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5 nights near British Museum mid September?

5 nights near British Museum mid September?

Jul 7th, 2015, 02:52 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 67
5 nights near British Museum mid September?

Good morning. My husband and I are planning a return 5 night stay in London mid-September. We do have some dietary restrictions (gluten-free for me, no milk products for hubbie), but, have had some fine meals in London based on your recommendations.

For our November 2014 trip, we enjoyed our pre-theater meal at Terroirs and post-theater at Delauney. Some years ago, we also enjoyed Harwood Arms (hubbie still talks about his scotch egg). The other memorable meal in London from our last visit was a poor experience at St James Hotel and Club for afternoon tea—expensive, bad service, and little food. So bad that hubbie has told me that if I want to do afternoon tea this visit, will have to do it by myself.

This time, we are staying in central London in a B&B, a couple of blocks away from the British Museum. So, will have breakfast already taken care of.

We haven’t sorted out our entire itinerary other than theatre Saturday and Monday nights. Hubbie wants to visit Churchill War Room, I would like to visit Bletchley or do another day trip out of London (perhaps with London walks).

Can you help us plan our 5 dinners and 4 lunches in London? For budget, will 15-30 pounds per person for dinner, 11 pounds per person for lunch do it for budget-moderate meals (average costs for London)? We could certainly have more expensive late lunch and less expensive dinner.

I really could use some help figuring out:
1. Friday late night meal near Ridgemount Hotel/British Museum (our flight gets in to Heathrow at 9:55 pm
)2. Saturday pre-theatre near Phoenix theatre
3. Sunday dinner (gastropub? Sunday roast?)
4. Monday pre-theatre near Savoy theatre
5. Markets to hit Saturday, Sunday, Monday and/or Tuesday (lunch/picnic supplies/gifts to take home)
6. Suggestions for day trip to Bletchley or other day trip out of London (Sunday or Tuesday lunch)
7. Museum cafés/restaurants worth a visit
8. Good last dinner in London (bib gourmand? gastropub?)
9. Thoughts on whether and which Ottolenghi location for picnic supplies or eat in?

Thank you.
LaContessa1 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2015, 04:54 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,156
If you want to visit Bletchley, there's nothing else like it, it'll easily take up a full 9-5 day (from getting to Euston to getting back to Euston) it's easily visitable by train (just walk from Bletchley station) and there's nothing you can combine it with.

Its "restoration" (a complete misnomer) and the extraordinary amount of new displays being constantly added make any kind of prepackaged tour inadvisable.

It's turned from being a scruffy, poorly displayed random collection of relevant artefacts to THE National Shrine of the Wartime Spirit.

Its (now many) visitors are almost Soviet in their make-up: overwhelmingly dominated by the Call the Midwife cohort of recent free buspass recipients (born 1940-1955, and mostly in awe of what their parents got up to), a small smattering of those old enough to have served there (look for the Bletchley Medal wearers, usually surrounded by parties of their neighbours) and school parties come to worship.

The huts (which once held nearly 10,000 people doing jobs as repetitive as modern Third World garment assembly) are stuffed with an ever-growing collection of displays on cryptology, espionage, daily life in WW2, modern computing, recent films associated with cryptology and anything you can think that combines these themes. The display on the use of carrier pigeons in WW2 - and the Ornithology Race the UK and Germany engaged in to command a decisive edge in this improbably essential sub-war - could only possibly be mounted in Britain, and is gobsmackingly fascinating. But many other, sometimes equally obscure, features seem to be constantly getting inserted as more rebuilt huts are brought onstream.

The downside is that there are few full guided tours, and those tend to concentrate heavily on the Enigma story, which now accounts for only a small proportion of the displays (and even while all 10,000 were at it full time, only a small part of what Bletchley did)

The trick, I think, is to get to Block B (https://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/con...ee/BlockB.rhtm) where there's a programme of lectures about the mechanics of the Enigma decryption which makes you begin to get a glimpse of what the puzzle was, how the Germans thought they were constantly making it tougher, and how the teams worked out the decoding strategy. Then, meander round the whole area, possessed - after that rough outline of what was mainly going on - of an approximate understanding about what was being done.

It's the serendipitous stuff you stumble over that makes this a museum like no other. And - ironically in a military camp notorious for its oppressive working conditions - its open and airy layout that lets your brain assimilate much of it, where in a conventional walled museum your brain would have succumbed to Museum Head hours earlier.

The food's awful. And it's not even trying to emulate the stuff of the rationing era.
flanneruk is online now  
Jul 7th, 2015, 06:17 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,237
Just a quick comment re your arrival night meal:

>>1. Friday late night meal near Ridgemount Hotel/British Museum (our flight gets in to Heathrow at 9:55 pm<<

W/ a 10PM arrival you won't get to your hotel til after midnight. If it was me, I'd just pick up some things at your departure airport or at LHR and 'snack' dinner in your B&B room before falling into bed.
janisj is online now  
Jul 10th, 2015, 04:06 AM
  #4  
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Thank you for your detailed reply. It has convinced my husband that we should go to Bletchley (I was already convinced, smile). I guess we will pick up picnic supplies at Mark and Spencer before heading there. Have already printed out my 2-4-1 coupon for Bletchley. We will also get takeaway at Heathrow when we arrive per your suggestion.

Any advice as to my other questions?
LaContessa1 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2015, 02:18 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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There's a good natural foods grocer & deli I like not far from the Ridgemount with take-out, including for restricted diets. Planet Organic, 22 Torrington Place, the cross street in the other direction from the British Museum, turn left.
MmePerdu is online now  
Jul 12th, 2015, 04:43 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,237
>>We will also get takeaway at Heathrow when we arrive per your suggestion.<<

One thing - Which terminal? In some, pickings are pretty slim land side. T-5 has a few of places (coffee shop w/ wraps/sandwiches, M&S) open late. But AFAIK not much is open really late in T-3. So to make sure you don't starve I'd also squirrel away any extra bits from your meals on the flight. There is usually wrapped cheese, rolls, snacks, etc.
janisj is online now  
Jul 13th, 2015, 05:30 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 254
Eating leftovers from the airplane in your B&B room the first night of your London adventure might be a bit dismal. VQ (Ving-Quatre) is a 24 hour restaurant on Great Russell Street - no idea what the food is like but given the time difference, you might be up for venturing out and exploring what's on offer : http://www.vq24hours.com/

Re Bletchley - my 20 something son and I really enjoyed our day there and didn't notice the skewed demographic mentioned above. And everybody has different standards but we also enjoyed eating in the atmospheric wartime canteen: I just had tea and a slice of cake but my son ate every scrap of his hot meal

For Sunday markets, head to the East End: Columbia Road Flower market (don't forget the shops behind the stalls for gifts), Brick Lane, Spitalfields (again, good for gifts.)
Boveney is offline  
Jul 13th, 2015, 05:30 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 254
Eating leftovers from the airplane in your B&B room the first night of your London adventure might be a bit dismal. VQ (Ving-Quatre) is a 24 hour restaurant on Great Russell Street - no idea what the food is like but given the time difference, you might be up for venturing out and exploring what's on offer : http://www.vq24hours.com/

Re Bletchley - my 20 something son and I really enjoyed our day there and didn't notice the skewed demographic mentioned above. And everybody has different standards but we also enjoyed eating in the atmospheric wartime canteen: I just had tea and a slice of cake but my son ate every scrap of his hot meal

For Sunday markets, head to the East End: Columbia Road Flower market (don't forget the shops behind the stalls for gifts), Brick Lane, Spitalfields (again, good for gifts.)
Boveney is offline  
Jul 14th, 2015, 12:02 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 254
Sorry for the double post!
Boveney is offline  

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