London Journals

London Necessities

Best of IgoUgo

A March 2008 trip to London by callen60

Wagamama -Mansion House Photo, London, England More Photos
Quote: Value-oriented dining and transportation, plus a hotel recommendation for Central London.

London Necessities

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Travelodge City Road Photo, London, England
Quote:
It’s not news that London is expensive. We’d been waiting years to take our kids to London, and with their years left at home rapidly dwindling, we decided this was the time to go. Not that the timing was great: with the exchange rate at essentially £1 = 2 dollars, it wouldn’t be cheap. Plus, there were five of us.We’d need to pay more than a little attention to cost. We went at spring break, not in the summer—by comparing prices with a friend who’s taking his family this summer, we saved a ticket (OK, there’s a reason—mid-March isn’t summer in London). Housing five in tight, expensive London quarters is a difficult proposition. A fair number of smaller hotels offer ‘family rooms’ that sl...Read More

Travelodge City Road

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Travelodge London City Road"

Travelodge City Road Photo, London, England
Quote:
If you want your hotel to be a destination in itself, you’ll be disappointed here. Yes, it’s an inexpensive chain, but there’s much beyond price to recommend this newest London addition to the widespread UK brand. Opened in October 2007 in the former Singer Sewing Factory, it offers clean, bright modern rooms that are actually spacious by London standards. It’s a large place: there are nearly 400 rooms across seven floors. But due to the compact layout, narrow halls, and lack of lengthy uninterrupted corridors, it feels more intimate than expected.The desk staff was friendly, welcoming and helpful, as well as apologetic for our one-night neighbors who began a loud, alcohol-influenced 90-minu...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 6, 2008

Travelodge City Road
1-23 City Road EC1
London

Fryer's Delight

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Fryer's Delight Photo, London, England
Quote:
Time was, you couldn’t avoid fish and chips at mealtime in London. You can still scare up an order, but any number of sources will tell you that a deep-fried filet served along side ‘french fries’ in a newsprint-lined paper basket is more likely to be a nod and a wink to the past than the real thing. Curry, noodles and pizza have nearly overtaken all of London for quick, inexpensive meals.But not quite everywhere. Several books, including Time Out’s authoritative Cheap Eats in London, recommended The Fryer’s Delight as one of the last of a vanishing breed—the ‘chippie’, specializing in fish & chips, plus anything else that might be served after a good long dunk in scalding-hot o...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 6, 2008

Fryer's Delight
Theobalds Road
London, England

Pizza Express Alban Gate

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Pizza Express Alban Gate Photo, London, England
Quote:
This widespread pizza chain has over 300 locations in London and the UK, so it’s a little hard to ignore as you move around town. It’s more upscale than you might expect for pizza, and I can’t really think of an American equivalent.There can’t be too many that look like this one, however. As we headed from St. Paul’s to the Museum of London in a rather hungry state, I pulled out Cheap Eats in London to see what might be in the neighborhood. There seemed to be one right across the street, but we kept walking around the corner to the east, where someone made out the word ‘Pizza’ in the metal and glass above the street.This section of London was hard hit during the Bl...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 6, 2008

Pizza Express Alban Gate
125 Alban Gate, London Wall EC2Y 5AS
London
020 7600 8880

Porters English Restaurant

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Porters English Restaurant Photo, London, England
Quote:
Food in London is better than it used to be; everyone says so, and that’s easy to detect once you’ve landed. But what if you’re looking for a little bit of the way things used to be? Sunday roasts, Yorkshire pudding, pies, fish and chips? Maybe only tourists seek these things out, but I was trying to find someplace that might give us a little bit more traditional dining experience.This place is located west of Covent Garden, two blocks north of the Strand. Rather than run from English food, they celebrate it. Pies and puddings line the menu, as well as bangers & mash, beer battered cod, and fish or spinach cakes. The dessert menu is lined with more puddings, as well as the infamous Spo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 6, 2008

Porters English Restaurant
17 Henrietta Street
London, England WC2E 8QH
(020) 7836-6466

Wagamama -Mansion House

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Wagamama Mansion House"

Wagamama -Mansion House Photo, London, England
Quote:
Sleek, ubiquitous, and—at least if you visit early—not necessarily as communal as it’s made out to be, Wagamama is a one-restaurant primer in noodles. Ramen, udon, yaki soba, teppan: if your experience is limited to pasta and three-minute ramen, Wagamama is just what you need to expand your horizons.I remember when a student of mine returned from a semester in London 10 years ago raving about a cool new restaurant, and sporting a Wagamama t-shirt. I think he ate there several times a week, which must have been a touch more affordable than it is now. Alan Yau opened the first restaurant in 1992, and sold the ‘chain’ (then two restaurants) in 1998. He’s since gone on to new challenges (his n...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 6, 2008

Wagamama -Mansion House
4 Great St Thomas Apostle EC4
London, England EC4V
020 7248 5766

Lambeth Bridge Photo, London, England
Quote:
The Short AnswerSkip Gatwick Express; take Southern Rail or First Capital Connect into LondonGet an Oyster card; don’t pay for single rides with cashFor stays of 5 days or longer, put a 7-day Travelcard on your Oyster cardFor shorter stays, load money on your Oyster card and rely on daily price cappingA 7-day Travelcard may still be a better bet, since it could save you big on admissionsConsider buses for getting around, particularly if you’re trying to travel at peak timesThe Long AnswersTo London from Gatwick AirportBefore you travel in town, you have to get to town. I’ve...Read More

London Transport: Paying for Kids

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Lambeth Bridge Photo, London, England
Quote:
Someone remarked that London Transport appears to be priced to make things as hard as possible. Just for adults, the fare structure is truly a challenge. It's not cheap, either, and if you’re traveling with a family, you’ll have another obstacle: figuring out how to move kids around town without paying full fare. Kids can get Oyster cards, too, and some ages will require a specially ordered photocard if you’d like to get their travel at reduced prices. Under 5These are the easy ones—the only easy ones, unfortunately. They’re just plain free, no matter where you go or what you ride, and it doesn’t take any documentation to obtain those rates. Tube, tram, bus, Overground and Doc...Read More

London Transport: A Modest Proposal

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Lambeth Bridge Photo, London, England
Quote:
The tube is, in most parts, old. It’s not as fast as you think (average speed, stops included, is under 30 mph). It (usually) beats walking, but you’ll spend more time than you expected walking through its labyrinthine subterranean passages, particularly if you’re changing lines at a station. At peak times, you may wait for two or even three trains before there’s space to board. And your journey may be affected by closures (‘engineering works’) or out-of-service elevators (‘lifts’), forcing you into 100 or 200 step journeys to and/or from the surface (‘surface’). Finally, the tube map, for all its elegance, is far from a faithful representation of the city, so don’t assume that a tube journey is the s...Read More