Making a list for London

Old Jan 29th, 2005, 10:06 AM
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Making a list for London

In July we will (hope to) be in London for a return visit of 5 days. (4th time around for us.) I am trying to construct a list of what one might term "secondary sights and sites" to visit. I have read the guide books, again, and there are many places that sound good. But I find that personal accounts often tell me details the guidebooks leave out.

Several major places are not on the list for this summer because we have been there at least once before, These include Kew Gardens, Kensington Gardens, Greenwich, Houses of Parliament, V and A Museum, Buckingham Palace, Hampton Court, Florence Nightingale Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London.

(We have visited all of the above at least twice in earlier trips.)

On the definite list for this summer: Westminster Abbey (1st visit in 30 years), British Museum (again to see what we missed the last 2 times), Dulwich Picture Gallery (never), Sherlock Holmes Museum (admittedly minor but an object of curiosity).

We are open to suggestions. We are seeking a good escorted day trip tour for one of our days, which would give us a lot of bang for the buck. Canterbury and Windsor are high on the list. Even Oxford is fair game. (Stonehenge has been seen 3 times.)

Modern art as a general topic is of limited interest. So is the London Eye.

My plans are still being formed, and I know that there are a few holes in it, both logistically and logically. That is why I am running my ideas by the contributors here. I usually get some new thoughts that help shape the final plan.

Al_Godon is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2005, 10:12 AM
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Go to the National Gallery and Courtrald Institute for great museums with non-modern art.

Don't forget to stroll around the parks.

Have you taken a cruise on the Thames? That is really neat.

See a show or two - even one at the Globe.

I'm studying at Oxford now and recommend it for a day trip, but nothing more than that.

I've been to Canterbury and it is very nice - more than just the Cathedral.

Good luck and have fun.
JoeTro is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2005, 10:48 AM
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How about the Cabinet War Rooms, Imperial War Museum, Geffrye Museum, Dennis Sever House, Sir John Soanes Museum, Madame Tussaud's, British Library, Wallace Collection, Museum of London, Dickens House Museum, London Transport Museum, Spencer House, Apsley House, Queens Gallery, Handel House Museum, London Eye, Tower Bridge Experience, Vinopolis, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

Also, if thinking about a trip to Windsor, it is very easy (and much less expensive) to go on your own. It's a 40 minute train ride from Waterloo to Windsor. Then everything is within walking distance.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 10:53 AM
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Oh yes - you need to see the Cabinet War rooms, and there is a connected (I think) Churchill Museum that opens in February that I have heard is great. And the Wallice Collection is really neat as well - few people see it, but it is worth it.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 11:06 AM
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On the day that you visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum you could add the nearby Wallace Collection. The SHM will only take about 30 minutes but it's quite fun for a fan--the gift shop is a 1/4 of the museum.

The Wallace Collection is similar in feel to the Frick in NYC. It's set in a gorgeous town-house and holds some of the world's best 18th-century decorative arts and terrific 17th-century paintings. The restaurant is beautiful but not terribly good.

Good luck!
mvor is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2005, 11:08 AM
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Well, I really enjoyed Highgate Cemetery and we are going on our second lunch/dinner cruise next month. I also would recommend the National Portrait Gallery.
As for a day trip, I really liked Stratford and Windsor. Not really impressed with Oxford but we were on an escorted tour so perhaps I just didn't have enough time to enjoy it.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 11:40 AM
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If you enjoy strolling, Al, consider walking the south bank of the Thames River. We did that from the bridge at the Eye east to Tower Bridge, while on a personal pub crawl. The V & A is among our favorite museums in all the world. We'd return to tour just because it's so eclectic. Hope you have a wonderful trip.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 12:25 PM
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I think I have a lot here to chew on.
Collective wisdom when it comes to travel is rarely off base.
I think the Wallace is one of those places I was trying to recall, but had not.
Some of the other ideas sound great as well.

Oxford, Windsor, Canterbury are all great suggestions perhaps we shall return again.

We have several events ccontending for a share available time. I have a hunch we will go early, stay late, and not see everything on the list.

I am glad to know that the Sherlock Holmes is a quick one. That would enable me to get to the Wallace, and then from there possibly to another destination.

We debated about St. Paul's. Yes, we have been there twice before. But, it is a masterpiece.

So much to see, so little time. I take the attitude that I will be greatful for all I can see. If I run out of time, that is because the trip was so rich.
Al_Godon is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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"The restaurant is beautiful but not terribly good."

For a "museum" (it's really a private house) its restaurant is excellent, they serve high quality produce, fashioned into simple, but delicious light lunches. Their steamed vanilla sponge with winter fruits and creme anglaise was simply superb, and a bargain at 4.50GBP.

The collection is highly recommended, as is the courtyard restaurant.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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If you're there on a Monday night, I hope you'll take in the Dennis Sever's house by candlelight. It's a very well spent hour and easy to fit in after most things are closed, yet before you have dinner.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 02:24 PM
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Definately The Sir John Soanes Museum. Have you taken any of the original London Walks? Excellent guides and you really get to see parts of London that you never knew where there. Check the schedule at
They also do awayday walks starting at mainline stations to places such as Canterbury and Bath and, closer to home, St Albans
Have a great trip and please feel free to ask more questions,
Adam C
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 02:41 PM
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I agree with recommendations for the War Cabinet and Imperial Museum (assuming you enjoy history). I did not like the Soames museum. London Walks are always interesting (although I didn't care for the daytrip to Cantebury).
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 02:42 PM
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After 4 trips to London myself, I would add to the "B" list
National Portrait Gallery
Trafalgar Square
Changing of the Guard
Horse Guards parade
Banqueting House
Kensington Palace
Apsley House
Wellington Arch
Harrods, and if time permits, other interesting stores such as Fortnum & Mason, Liberty, Selfridges, Floris
Regent's Canal (boat trip)
Spencer House
Royal Mews
Speakers Corner
Inner Temple Church
Hampton Court Palace
Portobello Road

The tours of the inside of Buckingham Palace and Clarence House would be great too, but I think they don't open until August - check the Royal Family's website for accurate info.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 03:04 PM
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I'm glad the Dulwich Picture Gallery is on your definite list -- I went there for the first time last fall (on about by tenth trip to London), and I could have kicked myself for never having gone before. I had hesitated about going there because I thought it would be difficult to get to, but the trip from Victoria Station couldn't have been easier, and even if it hadn't been, the pictures would have been worth the trip.

You might also consider the Foundling Museum, which just opened as a museum last year. It's on the site of the 18th-century Foundling Hospital on Brunswick Square (near Coram Fields), and it has kind of an eclectic collection: the first floor has documents and objects related to the social history of the Foundling Hospital (which I thought would be the least interesting part, but which I actually found fascinating), the second floor is the picture gallery (including works by Hogarth, Gainsborough, and Reynolds), and the third floor has memorabilia related to Handel (who was a patron of the Foundling Hospital). The museum is not a place I would suggest for first-time, or even second-time visitors to London, but it's worth a look if you've already seen all the major sites.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 04:11 PM
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How about Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Tate Britain, National Gallery? Check for special exhibitions at the Royal Academy and Somerset House. Obscure but may be of specific interest is the Museum of Garden History where Captain Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty is buried.

If you intend to go out of London for a day trip, Dover, Winchester and Cambridge would be high on my list. King's College Chapel in Cambridge is awesome. None of these three would require an escorted tour if you do just a bit of homework.

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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 08:51 PM
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One of my favorite "secondary" sites is The Courtauld Collection at Somerset House. It's a small, easily "doable" museum with a beautiful collection of Impressionist works, mostly paintings, but also some small sculptures. Renoir and Degas are just 2 that I recall. My husband loves Westminster Abbey, and we've been back several times.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 09:07 PM
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I really recommend the Imperial War Museum.

Also you've got to have strawberries and cream at the Wimbledon museum and cafe.
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Old Jan 29th, 2005, 11:55 PM
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I keep a sort of D list on file, and this looks like a good time for an airing. It is long< I fear.


Music. Fusion in Brixton. Recitals of classical music at lunchtime in many churches for a small donation - I did a search once and found a link for about 100. Leaders include
City churches as St Anne and St Agnes and St James Piccadilly. Jazz for Sunday lunchtime in north London pubs. All these are in the listings magazine "Time Out", which you can buy at a kiosk in your arrival airport and read on the boring train to the West End.

Theatre. The Fringe. Especially the Almeida, the Hampstead, and the Tricycle, but it's well worth looking at notes on all the Fringe. When you book over the phone by credit card you can ask about nearby meals: fringe theatres are next to good pubs or have good meals of their own. A trial at the Old Bailey.

Pubs. I have on disc notes of pubs where I like the weekday lunches, and pubs that forum readers like: I can copy them by e-mail [email protected]. A reader adds: any of the up or down river pubs - great views and they almost all have outside seating.

There was a useful web site:, then
follow the link to suggestions for things to look at in London beyond the standard tourist itinerary, but the site seems down now. The site has good detailed sections on Wandering Wheels, for wheelchair users, Shakespeare's London, The American Connection, Churches with Character, Dickens's London, and Museums & Historic Houses.

For English Heritage sites see http://accessibility.english-heritag...sp?SessionID=/ For National Trust sites see

Then I have added comment from Fodors forum readers over the last four years, and the result is this. I have listed from west to east.



Portobello Road market. Notting Hill Gate tube

R Garcia and Sons, W11. Spanish delicatessen. 248-250 Portobello Road, W11 (020-7221 6119) Notting Hill Gate tube. Tue-Sat 10am-6pm. Chorizo Iberico £1.55 per lb, Nuñez prado organic olive oil £7.50 per half litre.

Ray Harris. Designer clothes. Tue-Fri 1pm-6pm, Sat 11am-6pm 73 Westbourne Park Road W2 (020-7221 8052) Westbourne Park or Royal Oak tubes. Bags, for example, cost from around £85.

Celia Birtwell. Printed cloth. 71 Westbourne Park Road, W2 (020-7221 0877) Royal Oak tube. Mon-Fri 10am-1pm, 2pm-5pm.

We enjoyed the Linley Sambourne House. Sambourne was a political cartoonist for Punch and lived in this house in the 1870's. It is Victorian in decorating style. It was filmed for Merchant-Ivory's A Room With a View. Small museum with knowledgeable and friendly volunteers. I recommend it to have an insight into how people lived in the late 1800's. 18 Stafford Terrace, W8 (020-8742 3438) High Street Kensington tube. Mar-Oct Wed 10am-4pm, Sun 2-5pm. £3, children £1.50.

The Royal College of Music Museum, The Royal College of Music Prince Consort Road, SW7. A clavichord owned by Haydn, a spinet that probably belonged to Handel and trombones that belonged to Elgar and Holst, and almost every type of instrument, from harps to hurdy-gurdies, from flagelots to pocket fiddles, many with exquisite handwork. The most comprehensive collection of portraits of musicians in the country can also be found at the Royal College of Music in the Department of Portraits and Performance History. Open: Wednesdays in term time (except January) 2 p.m. - 4.40 p.m. Entrance fee: Adults: £1.20 , children and senior citizens: £1.00. The Royal College of Music's Department of Portraits and Performance History is open Monday to Friday from 10.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. except for 10 days over Easter & Christmas. Admission is free. South Kensington tube.

The Roof Gardens, a 1.5-acre garden atop a building just off Kensington High Street (High Street Kensington Tube). Mature trees, ponds with fish and pink flamingos, manicured lawns and overgrown paths. Amazing place. You *can"t* tell you're in the middle of a large city. Phone ahead to be sure it is not closed for a private party. Leave the Tube and turn right on Kensington High Street. Walk a block to Derry Street and turn right. Go to No. 99, enter, and sign in with the security guard. Take the last lift on the right to the top and you're there. Amazing place.

Leighton House in Holland Park. It was the home of Lord Leighton, 19th century Art Nouveau collector and painter, and the house reflects his eccentric style.

Kyoto Garden, Holland Park


Physic Garden: ancient garden of medicinal herbs and rare plants, especially in late spring or early autumn.

Kensington Palace - Where you can visit the state apartments, the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, plus a collection of the Queen's gowns and a collection of 14 of Princess Diana's evening dresses in the Palace that was Queen Victoria's childhood home.

Visit the Brompton Oratory on Brompton Road in South Kensington

Chelsea Green, just off Kings Road, does not have a tourist 'feel' at all.

The house of Jane and Thomas Carlyle in Chelsea is a lovely off-the-beaten-track place to visit. It is a rare early Victorian interior, and the Carlyles' strong personalities seem to linger there. National Trust

John Sandoe Books, SW3. Especially art books. 10 Blacklands Terrace,
SW3 (020-7589 9473) Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm, Wed 9.30am-7.30pm. Sloane Square tube.

Peter Jones, Sloane Square, SW1. Upmarket department store for bright young things

Conran store for great designs in furniture and household articles. 81 Fulham Road. Sloane Square tube

Tours of Buckingham Palace in August or September when the Queen is on holiday in Balmoral.

Royal Mews, beside Buckingham Palace. Entry 5 pounds 50. Open from March 26 to October 31. Daily hours 11-4 (10-5 in August-Sept). Last entry 3.30 (or Aug to Sept 4.30). One of the finest working stables in existence. Moved to Buckingham Palace in 1760s and rebuilt by John Nash in the 1820 s. Open throughout the year for visitors to see the work of the Royal Household department as well as the State Carriages and cars used at State occasions.

Comments on the mews from various writers: I wouldn't say the Royal Mews is a must for a first time London visitor, but it is very enjoyable. The carriages are amazing -- lamps on the side of one with custom-designed Waterford crystal is one of the details that sticks in my mind! There are also usually a few horses in the stable, and the guides are more than willing to answer questions at length. It's worth just it for that gold state coach! Of course, there are other coaches as well, cars and horses. Entry was 5.00 GBP. Just in case you will have it, it's covered by the Great Britain Heritage Pass. Have fun! I really enjoyed seeing the coach that Princess Di and Charles (and other royals) used in the wedding procession. I wouldn't advise buying the guidebook. I never read it.

Harvey Nichols store, watching the people. Great for lunching alone in the fifth floor café. Knightsbridge


North West of Berkley Square
Grosvenor Square, with armed reinforcements of the U S Embassy and the Roosevelt Memorial
Handel House, 25 Brook Street, the house in which he wrote "The Messiah".
Gray's Antique Market, 58 Davies Street
South Molton Street
Mount Street Gardens
The Wallace Collection, north of Oxford Street

North East of Berkley Square
Hanover Square
Savile Row
Sotheby s auctioneers 34-35 New Bond Street

South East
Faraday Rooms in the Royal Institution, 20 Albemarle Street
Royal Arcade and Burlington Arcade. Two Victorian arcades for expendsive shopping.
Royal Academy, Burlington House. Changing exhibitions of paintings, and a small standing collection

South West
Shepherd Market. A dozen or a score of reasonably priced restaurants, many of them ethnic, with outdoor tables in summer
Grapes Pub 16 Shepherd Market

South of Piccadilly (St James)
Hatchard's Bookshop, 187 Piccadilly
St. James Church. By Christopher Wren. Good for lunchtime and evening concerts
Princess Arcade
Fortnum and Mason, grocers to Royalty, 181 Piccadilly
Lewins outfitters and Paxtons cheese dairy on Jermyn Street
Piccadilly Arcade
Ritz Hotel, 150 Piccadilly
Royal Overseas League off St James Street, two fine town houses run as a club
Spencer House, central London, overlooking Green Park, practically next door to the Ritz hotel. Open Sundays only, guided tours. Formerly the ancestral home of the Spencer family (Princess Di, et al) but the family hasn't lived there since the thirties. Completely restored, a gorgeous miniature palace.
Christie s Auctioneers, 8 King Street
Lock s hatters and Lobb s shoemakers on St James Street

St. James's Park. Bring nuts to feed the squirrels. This is best done before 10 a.m. or in late afternoon. They are so tame that they eat right out of your hand. We were near exiting the park last year and I had given all the nuts away [sometimes to children who had nothing to offer]. One little squirrel looked deeply into my face as though he couldn't believe I hadn't saved one for him. Then he practically climbed up my leg - a bit scary as I was wearing a skirt. We are the only people I know who fly nearly 7,000 miles each way just to see squirrels. The pelicans, ducks and other birds are also very entertaining as are 100's of other things in my favorite city.

College Garden, Westminster Abbey
Westminster School guided tour

ben_haines_london is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2005, 11:57 PM
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Liberty store is just plain fun. Regent Street and Margaret Street. Oxford Circus tube

Heals store has I Coloniali soap the smell of which makes my knees go all wobbly. I give it to my beaux. 196 Tottenham Court Road. Goodge Street tube

Smith's Snuff Shop, 74 Charing Cross Road, WC2. Leicester Square tube

Bloomsbury. These notes draw upon a long piece written about 2002 by Larry Lain, [email protected]/, author of London for Families and Paris for Families.

James Smith (picture here): Buy an umbrella, shooting stick or cane. My wife's most recent came from them and they fitted it to her on the spot. Holborn tube

University College London. Euston Square tube. If you've studied philosophy, you've probably read Jeremy Bentham, creator of the foundations of Utilitarianism. He died in 1832 but you can still meet him face-to-face, more or less, at University College
(Gower Street - Euston Square Tube). When he died he left the College a large endowment provided that they would preserve and display his body.
They did, and Jeremy sits today in a glass case in the main building.
Enter from the door in the southwest corner of the quadrangle. He's available during the regular school term, normally shut up in July and
August. (I went to visit once in June and found that he was in Germany on holiday - they took him to a philosophy convention. Can you imagine declaring that at customs as you enter a country?
"Anything to declare?"
"No sir. Just a 250-year-old stuffed philosopher."
"Right, then. Pass on."
Actually the head is now wax. His real head was taken early in the 20th century as a prank and used as a football. When it was returned it was in no condition to display so it's kept in a box.

Dickens's House, 48,Doughty Street, WC1. Open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last admissions 4.30 p.m. Adults: £4; Children £2;Students/Seniors: £3; Families £9. Russell Square tube.

Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, 53 Gordon Square, WC1, Euston Square tube. The finest collection of Chinese ceramics outside China.

Westaway and Westaway across the street from the British Museum. Shop for woollens and cashmeres at good prices.

Sir John Soanes Museum, 13, Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2. An eighteenth century collector’s eclectic assemblage from ancient Egypt and Greece, Hogarth, and many other sources. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday not including Bank Holidays. Entrance is free, although visitors are requested to make a donation. Holborn tub

Great Queen Street. The Masonic Temple is open to the (polite) public and well worth a quick look. There's a Masonic museum there too, for those who are interested in apron related activities. Holborn tube

Broadgate or Somerset House in winter for ice skating at either. Liverpool Street or Charing Cross tube

The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, WC2. Gold, silver, and mosaics. Charing Cross tube

Roman Bath in Strand Lane, in the heart of Kings College. Certainly seventeenth century, and just possibly Roman. National Trust.
House, The Strand, WC2 (020-7240 5782). Temple tube. Mon-Sat 10am-6pm; Sun &
Bank Hols 12noon-6pm. £4.


Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great, EC1. Twelfth century church. Farringdon tube
Museum of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Smithfield, EC1. The development of medical knowledge and skill and the treatment of the sick over the ages. Open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am. - 4 pm. except bank holidays. Admission is free. Guided tours of the entrance hall and Great Hall of the hospital are conducted on Fridays at 2 pm. Meet at the King Henry VIII gate on Smithfield. Admission £4 or £3 concessions. Farringdon tube.
Postman's Park. Little Britain. St. Paul's Tube. The old churchyard of St. Botolph Aldersgate now contains dozens of plaques, installed in the early 1900s, that celebrate the heroism of ordinary people, like Richard Farres, a laborer to drowned trying to save a girl who had fallen into a canal in 1878, or Sarah Smith, an actress who was burned to death trying to extinguish the flames that had engulfed a fellow performer in a theatre fire in 1863.

Old Bailey. My husband and I went there with the intention of only staying an hour and ended up there all afternoon. The cases are posted outside under glass so you can pick the one that looks the most interesting. We also asked some people in the line-up before we went in what might be interesting and the clerks are helpful too.
Walk aimlessly in the Square Mile, check out new buildings.
Bank of England Museum, Bartholomew Lane, EC2. Open Monday to Friday, 10a.m. - 5p.m. Bank tube.
Swiss Re, The Gherkin. An office block that is elegant fun and a tourist draw. Moorgate tube.

Fleet Street.
St. Bride`s church is known for its steeple from which wedding cakes were modeled. I found it to be absolutely exquisite. Being located on Fleet Street next to Reuters it is the jounalists`church and always has bouquets and garlands of fresh flowers. Wren church, rebuilt after 1945. Benjamin Franlin advised on the lighting conductor. St. Bride's is open Monday to Friday, 9am - 4.30pm. Saturday 10am - 3.30pm and Sunday 10am - 12.30 & 6 - 7.30 pm. Two Sunday services are normally held at 11am and 6.30pm (Evensong). Half-hour lunchtime recitals are given by a variety of musicians on Tuesdays and Fridays at 1.15pm. (Not during Lent, August and Advent). No charge is made to enter the church or the crypt museum and no charge is made for the lunchtime recitals but donations are welcome. Blackfriars tube.
Samuel Johnson s House north of Fleet Street in a small courtyard called Gough Square, for those with even a little bit of a literary bent. This is where the first comprehensive dictionary of the English language was prepared. More than any place I've seen in London, it gives a feel for 18th century city life. There is a web site with details.
Dr Johnson's House, 17, Gough Square, EC4. Open daily except Sundays and Bank Holidays May to September 11 a.m. - 5.30 p.m. and October - April 11 a.m. -5.00 p.m. Admission is £3.00 for adults; £2.00 for senior citizens and students and £1.00 for children.
Spitalfields old market on Sundays (especially if you are into street fashion). Petticoat Lane market nearby was a let down! Liverpool Street tube

ben_haines_london is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2005, 11:58 PM
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Southwark and South Bank

London Bridge Station. That's close to Borough Market, and Southwark Cathedral. Borough High Street too (though I didn't explore this myself). Then you can walk along the river through one of the oldest parts of London - now all refurbished warehouses - to Tate Modern for the art, or the building, or just a cup of coffee. The cityscape opposite includes some interesting buildings and there is a map identifying them on the small balcony outside the cafe.

The new HQ building for the Greater London Authority, with public access, southern end of Tower Bridge

Hayes Galleria beside the Thames has some nice shops, etc.
Southwark Cathedral. The gravestone of Shakespeare's brother, Edmund, an actor in Will's company. He died in 1607 and was buried in what is now Southwark Cathedral (London Bridge Tube) near the original Globe Theatre. A window in the same church has scenes from Shakespeare's plays and it's fun to try to match them up. There is a memorial to John Harvard, founder of the university. Southwark Cathedral is open daily from 8am. - 6 pm. Visitors are asked not to sight-see during services. There is no admission charge to any part of the church but donations towards its upkeep are encouraged.
Borough Market, by London Bridge station, any day for lunch at the Market Porter pub, Neal's Yard cheese shop, the Cook and Konditorei pastry shop, Southwark Cathedral (older and better than St Paul's), and the replica of the Golden Hind.

Borough food market on Thursday and on Saturday morning - wonderful and a much more interesting place than Waitrose or Sainsburys to watch Londoners buy their food! They sell wonderful deli food from all over - cheeses, coffee, pork pies, fish, hot venison burgers, olives, you name it, great atmosphere even if you don't buy. There are a stand that serves chorizo sausage sandwiches the best I ever had and a cafe where you can buy the best bubble and squeak in England. It is a true London market, with Londoners and tourists.

The Bramah tea and coffee museum, Southwark Street, is a good place to find teapots and the museum is fun. London Bridge tube

The George Inn, on Borough High Street, with 17th century inn yard. National Trust.

Marshalsea Prison, where Dickens' father was held for his debts, is now a rather spartan park on Tabard Street just a few yards off Borough High Street (Borough Tube)

Lambeth. The far end of Westminster Bridge

Downbeat & What The Butler Wore, SE1. Pop records and 60s and 70s clothes. 131 Lower Marsh, SE1 (Downbeat: 020-7928 9877; What the Butler Wore: 020-7261 1353) Waterloo tube. Mon-Sat 10.30am-5.30pm. Clothing from £20, depending on condition.

Radio Days, SE1. 1920s to 1980s vintage magazines; clothes that range from hand-sewn 1930s gowns to mass-produced 1970s flares; glasses, soda siphons, radios and other original pieces. 87 Lower Marsh, SE1 (020-7928 0800) Lambeth North tube. Mon-Sat 11am-5pm. A 1950s copy of Vogue costs around £25; old radios from £100.

Florence Nightingale Museum near Westminster Bridge. Westminster tube
Museum of Garden History near Lambeth Bridge. Admiral Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty is buried in the old church yard.

Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, is open to the public on Wednesday and Thursday (except in August). This glorious medieval building is wheelchair accessible – including the oldest part of the Palace, the Crypt, the historic Chapel and the Library. There is an explanatory video about the Archbishop's work and the history of the building. Tel 020 7898 1200.

Lambeth, by the Bridge, the Archbishop’s palace, Museum of Garden History, classic view of Parliament, over the river, Tate Britain. Get the Tate-to-Tate boat along the river to Tate Modern.

Imperial War Museum - you could easily spend a day there. Lambeth North tube
The Tibetan Peace Garden, SE1

Oxfam shops all over London. The telephone directory lists one or two in every area. I found some great souvenirs and books. Too many things in fact! Better than a flea market because they are inexpensive and everything is in great shape. This last trip, found about 30 books, 2 tea sets, 2 teapots, some beautiful scarves etc., then shop finder

Paperchase store has amazing crocodile and alligator embossed paper for about two pounds a sheet that makes fabulous coverings for boxes, etc. At 197 Oxford Street, Whiteleys in Queensway, 441 Strand, 213 Tottenham Court Road, and Euston, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Waterloo stations

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