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Souvenir ideas to bring back from London?

Souvenir ideas to bring back from London?

Old Dec 19th, 1999, 05:51 AM
Nigel Doran
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Nonsense! British food can compare well with that from France and other nations. True, French pate might be nicer than U K produced stuff, but our cheeses are very good and very particular to different regions.
I second the idea of buying gifts like chocolate bars and biscuits. Give your friend an Aero or Wispa and watch their face melt! Or you could just pop into a supermarket and see what takes your fancy. Lots of foreigners seem to go wild for things like steamed puddings and other desserts, which you can buy in tins so there is no problem about transporting them home.
Old Dec 20th, 1999, 09:10 AM
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Just for the record you don't do brass rubbings at Westminster Abbey, you can do them at the Brass Rubbing Center in St. Martins-in-the-Fields & they make a very nice momento.
Old Dec 20th, 1999, 07:29 PM
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Julie - In March of 97, we did a brass rubbing in Westminster Abbey - they may not have it any more, but we definitely did it and it was at Westminster Abbey. When I read your post, I double-checked with my husband who confirmed that I wasn't "losing it!" We then pulled out the original tube they give you at Westminster Abbey to transport it in (my husband saves everything) and sure "Brass Rubbing, Westminster Abbey" is printed all over the tube.

And yes, it's a wonderful souvenir!! Incidentally, while my husband was doing the majority of the rubbing, I enjoyed the most fabulous hot chocolate I've ever had from a coffe/hot chocolate stand that was nearby - they do not make hot chocolate that thick and creamy in the US!!!
Old Dec 20th, 1999, 07:59 PM
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Another idea for finding gifts for yourself or others is the chain of National Trust shops. They are in all National Trust attractions and there are shops in store fronts in many towns and cities. Each shop has its own personality. The merchandise is all high quality and in good taste. Prices vary from very inexpensive novelty items to moderate-to-expensive pottery and knit items.

Most shops include a nice assortment of garden/gardening-related items. Some shops focus more on books--including lucious photography books.

The best thing is that the proceeds go to supporting the work of this wonderful organization. The "other best thing" is chatting with the people (primarily women) who volunteer in these stores. As British as Mrs. Miniver and always gracious as heck.

By the way, NT members don't receive a discount in these shops.

Happy travels,

Old Dec 21st, 1999, 06:28 AM
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The brass rubbings used to be at Westminster Abbey and in 1998 (I think that's the date) they moved to St. Martin in the Fields. I didn't do a rubbing while there, but I regret it.
Old Dec 22nd, 1999, 06:54 AM
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Soap from Convent Garden's Lush
Cashmere scarf from Burberry outlet (near Angel station)
Jacob's Mint Club from Sainsbury or Safteway
Old Dec 27th, 1999, 11:21 AM
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Message: All this talk of brass rubbings has me fascinated - ill be in London 3Jan and 16 Jan (on return from tour) - know where St Martins in Field is - please explain.... Ta
Old Dec 27th, 1999, 03:29 PM
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Hello, everyone...I've been lurking for a couple of weeks, and am very impressed with the depth of travel knowledge here!

Anyway, here is my $.02.

To Jean: I will also be going to London in early January, and have been cramming for it as if it were a final exam St. Martin's-in-the-Fields is a church. It's located in a corner of Trafalgar Square. It has its own orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, which provided the music for the film Amadeus.

Now, a question from me: Does anyone know what the shopping hours are like in early January for large dept. stores like Liberty or Harrods? It seems the smaller shops would close early in winter as a matter of course...is this true? I want to hit all the sights in the daytime and would prefer to shop at night.
Old Dec 27th, 1999, 03:46 PM
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DI - RECT to YOU from the famous Harrod's website (oddly it is www.harrods.com) are the following store hours (sadly, I won't be there til February so the bahgains will be gone):

normal store hours
10am - 6pm: Monday, Tuesday, Saturday
10am - 7pm: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

special sale hours in january
Wednesday 5th 9am - 8pm, Thursday 6th and Friday 7th 9am - 7pm

Saturday 8th January 9am - 8pm

Between Monday 10th and Friday 28th:
Mondays, Tuesdays 10am - 6pm, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 10am - 7pm

Sale ends Saturday 29th January 9am - 7pm

Please, get something stupendous at a ridiculously low price and tell us about it (the website gives the markdown dates).
Old Dec 28th, 1999, 03:18 AM
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Sale time in London is on the 2nd and 3rd week of Jan.

One thing I didnt see with the other responses is Clotted cream or jersey cream.

Most memorable experience will be afternoon tea at the Ritz.

Old Dec 28th, 1999, 10:45 AM
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To Elvira: Doh! Should've known that Harrods would have their own web page...

Checked out Liberty of London's web page (www.liberty-of-london.com) - they have posted their extended sale hours up through Jan 3, if anyone else is interested.

Thanks for the responses.
Old Dec 28th, 1999, 05:44 PM
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Can someone explain exactly what a "brass rubbing" is?
Old Dec 29th, 1999, 10:38 AM
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What you do is look at the various brass plates & decide which design you like. Then you pick out either black or white paper & what ever color wax you would like to use. Depending on the size of the brass plate you chose you spend the next hour or so making a reproduction of it. When you get it home you have it framed. It's neat.
Old Dec 29th, 1999, 11:42 AM
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The National Trust gardening books are super as well as other little souvenirs in the NT shops. We once bought a jester's hat for a little boy for Halloween. Inevitably, we come home packed down with mystery novels. And, once you translate the AGA numbers and other measurements, cookbooks are good souvenirs as well. Liberty's is our fav for scarves and ties and also Burberry. One last suggestion would be to go to the Silver Vaults and look for some antique jewelry or flatware. My very favorite item purchased in London is a set of 12 fish servers and forks, beautifully engraved with the original gift card from Mother and Father on someone's wedding day.
Old Dec 29th, 1999, 04:59 PM
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Julie, thanks for the info. But, I'm still confused... brass plates(?). Are they name plates...? I think once I understand what the brass plates are then it will make sense to me. I guess I'm being thick headed, but I have always wondered what the brass rubbings were about. Thanks again.
Old Dec 29th, 1999, 05:17 PM
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Here's help, Help:

Have you ever done, or seen, gravestone rubbings? Same principal, except instead of carved granite headstones, these are forged (molded? what DOES one do with brass?) plates with 'engravings' (medieval figures, etc.). Very cool. If you go to this website, click on cafe and scroll down to the bottom, you'll see what we all are on about:
Old Jan 1st, 2000, 06:24 PM
Q. P.
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Just a couple of quick comments. The idea of audio books is a GREAT one. I always go to Blackwell's or Dillon's and scan the audiobook titles, as there are so many things that just aren't readily (or ever) available here in the U.S. And of course, unlike with videotapes, there's no compatibility problems to worry about.

As an example, I'm a big fan of the Patrick O'Brian novels, seafaring tales set in the Napoleonic Wars. Over here, the (abridged) audiobook versions are read by people like David McCallum. The British ones by contrast are read by the incomparable veteran actor Robert Hardy and are vastly superior. In general, you can find audiobooks by a wide range of superb, classically trained British actors, and they are a delight, especially those of books with many different British characters and accents. Every time I go I bring back at least a few of these, both as gifts and to keep. Last trip's haul included a marvelous audiotape of Simon Callow's BBC one-man show as Charles Dickens, as well as a tape of Sir Alec Guinness reading his own published diaries--both of them great companions on a long drive.

I also enjoy rummaging in secondhand shops for old pre-war Penguin paperbacks, booklets, magazines, etc., that were never published outside Britain (and never will be) and that seem to me to capture a place or moment that's irreducibly English. Books in general are not a good buy in Britain, but the odd dogeared volume that captures your imagination and that would likely never turn up in a U.S. shop is always worth browsing for.


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