heidi: (Travel2)
[personal profile] heidi
I have five days in London in July - but one of them (July 7) is going to be filled with Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows premiere-type things, and I may have stuff for that on the 6th and possibly the 8th as well.

On the 8th, also, I am going to omgomg Much Ado About Nothing SQUEE in the evening, so that's booked up.

I haven't been back in the UK since the summer of 1992 - I hear things have changed? I'd certainly consider going to the British Museum or the V&A, but what, specifically, should I go there - or to any other museum - to see?

What else do I want to do? Not Madame Tussaud's, and not the London Dungeons as they freaked the hell out of me when I was 14, but is there anything else theatrical that I must see? Restaurants, stores, museums, exhibitions? Is the Doctor Who exhibition worth it? I don't think I have time to get to Cardiff or Haye on Wye, unfortunately, not on this trip.

I'm staying by Leicester Square, if you have any nearby restaurant recs, as I'll probably need them on the 7th.

Plan my trip, o lovely flist! Please?

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Date: 2011-05-11 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pinguthegreek.livejournal.com
Do you like noodley type food ?

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Date: 2011-05-11 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
Sometimes - I don't eat it much because I like many things better than pasta in the US, but if it's asian-style I would love to give it a try. (And will you be in London while I'm there? Would love to see you!)

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Date: 2011-05-11 08:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obstinatrix.livejournal.com
My favourite place in London is Camden Market, but that's just me. :D

British Museum is also always worth a visit, although of course you can't see everything they have in a day. Glance over the website and see if anything cool catches your eye! My favourite thing they have is the Lewis Chessmen, but again, I'm weird.

Have you seen the Tower? That's cool, especially if you attach yourself to a guided tour. The V&A I went to quite recently for the first time, but mostly I just found it weirdly full of stuff like 17th century German cabinets.

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Date: 2011-05-11 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
I lived in London in the summer of 1990 for a theater and history course for about 5 weeks, so I've done the Tower's standard tour a few times, but yeah, it's just a neat place to walk around. Are the Lewis Chessmen the ones copied for the first Harry Potter film?

And I love Camden Market. My favorite place for bootlegged concerts on cassette.

I mean, in 1988. Do concert bootleggers still sell stuff there?

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From: [identity profile] lapin-agile.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-05-11 10:02 pm (UTC) - Expand

More eating recs

From: [identity profile] ias.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-05-12 09:25 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: More eating recs

From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com - Date: 2011-05-12 02:43 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2011-05-12 01:44 am (UTC)
longtimegone: (Default)
From: [personal profile] longtimegone
I have been to London three times and never hit Camden Market. *facepalm* I'm going back in August, and it's definitely my list of Things I Need To See. I've done most all of the super touristy Things, so I'm going to try to hit other stuff this time. :D

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Date: 2011-05-11 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bertee.livejournal.com
The London Eye? If you go on a sunny/clear day, it's pretty cool.

Food-wise, are you going with kids or just adults?

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Date: 2011-05-11 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
Just adults! SQUEE!

And the London Eye would be really cool if I can get over my terror about the whole height thing. Or have a drink first.

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Date: 2011-05-11 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] titanic-days.livejournal.com
How have you not been in London since 1992. I feel sure I've seen you in London.

Anyway, nobody in their right mind would recommend Madame Tussaud's or the Dungeon. They're both horrible tourist traps. I suspect the Doctor Who exhibition is probably not worth it, but I don't know and if it's on your must-do list then you totally should. V&A is always a good bet, obviously.

But seriously, don't restrict yourself to the tourist trail. Do something interesting. Come for a walk with us on the South Bank, go to Borough Market and make a lunch out of the free samples, or go a bit further afield, take a riverboat to Greenwich, or take a train out to Kew Gardens. Camden Market has a few interesting craft and antique stores but they can be hard to find.

Edibles round Leicester Square; basically don't eat anywhere that's on Leicester Square or on the few blocks around it, excepting Chinatown (Top of the Town for dim sum) and you'll be fine. Wagamama is an exception to this rule, but only eat there if you're rushed, it's loud and impersonal canteen dining.

The Salisbury on St Martin's Lane does good pub food. J Sheekey is a great but pricey fish restaurant on St Martin's Court. A must is Wahaca on Chandos Place, which does Mexican tapas and has good margaritas - tapas from $6.50, larger mains from $11 or thereabouts.

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Date: 2011-05-11 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pinguthegreek.livejournal.com
It's you who got me addicted to Wagamama!

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Date: 2011-05-12 09:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ias.livejournal.com
Got to agree with Alex, just walking around is often the best thing to do in London. For example the courtyard of St Pauls Covent Garden is an oasis of calm hidden away in the middle of the city and somewhere my other half never knew about until I showed it to him when he was in his 20s (and he grew up in London!). Walking the back streets off Fleet Street and around the Inns of Court can be fascinating, as are all the old winds and passages in the City (especially if you go at the weekend when it is very quiet).

I'd also second the Wahaca recommendation. I went to branch out in Canary Wharf and it was excellent.

As you won't have been as it wasn't open, I'd defintely try to get to the Tate Modern and walk over the Millenium Bridge.

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Date: 2011-05-12 03:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
I am totally up for walking around the South Bank! But I am unsure about going on the London Eye. I want to see it though, for certain!
Where is the DW exhibition in relation to where I'll be? A big trek or not much of one?
And you know me - I am always up for a margarita! John is also going to be in-country then, so that might be fun for a get-together.

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Date: 2011-05-11 09:14 pm (UTC)
ext_14294: A redhead an a couple of cats. (Default)
From: [identity profile] ashkitty.livejournal.com
I meant to answer your poll before, but forgot to! I see no reason I can't go to London then at some point!

The Doctor Who exhibition is actually pretty cool, so yes, worth going to! Around Leicester Square are about a zillion decent restaurants, but I usually end up at the Spaghetti House, which is cheap and reliably good. Walking distance, there's a whiskey bar called Albannach at Trafalgar Square that is totally worth going to for a posh cocktail if you feel like one. :) (They do food too, but it's a bit expensive so I haven't tried it.)

The Museum of London is another good one along with the BM and V&A; a bit more focused because it's just about London, where the others are sort of EVERYTHING EVER IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD. The BM while have on an exhibition about Afghanistan, one on Australian landscape, and one about religious devotion in medieval Europe, if any of those strike your fancy.

What sort of things do you want to see? :)

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Date: 2011-05-12 10:12 am (UTC)
ext_14294: A redhead an a couple of cats. (Default)
From: [identity profile] ashkitty.livejournal.com
Also, the British Library is having a science fiction exhibition at that time, if that sounds interesting!

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Date: 2011-05-11 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] likebunnies.livejournal.com
Is it sad that I'd rather see Much Ado About Nothing rather than any of the Harry Potter hoopla?

I am envious of your trip and hope you have a wonderful time!

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Date: 2011-05-12 03:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
Ah, they'll probably both be once-in-a-lifetime things. I'll be tweeting SO much while I am there!!

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Date: 2011-05-11 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brighteyed-jill.livejournal.com
You should see War Horse. Best piece of theatre I've ever seen, and I see a lot of theatre. When I was in London I was able to get single seats online the day before for a fairly reasonable price. Seriously, watch the trailer and be impressed by the horses. Crazy!

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Date: 2011-05-12 03:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
It's in NYC now, though, too, and I'll probably end up seeing it there in September. It looks amazing!

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Date: 2011-05-11 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] johncomic.livejournal.com
The Doctor Who exhibition is smaller than you might expect -- it doesn't take long to go through -- really it's just some costumes and props, but it's Doctor Who costumes and props, so if that's enough to sustain you then it's worth it. I wished there was more but I thought it was worth it. David Tennant's brown suit! A Tardis! Some Ood! Moving talking Daleks! And more!

Are you afraid of heights or afraid of falling? I'm afraid of falling, but on the Eye you don't feel like you can fall, so I was way comfortable on it and really enjoyed it.

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Date: 2011-05-12 03:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
Falling - and I just saw you can have champagne while riding, so that might make it, um, palatable. I think I need to go to the DW exhibit, even if it's just for a bit. I can't see Tennant and Tate and not a Tardis!

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Date: 2011-05-12 01:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azriona.livejournal.com
London Walks - they're walking tours of London, held daily and at all times of the day, on all sorts of subjects. Each tour is about 2 hours long and centers on a specific theme. There are also weekend tours that take you out of London - such as to Stonehenge or the Cotswolds. I've been on a bunch of the tours and enjoyed nearly every single one of them. The guides are entertaining and knowledgeable, and very friendly. You can pick up their guides most anywhere in London - four years ago they were white with black letters. You can also get a guide from the tour guide when you go.

I should warn you, though: there's a Harry Potter tour, but that was the one of some dozen tours that I didn't enjoy. It might have been because it was the end of the day and I was exhausted and in pain; or maybe because it was really aimed at ten-year-olds; or it might have been because there's just not a lot of Harry Potter-like things to see. (Although we did see the entrance to the Ministry of Magic.) I know it's tempting. Skip it, or at least don't judge the organization by that one Walk alone.

The tour I most enjoyed was the DaVinci Code tour, but it doesn't look like that one's still going on. Ah well.

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Date: 2011-05-12 03:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
What a fantastic link! Thanks! I may just do the Wednesday night one - the Deathly Hallows one - because the premiere is the next day and it might be just the thing to get me in the mood for Pottering. If I don't have a screening that night, that is. :D

I love walking London - when I did my summer program there we walked from Big Ben to Regents Part over the course of a day, and it was fantastic - I did the same walk (well, most of it) with my parents a few months later. I wonder if I could do it from memory again?

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Date: 2011-05-12 01:39 am (UTC)
ext_1538: (Default)
From: [identity profile] kiffle.livejournal.com
Where are you staying? I could use a recommendation - sometimes the hotel hunting wears me out.

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Date: 2011-05-12 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
The W in Leicester Square - because I have an insane number of Starwood points, so we're paying for two nights, and half price for those.

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Date: 2011-05-12 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] in-the-blue.livejournal.com
Take one of the canal tours! That's so much fun, especially if you don't have to worry about kids.

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Date: 2011-05-12 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
I lived by one of the canals when I was there in 1990, and they were lovely, but we only rode on them once. What a terrific idea!

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Date: 2011-05-12 02:05 pm (UTC)
ext_11796: (travelling)
From: [identity profile] lapin-agile.livejournal.com
In addition to the usual ways to find out what's happening on a given day in London (Time Out, the papers, etc.), a great resource is londonist, and they've just made the website easier to navigate.

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Date: 2011-05-12 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
Excellent link! Thank you so much!

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Date: 2011-05-12 11:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dramaturgy.livejournal.com
Check out the National Theatre on the south bank, and the Globe.

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Date: 2011-05-16 02:14 pm (UTC)
ext_44: (tubebyfolk)
From: [identity profile] jiggery-pokery.livejournal.com
Could be way off base here, but do I remember correctly that you like the song Werewolves of London? If so, you should eat here. Looking reviews up quickly, it's not meant to be great, but it's not meant to be disastrous, and you ought to get some giggles out of it. Close to Leicester Square, too.

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Date: 2011-05-18 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
Aroooooooooooooooooo, yeah. Cool, that's neat in a totally random way.

Is there any chance y'all might make it into London on the 9th and/or 10th when I'm there? Would love to see you!

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Date: 2011-05-16 02:29 pm (UTC)
ext_44: (bankformonument)
From: [identity profile] jiggery-pokery.livejournal.com
This site has loads of suggestions for things to do that are somewhat, or completely, off the beaten track.

As for food: I'd be inclined to start by wokring out if there are any cuisines you are missing that you can't get otherwise as a result of your travels amd get the London take on those. Meg and I always go for Mexican food while we're in London because we can't get it up here and it's cheaper than most (see, e.g., London Burrito). On the other hand, you probably have access to good Mexican already, so I doubt I would do that if I were you. I'm afraid I don't really have recommendations for good, particularly British, food, other than find a restaurant critic that you think you'd trust and look at their reviews, which will mostly be London-based (and likely very expensive, and you probably ought to book now in advance for when you'll be there).

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Date: 2011-05-18 07:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi8.livejournal.com
Well, there's okay-enough Mexican in Miami, but when I go to LA I get the really good stuff. But yeah, we have regular groceries that sell artisanal salsas, so I'm good with getting things other than Mexican while in London. I'm desperately wanting Indian food; I know the three good places to get Indian in South Florida because Aaron works with an Indian ex-pat, but I've been told that there's great stuff in the Leicester Square area?

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Date: 2011-05-19 07:01 pm (UTC)
ext_11796: (carried_away)
From: [identity profile] lapin-agile.livejournal.com
Wandering back in to point out (in case no one else has) that there is a much-hyped pirate exhibit going up at Museum of London Docklands that will be running while you are there.

Here's a link to a notice that appeared on londonist today, and it includes a juicy (okay, over-the-top) teaser video for the show:

http://londonist.livejournal.com/5401702.html

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Date: 2011-05-22 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karaokegal.livejournal.com
Ride a Boris Bike!

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