with people from his unit as part of my research into the circumstances surrounding his death.)

kristi Feb 24th, 2000 12:21 PM

If you're interested in WWII history, in addition to the Imperial War Museum, you might also have a look at the War Cabinet rooms. <BR> <BR>London is very easy to get around in, there are a variety of different tube/bus passes you can get. Visit www.londontransport.co.uk for info on public transportation. You don't need to purchase a pass before you leave the US, if you're there on a weekend you can get a Sat/Sun pass at a 25% discount. <BR> <BR>I second the earlier recommendation regarding the London Walks. We took one of the Jack the Ripper tours and it was quite interesting.

Cindy Feb 25th, 2000 12:56 PM

Shirley <BR> <BR>I highly recommend a visit to Churchill's War Cabinet Rooms. Even if you were not interested in WWII facts, this is a "must" as you will come to appreciate what the British endured during the war years. When my mother (mid 60's) and I went through the exhibit she was standing in front of the display where Churchill made his radio addresses. She said she vividly remembered sitting at home, listening to Churchill over the radio. <BR> <BR>At Westminster Abbey is a stained glass window "memorial" to the Battle of Britian which I found very moving. <BR> <BR>If you have time while in Cambridge, visit the former Duxford Air Base - wonderful exhibits dedicated to the RAF and the American Airmen In Britain museum. Absolutely wonderful!!! <BR> <BR>I wish you luck in your research ... I have also been working on a research project involving my uncle's death during WWII (he died flying the "hump" in India) and know how difficult a project like this can be. Was your uncle in the 8th AF? <BR> <BR>Good luck in your search <BR>

Shirley Feb 25th, 2000 11:30 PM

Our primary purpose in Cambridge is to visit Duxford and the American Air Museum. My uncle was indeed in the 8thAF, 7th Photo Recon Group. I've been 6 years on and off in 8th AF research. Feel free to e-mail me if I can be of any help.

sharon Feb 26th, 2000 06:51 AM

Shirley: My father was a pilot in the USAF, we lived near King's Lynn while he was stationed at a RAF base in Norfolk, England in the mid-50's; a couple of years ago I was in London on a business trip & my mom came along (provided her with a very nice base in the London Marriot at Grosvenor Square). While I was working, she was out & about on her own..she took a number of the London Walks, one being a walk in the Temple/Inns of Court area of London. While on this walk, they visited St. Clement Danes, which she discovered is the official church of the Royal Air Force; there are memorials, honor rolls for all the units of the RAF, but also a memorial to the USAF. She found it very interesting, but also she was very touched & moved, being unaware of the content of St Clements Dane, which also is a Christopher Wren designed church. Its in an area just a bit east of Covent Garden, with which I concur with an earlier poster, is a fun place to wander about for a change of pace from museums, churches & such..there are shops, street entertainers, a crafts market, restaurants. <BR>There are alot of good suggestions in this posting for things to do for 3 day first visit...the Tower, various museums, shopping areas. You can do searches to find more suggestions & various itineraries. Even though I have been many times, I always do what the regular posters here consistently recommend, read the guidebooks & layout an itinerary based on the locales of what you'd like to see & do, and then be flexible in following the itinerary i.e. once we visited St Pauls in the am then onto the Tower in the early afternoon; while standing on the ramparts we noticed the tour boats on the Thames; I always thought they were a bit touristy but being a bit tired & figuring it was something new to do, we took one from the Tower to Westminster ..it was a pleasant ride with commentary on the passing sites on either side of the riverbanks - a nice break from walking & tubing from place to place; I now always recommend it to folks going on London vacations! And have since also taken the tour boats up to Greenwich, so you never know how doing something unplanned & spur of the moment, can change your perception & introduce another aspect to your visit!

Beth Anderson Sep 1st, 2000 07:21 PM

Shirley, <BR> <BR>How did you trip go? I am interested! Let me know - even if you prefer to email me. I am also quite interested in WWII history and will be leaving for London in 12 days! <BR> <BR>thanks! <BR> <BR>Beth

topper Sep 2nd, 2000 04:12 AM

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