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A few observations from Summer 2011 in London

A few observations from Summer 2011 in London

Old Sep 4th, 2011, 02:23 PM
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A few observations from Summer 2011 in London

1) The sooner you can decide on your itinerary and book lodgings, the cheaper they will be OR July is not the month to try to book London lodgings on the fly. Because DH was doing research and could not predict how long he needed in each city, I was not able to book our hotel in London until a week or so before we got there. We actually ended up popping in and out of London for couple nights in London a couple nights elsewhere and back again and staying in four different hotels. This was in July and it really took a toll on me with worry and time spent on the computer trying to pay less than $200 a night and stay within Zones 1-3.

DH started his research at the London Metropolitan Archives. So I knew we needed the first two nights in/around London and was able to book a very nice B&B, Benny's B&B in Ealing, at a very nice price in April (through Venere.com). I also knew I wanted to spend the last three nights in England in London, so I booked that room through Hotwire and got the Holiday Inn Express - Royal Docks (ok place, but you have to pay for wi-fi). All other stays in London were done a week or less ahead of time using Booking.com, Priceline and Hotwire. We ended up staying at the Holiday Inn Express - North Greenwich (free wi-fi in great room, but 1 mile from the Underground), another time at the Holiday Inn Express - Royal Docks, and four nights at the Copthorne Tara at $200 a night (Priceline).

2) Some here argue that taking the bus is quicker than the Underground around London. I would argue, that in July, at least, any bus route going through the area roughly bounded by Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Aldwych, and Oxford Street, is a long, long, long, bus ride.

I was able to take in a couple bus rides just for ride itself and to get to a couple places not served by the Underground. The rides taken just to see what was on the bus route were very informative. I basically picked a bus from wherever I was to someplace I had not been that connected with another bus that brought me back a different way. From these rides, I decided that I had seen enough of Camden Locks area from the bus (I'm really not into crowds), was able to scope out the neighborhood around Lords for the next day when we went to a cricket match, and saw some lovely neighborhoods and some not-so lovely neighborhoods, that I would not have seen otherwise. Big bang for your pound and definitely worth climbing up to the upper deck.

3) The Gerkin! I felt that I had to touch it. Why? Because its there. Turns out that I am not the only one who finds the Gerkin strangely alluring. I found time to see it on a Saturday after visiting the Geffrey Museum (its ok, but not one I would recommend for people's first or second visit to London). Saturday is also an interesting time to be in the City, when all the workers have left. It was me and several other people walking around the Gerkin. So many people show up to see it that the Pret a Manger across the street is open. It is the only business within several blocks that is open on a Saturday. There were a few people walking around the closed shops of Leadenhall Market, and I was the only person looking at Lloyd's. Really, the 1926 entrance is just extra silly attached to that building. I noticed that they didn't repeat the design in their second building.

4) The churches in the City. I have been to London several times and have pretty much seen all the most popular tourist sights. With a totale of just over two weeks to spend in London, I had time to see the "lesser" sights. I happened on the objective of seeing all the churches and towers/ruins in the City (not all this summer, it will take me a couple more visits to get them all).

DH was researching at the Guildhall and I happened to notice they were having a lunchtime recital in St. Lawrence Jewry. I went and heard some lovely Bach. I also found a map put out by "The Friends of the City Churches." It lists 48 churches (St. Paul's isn't on the list) and 10 towers/ruins. I was able to visit 17 churches, 6 towers/ruins and two other lunchtime recitals. For the Wren churches, I was impressed by how each one has it's own personality. Of course, some of that comes from later changes made to the churches, especially after the Blitz, but still, they weren't cookie-cutter churches. My favorite so far is St Etheldreda's Chapel, which was the oldest of the churches I visited.

I am looking forward to our next trip to London, whenever that will be.
GBbabe is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2011, 02:48 PM
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Just a tip regarding lodging -- during the summers and some winter breaks, many universities offer their dorm rooms for rent.
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Old Sep 4th, 2011, 04:16 PM
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Yes,we have used the LSE dorms before, however, they go quickly and were fully booked when I finally knew what dates we would be in London
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Old Sep 4th, 2011, 04:33 PM
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I've also stayed at Sundial Court (Guildhall) before during the summer in August; it was not too bad. I booked for mid August and there was nobody there except for me. At least I didn't see anyone else there. http://www.gsmd.ac.uk/about_the_scho...mmodation.html
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Old Sep 4th, 2011, 04:34 PM
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http://www.gsmd.ac.uk/about_the_scho...ial_court.html
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Old Sep 7th, 2011, 09:00 PM
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Nice, GBbabe.

I love St Etheldreda's, too, but can never remember how to pronounce it. It's worth going to a service there for the beauty of it.
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