Advice on short stay in London

Feb 9th, 2006, 04:31 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Advice on short stay in London

Hi - new to the board, amazed at the wealth of knowledge, especially from locals.

I'll make it point form for brevity;

-28 Yr old couple
-First time to London
-Love nightlife (bars, clubs), historic sights and museums
-Love live music (British rock fans - oasis, blur, kasabian, embrace, etc)
-Spending 5 nights, 4 full days in London in late June
-Staying on Aldwych at the Hilton Waldorf (priceline is king!)

Help needed:
1. Where are the great night spots (not specific clubs, but areas in town) to spend an evening pub/bar hopping?
2. Where would be a great pub/area to go to watch some world cup games?
3. What are some great music halls that regularly have stellar concerts going on?
4. What is the best website to look for concerts in london?
5. If you want to take the time, and are a local londoner, describe your perfect day from breakfast to bedtime.

Thanks in advance for any replies.
Jeff (Toronto, Canada)
dekoder is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 04:50 PM
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If I were a local Londoner day would probably be a too early alarm clock wake-up. slogging around my bed=sit. catching the tube or bus, then spending the day doing just about whatever it is that's pays the bills and put food on the table. After that it might be a short stop in the pub on the way home to do it all over again the next day.
jody is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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Jody - that would be your 'perfect' day? I hate to think what your normal days are like.
dekoder is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 05:46 PM
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That would be a normal day if I were a Londoner..a "perfect" day would be a lie in until 10 or so , no chores, a visit to a pub for lunch, a chat up with friends . a bit of shopping , a visit to a special exhibit, and then off to bed so I could get on with the normal day to day of London life.

Don't confuse a visitor's day with a Londoner's day!
we're a 60 something couple and have been to London about 40 times or more , could skip nightlife and live music, especially oasis,blur and whatever, but would be 1st in line at TKTS , and what is IT WITH WORLD CUP? You just had the Super Bowl.
jody is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 05:51 PM
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World Cup actually involves more than one country!

Super Bowl - or US World Series....doesn't!
margo_oz is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 05:53 PM
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I agree ..why do they call it World Series?
jody is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 06:11 PM
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Hey Jody,

That's great you've been to London 40 times or more. Any thoughts on the place? Where would the special exhibit be? The pub?

I'm not confusing a visitor's day with a londoner's day. When someone asks me what my perfect day in Toronto is, I usually don't talk about the CN Tower, the Skydome or the Ontario Science Center - I talk about the tight little bars on Queen West, the small bistros in Little Italy, or the great shows that are always on at Lee's Palace.

I can find sights in a guidebook - I'm looking for insights.

I'm not looking for a TV to watch the game. Watching the world cup in a supporter's club, taking in the passion, cheers and jeers, not often seen in a North American sports bar, is my idea of travelling. It's more about the human experience for me rather than crossing sights off a list.

I'm not so great with acronyms - what is TKTS?

dekoder is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 02:38 AM
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Dear Jeff

Apart from
another good site to check for music would be
They have an alphabeical list of bands touring the UK and sometimes have dates not shown on Ticketmaster and vice versa.

If you are interested in comedy
lists comedy nights and tours.

Best wishes

joxxxxx is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 03:12 AM
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You will want to pick up a copy of Time Out, the weekly publication of what's on in London. Music, theater, art, television, books, lectures, everything is included. Any London news stand or book shop will have it. Some of the larger US bookstores carry it too.

TKTS (meaning tickets) is a ticket booth in Leicester Square offering half price or deeply discounted tickets to many of London's top theater shows. Tickets can be purchased only for the current day's show. More info about TKTS and London theater in general can be found here:

dekoder, You've received the all to typical welcome from some of the testy Fodorites -- static, crap and cultural judgments all without managing to answer your well articulated question. (not meaning jo's contribution at all). Ignore the crankies.

Hope you love London.
obxgirl is online now  
Feb 10th, 2006, 03:14 AM
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Well I've lived in London my entire life, and pubs would never ever feature in my day, perfect or otherwise.

Covent Garden (which is bordered by the Aldwych/Strand has plenty of bars/clubs. The best clubs (well about 90 per cent of them) are all in Soho and Mayfair (both W1 postcodes. You could walk there from the Aldwych, however, in evening clothes (not evening wear as nowhere is that smart anymore really) just get a taxi, it's easier.

What clubs/bars do you like? You must give some more criteria as it's impossible to choose one for you. Do you like big cheap ones? Small, exclusive ones? What sort of bars - chic hotel ones where conversation with your companion and superb drinks is what you go for or places to meet new people? etc. etc. If it's live music, I believe (as that isn't my thing) you'll want to go to places in Hoxton/N1 area as that's their speciality.

You want to watch football? Any pub has football I suppose. Music halls as in something classical? Most concerts here, in fact virtually all are in specialist venues, music halls sounds so quaint.

My perfect day has very little to do with location so it's irrelevant to describe it here.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 03:17 AM
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I'm not the world's best expert on sports, but the World Cup will be inescapable on TV. There are sports bars that specialise in large-screen TV, but many locals will have one on as well. A quick Google turned up this list of reviews:

The nearest to Aldwych would be the Walkabout Australian-style bar in Temple Place (5-10 minutes walk to Temple Underground), and the Sports Cafe in Haymarket is about 20 minutes walk away.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 03:33 AM
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unfortunately, the live music scene is a disappointment in london. being a worldclass city, of course we get all of the traveling acts...popular and more obscure (hammersmith apollo, barbican, brixton academy,empire, etc, etc). however, your chance of wandering into a bar and seeing a great act (or any act) at random is next to nil. and music is not as big a part of the culture as it is in many other cities around the world.
walkinaround is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 03:50 AM
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Hi Jeff,

You're going to be staying in one of best locations as you will be able to walk most places worth visiting.

I'll give you a brief answer to each but will have a think over the next couple of days:

1) You will be walking distance to Soho and Covent Garden, the heart of London's 'west end'. However, if you're looking for something a bit 'trendier' or 'edgier' then you're going to want to head toward Hoxton, Clerkenwell etc. I'm afraid that it really is a case of what you're into.

However, I've just re-noted that you talk about pretty guitar-y bands, so I would also suggest that you look into what's going on in Camden, which is probably the 'alternative' hub of the city (I'd also suggest that if you're in town over a weekend you check out Camden Lock Market - google it)

2) The best place for football will probably depend on whose playing - if it's an England game, just about anywhere with a screen, but probably steer clear of somewhere like the Sports Cafe as it has a far more American vibe to it and not representative of '..going down the pub to watch the footy..'

Even pubs/bars that don't normally show sports do for the big tournaments, so really just try to find a pub that you like and stick with that. Remember, if it's an England game you will need to get there EARLY - the city will more or less come to a halt as everyone either heads home or to the pub (more likely) to watch.

If you are watching other nations then try to go where there's a fairly strong community of that nationality or somewhere that's renowned for it. For example, try to go to Bar Italia in Soho for Italy's games or De Hems (also Soho) for Holland.

3) Not sure quite what you mean by music halls but Time Out is the place to look.

4) Easiest place is probably Otherwise, go for Time Out again.

5) I'll have a think about this but since I live here, mine probably involves being somewhere else!!! (I love and adore my hometown but probably take it for granted most of the time, and yearn for elsewhere too much!)

Have a great time! I shall certainly be down the pub for the footy, so who knows, we may bump into each other!
Tallulah is offline  
Feb 12th, 2006, 03:12 PM
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Thanks all (joxxxxx, obxgirl, m_kingdom2, PatrickLondon, walkinaround, and esp. Tallulah) for your replies - great info. Looks like we'll be posted in a good area for nighttime walkabouts in Covent Garden / Soho. Camden Town, Camden Lock market and Hoxton are also on my hit list.
Thanks All.
dekoder is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 01:02 AM
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Try The Moon Under Water in Leicester Square. It was George Orwell's favourite pub. It is a lot of fun!!
sunsurfsand is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 02:41 AM
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Er... not quite, sunsurfsand. Orwell called his fantasy pub The Moon Under Water. The Wetherspoon's chain adopted the name for this pub when they took it over, but it was never that close to Orwell's ideal. It's now called The Montagu Pyke - I have no idea why.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 03:18 AM
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the moon under water "pub" in leicester square must be great as you see about 100 people standing outside in the cold (wearing only t-shirts) waiting in queue to get in. mostly 18 year olds from outside london. NOT recommended.
walkinaround is offline  
Feb 13th, 2006, 03:57 AM
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Have a look at; it's a fashion site, but there are some nice suggestions for what do do (and wear) on a weekend in London.

Something I always enjoyed in London in summer (provided it's warm and dry!) is go to the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. There are usually two different Shakespeare plays and they also do a musical. There's food there, or bring a pick-nick.

Tallulah: Cafe De Hems! I used to go there when I lived in London. Should be great if the Dutch do well in the World Cup. Do wear orange if you go, to show support for the Dutch team.
Tulips is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 04:48 PM
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