London Journals

London: City of Love?

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An August 1999 trip to London by Harris

Palace of Westminster/Houses of Parliament Photo, London, England More Photos
Quote: While others call Paris the city of love, my fiance and I discovered on our two trips to London that the city has much to offer in the way of romance, as well as history and culture.

Langham Hotel London

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Hotel | "Langham Court Hotel"

Quote:
In arriving in London, we managed to mistake our hotel for the slightly more posh Langham Hilton, which is located nearby. Despite the initial disappointment and embarrassment of this error, our stay at the Langham Court was quite pleasant. The small hotel is charmingly decorated and, though the rooms are tiny, they are exceptionally clean with all the amenities. Included in our package was an English style breakfast each morning, with enough food to keep us full until dinnertime.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 21, 2000

Langham Hotel London
1C PORTLAND PLACE REGENT STREET
London, England
44-20-7636-1000

Plummer's

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Restaurant | "Plummer''s"

Quote:
Last time I was in London, Plummer's was under construction, but hopefully its doors will be open soon because it was one of my few dining experiences that disproved the rumors about British food. The perfect place for a pre-theater meal, Plummer's has an elegant and romantic setting with a great wine list and a friendly proprietor. The best dish I had there was an apple and stilton cheese soup, something I've never been able to find anyplace else.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 21, 2000

Plummer's
33 King Street
London, England
(171) 2402-5347

Wagamama

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Restaurant

Quote:
You'll probably wait on line, but it's worth it. You'll be seated at a cafeteria-style table with other patrons, but it's worth it. Wagamama's, like its name, is just plain fun. The menu consists of big bowls of Asian noodles and soups, the perfect way to warm up on a gray London day.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 21, 2000

Wagamama
4A Sreatham St
London, England W1H 9AB
+44 20 7323 9223

Belgo Centraal

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Restaurant | "Belgo"

Quote:
It's big and cavernous and features hundreds of types of beer, including Belgian beer served by Belgian monks to complement your Belgian food. Belgo is an experience and a fun one at that. It seems to attract customers for its plates of mussels, but even my simple chicken dish was quite good. And just in case your dish isn't, you have plenty of beer to choose from, much of it brewed on the premises. Don't miss the bathrooms either--co-ed with a fountain to wash your hands in.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 21, 2000

Belgo Centraal
50 Earlham Street
London, England WC2H 9LJ
+44 20 7813 2233

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Attraction | "Hyde Park"

Quote:
London's central park, Hyde Park, borders some of the ritzier areas of the city, including some literally palatial estates. Even in March, we discovered that the flowers there were out in full bloom and there are some lovely walkways to meander along, as well as some pleasant spots for a picnic lunch. One of the highlights in Speaker's Corner, located at the Marble Arch corner of the park, where you can listen to just about anyone at all exercise his or her right to free speech.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
W Carriage Drive
London, England W2 2UH
+44 20 7298 2100

Quote:
With portraits of every significant figure from British history, form Queen Elizabeth to Shakespeare to the Beatles, this small museum is surprisingly fun to explore. The portraits also display an amazing range of style, spanning from traditional portraiture to more modern interpretations.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

National Portrait Gallery
St. Martin's Place
London, England WC2H OHE
44 20 7306 0055

National Gallery

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Attraction

Quote:
Despite the fact that its holdings contain quite a number of European masterpieces, I have to admit to only traveling quickly through the galleries. The reason for this was the current special exhibition, Rembrandt by Himself, which simply took up all my time. The Rembrandt self-portraits displayed there proved him to be a veritable master of light, and since they are too old and fragile to travel far from Europe, I knew this was my one and only chance to view them. Look for the ones that belong to the museum's permanent collection when you visit.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
London, England WC2N 5DN
+44 (207) 747 2885

Duchess Theatre

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Attraction | "Copenhagen"

Quote:
London theater offerings change quite often, so I'm not sure if this play is still there (though I do know it's presently showing in New York, where it just won the Tony Award for best play). If it is still showing, don't miss it. A highly cerebral story about the imagined meeted between Bohr and Heisenberg during World War II in Copenhagen to discuss the scientist's moral obligation in developing the atomic bomb, the play will require all of your brain power and leave you sitting on the edge of your seat.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

Duchess Theatre
Catherine Street
London, England WC2B 5LA
+44 20 7494 5075

Westminster Abbey

Attraction

Quote:
The most famous church in London, the Abbey attracts crowds of tourists to view its distinctive architecture as well as the graves of a number of England's royals. The best part for me was the Poet's Corner, where plaques honor the masters of English literature.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

Westminster Abbey
20 Dean's Yard
London, England SW1P 3PA
+44 (20) 7222 5152

Palace of Westminster/Houses of Parliament

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Attraction | "Houses of Parliament and Big Ben"

Palace of Westminster/Houses of Parliament Photo, London, England
Quote:
Located on the Thames (the nearby bridge is the perfect place for capturing these sights on film), the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are a must for the London tourist. If you are willing to wait in line, you can actually listen to Parliament in session. When we were there, this event consisted of about 5 individuals yelling nastily at each other.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

Palace of Westminster/Houses of Parliament
North Bank of River Thames
Westminster, London SW1A OAA
+44 (20) 7219 4272

Buckingham Palace

Attraction

Quote:
You might not catch a glimpse of the queen, but you'll be sure to see the changing of the garden as Buckingham Palace, as well as plenty of tourists lined up with their faces pressed to the gates.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace Road Pall Mall
London, England SW1A 1AA
+44 (207) 321 2233

Dickens' House

Attraction | "Dickens House"

Quote:
Located in Dickens' former house, you'll find a museum dedicated to the Victorian writer and his works. For any lover of literature, this is sure to be a fun experience. Not only will you see Dickens' furniture, but also posters advertising his works, and a slide show about his life.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

Dickens' House
48 Doughty Street
London, England WC1N 2LX
+44 20 7405 2127

Kenwood House

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Attraction

Quote:
Located in a wealthy area of London, a bit off the beaten path, this historic houses contains an impressive collection of art, including a Vermeer (this is a big deal, considering there are very few still in existence). The beautiful grounds of the house are also worth exploring, though be forewarned that it's a long walk from the nearest underground stop.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

Kenwood House
Hampstead Lane
London, England NW3 7JR
+44 20 8348 1286

Camden Markets

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Attraction | "Camden"

Quote:
Known as the bohemian section of London, Camden features a number of flea markets with everything from jewelry to used Levis. There are also a number of commercial stores here, each with an impressive sculpture-like advertisement over the entrance. Camden also boasts one of the best bookstores in London.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

Camden Markets
Camden High Street
Camden, London, England NW1

Oxford and Cambridge

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Attraction | "Oxford University"

Quote:
With the beautiful and varied architecture of its many colleges and a rich history, Oxford is worth the day trip (about one hour by bus) from London. You can pick up the bus at the Marble Arch Underground. Once there, you should probably join one of the many tours available. While the tour guides weren't particularly impressive, the tours do take you through the gates of colleges that the lone visitor would not have access to. Be sure to check out the Ivory Towers that have given university life their name. Overall, the university, and the town itself, are a wonderful place to spend a day.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

Oxford and Cambridge
70 Hammersmith Bridge Road
London, England W6 9DB
+44 20 8748 5261

Turf Tavern

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Attraction

Quote:
One of the biggest pubs I've ever come across, the tavern has many different rooms as well as outdoor areas in which to enjoy a drink--as long as you steer clear of the mulled wine, an unfortunate mistake on my part. As the motto painted on the ceiling says, Save Water, Drink Beer.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

Turf Tavern
4 Bath Place
Oxford, England OX1 3SU
+44 1865 243235

Tower of London

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Attraction | "The Tower of London"

Quote:
Join one of the tours led by a beefeater, and you'll be in for a campy and morbid, but informative history lesson. After the tour, which recites the history of some of the tower's most famous inmates, you will have the freedom to wander on your own through some of the chambers that display instruments of torture and prison cells.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 22, 2000

Tower of London
Tower Hill
London, England EC3N 4AB
+44 (207) 709 0765

Shakespeare's Globe

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Attraction | "Shakespeare's Globe Theater"

Quote:
The recently restored Globe Theatre, located at the original site of Shakespeare's Globe, offers you the chance to view authentic recreations of Shakespeare's plays. Plays are performed during the day, as they were in Shakespeare's time, due to the fact that there was no electricity to provide lighting. Since the seats were all sold out, we were forced to associate with the other peasants and become groundlings, as they called those with standing-room tickets. Despite the difficulty of standing through the rather long performance, we certainly had the best view as we were treated to a tale of thwarted love, Antony and Cleopatra. Be forewarned that all the roles are played by men. While there, be ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 21, 2000

Shakespeare's Globe
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside
London, England SE1 9DT
+44 20 7902 1400

Double-decker bus

Story/Tip

Quote:
You haven't experienced London until you ride on a double-decker bus. Some suggest using the bus as a way to take a self-guided tour through the city, but even a short ride will offer you a new perspective. Seated on the top level, which can be windy, you can best view the city's sights and buildings unimpeded.