London Travel Guide

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London Eye by night

London Eye by night

Muskaan Malhotra

Just about every London travel guide will tell you that there is nowhere else on earth quite like it. With so many unique London activities and incredible London sights, this city is all at once big and brash and bustling, cutting-edge yet traditional, historical yet modern -- it is the quintessential international metropolis -- a world city by all accounts.

The world comes to London and it greets its guests with grand London hotels and exquisite London restaurants fit for a queen. What happens here affects every corner of the world. A global center of commerce, retail, finance, entertainment, fashion, transit and trends, London can very often feel like the capital of world. 

London is also one of the world's most identifiable and emblematic cities - the city of Big Ben, double-decker buses, the Queen and the Tube, it quite rightly asserts itself in global consciousness as one of the greatest cities on earth. It has a plethora of every conceivable activity, and contains something for everyone. 

With so much going on, across such a massive city - the biggest in Europe – no one can expect to be able to do it all. Even life-long Londoners constantly find new surprises and little known London activities in this city. A week stay in a gorgeous London hotel should be long enough to give you a taste of what the 'big smoke' has to offer though.

On the first day, one could indulge in a number of London activities such as feeding his/her love for the fine arts in some of the world's finest museums, such as the British Museum, the National Gallery or the Tate Modern.

The second and third days could be for fun and lots of London entertainment. There are streets filled with world-class bars, pubs, excellent London restaurants, and theatres. And contrary to popular belief, not all bars close at 11.00 pm; there are plenty outside the West End that stay open until 2 a.m. on weeknights.

Then there is shopping for day four, and not just at Harrods. From the more fashionable alternative of Selfridges to the many street markets, London offers second-hand clothes and crafts as well as tasty foods.

Day five can be spent visiting London’s historic buildings, such as the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London. You might even want to throw a boat trip in between.

Day six is for visiting the different palaces of London, the most famous ones being Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace.

On the seventh day, one can sleep in at his/her London hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing outdoors. There are many big parks where you can linger and sit on the grass. One of the most famous of these is Hyde Park with Speakers Corner.

If you have more time to spend in London, or have been here before, then explore some areas that provide a few London activities that are outside the norm. These areas are interesting to wander around in the day and party at night: Brixton, Brick Lane, Notting Hill, Hoxton, and Camden town. It can be easier to have a local show you around, for this, check out Insider London's cutting-edge and bespoke tours.

During your stay in London you can also enjoy many diverse culinary pleasures. London restaurants feature something for every taste and budget. Although native British food does not have a great international reputation, there is plenty of great food from pretty much every country in the world here, and with its large Indian and Pakistani population, London is particularly known for its excellent Indian and Pakistani fare. 

In general, it's worth noting that London had more top restaurants than Paris and New York in a recent poll of top 50 restaurants in the world.

Whatever you want, you'll find it in London, and like so many others, you will keep coming back.

Where to Stay in London

An alternative to a hotel or hostel is an apartment. Apartments can be more affordable, comfortable, and offer a unique London experience. One agency that rents apartments in London is called London Connection ( http://www.LondonConnection.com ).

Top Ten Things to Do in London

Afternoon Tea at Capital Restaurant - Besides excellent and very high-end French and English cuisine, Capital Restaurant has a wide assortment of delicious teas. It is, after all, one of the most expensive tearooms in London. Capital Restaurant is located in the heart of Knightsbridge in the Capital Hotel. www.capitalhotel.co.uk

Tate Modern - This hip art venue houses some of the most controversial contemporary and modern art in the world. The structure in itself is also a spectacle -- the space is an old 1930s power station located on the banks of The River Thames. www.tate.org.uk

Brompton Cemetery - Located in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Brompton Cemetery is the only Crown Cemetery. Covering roughly 40 acres and housing more than 35,000 monuments, Bromptom Cemetery is one of the most stunning Victorian Metropolitan cemeteries in the world -- and it will leave you breathless. In addition to thousands of monuments and stunning landscapes, Brompton Cemetery is also home to a variety of enchanting wildlife such as an interesting assortment of birds, bright butterflies, furry foxes, and curious squirrels. www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/brompton_cemetery

Buckingham Palace - Explore Buckingham Palaces 19 magnificent staterooms, view the Queen's collection of carriages and the Queen's collection of China at the Queen's Gallery, and take a walk around the Royal Mews. www.royal.gov.uk

Changing of the Guard and St. James Park - Located in the heart of London, St. James Park is roughly 58 acres and it is home to a variety of birdlife such as geese, swans, and pelicane. You may also cross paths with a few rare birds here as well such as carrion crows and gray wagtail. Also at St. James Park, visitors can watch the oldest and most popular ceremonies at Buckingham Palace -- the Changing of the Guard. www.royalparks.org.uk/tourists/changing_guard.cfm

Regent's Park - The 410-acre Regent's Park is the largest outdoor sports area in London featuring several spectacular rose gardens with more than 30,000 bright roses of 400 different varieties. www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/regents_park/

Greenwich Meridian Line - This is a very interesting point of interest if you want to do something different in London and learn a lesson or two in the process. The Prime Meridian, also known as the International Meridian or Greenwich Meridian, is the meridian (line of longitude) passing through The Royal Observatory, in Greenwich, London. The Greenwich Meridian Line is the Zero Line of Longitude -- the Prime Meridian of the World. It is an imaginary line, which runs from the North Pole to the South Pole. By international convention it runs through the main telescope at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. So, once you reach Greenwich, climb up to the Royal Observatory and take in the gorgeous views of London's landscapes and rivers.

Greenwich Meridian Line : www.greenwich-guide.org.uk/meridian.htm;  The Royal Observatory : www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/nav.2857

St. Pauls Cathedral - See the third largest dome in the world and enjoy incredible views of London after a climb to the top. Explore the place where Lady Diana Spencer and Charles, Prince of Wales, exchanged vows. www.stpauls.co.uk

The British Airways London Eye - The British Airways London Eye is the world's largest observation wheel and a permanent fixture in London's skyline. Considered an offbeat experience, a thirty-minute ride offers views of more than 50 top London landmarks and attractions. The British Airways London Eye has won more than 75 awards for national and international tourism.

www.ba-londoneye.com/ExploreTheLondonEye

The River Thames - Sail along England's longest river and see the city from a different view -- one of the best London has to offer. During a docent led tour you will sail past museums, churches, palaces, theaters, and pubs. www.riverthames.co.uk

Surbiton

Olympics- London will be hosting the 2012 summer olympic games. They have their olympic park in eastern London.

This is the original design for the 2012 Olympic Park of London. This project itself costs 9.35 billion pounds. The original July 2005 budget was 2.4 billion pounds, but that rose on March 15th 2007. 2012 is still nearly three years away. The Olympic Park was built in the east of London, because they wanted to improve the Eastern London image. The project forced many people to move out of the area. The organization for 2012 London Olympics chose the shabbiest area and built the park over it.

Meals On Wheels

On a Bus
Have you ever been on a double decker bus and thought ‘I fancy having dinner on this thing’? Of course you have. Well now, thanks to ‘London’s first vegan bustaurant’, you can. It won’t be moving, but if the novelty of eating a meal on a 1967 big red London Routemaster bus grabs you, head down to Ely’s Yard in the Old Truman Brewery – the creative hub of Brick Lane. The lower deck houses the kitchen, upstairs is the restaurant (not open top but there are plenty of windows!) and there is even takeaway hatch downstairs for walk-by diners. There is of course no meat on offer, but with food from all corners of the world, including India, Thailand, Greece and China, there really should be something to please everybody. Alcoholic and soft drinks are sold at reasonable prices, and in keeping with RootMaster’s environmentally friendly ethos, all beers, juices and teas are organic.

On a Bike
How about putting a smile on Boris Johnson’s face and going for a bike ride in London? Not on a bike though. The Pedibus is a small, open vehicle that is driven by up to ten people cycling as they drink and talk. Rather than a bicycle, this contraption looks more like a moving dinner table, with guests facing eachother and gently peddling as they are taken around London streets at £26 per person. This will certainly help minimise your carbon footprint and is a great, novel way to see the city. Plus it’s a great way to burn off the calories from dinner at our next suggested venue..

On a Plane
Not quite on a plane, but Gordon Ramsay’s flight themed restaurant, located in Terminal 5 of Heathrow airport, is designed with ‘aerodynamic lines.. and shapes associated with flying’. There is an extensive menu, not wonderful for vegetarians, but all very well priced considering the reputed quality of Michelin star chef Ramsay’s food. Perfect for those in a hurry to catch a flight, the restaurant even offers a three course ‘plane picnic’ for under £12, to enjoy once you’re in the air. The perfect way to re-fuel.

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: http://ratedapartments.com/Blog/2009/10/24/meals-on-wheels-londons-best-transport-themed-venues/

Contributors

February 26, 2007 change by rfujitani (1 point)

May 17, 2008 change by mcburton (1 point)

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