A December 2005 trip
to London by Nosferatu
Quote: London, in short, is history personified. Travelling through the various areas of the city and visiting its sites, you can get a good overview not just of the history of Britain, but of the world over the past thousand years.
Although this particular location was not very easy to find, even though it was just a couple of blocks from the British Museum, there are many Wagamama restaurants scattered across London and the rest of the UK.
The Wagamama restaurant also has a unique setup for its tables. Instead of many individual tables, it has a series of long benches from one end of the main dining hall to another. So, in many instances, you are eating right next to strangers. Depending on your social skills, this could be either a good or bad thing. Personally, I thought it was positive even though I didn't strike up a conversation with anyone else around me.
Finally, the food itself is quite delicious. Noodles come in a lot of varieties. And once you start tossing in various meats, seafood, vegetables, and spices, the combinations certainly start to spin out of control. I tried out the kare lomen noodle myself, which had grilled prawns in a spicy lemongrass and coconut milk soup.
I would certainly dine at this restaurant again and pick another tasty dish to expand upon my culinary dining experience.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 12, 2006
4A Sreatham St
London, England W1H 9AB
+44 20 7323 9223
Attraction | "The British Museum"
This is one of the most amazing museums in the world today--and there are a LOT of spectacular museums. It pretty much has the history of the world, from pre-civilization to modern times, all under one roof. What is equally amazing is that the museum continues to be free of charge, not counting the special exhibits.
A large chunk of the museum is dedicated to the collections from ancient Greece and Egypt. The collections from these two areas are absolutely fascinating, and the descriptions given on the artifacts are diligently done. One of the highlights in this part of the museum is the famous Rosetta stone, which allowed archaeologists to understand and translate hieroglyphics.
I found that the best way to explore the museum was to come back a few times and only spend a couple of hours at a time. That way, you will not be overwhelmed with the large number of galleries you will need to see or numb with information and sensory overload. A visit to London should include the British Museum without fail. It is both grand and fun.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 27, 2006
Great Russell Street
London, England WC1B 3DG
+44 (207) 7323 8299
Attraction | "The Tower of London"
Today, the Tower of London can boast as being one of England's biggest tourist attractions. It houses the magnificent Crown Jewels of the British Monarchy inside the Jewel House just opposite the White Tower.
The White Tower itself is in the middle of the complex and is the largest building on site. The building is in good shape and the stairs from one floor to another are within the turrets. The White Tower displays the armory, clothing, currency, and other important artifacts surrounding the Tower throughout its history.
Along the Tower grounds, you will find many tour groups being led by the the Yeomen Warders, also known as Beefeaters, dressed in their traditional red and black attire.
The Tower of London is certainly a fantastic place to spend half-a-day. If you are a history or architecture buff, it will be all the more fulfilling.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 6, 2006
Tower of London
London, England EC3N 4AB
+44 (207) 709 0765
Attraction | "Harrod's"
That said, Harrod's is a pretty impressive place as far as department stores go. The store itself is divided into many "rooms", each one selling different wares from food items to jewelry, watches, men and women's clothing, furniture, and so on. We also went there on the first day of its After Christmas Sale and the place was a madhouse of people all over the store.
To me, the most impressive part of the store were the food courts.
Harrod's is certainly NOT an inexpensive store. Even with the sale, most things were well beyond what I was willing to pay. Nevertheless, as a tourist attraction, it is well worth looking at.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 7, 2006
87-135 Brompton Road
London, England SW1X 7XL
+44 (20) 7730 1234
Attraction | "London Eye"
From the Eye (assuming a clear English day), you can get a fantastic 360 degree view of London. Many landmarks are easily recognizable such as Buckingham Palace, Parliament Building, and Big Ben. Westminster Abbey, The British Museum, the Tate Modern, and many others are also close by.
The interesting thing about the Eye is that it actually never stops moving, even when passengers are exiting or embarking. The Eye moves slow enough that one revolution takes about 30 minutes to complete. However, if there are slow passengers such as the elderly or disabled, then the Eye will stop to accommodate them.
The London Eye is very accessible and is within walking distance of many major sites. Even though it is not a highly adventurous ride, it does provide an excellent opportunity to get an overview of the London landscape.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 9, 2006
The London Eye
South Bank of the River Thames
London, England SE1 9TA
+44 (870) 500 0600
So, why did I go belly up and succomb to a guided trip to get to Stonehenge? Only one reason. Because this gave me the opportunity to actually go into the formation and walk around and touch the monolithic stones. Any other option and I would have had to stand behind a barrier and gawk at it with my camera.
Upon first sight, Stonehenge is truly impressive. All the more so in the cold early morning hours of an English winter. The stones rise out of the plains with an abruptness that demands your attention. These stones are HUGE. They were brought here and assembled from areas up to several hundred miles away. The commitment to create something like this is nothing short of Herculean.
I was both the first person to walk into Stonehenge from our group, as well as the last person to return to our waiting bus. The weather was quite cold and wet the morning of our trip. As a result, it made my pictures less than stellar.
Overall, I would certainly recommend a trip out to Stonehenge. And if you want to actually get a chance to walk among these ancient monoliths, then I'd even say to spring for a guided tour, but don't make a habit of travelling that way.
2 miles west of Amesbury
01980 624 715
Walking through the Abbey is an interesting experience. Despite its function as a church with daily services, it is also a place where the lines of monarchs and other distinguished people are buried.
After entering through the North Entrance doors, you wind your way through the Abbey. In addition to the tombs and shrines, there is also a small museum that contains royal and funeral effigies, medieval glass. Nearby is the coronation chair that has been used for coronations since the time of King Edward I in 1296.
Continuing around the Abbey are other chambers and rooms that are interesting to spend time in. Also, within the grounds are the College Gardens that have been under continuous cultivation for the past 900 years.
Overall, Westminster Abbey is an historical icon. From the gothic architecture to the long line of nobles buried within its walls. I would certainly recommend seeing this place while visiting London.
You can get to the Abbey by Underground on the District or Circle Line to St. James Park or on the Jubilee & Circle Line to Westminster. The Abbey is also not open to tourists on Sundays since that is reserved only for worshipping services. And finally, the Abbey closes by mid afternoon on most days, so plan your trip to it accordingly.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2006
20 Dean's Yard
London, England SW1P 3PA
+44 (20) 7222 5152
Attraction | "Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum"
The Wax Museum itself is laid out pretty well. There are several floors with a number of rooms that separate the wax figures in categories. The first room we entered was for movie and music stars. There were other rooms as well, such as sports figures and famous historical men and women.
There are two areas in the wax museum where you can sit and eat. One of them is about half way through the exhibit, and then another one near the exit. They both offer basic sandwiches, drinks, salads, and other deli selections.
If you don't already have tickets for the museum, I'll warn you that the lines are pretty long. We got there about an hour after it opened, and the ticket line was almost an hour long. Since this is a pretty major sight, I would recommend getting tickets before hand or online.
Although this is not the only wax museum in the world, it is probably the most famous. There are other Madame Tussaud museums around the world in other major cities such as Hong Kong, New York City, Amsterdam, and Las Vegas.
In any case, it is a good museum to check out and spend about 2 to 3 hours at, including a quick show in the Planetarium.
London, England NW1 5LR
44 (870) 999 0046
Inside of the tower bridge is an exhibit called the Tower Bridge Experience. After paying an entrance fee (£5.5 for adults), you go up one of the towers and can see pictures, films, and artifacts on the history of the bridge. This also includes the original Victorian engine rooms.
In the top level, there are two separate walkways that visitors can go through. Each walkway faces a different side of the River Thames and the London skyline. Pictures can easily be taken from small window holes located at regular intervals. There are also telescopes that can be used to get close ups of various sites as well.
To get some good pictures of the Tower Bridge, it is best to go a few hundred yards over to either side of the bridge. Some of the best pictures will come up near sunset when the lights on the bridge come on. Aside from the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, the Tower Bridge is probably one of the most photographed bridges in the world.
It is best to combine a visit to this bridge with the Tower of London, since they are within a couple of minutes from each other by foot.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 29, 2006
London, England SE1 2UP
+44 (207) 403 3761
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 3, 2006
London, England W8 4PX
+44 (20) 7937 9561
The best thing to do in that case is spend a few minutes at the airport ground transportation area and make a number of phone calls to the mini-taxis offices and haggle for the best deal. We were able to book a mini-taxi for €25 instead of the €60 that the drivers were charging just outside the airport doors.
That being said, the rest of the week was spectacular. London is such an impressive and grandiose place, that a week there is nowhere close to enough time to get a good handle on the place. Also, coming from California as we were, we felt the public transportation system there was nothing short of first class, even with the reduced service between Boxing Day and New Year's.
I found London's ability to juxtapose the old with the new to be one of its most charming facets. It is interesting to be sitting in one of the enclosed capsules of the modern London Eye Ferris Wheel built at the turn of the second millennium and look across the Thames to Westminster Abbey that was constructed a thousand years before.
There are only a small handful of cities in the world that work on many levels all at once: historical, cultural, financial, and spiritual. London certainly falls into this category and will probably continue to do so for years to come.