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lofter1
February 17th, 2008, 01:47 AM
I'm planning a trip to London soon (it's been ages since I've been over there and no doubt everything is different). Will be visiting and staying with friends, so lodging is not an issue.

Heading over the first week of March and I'm hoping for some travel tips:

1) Transport: Is there a weekly type pass for the Underground? If so is it also usable on busses in London? Info on cost and usefulness would be appreciated.

2) Food: A few great neighborhoods / locales for low cost and tasty cuisine from around the world would be appreciated. Or great places to grab some food for eating in the park or on a bench.

3) Museums: Is there any sort of comprehensive pass that is worthwhile? or is it best to buy as you go? (In NYC I find that memberships are great because after 2 hours my brain starts to go numb. All day inside one museum is not my idea of the best of times :cool: .) My main goal museum-wise is the Tate Modern. How much time would a sensible person put aside for the TM?

4) Theater: Any plays (not musicals, thank you) that people highly recommend?

5) Any quirky or peculiar or just darned wonder ways to spend a couple of hours that tourists just wouldn't know about?

6) Anything else?

zupermaus
February 19th, 2008, 09:18 AM
ohmigaaawd where do I start?

1. Invest in the Oyster Card scheme like most Londoners, you can put as much money on the card as you like and use it as lng as you like and you get automatically half price on single journeys etc. If you swipe so many single journeys it adds up to the equivalent of an all day travel pass, the card will deduct only that limit, you wont be paying more.

2. Great cheap, ethnic cuisine is found literally everywhere the cheapest being East Asian restaurants. In the East End South Asian cuisine is more common and pretty cheap. For the cheapest food head for the markets, the best place for picnicking would be to stock up at a local independent deli, Marks & Spencer, Eat (these can be pricey though). For sitdown food, just ask anywhere for Wagamama for pan Asian food, a big and popular chain - cheap, clean and modern.

3.Most major museums are free, don't buy the 'London Pass' it costs the earth for not that great a selection, and youve got to do 3 at least sites a day to make your money back. British Museum, Natural History, Victoria and Albert, Science Museum, National Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern are ALL free aswell as being the biggest and greatest museums in the world.

5. The markets. The best I highly reccomend is BrickLane- Spitalfields on a Sunday (Aldgate East tube or Liverpoool Street). The place has to be seen to be beleived, the best people watching in the world. Failing that Portobello Market in Notting Hill tube.

lofter1
February 19th, 2008, 10:16 AM
Thanks ^

Thi is exactly the kind of info I was hoping for.

Other please feel free to chime in ...

Alonzo-ny
February 19th, 2008, 11:13 AM
I had some good craic in Covent Garden for food and a drink, but this might be like a New Yorker suggesting times square?

milleniumcab
February 20th, 2008, 07:30 AM
I like to know about hotels. My wife might be planning a trip to London. Need a hotel in Central London that is not going to brake the bank. Do they exist over there?..Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

ablarc
February 20th, 2008, 08:04 AM
^ Premier Travel Inn County Hall. 99 pounds nightly.

zupermaus
February 20th, 2008, 08:21 AM
One word of warning, don't eat near the touristic areas, prices will be hiked (unless its a reputable chain), and the food/ service process-standard. Also be aware gorgeous looking pubs, olde and bedecked in flowers, can be grim and overpriced inside, especially near the tourist zones - Leicester Square, Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square, and sometimes Covent Garden are repeat offendors. Do check out the sidestreets and alleyways, theyre often much better than the on the main streets.


For your visit to London I heartily reccommend you:

1. Visit a park if you see it, for people watching as much as landscape, and just getting away from it all. Regents Park is gorgeous, Hyde Park great for people.

2. Get lost- just pick a direction and wander. This is one of the great things to appreciate in such a messy city, the hidden gems, the winding streets, and and youll bound to come across a few hundred of the 30,000 protected buildings in the city. PS Dont be put off by dodgy looking areas/ people either, uniquely some of the poorest areas of the city are also the safest. Don't be afraid to ask for help or directions either, from anyone. People will be standoffish if you strike up a conversation, but totally helpful if you need help. Also bear in mind London is possibly the most mixed city in the world in terms of how massive and myriad the cultural communities are, and how much they mix with each other (there isnt a single residential 'ghetto' either despite 50-60 percent of the central population being foreign born, lowering to 30 percent in the suburbs) - Embrace it and enjoy it.

3. You need to get to one of the major markets, especially on the weekend (avoid Camden though, which is full of tourists, pickpockets and tat). If you really want to see London at play, this is where the locals take the office suits off:

Brick Lane on Sundays - the coolest place on the planet -from Brazilian Capoeira bands to Japanese hippies selling their belongings, to art classes on the street, to South African barbecues and Laotian foodvans, interspersed with the local curry mile, galleries du jour and whats said to be the greatest concentration of artists in the world. This market is conjoined onto the Spitalfields Crafts market on a parrallel road, do check both of them out.

Portobello Road - slightly classier (and more staid), great cheap streetfood, beautiful old buildings and enough urban vibe to warrant an edge.

Borough Market- an organic foods market, voted the favourite of Londoners. The food is superb and with enough of the street variety to allow you to pick one item from each stall.


To finish, dont expect an old world city preserved in aspic, you may be sorely disappointed. Theres alot of ugliness and beauty in equal measure, the trick is to expect it and enjoy the plurality. Also don't expect the locals to be a vision of genteel politeness as the stereotype says, rather the underpaid service staff can be pretty sullen.
If youre travelling on the tube, beware rush hour 7am-10am, 5pm-7pm, and again (fridays-Sundays) a proper rush hour of people going out 7pm-9pm, coming home early 11pm-midnight. From then on nightbuses will be crammed on the weekends right till 5am.

milleniumcab
February 20th, 2008, 09:20 AM
^ Premier Travel Inn County Hall. 99 pounds nightly.

Thanks Ablarc, but that's almost $200 a night. Are there other possibilities in a safe area?..

ablarc
February 20th, 2008, 11:44 AM
^ You're talking about LONDON.

Rule of thumb: in London you pay in pounds what you'd pay in dollars in New York. In New York, 99 bucks is a bargain, no?

Gregory Tenenbaum
February 20th, 2008, 01:13 PM
Make sure you fly to London City Airport!

From Liveleak today:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=320_1203457189

Its ..... Exhilarating!

SkyHigh
February 20th, 2008, 08:42 PM
I'll find some info in a bit and whack it up here a bit later, bit busy at the moment.

SkyHigh
February 20th, 2008, 09:34 PM
http://www.hotelcavendish.com

http://www.gardencourthotel.co.uk

http://www.melbournehousehotel.co.uk

http://www.morganhouse.co.uk

http://www.ridgemounthotel.co.uk

These are available on a budget basis, similar to Best Western:

http://www.travelodge.co.uk/find_a_hotel/results.php?search_type=4&search=City%20of%20London%2C%20Gtr%20London&id=5449

What's On Guide to London, look at Time Out Magazine, available everywhere - online too: http://www.timeout.com/london/

milleniumcab
February 21st, 2008, 12:18 AM
^ You're talking about LONDON.

Rule of thumb: in London you pay in pounds what you'd pay in dollars in New York. In New York, 99 bucks is a bargain, no?

I gueeesss..:(

Gregory Tenenbaum
February 21st, 2008, 05:13 AM
Just dont get sick when you're there.

http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/1702_laundry.shtml

News of the World is so funny. Its like the National Enquirer - but real!

lofter1
February 21st, 2008, 09:15 AM
The better option to avoid sickness is to ignore posts from GT ;)

ablarc
February 21st, 2008, 01:22 PM
5) Any quirky or peculiar or just darned wonder ways to spend a couple of hours that tourists just wouldn't know about?
The embedded villages (absorbed towns) of Hampstead, Richmond and Greenwich. All of these have in common that they existed and had their character determined before the city grew up around them.

My favorite is Hampstead. This will remind you quaintly of both Georgetown, DC and the West Village --with a little Chestnut Hill (PHL) thrown in. There are crooked streets, pubs, quirky houses, artistic touches, surreal stillness, ladies in sensible shoes, and a vasty heath. Marooned in the Heath, look for the Vale of Health. (Are there still bumper cars?).

Hampstead has its own playhouse and the Everyman cinema, like the old Thalia known for its revival of classics. See Freud’s House (psychiatrist’s couch within), Kenwood House (owns a Vermeer), Parker and Unwin’s Hampstead Garden Suburb (some Lutyens), Spaniard’s Inn (1585), a paneled pub at various times the haunt of locals Byron, Keats and Marx.

On Hampstead’s picturesque High Street: Louis’ Hungarian Pastry Shop (heart failure guaranteed for regulars). On your way back, stop at Highgate Cemetery and visit Karl’s grave. He has a big head and a great view.

ablarc
February 21st, 2008, 04:40 PM
5) Any quirky or peculiar or just darned wonder ways to spend a couple of hours that tourists just wouldn't know about?
More embedded villages (absorbed towns). London's been called a City of Villages. Hampstead isn’t the only one; you may not even think it’s the best. Others:

Handsome Richmond comes with a vast deer park and a picturesque center, replete with alleys. Architectural pride of place belongs to Richmond Riverside, a marvelous riverfront complex of traditional buildings by the alternately esteemed or scorned Quinlan Terry. Like Hampstead, Richmond has a respected theatre with lively and varied offerings.

Though the Tube runs there, Richmond is best accessed by the frequent train from Waterloo. Stop at Don Fernando’s for tapas at the station before you return, whether it’s by tube or train.

Greenwich is now reachable by Docklands Light Rail from Canary Wharf, though I’d get off at Island Gardens, the last Docklands stop, and walk under the Thames via Sir Alexander Binnie’s ominously dripping pedestrian tunnel (1902). Upon emerging on the far side, you may or may not be greeted by a restored Cutty Sark, but you’ll certainly want to take in Wren’s magnificent buildings, Inigo Jones’ Queen’s House and probably the Observatory up the hill. The town’s pretty nice too, and features a lively weekend market. The train will whisk you back to your choice of London stations in a jiffy if you’re tired of the toonerville DLR.

Glenda Jackson lives in the picturesque urban village of Blackheath, best-known architecturally for The Paragon (1794-1805), Michael Searles’ masterpiece of subdivision planning. Fourteen seemingly identical but actually different houses form a crescent of mind-blowing elegance, simultaneously attached and detached. Now split into ritzy apartments, this remains a world-class architectural attraction and a Grade I Listed Monument.

Not far from Greenwich (look into bus routes).

10-12 minutes by train from Victoria Station to West Dulwich) or London Bridge Station to North Dulwich lies Dulwich, a village with medieval roots and a prestigious prep school, Dulwich College. The college operates a more-than-splendid but well-kept secret: Dulwich Picture Gallery, perhaps Sir John Soane’s magnum opus. If you tire of the Rembrandts, Van Dycks and Canalettos, there are special exhibitions of the highest order: March 14-June 8 will feature a major show of American [!] art from Homer and Eakins to Pollock. Whichever station you arrived at, take the other one back; they’re equidistant from the Gallery, and you won’t have to retrace your steps (but be sure you don’t mistakenly get off at distant East Dulwich Station!)Or take the P4 bus to …

…Brixton, a town of a different color (literally!). This is home to London’s Caribbean population and an unbelievably lively (and tacky) Mo-Sa street market, as well as a club scene (Brixton Academy, Fridge, et al.). Brixton has lots of murders, and not all of it is safe at night.

By contrast, Islington (Tube: Angel), a liberal-intellectual ghetto, is home to the genteel Camden Passage Market, haunt of bookworms and curio mavens: antiquarian books, antiques, high-quality knick-knacks. Also here: the renowned moderne Almeida Theatre (very serious) and Sadler’s Wells (dance).

Further up Upper street, near Canonbury Road, you’ll find an idyllic mixture of rowhouses and mansions in bosky surrounds. A place in the city where you can find solitude. (Find the Tudor “tower” if you can.) Especially impressive to an architecture buff like you: Georgian Canonbury Square and arts-and-crafts Union Chapel, a largish venue which functions as both a church and a concert hall –sometimes big-name rock. Tube: Islington.

lofter1
February 21st, 2008, 07:05 PM
thanks ^

I've cut and pasted and created my own little "zupermaus' & ablarc's very personal guide to London"

;)

SkyHigh
February 21st, 2008, 11:22 PM
Just dont get sick when you're there.

http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/1702_laundry.shtml

News of the World is so funny. Its like the National Enquirer - but real!

The News of the World is the trashiest rag excuse for a newspaper on the planet, make no mistake about it. It's absolutely awful, with about as much integrity to true journalism as a concrete hang glider.

UK Sterling is about double the strength of the US $. Given the strength of the Pound against the dollar, many Americans would find London extremely expensive. Don't say you were not warned in advance.

Sure you can see London on a budget, but be prepared to be really shocked at the prices of accommodation, goods and services over here. For example gas (petrol) is currently running at around $2.10 a litre, no, not a gallon, you read it right, a litre. That is just a typical comparison.

Or put another way, many UK citizens now find it cheaper and more cost effective when buying new clothes to fly to NY the other side of the Atlantic for a long weekend, to driving 20 miles in to London to buy a new wardrobe lol - yes it's true. :eek::D

Having said all of that, London is like no other city on earth and it's an immensely enjoyable and invigorating city to visit.

Enjoy your stay!!

Best wishes.

Mark

MidtownGuy
February 22nd, 2008, 12:17 AM
Does anyone here believe the dollar will ever rise again to a level of parity with the Euro or Pound? I'm an artist, not an economist, but it seems to me that something has changed fundamentally. I even read in National Geographic this month that there is a new scientific "brain drain" heading in the opposite direction- from the US over to Europe.

nick-taylor
February 22nd, 2008, 04:33 AM
I'm planning a trip to London soon (it's been ages since I've been over there and no doubt everything is different). Will be visiting and staying with friends, so lodging is not an issue.
Heading over the first week of March and I'm hoping for some travel tips:
1) Transport: Is there a weekly type pass for the Underground? If so is it also usable on busses in London? Info on cost and usefulness would be appreciated.
2) Food: A few great neighborhoods / locales for low cost and tasty cuisine from around the world would be appreciated. Or great places to grab some food for eating in the park or on a bench.
3) Museums: Is there any sort of comprehensive pass that is worthwhile? or is it best to buy as you go? (In NYC I find that memberships are great because after 2 hours my brain starts to go numb. All day inside one museum is not my idea of the best of times .) My main goal museum-wise is the Tate Modern. How much time would a sensible person put aside for the TM?
4) Theater: Any plays (not musicals, thank you) that people highly recommend?
5) Any quirky or peculiar or just darned wonder ways to spend a couple of hours that tourists just wouldn't know about?
6) Anything else?Zupermaus has pretty much covered all the points, but I would add something extra

1) Get one of these:

http://i.thisislondon.co.uk/i/pix/2007/01/oystercardL110107_243x190.jpg

1) The oystercard is contactless and can be used on not just the London Underground, but the DLR, Trams, and the entire London Bus network. You can also use it on some (but not all) of the National Rail network that acts like a second metro system across London. There are plans to extend the Oyster across all of the National Rail lines from across the metro (and possibly nationwide), but these have yet to be put into practice. The reason I bring this up, is because if you decide the go to say Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge, elsewhere in the London metro or across the UK you will need to get a National Rail ticket.

It is also far cheaper than using paper travelcards. You can buy one from most stations and you can top up as you go at stations or local shops. The genius is that money kept on the card can be used tomorrow or 10 years down the line. Just remember to tap once on the bus and in and out when on the Underground.

Remember also that London isn't restricted like most other cities around the world to one or two central stations - there are 13 termini in Central London, so for example if you want to go to Cambridge, use London Liverpool St, for Oxford, London Paddington, and for Brighton: London Victoria. If you want to go to Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool use London Euston, for Newcastle, York and elsewhere use London King's Cross.

I would also suggest visiting a few of the termini just because of their architectural diversity. My highlights would be London Paddington, London St Pancras, London King's Cross, London Liverpool St, London Waterloo, and London Victoria. The diversity in architectural styles is unparalled.

Use these sources as if they were the Bible:

London Rail Urban
http://nationalrail.co.uk/system/galleries/download/print_maps/LondonConnections.pdf


London Rail Metro
http://nationalrail.co.uk/system/galleries/download/print_maps/LondonAndSouthEast.pdf


London Buses
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/1110.aspx


2) Stay away from Leicester Square, and Covent Garden and you should avoid the tourist tack. As mentioned, the best way to find a place to eat is walk around. The real place I would jump at is Brick Lane. The beauty of London is not its parks, but its squares - they are all over the place and refuges from the crazyness of the city. You can look at a map, but it is far better when you stumble upon them at random.

3) As mentioned the Tate Modern is free, but it isn't just the big museums and art galleries - some 300 across London are completely free. You are encouraged to donate, but you can walk in, and walk out as many times without any cost.

You could probably get around the TM in around an hour if you moved quickly, 2hrs if you were walking slowly.

If you do have the time for a whiz around, try these Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum, British Museum, Natural History Museum, Design Museum and National Gallery.

And remember: Hampton Court Palace.

4) The theatre scene is unfortunately not my thing, but if you go around Leicester Square/Covent Garden you'll find lots of ticket booths. What I do know however is to ignore the review boards as they tend to twist the truth.

5) As mentioned the markets are great. Some are too touristy, but all are good. Here is a map that might interest you.

http://www.streetsensation.co.uk/markets.gif

6) Pretty much all has been covered by myself and others. London is mess - just walk, hop on/off a train/bus and

zupermaus
February 22nd, 2008, 08:14 AM
If youre doing an excursion you will love Brighton, aka London-by-Sea for all its vibrancy, and cosmopolitan nature. What it has that London lacks is, other than the obvious (the SEA), is a genteel laid back atmosphere despite the hipness, also the kind of clean, whitewashed buildings and sense of space that London loses in its vast mix. Its also one of those rare things, where the bad points are as interesting as the good points, if not more. Tacky seaside resort mixed up with a classy, graceful city and Bohemian, clued up, even friendly locals.

Do check out The Lanes, a warren of medieval alleys among the mostly pedestrianised centre with hip and Bohemian watering holes and independent shops, the pier with its tacky rides and turqouise sea views, a pebbly beach and boardwalk for the tourists and hipsters in equal measure.

http://www.print-digital.info/photo-blogging/photos/Brighton-beach.jpg

http://www.christopherholt.com/images/brighton-14.jpg http://www.geos-brighton.com/images/brighton_laines_000.jpg

http://www.interpub.co.uk/__data/assets/image/0015/22074/Brighton1.jpg

Alot of people say London is not England and theyre right, its a whole different country. Getting out of London you realise the difference in atmosphere, architecture, people.

If you want to do the Olde England excursion in order of preference, these are all the nearest urban UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

1.Bath: genteel and as classy as one could possibly get. One of the few places in UK with architectural conformity right inot its suburbs too- and its truly gorgeous, undertstated and honey coloured. Tourist crowds, but less than Oxford and Cambridge.

2.Cambridge: Leafy university town full of ancient buildings and greenery, punting on the River Cam with a makedo picnic is one of those things you need to do in UK as a defining experience. Full of posh, slightly nerdy students (this is ground zero for where the reserved English stereotype of old comes from). Suburbs are US sprawl like but well 'hidden' along with its genetics industry and its 'silicon fen' moniker.

3. Oxford, busy university town, with more old buildings in a denser streetscape than Cambridge, but also more roaring traffic and busloads of tourists than almost any other place outside London. Student town as above, with centuries long rivalry with Cambridge. Suburbs can be just as rough and industrial as any satellite town around London, in complete contrast to everything you see and meet in the centre.

Gregory Tenenbaum
February 22nd, 2008, 12:17 PM
Brighton is cool. Great photos.

Lofter, just be sure to bring your fire suit if you go clubbing.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=3dc_1203680489

There are some hot and happening venues in the UK.

Smile for the CCTV. They will waggle their control joysticks while you burn to a crisp.

Capn_Birdseye
February 22nd, 2008, 01:43 PM
If youre doing an excursion you will love Brighton, aka London-by-Sea for all its vibrancy, and cosmopolitan nature. Its also one of those rare things, where the bad points are as interesting as the good points, if not more. Tacky seaside resort mixed up with a classy, graceful city and Bohemian, clued up, even friendly locals.
"vibrancy" ??? ;) "Tacky seaside resort" :D

The West Pier after it was burnt down, the hulking framework was simply left there to rot! I suppose it makes it "interesting" in some sort of artistic comment! Or are the local council too lazy to pull it down?

http://www.urban75.org/vista/brighton2.html

http://www.urban75.org/vista/brighton.html

My advice to any of our American friends who are thinking of visiting English sea-side resorts when they're over here is don't waste your time and money, they're all tacky unattractive places, best avoided, despite what the glossy brochures say!

Brighton has a stony gravel beach and the water is usually ice cold. There is nothing to do except walk around rain-soaked, litter-strewn streets, looking into third-rate shop windows, having a coffee or meal in a grotty cafe or restaurant where you'll be lucky to avoid a stomach complaint.
The only attraction Brighton has is if you're gay - its the gay capital of the UK so its said.

If you really want to see an English sea-side resort go to the counties of Dorset, (Studland Bay), or Devon or Cornwall in the west, the rest are a national disgrace!

The last picture of the burning crosses is interesting, particularly I guess if you come from the southern states of the US. If you visit Lewes near Brighton on any 5th November you'll witness a parade of burning crosses carried in a parade as a symbolic, (and possibly real), anti-Catholic gesture. They end the evening by burning an effigy of the Pope on a large bonfire. This is tolerant England in which we live in the 21st century - how would decent law-abiding people in the US react to seeing burning crosses in the southern states?

SkyHigh
February 22nd, 2008, 06:01 PM
:D We should give our American guys here the very best and worst of this country, should give them a bit of an eye opener.

Henley-Upon-Thames and then Bradford. Western-Super-Mud and then Grasmere. Broadway (Cotswolds) and then Sparkhill & Sparkbrook in Birmingham - well, you get the gist. ;)

zupermaus
February 24th, 2008, 07:37 AM
er Mr Birdseye that is utter bollox and you know it! Youve found the worst possible pictures to paint a completely inaccurate view of a place, have you ever been to Brighton? Its possibly the most upmarket, hip place in the UK, with one of the forward thinking, leftfield (not ur thing I know) populations. Its not selling itself as a resort if ya know what I mean, but an urban destination. Its a massive gay hub, as well as cosmopolitan magnet (not ur thing again) acting as a centre for thousands of English Language students from Europe, along with a youthful populace.

(btw on the Lewes bonfire night, I completely agree with you, its utterly offensive and medieval in the worst way).

You must admit tho your pictures on Brighton are painting a pretty innacurate view eh, considering youve picked the 3 crummiest derelicts/ due to be demolished/ homeless hostels in the whole city, and its verging on trolling I may add...

The pictures I put up I tried to be an accurate representation, but hey, if ya want just as tinted glass a view of the place here goes...:

http://www.lisa-sprachreisen.de/sprachreisen/bilder/sprachen2005/brighton10.jpg

free beach raves

http://www.imagesbrighton.com/2147-5.jpg

and thousands of white Regency era buildings, which is what the city is famed for:

http://images1.activehotels.com/images/hotel/max300/710/710779.jpg http://www.grandbrighton.co.uk/images/TheGrandHotelBrighton.jpg

although there are also 3 urban villages in the centre too, on a less grander scale - North Laine, the Lanes and Kemptown (read: gay village):
http://www.urban75.org/photos/brighton/images/br144.jpg http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/images/uploaded/scaled/north_laine_from_katie_monk_s.jpg

http://www.brightonbusiness.co.uk/graphics/NorthLaineTerraces76.JPG http://www.dockerills.co.uk/images/home/image2.jpg

The architecture, grand as it is, is not the main attraction though, rather the people and progressive culture

this says it all, sunburn:

http://delarge.co.uk/gfx/pages/DD-LA-Heat--Rench-Burns.jpg

ablarc
February 24th, 2008, 09:53 AM
http://66.230.220.70/images/post/brighton/brighton.jpg

ablarc
February 24th, 2008, 10:44 AM
Time travel in an L.A. boy's house in London:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Severs'_House
http://www.dennissevershouse.co.uk/#

Tube to Liverpool Street Station

Dennis Severs’ House by candlelight.

Evening (call for time, as this is variable):
Every Monday evening (except bank holidays), by candlelight: "Silent Night". Times vary with the light of seasons and booking is necessary. The price is £12.

Then on the first AND third Sunday of each month between 2 and 5pm. The price is £8 per person. No booking required.

And at lunch time between 12 and 2pm on the Monday following the first AND third Sunday, price £5. No booking required.


* * *

While thereabouts, check into Spitalfields Festival and Gabrieli Consort, which perform in Hawksmoor’s Christ Church, Spitalfields.
Open on Sundays for services at 10.30am and between 1pm-4pm to the general public, and on Mondays and Tuesdays between 11am-4pm. Tours cost £5 a person (concessions £2.50) and must be booked in advance by calling 020 7377 6793 or visiting the website www.spitalfieldsvenue.org.

Don't miss Spitalfields Market, partly replaced by Foster.

zupermaus
February 24th, 2008, 11:19 AM
For London theatre check out the 'New Vic', a landmark bastion of contemporary productions with a good eye for fostering new talent, in an environment and building as laid back and funky as theatre going gets. The winning element in London's theatreland is the experimental and boundary pushing pieces, often run at a loss but heavily propped up by a progressive arts council and its grants. Theres always the commercial tat (Phantom of the Opera anyone?) everywhere, but do check out the smaller more prolific stuff.

The theatre scene is currently (in)famous for Hollywood stars to tread the old boards (for little pay) in an attempt at gaining credibility, most famously by Nicole Kidman's nude performance back in the day, and Harry Potter's (infamously impressive) strip for Equus last year, usually in small stage productions. Thus if you want to see them in the flesh so to speak, just find who's on at the moment (I think Christian Bale, Kevin Spacey at the mo, Julia Roberts just left Im afraid). However dont expect stellar performances necessarily, and some critics frown on this 'trend' - Madonna being a repeat offendor :D

Meerkat
February 29th, 2008, 08:30 AM
Lofer - there isn't much i can add, as there have been some really good posts in reply to your questions, but i would certainly suggest going out of London a couple of times while you're here. Visit Brighton for the day - its only about 50 minutes away by train (Victoria station). Its not tacky - its a nice day out. If you do go visit the Brighton pavillion. Oxford is about 1 1/2 hours away from Paddington, or Canterbury, about 1 1/2 hours from Charing Cross - all well worth visiting.

While you're here go for a walk around the city - very busy during the day, but fairly quiet in the evening. Its surprising what you stumble across there. One minute you're walking past brand new office blocks and the next you'll stumble on an old church in a quiet side street.

Anyway - enjoy your stay. Will you be posting your photographs here?

zupermaus
February 29th, 2008, 11:47 AM
Another tip, youll notice London is a whole different place on the weekends. All the workclothes get replaced by fashion victimisation basically, the working areas empty and the shopping areas overload, the drinking at night is at full capacity too. In short the place becomes party town (just like any other place - but even more so, and some). They do tourbuses, London-by-night that specialise at, youve guessed it, night tours.

Anyways, if you do do a double decker/tourbus thing save it for a Saturday. It is immeasurably more interesting.