First time to London

Jun 5th, 2002, 10:08 AM
  #1  
Deb
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First time to London

Hi there,

I will arrive in London on Aug.1 for the first time. I will be alone and only have 4 days. Can anyone suggest the "must-see's" and also advise what not to waste time with? Also, I am a single woman traveling solo - should I be nervous? Any and all suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks!
 
Jun 5th, 2002, 10:19 AM
  #2  
Mavis
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Have travelled frequently to London on my own and never had any trouble. That said you should be as alert and careful as you would in any large city. In terms of what are the must-see's a search on this sight will give you lots of information if you really don't know where to start. But if you post some more info. about your likes/dislikes - museums/gardens/theatre/parks/jazz/restaurants/pubs, etc., you will get more relevant advice.
 
Jun 5th, 2002, 10:27 AM
  #3  
Grasshopper
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Deb, London is a great place for a solo woman traveler. It's easy to navigate, taxis are friendly and feel very safe, and they speak English! My recommendation is to do a search on London here because there are many excellent trip reports. Also, be sure to start with the Big Bus hop on hop off tours. You get a great sense of what's where and see things you want to come back and check out.

If you get tired of being alone, join one or more of the many London Walks. You will surely hook up with interesting travellers and may even find some eating companions.
 
Jun 5th, 2002, 10:32 AM
  #4  
Vita
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I just returned from a solo trip to London and you have nothing to worry about. Must sees are tough as there is so many different types of things to do. If you enjoy the theatre, attend a performance at the New Globe Theatre, I saw Twelfth Night there and it was very good, and the theatre is a site in and of itself. Another good comedy in a different theatre was Art.

You also might want to check out some walks with London Walks (www.walks.com). They actually offer a one-day tour that takes you to a lot of the major sites. I didn't do it but it looked interesting. They generally do 2-3 hour tours of one part of London and a lot of people on this forum enjoy their evening walks.

Some typical must-sees are Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, and the British Museum, all of which I enjoyed.
 
Jun 5th, 2002, 10:48 AM
  #5  
June
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I went to London for the first time by myself in April and had a great time. You should not be nervous at all - you will see many other single travelers there. I always felt very safe - since it should be light outside until about 9:00 or so you can visit museums (many are open late 1 or 2 nights a week), or shop (many stores are also open late 1 or 2 evenings a week), or visit gardens and parks in the evening. The tube is very efficient, easy to navigate, and it always felt very safe to me. As far as what to see, it depends on what your interests are. I love history and decided for my first trip to concentrate on British history. So I went to the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Museum of London, National Portrait Gallery, British Library, Windsor Castle, and Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms. I loved them all. I also thought the Victoria and Albert Museum was fascinating. Other sights which are often mentioned are the British Museum and the National Gallery, but since they do not focus on British history I decided to leave them for my next trip (hopefully in a year or two). Stroll through the parks and gardens - I especially liked St. James Park and Kensington Gardens. I would say the 2 "must-sees" are Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. Most museums and other sites have good cafes or cafeterias. And most department stores and grocery stores, and a chain called Pret-A-Manger, have great take-out sandwiches and salads. Search this site for "London" and you will find many other threads with useful suggestions.
 
Jun 5th, 2002, 11:39 AM
  #6  
Deb
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Thanks for some good suggestions so far. Mavis, you're right - I should have been a little more specific. I'm staying on the West End, at a hotel called Rathbone. So far on my list of things to see I have Tower of London, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. I love theater but am feeling a little self-concious about going alone. However, thanks to Vita, it sounds like I shouldn't feel uncomfortable at all! I also am excited to learn more about these "London Walks" as they sound like a good idea for sightseeing and meeting other travelers. (especially in the evenings)Thanks for some invaluable tips and keep 'em coming!
 
Jun 5th, 2002, 11:40 AM
  #7  
Deb
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Just read your reply June. Thanks for even more great ideas and suggestions!
 
Jun 5th, 2002, 12:12 PM
  #8  
Elizabeth
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I wish you wouldn't worry about going to the theatre alone. It can be fun. I had a good time going over to the South Bank to the Royal National Theatre at about 6-6:30 and signing up for the waiting list for either sold-out shows or for last-minute discount tickets. I actually met people I liked while I was waiting, and sometimes would end up sitting with some other nice owman, having a drink or walking to the Underground together afterwards, etc.

There are plenty of cafes there to get something to eat while you wait--sign up, get some food, hang around. Or take a sandwich along with you and eat it outside, you're right by the river.
 
Jun 5th, 2002, 12:24 PM
  #9  
elaine
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Hi
I was in London (repeat visit) alone this past February, had a great time, including theatre and wonderful restaurants.

I have a file on London; if you'd like to see it, email me.
Also check out the London section of the Destinations area elsewhere on this website; lots of good info.
Ditto timeout.com
 
Jun 5th, 2002, 12:50 PM
  #10  
Bev
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I was there a couple years ago and went on a "Jack the Ripper" walking tour. It was my favorite part of the trip. It stopped along all the places where the murders took place, areas where you would never venture alone. It was alot of fun and very informative.
 
Jun 5th, 2002, 04:17 PM
  #11  
janis
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Everyone has pretty much answered your questions. But some more details about the theatre: Since you are a single you will likely get really wonderful seats at theh 1/2 price TKTS booth. There are alomst always outstanding single seats available after all the 2, 3 and 4's together are sold out.

Also - get to the theatre at least 15 minutes before curtain and go to the bar that is closest to your seat (Most theatres have 2, 3 or more bars) and order your drink for the interval (intermission). They will have it laid out and waiting for you and you won't have to fight the massive crowds trying to order at the bar. This is good even if you don't drink alcohol - you can order an OJ or coke or club soda.
 
Jun 6th, 2002, 06:09 AM
  #12  
Vita
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Deb, Janis gave you some good advice about the TKTS booth. Except for Twelfth Night at the Globe Theatre, I got all of my tickets for half price. Generally, I got better seats for around the same price of the cheapest ticket. Just be sure that you go to the TKTS booth. From what I hear, there are a lot of con artists that try to sell you bogus tickets.

If you don't know about it yet, here's a site where you can sign up for an e-mail newsletter to keep you up to date on the London theatre: http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/
 
Jun 6th, 2002, 04:46 PM
  #13  
Elizabeth
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Can you get tickets for things at the Royal Naitonal Theatre (Lyttleton, Cottesloe, Olivier) at the TKTS booth? And for the Almeida theatre?

I thought you couldn't, but it was just an assumption I think based partly on logistics (South Bank in different place).
 
Jun 6th, 2002, 05:00 PM
  #14  
Deb
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Wow! What a great list of ideas and thoughts! Thanks so much everyone! Grasshopper, Vita and Bev - I looked at the walks.com site and the London Walks sound fantastic. I've decided to take the Ripper walk and can't wait! I also appreciate the 1/2 price theater ticket advice Janis. I'm going to try to get a seat for My Fair Lady. Thanks again everyone - now I'm excited and not the least bit apprehensive!!
 
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