London in Fevruary

Dec 18th, 1996, 02:13 PM
  #1  
Neal Sanders
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London in Fevruary

Dennis:
My wife and I just returned from six days in London over Thanksgiving, so I hope my observations are current.
First, the question is, what do you consider to be "the usual tourist attractions? We've been to London several times, and our interest in the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace was sated many trips ago.
I can offer the following based on our admittedly arts-centric itinerary:
First, if you read the book "Longitude" during the past twelve months, or have an interest in history and science, then go to Greenwich and the old Royal Observatory. There, you'll find the story told in "Longitude" come to life: the four clocks that revolutionized travel, the people who fought for and against clocks versus astronomy. Getting there is even fun: a tour boat plies the seven miles between Westminster dock (by Big Ben) and Greenwich every hour. The narrated tour is friendly and lively. We went on a drizzly, cold, miserable day, yet were quite warm in the boat.
Second, the reading room of the British Museum features a continually changing look at the history of western civilization in the form of letters to and famous persons; interesting manuscripts, etc. We noted that one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta lies roughly 15 feet from the original, handwritten draft of the Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." The end of civilization as we know it may be imminent.
Third, London is rife with walkable and accessible museums. In addition to the British Museum, the National Gallery, Tate, and the Courtald have stunning artworks. The Courtald, for example, is home to Manet's "The Bar at the Folies Bergere." You can easily pass an afternoon at each of these great museums; longer if you're serious about art.
As to where to stay. I can give an unqualified recommendation to The Beaufort (No. 33 Beaufort Gardens, SW3). The Beaufort is small, beautiful, attuned to personal attention, and - important for London - quiet. Its two blocks from Harrods in Knightsbridge in a quiet mews. There are excellent restaurants nearby. Our rate, including breakfast, was L215 plus VAT. Not inexpensive, but quite fair for value received.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if there's anything else I can do to assist.
Bon Voyage!
Neal Sanders
 
Dec 18th, 1996, 03:04 PM
  #2  
Kimya Jones
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I just returned from London two days ago. Being my first trip to London I felt drawn to the tourist attractions. I highly recommend touring the Tower of London with a Beefeater, viewing the Crown Jewels and military armor, and feeding the ravens. If you enjoy crafts and antiques then you should not miss the outdoor markets--Camden Locke, Covent Garden, Guilford, etc. I also enjoyed strolling around Windsor, which reminded me of Boston's older areas and Annapolis, Md. If it's a bit nippy outside, just step into one of the many tea shops and pubs.

Unfortunately, London can be very cold and very dark during the winter months so I would suggest that you spend your six days in doors as much as possible. You can often obtain fairly inexpensive theatre tickets an hour or two before curtain call. Both the local theatre and Broadway shows are exceptional. Additionally, you could spend days at the British Museum and still not see everything.

If you have never been to London and you have money to burn, the traditional black cabs can be rented and you may see the city's sights from the warmth and comfort of a taxi. I also recommend obtaining copies of Time Out, London's guide to events and happenings and London Guide to Restaurants/Pubs. Sometimes the food in pubs is superior to that served in restaurants.

Finally I would recommend that you search for a group of local people with whom to enjoy activities. The stiff upper lip is only a facade and people can be very helpful, accommodating and lively!

Bon Voyage!
 
Dec 21st, 1996, 03:01 PM
  #3  
doreen
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Highgate Cemetery can be fascinating even if you don't normally find yourself drawn to crypts and ghoulish things. The cemetery is separated into an "east" and "west" side. One side is the newer side with the tomb of Lenin. To see the other side is much more interesting and can only be seen with a guide (you sign up at the entrance). The cemetery is full of wonderful Victorian details and the guide will fill you in on the local lore and gore. The place is a bit overgrown, so wear sturdy walking shoes and try to pick a non-rainy day to go!

Sir John Soane's Museum is highly recommended. It's filled with architectural knicknacks and gizmos. If you're fortunate, the rooms will be staffed by helpful volunteers who will pull out hidden panels and explain the reasons behind the eccentricity!

Good luck!
 
Jan 6th, 1997, 07:02 PM
  #4  
ALLISON
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I LIVED IN LONDON FOR 7 YEARS AND LET ME TELL YOU THAT IF YOU ARE GOING IN FEBRUARY THAT IT IS GOING TO BE VERY COLD THERE. I SUGGEST COACH TRIPS TO PLACES LIKE WINDSOR, WINCHESTER, AND YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST SEE STRATFORD-UPON-AVON AND THE COTSWOLDS. THESE PLACES ARE VERY PICTURESQUE AND I HAVEN'T KNOWN A PERSON YET WHO HAS NOT ENJOYED THEM. WITH REGARDS TO CASTLES, MY TWO PERSONAL FAVOURITES ARE LEEDS CASTLE AND HEVER CASTLE. TO BOOK THESE COACH TRIPS, EITHER GO INTO ANY TRAVEL AGENCY THERE OR ENQUIRE AT YOUR HOTEL. ALSO, TRY TO STICK WITH A TOUR GROUP IF YOU GO SOUTH OF THE RIVER IN LONDON. IT'S KIND OF ROUGH DOWN THERE. THE LONDON UNDERGROUND WILL GET YOU ANYWHERE YOU CARE TO GO IN LONDON AND IT'S SO EASY TO USE. I HOPE THAT YALL WILL HAVE A WONDERFUL TIME THERE, IT TRULY IS A BEAUTIFUL (HOWEVER SMALL) COUNTRY. DO TRY TO GET OUTSIDE OF LONDON BECAUSE THERE IS SOME ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS COUNTRYSIDE IN ENGLAND.

 
Dec 7th, 2000, 09:12 PM
  #5  
Lionceau
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I simply refuse to respond to any more messages with New Years in the title.
 
Dec 8th, 2000, 06:41 AM
  #6  
Beth Anderson
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Hi,

Karl Marx is buried on the east side of Highgate - Lenin is still encased in glass in Moscow. but for how much longer, that is the question - now THAT would be something to see.

 
Dec 8th, 2000, 01:36 PM
  #7  
Ben Haines
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Fodors

Dear Mr Sanders,

I'm glad you had such a good time. Are the letters to and from famous people, manuscripts, the copy of the Magna Carta and the draft of the Beatles song now in the British Library or in the British Museum ?

Dear Ms Allison,

Tastes differ, but many visitors headed for Windsor and for Winchester like the feedom and comfort (and lower cost) of taking trains each way from Waterloo, not a coach, which controls what you do and when you do it.
If you've time enough, please do tell me what's kind of rough about the places south of the river (the Imperial War Museum, South Bank concert halls, the Hayward Gallery, the National Theatre and National Film Theatre, the Tate Modern, Shakespeare's Globe, Southwark Cathedral, Design Mueseum, and Tea and Coffee Museum). I live south of the river, and am always keen to learn. I do agree as to the attraction of places outside London -- though my choice of places is naturally not quite the same as yours.

Ben Haines
[email protected]

 
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