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Your Opinion on these off the beaten path London sights?

Your Opinion on these off the beaten path London sights?

Old Sep 29th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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yk
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Your Opinion on these off the beaten path London sights?

I'll be in London at end of Oct - first weekend in Nov. Right now, it looks like I'll be free all day Sat and Sun, and perhaps 1/2 day on Tuesday.

I have visited most of the "must-sees" in London, and now I'm investigating the following. I won't be able to go to all, so I'm trying to see how I should rank them.

I am interested in art, historic houses. I like gardens too, but not sure what to expect for late Oct-early Nov. I'm a bit fed up with the Palladian villas and Indigo Jones stuff for now.

So my choices are:
Eltham Palace + Red House

Sutton House + William Morris Gallery

Ham House + Chiswick House

I probably can do 2 of the 3 choices above (all by public transportation). Any thoughts? Also, any other properties in those neighborhoods that I should not miss? Or any other suggestions?

Lastly, I'm also thinking of Chelsea Physic Garden, but will that be a waste of time & money given the time of year I'm visiting?

One more question: If I buy the Great British Heritage Pass, is it true that I have to buy it online before I leave, or can I buy it after I arrive in London?
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 09:58 AM
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2 more sights for your opinion:

1) Banqueting House (I'm not a Rubens fan)
2) Parliament tour
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 10:16 AM
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Eltham palace i enjoyed thoroughly as it was not your Father's palace

Do some reading on the Courtaud's (i think that's the famous family that owned it) - and the one who built the house was a kind of Howard Hughes (before he went mad)

Ham & Chiswick & Marble Hill houses all all close together and in a neat Thames setting - Eltham is a blah tacky suburb

I though you had to buy the Great British Heritage Pass before leaving but was corrected rather stridently by janisj who said you can now buy it at many participating properties - and thus not have to hassle with buying online - i had not heard this before and thought you had to get it before getting to Britain.

In London you may be able to buy one from the British Travel Authority's office near Trafalgar
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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If you don't like Rubens you've got taste. The Banqueting House was London's first sighting shot at that ghastly baroque muck that ruined much of Vienna and Rome- only the filthy foreigners do it a lot better. It's OK from outside, but inside it's almost in the same league as Bloody Blenheim. Sell.

Most decent English gardens have things going on pretty much year-round (this isn't the bleak midwest) and mid-autumn, especially at places like Kew or the Physic Garden that are as much about the intellect as about colours and smells, is about as good a time as it gets IMHO. Remember, though, it's a mildly chilly, mellowly fruitful, English autumn: not one of those brash, red all over American ones.

I'ma huge fan of Eltham Palace: getting to Bexleyheath (Red House) in the same day really needs a car unless our resident expert on Kent trains:
- knows better, and
- stays off the paint for long enough to explain

Sutton House is fascinating if you're interested in the evolution of English domestic planning. If you're not, it's negatively whelming. In a city with astonishingly few old buildings, it's important - which is the word used by the conservation lobby to pour money into places that most people really can't get. Now loads of us do get it, because it's the earliest building in London that's remotely like our own houses. But every time I've been round, it's been chocker with my Islington neighbours debating with each other whether they can use some feature of Sutton House to prove their latest house remodelling ought to be given Listed Building consent. If you live here, an essential part of understanding why our houses are as they are. If you don't live here (or in Charleston), I'd give it a miss.

Getting to the William Morris place without a car must be a real pain in the arse. I'd save Morris till the next Lloyd-Webber exhibition, or your next opportunity to see the Lady Lever Gallery in Port Sunlight. Or get the train to Oxford and see the newly refurbished and rehung Pre-Raphaelite gallery at the Ashmolean in the brief window before it closes for a year in January.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 10:47 AM
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I have investigated transportation options between these places - all of them have bus connections between the 2 (with a bit of walking) and should take about an hour.

Sutton House seems interesting because of the Tudor stuff.

Looks like Eltham Palace is a not-to-miss.

I am planning to visit Oxford... perhaps on the Monday.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 10:53 AM
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BTW:

Stephen Courtauld MC was as unlike Howard Hughes as it's possible to imagine. The MC (something you don't get for just fartarsing about with planes that aren't ready till after the war's over) for starters.

He grafted a really impressive Art Deco house (something London's practically devoid of) onto a real, restored, Tudor palace and then created a seriously interesting garden. Almost certainly the single greatest contributor to London's 20th century domestic architecture.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 11:20 AM
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You can order one online, then pick it up in London.
http://www.britishheritagepass.com/Shipping

We ordered online and received them in about 10 days.

Lee Ann
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 11:44 AM
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>>>>>
Art Deco house (something London's practically devoid of)
<>>>>

but our suburbs are filled with tacky houses that are inspired by the art deco movement. most are semi-detached with a curved front and steel windows.

these houses are cookie cutter and hardly masterpieces...the same style sometimes stretches for miles. but instead of just going with the art deco style, most owners have endowed them with ornate white plastic replacement doors with mock stained glass half circle windows at the top.

just ghastly.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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Why order Great British Heritage Passes online when, according to janisj, Fodor's foremost British expert IMO - inlcuding FodorBrits, says you can buy them at the sights

then no shipping costs, no refunds if by chance you cancel your trip, etc.?
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 12:43 PM
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I may be wrong, but I don't think you can buy the Great British Heritage Pass at all sites, unless this is quite a new thing. For peace of mind, I'd order it online. That way you get a map and guide that comes with it, ahead of time, to assist with your planning.

Eltham Palace does qualify for a 2for1 deal if you are buying a Travelcard - check here for the restrictions: http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/.

Also, you can plan your route to
Eltham palace using the London Transport journey planner - http://journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk/use...T2?language=en
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 12:48 PM
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Flanner has given you an excellent compare/contrast of the various sites. Though I am surprised the transport connection are as straight forward as all that. If you can work out the transport then Eltham/Red House would probably be my first choice. But all would be interesting.

Oct is a great time to visit the Physic Garden. You can combine it w/ a walk through the Hospital. A highlight of many of my trips is the hour or so I spend chatting up Chelsea Pensioners. Some of them are the most shameless flirts

As often happens - PQ has it half right. I've not said "you can buy them at the sights". You can buy the GBHP at some covered sites, as well as at LHR or GLA (but not at LGW, MAN or EDI). But they are not sold at every property. I haven't found a accurate list of where one can/can't buy them (other than for the airports) You need your passport w/ you to purchase the pass.

If you know for sure you are going to use the GBHP - I'd buy it ahead of time, even w/ the shipping charge. The catalog is really helpful planning a visit since it lists places one may not have known anything about.

But if you aren't sure you'll benefit from a GBHP - I'd wait and buy it at one of larger sites after you decide.

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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 01:12 PM
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Janis - curious as to why you would recommend Eltham Palace? How did you find it - i thought you were more of a classical type thing for castles, etc.

I've never been to Red House nor has ever heard of it - any more details on it?

thanks and Fodorites all thank you for being so helpful in planning British trips.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 01:19 PM
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RE: GBHP

If I do get one, I'll only buy the 4-day pass which is £30 (I'm traveling alone). I haven't punched the numbers to see if I really will come out ahead anyway. The reason I don't want to buy ahead of time is in case the weather is going to be horrid and I don't think I'd enjoy trekking to these places in torrential downpour.

When I look at buying GBHP online, it will cost £6.50 to mail to me, but free if collected in person at:
Britain & London Visitor Centre
1 Regent Street
London
SW1Y 4XT

Which makes me wonder if they sell the GBHP at the Visitor Center?

Anyway, I've shot an email to the GBHP asking the above. I'll see what their reply is.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 01:28 PM
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Oh... I did a google search, and one result came up is google book search showing a page from Rick Steves 2008 Great Britain guide book. In it, he says the GBHP can be bought in person at the Britain & London Visitor Centre on Regent Street.

Re: Red House - I have a guidebook called
BLUE GUIDE on Museums & Galleries on London

I was just reading thru all the entries, and Red House caught my eye because of the Arts & Crafts Movement style where William Morris lived.
It is now managed by the National Trust.
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main...w-redhouse.htm
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 01:39 PM
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Note that regent Street centre has bankers' hours in off season IME - may not be open on Sun?

but to save $12 postage and the hassle and then perhaps you do not want to use it better buy it there

but you can buy it probably at St Paul's Cathedral or the shakespeare's Globe, both major properties in the GBHV Pass scheme - as Janis says you can likely buy it at major places covered - you may want to go to these places as well - about a $30 or more value in itself.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 02:44 PM
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yk: Yes - you can buy it at the major Tourist Information Centres (like on Regent St) but not some of the smaller ones, as well as at some of the covered sites.

The problem w/ buying one at St Paul's for instance (and I'm not 100% sure they sell it there - though they might) is you would have to queue w/ all the other visitors in the ticket line to get the pass.

In the past I've e-mailed GBHP re buying "on the ground" and got back info that wasn't totally accurate. So good luck - but Regent St should be fine.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 03:16 PM
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If you take a bus to the William Morris Gallery, make sure you know where to get off (Bell Corner)-- when I asked the bus driver, she had never heard of the place, and if another passenger hadn't overheard and helped us, we would have missed the stop.
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Old Sep 29th, 2008, 04:14 PM
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Are you planning to see Leighton House? I liked the Morris Gallery, but if you only have time for one of the two, I'd pick Leighton House first.
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Old Sep 30th, 2008, 03:01 AM
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Seconding the Leighton House suggestion. It's wonderful and is linked to the Linley Sambourne House. You can get a combined ticket:

http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/linleysambour...al/default.asp
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Old Sep 30th, 2008, 04:45 AM
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bkmkg - and noting that I'll be looking for you report, yk.
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