Need advice on a possible trip to London

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jeff Savage, May 27, 2003.

  1. Jeff Savage

    Jeff Savage Second Unit

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    Ok so I have a chance to spend 4 days in London, England at the end of July (19th to 24th) for a really good price. I would really like to go but after paying for the airfare and hotel I would not have a bunch of free cash left to spend. The trip will include a four day pass on the tube and double decker buses

    So are my questions:

    1) Given the time of year what free events might be going on?

    2) Are there good sightseeing venues that are free or have very low cost admission?

    2a) What are the must sees while in London?

    3) What can I do for food? I don't mind eating fish and chips for four days. What would the average cost per day for low cost meals be (breakfast at the hotel).

    4) If I was to go to only one fancy place to eat ($30 - $50 USD per person) during the trip where would that be?

    I would really like to make this work as the last time I was in Europe was when I was 10. Any advice you guys can offer would be great.

    THANKS!!!

    Jeff
     
  2. Maurice McCone

    Maurice McCone Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff,

    recently many of Londons museums have gone admission free. These include some of the best in the world....

    Natural History Museum
    British Museum
    Imperial War Museum

    after those I would include on the 'classic' tour

    Buckingham Palace (you can pre-book tickets)
    Tower of London (fascinating tour)
    Houses of Parliament
    Downing St (President Blairs house)


    'Downtown'

    Covent Garden (great place to eat at night)
    Leicester Sq
    Picadilly Circus

    Shopping -
    Harrods (nach..)
    Oxford Street

    Don't forget the parks which can rival Central Park, especially Hyde Park for some nice walks...

    The tourist traps worth seeing..

    Madam Toussauds
    London Eye (spectacular trip)

    check out www.Lastminute.com for great deals on top restaurants, they offer 2/3 course deals in Terence Conran restaurants which are good for a big night out....such as the Mezzo restaurant in Wardour St, great on a Friday night, but expensive without the deals....

    if you need any further advice let me know,
     
  3. David Ely

    David Ely Supporting Actor

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    I just want to add that you should to stop by Pizza Express for a bite to eat. A single pizza will run you 10 - 14pounds, but it's well worth it. I was in London for 8 days last year and I REALLY miss that place.
     
  4. Jeff Savage

    Jeff Savage Second Unit

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    Excellent information. Thanks guys!! Ok now it is time for some more questions. The hotel that was booked as part of the travel package is The Plaza On Hyde Park. Is this ok? Is it in a good location?

    On a side note my passprt went through the wash [​IMG] I am going to the passport office this afternoon to see if I am still allowed to use it. It is pretty beat up. I would hate to have to pay for a new one as this one is only a couple of months old.

    Laters,
    Jeff
     
  5. Jose C

    Jose C Extra

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    My wife and I were in London this past New Year's Eve -check out The Tate Modern Museum - fantastic collection of modern art in a huge building just a short tube ride from where you will be. Pretty much everything around Hyde Park and The Marble Arch is a nice area. As for eating out, there's tons of Indian and Middle Eastern-type restaurants in this area if that's your fancy - we tended to keep going back to fast food, Planet Hollywood etc. You could also check out the Camden markets a little further to the north on the tube if you want to see the young, counter-culture antithesis to upscale Oxford Street shopping. If you're into nightlife let me know as London and Londoner's are tops for partying.
     
  6. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    My favorite places in London:

    Museums:

    The Victoria & Albert -- a cool museum of "stuff". Not just old paintings, manuscripts and sculpture. There's a big hall of replicas of entryways of many famous cathedrals that's very cool. The "hall of fakes", examples of counterfeit artifacts is also interesting, tho I don't know if it's still there as the last time I was in London was about 6 yrs ago.

    The National Portrait Gallery -- it's right next to the National Gallery and I found it more interesting. You can really get a feel for British history there.

    Churchill's War Rooms are also very cool.

    Restaurants:

    Belgo -- Belgian. Specialty is roast chicken and tons of GREAT BEER. The original is near the Angel tube stop (I think) and there's another in Covent Garden (it's underground). Casual atmosphere w/ big benches & tables to sit at. Relatively cheap, too.

    Akash -- Indian. In Leicester Square. Very good, tho the waiters are kinda obnoxious.
     
  7. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Jeff, be aware that at the time you're going every school in the country will be on it's summer break. I've been to London before at that time of year and the queues for the museums were horrendous. It might have just been bad luck, but don't expect nice, quiet, empty places [​IMG]
     
  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I would add some religion to Maurice’s suggestions.

    ·Westminster Abby (across from Parliament (don’t miss the Chapter House)
    ·St. Pauls

    Here is a combination of architecture and history that is hard to match anywhere.

    There are many fine museums in London. The Tate (already mentioned a couple of times) is a favorite of mine. I take the opposite view of Tom as I think that art in the National Gallery is far superior to that in the National Portrait Gallery, which is of interest if you have a reasonable familiarity with English history.

    But of them all, I think the British Museum to be a must. The spoils of the Empire on display. The Elgin Marbles, the Rosetta Stone, two copies of Magna Carta, just to begin. Here is where Karl Marx (in the Reading Room) did his research for his writings and theories. And when you get tired, just nip across to the pub directly across from the museum and have a pint at the same place Marx drank.

    As for budget food, pub food can be quite good (or very ordinary) and inexpensive. A standard is a ‘plowman’s’—cheese, bread, pickles, etc. Ask for a pint of their ‘best bitter’ to wash it down. Or try a meat pie—steak and kidney is a classic.

    Have fun.
     
  9. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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  10. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    And don't forget to party at Tiger, Tiger.
     
  11. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    That would be queue in England, Cees. [​IMG]
     
  12. Lary Larson

    Lary Larson Stunt Coordinator

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    If you're at all interested in Shakespeare, The New Globe is fascinating.
     
  13. Jeff Savage

    Jeff Savage Second Unit

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    Dang guys thanks for all the suggestions. They are great keep em coming. It sounds like a couple of weeks would really be needed to do the city properly. I didn't know that the British Museum contained all those items. That sounds like a "must do".

    In London is there a need to tip service folks? Is it the same as here in the US (10-20% depending on service)?
     
  14. Doug:Li

    Doug:Li Stunt Coordinator

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    as far as food goes, one word:

    WAGAMAMMA

    good, cheap(under 10 pds. for most dishes) healthy asian style noodles and more. Dont miss it!
    there should be a couple spread around london(SOHO, West end area for sure). Also dont pass up the sandwiches at 'pret a manger'. Nice and fresh.
    For breakfast you cant miss coffee and a croissant. You can get that anywhere reasonably cheep. And look for the pubs on the side streets. They are more likely the local pubs and will be more fun and probably have better prices. PLUS you dont have to TIP the bartenders in London. Offer to buy em a drink every once in a while. I actually had a bartender REFUSE a tip. He said I tipped too much already. I offered to buy him a drink instead. He gladly took it. If you're near Covent Garden look up the pub called NELL GWYNN, its on a side alley and has a great jukebox and atmosphere.

    HAVE FUN! London is a great city!
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Dan Lindley

    Dan Lindley Second Unit

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    Try these, perhaps:

    Food court in Harrods is spectacular and can make for a great picnic in the nearby park.

    Imperial War Museum: if you are at all interested, you should go.

    Tate: great!

    Beer: Lots!
     
  16. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Tipping is nowhere near as common in the UK as it is in the US. In fact, cab drivers & waiting staff in restaurants are really the only people who "expect" it really.

    "The Tube" is definitely the way to get around - it's cheap, it's everywhere. Get a travelcard each morning, it allows you unlimited travel within the specified zones. It'll allow you to "pop around" the city centre with minimum of cost.

    There's a free daily newspaper distributed via the Tube - "Metro". It's worth a grab to see what's going on. The best weekly guide is Time Out.

    The British Museum is a definite "must do". I'm a big fan of the Science Museum as well.

    If you're willing to sit in "the Gods" (ie the top balcony), how about
    Les Mes + dinner at Planet Hollywood for 17.50 pounds?
     
  17. Jeff Savage

    Jeff Savage Second Unit

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    Ok I am getting closer to this trip. We have some things planned already. We will get into London early 7:30AM or so. The only thing we have planned for that day is to visit Madam Toussauds. The next night we have tickets for the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall. We are slowly filling in our time.

    Ok now that the update is out of the way I need to ask one another question. Where would be a good place to experience an English Tea? I am not talking about the Ritz or anything ($46.00 is kindda steep for a 50 min tea). Anything around 10 to 12 pounds would be great.

    Thanks!!
    Jeff
     
  18. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    When I was in London (long time ago - 1985), one of the most interesting (& fun) free "events" I witnessed was Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park on Sunday. Basically, anyone who wants can get up on their soapbox (literally) and spout out about any subject they care to.

    Speaker's Corner has a long & storied history. When I was there I heard some very serious speakers, and some who I suspect were putting us on. It was all very entertaining.

    And I must back up all the recommendations for the British Museum. It's an amazing place.

    I found Madame Toussauds' to be a major tourist trap. I would not put it high on the list, especially with only 4 days in town.

    Whatever you do, Jeff, have fun. London is a blast. I need to go back...
     
  19. Zak Solo

    Zak Solo Agent

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    Hi

    I live and work in London.

    There is a huge amount to do on virtually no budget.

    1) All national museums are free. Victoria & Albert, Wallace Collection, Natural History Museum etc. All excellent and worth visiting if just to look at the buildings themselves.

    2) Food. If you want decent food that will fill you up, Pizza Express is a good bet. A pizza will cost around £6 and they are excellent pizza's. Wagamamas is great as well. Similar cost although you sit on benches like at school.

    As you will appreciate London has a huge number of restaurants. Some ultra expensive some a lot cheaper. Expect to pay anywhere from £50 - £75 per head at a top restaurant, Mirabelle, Bluebird etc.

    3) Free attractions include:

    a) Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. This is fascinating.

    b) Speakers Corner in Hyde Park Corner. If you want to watch some lunatics expressing their views on how the world should be run.

    c) Walk around Covent Garden watch all the street artists. Carnaby Street is ok similar to Canal Street in NYC but more diversity.

    d) Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Upmarket Department stores. Think Saks not Macy's and you get the right idea. Bond Street for upmarket shops such as Cartier, Armani, Loius Vitton etc. Oxford Street is very busy. 100's of shops and people all over the place.

    f) Walk through the Parks Green Park and Hyde Park corner are great. Check out Grosvenor Square which houses the US Embassy and see the level of security at the moment. They are also erecting a memorial for 9/11.

    4) The theatres are pretty expensive but cheaper than NYC. Expect to pay £35 for a good seat and £10 for a seat in the gods.

    5) Go into Soho early one evening. Be aware that into the early hours of the morning Soho becomes a bit dodgy. Drug sellers and prostitutes seem to be more evident. Unless you are into those things. Be sure to keep your valuables close to you and don't carry a huge amount of cash around.

    6) London Underground (the Tube) is very safe and is a very effective way of getting around. The lines are all colour coded and the tube map is very easy to navigate.

    You have to visit some pubs whilst you are here. Although the central london pubs aren't that old they cater for tourists generally. You would find that in the suburbs pubs are older. There is a 16th Century pub just down the road from me.

    Walk thought the Trocadero in Piccadilly Circus. It is quite cool.

    Hope you have fun. Let me know if there is anything else you need. Your hotel is a fairly good location. Pretty much in the heart of it. But London is a walking city. The architecture is amazing.

    Enjoy London.
     
  20. Jeff Savage

    Jeff Savage Second Unit

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    Guys -

    Thanks for the responses!! We just got our packets from British Airways yesterday so we are really starting to get excited! We all have our plane tickets and passports now so we are ready to go.

    I have been requested to ask for the best fish and chips place in all of London [​IMG] So if you have a fav please let me know.

    Again I want to thank everyone for the posts and keep the ideas coming!!

    Thanks!!
    Jeff
     

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