A January 2004 trip
to London by Glamazon22
Quote: This journal will not only tell about the must-see and must-stop attractions in this great city, but also unseen London; the typical day and nightlife of a true Londoner. I lived here for 4 months as a study-abroad student.
Take the Jubilee Line to Bermondsey. Take a left out the tube station to the traffic light. You have to walk the streets behind the residential buildings making your way towards the river. The Angel is about two-three blocks to the right. Don't be afraid to ask a local for its exact location. We were sent there for a class assignment without exact directions. We found it by trial and error! Don't be afraid to ask a local.
Purchasing an Oyster card if you are spending two or more weeks in London is also a must-have to get around the city. These are used to get on the tube or buses and also provide some discounts on train rides at various times. Oyster cards can be bought at any underground tube station. Caveat: Should you need to "top-up" or re-charge your Oyster card, you have to return to the station you originally bought it at!
I highly recommend taking the bus. Not only does it give you the satisfication of taking a red double decker, but you get to see London in a way the tube is lacking. Buses run all night long unlike the tube that stops at 12:30am. Most bus stops have easy to read maps, and some of the big, most popular stops will have electronic signs letting you know exactly when your bus is to arrive! The only downside to buses is that to get from point A to point B only the tube can get you there efficiently. So, if you have time on your hands take the bus, if not, the tube is your way to go.
Only take the taxi "black cabs" once or twice. Often, especially late at night, taxi drivers will take the longer ways and charge you obscene prices. So I would only take the taxi once or twice for the experience or if you are in an extreme hurry.
And one more thing: While this may be a chain and casual attire enforced, don't be surprised if dinner takes up to two hours. If you have yet to travel outside of the U.S., your waiter is not ignoring you! He's letting you enjoy your company and food!
Pizza Express is located everywhere! I liked the Baker Street location only because this is where my friends and I shared our last night together. Take the tube to Baker Street. Leave the tube to the right and walk to the light. Pizza Express is located on the corner diagonally from the tube station.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 9, 2005
10 Dean Street
London, England W1V 5RL
+44 20 7439 8722
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Plan your whole day around this museum or choose specifically what you want to see. It is absolutely impossible to see everything; I should know, as I tried! Don't forget to stop and donate money (any amount you desire) so that these amazing treasures and finds can continue to remain free for the public to enjoy!
Take the Piccadilly Line to Russell Square and follow the signs. Or ask a local!
Caveat: Never ever go to any museum in England between 11am and 2pm! All schools choose this time to let their cattle roam wild. So, if you want to ponder the meaning of it all without screaming kids or are trying to keep track of your own children, use this time to grab lunch!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 9, 2005
Great Russell Street
London, England WC1B 3DG
+44 (207) 7323 8299
All this culture is for FREE, so remember to donate some money before you leave so that it can continue to be that way. It is best to dress comfortable with comfortable shoes. Plan a whole day or plan to see specific rooms or wings.
Caveat: As always, never ever go to a museum between 1am and 2pm! School groups and admiring brush strokes just do not mix. Take this time to enjoy the gift shop or eat lunch around Trafalgar Square.
London, England WC2N 5DN
+44 (207) 747 2885
Attraction | "Imperial War Museum"
Aside from the typical artifacts, including weapons and artillery, there is the Trench Warfare Experience, where museum curators have recreated a trench and the atmosphere from WWI. There is also the WWII Experience, where you can "walk" the streets of London after a German bombing raid.
There is also the 1940s house experiment, a house completely recreated to reflect what the typical household would have looked like in 1940 WWII Britain. The recreated house was part of a television program that took people from today to live like it was 1940 England.
Other attractions include the arm’s race and nuclear warfare, MI6 and Intelligence Agencies, and a tribute to Holocaust survivors. You can spend an afternoon here exploring the art and horrors of warfare. Again, this museum is for FREE, so donate some money!
Caveat: While this is a popular spot for British children to visit, American's might be shocked at some of the nature of what is on exhibit, so use your discretion. The Holocaust survivor tribute is not for American children under 14. Again, as always, before 11am or after 2pm are the best times to explore this museum.
Take the Bakerloo Line to Lambeth North. Walk straight out the tube station and walk along the road that runs at an angle to the tube station. You will walk past a police station. Walk until you see a huge gun (battleship huge!) hanging out in front of a building that looks like a Mental Hospital. The Imperial War Museum was at one point an insane asylum!
Imperial War Museum London
London, England SE1 6HZ
+44 (20) 7416 5000
I was able to go for free, but from what I understand, it cost a couple pounds to get in. It is not a very big gallery, but it has a wide range of his works. The only other gallery that I know of that has his work is in Florida, so a trip, if you are in London, is worth it if you are fan.
To get to Dali Universe take the tube to the Wesminster tube station. Follow the signs to the Westminster Bridge exit. If for some chance you don't make it straight to the Thames and Westminster Bridge, (which is easy to do being that this is one of the biggest tube stations!), find Big Ben and walk towards the clock tower. The bridge you are facing is Westminster Bridge. Cross the bridge on the opposite side of Big Ben. Walk down the first set of steps you come to. You will walk past the Saatchi Gallery and you will see the London Eye (the big ferris wheel). Dali Universe is located between the London Eye and the Saatchi Gallery.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 9, 2005
County Hall Gallery
London, England SE1 7PB
0870 744 7485
Attraction | "Victoria & Albert Museum"
The museum boasts a pretty good fashion history collections which includes threads from the 20th century (some Missoni dresses!) to 18th century shoes and petticoats. There is a good Asian artifacts collection which included Samurai armor and kimonos and the fakes and forgeries hall is interesting with the "We double dog dare you to tell the real from the fakes." Turns out the need to find new and interesting treasures and artifacts was so high people took up the profession of creating fakes so that more people would visit their attractions. It sounded better when they told the story. Anyway...
I flew through this museum in less than three hours, and I left really unsatisfied. The only thing that made up for the disappointment was the awesome collection of musical instruments. Musicians of all ages and types will appreciate this exhibit as evolutions of string and wind instruments are on display.
As with all museums in London: to avoid all those minuature adults running around go right when the museum opens or after 2pm! And as always the museum is FREE!! And never, ever visit this museum on a Saturday--NEVER.
And don't forget to donate money.
The V&A museum also has the best gift shop out of all the museums in
London. To get there I would suggest getting off at the Gloucester Road tube station. Walk to Cromwell Road (the busy one) and turn right. You can take the tube to the South Kensington tube station, but getting off at Gloucester Road makes for a nice walk and you will also walk past the Natural History and Science Museums as well. So why not, burn off all those extra scone calories!
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 9, 2005
Victoria and Albert Museum
London, England SW7 2RL
+44 (20) 7942 2000
Attraction | "The Ministry of Sound"
Take the Bakerloo Line to Elephant & Castle. Walk straight out the tube station and on the left side of the street walk pass the bus stop. Make a left at the first street you come to. Walk along the street.
Caveat: It would be best to take a taxi if you are going to MOS just because of the weird location. But, be careful this is a haven for UNLICENSED cabs. They will over charge you, take you the extreme long ways and just are reputed to not be safe. It is however hard to find the real black cabbies rolling around. So it would be best to take a black cab there and before you go figure out the bus routes. My roommates and I did not get home until 6AM because we went on our tour of London at nighttime! At one point I got separted from them and found myself on an early morning tube by myself. I eventually made it...but NEVER AGAIN!!!
Go to the London Transporataion website...it will tell what buses to take to get you where you need to go.
Ministry of Sound
103 Gaunt Street
London, England SE1 6DP
Take the Circle Line to Farringdon. Make a left out of the tube station and follow the road.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on May 9, 2005
77a Charterhouse Street
London, England EC1M 6AA
+44 (20) 7336 8898
Sainsbury's always had what I needed and wanted. They also have a self-service check-out! Just be prepared to bag your own groceries, whether you use the self-checkout or not. You are expected to bag your own stuff!
15-17 Tottenham Court Road
London, England W1J 8LT
The pub was packed to the brim with people, but I left with an experience like none other. Earlier in the day, the pub had an Irish band play traditional songs, and for every five pints of Guinness you drink, you got a free leprechaun hat!
From the Gloucester Road tube station, walk towards the traffic light (towards Boots). Cross the street and continue to walk up this road (a bank will be on your left). The pub is located on a corner. You will see it as you approach. You will pass another pub called The Black Widow.
There are plenty of places to sit or stand and there are actually two entrances so should the pub get extremely crowded you can head towards the closest exit. NO COVER!!! 10 pounds should get you through the night should you decide to make this your hangout spot!
The Irish Pub
One thing I really liked about the Rocket is that there is a really good mix of people from other countries. There will be students and travellers from Germany Belgium, France, Spain, Greece, Italy...everywhere!
Take the tube to Euston Station. As you come up the escalators, exit out the doors to the right. Walk past the bus stops to the main road that runs parallel to the station (Euston Road). Cross the street to the left (you'll be walking away from the station; stay on Euston Road) and continue to walk until you to come The Rocket.
Ladies be careful! Men in this pub like to be a little "free" with their hands and will grab body parts that you wouldn't mind say Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp grabbing!
120 Euston Rd.
London, England NW1 2AL
020 7388 0021
You can play pool if you don't want to dance, and there is a coat check should you need to check it for £1.
Take the Tube to Oxford Circus. Walk to the Top Shop side and walk along and past Top Shop on Oxford Street. Walk on Oxford Street until you get to Berwick Street and make a left. Walk until you run into Hombres...Or when in doubt ASK A LOCAL!!!
Hombre De Bahia (Hombres)
78 Wells Street
London, England W1T 3QH
020 7580 2881
Attraction | "Camden Market"
Don't bother to buy shoes. Most of the stores lack good customer service and will not help you if don't look like you are going to buy something. Plus, they are overpriced for the quality, and you can't really barter with them.
Try to find the old horse stable. If you are into antiques, you can find old dishes and silverware and books. The vendors here are very friendly. One man struck up a conversation with me because he thought I was from California (I was wearing a University of Southern California sweatshirt). There are lots of food vendors, and getting a quick, cheap lunch is not difficult.
There is a Doc Marten store if you walk to the left of the tube station as you come out. This would be the best time to get them! While the exchange rate may make it more expensive, they can custom-fit them, and sometimes, just sometimes, the shoes are cheaper there than here in the States.
Take the Northern Line to Camden Town tube station.
Camden Market is also a great place to find a cheap lunch and you can find anything from fast food to Indian to Moraccan to Crepes to African...Everything. My friends were wild about the Chinese food they found there it was only TWO POUNDS!
Camden High Street
Camden, London, England NW1
Attraction | "Marks & Spencer"
Marks & Spencer is really good for accessories though. My friends would dress-up an inexpensive outfit with cool accessories from here. I love how they have every color and design for their silk scarves!
The Kensington High Street location is the best for shopping here. I never experienced any type of severe crowds or hardship when it came to checking out or trying on clothes.
Again I will reiterate that shopping between 12 and 5 are not advised at the major store chains. Too many crowds and queues!!
Marks & Spencer
458 Oxford Street
London, England W1N 0AP
+44 20 7935 7954
Attraction | "Harrod's"
Harrod's has everything you could possibily need or want. You can buy a puppy, for goodness sake! I bought my dog a supper dish in the traditional Harrod's green and gold. You can buy things in U.S. dollars, which is good to know to keep up with your expenses. You can buy food, clothes, shoes, belts, bags, purses, puppies, Tiffany jewelry, bling-bling, tea pots, ANYTHING! The best part: Krispy Kreme donuts!
Take Piccadilly Line to Knightsbridge. Signs will be posted to guide to the correct exit.
Check out the pet store! The puppies are so cute and you get your own Fido a piece of the Harrod's tradition. And bring your platnium Visa!
Caveat: Never go shopping mid-day! Never, ever in London...NEVER! Everyone and their mom shops at this point in time. It is best to go early as soon as the shops open or during dinner time like right after rush hour traffic...around 6 or 7.
87-135 Brompton Road
London, England SW1X 7XL
+44 (20) 7730 1234