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London Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your London vacation


annatravel
Musical metro 5 stars
Metro in big cities is mostly a stressful place with streams of people rushing from one train to another. Although I am a big fan of this fast and reliable mean of transport, sometimes I still prefer the on-ground public transfers when travelling due to its lighter and nicer facilities.
However we had a different experience with London underground. We have noticed that on some stations they play nice classical music. The taste of the “Underground DJ” seemed to be very good: Bach, Beethoven, Schubert and so on. It really changes the atmosphere and appears to make commuters more relaxed.
I was waiting for my train listening to Rimsky-Korsakov suite and it came to my mind that now there is a new alternative to self-entertainment like reading in the metro.


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joyhiromi
I Love London! 5 stars
I absolutely fell in love with London within the first week of being there. Not only does it have a wonderful public transportation system, which is ideal for travelers, but it's incredibly vibrant and each part of the city is totally unique. The arts scene is amazing, and what's even better is that many of the museums have free exhibits -- and since not much else in London is free, this is really a treat. My favorite museum is the National Portrait Gallery, which has a lovely cafe on the top floor that overlooks Trafalgar Square. While in London, I would suggest that you: have a meal at a quality Indian restaurant (ask locals for suggestions); visit as many museums as possible, including the Tate Modern; visit Greenwich and the museum on time; and go to Spitalfields Market before noon on Sunday. These destinations will ensure that you have a fulfilling trip.

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melissa
Jin Kichi 3 stars
I love this combination of sushi restaurant and noodle bar and grill, but I wish it weren't so expensive for the portion sizes. The specialties here are the char-grilled skewers, which come in interesting combinations, including chicken livers of all things. The sushi is good but pricey, and the regular menu is also fantastic. This isn't really a place to fill up, though, as the portions are quite small and are more lunch-sized than dinner-sized. The ambience of the place is nice, though, and it's a good place to take visiting guests who want to see some interesting international cuisine in London.

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AndreaLJC
Its all so black and white 2 stars
There's one thing that you notice immediately when you visit London, everything is grey; the sky is grey, the buildings are grey, everyone wears grey and the people are grey!  You'll be lucky to get the time from someone in the street, most people just totally ignore you, some simply show a hand for you to talk to!  And getting directions, oh, for that one you will get a reply but you wont ever get anywhere near where you asked to get to!  Politeness and London are rarely found together, there is no "sorry" or "thank you", "excuse me" yeah right!  Everyone just pushes there way through, in their grey clothes, with their grey miserable faces.

Its generally less hassle to look people in the eye as you'll either get someone try and start a fight with you, or some lunatic following you around all day.  No one speaks to strangers, or even looks at them for that matter and London has more than its fair share of rudeness.  Its a brilliant city with loads to see and do, so much so that you'll never get bored, unfortunately its filled with rude people that make it feel like such a depressing place to be.  When a shop assistant says "Hi" back when you enter the shop you get a shock and don't even think about asking the bus driver if he has change as you'll get shouted at!


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jadedblue
London- The most beautiful city in the world? 5 stars
Many people believe that London is the most beautiful city in the world and rightly so. There are many tourist attractions such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, London Bridge, and even Wimbledon and soccer stadiums for sport fanatics. I love London because my favourite soccer club is situated in London; there are also tennis (Wimbledon) and musicals to visit. I was there for 3 days and it wasn’t enough at all! It left me wanting for more.

I was in London over the Christmas period 2007. I was truly enchanted and the entirely trip was perfect. Armed with a London tourist guide book, I could get to any parts with the city with the well inter-connected “tube” and bus network. The trains come every few minutes but 7.5 Million people live in London and there are many tourists as well so the trains are almost full during peak hours. One thing I don’t like about the tube is that the exits are very narrow. To serve such a huge number of commuters during peak hours, the exit lane should be much wider. The Londoners, that is what the people living in London called themselves, are very friendly and everybody speaks English so I didn’t get lost.

First I visited the home of the Gunners, the newly-built Emirates Stadium in North London. Don’t get me wrong. Although London is divided into North, South, East and West, it is not too big after all. You could get from one end to the other with the tube in less than 2 hours. I was there to catch Arsenal versus Tottenham, a North London derby. I didn’t buy the tickets online beforehand but no worries; there are “touts” who sell the tickets at the higher price outside the stadium before kick-off, illegally of course. I got my hands to two 46 Pounds tickets for 95 Pounds after much bargain. Not bad for a seat located on the 3rd row behind the goal post. I am a hardcore Arsenal supporter and it was a dream-come-true to watch my favourite team in action live at the Emirates and it was even better because we won our great rival and I was there to witness it. It would surely be an unforgettable experience.

I am a musical lover. There are many different musical showing at different part of year in London. So make sure you check the listing before you go. I caught Chicago and Les Miserables in Cambridge and Queens Theatre respectively. I bought the cheapest seat at 27 Pounds but it was not so bad until you need borrow a binocular to enjoy the play. The ambience was good as compared to my home country. The entire theatre is decorated with posters of the specific musical so it gives you a good feeling.

I visited the Wimbledon centre in Southfield too. I was disappointed because I couldn’t tour the stadium because it was too foggy! The fog was so bad until you couldn’t see the opposite side of the court if you stand on one side. Now you know why Wimbledon is held during the warm summer days in June?!?

Of course, the main London attractions are Big Ben, London Eye, House of Parliament, London Bridge and Buckingham Palace and it is a MUST to visit. I love the London Eye, even though it is quite expensive, 14 Pounds for an almost 30 minutes ride, and only 10 minutes to enjoy the view afar because the ferris wheel moves, it would be worth it if you take it with your lover. It would be so romantic. Just make sure you take it on a clear day because you can see further.

Some might not agree that London is the most beautiful city in the world but it is certainly the most expensive city! I am a student so I am on a budget trip. I save in whatever means I could, like bringing a water bottle out to drink when I am thirsty because a 500ml coke could easily costs you 1.50 Pounds. I had fast food everyday but fast food doesn’t come cheap at all. I upsized my meal and it costs nearly 5 Pounds! The daily unlimited transport ticket for 3 rings costs me 5.70 Pounds during off-peak (from 9am onwards) and 6.80 Pounds during peak hours. You would need 3 rings to visit all the major tourist attractions. Wimbledon and Arsenal are located outside ring 1 but Big Ben and London Eye are all in the city centre.

I took the signature London double-decker bus tour. It costs me 12 Pounds for a 4 hours ride around Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street and Leicester Square. The bus stops and you alight to take a short tour around the city centre. I think this is not very useful because you can go there by yourself and you would not be restricted by the time schedule fixed by the bus company.
For Asians like me, there is a famous Chinatown beside Leicester Square train stations. There are many Asian restaurants and for those who are craving for home-cooked food, you might wanna dine there.

I stayed in London Backpackers hostel; it was the cheapest that was available. I could only say you pay for what you get. The toilet heating system is very bad so it is cold to take a shower at night. And the water heater is only switched on during certain timings, if you missed it; you got to bear the cold water, which is terrible in winter. Generally, I won’t recommend the hostel to anybody who wants to sleep and shower comfortably.

People who had visited London know that it rains very often. Luckily it didn’t rain at all during the Christmas period. This was my second visit to London. I visited it on 21st July 2007 and my whole trip was disrupted by the heavy downpour and constant flooding. There is nothing much you could do about the weather but you could avoid going home on Christmas day because there are no buses, no trains operating on Christmas day. I booked a so-called “Black cab” and it costs my 36 Pounds from my hostel to Heathrow! And it was only a short 20 minutes trip!


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misadventure
The Queens Pub - London 5 stars
The Queens Pub located in the Primrose Hill part of London is really what a pub should be. Lost of atmosphere, great food and of course great drink. The restaurant is upstairs which makes life easier as it can be very noisy downstairs (not that this is a bad thing). The food is divine; if I wasn't so full I would have wanted more. I would recommend this pub/restaurant to anyone in the Primrose Hill part of London. It was truly a great food experience.

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cosmoclaudio
First meal at London 2 stars
After buying the London Pass we decided to go to have something to eat, near the station, since we also wanted to go to take a look at the National History Museum (it was a Saturday or Sunday... can't really remember) and the museum closed at 5:00pm, and we had almost no time... so we went to this small convenience store and bought a sandwich there... the sandwich was cold and tasted like dirt... It was probably the worst meal in our whole trip... anyway after eating the sandwich we headed towards the Museum and in our way I saw a small bistro were I bought a donut and a tea which helped me fight the hunger.
I can not really remember the name of the bistro, but it was in the subway station next to the museum... I do not recommend buying prepared food from convenience stores, it is not well done and it is super expensive.


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cosmoclaudio
Kingscross and the London Pass 5 stars
The best advice the receptionist gave us was to buy the London Pass and a train ticket for the days that we were staying... so we went back to the train station (Kingscross) which is together with the subway station... anyway we went to the information office and asked and they explained what the London pass was... Londo Pass is as the name says, a pass that allows you to enter almost every museum in the city plus some other things... the pass for one day is about 30 pounds so we bought it... with our train ticket for the whole stay.
Kingscross is a beautiful station... way nicer than any other station I have been... even compared to the stations in Germany... It has lots of space and really nice shops... plus it is located in a really nice old building that looks like a cathedral... I really recommend taking a look at the statues on the second floor of the station.


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cosmoclaudio
First night Winchester Hotel 5 stars
So we had bought several things that needed a water heater, so we were thinking about asking for hot water at the reception. We of course first went to our room with ll the stuff... and as we were putting all what we had bought away, we found out that someone had left a water heater there in the room, which was awesome cause we later on were able to make soups, teas and coffee.
The room was also really warm and the TV worked wonders... it had satellite so we were able to watch a nice movie while on bed. We went to bed early since we had to wake up early to get to the breakfast on time.


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cosmoclaudio
Hotel search 3 stars
So we went outside and started looking for a hostel, we had seen many outside Kingscross station, so we went back and started looking... there were many bed and breakfast hotels in the area... so we went one by one... we found many cheap ones that looked like a dump... They looked like small prisons without any cleaning whatsoever... We would usually ask the receptionist if we could see the room and at one point the receptionist told us to enter one of the rooms where there was still the guest sleeping, (I am talking a private room... and the receptionist didnt care and open the door... and the guy was there half naked and snoring) of course we didn't stay there...
After about 10 different hotels we found one which was not so expensive (about 60 euros per night) double room and not so bad called Winchester.


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cosmoclaudio
Planning our trip to London (bus Darmstadt-Frankfurt Hahn) 4 stars
I have no idea how I forgot to write about this trip... I was going to show my tips to a friend... and I couldn't find any... this is so bizarre... I was sure I had written about it! Anyway...
We made this trip about a month ago since Eliza was free from school and I am really flexible with my job so we planned our 1 week trip to London.
Of course the first thing we had to think about was the transportation which is probably one of the most expensive things of a trip... as always we started looking first in all budget airlines... Ryan Air was the cheapest so we bought the tickets right away!
As always we had to take the bus from a different city to Frankfurt Hahn (airport) and we decided to go to take it form Darmstadt. The bus picked us up at about 3 o'clock in the morning and left us there at about 430am... The bus is comfortable but also expensive... we always complain about this because it would probably be the same than to buy a regular ticket with Luftansa... but well.


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cosmoclaudio
Bagpipe guy 5 stars
After spending an hour skating we bought a cup of tea and just when we were about to leave, a guy with kilt and bagpipe started playing... so we decided to stay there for a while, drinking our tea as he played.
After few minutes there were lots of people around listening and some even dancing. Of course the guy was there for money and as far as I saw he got quite a lot. There was also one kid dancing to his song which also attracted more tourists, I was amazed at the amount of people surrounding this guy and the amount of money he earned just in a few minutes... I guess I will do as many other latinos and dress as a Native American and pretend I am playing the instruments... I am sure I'll do more money that way than at my job.


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Marc888
London to Frankfurt 4 stars
In the end I fell asleep at 3:30am only to be woken by my alarm clock barely an hour later. It was time to head for the airport and I made it to the check in desk in good time. Bleary eyed, I got ready to board the flight to Frankfurt, which was actually full of businessmen who all looked smart and awake - the complete opposite to myself! I arrived in Frankfurt at 9am local time and proceeded to meet the other flight that was to take me to Rio de Janeiro. This was a route that I had never flown before but I was quite used to long haul flights and at about 11 hours in duration felt that it would be quite an easy flight.

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Marc888
A Last minute trip to Rio De Janeiro 4 stars
I had about a week and a half to spare whilst in London and decided to book a last minute trip to Rio de Janeiro. The flight was with Brazil’s flagship carrier Varig, and the long haul sector actually started from Frankfurt. As this was a last minute deal I had to start packing straight after booking the flight as the first leg which was to take me from Gatwick to Frankfurt was due to leave very early the following morning. In the end I found myself still up at 3am unable to sleep, and still having not completed my packing. I was actually looking for hotels in Rio on line as I hadn’t booked one and this served to keep me awake.

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Elizaoprisor
Smoking in London 4 stars
I have partially quit smoking for about half a year. I say partially, because I do smoke once a week. I was very anxious to enjoy my weekly cigarette in a pub or a restaurant in London, but...big surprise! People are not allowed to smoke anywhere. Germany still has enough bars and public places where one can smoke, so I was amazed by how London managed to apply this law so early. What struck me were the people that came out from the bars in the cold and smoked in front of the door. I do agree it's a perfect way of making people quit smoking and I didn't complain, but I still smoked my cigarette outside the restaurant.

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Elizaoprisor
London at night 4 stars
Visiting London in autumn, at the end of November, was perhaps a not so good idea. The weather was really cold and windy, even though it never rained while we were there. It always got dark pretty eraly during our trip, so we had enough chances to admire the lovely lightning after dark. We visited the Piccadilly Circus after dark and I loved it. Maybe it's recommendable to choose this time of day for Piccadilly Circus, as lightning is what it's actually famous for. London is still very active at night, which is what I love about metropoles. There's always something going on. I didn't feel insecure, but neither could I have felt relaxed, because there were always groups of loud teenagers around and you never know whether they had something to drink, so they may sometimes seem a bit dangerous.

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Elizaoprisor
New Armouries Cafe 4 stars
We visited the New Armouries Cafe after finishing the visit of the Tower of London. The London Pass offered a 20% discount at the cafe, so we decided to take advantage of the offer. The cafe looks pretty expensive from the outside, but actually it's a pretty normal restaurant with self service. They have delicious cakes, but also food and a wide variety of fruit and beverages. The place was extremely crowded, but we felt good there, as the service was all right and as said before, the chocolate cakes we ate were delicious. Prices are only slightly above average, but there's really nothing speical about the place. What I didn't like was that the restrooms were outside.

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Elizaoprisor
Britain at War Museum 5 stars
My boyfriend and I chose to visit the “Britain at War Museum” on the day our London Pass was valid. The entrance usually costs 9,50 Pounds, as far as I remember. Ever since the entrance, they have managed to create a lovely atmosphere in the whole museum. You first enter a very dark room filled with mannequins “sleeping” on bunk beds, which I found rather creepy. We then watched a very long and rather boring video about the war and after that we proceeded with our visit. The whole museum is especially made to recreate the war atmosphere and I must say, it does a great job. I really recommend visiting it.


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Elizaoprisor
London Pass 4 stars
My boyfriend and I were planning to visit many tourist attractions on our trip to London, so the best thing was to buy the London Pass. The Pass is extremely expensive, but it's probably cheaper than paying the entrance fee at every attraction. We decided to only buy the Pass for 1 day and visit all the expensive attractions of that day. The good thing about London is that many museums are free, so we visited free highlights on the other days. We paid about 29 Pounds each and we did manage to see more that what the Pass was worth. But I must warn you that it's very difficult to visit many places in London on the same day, because they all close really early and it usually takes a while to get from one place to another. All in all, I would say the Pass is worth it if you're able to plan your time really well and you don't get tired easily.

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Elizaoprisor
The tube 3 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The main means of public transportation in London is, as most of you already know, the tube or the metro. The tube connects the whole city of London and is the fastest way for a tourist to get around the city. We bought 3 day Travel Cards for Zone 1 and 2, which is the center of London. If you're only planning on visiting the main tourist attractions, don't make a mistake and buy the travel cards that include other zones, as all of the main highlights can be found in Zone 1 and 2. The travel card cost around 19 Pounds for three days, which was fair enough, as we always had to switch tubes. Traveling by tube can be very stressful, as stressful as walking inside the tube stations to find your platform.


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