London - Trip Report

Old Apr 24th, 2009, 01:46 AM
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London - Trip Report

hi,

spent over a week in London and thoroughly enjoyed it. A rough breakdown of how it went -

Got into Heathrow sans bags, trudged over to my brothers apartment where we were staying (in Totteridge & Whetstone) an hour and a half from Heathrow by metro of 30 mins by cab. We got a weekly Oyster card at 35 GBP each which allowed unlimited travel on bus & tube.

We spent the day sleeping mostly and the action didnt begin till the following day when our bags arrived. Things we did -

Westminster Abbey - Thorough disappointment.
National Art Gallery - Fantastic as always
V&A museum - Avoidable.
British Museum - Fantastic again.
Houses of Parliament
South Bank
Changing of the Guard

Canary Wharf - a great place to visit on a nice day like we did. not much to do but just walk around take in the view and get some great food. plenty of shopping if one is interested as well.

Hyde Park - the last day we were in London it was glorious and bright sunny out. We made a picnic bag and spent about 2 hours sitting in the park eating and lying around. What a memory !

Shopping on
Regent Street
Oxford Street
Covent Garden
and Window Shopping on Bond Street.

Do walk around all the shops and look for good deals, there are plenty to be had.

Restaurants we visited
Wagamama - South Bank
Wahaca - Covent Garden
Texas Embassy - Trafalgar Square
Chicitos - Leicester Square
All Bar One - A few different ones
Tortilla - Angel
Hummus Brothers - West End a 5 min walk from Leicester Sq tube station.
Pret a Manger
Pauls

We didnt do certain things like Madame Tussauds because to us it was quite pointless. The London Eye again, something i wouldnt mind doing but just never got around to it. The Tower of London is something we have left on the cards for our almost sureshot next trip.

The aim was to have a mix of tourism as the wife had never been there and just general relaxation.

It was one of the best vacations i have ever had and the best time i ever had in London in my 10th visit.
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 03:04 AM
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Thank you for the report. It sounds as if you saw a nice mixture of things and lucked out on some of that nice spring weathr.

Why were you disappointed with Westminster Abbey? Was it just not as you had expected?
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 04:12 AM
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Laura,

the building itself is beautiful and has lots of history but its very very cramped, even without the multitude of visitors the place seems to be crammed with all kinds of rocks ! commemorating everyone and everything under the sun.

i expected it to be a lot more spiritual but it turned out to be a cramped. There are still things of beauty in there but overall i wish i hadnt gone. The Tower of London would have been a better move.

the weather was brilliant for the most part and i had a great time just walking everywhere. The tube was reliable while i was there and i had no trouble getting around at all.

miss it already !
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 11:41 AM
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Oh my gosh, I can't imagine this sort of a reaction to Westminster Abbey. To me it was spiritual and very moving, as opposed to the Tower which is more touristy (the Yeoman Warders seem to like to emphasize the bloody parts of the Tower's history as well).

We went early to the Abbey and took the first Verger's tour of the day. I suppose that made a difference. I do know I wouldn't have liked to stand in the huge lines of people that formed a bit later.
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 12:29 PM
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You expected spiritual from Westminster Abbey?

Lord love a duck. You are a one, aintcha, guv'nor?

St Edward might have had the odd idea of spiritual when he built an abbey miles from anywhere. But since Harold used it to get crowned in - and all his successors followed him - the place has been all about power, ego and national identity.

Anyway, it's C of E, and it was Pape before that. Neither of them do spiritual. Utterly unEnglish.

Good singing. Well-drilled liturgy. Good housekeeping. Decent preservation. Well-informed guides. Good TV sightlines. That's what the Abbey's there for.
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 01:38 PM
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Skinnylizard,

I liked Westminster Abbey -- I thought the buidling pretty and the history interesting. However, I think I get why you didn't care for it. It does seem kind of messy and cluttered.

I preferred St. Paul's (although I have no idea why people always feel the need to compare the two).

Laura
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Old Apr 24th, 2009, 01:50 PM
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I can see where if you were expecting spiritual then you wouldn't like Westminster Abbey.

However, I went in expecting to see hundreds of years of history and famous historical burial crypts of many of the people I've studied. To that end, I was thrilled and awed.

It certainly is a lot to take in, nevertheless.

I went a couple of years ago with a friend, and she wandered around outside, but then wasn't interested in going inside. As I had been before, I wasn't upset about not going in, but I couldn't imagine not going in, at least on the first trip to London.

But to each their own. It sounds like you enjoyed your trip otherwise. One of my favorite memories when I went on a solo trip to London was spending a sunny afternoon in the park just people watching and relaxing.
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Old Apr 25th, 2009, 12:56 AM
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Hey,

exactly. i guess it just didnt turn out to be what i expected. i have been to London many times but never went into the Abbey. This time i decided to take the wife who was on her firs trip and i found parts of it quite amazing and a great many things about it distressing.

fortunately i didnt have to wait too long to get in.

I agree with you on the last part, each city has its own meaning to each traveler.

my fav memory too is lunch outside Marble Arch watching people go by !
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