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Other Things to do in London

Discussion in 'General' started by BentAnat, 2 Nov 2016.

  1. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    Hi, all.

    My lovely wife and myself will be visiting some friends in London between Xmas and New Year's day (28/12 to 01/01), for some famous London weather, and because London is a city I've always been interested in.

    Now - I reckon that time of the year is (as it is just about everywhere) a time when everything is jam-packed, expensive, and half the places close for a few days of rest.

    So far our plans include Camden Town (as wives tend to go, mine is interested in this), and a day of sight seeing.

    My words to my friends were "I reckon London is overwhelming, and too much to see in a short time anyway, so if we have a guide that goes 'Hey look - there's [insert landmark]. Here's a pub... let's have a pint', I'll be happy."
    I however have a sneaking suspicion there are things in London that one HAS TO see while there.

    My wife's not massively into museums and the likes (that said - Dinosaurs convince me of just about anything), but otherwise, we're keen on doing things that do not cost an arm and both legs.

    Suggestions, anyone?
     
  2. Arboreal

    Arboreal Well-Known Member

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    We took the kids to the SkyGarden at the top of the Walkie Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street) last trip to London.
    It's free, but you will need to book in advance, 'turn up on the day' tickets are very limited.
    Amazing views, garden is a bit like a miniature Eden Project and there's places to eat & drink at varying prices
    With much reluctance on their part, the family also went with me to the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park near Buckingham Palace.
    It is breathtaking with the larger than life bronze statues and lattice roof made from part of a WW2 Halifax bomber.
    What really was incredible was the public additions of flowers, letters, stories and photos about relatives who served in bomber command.
    Get good online info about walking in London, as the tube can be expensive. Some journeys are better and quicker on foot, and you get to see things e.g. Leicester Square [or even Trafalgar Square] to Covent Garden is waaay better on foot.
    /Freebie recomendations
     
  3. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    This sounds like good advice, and something I'll pitch to the wife and friends.

    Thank you!
     
  4. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Maximum Win

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    Leave.
     
    liratheal likes this.
  5. Strudul

    Strudul ~

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    London is far from the ideal location for that.

    You wanna be up North.
     
  6. kingred

    kingred Surfacing sucks!

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    I can recommend one of the food markets. Maltby Market is good, Borough Market is always rammed and 10 minutes away (It doesn't make sense) and has St John's Bakery there. Go get yourself a Donut.

    If you are feeling like some outlandishly delicious food outside of the norm try a couple of these resturants:-

    Hoppers (Sri Lankan, Soho)
    Som Saa (Northern Thai, Spitalfields Market)
    Caravan Coffee (Kings Cross, Southwark)
    Ozone Coffee (Shoreditch)
    Duck and waffle
    Chicken Sours (Korean/Japanese Style fried chicken, Haggerston)


    And if you can be bothered to go out of central there are plenty of good pubs about who do fresh, decent food like Southhampton Arms etc..

    To make your trip easier, install citymapper as it will give you the walking/tube/bus routes to where you need in a variety of options (its a literal life saver).

    Also look at Timeout Magazine for tips if you are stuck.

    I'm sure some other folks will chip in.
     
  7. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    More good advice.
    Thank you.

    NB: It doesn't have to be FREE (as some people here seem to understand) - I am aware that London is stupid expensive at anything it does. But 30 pounds (no idea how much it actually is) to go on a big wheel feels a bit like "not worth"
     
  8. Maki role

    Maki role Dale you're on a roll... Staff

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    There's a literal trucktonne of things to see and do in London, but it does largely depend on what you find interesting.

    For instance, around that time of year Regent Street and Piccadilly are rather lovely places to walk up and down. You could pop into Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly, it has a very old school charm, one of my favourite places. There's a fantastic ice-cream bar in there, along with all the festive items, the atmosphere is unrivalled.

    Personally I'd avoid Duck and Waffle. It's good, but I tried booking a table there recently 2 months in advance for 2 people and they were full the whole week. They're good, but not that good, not worth the wait if you ask me (can get into any number of significantly superior restaurants on shorter notice). Aquashard is very pleasant, and they're often on Opentable/Bookatable deals for lunch. Alternatively you can grab a burger at Patty and Bun or opt for a lobster roll at Burger and Lobster.

    You could always head further west to Richmond, it's lovely all year round. Very picturesque with the river winding through it and you have the park to wonder through also. Wonderful views from Pembroke lodge, although I would grab a bite to eat elsewhere as it's pretty rubbish.

    Could try bowling at All Star Lanes, if you want something different. The Bayswater one is featured in the film Kickass, it's where they get milkshakes. Again, eat elsewhere as their food's gone downhill, but the atmosphere is cool, very much retro Americana.

    The Electric Cinema in Portobello is a favourite too, plus they show normal films (rather than just arthouse type ones many do). Can sit back in a comfy leather chair or on a bed even, with some good food under a cashmere blanket as you watch the film.
     
  9. gagaga

    gagaga Member

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    You can do a walk-up price to go up the Shard for £100 each ;) Seriously, there is a bar you can go to on the 30th where you get a great view of the City of London, tower bridge etc for the price of a drink.

    The river trips are great - Tate Britain to Greenwich is awesome, get a view of the whole central city and then get to stomp around the Naval College (now Greenwich Uni) and up the hill for the meridian. About 10 bazillion films have been filmed around there (Pirates of the Caribbean, Les Mis etc). Make sure you go in the Tate first as it's free (apart from the special exhibitions).
     
  10. jinq-sea

    jinq-sea 'write that down in your copy book' Super Moderator

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    Having worked in the building, I can confirm that the bars are decent, but pricey. I was in them quite a lot...!

    Aqua Shard - make sure you have shoes (not trainers) on and you look 'respectable' (ish). Expect £18(!) for a Negroni but the view is first class. Hutong has a bar, as does the Shangri-La, and they are spendy too. Still cheaper than the 'view from the shard' but a bit less impressive, balanced out by the fact you can get a bit pissed.
     
  11. Gooey_GUI

    Gooey_GUI Wanted: Red Shirts

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    I saw this a couple years back (online) and subconsciously put it in my wish list of things to do if I ever get to London. Perhaps people who have more experience with this way of touring London will give it a yea or nay.

    Duck Tours
    http://www.londonducktours.co.uk/
     
  12. Maki role

    Maki role Dale you're on a roll... Staff

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    Tried that a few years back, not that impressed I have to say. Basically really uncomfortable for a while and you don't get a very good view. Probably better off sticking to one of the normal boats up and down the river tbh.
     
  13. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    Up and down the river sounds like an option, though.

    Good advice in this thread, so far.
     
  14. Arboreal

    Arboreal Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the river is a good option.

    We did the London RIB experience earlier in the year, a run from the London Eye up to Canary Wharf and back with a commentary and a few high speed (30+ knots) runs. It wasn't cheap, but was interesting for an hour.
    One thing about the Duck Tour we did a few years ago which was cool, was the fact that you go down a side road to a slipway to enter the river, which is alongside the famous MI6 building at Vauxhall; very James Bond.

    You'd see as much by taking one of the river ferries (Thames Clippers IIRC) which you can pay for on your Oyster Card*.
    We've done Canary Wharf to Embankment a couple of times, I'd like to see the Thames Barrier next time.

    * Have a look at the Oyster card system, you pay for buses and the tube with it, or can use a contactless (NFC) debit/credit card if you have one.
     
  15. yodasarmpit

    yodasarmpit No longer the other Brett.

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    I'll be back down this year over the New Year period, will be looking to go up the Sky Garden again (you can only book 3 weeks in advance), probably have a glass or four up Vertigo 42 (great views of St Pauls, and works out about the same as going up the Shard but with a bottle of Champagne thrown in).

    Dinner at the Hawksmoor has been booked this New Years eve after an awesome dinner last year.

    Also try out Flat Iron in Covent Garden for great steak at a great price.

    The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland will be open, just head to one of the beer shacks (one with a heater) and watch thevworld go by.

    Go ice skating at Somerset House
     
  16. Stotherd-001

    Stotherd-001 Member

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    If you can, book things in advance. You can save well over 50% sometimes. The london eye, aquarium, madame tussauds and london dungeon have deals here:
    https://www.madametussauds.co.uk/london/en/tickets/

    Effectively means the booking costs £21 but each attraction costs £9 on top. Makes the eye almost affordable if you're going to the others too.

    Cost wise, things are a little cheaper now than they were for tourists, thanks to the falling pound, but its still expensive.
     
  17. kingred

    kingred Surfacing sucks!

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    I would go to the hunterian before it closes for a few years. Its probably one of the best under the radar museums and charts the discovery and inception of modern medicine.
     
  18. Sir Digby

    Sir Digby The Supprising Adventures

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    I enjoyed the Sir John Soane museum, on the opposite side of the square from the Hunterian museum, too. Both the house and the art were worth seeing, if you're into that.

    The curators are knowledgeable and very ready to talk about the art / museum / John Soane too.

    If you're not interested in museums though, see a play maybe?
     
  19. wolfticket

    wolfticket Downwind from the bloodhounds

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    Your mileage my vary, but for me, art. All the art. So many amazing galleries.

    My favourite is the Courtauld Gallery in Somerset House (not free but well worth it).
    The Wallace Collection is big, free and rather wonderful. It's really central (not far off Oxford Street) and overlooked by many. Good collection of armour and weapons too.

    It's definitely worth exploring beyond the Tate Britain/Modern and the National/National Portrait, although I could spend days just in them.
     
  20. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    ...for the "Dinosaurs convince me of just about anything" argument, there's the Natural History Museum - together with the attached Geological Museum and the Science Museum next door; and if that's a little too sciency, then the V&A is just around the corner (if you don't know, it's a museum of culture, art & design - if your wife is into fashion, then this is the place to go)
     

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