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Moving to London - general travels tips please!!

Moving to London - general travels tips please!!

Old Nov 8th, 2012, 12:09 AM
  #41  
 
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I don't think anyone has mentioned the UK Yankees forum, but the two Americans in my office are fans. www.uk-yankee.com

There are many more Americans living here than you might think!
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Old Nov 8th, 2012, 02:54 AM
  #42  
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Havana -- thanks for that link. I've never visited that forum before.

There are loads of Americans, we have a way of finding each other. I think it's our constant quest for decent Mexican food . . .
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Old Nov 8th, 2012, 04:47 AM
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Just short of 200,000. Still a long way to catch up with the 300,000 french.
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Old Nov 8th, 2012, 05:24 AM
  #44  
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That's why it's easier to find a good croissant than a good taco.
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Old Nov 8th, 2012, 10:29 AM
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We bring back taco seasoning after our annual visit to the US.
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Old Nov 8th, 2012, 11:07 AM
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So do we! We also bring back ranch seasoning and candy corn but shhhh . . . or else we will get told off for preferring American junk food to good and proper English fare!
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Old Nov 9th, 2012, 09:22 PM
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We lived in London for four months in 2010 and I loved every minute of it! The only negative thing that happened to me was that my purse was stolen in a neighbourhood cafe, part of our neighbourhood community centre that included the cafe, a gym and a public library. I'd been there a million times and felt perfectly safe and I guess I just got too complacent.

I have a huge trip report on here somewhere. I don't suggest you read it all -- it's like a novel -- but if you skim it, there might be some handy nuggets, some from me but most from the Londoners.

Anyway, my few suggestions:

Find the nearest public library and join it. Ours had a wonderful children's section and although we don't have kids, I did see what seemed to be lots of children's activities happening.

Even before you move, get yourself on the email lists for the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert, the Wellcome Collection, St. Martin-in-the-Field, the National Gallery and any other museum (including kids' museums) you can think of. We went to many wonderful talks and events. Most of them are free but you do need to sign up for tickets. It's a wonderful resource.

And finally (at least for now), try to arrange a Fodor's get-together in London. We met many wonderful, generous and helpful Fodorites, had some great evenings with them (especially Jamiekins and Bikerscott pubcrawls!) and made some wonderful friends. We're still in touch and I hope to see them in person again one day in the not too distant future.

I'm so envious, Natalie -- London is such an exciting city!
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Old Nov 10th, 2012, 09:31 AM
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We also bring back ranch seasoning and candy corn but shhhh . . . or else we will get told off for preferring American junk food to good and proper English fare! >>

perish the thought - we've got enough junk of our own, thanks!
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Old Nov 10th, 2012, 09:40 AM
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annhig-We always bring back tomato chutney from the UK-Baxter's is our favorite-yummy!
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Old Nov 10th, 2012, 10:08 AM
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nin- if you like chutney, have you tried Branston's pickle? an absolute must with a ploughman's lunch.
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Old Nov 11th, 2012, 10:51 AM
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Thanks so much for all the replies. We just returned from our first visit to London (the real move will happen right before or right after the new year) and we LOVED it! We didn't get to do a ton of touristy type stuff, but that will come later. My husband had to work most of the week while I visited different potential living areas. We did manage to see Big Ben, Parliament, London Eye, Harrods (gifts for MIL for watching the kids) & Hyde Park.

I was glad to see how easily my "common sense" kicked in. It was much more natural than I remembered to be aware of my surrounding. Though I did learn while walking though Hyde Park that hats, rather than hoods, are probably better. My ears got cold while walking along the Serpentine/Long Water (alone) and I popped my coats hood on. I noticed someone seemed to be walking along just behind me. It immediately made me uneasy to not be able to see around me so I put my hood down and immediately the person sat down on a bench we had just passed :/ So, I think I will buy a cute hat or two before we leave!!

I do visit UK Yankee. That is where I have gotten a TON of information, including most of what I used to prep a budget for us.

I make pretty decent Mexican from scratch, so as long as I can get ingredients we should be okay. The nachos I ordered in a pub were on fried flour tortillas, rather than corn with very little cheese. Not bad, just very different than what nachos in Texas are. What we did love was bangers and mash, gammon and eggs and pubs in general! We also had some really good curry...

We are even more excited now, although slightly anxious about being able to sell off items, store excess and pack a household for 5 in less than 2 months Life is an adventure, right?!
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Old Nov 11th, 2012, 02:05 PM
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Hi Natalie,

glad that your dipping your toe in the water was so successful.

do let us know how it goes when the move proper happens.
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Old Nov 14th, 2012, 12:03 PM
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For a very different take on things go to Blackpool to see the Illuminations. My very old 1993 edition of Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door recommends it. He says "it's as English as can be." He's right and it will be an experience.
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Old Nov 14th, 2012, 02:42 PM
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Lucky you! I have two boys and we have gone to London several times, beginning when the youngest was 8 or 9. I can suggest some things your boys might like:

Somerset House - has cool fountains shooting up from the ground in the summer. We attended a several day-long festival of some sort with musicians in the courtyard, children's activities scheduled in various rooms, and kids running through the fountains at intervals. It was very chill. Just the perfect thing to bring the kids and hang out for a few hours. I snuck into one of the museum rooms while DH took the kids to make a cool craft. I see on their website that they have ice skating in the winter.

Imperial War Musuem (and Churchill Cabinet War Rooms) - DH and the kids loved this museum. We all liked the Cabinet War Rooms too, but the Imperial War Museum is geared to younger kids. dH says it might be too intense for a 5 year old, with simulated bombing including smoke, darkness, noise, shaking, etc.

Tower of London

Double decker bus ride

Ghost walk

London Eye
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Old Nov 15th, 2012, 12:21 AM
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Some cool things we've done elsewhere:

Bike tour (self-guided) along the Danube river from Passau to Vienna. The kids were 11 and 14. We rode an average of 25 miles per day for 8 days. This was so much fun! We organized it through Bike Tours Direct. Below is a link to give you an idea of what they have available. This is a newer tour that was not available when we went in 2007 - it averages 16 miles per day. The entire route is on a flat bike path. Everything is convenient to the bike path. They carry your luggage ahead each day for you. ( I think you could arrange it on your own at a lower cost. Possibly they have just the luggage service available with a local company and you could book the hotels and bring your bikes. Lots of people seemed to be carrying all their stuff on their bikes.)

http://www.biketoursdirect.com/Germa...-tour-9-nights

Barging in France - we self-piloted a small boat down a canal in Brittany, going through many, many beautiful locks. It was like camping. We and the kids enjoyed this, although someone has to drive and everyone else can relax! You are allowed to stop along the riverbank, put in a stake, throw down your gangplank, and you are set for the night. Or, there are small docks where you can tie up. We had bikes on the boat (although not good ones), so could go for a ride and find a place for dinner or explore. We rented the boat from Locaboat.

http://www.locaboat.com/en/
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Old Nov 15th, 2012, 01:23 AM
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picking up on travelgirl2's idea you can arrange all kinds of bicycle trips around europe. www.mybikeguide.co.uk tells you how to; and many of routes.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 04:09 AM
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KaneCarter - this is an old thread. The OP is now IN London so presumably doesn't need advice on the cost of living elsewhere in the UK or on removals.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 05:06 AM
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Weird postings from penultimate poster
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 10:23 AM
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i pressed the orange triangle and pfoof - he's gone.
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