Travel Advisory: London

Here is a blog post devoted to what you Londonophiles have always wanted to do – share with Troppodillians your deep knowledge of London. Ill be in London from the 31st of March to the 2nd or 3rd of April and wondered if any Troppodillians can suggest a place to stay. Im trying to find the best combination of these things as possible, though I realise I probably cant have them all.

  • Cheapness would be nice but not essential
  • Closeness to the centre which I define as Trafalgar Square so within half a kilometre of Trafalgar Square
  • It would be nice if it had an informal atmosphere in which people mingled a little so that one can meet the odd fellow tourist
  • A youth hostel usually fits all these criteria. . . .
  • And one would be OK for me, but it would have to have half way decent rooms warm, clean, quiet sheets and bedclothes provided. Small, private, single rooms, are fine. I’m afraid I don’t do dorms any more! 

Any thoughts?

Who knows how many London readers we have – perhaps none since Tim Watts reentered Australia’s atmosphere, but if any want to organise a get together, I’ll come along if I can. 

Also, I’m open to suggestions as to what to do.  I’ve got some appointments, so in total perhaps a couple of days to myself.  I always make a bee line to the Art Gallery at Trafalgar Square and the Tate, and I wander around a lot.  What other things shouldn’t I miss – or since that’s a silly thing to say – there are so many things to miss in London if you only have two days – what other things wouldn’t you miss if you only had a couple of days.

Are there any great plays or exhibitions on?  Oh – and recommendations of great restaurants – cheap is best, expensive is not out of the question – always appreciated.

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Nabakov
Nabakov
12 years ago

Visit the Sir John Soane Museum if you get a chance
http://www.soane.org/
A wonderfully eclectic and eccentric place.

Be sure to check out its wonderful collection of 18th engravings and oils including Hogarth’s hilarious election series.

Patrick
12 years ago

I am not sure it works in the UK yet but hotwire.com is excellent for booking hotels much more cheaply – you do take a risk of getting a less-than-perfect-location because you can only book by district. Still it worked a treat for me (in the US).

mick
mick
12 years ago

I can’t recommend any particular place to stay but I would suggest using wotif or lastminute to find a hotel (I’m actually doing the same thing for the same period right now!).

As for (other) things to do in London:
– If you are looking for a decent coffee you really should venture to Flat White in Soho, which is a short walk from Trafalgar square.
– Definitely check out the British Mueseum, so many amazing things!
– The Natural History Mueseum is pretty cool too.
– I love wandering around Camden Markets, and the new pub/gallery “The Proud” is pretty cool. Though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
– The V & A mueseum is meant to be pretty awesome though I’ve never been.
– Oh, of course you have to visit Westminster and Buckingham palace, goes without saying if you haven’t done it before…

I came across this great little clip on YouTube a few days back if you were looking for some non-typical suggestions (my suggestions above are pretty much the standard).

Nabakov
Nabakov
12 years ago

Some value for money hotels Ive stayed at in London.

http://www.londonnethotels.co.uk/Tavistock_Hotel.htm
http://www.londonnethotels.co.uk/Caesar_Hotel_London.htm

Also a friend stayed once at Imperial College which rents out student rooms during the off-season and says it had very nice digs for the price..
http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/

Some great bookshops. Waterstones on Piccadilly, Foyles, on Oxford and the London Review Bookshop and Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street.

Other interesting things to do in London Town

The War Cabinet Rooms is well worth a visit. Charged with history and atmosphere.
http://cwr.iwm.org.uk/

The Imperial War Museum is always good value. As is the suprisingly big and interesting Bank of England Museum.
http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/museum/

The National Portrait Gallery is fantastic. I think its one of most patronised arts venues in the UK, and rightly so. It puts a wonderful and often surprising face on history. Who knew until you visited the place that Hogarth looked like a extra from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, that the young Winston Churchill looked like the young Truman Capote, that Edward 7 so obviously came from the same gene pool as Henry 8, that William Turner was as pretty a Sarf London pop star as Bowie, that Isambard Kingdom Brunel could have given Jack Nicholson a run for his money on screen, that Oliver Cromwell actually had a sense of humour and and that Oscar Wilde was built like a brick shithouse.

Catch the robot light rail to Greenwich which is great to potter around in from the Cutty Sark to the Royal Observatory where you can stand astride GMT to other Wren masterworks like the Greenwich Hospital.

The V&A is good too. Once famously advertised as “an ace cafe with quite a nice museum attached.”

Stroll along the South Bank which is done up very nicely these days, from the London Eye either upriver to opposite the Palace of Westminster or downriver to the Tate Modern and Shakespeares Globe Theatre. Along the way you can also board a perfect replica of Drake’s Golden Hind and rest your feet in MI6’s charming riverside piazza (cheerfully open to the public).

And some general travel tips for London.

London cabbies also provide shoeshines at no extra charge.

It is customary to shake hands with everyone on entering a Tube carriage.

If you are visiting the Tower of London, be aware they have a serious raven infestation. The locals will be most grateful if you do your bit to scare off any you see.

If you get the urge for a round of Counter Strike or Halo, just head to the games arcades around Piccadilly Circus and ask the likely young lads loitering there if theyre up for some roleplaying games. Youll be surprised at the number of responses you get.

London cabbies also provide shoeshines at no extra charge.

Prostitutes only work the streets in early November. They can be easily recognised by the little red flowers they sell from trays.

If you are caught short and need to spend a penny, there are some magnificent public conveniences on Pall Mall. Make sure you tip the attendant.

The English take great delight in the high spirits of their antipodean cousins. So if you re attending a match at Lords and an Australian scores a boundary, feel free to run onto the field and shout Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! A large white screen on wheels is thoughtfully provided as a backdrop for such activities.

And don’t forget to try the famous echo at the British Library Reading Room.

skepticlawyer
12 years ago

If you’re interested in visiting Oxford, Nick, I’m more than happy to play tour guide and organise a place for you to stay. Email me privately and we’ll go from there.

murph the surf
murph the surf
12 years ago

44 Curzon Street has studios and rooms available for periods from one day to many weeks.
They have a couple of places close to the main office address actually . The location is central to everything.
For a drink the Horse and Hounds in Soho- just try to remember Jeffrey Barnard and drink accordingly.

Nabakov
Nabakov
12 years ago

“For a drink the Horse and Hounds in Soho”

Alas it’s not quite what it was when Jeffery used to get..um..legless there.

I stopped in for a drink in 2007 and it was full of young Soho media guns explaining loudly to their dates the exciting things they were gonna do with viral marketing.

Your correspondent made his excuses and left, and then blundered around Soho into the revamped Colony Room.

Which was also full of young Soho media guns explaining loudly to their dates the exciting things they were gonna do with viral marketing.

Fuck that. I ended up that night in a private drinking club in Mayfair full of good honest con men, criminal lawyers, mistresses on their evening off, art dealers, real estate agents and other charming crooks.

Patrick
12 years ago

NG may be just in time to give the Horse & Hounds another run then … I suspect that the young Soho media guns are a little quieter at the moment, if not simply at home and dateless.