A July 2002 trip
to London by Constance
Quote: I had never been to London, so when a friend had to go there on business I tagged along and explored the city. I don't usually like to explore alone but here it was easy! There was so much to see and do here that my days flew by.
Break up all the tourist sights by wandering down small side streets in residential areas and seeing the houses and gardens.
Neal's Yard: A small oasis of vegetarian restaurants, holistic shops and even a walk-in massage shop hidden away in Covent Garden.
I hate to recommend something so touristy but the Red Bus Tours are a great way to see everything. If you're here for the first time you should definitely check it out. The bus tour hits all the key landmarks and you can hop on and off whenever you want. It's an easy way to get from one part of town to the other while seeing things you won't while on the Tube.
If you do take the subway, avoid it at rush hours - The cars aren't airconditioned and it can become quite uncomfortable (and smelly).
Invest in a good map of the city that has all the streets. I found myself staring at the amazing architecture while wandering and was constantly getting off the beaten path. It's easy to make detours when you see a beautiful church or building and my map was a lifesaver for getting me back on track!
Hotel | "K-West"
The surrounding neighborhood isn't a huge attraction and you definitely won't spend time hanging out there but the hotel itself is great.
The decor is minimalist/funky and young feeling. There's a great bar and sitting area when you first walk in that's great for hanging out and mingling.
Two key features that I really loved were the free internet access and the great gym.
There's even a spa if you can find the time to use it.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 17, 2002
K West Hotel
Everything about the hotel's decor is outstanding. Every detail was paid attention to from the flowers to the fabrics. It's like a showcase.
The rooms are beautifully decorated but what really makes the hotel stand out are the common areas. The 2 sitting rooms are incredible and there's a small kitchen/bar off one of them with a full range of beverages. After dinner in town you can mix yourself a drink and settle in one of their comfortable chairs for the rest of evening.
It's way overpriced but if you can afford it it's worth checking it out for a night or two.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 17, 2002
10 BEAUFORT GARDENS
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 18, 2002
Food For Thought
31 Neal Street
London, England WC2H 9PR
+44 20 7836 0239
That being said, the dinner was delicious and the Chelsea location was great. The menu was full of options and divided into Vegetarian/Non-Vegetarian sections. Seven different types of breads were featured as well as five types of rice.
We started with a delicious Tandoori Jhinga (spicy tiger prawns) as well as Tinda Bharoni (roasted and stuffed baby gourd). The tastes were amazing. Everything was fresh and delicious. We went with a range of traditional main courses that were equally good.
One thing to note: The restaurant says it's near Sloan Square - It's not. While this is the closest subway stop, it is in no way close to here. Unless you plan on a good 20 minute walk you'll have to take a cab from the subway station.
438 King's Road
London, England SW10 0LJ
+44 20 7565 8500
Attraction | "Octopus"
They have several other locations throughout London.
Octopus Fashion Accessories
54 Neal Street
London, England WC2H 9PA
The most funky of the clothing is downstairs where the dressing rooms are. Even the dressing rooms have a cool feature, the lighting options. You can choose from Natural Light or Club Light so you can see how the clothes look in each environment.
Even if you don't wear this kind of stuff it's worth a trip in this store. At the very least, check out their website: www.cyberdog.net
9 Earlham Street
+44 (0)20 74743737
Items are sold a-la-carte so the consumer can mix/match and custom select exactly what they want. I 'm a huge fan of their stationery selection.
Check out their website at www.mujionline.com
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 19, 2002
135 Long Acre
London, England WC2E 9AD
Choose from a 10, 20 or 30 minute back rub or splurge and do the hour long one. I only had time for a 10 minute but left there totally revitalized and ready for more shopping!
They're open Mon-Fri 10:30-7:00, Sat 11:30-6:00 and Sun 1:00-6:00
14 Neals Yard
London, England WC2H 9DP
+44 (207) 836-9111
Attraction | "Lush"
Warning: If you have a sensitive nose avoid this place. The fresh soaps and cosmetics are quite overpowering and once inside the shop you're very confined.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 18, 2002
Unit 11, The Piazza
Attraction | "The London Dungeon"
You don't get to wander at your own pace here. The tour is a series of "shows". You're herded from room to room, packed in like cattle and then listen as they describe Jack the Ripper or the great fire of London. The special effects are terrible and there's no escape!
To complete the cheesiness of this place, as you exit you're right in the middle of tourist hell. Yep, a gift shop and arcade and snack food bar. I pity the people who have to try to navigate to the exit door past all this with kids.
I wasn't as upset about the cost of the ticket as I was that I lost 2 hours of my day. Do yourself a favor and skip this.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on July 18, 2002
28-34 Tooley Street
+44 20 7403 7221
Attraction | "The Big Bus Company Tour"
The driver was great at giving detailed information and had a great personality which made the tour all the more fun.
The tour operaters sell tickets to all the main sites so you don't have to wait in ticket purchase lines when you visit the attractions. This will save you quite a bit of time over the course of the day.
Note: Don't lose your ticket or you don't get back on the bus!
Big Bus Tours-London Sightseeing Tour
48 Buckingham Palace Road
+44 (20) 7233 9533
New York, New York