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London Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your London vacation


Erica Johansson
Oshobasho Café, Highgate 3 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Highgate is a nice place, especially Highgate Wood.

Oshobasho Café is situated on Muswell Hill Road in Highgate Wood only a couple of minutes walk from Highgate's tube station. The café is open Monday 10.30am-3pm, Tuesday to Sunday 8.30am until 30 minutes before the gates close. This must be the best vegetarian eatery to take your kids too, because the café is located in the middle of a wooded area and it’s a big sports ground with football and cricket pitches just outside the café. There was a loud football game going on the lawn when I was there. Most people eating at Oshobasho Café are families and couples. The indoor seating area is large with about 200 places, there's no risk you'll need to look for free seats. The most popular cake is the carrot cake and amongst the food you can choose between pasta with tomato sauce, Greek salad, Hummus salad and Spanish omelet.


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Erica Johansson
Wagamama, South Bank 4 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
One of the best places in London for vegetarian Japanese food is Wagamama. This restaurant has branches all over the city, we were at the one on the south bank of Themsen near Tate Modern. I don’t have the exact address in my head, but this Wagamama restaurant is big and easy to find.

The interior is simple yet stylish with wooden tables, beige walls and furniture. You get the impression that you are in an expensive restaurant because that’s the feel the place gives you, but the food at Wagamama is actually not expensive at all. The food is excellent and the portions are generous (whether you eat in or order takeaway). I can’t think of anything that would make you disappointed. I love the juice bar next to the counter.

It was rather busy during lunch, I guess the evenings bring in even more guests. The area along Themsen is attractive, so it’s not strange that this Wagamama restaurant is the most hectic one. Although the line to the counter was quite long, we didn’t need to wait more than ten minutes. The staff was extremely service minded and professional. The Swedish girl who took our order was really friendly. While we waited for our food, I noticed the staff communicates with the kitchen through special hand-held computers - smart idea!

The menu had 12 vegetarian options with either rice or noodles. I ordered one yasai cha han, a wok with rice, tofu, mushrooms, shiitake and corn served with Miso soup.


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Erica Johansson
Parks in London 3 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
One of my favorite parks in the city is Holland Park near Kensington High Street in West London. I don’t think many tourists know about this park, but it's definitely worth a visit. Aside from the children’s play areas, tennis courts and other sport facilities, the park has beautiful gardens, an ecology centre, lawns and wooded areas that are perfect for jogging or a brisk walk. The nearest tube station is Holland Park, but High Street Kensington isn’t that far away either.

I also like the nearby Kensington Gardens close to Queensway and were often there when I lived in Notting Hill. It’s nice to walk down the avenue to Kensington Road or follow one of the paths to the Serpentine and Hyde Park. In Hyde Park, there are a lot of things to see and do, especially during the summer. One of my favorite places is the Rose Garden near Hyde Park Corner.

One of the most beautiful parks in London is Regent’s Park. Walking along the Boating Lake is really nice and Queen Mary’s Gardens are gorgeous. And don’t miss the Zoo! The nearest tube stations are Baker Street, Regent’s Park and Camden Town.

For the most beautiful view over the city, go to Primrose Hill. It’s the park opposite Regent’s Park, on the other side of Prince Albert Road. It’s probably thanks to the view that many films have been shot here. You might have seen it in Imagine Me & You with Piper Perabo and Matthew Goode.

One parked I really liked too was Battersea Park, not too far from Sloane Square in Chelsea. The park has a bowling green, tennis courts, a beautiful lake, a zoo, an adventure playground and it’s a popular park among walkers and joggers.

Last, I can really recommend Green Park near Green Park tube station. It’s like this peaceful retreat from the busy atmosphere on Piccadilly. Green Park is small, but a perfect spot for a take-away lunch. It’s especially beautiful during the autumn when the trees are changing colors.


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Erica Johansson
Liberty, Soho 4 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I love Liberty. It's definitely my favourite department store in London. Liberty is located on 210-220 Regent Street in West London and the nearest tube station is Oxford Circus. The building is very beautiful and the inside is even better. Even if you don’t intend on buying anything you can just go here, walk around and admire the nice surroundings. Liberty sells menswear, womenswear, accessories, gifts and beauty products.

The clothes for women are made by designers as Vivienne Westwood, Acne, Marc Jacobs, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten and Hussein Chalayan. Even if I rarely can afford what I want to buy it it’s a lot of fun to just browse through the designs and try on different outfits. No one says you can’t try, but not buy. Sometimes I find something that’s not too expensive and they do have discounts on various items at different times throughout the year.

The accessories in Liberty are from designers as Mulberry, Miu Miu, Alexander McQueen, Burberry and Marni. The floors with clothing have terrific things, but what I like most about Liberty is actually the ground floor where they sell skincare, cosmetics and fragrances. I was so happy when I came to Liberty the first time and saw they sell my favourite labels; Aveda, REN and the French brand Nuxe. They also sell products from Kiehl’s. The fragrances include Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Agent Provocateur, Kenzo, Paul Smith and Comme de Garcons.

If you’re a first time visitor in London I'd recommend you to visit Liberty before (or even instead) Harrods.


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AndreaLJC
Clubbing in London 5 stars
Brixton actually has a bit of a bad reputation, as it used to be quite an unsafe place to go but it has improved a lot over the last few years and definitely has the best clubs.  There are four main clubs, of these four one is always open so if you want 24-hour parties Brixton is the place to go, and most people do the circuit of these four clubs, when one club shuts another one opens!  The main clubs are 414, George 4th, Brixton Academy and The Mass, all within walking distance to each other too!  The music tends to be hard bouncy house and hard trance, although a few night there might be old skool, techno or funky house.  Bear in mind they aren't glitzy clubs and there is no dress code but the music is the best you will find in London (if you like this kind of music) and the people really know how to party! People are generally pretty friendly and chatty. There are often big events on at Brixton Academy too.  If you want to know what is on and when its on you can check out www.harderfaster.net This show listings for all the clubs in Brixton as also lets you know what type of music it will be etc

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WorldTourist
Ministry of Sound 4 stars
London has some of the best clubs I have ever been to. My favorite in particular that in my opinion is a must visit, is the Ministry of Sound. Not only does the Ministry of Sound release great cds every year, but they also have a dance club with really big names who play there.

Inside the club are four bars, five rooms, three different Dj booths and at least thre different dance floors. This club is more like a super club. Overall the club is a very expensive experience, 20 pounds to enter and then each drink is also extremely high priced. I went there one time and had a great time dancing to Tim Westwood, but I wouldn’t go more than once. I am glad I went once, but as a budget traveler, the price of going to that club one time costs the same as two days of sleeping at a youth hostel in London.

They do have one of the best sound systems in town and the best DJs so one visit will be enough. Just check the listing found at their Website: http://www.ministryofsound.com/.


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AndreaLJC
London in General 4 stars
I love London as a city as there is so much to do and so much variety in everything, the clothes, the food, places to go etc its totally diverse so it caters for everyone. One thing that I love most is the parties, I have traveled to so many different countries but the parties anywhere else don't even come close to being as good as London's! Unfortunately Londoner's can often be quite rude, though you do meet some really nice one's - especially around the market areas like Portobello and Camden (few freaks too!) The transport system makes it pretty easy to get around - however if you are getting the on the Underground make sure you check the destination at the front of the train or you will end up somewhere totally different to where you planned and always have change for the bus as generally they won't change notes. Watch out for pick pockets and NEVER leave items unattended as they will be gone before you even know it! Places not to miss are Oxford Street (shopping), Portobello Road (Saturday) and Camden (Sunday) markets as they are fab places even just for people watching, Richmond Park in the summer as there are loads of Deers and a cute stream so lovely place for a walk or picnic, Soho is good for funky bars. Leicester Square is the tourist area so there are more thief's, the prices are extortionate and the bars/cafes/streets are jam-packed so don't just got there, please travel about a bit to see the real London!

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sonoflaw
Tips for visiting Harrods 3 stars
While there are lots of places I would prefer to go on a trip to London, there are always a few I get pulled along to when traveling with women, and I figure I can give some insight on a male point of view of some my least favorite places in England. While I remember my first trip to Harrods department store being a disaster, my recent trip there proved better than I thought it would be. Offering clothing of every variety in a GIGANTIC shopping center that must be a mile around, if you are looking for a new suit, this is the place to be. However, if you are traveling with a female shopper looking to spend hours trying on belts and dresses, I highly suggest taking your leave for some of the more breathable sections of this shopping center (yes, they do exist). In one giant section of Harrods lies a huge food market that offers some of the freshest and best foods in London. From chocolates to meats, there is no end to amazing combinations of comestibles to occupy ones time (and there are plenty of free things to try, as well). Harrods was home to one of the first chocolate fountains, and while these are becoming old news, they still have one of the best and biggest (worth experiencing). After that, there are various gadget stores that are dispersed enough that it is not hard to find at least one to occupy about 20 minutes of my time. Of course, at this point I probably have hours yet to kill, so after venturing to the watch stores and looking at a great variety of new and unreleased time pieces, I was still able to go to the toy store and look at some of London’s newest and most interesting gadgets for children (they aren’t that interesting). Okay, so I have killed an hour and a half and my guest is still not done shopping. Well, I did not say there was enough to distract someone for an entire day, but at least knowing that there are some other options makes the experience more reasonable. And by the way, most department stores in London do not have all the options that Harrods has, so given a choice, spoil the person you are with and bring them here, you will thank yourself for it later.

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WorldTourist
getting around 4 stars
Here are some of the various ways to get around in London

London Underground

This is probably the cheapest and fastest way to get around in this city. This allows you to beat congestion because you are traveling under the city allowing no traffic jams and stops. If you need to get somewhere quick, I would recommend the underground. Some people have issues with theft, but if you watch your things and keep your bags locked tightly, you shouldn’t have a problem. I never had too much of a problem when I was there, but public advertisements are also there to remind you of the danger of riding in the subway system.

Buses

Be ready to give out the exact change. With the new bus system being implemented, you will have to pay the bus driver exact change to get to your destination. If you plan on being in London for a week, just buy the week pass. You will need to have a passport driver sized photo to get this.

Taxis

This is a very convienent way to get around, but also very expensive. Be prepared to pay top dollar to take a taxi. This may not even save your time because London is often very congested.

Trains

The trains are quick and reliable, but also very expensive. Make sure that you buy a return trip ticket, this will save you the most money. The ride will only be one extra pound or so to get back. I purchased two singles and ended up paying almost double the price just to get back to London from where I was staying for a couple days.


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