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DAX Mar 9th, 2005 08:32 PM

My wife wants to go to London,...Is it worth it?
Just kidding!! .I am planning to spend a long weekend in London with my wife. I'd like to do a few special things for her 40th birthday weekend in September. We've been to London twice, but we never really found any hidden special reason/things to go back to. Any wonderful places or local activities that made London special for you? Thanks.

JenV Mar 9th, 2005 09:01 PM

Hi DAX, good one, but I hope your title doesn't keep people from answering. Although I have been to London once, I did all the usual tourist stuff so won't be of help, but I noticed this month's Gourmet mag features London and has tons of food, shopping, sightseeing etc. recos so you might check that out.

Dave_in_Paris Mar 9th, 2005 11:50 PM

We go for the bookstores and antique browsing on Portobello Road. What makes the stay particularly wonderful is the Leonard Hotel. It's a gem!

celticdreams Mar 10th, 2005 03:03 AM

If you haven't been on the London Eye - you can order a bottle of champagne there....

Tasja Mar 10th, 2005 04:19 AM

I would also take a ride - or how they say in with the London Eye. The view is amazing.

G_Hopper Mar 10th, 2005 04:44 AM

Seek out historic pubs:

Get this book and take some walks around London:

Take some guided walks:

Hidden London site:
I can recommend the John Soanes Museum

London Lost and Found:

Have some Cockney Grub:

Weadles Mar 10th, 2005 05:50 AM

We found a wonderful Moroccan restaurant with good food, dancing, very lively young crowd not far from Carnaby Street. It's called "Moumou" ( spelling?). I will try to find the correct spelling and address, and post again for you. Our evening there was really one of the highlights of our London trip.

katrine Mar 10th, 2005 06:15 AM

That must be MOMO in 25 Heddon Street. Haven't been, but heard a lot about it - both good and bad. A couple of years ago it was THE place in London, and I suppose it still is very in. I've heard that it can be quite difficult to get in at times.
There are some reviews at

I second the Portobello Road ... no weekend in London is complete without a stroll down the road and checking out the new shops in that area.
I also would like to mention Tate Modern which is fantastic - the building itself is amazing and the colection... well, that has to be my favorite! My husband are not intersted in art but I had to drag him out after three hours.

ParrotMom Mar 10th, 2005 06:44 AM

Def. do the London Eye.. then a cruise down the Thames to Greenwich... If your lucky when you plan to go to London and I think it will be open.. book (think it can be done over the internet)going through Buckingham is an incredible experience..give yourself plenty of's magnificent.

Marlie Mar 10th, 2005 09:34 AM

Have you gone to the Ceremony of the Keys? You have to send for tickets, here is the web page with address.

We've gone twice and really enjoyed it. It's free and done at 9:00 p.m.if I remember right.

highledge Mar 10th, 2005 11:28 AM

Momo can be fun- but not if you eat "early." A reservation around 9 would be much more fun an experience than 7pm

welltraveledbrit Mar 10th, 2005 12:57 PM

I always presummed mk2 was a Shazza with illusions of grandeur?

ThinGorjus Mar 10th, 2005 06:43 PM

Now, now, we can't be to harsh with mkingdom. Afterall, she is my partner in crime here at Fodors.

Besides, I see mkingdom more as a Biffa than a Shazza. :)

nancy Mar 10th, 2005 06:56 PM

I think a "tea" at the Savoy or the like would be special - sounds so British. Been 2x to London but haven't done that - next time.

cigalechanta Mar 10th, 2005 07:03 PM

That Prada peacock skirt is much to outre for you, John.

ThinGorjus Mar 10th, 2005 08:13 PM

Oh, Mimi, you are just "to" funny.

Yes, nancy, the Savoy is one of the poshest hotels in London, but I don't know if I would want to spend 50 (?) quid to have tea in the lobby. I have never understood why middle-class Americans like to come to England and spend a fortune to have tea in the lobbies of posh hotels. Most British people don't have their tea this way.

Imagine if British people came to Philadelphia to have a $20 cup of coffee at the Ritz Hotel, just so it could be presented to them by a waiter in a tuxedo. "We had high coffee at the Ritz Hotel in Philadelphia," they would say to their neighbour in Hartlepool.

You would think they were daft.

ThinGorjus Mar 11th, 2005 11:24 AM

Where is mkingdom? I hope she is not ill.

nancy Mar 11th, 2005 06:06 PM

ThinGorjus: Yikes, 50 quid (I'm assuming that's pounds :-)!! In 1996 it was approx. $25 US which I thought was awfully high. So, you're right, I'm sure I won't do it. I just picture a "Miss Marple" type of affair - so British and so cool. Would I do this at home - no way!

JoeTro Mar 11th, 2005 06:49 PM

I'm a sucker for Impressionism, so places like National Gallery, Courtald, and Tate Britain are great.

DAX Mar 11th, 2005 08:59 PM

Thanks all for your inputs. The Gourmet magazine article was the reason my wife thought of London (yes, I need to read it too). I'd like to get more info on Portobello Road such as the great treasure stores & cafe/ restaurant as we like to bring/ship something back from a trip.

Champagne in the London Eye sounds pretty good, though I prefer to have it in a more private place. We do love good interesting winebars, anyone knows one? I know we should be thinking more of pubs.

Momo is a great suggestion except my wife doesn't enjoy Morrocan food. Is there anything similar that's not Morrocan? Fun & trendy restaurants are our preference for England but we are open to the traditional ones too if the food is to die for.

I really like the Thames cruise idea, just need to learn more as to which is the best one to take. The Tate will be filling our "one museum per trip" quota.

I'm hoping to get more suggestions from all of you, savvy travellers & London insiders. Thanks again!

brookwood Mar 11th, 2005 09:55 PM

London reminds me of a statement once attributed to Lawrence Peter Berra.
It is so crowded hardly anybody goes there anymore.

Which reminds me, Lawrence The Great will soon be 80, May 12 to be exact.

BTilke Mar 12th, 2005 04:48 AM

Was this the March or April issue of Gourmet? Is it still available at newstands? If it is, I'd like to have my mother pick it up.
Also, which restaurants do they specifically mention?

MiriamA Mar 12th, 2005 09:18 AM

What type of things/subjects is your wife interested in. We may all be able to help you a little bit more.
I always suggest London Eye to all visitors but there is much to see and do.
The schools go back on the 2nd week of September, then hotels may be a little cheaper.

Tulips Mar 12th, 2005 10:37 AM

BTilke; it was the March issue of Gourmet. Should still be in the shops. The whole magazine is about London; lots of great information. One restaurant featured is Moro; their food looks amazing.

DAX; if you're going early September, the Regents Park Open Air Theatre might still be open. Wonderful experience; go and see Shakespeare under the stars.
I am not a big pub fan, but see that the Anglesea Arms is mentioned in Gourmet; that's very nice (near South Kensington).
The Enterprise on Walton Street is nice for a glass of wine or casual dinner.
Le Metro, Basil Street, a stone's throw from Harrods is also a good place for a glass if you get tired of shopping.

DAX Mar 12th, 2005 06:17 PM

When we travel, my wife simply likes to shop for clothing, shoes, accessories, household, and decor. In the evenings she just wants to watch musicals. It's up to me to find anything else beyond shopping & shows. I'm searching for special places where frequent visitors & locals keep returning to have fun/enjoy life in London. So far I like Portobello Rd & the Thames cruise ideas. Any other suggestions?

mikemo Mar 12th, 2005 06:26 PM

With the USD @ 1.95 to the GBP, I think not.

rockhopper7 Mar 12th, 2005 06:52 PM

If you're only going to be in London for a long weekend, shopping, musicals, Portobello Road, and the obligatory one (1) museum visit should fill the void nicely.

How about a birthday dinner at Claridges' Gordon Ramsay. That would be pricey but absolutely memorable.

Dave_in_Paris Mar 12th, 2005 07:13 PM

Some useful information on Portobello Road shopping:

chocobon Mar 12th, 2005 08:30 PM

I say do the tea in Herrods. BTW, the chocolate service in Philly at the Four Seasons is at least $20 and yes, it is a reportable event upon return to England!

DAX Mar 13th, 2005 07:07 AM

Rockhopper, you have a point as we're only going to be there for 4 nights, however, I'm trying to find thoughtful diversions from shopping and musical(which I can enjoy to a degree but would like to reduce as much as possible).

The suggested winebar in Knightsbridge is definitely a good diversion that my wife & I can just happen to linger in. It's more appealing than a scheduled high tea plus we're both not into sweets & chocolates at all. I found several winebars in that area through the different websites, I have to figure out which are the good ones. She never said no to a good winebar/lounge. Anyone has other great diversion ideas?

Dave, thanks for the Portobello Rd websites. I don't mind that kind of shopping, more strolling the area than hunting. I'll check out Gordon Ramsey, I hope it's the food that's memorable.

DAX Mar 13th, 2005 07:39 AM

After reading other London postings, I realize that people avoid London because it's expensive. I would too, except that I'll be using airline mileage & Hyatt hotel points so we only spend money on food & stuff. I don't want to come across as trying to do "reportable events" as chocobon insinuated, but we are looking for places that will enhance our stay there.

ParrotMom Mar 13th, 2005 07:53 AM

On the Thames cruise we passed all the renovated wharves, new exciting condos and down to lovely Greenwich...charming...need to spend more time there next time..

ssachida Mar 13th, 2005 07:59 AM

The parts of my London trip that keeps popping into my mind are:
1. Evensong at Westminster Abbey - its incredibly rich and moving, and I'm not even Christian. It wasn't the sermon, but the choir that took the show.

2. Walking across the millenium bridge, from Tate Modern to St.Pauls, especially at night. (I also loved the Tate though I know many will disagree with that)

machin Mar 13th, 2005 11:28 AM

My wife wanted to go and we did. Was it worth it? Yes, but expensive.

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