London Journals

It's the tower bridge, all you tourists!

A May 2005 trip to London by Laalasa

Portobello Road Market Photo, London, England More Photos
Quote: Under 50 words? Introduction to a city that existed from before recorded history and ruled an empire where the sun never set??

It's the tower bridge, all you tourists!

Overview

Big Ben, London Photo, London, England
Quote:
Walk through the Buckingham Palace grounds, admire Big Ben and Parliament Building, and hold your breath inside St. Pauls Cathedral. Keep a lookout for royalty, haggle at an open-air market, and eat a kabob from a roadside vendor. Marvel at the lack of high rises in one of THE cities of the world, and be surprised at the size (or lack thereof) of the Tower Bridge and the Thames.Quick Tips: If you are staying outside London and take the train in, know that many attraction tickets are 2-for-1 when you show the ticket. Best Way To Get Around: The tube will take you less than 10 minutes to figure out, and we never had to wait more than 5 minutes, even on a Sunday, for any train. Watch fo...Read More

Veeraswamy

Restaurant

Quote:
Veeraswamy claims to be the oldest surviving Indian restaurant in London – the food was good, but not exceptional. We each had a thali (rice with six to eight varieties of curries and vegetables) so that we could try a sampling of items without burning a whole in our pockets. Some of the items, like the lamb and lentils, were really good. Others, like okra and beans, left much to be desired. So all in all, it was a pleasant experience, but would we go again? Probably not.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on August 2, 2005

Veeraswamy
Mezzanine Floor, Victory House
London, England W1R 7HB
+44 20 7734 1401

Wagamama

Restaurant

Quote:
Wagamamas noodle houses are all over the place, and we very highly recommend them. The service is fast, and the food is substantial in portion. It is somewhat equivalent to the Penang restaurants in and around NYC. If you like healthy, spicy, piping hot food, this is the place for it.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 2, 2005

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

Tayyabs

Restaurant

Quote:
Tayyab, a Pakistani restaurant close to Bricklane, came highly recommended. The kabobs were excellent, but they make their famed biryani only on certain days, so we missed it. The curries were good, but we have had better breads.

Ambience is zero, and the food is at your table in 10 minutes – appetizers, main meal, and all! Although they try not to appear to rush you, we felt a bit uncomfortable and noticed that regulars and large groups were more welcomed. All in all, go if you must have your kabobs and biryani.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 2, 2005

Tayyabs
83-89, Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel
London, England E1 1JU
(020) 7247 6400

The London Eye

Attraction | "British Airways London Eye"

The London Eye Photo, London, England
Quote:
Others have covered the basics, so some pointers are: try to buy the tickets in advance; plan to stand in line for an hour or so before your time slot; and note that the only major building you can really see from it is the Parliament Building with Big Ben.

London looks great at night from the London Eye, but it does not get dark enough in summer for that. Also, try to go in the morning or late afternoon; otherwise, the sun really makes it difficult to see anything.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 2, 2005

The London Eye
South Bank of the River Thames
London, England SE1 9TA
+44 (870) 500 0600

Westminster Cathedral Photo, London, England
Quote:
Westminster Cathedral is not to be confused with Westminster Abbey! This is further down on Victoria Street. Although this is a functional church and quite beautiful outside, the inside has never been completed. The bare, huge, gray ceiling gives you an idea of how all those ornate churches started life.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 2, 2005

Westminster Cathedral
Victoria Street
London, England SW1P 1QW
+44 20 7798 9055

St. James's Park and Green Park

Attraction | "St. James Park"

St. James's Park and Green Park Photo, London, England
Quote:
The serpentine stretches along the length of St. James Park have a lot of birds and beautiful weeping trees cascading gracefully along the edges. There are walking paths with foot bridges over the water, benches scattered all over, and vendors selling snacks and ice cream. Massive towering trees are interspersed with small, formal landscaped flowerbeds. Even crawling with people, it still manages to be soothing and peaceful.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 2, 2005

St. James's Park and Green Park
Between Green Park and Piccadilly Circus
London, England W1/SW1
+44 (207) 930 1793

Portobello Road Market Photo, London, England
Quote:
Portobello Street is full of antiques (and a whole lot of junk too), street performers, and vendors. Further down, it turns into a mix of farmers market-meets-flea market-meets-street fair.

The prices are definitely inflated, but if you know what you are looking for, you just might get lucky – I saw an antique handmade christening gown that I know would fetch a fortune on eBay (couldn’t convince hubby, so couldn’t buy – sigh). We did find an old map print of Asia circa 1610 AD and haggled it down to 10 pounds. That’s the other thing--always make a counter offer, and if you are doubtful, we were told to politely ask ‘may I make an offer?’.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 2, 2005

Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road
London, England W11

Tower Bridge

Attraction | "Tower Bridge Experience"

Tower Bridge Photo, London, England
Quote:
The tower bridge is one of the London 'musts', of course--we were surprised at how much smaller it was than in pictures.

The tower bridge experience, though, was a real let-down. It starts with a 5-minute video, and then you get to walk on the footpath high up on the bridge. Unfortunately, it is completely covered with a wide wooden lattice, and there are no open views at all. You have to squint through little windows. At the end is the machine room, which is nothing but a bunch of old, retired machinery on display.

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on August 2, 2005

Tower Bridge
Tower Hill
London, England SE1 2UP
+44 (207) 403 3761

Windsor Castle

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Windsor Castle Photo, London, England
Quote:
Windsor also has a changing of the guard – but that happens inside the castle walls. People line up on the streets outside to see the brightly dressed soldiers marching through at around 10am. If you are there at the time, get your ticket before you stand to watch, or better yet, get your tickets and go inside to see the changing. Once the soldiers march past, there is a mad rush to Q-up for the tickets. Here there are no guided tours but instead clearly marked paths to wander around. Sections of the palace are not open to the public. There are various staterooms, and the exhibits in them are staggering – armor, weapons, and clothing from all over the world made of gold and silver and studded wit...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 2, 2005

Windsor Castle
Windsor
Berkshire, England SR4 1NJ
+44 1753 869 898

Runnymeade Air Force Memorial

Attraction | "Air Force Memorial"

Runnymeade Air Force Memorial Photo, London, England
Quote:
This is not to be confused with the Royal Air Force Memorial in London. This is outside London in Runnymede (near Windsor), where the Magna Carta was signed. The Air Force Memorial is a beautiful building atop a hill with sweeping views of the countryside. A simple rectangular building, the walls have the names of over 20,000 men and women from various countries who died flying in World War II. These people have no known graves. Friends and family leave little notes and flowers all over, and the whole area has a hushed and reverent tone to it. There is a little flat roof you can climb up to for spectacular views of the winding Thames, Windsor, and Heathrow. On a clear day, you can even see ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 2, 2005

Runnymeade Air Force Memorial
Coopers Hill
London, England