London Journals

A week visit to London

A December 2000 trip to London by Steve S.

Westminster Abbey Photo, London, England More Photos
Quote: London is one of those cities that I will always look forward to visiting again. An eclectic blend of culture and history make this a favorite place to be when travelling abroad.

A week visit to London

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Quote:
--See a show or two or ten in the West End --Visit the museums and see things that you can only find in London --Have some wonderful meals, including some very cheaply at quaint little English pubs. --Escape the city and enjoy the countrysideQuick Tips: Plan ahead! Have some clue of what you want to see and in what order. For me, I always get a map of London out before visiting and mark locations that I want to visit. When I get there, I plan out my itinerary for the day and keep an agenda in my pocket along with a list of the subway (Underground) stops and transfer points I'll need. This saves a lot of time and keeps you from having to stop and look at a map in an Undergro...Read More

Holiday Inn

Hotel

Quote:
We like staying at Holiday Inn''s in Europe. We''ve found that many times they are much nicer than their counterparts in the US, but a little background checking with a travel agent or through the Holiday Inn website certainly doesn''t hurt either. We booked this one on the basis of the information from the Holiday Inn website and weren''t at all disappointed. The hotel was nice and reasonably new. The staff was more than helpful in everything from arranging transportation to the airport to changing currency for us. The rooms were clean and more than sufficient for our needs. The only downside was that other than their free breakfast, the hotel restaurant was closed during our stay (due to the C...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 12, 2001

Holiday Inn
Ealing
London, England

Galileo's

Restaurant | "Galileo"

Quote:
Located across the street from Her Majesty's Theater (home of Phantom of the Opera) this trendy little Italian restaurant provided an excellent meal at a reasonably inexpensive price. The menu is comprehensive in its offering of Italian food and our party of 4 tried a wide sampling of their fare. Needless to say, none of us were disappointed. If you get there early evening, they have daily pre-theater fixed meal that runs about $14-15 complete with dessert. Our only complaint was that they seemed very understaffed and trying to deal with a very full restaurant. As a result, the service was slow and it took a while to get our check, but I would return there without thinking twice.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 12, 2001

Galileo's
69-71 Haymarket
London, England SW1Y 4RW
+44 20 7839 3939

Hard Rock Cafe

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Restaurant | "Hard Rock Cafe - London"

Quote:
If you're a fan of Hard Rock Cafes, then the Hard Rock-London is a must see. It is the original Hard Rock Cafe and, as such, the lines are usually quite lengthy. While you're waiting, make your way down stairs to the bar and have a drink. Hard Rock is known for their "pig sandwich" and they claim you haven't been to Hard Rock if you haven't had one. Try one; it's perhaps not the best barbecue you've ever had, but good nonetheless. The apple pie for dessert is excellent and another one of the things Hard Rock is known for. As in any other of these theme restaurants, the memorabilia could keep you busy for hours as you explore the artifacts from your favorite band or performer and the loud music w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 15, 2001

Hard Rock Cafe
150 Old Park Lane
London, England W1K 1QZ
44-207-514-1700

LA Pizza

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Located in the Ealing section of London and right outside of the Hanger Lane Underground stop, you'll find a quaint little American style pizzeria called appropriately enough, LA Pizza. Although this tiny restaurant has only about 10 tables, the service was great and the pizza was FANTASTIC. Imagine a homemade pizza topped high with lots of ingredients and LOTS of cheese and served with garlic bread. I would almost be tempted to say that this was the best pizza I have ever had. The prices were inexpensive and the bar has a respectable beer list for those who are interested. Sodas are served by the can, so there are no refills on drinks. The decor is American in every sense of the word. Baseball...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 22, 2001

LA Pizza
Hanger Lane Underground Stop
London, England

Tate Modern

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Attraction | "Tate Modern Art Museum"

Tate Modern Photo, London, England
Quote:
The new Tate Modern Art Museum is an excellent and eclectic collection of, no surprise, modern art. Designed and opened to relieve the original Tate Gallery (now known as Tate Britain) of its overflowing collection, the museum is housed in a renovated power station that sits along the bank of the Thames directly across from St. Paul's Cathedral. If its collection of paintings by Picasso, Matisse, etc. isn't reason enough to visit the free admission should be more than an excuse to drop in. If you're an art fan, you'll want to allow at least a couple hours and combining Tate Modern with a visit to St. Paul's could easily be enough to fill a day. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, and I wish yo...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 15, 2001

Tate Modern
Sumner Street
London SE1 9TG
+44 20 7887 8000

Sea Life London Aquarium

Attraction | "London Aquarium"

Sea Life London Aquarium Photo, London, England
Quote:
Situated directly across the Thames from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the view and angle for taking some photos is almost the best reason to visit the Aquarium. If you've ever been to a major aquarium in the US, you're sure to be disappointed by the London Aquarium. Size wise, it's not all that large but there are several displays that are quite interesting. Personally, the sharks and piranhas are about the most appealing exhibits here to me, but you may find something to captivate you for hours. This is a site that would be great visiting with kids and there is a family admission package available...otherwise, it's about $8 for adults to get in and to me the money could be better spent v...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 15, 2001

Sea Life London Aquarium
County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road
Southbank, London SE1 7PB
+44 20 7967 8000

St Paul's Cathedral

Attraction | "St. Paul's Cathedral"

St Paul's Cathedral Photo, London, England
Quote:
If you visit London, St. Paul's Cathedral is one attraction that you can't miss, literally and figuratively. It's dome dominates a portion of the London skyline and is perhaps one of the most well known icons of a city that is quite well known in it's own right. Remember when visiting that they don't allow cameras inside and that they are quite addept at chastising you when you even so much as take your camera out of the bag, but don't let this discourage you from visiting. Gorgeous on the inside, you could spend a day or more merely reading the inscriptions of the various sculptures, memorials and tombs that reside within this famous landmark. To me, some highlights include the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 14, 2001

St Paul's Cathedral
The Chapter House
London, England EC4M 8AD
+44 (20 7) 236 4128

Tower of London

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Attraction | "The Tower of London"

Tower of London Photo, London, England
Quote:
Although I can't imagine a first trip to London to be complete without visiting the Tower of London, I was actually slightly disappointed in my visit here. First of all, the Tower is fairly pricey to visit (on the order of $17-18). Secondly, unless you take one of the tours, it's difficult to understand exactly what you're seeing, but the tour (at least with our tour guide) seemed to drag on forever. We finally wandered away from the tour having gathered the basic information on the Tower. The highlight of visiting the Tower of London is obviously the crown jewels. While absolutely magnificent, it's a bit disappointing that this is the only location within the Tower grounds where cameras are forb...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 14, 2001

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

Harrods

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Quote:
Would any visit to London be complete without a visit to the world's most famous department store? The sheer size of Harrods amazes me more than anything. Some 300 or more departments located under one roof is incredible. If you can imagine it, you can find it here. My suggestion for visiting Harrods would be to allow at least a couple hours and pick up a store map at one of the multiple information desks around the store. If you've not eaten, stop in the food court and have a not-so-inexpensive meal at one of the many little restauranteers (they're known for their deli, but others looked quite enticing). One of my favorite stops at Harrods is the newly opened cho...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 14, 2001

Harrods
87-135 Brompton Road
London, England SW1X 7XL
+44 (20) 7730 1234

Abbey Road

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Quote:
As a big Beatles fan, this was a must see on my latest trip to London. If you have a few extra minutes and seeing the crosswalk made famous by the cover of the Beatles Abbey Road album cover is of any interest to you, it's reasonably easy to find. Take the Underground (Jubilee Line) north to St. John's Wood and then it's only a couple blocks away. We had to ask someone on the street to make sure we were headed in the right direction, but you shouldn't have much trouble finding someone willing to help out. You'll know you've reached the right place when you come to a street corner that forms a T with Abbey Road being the top bar of the T. The corner also has a small landing in the middle of the in...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 14, 2001

Abbey Road
near the St. John's Wood Underground Station
London, England

Westminster Abbey

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Westminster Abbey Photo, London, England
Quote:
This is quite possibly one of the most amazing cathedrals I have ever been inside. The long wait was worth getting to explore this grand old church and getting to feel the history that is everywhere. Pick up a map and wander around on your own taking time to read the inscriptions (at least on the manjor monuments and memorials). Many of the royal family including several kings and queens are entombed here as well as many well known authors, musicians, and other famous Englanders. Don't leave without visiting the memorial to the unknown soldier. Surrounded in flowers, it is said that anyone that gets married within the chuch leaves flowers at the tomb of the unknown soldier, including Princess Dia...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 15, 2001

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

Buckingham Palace

Attraction

Buckingham Palace Photo, London, England
Quote:
Unless you're fortunate to be in London in the summer months when the royal family is away and the palace is open to the public, or you're there on a day when the changing of the guard is taking place (every other day in the off season), the palace is a reasonably boring place to visit. If you do make it on a day when the guard changing is taking place, go early to get a good spot otherwise the crowds are horrendous (even in December when we were last there).

On your way back to the Underground stop, this area has several little pubs and restaurants that are excellent. Wander in and try one!

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 15, 2001

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

Her Majesty's Theatre

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Phantom of the Opera"

Her Majesty's Theatre Photo, London, England
Quote:
Being a theater fan, I had been looking forward to seeing a couple of shows in the West End. Phantom has always been one of my favorite shows. After having seen it all over the world, I wanted to see it in London at the theater where it originally premiered but had never been able to squeeze it into any of my previous visits. We booked our tickets nearly 3 months in advance (which, as it turns out, was the smart thing to do as it was sold out for our performance almost 2 months in advance). We decided to get tickets for a 3 PM matinee on a Thursday afternoon because the seating options at that time were better. We arrived at the theater about 2 hours prior to the show and had a light lunch at a n...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 12, 2001

Her Majesty's Theatre
Haymarket
London, England SW1Y4QL
+44 (207) 494 5400

Les Miserables

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Les Miserables Photo, London, England
Quote:
After our experience seeing Phantom of the Opera the night before, we learned that we didn't need to be at the theater an hour or more prior to show time, so we took our time exploring the area around the Palace Theater a bit more. We had a nice leisurely dinner and then headed to the theater about 45 minutes before the show was scheduled to start. Again we were ushered into a pre-show lounge area and then guided to our seats about a half hour prior to the show time. Our seats were in the second row, nearly center stage, excellent seats. Again, we had purchased these tickets about 3 months prior to our trip and were definitely not disappointed. Les Mis, like Phantom is one of my favorite musicals...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 12, 2001

Les Miserables
Palace Theater
London, England

British Museum

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "The British Museum"

Quote:
This was our first stop after arriving in London. None of our group had ever visited the British Museum before and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Although a bit disappointed that with a name like "The British Museum" there wasn't more British history represented here, the experience was comparable to visiting the Smithsonian. Although there are prize attractions like the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles (sculptures and carvings from the Parthenon), these seemed to be very crowded areas of the museum, and we found that there were other exhibits that were just as interesting. Visit the Egypt wing while you're there. I found this section of the museum to be perhaps the most interesting ove...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 13, 2001

British Museum
Great Russell Street
London, England WC1B 3DG
+44 (207) 7323 8299