London Journals

First Time Out

A June 1999 trip to London by Jerril

Quote: Coming from a small city in Americas midwest, I felt like a tiny spec running around London. I felt it was a good place to spark my interests in travelling the world.

First Time Out

Overview

Quote:
There's no reason to be bored in London. Whether I was in the mood for learning about ancient history or wanted to party all night, I could make whatever I wanted out of this trip.

Quick Tips:

Because it was my first trip overseas, I played it safe and went with a pre-arranged tour group. Some people are tourists, others crave something more, and that's a valuable lesson I took home with me.

Best Way To Get Around:

Public transportation in England is great. You can get ANYWHERE with public transportation, and it's relatively cheap if you buy day passes for the underground. I would never recommend renting your own car though. Parking is terrible and drivers have no patience!

Alexandra

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Alexandria Hotel"

Quote:
I remember our group being shuffled into the lounge of this small building. The first thing our tour guide told us was that we were standing an a building older then our own country. Pretty amazing. This building used to be small houses converted into a hotel. That''s the story of most of the hotels in this area. We could tell that the area we were in must be a nice (read expensive) area because where there weren''t hotels, there were nice looking houses grouped together and very expensive cars parked in the front. Although, no front or back yards to be found at all. Anyway, because we were in a medium sized group there were five beds to a room and we shared a bathroom with one ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 6, 2001

Alexandra
159 161 SUSSEX GARDENS
London, England
+44-2074026471

International Backpackers

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Quote:
I actually stayed here on a different trip, but wanted to include it in my entries about England. Two of my friends and I were coming to London for a few nights to see Smashing Pumpkins do a show. I had found this hostel on the internet before we left for London, and it turns out it''s the cheapest place to stay in London (at least that''s what the receptionist said. And that would account for how busy it was). Being hardly a block walk from the tube station it was very convenient to get to, but it''s very busy. We had reservations a week in advance and they still couldn''t get the three of us in the same room. They convinced us it was a good thing because you meet new people, ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 7, 2001

International Backpackers

London, England

Hard Rock Cafe

Restaurant | "Hard Rock Cafe - London"

Quote:
The most expensive cheeseburger I've ever eaten! It was nothing fancy, either. The food was generally plain, but did taste a little like home. We had gone a week of eating Shephard's Pie and other local cuisine so the craving for a decent cheeseburger (McDonald's should be outlawed in Europe) was overwhelming. Our menu was already picked out for us (pre-arranged tours. oi!) so I didn't get to see what else they had to offer. The cheeseburger was pretty plain; didn't come with all the fixings like at home. The fries were alright and what is with Coka-Cola in the U.K?! Maybe it's just me, but I can't drink the stuff there. When I asked for water instead the waiter hesitated and then aske...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 6, 2001

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

Rat And Parrot

Restaurant

Quote:
We stopped into this Pub because we liked the name. It was a great experience. The waitress was very friendly, there's a wide selection of drinks and very good starters. The atmosphere was fun, too. =) I'd go there again when I'm back in the neighborhood. Reminded me a little bit of the American restaurant chain Applebee's.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 6, 2001

Rat And Parrot
250 Haverstock Hill
London, England NW3 2AE
(020) 7431-0889

Piccadilly Circus

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Attraction | "Piccadilly night clubs"

Quote:
So our first Friday night in London we HAD to go out and get a taste of the nightlife. At first I was shocked to have all sorts of people approach me with something to say. Before the sun went down that night everyone I met was very quiet and kept to themselves. We went to several clubs and there wasn't anything really unique about any one of them. Really loud music, lights flashing, and lots of people crammed into small spaces best describes the party scene. Drinks were a little more expensive, but some guys are more then willing to buy them for you. ;) Just a word of caution: watch what you say. And DON'T go wandering around any dark streets. There are some really shady characters ou...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on February 6, 2001

Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus
London, England W1

London Walks: Ghosts of the Old City

Attraction | "Jack the Ripper Walking Tour with London Walks"

Quote:
I really liked walking around and seeing things for myself in this walking tour. The guide was very knowledgeable and I didn't get bored for a minute (considering I have an attention span of a mouse). You're learning history (not just about bad ol' Jack, but about the significance of the neighborhood through London's history) and excercising at the same time... but actually enjoying it. Crazy.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 6, 2001

London Walks: Ghosts of the Old City
St. Paul Tube Stop
London, England
+44 (020) 7624 3978

Covent Garden

Attraction

Quote:
When I went to England, I went with a group of people from my school. What do Junior girls in High School make sure they do while visiting London?? Shop for shoes at the Dr. Marten store, of course! To me, the four floor building full of overpriced, trendy, shoes was nothing exciting so I went across the street to the flea market. Every Sunday, local merchants gather and sell all sorts of neat stuff. You can buy just about anything here, and at a good price. For the first time I got to bargain down a price a few pounds. The people at the flea market are so nice, except for this one older man who seemed upset with me because he kept reaching over and tapping me with his cane. This is a ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 6, 2001

Covent Garden
Covent Garden
London, England WC2
+44 20 7836 9136

Windsor Castle

Attraction

Quote:
No wonder everything in London's so cramped.. It has to make room for Windsor castle! It took me about ten minutes to get the picture of how grand everything was in Windsor castle, so I didn't spend long touring through it. Tour guides aren't allowed to do tours inside the building so you're on your own in learning about the specifics on the insides (I think you can rent head sets for cheap, though). The history was interesting but not the most exciting part of my day, here. I went down to the little town around the castle where there are shops and markets and talked to people down there. Good place to do some shopping, not very expensive. =) Because of the historical significance... I ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 6, 2001

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

Big Ben

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Attraction | "Big Ben/Parliament/Westminster Abbey"

Quote:
WoooHoo... a giant clock! Well, at least I expected it to be giant, but it's actually just big. St James park is fun, to run around in, though. I'm not into politics so maybe that's why I felt a little silly standing outside of Parliament staring as if something exciting was going to happen. The same thing happened at Buckingham Palace. A bunch of people gathered around a building, almost like they're waiting for something to happen. If I were someone inside that building I would perform a puppet show in one of the windows. At least that would be entertaining. Westminster Abbey was absolutely beautiful. I wish we had more time to spend there. If you're into art and arch...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 6, 2001

Big Ben
Parliament Square
London, England SW1A 2NE

Tower of London

Attraction

Quote:
People like my Dad, who have a thing for military history, can spend the entire day here. And right across the street (where Tower Bridge is) there is a nice little Haagen Daaz ice cream place that serves the best Bailey's ice cream I have ever tasted. NOTE: Do not ask one of the guides about a Guillotine. ("Guillotines are in FRANCE!!")

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 6, 2001

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

Blood Brothers

Attraction

Quote:
This is a hilarious show about two different social classes of London. There's a really good story to it, but you can read about that in magazines. The theatre is really comfortable, and the acoustics are excellent, unlike the theatre we saw "An Inspector Calls" where all we could see were the actors' feet and shins, and could only hear yelling, and some mysterious bell that confused me.
Over all, the theatre is worth visiting in London.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 6, 2001

Blood Brothers
The Theatre district
London, England

Outside of London

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Story/Tip

Quote:
My favorite parts of the trip were when we left London by coach and traveled to a few of the historical cities near by. Stratford-upon-Avon was a beautiful, historic, little town that is a must see for literature buffs. You can tour Shakespeare's house and actually see where he scratched on the window the names of some of his characters. It's very hard to see and the light has to hit it just right, though. But it's magical when you spot it. =) When I was younger, I studied pagan religions, so I thought our stop to Stonehenge would be a very spiritual place for me. Actually, it didn't feel so much spiritual, rather just a tourist wonder. It is a great mystery and it would just be wrong to vi...Read More