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Greater London Travel Tips

5.0 stars

Insider advice for your Greater London vacation


Marc888
Completion of my courier duties 4 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This was in fact the completion of all of my duties under the agreement, and for my return trip back to Hong Kong, via Bangkok, I was able to enjoy a completely normal flight without any courier duties at all.Although on some flights inbound and outbound accompaniment is necessary, this is actually quite rare, and so for me, my services were only required for outbound flight. I was even allowed to change the date of the return flight as I would be able to do with a normal ticket. That’s because, the ticket I had with the airline was in fact a standard ticket.

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Marc888
Visiting the Jupiter Air office in London 4 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The office was in an adjacent building and within walking distance, and as I braced myself against a chilly December British wind, I found myself in the office which appeared to be having its busiest time of day, in spite of the fact that dawn had barely broken. I proudly announced that I had just come from Bangkok, but of course the staff were absolutely not impressed, as it was just an other uneventful day for them at the office! The clerk at the front desk relieved me of the document pouched and told me that I could be on my way. I left the office and caught a taxi from the airport into central London.

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Marc888
Arriving at London Heathrow 4 stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Again, this was another standard Thai Airways flight, non stop to London Heathrow. The only difference for me is that I got a cheaper seat. Indeed you could argue that the true benefit, on this occasion at least, was that I got a seat at all. After the overnight long haul flight from Bangkok to London, I arrived at Heathrow airport at around 6am, whereupon I went through the standard procedure of immigration and customs, though, still clutching my pouch of manifest documents. My only other requirement under the terms of being a courier was to hand the documents back to the Jupiter office staff after emerging from the airport.

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Marc888
Ending our two days at Oxford Street 5 stars
We walked back towards Tottenham Court Road and had a very nice time just doing some people-watching. Late afternoon was just giving way to night time. There were plenty of street sellers to bargain with and this made for some fun shopping experiences. A quick bite and some traditional English tea in one of the trendy café’s close to the Large Marks and Spencer’s store near to the end of Oxford Street marked the end of another great day. In the end we didn’t get time to go to Buckingham Palace and so decided to leave this for another trip entirely. However, overall my friend saw plenty of what London had to offer, and I too had a great couple of days.

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Marc888
Ending the day at The Lamb and Flag 4 stars
A large internet open day was also being held and this was quite an attraction in itself. In the end we had a drink at the Lamb and Flag which was one of the more traditional British public houses that we could find, and my friend appreciated that touch as a British Pub in London felt much more authentic then any he had been to in L.A! This place certainly had that Old English feel about it and the service was excellent as were the range of drinks on offer. We stayed until 9pm and decided to end our day here. In all we had visited no less then 11 of London’s Major attraction in one day, with most of them being free, and all within easy reach. We decided to complete the second half of our sight seeing plans on the following day.

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Marc888
Oxford Circus 4 stars
It was time to jump back on the Tube and head for Oxford Street. Indeed this was meant to be our starting point but in the end we decided to end our 2 days in London in this most famous of shopping streets. The tube train took us to Oxford Circus tube station which marks approximately the middle of Oxford Street, and also its junction with Regents Street. Oxford Street itself was insanely busy and there were definitely some cheep bargains here. I did hope so too, as there would really have to be some reason to account for so many people here, apart from just the name of the place.

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Marc888
Covent Garden 4 stars
On offer were Durians, Jack Fruit and Chinese herbs complete with a range of Chinese manufactured official sauces and seasonings that would undoubtedly be the secret ingredient to making any Chinese dish taste truly authentic.

We ended up taking a cab to Covent Garden even though it wasn’t far away. It was in part to experience taking a black cab in London without the high cost associated with taking one any great (or even modest) distance. Once at Covent Garden there were plenty of things to take a look at, and I found that this was a perfect place to be for the end of the day. In the central area were a number of sunken bars and we wandered around some of the open places where performers were already starting their shows.


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Marc888
St Paul’s Cathedral 5 stars
I noticed quite a number of professional photographers in the area and so it seems that this must still be an object of photographic desire. St Paul’s churchyard and the buildings adjacent to Patemoster Steps also made for a nice view and we were able to sit ther for a while on what was actually a quite day in the centre of London.We walked a little further down and managed to find a quaint square with a large number of fountains that made for a fun few minutes as they were intermittently jetting out water and the obvious challenge was to run down the entire length of the square without getting wet. After a short time trying to do just that, we left… soaked!

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Marc888
Shaftesbury Avenue and Chinatown 4 stars
Shaftesbury Avenue has a lot to offer and we decided to head past some of the theaters towards china town and then head for Covent Garden. China town had absolutely everything that my friend could have wished for, and we took the opportunity to get an afternoon bite in a Chinese restaurant that was offering dim sum and some traditional Chinese green tea. There were a number of good shops in Chinatown, most of which were traditional Chinese or far eastern supermarkets offering a large range of strange fruits, at least to native Londoners.

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Marc888
The London Port Authority Building 5 stars
The London Port Authority Building and some of the other grand structures provided yet another fantastic backdrop to a relaxing moment in the small park there. As mid afternoon came and went it was time to take a bus towards St Paul’s cathedral. I always feel that this is an underrated attraction, as to mind it has as much mystique and beauty as Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral Building. The front face is especially rich in its architectural detail and in the late afternoon sun the entire place took on an orange glow that really made the moment quite special.

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Marc888
Piccadilly Circus 4 stars
As mid afternoon started to wear on we took a bus from the Gardens back to Parliament Square and then on to Piccadilly Circus. This is yet another famous landmark but in reality it is just a street corner which is well known, much as Times Square in New York is. It’s actually quite strange how certain places become famous for no other reason than they are chosen to be so by the media. The Trocadero was our first stop for some shopping but we soon found ourselves walking into Shaftesbury Avenue admiring the street artists who were inundated with crowds all jostling for space to see them paint their latest portraits.

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Marc888
Tower Bridge Park 5 stars
Since we were on a bit of a schedule we decided not to spend the day inside the Tower of London itself, however if we did have more time I think it would certainly make a perfect addition to the days events.

As we made our way around the imposing historical site we could see that preparations for a large open air concert were in full swing. Apparently Elvis Costello was one of a number of big name music stars making an appearance during a series of events at the Tower Bridge Park. As we reached the main Tower Hill Terrace road we were drawn to the open space and grand buildings that lay just on the opposite side of the road at Trinity Square.


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Marc888
The Victoria Tower Gardens 5 stars
This was most certainly a great place to spend some time, as the buildings truly do warrant a close up look.
As we walked further down Margaret Street which is the road that runs adjacent to the Houses of Parliament, we noticed a nice park which was already quite full of people camping down and eating their lunch. It was actually the Victoria Tower Gardens and the entrance is visible just after passing the Houses of Parliament, at the point where Margaret Street gives way to Abingdon Street. Since this park is separated into 3 or 4 areas, contains some nicely landscaped areas, and is also nestled along the banks of the river Thames it made for a great spot to relax for an hour after so much walking.


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Marc888
The Lunchtime Buffet 5 stars
Priced at 21 pounds the Tower Hotel’s Lunch buffet offered a very good array of food and although for lunch, ordinarily it would be too much, on this day we were both ravenous. It was very well put together and offered a very good selection of English food with of course the carved meets of beef, chicken, lamb and pork being the centerpiece. After a nice desert of traditional apple pie and ice cream we headed out of the hotel and back under the tower Bridge road underpass to explore the other side of the embankment area.

This is the part of the Thames that fronts the Tower of London and its parks and so we had a nice time wandering around this area.


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Marc888
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament 5 stars
We walked across Westminster Bridge which took as back to the north side of the river. Of course the big attraction here was Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, and walking over Westminster bridge towards them still remains, I think, the best way to see these sights.

My friend tried to get a photo of the whole length of big Ben and the Westminster bridge sign all in one shot and since this required him to lie down on the pavement with the camera pointing upward we drew a small crowd of onlookers who were trying to understand what all the fuss was about. The sun was out again and the views of this majestic building that virtually define London were very good, catching light and shadows from every angle.


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Marc888
The Tower Hotel 4 stars
There were plenty of other things to see in the docks area including some fantastic luxury yachts and even a trio of graceful swans. All in all this made for a very nice bonus for our trip to see Tower Bridge as we had not planned to go there. As I looked across the waterfront the Tower Hotel proudly sported as sign detailing its special carvery buffet lunch. We were already sold on it and yet we hadn’t even set foot in the building! Still, it didn’t take long for us to get there. After walking over a couple of the quaint bridges that took us across the dockland area we soon found ourselves at the entrance of the hotel and heading up to the second floor carvery.

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Marc888
Westminster Bridge Souvenirs 4 stars
Once on the Bridge we stopped at one of the many souvenir stands that were set up along the opposite side of the road. Actually the goods on offer were very similar to those items that could be found anywhere in London, and despite there being no shop overheads, the prices seemed to be slightly more expensive. Whilst it looked like a traditional market stall which invited some bargaining, we were unable to get any discount and so decided not to shop in the cold! I think if there was a little bit more give and take we would have bought some things at this market stall, as it was just in the right place.

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Marc888
St Katherine’s Docks 4 stars
On one side the pedestrian tunnel (which was quite full of people) the walkway took us to the Tower Hotel and the area around the back of it known as St Katherine’s Docks. The docks were very nice. The narrow footpaths that lead up to the entrance were ornated with many pieces of striking art as were the areas surrounding the first buildings that greeted us as we entered the wharf area. There was, predictably, a large Starbucks coffee shop located in the best possible position, but we didn’t stop for a coffee as it was already lunchtime and something more substantial was called for.

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Marc888
Iced coffee on the way to Westminster Bridge 4 stars
On the way we passed by some more coffee shops that were nestled just at the front of an amusement arcade. Not wanting to miss anything we went in to take a closer look. This was quite a large place and included some fun rides, a pool hall, a bar, and a number of places to catch a bite. There was also a McDonalds at the front which looked to be very busy.

This entire place was still actually located at the front corner of the County Hall Gallery building. We had an iced coffee from McDonalds as this was the only place offering outside seating. Right next to where we sat were the steps that were to take us onto Westminster Bridge.


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Marc888
Tower Bridge 4 stars
The bus took us down to Tower Hill Terrace and then onto the Tower Bridge approach road. There was a stop near to the bridge and so we got off there and decided to take a walk around. The bridge itself is an impressive structure and we were able to go to the Tower Bridge Museum which gave a good overview of the history and construction of this famous landmark. However, the best places to see the bridge from were the river embankments set below the Tower Bridge road and so we decided to take the steps down and explore the areas on either side.

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