"LONDON...My Second Home" London by Michael_D
London Travel Guide: 25,010 reviews and 55,843 photos
This is a picture of the fireworks in London in the Y2K celibration many saw on TV.
It hardly looks like a photo at all..very surreal indeed. It was taken with fastX film, no flash, no filter, au natural and is certainly one of the luckiest shots on the planet.
London isn't one of the world's bargain destinations but it IS possible to not break the bank while visiting.
Start with the free attractions: The British Museum, the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square, the vast and fascinating Tate Modern gallery across the Thames from St. Paul's Cathedral, the Imperial War Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum -- just to name the best-known among the capital's 200 or so museums and galleries. Be aware most museums will also have special exhibitions that do charge admission.
There's no charge for watching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, which happens daily at 11:30 a.m. from April through the end of July, and every other day the rest of the year.
Admission is also free for the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London at 9:50 p.m. each night, but you need to plan ahead. (Visitors may request up to seven passes by writing to: The Ceremony of the Keys, H.M. Tower of London, London EC3N 4AB.)
A cheap but vanishing essential of any London visit is a ride on one of the double-decker Routemaster buses; they're the ones with the open platform on the back and a conductor waiting to sell a ticket. The fare is just 1.20 pounds, or $2.25, for a single ride; you can also get an all-day London Transport ticket, which includes Underground trains too, for 4.70 pounds, about $9.
If you fancy shopping, London boasts a variety of markets selling everything from fresh fish to vintage jewelry. Take a trip on the Central line tube to Liverpool Street for a day at Petticoat Lane market, and trawl through the vintage clothing. Pretend you are Eliza Doolittle and roam through the old and new in the Covent Garden market, and catch some of the street performers.
Many say the best way to view London is by foot. Walking tours are a popular way of catching the hidden details, and the guides have a wealth of knowledge.
The Tricycle Theatre, one of London's better-known small theaters, offers 30 to 50 tickets to Tuesday and Saturday matinees on a "pay what you can" basis. This offer is available to students, seniors and people with disabilities. The theater also offers some "early bird" tickets for less than 10 pounds or $19.
My idea always TAKE LONG WALKS WITH ONLY A VAGUE ITINERARY. I always liked street scenes of London, because the sheer energy of present day meets the echos of yesterday resounding off its walls. Thousands of tourists scurry about admiring the 'neat architecture' or the 'cool double-decker busses' , oblivious that history fairly oozes from the walls they almost casually notice..I like the juxtaposition. To me Regent Street is a manmade canyon one traverses to get from Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus..on the way to Trafalger Square...
VISIT THAT TIME HONORED BRIDGE....LONDON BRIDGE?
NOPE...but thats what most foreigners mistakenly call it. This is TOWER BRIDGE. London Bridge is west on the Thames.(ACTUALLY the REAL LONDON BRIDGE is far west indeed...reassembled on Lake Havasu in good ol ARIZONA US of A...been there..loved it!) There are so many 'must see's' in London it would take 200 pages to cover them all. I will try to cover many of the 'usual suspects' and cover more unusual stuff if possible.
I have taken dozens of pictures of Trafalger Square but this is my favorite. If you enlarge it and look closely, you can see the Big Ben clocktower looking down Whitehall to Millbank. OYE! WHAT A GREAT PLACE!
*At some point I hope to add more pictures and places on this London page. The last VT format change splattered alot of the old pages and I havent had time to replace them yet.*
When visiting London you absolutely must see Parliament.
So much history, bad and good, has passed through these halls. At one time `the sun never set on the British Empire.`
To my mind the countries that were included, Australia. New Zealand, India, Canada and even my own USA..benefitted immensely from the British Colonial era. To this day the main ideas regarding government, law, equality, transportation, education, etc are the basis that make the above countries some of the most peacefull, prosperous and interesting to visit. From India`s immense railroad system to democratic government to sheer propriety....its all a British sphere thing..to me.
Hey, then again Im an Anglophile at heart. But so revered was the British Parliamentry system that Budapest built their mirror-version buliding on the banks of the Danube...not to mention several dozen countries copied the system itself..must be something to it?
When visiting London you absolutely must STUDY/STUDY/STUDY~!
GET A LONELY PLANET GUIDE
As with all major cities AND COUNTRIES... my biggest tip will be to study the area via a map and a written guide long before you jump on a plane to visit. Even trying to read during your 7 hour flight from New York to Gatewick doesnt cut it.(cramming before finals,,did it REALLY work?)
Try watching Rick Steves travel shows or..someone who once had a VT travel page/Antony Bourdains food/travel shows(is that a good enough plug Tony?;-) You research BEFORE the trip to have a more relaxed trip in general.
There are simply too many things to see in London without a plan. When you get home youll come across names of places and look them up, realising you were just a few blocks away from them. Hey Regents Canal was 2 blocks away from my hostel, there is a zoo near Hyde Park and there is an awesome view of the London skyline from the park at Hampstead Heath. How did I know?
My first several trips to Europe I DIDNT do my homework and paid a hefty price...
I MISSED more than I saw...I missed the Kremlin by bad timing(who knew it was closed on my last Sunday in Moscow?) and I opted to MISS the city of Florence Italy because I thought..'Hey I already saw Rome...it cant be any better".
- Pros:Too many good places to visit to mention!
- Cons:Prices in the UK make my head spin!
- In a nutshell:A good jumpoff point for any European trip & they speak English sorta
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