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London advice

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    London advice

    Hey Folks,

    I know there are other sites I can go for advice, but there is such a wealth of knowledge here so I thought I'd ask my questions here...

    I'm going to London this Saturday (first timer). The trip is for work and I have a fairly packed schedule as I am researching sites for a study abroad class I am planning. I know there are a whole host of touristy things to do (some of which I will be doing as part of my research), but I really love to sit in cafés, watch the people go by, and maybe get lucky with conversations with the locals. I also love to eat all kinds of cuisine. Of course, I want to try some fish & chips, but I'm open to anything else. I'm not much of a drinker, but my colleague does love beer, so pubs with a relaxing vibe are also of interest. I'm staying near the British Museum, but each day will take us to a different part of the city. We do not have time to leave the city at all. I'd also love to buy a scarf as a souvenir so if any of you have a shopping recommendation, that would be awesome.

    #2
    Others will have specifics for you - all I want to add is that bookstores in London are so much fun. You can get some great British editions with different cover art, and often books will be released earlier there. Have fun!

    Comment


      #3
      Check out James Smith and Sons umbrella shop. I bought an umbrella from them that I've had for 13 years. Many are made or finished in England.

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        #4
        Pubs are to London what cafe's are to Paris.

        A pub is not just a bar. Most pubs also serve food. Traditional dishes, besides Fish and Chips, are Bangers & Mash (Sausages & Mashed Potatoes), Shepherd's Pie (Lamb Stew with a Potato topping as a crust), Cottage Pie (the same as the Shepard's Pie but with ground beef instead of lamb), and a Ploughmans' lunch (usually pickles, cheese, meat).

        Most pubs have expanded to include other fare. Ask at your hotel for some suggestions of good local pubs and not just ones catering to tourists. ]

        Indian food is probably the most popular non-English cuisine.

        I can't really help you with shopping but a trip to Harrod's would be interesting.
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          #5
          Originally posted by Frank II View Post
          Pubs are to London what cafe's are to Paris.

          A pub is not just a bar. Most pubs also serve food. Traditional dishes, besides Fish and Chips, are Bangers & Mash (Sausages & Mashed Potatoes), Shepherd's Pie (Lamb Stew with a Potato topping as a crust), Cottage Pie (the same as the Shepard's Pie but with ground beef instead of lamb), and a Ploughmans' lunch (usually pickles, cheese, meat).

          I can't really help you with shopping but a trip to Harrod's would be interesting.
          Silly me... Thanks for the reminder, Frank II. Of course I know pubs are gathering places for more than just beer, I just know there are a few folks here (e.g. Badger) who have a wealth of knowledge about where to get good beer and that can often include beer in pubs. While I like fashion, I'm not sure I dress well enough for Harrod's!

          An umbrella is a really interesting idea for a souvenir! Thanks, Rocks. I have a million scarves (because I love them so much), but I really like the idea of an umbrella from England.

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            #6
            Harrods is well worth a visit even if you don't buy anything to wear. (Though their scarves could tempt you...) But the building itself is a Grande Dame of retail architecture, and the food hall has fabulous decorations and a riot of every kind of candy, fruit, meat, etc. imaginable. Bring a camera, and think about having a snack while you're there--there are several little cafes sprinkled around. And did you know they have a whole section of bulletproof clothes? I hate shopping, but I can seldom resist popping into Harrods while in London.

            Fullers is one of the classic British beers, and Wadworth's Six X beer is my very favorite. These days you're as apt to find French or Thai or Indian cuisine in a pub as you are to get bangers and mash, though.

            While the British Museum is a can't miss, check out the Victoria and Albert, too. It's been described as England's attic, and I could spend all day poking around there. (And like the British Museum, the V and A is free...)
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              #7
              We have visited London several times in the last 2 years.
              I second the suggestion for the V and A. it also has a very nice cafeteria selection and a couple of period rooms where you can sit once you grab your snack or meal.

              The british Museum has a nice restaurant with more modern cuisine in the above the rotonda entrance.

              I am also a scarf collector... The shop at the Vand A may have something you would like. Also, try Liberty of London. Not as huge or stuffy as Harrods, and had a very large scarf selection when I was there a year ago. they are also famous for their "liberty" flowered print fabrics. dont know if that is your style, but fun to check out.
              Strangely enough, I have also been to the Smith and soons umbrella place. DH discovered it on the web before our visit 2 years ago. he bought quite a pricey umbrella there. After almost losing it at the eurostar terminal, he is afraid to take it traveling now!

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                #8
                Originally posted by Hawaii View Post
                Also, try Liberty of London. Not as huge or stuffy as Harrods, and had a very large scarf selection when I was there a year ago. they are also famous for their "liberty" flowered print fabrics. dont know if that is your style, but fun to check out.
                I second the Liberty of London suggestion! I love the Tudor facade -- not original, but who cares? It's so very picturesque! And they have an elevator that looks like it could have been used by Henry VIII...if they'd had elevators in the 16th century!

                Anyway, fabulous selection of fabrics and scarves, and even umbrella's, and if you are in to needle crafts at all, they have a really lovely department for that as well.
                On an Epic Quest for the Perfect Bag...

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Pokilani View Post
                  I know there are a whole host of touristy things to do (some of which I will be doing as part of my research), but I really love to sit in cafés, watch the people go by, and maybe get lucky with conversations with the locals.
                  As long as you don't expect to sit outside the cafés - we've had a lot of torrential rain recently!

                  Whereabouts are your prospective study sites? London is a big and varied city, so recommendations for sightseeing would depend (in part at least) on where you are headed for your research. However the food is pretty good everywhere - our old reputation on that score needs to die a flaming death
                  Collections:
                  Work EDC: SE + S19
                  Leisure: SCBs, FJN, Swift, lots of YSSs
                  Travel: WF + Pilot or SA, with SE/SCB
                  General organisation: More pouches, stuff sacks and cubes than you can shake a keystrap at!
                  Favourite TB colours: aubergine, forest (sniff!), linen, wasabi, UV
                  Hoping for: A new dyneema colour for YSSs; a Linen Side Effect; the return of Portable Culture!

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                    #10
                    Thanks for the feedback everyone!

                    @scribe we have to check out the following places to determine what we will include in our trip:
                    British Museum (science program)
                    London Zoo, Wellcome Museum/Grant Museum/Royal College of Physicians
                    Natural History Museum, Science Museum
                    Borough Food Market

                    We have several private tours planned of some of the above places, as well as some cultural engagements. We also have several lectures planned (one includes a walking tour), but those are all through our study abroad partner. I also have to spend most of TH meeting with them. We're skipping visits on this trip to Stonehenge and the Millennium Seedbank and will just plan on doing that with the students in the Spring.

                    It is a short trip- I arrive Sunday and will leave Friday morning.

                    I'm hoping the torrential rain transitions to occasional drizzles by the time I arrive. The temps will be dropping, which will make it comfortable for rushing all over the city.

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                      #11
                      Visiting all of those should take up most of your trip - there's a lot to see in the museums!

                      Re shopping, a nice alternative to Harrod's is Fortnum and Mason, one of London's oldest shops (est. 1797) - it's not far from Liberty, so you could take them both in:

                      https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/Th...d51.508391!5i2
                      Collections:
                      Work EDC: SE + S19
                      Leisure: SCBs, FJN, Swift, lots of YSSs
                      Travel: WF + Pilot or SA, with SE/SCB
                      General organisation: More pouches, stuff sacks and cubes than you can shake a keystrap at!
                      Favourite TB colours: aubergine, forest (sniff!), linen, wasabi, UV
                      Hoping for: A new dyneema colour for YSSs; a Linen Side Effect; the return of Portable Culture!

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                        #12
                        If you're a hockey fan - 130 Regent Street - a plaque showing where the Stanley Cup was purchased - its my avatar. If I ever make it back to London it will be my first stop.
                        never skate faster than your guardian angel can fly....black and gold til I'm dead and cold....
                        be nice - until it's time to not be nice.......what separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize...

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                          #13
                          The best Thai meal I ever had was at Patara in London...the location over by the embassies was the one we ate at.
                          ============================================

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                            #14
                            In Borough Market if you like cheese go to Neal's Yard Dairy. British cheeses, often from small craft producers. Their classes are great, but don't think any will work for you.
                            August 2014 on Neals Yard Dairy -
                            If you like meat, Roast restaurant is recommended. They also sometimes have a small takeaway stand. And Monmouth coffee is good. The long line is for coffee to drink and the short line is for beans. The line moves fast, so don't be afraid.

                            And if you like James Bond I had a hoot looking at the cars from many of the films at the film museum special exhibit.
                            exhibition | London Film Museum Covent Garden - Bond In Motion
                            What's better than o-rings? More o-rings.

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                              #15
                              And if you like Jeeves and Wooster I thoroughly enjoyed Perfect Nonsense
                              Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense Play
                              What's better than o-rings? More o-rings.

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