London Journals

London Layover

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A December 2011 trip to London by ch2001

The Trafalgar Hilton Photo, London, England More Photos
Quote: London at Christmas sounded magical, so we stopped for a two day layover on our way to spend Christmas in Munich. We crammed a lot of site seeing into a short time, but left the city with good memories and full of wonderful food.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

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Restaurant | "Cozy English pub older than the States"

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Photo, London, England
Quote:
Visiting a traditional English pub is a must do when in the UK. And where better to do this than one of the city's most famous and oldest pubs. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is on Fleet Street right in the heart of downtown London.Some blogs and books claim the pub is the oldest in the city, yet others claim the title belongs to 'Hoop and Grapes'. Either way, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is old - it was rebuilt immediately after the Great Fire of 1666; if you don't believe the plaque out front dating the historic landmark, the interior clearly gives away its age. The floors are creaky and look as though they have been refinished many times, complete with a thick glaze. Exposed dark painted timber i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 28, 2012

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Wine Office Court
London, England EC4 2BU
+44 20 7353 6170

Porters English Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Cozy traditional English food - pies are the specialty"

Porters English Restaurant Photo, London, England
Quote:
I'm in love with savory pies, and I know the UK is too. Research ahead of time led us to make a reservation at Porters. Located in the center of all the big sites, it's halfway between Charing Cross and Covent Garden tube stations. We had the front desk staff of our hotel (Trafalgar Hilton) make a reservation, but when we arrived try had no record of it. Fortunately, they found us a table after a short ten minute wait.The interior had a warm feel to it. A large dark wood bar was immediately inside the front door. Matching dark wood accents were around the restaurant. From the waist down the walls were a yellowish-tan, while faded green and salmon striped wallpaper covered the upper half...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 25, 2012

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

Palace of Westminster/Houses of Parliament

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Attraction | "Unexpected tour, definitely worth the wait"

Palace of Westminster/Houses of Parliament Photo, London, England
Quote:
I learned a lesson on my trip to London - guidebooks don't always tell the truth. A visit to Parliament was mentioned repeatedly, but the books said they were only offered in the summer; lucky for us they were wrong.After deciding not to pay £17 each to visit Westminster Abbey we walked behind the the church and to the western side of Parliament on St Margaret. We noticed a few uniformed guys standing by a gate and ramp to a courtyard. People were asking them questions, receiving pieces of paper and heading down a ramp through the gate. We approached and were told the House of Lords was open for visitors and,the best part was, it didn't cost a thing! But, they told us it could be an hour ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 25, 2012

Palace of Westminster/Houses of Parliament
North Bank of River Thames
Westminster, London SW1A OAA
+44 (20) 7219 4272

Pieminister

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Restaurant | "Pies, Pies, Pies! Best Pies Ever!"

Pieminister Photo, London, England
Quote:
Pieminister was one of the first places we saw in the Borough Market, and since I really like savory pies I was very excited to try one.Pieminister has outposts at various markets throughout the city, including Marylebone Market, Partridges Market and Wimbledon Market, as well as there own shops - visit their website for a complete list.Pieminister offers pies for every appetite - meat, fish, vegetarian, traditional, ethnic, and so on. The standard assortment includes the following:- PM Pie - free range British beef steak, kidneys, fresh herbs and ale in lovely pastry- Minty Lamb Pie - free range British lamb, carrot, swede, mint and rose wine in lovely pastry....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 25, 2012

Pieminister
Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street
London, England

Chettinad Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Great Indian restaurant, centrally located"

Chettinad Restaurant Photo, London, England
Quote:
London is very well known for Indian food - tikka masala is the national dish of the UK after all.After much online research we found Chettinad on a food blog. It had really good reviews, so we made a reservation for dinner. The place is medium sized, so I don't think a reservation is always needed. It was located just three blocks south west from The British Museum, and was less than a five minute walk from the Tottenham Court Road tube station.The interior is very bright and modern - white walls, light wood floors and slim furniture. We ordered a large Kingfisher to split. We ordered a couple appetizers to start. First we had the Chicken Samosa (£3.95) - three pastries fill...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 25, 2012

Chettinad Restaurant
16 Percy Street
London, England W1T 1DT
020 3556 1229

Borough Market

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Attraction | "Food Glorious Food - a Foodie Heaven"

Borough Market Photo, London, England
Quote:
I read about the Borough Market in a guidebook before arriving to London, but forgot it existed until we stumbled across it on a meandering walk. The sprawling market is on south side of the Thames, just west of the London Bridge. Part of the eastern end of the market is beneath the on ramp to the bridge.We entered the eastern most section via steps from the southern side of the bridge. Initially impressed and excited over the size and offerings, we became elated when we saw the map showing the market stretched over a few buildings and courtyards.This first section contained stalls selling hot foods, baked goods, jams, meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables.After d...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 24, 2012

Borough Market
West of Borough High Street
London, England SE1

Fortnum & Mason

Attraction | "Great shop for a traveling foodie"

Fortnum & Mason Photo, London, England
Quote:
Fortnum and Mason is a foodie heaven! Edible items of all kinds were scattered over three floors with half of floor devoted to products needed to eat foods - high end utensils and plates, cookware and linens. For a pop of grandeur, there was an atrium in the center of the store exposing all three floors.Our visit was just a few days before Christmas, so the store was packed! The first floor had the staples - tea, cookies, candies, and chocolates. The basement level was basically a mini-grocer - fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, seafood and meat. They also sold mustards and other spreads, and spices all under the Fortnum and Mason name.We loaded our basket up with a few ja...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 24, 2012

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

Travel from Heathrow to downtown London

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Story/Tip

Photo of London, England
Quote:
We all know London is expensive. However, it didn't truly sink in until we arrived and proceeded to purchase our tickets from Heathrow to Paddington Station.There are three train options for transport from Heathrow to downtown London. The cheapest is the Tube for approximately £4 one way, but it takes around an hour (on a good day). The middle option is the Heathrow Connect for £17.80 round trip, which takes 30 minutes. And, the quickest and most expensive option is the Heathrow Express which takes you direct from the airport to Paddington Station in 15 minutes for £34.00 round trip.We opted for the Heathrow Connect and purchased our tickets from a kiosk inside the airport (buy...Read More

The Trafalgar Hilton

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Hotel | "Fantastic location, hip lobby and excellent staff...a must stay!"

The Trafalgar Hilton Photo, London, England
Quote:
For our two night stay in London we decided location trumped all else (with a reasonable price, of course). After fruitlessly searching for a centrally located inexpensive hotel, we tried to redeem some Hilton points and found a dozen available hotels in neighborhoods all over the city. We chose the Trafalgar Hilton because of its spot on the southwest corner of Trafalgar Square and close proximity to Piccadilly Circus and Parliament, not to mention it had wonderful reviews.We arrived at 9:30 am, but our room was not ready (even though we we have Hilton Honors Silver status). They stored our bags and we freshened up in a downstairs bathroom.The lobby featured a trendy bar tha...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 24, 2012

The Trafalgar Hilton
2 Spring Gardens
Trafalgar Square, London
+44-207-870-2900