Why should we go to London?

Old Feb 7th, 2010, 10:51 AM
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Why should we go to London?

I've been traveling to Europe my whole life but have never been to the UK. I don't know why, exactly, but it's just never called out to me. I do, however, have an interest in seeing the small town outside of London where my great, great, great....grandfather lived before coming to America in 1642. So we now find ourselves with a trip planned to Europe in late August and a few days free where we can go wherever we want. For some reason, this time, we're thinking of London. I'd be interested in hearing from Fodorites what they like best about traveling to London? Why should we go? What shouldn't we miss seeing? In what locale should we stay? What's your favorite thing to do?
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 10:56 AM
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My favorite things about London include theatre, history, architecture, art, music. I really enjoy London Walks. My favorite location to stay is probably Bloomsbury or Covent Garden.

It's really hard to summarize, so I'd suggest getting a good London guidebook. If you want something leaning towards young and hip, get the Time Out London. If you want lots of details, get DK Eyewitness London.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 11:22 AM
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Dont bother, if you have to ask i dont thnk you will get 'London' might be a bit parochial for you.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 11:24 AM
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Wow, London is amazing. I dont know how to convince you, but if you look in a London travel guide and still arent intersted, then dont feel like you need too...vacations are about what you are interested int! We have no great pull to go to Spain...so whatever you love you should go to see that.

Saying that, we moved to London because we love it so much...
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Thanks WillTravel - you've "gotten" what I was trying to ask. JimSteel - perhaps my question came off as a challenge but it's really a genuine question. I agree with jamikins that you should only go where your interests lie - but interests can change and develop over time and I'm trying to expand my horizons.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 12:10 PM
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My favourites - Tower of London, Borough Market, Westeminter..the city...so many things...
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 12:16 PM
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I, too, agree that you should go where your interests lie. The wonderful thing about London is that there is something there for every interest. It is the most fascinating city with so much to see and do. You could keep busy in London for weeks. The city I love most is Paris but London is probably the city with the most to experience. You should go because it is a truly great city and I am sure you will love it.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 12:40 PM
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London is a phenominal world city. The same language and familiar pictures make it seem less exotic. I agree with Willtravel in regards to things to do.

It is similar to New York in that everyone that goes there sees things that seem so famililiar to us because it is filmed and woven into our lives through art , movies, books etc...

I recommend the hop on off buses to get an over all picture with lots of trivia and history given. The river boat and London eye are a great perspective of London.

Then when you are burned out of touring...look up Timeout's 101 things to do in London before you die. You will find something interesting in that. I suggest Shakespeare in Regents park in August, great setting, less tourists. Theater, Theater Theater! Tate Modern...Shopping not Harrod's but Knightsbridge followed by a walk through Hyde Park or Sloane Square with lunch somewhere fun! For couture, St James.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 12:44 PM
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I really wouldn't bother.

What's the point of going somewhere you're not very interested in?

I wouldn't waste time going to - say - Beijing unless there was something there I'd wanted to see or experience. I can't imagine how being told by a stranger it's the greatest city in the universe would change my mind.

I CAN imagine how being told something by someone I trusted might influence me. But the world's been stuffed with praise of London for 400 years. It clearly han't influenced you: why should any of us waste time offering more views?

FWIW, I'd say exactly the same thing if the question referred to Rome or New York.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 01:02 PM
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I'm not a big fan of London. I used to think that people who like Boston, San Francisco and Barcelona like London, and people who like Paris, Rome, Los Angeles and Madrid don't. But I guess that's too simplistic.

About the only place I really like in London in the British Museum. But I like Londoners (who can be pretty sarcastic about their home town!)

Do you have to make up your mind now? Why don't you go to the small town where your grandfather lived and ask people there if you should go to London, or just decide on your own then if it interests you? Even in late August, you can always find late rooms. Or take a day trip from a town close in.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 01:02 PM
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I should have made that anti-London list to include NYC.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 01:18 PM
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Hmmm, I love Paris AND London, so not sure where that puts me in the scheme of things.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 01:26 PM
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Well, I said i *used to think." ;-)
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 01:27 PM
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I should add I like the Thames too.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 01:42 PM
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It's not my favorite city. I do like other cities in England in general, and I also like the countryside a lot, but not London.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 01:44 PM
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There are great places that are strictly part of London, but feel outside it, like Hampstead Heath. Richmond is, I think, technically not in London, but it's great. St. Albans is a really interesting town. That's just a few - I need to increase my knowledge of greater London for sure.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 01:45 PM
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What is the name of the little town? We did the same thing- spent a couple of days in London and then went to Much Hadham,about an hour outside London, where my g-g-g-g-granparents came from. It was a lovely trip.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 01:58 PM
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What do you like to do in other large cities? Do you enjoy history, art, theatre, museums?

Personally, I adored London. The Tower of London brings life to some of the history I've read about for years, the theatre was fun and a new experience for me. I could spend hours going back to Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral though I've been to each once already. The Ceremony of Keys at the Tower is a 700+ year old ceremony that is great fun to go and witness. If you like art, there are many huge art galleries. Hampton Court Palace, Canterbury Cathedral and Dover Castle are all fun options for day trips out of town.

Don't forget that there's more to the UK than just London. Edinburgh was fun and I loved Scotland.

Don't go to London because it's something that you think you *should* do, go or not depending on your interests. Flip through a guide book, or go through some of the trip reports and itineraries on here and google the places mentioned.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 02:28 PM
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well interestng...my favourite city in europe is Paris, but we live in London...been here almost 3 years and there is no place I;d rather be...so much history...so much to see...
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 03:09 PM
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It is one of the most exciting/interesting/historic cities on Earth.

But since you seem to have some sort of preconceived dislike -- I'd give it a pass . . . . .
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