London Calling

This journal will not only tell about the must-see and must-stop attractions in this great city, but also unseen London; the typical day and nightlife of a true Londoner. I lived here for 4 months as a study-abroad student.


London Calling

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on April 12, 2005

The Angel pub, a couple blocks away from the Bermonsey tube station, is one of the oldest and has one of the best view of Tower Bridge in London. There are also various other historical sites around the pub. Located right on the river and back away from the noisy streets of London, the Angel pub is two stories and commands its own locals for a most remarkable experience.

Take the Jubilee Line to Bermondsey. Take a left out the tube station to the traffic light. You have to walk the streets behind the residential buildings making your way towards the river. The Angel is about two-three blocks to the right. Don't be afraid to ask a local for its exact location. We were sent there for a class assignment without exact directions. We found it by trial and error! Don't be afraid to ask a local.${QuickSuggestions} If you are a student, I highly suggest purchasing an STA Travel ISIC card. This card can provide you with discounts at various hotels, shops, and travel tickets. These can be bought at any STA Travel location with a valid student ID.

Purchasing an Oyster card if you are spending two or more weeks in London is also a must-have to get around the city. These are used to get on the tube or buses and also provide some discounts on train rides at various times. Oyster cards can be bought at any underground tube station. Caveat: Should you need to "top-up" or re-charge your Oyster card, you have to return to the station you originally bought it at!${BestWay} The best way to get around without a doubt is the London tube system. The map is easy to read and most destinations from travel books will tell you which station to get off.

I highly recommend taking the bus. Not only does it give you the satisfication of taking a red double decker, but you get to see London in a way the tube is lacking. Buses run all night long unlike the tube that stops at 12:30am. Most bus stops have easy to read maps, and some of the big, most popular stops will have electronic signs letting you know exactly when your bus is to arrive! The only downside to buses is that to get from point A to point B only the tube can get you there efficiently. So, if you have time on your hands take the bus, if not, the tube is your way to go.

Only take the taxi "black cabs" once or twice. Often, especially late at night, taxi drivers will take the longer ways and charge you obscene prices. So I would only take the taxi once or twice for the experience or if you are in an extreme hurry.


Pizza Express

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

Although this restaurant is a chain, some of my best memories from my trip were in this restaurant. The atmosphere for this restaurant is cozy, warm, and Italian contemporary, which flat-out beats any Olive Garden any day. You have an amazing choice of toppings and ways your own individual pizza is prepared. Better than any pizza I have had in New York or Italy, for that matter! I highly recommend the garlic bread, but make sure your napkin is placed firmly in your lap. Don't be alarmed if you see people eating with a knife and fork. The British are confused, and this pizza is specially made for cutting into fours, grabbing a slice, folding over, and enjoying its warm gooey-ness!

And one more thing: While this may be a chain and casual attire enforced, don't be surprised if dinner takes up to two hours. If you have yet to travel outside of the U.S., your waiter is not ignoring you! He's letting you enjoy your company and food!

Pizza Express is located everywhere! I liked the Baker Street location only because this is where my friends and I shared our last night together. Take the tube to Baker Street. Leave the tube to the right and walk to the light. Pizza Express is located on the corner diagonally from the tube station.

Pizza Express
10 Dean Street
London, England, W1V 5RL
+44 20 7439 8722

British Museum

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

Remember all those Art History and Western Civilization classes you took in high school? No? Well I do, and it felt like I was learning it all over again! Everything from ancient times you ever learned about is here, from Cleopatra's Mummy and the Rosetta Stone; to Gladiator armor and a bust of Augustus; to clocks and weapons from the 17th and 18th centuries; and to medieval jewelry, tile flooring, and much more. The British Museum has everything that tells the story of man from all six inhabited continents.

Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Plan your whole day around this museum or choose specifically what you want to see. It is absolutely impossible to see everything; I should know, as I tried! Don't forget to stop and donate money (any amount you desire) so that these amazing treasures and finds can continue to remain free for the public to enjoy!

Take the Piccadilly Line to Russell Square and follow the signs. Or ask a local!

Caveat: Never ever go to any museum in England between 11am and 2pm! All schools choose this time to let their cattle roam wild. So, if you want to ponder the meaning of it all without screaming kids or are trying to keep track of your own children, use this time to grab lunch!

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

National Gallery

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

It is absolutely amazing the range and amount of art and art history kept in these great halls. There is a good collection of Impressionist, British Landscape, and Renaissance artists. Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, Rubens, Titian, Van Gogh, and Monet are all well represented. The permanent collection boasts works from the best of the best, spanning from 1250 to 1900.

All this culture is for FREE, so remember to donate some money before you leave so that it can continue to be that way. It is best to dress comfortable with comfortable shoes. Plan a whole day or plan to see specific rooms or wings.

Caveat: As always, never ever go to a museum between 1am and 2pm! School groups and admiring brush strokes just do not mix. Take this time to enjoy the gift shop or eat lunch around Trafalgar Square.

National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
London, England, WC2N 5DN
+44 (207) 747 2885

Imperial War Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

The Imperial War Museum was one of my favorite stops. I loved it so much, I went twice! For all you WWI and WWII buffs or European History lovers out there, this is the place for you. WWI and WWII were more drastic for the British than for the Americans, and finally that difference comes to light in this museum.

Aside from the typical artifacts, including weapons and artillery, there is the Trench Warfare Experience, where museum curators have recreated a trench and the atmosphere from WWI. There is also the WWII Experience, where you can "walk" the streets of London after a German bombing raid.

There is also the 1940s house experiment, a house completely recreated to reflect what the typical household would have looked like in 1940 WWII Britain. The recreated house was part of a television program that took people from today to live like it was 1940 England.

Other attractions include the arm’s race and nuclear warfare, MI6 and Intelligence Agencies, and a tribute to Holocaust survivors. You can spend an afternoon here exploring the art and horrors of warfare. Again, this museum is for FREE, so donate some money!

Caveat: While this is a popular spot for British children to visit, American's might be shocked at some of the nature of what is on exhibit, so use your discretion. The Holocaust survivor tribute is not for American children under 14. Again, as always, before 11am or after 2pm are the best times to explore this museum.

Take the Bakerloo Line to Lambeth North. Walk straight out the tube station and walk along the road that runs at an angle to the tube station. You will walk past a police station. Walk until you see a huge gun (battleship huge!) hanging out in front of a building that looks like a Mental Hospital. The Imperial War Museum was at one point an insane asylum!

Imperial War Museum London
Lambeth Road
London, England, SE1 6HZ
+44 (20) 7416 5000

Dali Universe

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

This gallery is for Dali or surrealism lovers only. Be prepared for an art gallery experience like none other. This is not for children. Dali was a very complex and interesting man, and only those with wild imaginations can fully appreciate this artist.

I was able to go for free, but from what I understand, it cost a couple pounds to get in. It is not a very big gallery, but it has a wide range of his works. The only other gallery that I know of that has his work is in Florida, so a trip, if you are in London, is worth it if you are fan.

To get to Dali Universe take the tube to the Wesminster tube station. Follow the signs to the Westminster Bridge exit. If for some chance you don't make it straight to the Thames and Westminster Bridge, (which is easy to do being that this is one of the biggest tube stations!), find Big Ben and walk towards the clock tower. The bridge you are facing is Westminster Bridge. Cross the bridge on the opposite side of Big Ben. Walk down the first set of steps you come to. You will walk past the Saatchi Gallery and you will see the London Eye (the big ferris wheel). Dali Universe is located between the London Eye and the Saatchi Gallery.

Dali Universe
County Hall Gallery
London, England, SE1 7PB
0870 744 7485

Victoria & Albert Museum

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

I lived about 6 blocks away from the V&A Museum. I, however, was left unimpressed.

The museum boasts a pretty good fashion history collections which includes threads from the 20th century (some Missoni dresses!) to 18th century shoes and petticoats. There is a good Asian artifacts collection which included Samurai armor and kimonos and the fakes and forgeries hall is interesting with the "We double dog dare you to tell the real from the fakes." Turns out the need to find new and interesting treasures and artifacts was so high people took up the profession of creating fakes so that more people would visit their attractions. It sounded better when they told the story. Anyway...

I flew through this museum in less than three hours, and I left really unsatisfied. The only thing that made up for the disappointment was the awesome collection of musical instruments. Musicians of all ages and types will appreciate this exhibit as evolutions of string and wind instruments are on display.

As with all museums in London: to avoid all those minuature adults running around go right when the museum opens or after 2pm! And as always the museum is FREE!! And never, ever visit this museum on a Saturday--NEVER. And don't forget to donate money.

The V&A museum also has the best gift shop out of all the museums in London. To get there I would suggest getting off at the Gloucester Road tube station. Walk to Cromwell Road (the busy one) and turn right. You can take the tube to the South Kensington tube station, but getting off at Gloucester Road makes for a nice walk and you will also walk past the Natural History and Science Museums as well. So why not, burn off all those extra scone calories!

Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road
London, England, SW7 2RL
+44 (20) 7942 2000

The Ministry of Sound

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

I went to MOS on a night that Chingy (rap artist) was there in VIP. I didn't see him, but I was able to dance to my favorite hip-hop tracks. The atmosphere was cool, and the music was definitely jumpin'! However, this is not a place for a group of three of three women. Bring several male friends or more girlfriends. The men in this particular club were extremely aggressive and sexual! My roommate had a man follow her to the bathroom, to VIP, to the bathroom, and back again! Only when a bouncer told him to stop did he stop for a minute, but he did continue to watch and follow her. But, overall, I had a great time and got my groove on.

Take the Bakerloo Line to Elephant & Castle. Walk straight out the tube station and on the left side of the street walk pass the bus stop. Make a left at the first street you come to. Walk along the street.

Caveat: It would be best to take a taxi if you are going to MOS just because of the weird location. But, be careful this is a haven for UNLICENSED cabs. They will over charge you, take you the extreme long ways and just are reputed to not be safe. It is however hard to find the real black cabbies rolling around. So it would be best to take a black cab there and before you go figure out the bus routes. My roommates and I did not get home until 6AM because we went on our tour of London at nighttime! At one point I got separted from them and found myself on an early morning tube by myself. I eventually made it...but NEVER AGAIN!!! Go to the London Transporataion website...it will tell what buses to take to get you where you need to go.

Ministry of Sound
103 Gaunt Street
London, England, SE1 6DP
08700600010

Fabric

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

I never actually went into this club because the line to get in was absolutely insane. I went with a group of about 10 or 12, and then me and my roommates decided to leave after waiting for an hour and half (and after a bouncer told us that we didn't really want to go to Fabric) and went to Ministry of Sound. However, from what my friends who decided to stay told me, it was not that great. This club is apparently notorious for its drug-paraphernalia usage. If this is your scene, then it's all good, but if you want good, clean fun, it's not. Everyone was high according to one friend, and the music was horrible according to another. So use your discretion.

Take the Circle Line to Farringdon. Make a left out of the tube station and follow the road.

Fabric
77a Charterhouse Street
London, England, EC1M 6AA
+44 (20) 7336 8898

Sainsbury's Supermarket

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

It has everything! I recommend getting a hotel room with a kitchen and cooking most of your meals. This is the best way to experience different foods, because you can prepare them how you like and also experiment. Plus, for some reason, the food just tastes different and better in a lot of ways. Aside from being more economic, this food tends to be healthier because most of it is organic or has no preservatives. You can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner on £25 a week!

Sainsbury's always had what I needed and wanted. They also have a self-service check-out! Just be prepared to bag your own groceries, whether you use the self-checkout or not. You are expected to bag your own stuff!

Sainsbury's Supermarket
15-17 Tottenham Court Road
London, England, W1J 8LT
(020) 7499-8221

The Irish Pub

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

The Irish Pub was absolutely fantastic! I went to this pub on St. Patrick's Day with a group of friends and had a great time with a group of Irish men who adopted me as their own! I, unfortunately, had someone spill an entire pint of Guinness down my pants, but that's bound to happen in room full of drunk Irish men!

The pub was packed to the brim with people, but I left with an experience like none other. Earlier in the day, the pub had an Irish band play traditional songs, and for every five pints of Guinness you drink, you got a free leprechaun hat!

From the Gloucester Road tube station, walk towards the traffic light (towards Boots). Cross the street and continue to walk up this road (a bank will be on your left). The pub is located on a corner. You will see it as you approach. You will pass another pub called The Black Widow.

There are plenty of places to sit or stand and there are actually two entrances so should the pub get extremely crowded you can head towards the closest exit. NO COVER!!! 10 pounds should get you through the night should you decide to make this your hangout spot!

The Irish Pub
South Kensington
London, England

The Rocket

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

The Rocket is all sorts of packed on Saturday! Mostly filled with college students, The Rocket was always a good time. If you purchase a yellow card (about 4 or 5 pounds and good for a year!), you can get drink specials, like £1 drinks or pints. The music is a good mix of hip-hop, pop, and rock. Don't be alarmed if you hear the Ghostbusters theme; just bust a move to "I ain't afraid of no ghost!" and you'll be okay!

One thing I really liked about the Rocket is that there is a really good mix of people from other countries. There will be students and travellers from Germany Belgium, France, Spain, Greece, Italy...everywhere!

Take the tube to Euston Station. As you come up the escalators, exit out the doors to the right. Walk past the bus stops to the main road that runs parallel to the station (Euston Road). Cross the street to the left (you'll be walking away from the station; stay on Euston Road) and continue to walk until you to come The Rocket.

Ladies be careful! Men in this pub like to be a little "free" with their hands and will grab body parts that you wouldn't mind say Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp grabbing!

The Rocket
120 Euston Rd.
London, England, NW1 2AL
020 7388 0021

Hombre De Bahia (Hombres)

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

Shiny poles, small round tables, mirrored walls with lighting trim?...Can we say Boogie Nights? This place reminds me of a ‘70s strip club, and the people who go there will remind you of that, too! However, the music was a good hip hop/pop mix and there were £1 drink specials. A friend of mine and I won a dance contest and got a bottle of champagne for it! Bring a student ID if you have one. Sometimes they take a couuple pounds off the cover if you have one.

You can play pool if you don't want to dance, and there is a coat check should you need to check it for £1.

Take the Tube to Oxford Circus. Walk to the Top Shop side and walk along and past Top Shop on Oxford Street. Walk on Oxford Street until you get to Berwick Street and make a left. Walk until you run into Hombres...Or when in doubt ASK A LOCAL!!!

Hombre De Bahia (Hombres)
78 Wells Street
London, England, W1T 3QH
020 7580 2881

Camden Market

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

Camden Town is the perfect place to go if you want to get a bunch of souvenirs. You can get the England zip-up track jackets that everyone has or wants. Don't be alarmed by prices; you can usually talk someone down in price.

Don't bother to buy shoes. Most of the stores lack good customer service and will not help you if don't look like you are going to buy something. Plus, they are overpriced for the quality, and you can't really barter with them.

Try to find the old horse stable. If you are into antiques, you can find old dishes and silverware and books. The vendors here are very friendly. One man struck up a conversation with me because he thought I was from California (I was wearing a University of Southern California sweatshirt). There are lots of food vendors, and getting a quick, cheap lunch is not difficult.

There is a Doc Marten store if you walk to the left of the tube station as you come out. This would be the best time to get them! While the exchange rate may make it more expensive, they can custom-fit them, and sometimes, just sometimes, the shoes are cheaper there than here in the States.

Take the Northern Line to Camden Town tube station.

Camden Market is also a great place to find a cheap lunch and you can find anything from fast food to Indian to Moraccan to Crepes to African...Everything. My friends were wild about the Chinese food they found there it was only TWO POUNDS!

Camden Markets
Camden High Street
Camden, London, England, NW1

Marks & Spencer

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

I never shopped here for clothes, just because it was a little too expensive for clothes that looked exactly like my office attire here at home, but Marks & Spencer has food marts in some locations that have specialty items you can't get at Sainsburys, and you can also exchange your money for no extra charge and at the best rates possible.

Marks & Spencer is really good for accessories though. My friends would dress-up an inexpensive outfit with cool accessories from here. I love how they have every color and design for their silk scarves!

The Kensington High Street location is the best for shopping here. I never experienced any type of severe crowds or hardship when it came to checking out or trying on clothes. Again I will reiterate that shopping between 12 and 5 are not advised at the major store chains. Too many crowds and queues!!

Marks & Spencer
458 Oxford Street
London, England, W1N 0AP
+44 20 7935 7954

Harrod's

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on May 9, 2005

If you can't find it at Harrod's, then you don't need it. Literally. I've tried to think of things that you can't buy at Harrod's; i'm still working on it!

Harrod's has everything you could possibily need or want. You can buy a puppy, for goodness sake! I bought my dog a supper dish in the traditional Harrod's green and gold. You can buy things in U.S. dollars, which is good to know to keep up with your expenses. You can buy food, clothes, shoes, belts, bags, purses, puppies, Tiffany jewelry, bling-bling, tea pots, ANYTHING! The best part: Krispy Kreme donuts!

Take Piccadilly Line to Knightsbridge. Signs will be posted to guide to the correct exit.

Check out the pet store! The puppies are so cute and you get your own Fido a piece of the Harrod's tradition. And bring your platnium Visa!

Caveat: Never go shopping mid-day! Never, ever in London...NEVER! Everyone and their mom shops at this point in time. It is best to go early as soon as the shops open or during dinner time like right after rush hour traffic...around 6 or 7.

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

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