4 days in london - making the most of it

Old Jan 25th, 2001, 08:24 AM
  #1  
Lisa
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4 days in london - making the most of it

How would you make the most of 4 days in London?? I enjoy the atmosphere of Notting Hill as opposed to hitting all the tourist 'traps'.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2001, 08:33 AM
  #2  
Chemical X
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It is important to know if this is your first time and how many people in your party are going.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2001, 09:30 AM
  #3  
Sean
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Don't know about old Chemical there but i'm a Londoner and am here to help. However, i agree that we need a bit more to go on.

What else are you into?

Are you a clubber? Gay? Do you like restaurants? If so what type? Cheap and cheerful or dead posh and expensive?

I'm assuming you are female Lisa, but if you are to be in a group, how many and what sex are they?

Is it small bars, shops and markets you like?

Do you know Notting hill? I mean have you been there or just heard about it? If you have been, what about it do you like?

When are you coming? Notting Hill Carnival is in August so if you don't like crowds...

Really, tell us as much as poss and we'll try and help...

Word from the mothership
Peace, Love and Inity
Sean
 
Old Jan 25th, 2001, 09:33 AM
  #4  
Hans
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My recommendation is to pick up the "Original London Walks" Brochure and take some of their walks--they are fantasic. Given your inclination to stay awat from the tourist traps, check out their "Hidden" series of walks. We took the Hidden Kensington walk and were amazed by some of the things we saw just off the beaten path that we would never had seen if we were just walking around by ourselves. The one "touristy" walk that is well worth it is the "Jack the Ripper Walk"--make sure you take the one with Donald Rumbolow who is a Blue Guide and is also the author of one of the most famous books about the murders--the area you walk in (the east end) is still pretty spooky at night but nothing beats walking in the area and hearing the stories and seeing the places Jack made famous. Enjoy London!
 
Old Jan 25th, 2001, 12:07 PM
  #5  
lisa
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sorry i was so evasive. it's my husband and i traveling. we're young and up for just about anything. i like the antique shops, art galleries and avant-garde type of shopping (in other words no designer boutiques that are readily available in the states). we're going next month so i realize it's cold but cannot be worse than nyc in january. nothing a warm coat and sweater cannot handle. the third message about the jack the ripper walk sounds very appealing - that's something both of us would love. i like to write so anything artsy and out of the ordinary appeals to me (in otherwords, i won't be having tea at the ritz). my husband pretty much goes along with my whims. is this enough to go on??
 
Old Jan 25th, 2001, 01:09 PM
  #6  
Lesli
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Sean (and others) -

I'll be in London towards the end of March (meeting a female friend there), and would love recommendations for restaurants more on the "cheap and cheerful" side. Bars/pubs, too! Also nightlife appropriate for 30-something women (I like clubs, but not raves; prefer jazz, hip-hop, and latin music to house.) Anyone have any suggestions for where to salsa dance? Theater perfomances beyond the big musicals? Interesting shops unique to London?

We'll be staying in Bloomsbury for about a week. Looking forward to your responses; thanks in advance.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2001, 07:10 PM
  #7  
Chemical X
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Don't let the name fool you. Me and my wife (early 30's) did a 4 day 3 nighter in London. We needed to be prepared beforehand, each day was pretty well scheduled, as there is so much to see and do. We're from NYC and found the London subway (The Tube) the best way to get around, though it closes at midnight. Must sees......Westminster Abbey, Harrod's, St. Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Madame Tousseu's Wax Museum, Big Ben. We saw the show "Phantom of the Opera" and ate at Joe Allen's (very NY theater district. Trafalgar Square is nice (watch the pigeons). There is a book in Libraries/Book stores by a woman something along the lines of "3 days in London", which gives numerous ideas on museums and helps plan itineraries.
Good Luck.
 
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 06:25 AM
  #8  
elaine
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Lisa
I have a file on London, if you'd like to see it email me
 
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 06:33 AM
  #9  
Zoe
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Hi Lisa

I second the London walks recommendation. You could also head up to Hampstead (north London) which has a lovely atmosphere on a Sunday, for brunch, etc. Plus great shops. The house where Keats lived is also in that area if you like poetry. It's now a Keats museum.

Portobello market in Notting Hill is always fun - just browsing the stalls and unusual shops.

I would definitely recommend visiting Tate Modern. It's the new modern art museum at Bankside and is fantastic. Free admission and amazing art, including the wackiest installations. It is very popular and always busy, but a really great way to spend a morning or afternoon. The new British Library at St Pancras is great - they have an exhibition room with the original manuscripts of masses of writers from Chaucer to Paul McCartney.

You could also have a look round the antique markets and shops in the Kings Road/New Kings Road in Chelsea.

Have a great time!

Zoe
 
Old Jan 26th, 2001, 07:24 AM
  #10  
ac
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Hi, Lisa,

Hoxton Square is cool place to be these days. Artists and writers congregate there.

For alternative theatre, try Almedia, Donmar Warehouse or any theatres listed under 'Fringe'.

The new glass roof and reading room of British Museum is worth a trip.

Go to Old Crompton street instead of Leicester Square(the ultimate tourist trap).

Hampstead or Islington is your alternative to Notting Hill.

Have a wonderful trip.

 
Old Jan 27th, 2001, 02:49 PM
  #11  
eva
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National Gallery is open until 8pm on Wed,British Museum-with the brand new great court-until 8.30pm on Thur-Fri-Sat.No crowds at all.
 
Old Jan 27th, 2001, 06:27 PM
  #12  
Ben Haines
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Fodors


If you believe in "must sees" then Chemical is quite right, with a select list of top tourist traps. I don't believe in them. Tourism is a pleasure, not a duty, and if you never in your life see Big Ben it won't matter. So I'll try some alternatives.

Westminster Abbey. OK, but crowded, more like a museum than a church, and it takes much historical background to understand it. St. Paul's Cathedral. The Prince of Wales likes it, but for me it's an over-sized nobleman's drawing room, and has almost nothing to do with Christianity. So I offer two improvements. St Bartholomew the Great Church, nearest tube station Farringdon, is twelfth century, large, and gloomy. Southwark Carthedral, nearest station London Bridge, is fourteenth century, large, and sunny. Both offer good main services on Sunday at ten or eleven, but both are open from ten to five daily.

Harrod's. A fine great store. I'd leave that in your list, and add places that I note below, from the newspaper.

Buckingham Palace. Boring. A great grey building. If you do go, the two things worth a look are the Queen's art gallery and her coaches in the Royal Mews. St James, nearby, is a more palace-like palace. Kensington Palace has a good museum of court costume from early last century. Tube Kensington High Street.

Tower of London. A good idea. You cut a queue if you buy your ticket theday before, at any tube station. You avoid crowds if you arrive at opening time.

Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. Expensive and pointless. A free place for a review of the great Britons is the National Portrait Gallery at the north east corner of Trafalgar Square, opposite the Post Office.

Big Ben. Why ? It's a large clock.

"Phantom of the Opera". But why a big musical ? I agree with Lesli: the city is full of good thinking theatre, especially at Fringe venues. If you buy "What's On" or "Time Out" at your arrival airport you can read it on the boring train ride to the West End, then book with a credit card on the phone.

Joe Allen's (very NY theater district). Well, yes, but you're in London. I'm attaching a note I have on pub meals. If it won't unmpack please tell me, and I'll send it plain text.

Trafalgar Square is nice (watch the pigeons). True, if you enjoy watching pigeons.
 
Old Jan 27th, 2001, 06:28 PM
  #13  
Ben Haines
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Chemical did helpfully elicit from you useful extra notes.You say:
Antique shops. Good in Islington just north of Angel station, and in the covered arcades north and south of Piccadilly.

Art galleries. Heaps. Many are gathered in St James, just south of Piccadilly, and along Bond Street. All are listed in What's On and Time Out, with opening times.

Avant-garde type of shopping (in other words no designer boutiques that are readily available in the states). Also, anything artsy and out of the ordinary. The site http://www.independent.co.uk/50_Best...Hidden_London/
has notes are from the Information supplement of the London newspaper "The Independent". The shops it lists are a rum lot:
R Garcia and Sons, W11
Celia Birtwell, 71 Westbourne Park Road, W2, Royal Oak tube
Ray Harris, W2
Pollock's Toy Museum & Shop, 1 Scala Street, W1, Goodge Street tube
John Sandoe Books, 10 Blacklands Terrace, SW3, Sloane Square tube
Tobias & The Angel, 68 White Hart Lane, SW13, Barnes Bridge station, from
Waterloo (too long a journey for you)
Smith's Snuff Shop, WC2
Radio Days, SE1
Downbeat Records & What The Butler Wore, 131 Lower Marsh, SE1, Waterloo tube
Angela Flanders Aromatics, E2

I agree with Chemical that you can pack more in if you plan ahead. In particular, you'll wqant to visit each area of London just once, and so cut travel time. So I make you an offer. If you'll pick out 12 or 15 things you want to see or places you want to eat, give precise dates in London, and say whether you'll be tired on your firsat day, I'll gladly draw up a plan that takes you to one area at a time. If you list Madame Tussauds I'll sigh, but conform.

And in general, please write if I can help further. Welcome to London.

Ben Haines

 

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