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Advice for going to London? (1 Viewer)

Jason Quillen

Supporting Actor
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Nov 1, 2000
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622
Well, I'm a student at University of Delaware and just finished finals this Friday (FINALLY). I've been signed up for a 5 week study abroad program in London since this winter, but with the hell that is finals these past couple weeks I didnt even want to think about getting ready to head over. So after a night at the bars down at the beach I got back up here and it dawned on me...In 7 days I'll be in London for 5 weeks!

So I'm looking for advice that any of my fellow HTF'ers can give me. I've been there once before with my family, back in July of '99 and loved every minute of it (thats why I decided to do my study abroad there). I'm a history major, so thats the type of stuff I'm into. I hit the big places last time, like Tower of London and Churchills Bunker (both of which I plan on seeing again anyway). And when we were over there we did a couple of walks...a ghost one and a Jack the Ripper one, and those were a blast as well so I'd like to do more of those.

I'm not concerned with museums and things along those lines as I'm taking an Art History class and we meet at a different museum/statue/memorial/etc every day of class, so I'm sure we'll hit the signifigant ones. Classes only meet Mon, Tues, Wed...Thurs they have field trips and Fri, Sat, Sun we can travel. I was thinking either Amsterdam or Spain, but who knows.

Anyway, you guys got any suggestions? And whats the weather like over there for this June - Early July time frame? Anything you guys got will be helpful...
Have a good one,
JQ
 

Jeff D.

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 10, 1999
Messages
521
Real Name
Jeff
Three words (stolen from a previous thread about the same subject):
Mind the gap. :D
/Jeff
 

Larry Seno Jr.

Supporting Actor
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Feb 28, 2002
Messages
527
I have no idea what that guy means but be prepared for horrible food, a LOT of cigarette smoke, and crappy weather. Travelling to Europe was the best thing I ever did and if you go and don't want to stay, you did it wrong.

Other things that are curious about Europe:

They dont have fountain drinks
A large is what we would refer to as at MOST a medium
There is no such thing as a non-smoking section
 

andrew markworthy

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Jason, London is like any big city. Exercise the usual sensible precautions and you'll have a great time. The best guide to what's on in London is generally reckoned to be 'Time Out'. Check out their website:
http://www.timeout.com/london/
Try to see some of the shows here. Not necessarily the big musicals (which these days are often ex-Broadway anyway, though there should be a new Anrew Lloyd-Webber open by the time you arrive) but there are lots of good quality plays, etc.
If you want to try further afield, not everything that is worth seeing is in London, and travelling in Britain is not necessarily expensive. The tourist cliches are Stratford-upon-Avon (worth going to see a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre), Bath (well worth seeing, especially for the well-preserved Ancient Roman baths) and Oxford (if you like architecture, worth seeing for the various university colleges, and the Ashmolean Museum is worth a visit; however, arguably Cambridge's architectural delights, especially King's College chapel, are even better). You can reach all of these in a day out from London.
Larry, just which mythical country did you visit, please? For a start, almost everywhere is non-smoking *only* in the UK. Food is not universally awful, and the weather is not 'crappy'. These comments are only valid if you assume that America has the only 'correct' climate and range of foods. However, not everyone on this planet thinks that temperatures in the 80s + are optimal and that a myriad range of over-sugared and salted food products in portions which practically force obesity on the population are desirable. Oh, and before anyone starts arguing that service in shops is unfriendly, you are missing a fundamental difference between Brit and American culture. Brits know that a shop assistant is not their long-lost buddy, so if they started gushing friendliness at the level many American store clerks do, we would see it as being very insincere and over-familiar. Because we don't orgasm on the spot when we first meet someone does not mean we dislike them or that we are being aloof.
 

Maurice McCone

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 22, 2001
Messages
147
excellent post Andrew :D
Jason,
enjoy London, I would echo the plan to travel up to Stratford upon Avon, well worth the trip.
If you are planning to travel you should also consider a trip up to Edinburgh, with low cost fares these days you can fly to Scotland for under $100 from London; look for details from Easyjet or Go airlines for cheap flights around Europe.
 

Jason_Els

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 22, 2001
Messages
1,096
By ALL means..... and this is SO important....
Pay extra attention to how you cross the street! By nature you will look in the wrong direction. Stop, take time, and force yourself to look right lastly before crossing. It can easily save your life; particularly in London.
Air pollution in London is ghastly. It's like LA. The rain helps but a stagnant day in Summer is awful.
Use the subway, it's clean, efficient, and super easy to figure out. I felt comfortable within 15 minutes and I don't have a subway at home.
It's hideously expensive. Everything.
Go do the tourist stuff and have fun. London's one of the world's great cities and exactly what you think it will be. It's one city that lives up to its expectations.
Mind that gap and please meet your party at the meeting point. Walk this way! :D
P.S. I second that vote for Edinburgh. Rockin' city.
 

Jason_Els

Screenwriter
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Yeah well I'm used to New York subways. New York's MTA makes London's Underground look like a surgical suite.
 

Paul_D

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New York's MTA makes London's Underground look like a surgical suite.
I do remember being amazed at how filthy New York's subway system was. It seems the general rule of subway usage is: use, but with a specific regard for preserving good health.
 

TheoGB

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Jun 18, 2001
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Air pollution in London is ghastly. It's like LA.
Blimey, never been to LA but I thought the air pollution was meant to be bad over there!!
Seriously, I guess it depends on where you come from but I always found the air pollution to be slightly worse in Manchester...:D
 

Rob Gillespie

Senior HTF Member
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Nah, the pollution in LA is worse. You can taste it. I was there for a few days and had a hell of a sore throat. London is polluted, but I don't think it's quite in the same league.
 

Jeff Kleist

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Dec 4, 1999
Messages
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You should try Tokyo then, the pollution is tactile :)
Remember, a toilet is a loo, the trunk is the boot, and oh jeez there's a million Brit-isms :)
Just don't come back adding those extra "e"s all over the place :D
Oh, and be sure to go DVD shopping ;)
 

Paul_D

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look anyone in the eye!!
Good advice. More Underground survival tips:
Never mop your brow, or sigh... its a sign of weakness. :D
When travelling in the rush hour, make sure your hands are placed firmly at your sides at all times.
Make sure your wallet is in you trouser pocket, or another zipped or buttoned pocket.
Avoid eye contact at all costs.
NEVER!!! pull out your wallet or mobile phone. You can't use your phone anyway, and whatever you want to look at in your wallet can wait till later.
These are pretty much all general good sense tips for living anywhere, but sometimes late at night on the tube, you are made especially vulnerable by not obeying them.
 

Iain Lambert

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Jun 7, 1999
Messages
1,345
Bear in mind however, that I listen to my walkman / read a book / play on my GBAdvance on the Underground regularly at the weekend, without any ill effects, so its not quite the dangerous vicious thief-fest it might be sounding. Don't do anything stupid, but don't get too paranoid either.
If you're half the geek I am, you'll want to go to the Link Removed at the Barbican. As for museums, the three major Kensington museums are all well worth a visit. I'm a Friend (i.e. member) of the V & A so it obvious I like that one. The Natural History Museum is also wonderful; I recommend the Earth Galleries in particular. The Science Museum has kind of gone downhill a bit in the last few years, in my opinion, with rather too many sponsored exhibits being rather focused on pleasing the sponsors rather than informing the public, but its still good.
Judging from what you've already mentioned for visiting, though, you'll definitely need to visit the excellent Imperial War Museum; I see that the special submarines exhibition is still running until the end of June, which was rather good. On a similiar theme, they have recently opened upBletchley Park to the public, if you fancy a journey out of London one day. Vital if you're interested in the history of the place and the Enigma machine, but otherwise you might not want to use up a day on it (I would, but thats me).
 

Jon Robertson

Screenwriter
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May 19, 2001
Messages
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Because there are no poop-scoop laws (or whatever the hell they're called in the US), there is dogshit EVERYWHERE on the streets.

Take care - I've seen people slip and fall over horribly when not paying attention!
 

TheoGB

Screenwriter
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Jun 18, 2001
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There are some dog shit laws but the problem is there's nobody to actually enforce them, so yeah, it can be bad in some areas. :frowning:
The tube is not that dangerous a place but it is wise not to make a spectacle of yourself obviously. If you're travelling in the central areas of London you should be fine - if you're carrying a lot of gear and taking the Victoria Line through to Brixton you might want to think twice. ;)
 

Lee Scoggins

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Nah, the pollution in LA is worse. You can taste it. I was there for a few days and had a hell of a sore throat. London is polluted, but I don't think it's quite in the same league.
Rob,

I agree with you here. I found London very clean compared to my usual stops in NYC and Boston.

I love this city - I spent around six months there last year. Much more going on than boring New York City.

Jason,
One recommendation: buy some very good quality shoes over there. They make some of the best in the world and they are less expensive than in the States. I recommend Tricker and Crockett & Jones.

If you want to stock up on presents for yourself in clothing or for your girlfriend, visit Milan Italy. If you want the coolest shoes in the world visit Berluti in the Quadralateral. Italy also has a thriving audiophile stereo scene.

The prices are about half what we pay for designer wear here (even with recent exchange rate changes) in the States. I also strongly recommend a trip to Barcelona if you like beautiful women and good nightlife.
 

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