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London Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your London vacation

Largest Museum In The World! 5 stars
Any visit to London should include a visit to Victoria and Albert Museum situated in the quaint and picturesque area of South Kensington. I loved the visit there because there is so much to see and do. The nearest tube is South Kensington and the way to the museum is clearly sign posted-this way no time is wasted if you get lost. It is a a cavernous museum with one hundred and fifty rooms to look at: and is thought to be one of the biggest in the world today. It was set up by Queen Victoria in 1899 and the Cromwell Road section has a statue of both Victoria and Albert in front of the museum facade.
In my honest opinion I think its best to go and ask one of the many curators that are employed by the museum to help you decide which displays and exhibitions to see.. On my first visit t I think wandering around the rooms was good but if you want direction and don't have a lot of time to spare then either ask or buy a guide book which will list all the most visited exhibitions,most popular and so on and so forth.


Full of Far-Eastern Delight 5 stars
The Hare and Tortoise only opened here about three years ago and I admit its doing really well when it comes to lunch time and dinner trade. There has never been an evening at least where we have not had to wait at least 30 minutes to get a table for 2.
I love eating here because the food which mainly Thai is so well prepared,prettily presented,tempting and delicious.
The choice of dishes is wide ranging and I always find it difficult to decide as to what to eat. The starter portion are small but I think its because the main portions are huge. I usually go for the honey marinated prawns served with a chilli dipping sauce-you get three huge prawns-trust me you don't want more than 3 followed either by the very delicious curry laksa soup with rice noodles followed by green tea ice-cream or the chicken katsu curry served with plain boiled rice or egg fried rice. For a two course with a drink per person it usually comes to 12.50 which I think represents excellent value for money.
There is ample seating space and the staff are attentive and always eager to serve. The decor is minimalist Thai stye with good quality single tables which can be put together for bigger parties. There is a lower level downstairs and some very posh loos as well.
Best tip -eat there between 6-8 pm in the evening because they get really busy after that.


Truly Traditional 5 stars
The Queen's Larder Pub is I think a good place to have a really traditional pub lunch-like the Ploughman's Lunch. Its I suppose a charming little place tucked away from the much walked Bloomsbury- it has pavement seating,a decent bar and quiet room upstairs. The pub is owned by Greene King and the landlord serves not only Belgian lagers but also the more basic drinks like IPA,Sunchaser and Top Drawer. I have been to this place a few times and I thought I would mention 1 Queen's Square because the sandwiches are scrumptious and the location is not so noisy. The service is a bit slow but considering the tempting way the food is served I think its worth the wait. We went with some friends of mine and had a super Ploughman's lunch with all the trimmings and accompaniments and four generous portions of slices of bread and some really moist ham,cheeses all very satisfying and filling.. We finished off with a really fresh tasting Apple pie.


Smart and Stylish 5 stars
There is a new Starbuck recently opened in Hammersmith underground and I just love popping into it for any early morning latte before I catch the tube to work. Its not busy at that time of morning and you get served really quickly. Being so new it has very smart furnishings-comfy leather sofas,lots of tables and is brightly painted.
The hot and cold drinks are of very high quality and not a bit expensive for around 3.50 for a venti latte. They also serve panninis,muffins,crisps and many snacks to nibble on.


Famished-Eat Here 5 stars
Pret a Manger- now there are two in Hammersmith and I like going to both. The one on King street is bigger and has been open a lot longer but there is ample seating room and there are more people on the tills so the service is a lot quicker. There is an excellent choice of sandwiches,baguettes,no-bread sandwiches, two decent types of soups,hot wraps and numerous salads,cakes,fruit salads and yoghurt pots. Provided you are only famished and not greedy then for around six pounds you can have a soup,sandwich and a dessert. I don't think that for the tasty fillings and variety that is a lot to spend.
Tne branch in the underground station is fairly new but its a lot smaller and is always full of dear old ladies doing their mid-morning shopping and they tend to take a long time shifting from the seating areas. Good time to go there is very early.


Inexpensive-but very tasty 5 stars
I highly recommend this place Chula in King Street Hammersmith because it serves a very good buffet during lunchtime Monday through to Saturday. For around seven pounds excluding drinks you get a choice of 35 dishes including a sweet dish and all of them are well prepared and served in an appetising manner. There is a choice 5 vegetarian dishes,a selection of starters, nans, chutneys, sauces,two types of rice dishes,salads,,popadums and a meat and chicken dish dishes,made from the freshest ingredients possible. In all the years that I have been eating especially as sometimes I am too lazy to cook I have nver seen the same dish served twice.Chula prides itself on trying to be adventurous,innovative and creative.
It has a good ambience and the service is friendly without being snooty-and you get vouchers and discounts.


Museum of Brands,Packaging And Advertising 5 stars
This is a fantastic place to visit. It is located in the trendy area of Portobello road and trust me on this one-cosmologists you will love it. Started by Robert Opie when sixteen its all about collecting wrappers,tins,newspapers,magazines,fashion items,royal souvenirs and loads more and putting them on show. If you are a design student or involved brands,consumersim or advertising then this will make memories come back. Opie had this idea when he was eating a Munchies Chocolate Bar -and the whole idea has grown into something really big. At present he has tweleve thousand items on show and two themes that he is exhibiting on.
The first one is called Biscuit Bonanza-running until Jan 31st 09
and the second one is called Sweet Sixties which will finish on 31.05.09.
There are loads of bars and nice eating places and its not far from Oxford Circus so why not make a day of it.


Hilton /Edgware Rd-Comfort and Expensive 5 stars
I think that there is a really good choice of expensive and comfortable hotels in London. We are spoiled for choice and very often its difficult to decide where to stay and this time I had a choice of the Dorchester in Park Lane or the Hilton in Edgeware road. I chose the Hilton because it looked at more modern than the Dorchester. I was pleased with my choice because not only were the rooms superbly maintained but its a huge place from the inside and there is massive choice of economically priced bars and restuarant to choose from. After a hard day's touring and sightseeing I always go to the bar on the ground floor and relax-it has a very comfortable seating area.
Its worthwhile going there between 5-7pm and you can enjoy drinking a lot of cocktails which are usually half-priced.
The food in the carvery and the Italian restaurant was amazingly inexpensive and very tasty. Edgeware Road is good for eating if you know what you want to eat but if you don't then the Hilton is the best.


Queen's Head&Artichoke-Haven in Euston 5 stars
30-32 Albany St
London NW1 4EA

Just around Euston Road I found this gem of a pub which is a haven hidden amongst all the office buildings in this part of London. It used to be a Victorian boozer which has been restored to a huge degree giving it a good ambience and easy going feel. Its a good place to visit in the summer because they have tables set out on the pavement so you can enjoy a meal or a drink,there is a groundfloor bar and at the back as small North-African style patio.
I think this establishment's unique selling point is the snacks and nibbles that you must gorge yourself on-there is a choice of Spainish tapas,foie gras,english cheeses,greek salads etc.
As a gastro-pub it has a solid reputation of producing uncomplicated dishes served in a tempting and appetising way. The mains usually cost around 13.50-thats good value for a rib-eye steak.
There are many choices for drinks-well stocked wine and ales section.The service is friendly and worth rewarding.


Queen 5 stars
Queen's Arms
171 Greyhound Rd
London W6 8NL
This used to be a really awful grubby little pub which has undergone a huge transformation-having disposed of the flocked wall-paper and tattered carpet-its all been replaced with light wooden floors,flat screen television and is I think very clean-compared to its previous appearance.
Regarding the menu-there is either the bar upstairs for the less adventurous or the posher dining area who like to eat properly. Range of menu is extensive with many cuisines available like French,Thai,Turkish and British. I would say that the food is intricate and very tasty-using only fresh ingredients like lamb and fish bought from the local North-end road market.
Like most pubs the range of wines is good and there is choice of fifeteen wines which are served by the glass. Portions of dishes are massive and if you are going to have their dessert of cookies and cream ice cream then skip the first course and go the mains and dessert.
Prices are affordable in the region £10-20


Hostels-AllStar Hostel-London 4 stars
This is a really useful place to stay especially if you are on a tight budget and touring in London,where things can be extorniately expensive. But some freebies from time to time are always welcome -and this is the place to look for them. The minimum stay here is seven days,free pick-up from Kilburn Tube,out of hours service avaliable at extra cost-all refunded at your departure. Perks of the establishment are as follows:
Free tea and coffee all day
Free toast and jam before 9.30 am
Free Internet
Sky TV
Happy Holidays.


Traveling on budget/ best sights
I will be visting England- London, Cambridge, Kent during Christmas and New years. Can I get advice how to travel between those distances on a budget or even on subways in London. Also what are the must see sights?


What's the rush? 2 stars
I'm not a great fan of London, and I constantly find myself having to explain why I'm not hugely enamoured of the place. I think, above all else, it's the constant rush and crush. London is not the best place if you like to take things at a slow pace - regardless of the time of day, everybody strides forcefully and determinedly ahead, wearing an expression of intense concentration. Granted, there are ample parks and gardens for those who want to relax and take a breather, but in order to get there you have to face the horrors of public transport, and that darned rush and crush!


My choice for best market in South London is Borough Market – The reason I chose Borough is because it is one of the oldest markets in London and you can meet some real characters there. It’s also not that far from central London. Nearest tube would be London Bridge. It’s a food market so as a tourist it’s not really going to be of interest in terms of shopping but it has appeared in a host of British films including Bridget Jones and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Saturday’s is the busiest and probably best time to visit as there’s a farmers market there till 4pm(ish). Even if you’re not doing your weekly grocery shop I’m sure you’ll find room for some bread and cheese – or homemade fudge!

Open: Friday 12pm-6pm Saturday 9pm-4pm
Borough High Street,
London SE1

Nearest tube: London Bridge


EAST – Most of the best markets in my opinion are in East London. This is where the authentic trade markets are. If you want a bizarre start to the day, head to Billingsgate Fish market at 5am (anyday but Monday).

Theres over 50 stalls selling (not surprisingly) Fish!! It is packed, it is noisey and it is smelly. Competition for trade is fierce so there’s lots of shouting from sellers attracting custom and if you’re not careful there’s a very real chance you’ll be hit by a flying fish or two!

I just love this place. It is so atmospheric. It might not be the most scenic stop on your sightseeing tour but you'll certainly meet real Londoners here!

Tues-Sat 5am-8:30am
Billingsgate Market
Trafalgar Way
Isle of Dogs
E14 5ST

Tel 020 7987 1118
Fax 020 7987 0258

Nearest tube: Canary Wharf


CENTRAL – Covent Garden
Covent Garden is possibly one of the best known markets in London, despite not really being a market anymore. In the old days (even before I was born!) it was a genuine vegetable market but that’s no longer the case.

The original market halls however have been preserved and it is one of the quantest spots you’ll find in central London. There’s different sections around the main quad in Covent Garden.

The Apple Market in the North Hall has antiques on a Monday and arts & crafts the rest of the week.

The Jubilee Market, south of the piazza is where you should head for clothes and shoes.

The piazza itself has quant little shops under the arches and there’s always street performers and buskers plying their trade in this pebbled area. The standard is so high that it really is a great place to see some very cheap entertainment.

Covent Garden is a must on any trip to London.
Covent Garden, WC2
Open: Mon-Sun, 10am-7pm

Nearest tube: Not surprisingly the nearest tube is Covent Garden but the station gets incredible busy, especially at weekends. It’s sometimes easier to go to Leicester Square and walk. It’s only about 5 mins away.


Portebello market use to be a regular haunt when I was growing up and didn’t have much money to spend on clothes. It was always good for a bargain.

It’s a Saturday market open from 8am. The reason I like this market so much is because of its location. There some great, little one-off shops by the market and if you’re budget is a bit bigger than mine then the shopping arcade on Portebello Green is a fab place to browse around trendy boutiques. The market is recommended if you are looking for second hand clothes, especially leather, junk jewellery and antiques. Even if you’re not there to shop it’s a pretty cool place to watch the world go by for a bit. There’s fab little food stalls as well so you won’t go hungry. I have only been there on a Saturday but I believe some of the stalls are there all week.

Portobello Road & Portobello Green, W11

Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate (It’s about a five minute walk from the station – just follow the crowds!)


NORTH – As my Nan lived in Camden all her life I will have to pick Camden Market as my North London Choice. It really should be on any tourist stop in London anyway as it’s a fascinating place to spend an afternoon. It’s always bustling here but I’d suggest going on a Sunday to really get a feel for the place. Alas it isn’t as cutting edge or cultural as it once was but there is still a great mix of arts & crafts and second hand clothes, as well as antiques and jewellery.

Head for Camden tube station and the crowd will show you the way. The original market known as Camden lock market is outside next to the canal but make sure you also head inside to the big market hall as well.

There’s a great range of ethnic food available in the market and surrounding cafés so definitely stay long enough for a bite to eat.

Camden Lock Place
Tel: 0207 284 2084

Tube: Camden – Northern Line (Just follow the crowds heading for the lock - you can't miss it)


Making Friends in London 4 stars
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Making friends can be hard in a new city when you don't have things like Societies and a Student Union bar to fall back on. If you're not lucky enough already to already have friends in London, or are moving down with friends, there are a variety of things to do in London by yourself (incidentally,don’t worry: London is the ideal city for the flaneur), and to or to meet new people. Nobody will judge you for eating alone or going to gigs by yourself, and there's always 100 things to do. With work comes networking opportunities, and Londoners aren't as inward-looking as you'd think, so you're bound to make friends in no time. There are also plenty of free things to do in the capital – check out Time Out for full listings!


Alternatives to Oxford Street 4 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Shopping in Oxford Street is largely full of tourists. If you fancy somewhere off the beaten track a little, a good alternative is Covent Garden. The market is overpriced, but most of the Oxford Street shops, apart from the department stores, are replicated here, around Covent Garden station and on the road taking you towards Leicester Square (called Long Acre).

Also you can go to Regent Street and Kensington High Street, although shops here are generally more upmarket. Not designer, just the higher end of high street shopping.


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