Author Topic: London / UK recommendations  (Read 731 times)

Stephen

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London / UK recommendations
« on: April 17, 2019, 11:11:54 am »
Long time lurker / occasional annoying poster with a question if anyone can help (Limey?)
My wife and I are going to London for about 3 days and then ideally an Old World, "Europe - y" smaller town in England for 3 days this summer. We are thinking of seeing a play in London and would like to do a couple of other interesting things while there. We're leaving three young children with the grandparents so a week is as long as we can be away.
For the smaller town, my wife has visions of sipping coffee in a town square and seeing Europe-feeling architecture all around. She is thinking possibly Bath at this point.
Any recommendations for what we shouldn't miss in London this summer or a fun smaller town that will have that Old World charm?
Thanks!
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juliogotay

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2019, 11:32:26 am »
I enjoyed Windsor Castle which is a short train ride (45 minutes?) from London. Windsor also could meet your small town scenario although it may not be that prototypical.

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2019, 11:51:53 am »
If u want to stay reasonably close to London for the small town part of the experience, anything in the Cotswolds will do. It’s a beautiful area and well suited for small walks between the hamlets.
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Bench

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2019, 12:31:38 pm »
Be sure to see Westminster abbey. Truly one of the great historical sites of the western world and the experience with Notre Dame compels that you should never miss a chance to see a place like that.
The Churchill war rooms are amazing.
The British Library has a fantastic collection of writings from the Magna Carta to the birthday card John Lennon wrote A Hard Days Night.
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Limey

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2019, 12:58:29 pm »
Far too much to do in London for any kind of digest here.  I suggest taking a hop-on/hop-off bus tour and spend a day on that.  The London Eye (giant bicycle wheel at Westminster on the river) will give you an idea of everything.  I second Westminster Abbey for the history and would add St. Paul’s cathedral for the grandeur.  Also St. Paul’s has a great view from the outside, plus you can take the footbridge across the river to the Tate Modern and the Globe theatre. 

Get an Oyster Card (at any tube station) and use it public transport.  It’s easy and soooooo much cheaper.  Like 1/4qtr if the one-at-a-time tickets.  You just load up some money and re-load if it runs a little low.  The famous London taxis are great but cost an arm and two legs these days. 

As for an out of town destination, again, far too many to mention, but I concur with Bath.  You can take the train there and you can just walk your balls off.  Go to the Royal Crescent and on the way back have a meat pie at The Raven Pub.   The Roman baths are over 2,000 years old (and the water tastes like it).
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chuck

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2019, 03:12:17 pm »
Be sure to see Westminster abbey. Truly one of the great historical sites of the western world and the experience with Notre Dame compels that you should never miss a chance to see a place like that.

This. If you do one tourist thing in London it absolutely has to be this.

There's a Caravaggio in the National Gallery that I never fail to check in on but over the years I have learned that for some reason its appeal is not universal.
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HudsonHawk

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2019, 03:58:57 pm »
What if I wanted to go see the Texans play there in November?  Asking for a friend.
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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2019, 04:26:39 pm »
And how far is Manchester from London?  How easy is it to get from one to the other?
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Col. Sphinx Drummond

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2019, 04:36:44 pm »
The Tower of London and Tower Bridge are a nice visit and not far from, St Paul's and the Globe. Second the National Gallery and The Natural History Museum.
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Col. Sphinx Drummond

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2019, 04:41:08 pm »
And how far is Manchester from London?  How easy is it to get from one to the other?
210 miles or so.
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Limey

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2019, 05:11:21 pm »
And how far is Manchester from London?  How easy is it to get from one to the other?

Take the train.  Both cities have extensive public transport so you can get pretty much door to door. 

For any awkward little journeys, your Uber account will work - if you have data roaming. 
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Limey

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2019, 05:12:47 pm »
The Tower of London and Tower Bridge are a nice visit and not far from, St Paul's and the Globe. Second the National Gallery and The Natural History Museum.

It’s not quite as compact as Rome but, if you put your walking shoes on, you can see a lot just on foot. 
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Nate in IA

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2019, 07:16:11 pm »
Don't forget the Museum of Plunder..  errr  the British Museum...    some really fantastic pieces in there..

subnuclear

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2019, 07:24:36 pm »
I've been in London for 2 days in my life and spent them both in the British Museum. Would spend another day if I get the opportunity. Just a personal preference, though, would like to do many other things listed here.

Limey

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2019, 08:35:23 pm »
Most museums and many other places of interest are free.  Not free:  Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace (if it's open).  I think the Tower is borderline as a value proposition, but the Abbey and St. Paul's are well worth it.  Skip Buck House unless you have a major royal fetish.  Tourist attractions that are really flashy are probably really crap - go for the stuff that looks authentic and not brash or shouty.

This is why I think the bus tour is a good first day thing; because you can hop off and on, and see stuff as you go, but also make some notes to revisit things that catch your eye and you want to devote more time.

Taking a river boat along the Thames (pronounced "Tems") is fun too if you get a boat with commentary.  You can pay with your Oyster card, and you get to see some interesting things with (hopefully) an entertaining guide.  They run from Westminster Bridge ("Look kids!  Big Ben...parliament.") to the Tower, so you can use it to commute from one to the other.

Do grab a pint and a sandwich in every any pub you come across.  Just look for anything that looks cozy and authentic (and not shouty).  The Lamb in Leadenhall Market, if you find yourself in the City of London, is interesting not only because the Market was a set for Harry Potter (it's Diagon Ally) but you will have some great people watching - namely the peacocks of Lloyd's of London (also Young's isn't a bad pint).  Speaking of movie references, the Lloyd's building was used in Guardians of the Galaxy, as a part of Xandar's capital city that was being dive-bombed by the Accuser's raiders.

Also in the City: the Gerkin, the Cheesegrater, the Walkie Talkie and the Shard; the latter having a viewing deck at its very peak.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 08:46:53 pm by Limey »
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Limey

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2019, 08:42:53 pm »
Oh, and British electricity will fry your US hairdryers, straighteners, razors etc. etc.  If you have the appropriate step-down transformer...it will fry that too.

If you're in a hotel, check to see if they supply those things if you need them.  If not, and you can't live without, buy cheap UK versions at Boots (think CVS with more class).  Unless you have access to USB ports, you might want to buy a UK phone charger as well while you're at it.  Take a USB-splitter with you to charge multiple devices at once.

You can drink the tap water.
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Limey

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2019, 08:44:45 pm »
Costa Coffee or local.  Never Starbucks.
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Bench

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2019, 09:01:38 pm »
The Lamb in Leadenhall Market, if you find yourself in the City of London, is interesting not only because the Market was a set for Harry Potter (it's Diagon Ally) but you will have some great people watching - namely the peacocks of Lloyd's of London (also Young's isn't a bad pint). 

Really? I've stood countless pints at The Lamb and had no idea it was such an auspicious place. I just figured it was a place to buy drinks for clients who didn't feel comfortable lunching at the Steam Bar. As an aside, if you have a drunken lunch filled with welsh rarebit and coronation chicken sandwiches you'll have done yourself a favor.

Leadenhall Market in general is a marvelous place. There's a liquor store in Leadenhall Market that reliably has bottles of Pappy cheaper than you can find in the States, to the extent you could even find one over here at all.  But other than admiring the modern architecture from afar, there's little need to be in the City beyond visiting the Tower of London.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 09:03:15 pm by Bench »
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Limey

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2019, 09:56:11 pm »
Really? I've stood countless pints at The Lamb and had no idea it was such an auspicious place. I just figured it was a place to buy drinks for clients who didn't feel comfortable lunching at the Steam Bar. As an aside, if you have a drunken lunch filled with welsh rarebit and coronation chicken sandwiches you'll have done yourself a favor.

Leadenhall Market in general is a marvelous place. There's a liquor store in Leadenhall Market that reliably has bottles of Pappy cheaper than you can find in the States, to the extent you could even find one over here at all.  But other than admiring the modern architecture from afar, there's little need to be in the City beyond visiting the Tower of London.


Can’t disagree with any of that. 
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chuck

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Re: London / UK recommendations
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2019, 10:12:34 pm »
I bought an outSTANding pair of boots in the City once. I have no idea what I was doing there.
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