london planning for first timer

Old Apr 11th, 2007, 06:12 PM
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london planning for first timer

ok, here i am on the europe site. Im so used to being on the Asia site. hope you all can help.i havent done any researching yet but thought id start here for suggestions.will be going to london for 5 days in May.looking for the best area to stay where it will be close to decent eating and pubs and central to most.would like to be within walking distance from the hotel to resturants i guess! any ideas on hotels that are 3 or 4 star hotels?which part of London to stay?what are the must sees and what parks are the best to walk around?are there better days to see certain places?any suggestions on advance tickets at any place of interest suggested? should i rent a car or use mass transit? how is parking over there and how easy is it to get from place to place.?will probably go thru a web site for the hotel and flights combined?Oh yeah do i need a tour guide for the sites or do they provide you with a tour already once you get there? should i travel to the outskirts of London.looking to stay busy and make the most of the trip.ill start here and want to thank you for your sure ill have more questions along the way.
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 06:38 PM
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Well, I'd start by doing a little bit of research yourself - for example, look at London on the Destinations page. You'll find lists of "must sees" and should narrow it down based on your interests. Sharing your interests will also help anyone on the board help you; as it is, the list of things to do in London is too long to even start.

With 5 days, and on your first trip, I'd stay in the city, perhaps with one day trip. You do NOT need a car in central London, and even if you do day trips you very likely won't want one. Popular areas to stay include South Kensington, Victoria, Bloomsbury, Mayfair. Anywhere in central London will be fine. Any preference would depend on what you want to do - different areas are more convenient to theatre, shopping, museums, etc.
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 07:34 PM
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I agree, you do not need a car in London. Why add to the congestion?
London is a very walkable city and if you get tired, hop on a bus or the tube.
I also agree with jent103 that you need to do a lot of research as you will regret not planning your days.
There is so much to see and do for all ages and tastes that you must use your time wisely.
I stayed in Bloomsbury which is near the British Museum, St Pauls and major train stations. I found it a little removed from shopping and restaurants so next time would stay closer to the West End.
To help us help you, what are your interests? what is your age? and are you M or F? Do like indoors or outdoors and are you energetic or laid-back?? All these things determine what type of trip you will have.
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Old Apr 11th, 2007, 07:36 PM
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First a good map of the city.
Second, learn the tube routes and, if you can, get a handle on the bus routes.

I much prefer the bus because I can see!
Also bus patrons are more prone to be helpful, although that may be a function of my own anecdotal experiences. (Certainly I have no source of scientific analysis.)

Gain access to, or even purchase, about 3 good guide books. Fodors London is a good plac to start. Daytrips London by Earl Steibicker is a good one. The Eyewitness Travel Guides book on London is good as well.

The Rough Guide is good; so is Let's Go London, although I do not have a recent copy. The Let's Go series is sometimes subject to the quality of the most recent revision more so than other travel guides.

Any bookstore with a travel guide section is going to present you with several copies.

These pages are a fertile source as well.

I never worry about being close to a decent eating place because when I am London, I get back to my abode fairly late and I eat when I need to to keep going.

One does not go to London for the culinary charm of the place!! If you want to do that, then let me suggest Rome.

London is so huge, so varied, so loaded with little places of supreme interest, that I pretty much approach it by whim.

In short, I look at the books and decide what I want to see! For example, I have yet to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum on a comprehensive basis. Why?

It was low on the priority list. We went to places that struck our fancy rather than a site that placed high on the mythical "must see list." I told that to someone and they looked at me with some quizzical expression. My response: Its my trip; my money; I go where I xx well please.

I don't go to be contrary; I go to enjoy the London I want to see.

There is so much there that I know that even if I lived there for 6 months with an income of $450,000 a year I could not see it all.

And to live in central London, $450,000 is not all that much folding pictures of the Queen.

Renting a furnished apartment of quality could very easily run you $1,700 a week. So if you took it for 26 weeks it could be $60,000.

As huge as London is, no one can tell you THE best area because no one can take the time and spend the money to sample the thousands of possibilities which present themselves.

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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 07:21 PM
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thanks for the info.i guess what i have read is that the south kensington area would be the best and close to a lot of interesting places..ok any suggestions on hotels before i look on a hotel websight.? looking to spend up to 175 dollars a nite if needed. i am 39 y.o. and will be traveling for the first time with my mother. Im looking for one that will have good and not nessasary expensive food nearby?also not planning to spend to much time in the hotel as we will be busy running around. we are both very active and would rather be outdoors sightseeing but some of the museums look interesting for a short a cruise down the thames a must? more questions to come....
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 03:29 AM
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I've never done it since I always stay in flats but loads of people here suggest using Priceline for hotels after studying the site below first:
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 08:31 AM
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My family and I just returned from London...we stayed at the Mayfair which--of course--is in Mayfair and found it a wonderful locale. Buy an Oyster card, which can be used on both the bus and the tube and take one of those hop on/hop/off bus tours early on in your stay, as it hits all the major tourist attractions. Don't forget to visit the Tate Modern
Have a great time!
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Old Apr 18th, 2007, 12:59 AM
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Advanced-tickets-wise, if you fancy a show, you can get discounted tickets online ahead of time. Try
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