London Journals

I Love London!

Best of IgoUgo

A March 2006 trip to London by The Breeze

The Fountain @ Picadilly Circus Photo, London, England More Photos
Quote: I had the opportunity to visit the most vibrantly alive, fascinating, eclectic—and expensive—city in the world. I am so glad I didn't ignore it.

I Love London!

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

The Fountain @ Picadilly Circus Photo, London, England
Quote:
When we were presented with the opportunity to travel to London, England with a group of college business and theater students, my sister, daughter and I jumped at the chance. I felt that this would be a good way to experience such a world-class city for the first time, giving us a taste on which to build possible future visits.Our experience with the touring company, EF Tours, was in general very pleasant. Travel, accommodations, dinners, and guided tours to key spots were all taken care of, taking a lot of the stress out of our one-week vacation. After becoming familiarized with our hotel environs and London’s underground navigation system, we were able to fully enjoy our free time and ...Read More

Norfolk Plaza Hotel

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Norfolk Plaza Hotel Photo,
Quote:
Our week’s stay at the Norfolk Plaza went without a hitch. The staff was, for the most part, pleasant and helpful. Although not what I would consider plush, I would give the room a rating of excellent as far as cleanliness and comfort: the two standard double beds were made up each day, bathroom scoured with clean towels in place, personal items neat but not disturbed. In spite of the chill in the March air, we kept the thermostat near off and it was just right for sleeping. The room was provided with a telephone, a television, a small hand-held hair dryer and a coffee pot with individual packets of coffee, tea bags, etc. There is a bar available to hotel patrons on the lower level.  Ea...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 9, 2006

Norfolk Plaza Hotel
29 33 NORFOLK SQUARE
London, England
44 20 77230792

Cafe Fish

Restaurant

Cafe Fish Photo, London, England
Quote:
Passersby can see lobsters and other fish in the window of this restaurant bar and grill. I can safely say that only fresh fish is served here, because I noticed no "fishy" odor at all, from the moment I set foot inside the entrance. Our whole group was served fish and chips. I didn’t get to see a menu, but had no complaint about the food. The portion of fish (I didn’t find out what kind it was) was quite large and very tasty. The chips (which we Americans would call fries) were adequate. A bowl of ice cream was served for dessert. The servers were pleasant, the decor was classy and the atmosphere conducive to enjoyment of the meal. I would definitely eat here again.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

Cafe Fish
36-40 Rupert Street
London, England W1V 7FR
+44 20 7287 8989

Chiquito Mexican Grill and Bar

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Chiquito Mexican Grill and Bar Photo, London, England
Quote:
If you’re dying for Mexican food while in London, then this restaurant might be a good choice. It is VERY (like, In Your Face!) Mexican, with its brightly colored exterior and interior, its music and menu… all scream out MEXICAN. The Chiquito we were in, right on Leicester Square, seemed new. And perhaps, if you ordered an entrée from the menu, it would be good food. We, however, weren’t so lucky. The tour plan was that we would eat from the buffet, which seemed like a sensible idea, as there are all kinds of preferences in a good-sized group of people. However, in this case, it wasn’t such a great plan. First of all, the buffet was very small. A couple of bean dishes, spicy meat, a few...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

Chiquito Mexican Grill and Bar
20/21 Leicester Square
London, England
+44 (020) 7839-6925

Mimo's Cafe Bar

Restaurant

Mimo's Cafe Bar Photo, London, England
Quote:
Without a plan for lunch on our first day in London (a Sunday), we chose this place simply because we were hungry and no other place in the area near our hotel was open. We were not sorry. The young waitress was so sweet and eager to please us, and we were treated so kindly, which made for a pleasant first London dining experience. I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich, and asked if it was grilled. The waitress brightly assured me, "We can do that for you!" which led me to believe that it really wasn’t intended to be, and I was getting it "made to order." In any case, I enjoyed every morsel, and my friends all enjoyed their meals as well. Although nothing fancy, I would classify this as typical En...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

Mimo's Cafe Bar
19 London Street
London, England
+44 (020) 7706-7175

Shish , Hoxton/Shoreditch

Restaurant | "Shish"

Shish , Hoxton/Shoreditch Photo, London, England
Quote:
In this restaurant you choose whether you want your shish served as a wrap rolled with fresh vegetables in pita bread, or served with a side of your choice. I chose Lamb Kofta, which was minced and marinated with garlic, pine kernels, parsley and cumin and served with a gently-seasoned couscous. For a side I chose humus, pureed chick peas with lemon, tahini sauce, olive oil and garlic. A basket of herbed flat bread and pita was passed. This was a pleasant and satisfying meal. My meal was included in my package, but if ordered from the menu it would have cost £11.80, or about $20.00.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

Shish , Hoxton/Shoreditch
313-319 Old Street
London, England EC1
(020) 7749-0990

Wagamama

Restaurant

Wagamama Photo, London, England
Quote:
This noodle bar was one of my favorite dining experiences while visiting London. I saw many of these in other locations during my stay. It’s a very clean, modern, upbeat restaurant with the slogan
Positive eating – Positive living. The young man who served us was experienced, savvy and efficient. I chose ramen: a "big bowl of noodles in soup" with nice big chunks of chicken. It looked like so much that I didn’t think I could possibly eat it all, but I did, probably because it was so light and tasty. Served with big pitchers of ice water or peach iced tea. £6.60

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

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

The London Eye

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "British Airways London Eye"

The London Eye Photo, London, England
Quote:
Having read about this popular attraction before my trip, I was determined to experience it while in London. Some others were lukewarm, or totally disinterested in the idea, but fortunately for me, my daughter wanted to do it too. I considered it definitely worth the £13 it cost (children/£6.50).The London Eye is a 135m tall observation wheel on the South Bank of the Thames River. About 35 futuristic looking glass-enclosed capsules are attached around the outside of the wheel, and they provide passengers with an excellent view of London and its surrounding area—about 25 miles on a clear day. Passengers may sit on a padded bench in the center of the capsule or walk 360° around the perimete...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

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

Covent Garden

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Covent Garden Photo, London, England
Quote:
This raffishly enjoyable section of London is a people-watchers’ delight. People of every age and style frequent the potpourri of shops and eateries that make up this network of stalls, arcades, and pedestrian malls. The Piazza, which dominates the scene, is likely at any moment to come to life as a musician, mime or actor begins to draw a crowd. During the short period of time that we were browsing, we saw one young mime doing an audience-participation skit, and later an older guy in a different area had a cute little girl assisting him in a rope trick.

I was glad I got the chance to explore here for about an hour, and would have liked to return if we had had the time.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

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

Fortnum & Mason

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Fortnum and Mason"

Fortnum & Mason Photo, London, England
Quote:
I loved shopping in this lively and spacious specialty store, looking for just the right edible gifts to take to friends and family back home. Their chocolates are delectable, as well as their other sweets, and packaged so creatively as to make them nearly irresistible. It was fascinating to browse through the many unique offerings. There is every type of chocolate imaginable, combined with every nut or flavor imaginable. There is an extensive jam/jelly/condiment section: I bought lemon curd (nearly intoxicating), orange curd and lime marmalade. And there are so many sauces, for every occasion! The associates are very pleasant as well as patient, willing to answer any qu...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

Fortnum & Mason
181 Piccadilly
London, England W1A 1ER
+44 20 7734 8040

Harrods

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Harrod's"

Harrods Photo, London, England
Quote:
Although I was aware of Harrod’s reputation as the palace of department stores and expected to find prices that were over my spending limit, I thought I would surely find at least one single item that I might consider worth its price for a souvenir. I didn’t. The main floor was nothing but a huge, crowded tourist gift shop. There were tons of trinkets monogrammed with Harrod’s logo, including many adorable Scottie dog (Harrod’s symbol) items, but I couldn’t even bring myself to pay the amount charged for a simple pencil ($12)! The rest of the store had very beautiful decor and elegant merchandise, it’s true, but I’ve seen just as nice or nicer. The food halls were extraordinary, especially the huge c...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

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

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Kensington Gardens"

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens Photo, London, England
Quote:
There is an elegant and peaceful atmosphere in this park, which was formerly the grounds of Kensington Palace. It was actually a nice walk from our hotel, but to get there from elsewhere in town you would use the Lancaster Gate/Queensway tube stop. It is adjacent to Hyde Park, to the east, and a very pleasant place to just stroll along the straight, wide, tree-lined paths. Scenes in the movie, “Finding Neverland” were shot in this park. Since the flowers had barely begun to expose their shoots in March, we didn’t get to appreciate the South Flower Walk, but I’m sure it is beautiful in its season. There are direction signs (which are sometimes just a little bit confusing) and some lovely statues, most ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
W Carriage Drive
London, England W2 2UH
+44 20 7298 2100

British Museum

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "The British Museum"

British Museum Photo, London, England
Quote:
I kept telling myself that it would be overwhelming to try to squeeze a quick visit to one of the world’s greatest collections of human cultural history into our 1 week in London, but how could I not at least check it out? I mean, at least we could see the Rosetta Stone, if nothing else… So I dragged my companions to the Tottenham Court Road Tube stop and we forged on.The first shock I received after walking in the main entrance was discovering that photography is allowed!! This was almost too much for me to take, especially since that was the day I had absentmindedly left the hotel without my camera! Luckily, though, my daughter had hers, and allowed me the use of it whenever I wished. We a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

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

Tower of London

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "The Tower of London"

Tower of London Photo, London, England
Quote:
I came to London with no preconceived ideas whatsoever about this famous sight, so I was nearly overwhelmed upon seeing its size and scope. The only reason I visited was because it was included as part of my tour package, but I was not at all sorry I did! It is a must-see for anyone visiting London, especially if you're a castle lover. More than just the old tower I pictured it to be, the Tower of London has been a fortress on the Thames, a palace, a treasury, and a prison and execution site during its nine + centuries of existence. Even though I am not particularly a history buff, I enjoyed the adventure of wandering up, down and around the many spiral staircases, hallways and wall walk...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

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

Ye Olde Mitre

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Ye Olde Mitre Tavern"

Ye Olde Mitre Photo, London, England
Quote:
We wouldn’t have been aware of this charming pub had I not read about it at, you guessed it, IgoUgo! We nearly gave up finding it in spite of the excellent directions provided by pepperpot in her review, but we persevered, for which I am extremely grateful. Of all the sights we saw while in London, I believe that this one will always be one of my fondest memories.Tucked back down a skinny alley behind big office buildings and stores, this ancient tavern (restored from the original, built in 1546) is like a precious gem hidden among ordinary everyday rocks. The pedestrian alley leading to it is so narrow that, even armed with map and directions, it is easily overlooked. It is just like a door...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

Ye Olde Mitre
1 Ely Court
London, England EC1N 6SJ
+44 20 7405 4751

West End of London

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Theatreland"

West End of London Photo, London, England
Quote:
We were fortunate in that our London tour included two plays! Included here are my impressions of both experiences, as well as some tips I learned.First of all, you can find out what’s playing by perusing your free London Planner guide. If you know what play you would like to see, tickets are available online, but a 25% booking fee is added to the price. You might be able to get cheap return tickets by calling the theater’s box office. But the best bet of all is to go to the half-price TKTS kiosk, located on Leicester Square. Go there after 10am on the day of the show and check the board. If your play is listed, you can get tickets usually at half price. Even with the added £2.50 service charg...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 3, 2006

West End of London

London, England

Parade at Buckingham Palace

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Buckingham Palace in March Photo, London, England
Quote:
To our good fortune, a special parade took place in London during the time of our visit, and our EF tour guide made sure that our group was able to see it from a great vantage point.The parade took place at Buckingham Palace; the occasion was a visit of the President of Brazil.I shall never forget the sound of marching footsteps as battalion after battalion of soldiers paraded past us. I have no inkling as to how many men were in this parade; just when I would think it was surely over I would hear yet more tap tap tapping sounds of yet another group marching…It was truly awesome and exciting. When three coaches appeared, I was not sure which one held the Brazilian President and which one held th...Read More

Lovely Londoners

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

A well-behaved dog and his master, Peter, in Kensington Gardens Photo, London, England
Quote:
I don’t believe I am alone when I say that it is sometimes with trepidation that I visit a foreign country. Knowing that Americans are not always accepted in a positive way, I feel a certain shyness. I found the people of Great Britain to be more than pleasant. On numerous occasions, we were treated with such friendliness that I now feel a definite kinship with the English, as if they were my cousins. Forget the stuffiness that is portrayed in some English movies; in reality, they are warm people with a marvelous sense of humor! For example: My sister and I were attempting to make sense of a set of directional signs in Kensington Gardens when a very nice gentleman came walking by with his dog. He as...Read More