"My Kind of City" London by WheninRome
London Travel Guide: 23,056 reviews and 47,246 photos
We spent 3 wonderful days in London in late July 2010. We flew into London late at night and took a cab to our hotel, the Premier Inn Victoria - a basic but clean accommadation in a good area. After a late dinner (not terribly easy to find) we retired for the night. The next day, a Sunday, we started out by going to the Bayswater Road Art Show and then walked through Hyde Park. We almost had high tea at the Orangery at Kensington Gardens, but at the last minute decided not to (good call because high tea at Harrod's was much better I think). The Bayswater Road Art Show was a great way to ease into our London and UK vacation. We kept going and going that first day, trying to see and do as much as possible - Parlaiment, Big Ben, Downing Street, London Eye, you name it. We collapsed into bed ready for another exciting London day.
On our second day we started early at the Tower of London. We pre-ordered our tickets, went early and got right in. We also didn't waste any time getting in to see the Crown Jewels as we were told the line forms quickly. We got in almost immediately, but by the time we were done about 45 minutes later, the line stretched quite a ways - probably a half hour wait. Oh, and the Jewels were amazing. Then it was off to the Tower Bridge and that afternoon we toured St. Paul's Cathedral and listened to a choir concert at Westminster Abbey. I thought that touring one and listening to a free concert at the other was perfect as I really don't think paying for the tour of both of them is necessary.
As one who likes to try and eat like the Romans do when in Rome, I was very psyched about having authentic British pub grub accompanied by a pint of real ale. I like a craft brewed beer and was looking very forward to Britain's real ales. In that respect, I was a little disappointed, at least while in London. The couple pub meals we had were not very good at all, tasting like they had been taken out of the freezer and stuck in an oven for 20 minutes. The real ales I had in London were also mediocre and one even tasted stale. I will say that we visited a local bar near our hotel one evening and had a couple decent beers with some locals, including a Mr. Shuffelbothom, but otherwise I was disappointed in pub grub. Our best meal in London was Italian near SoHo.
Our last day in London was probably the best. We started early at Buckingham Palace for changing of the guard. It was worth the wait and the crowds. Unless you are in the very front row at the gate, I would instead recommend staking out good seats at the monument in front of the gate. Also, if you are claustrophobic then being in the crush of people near the gates is not a good idea. This was also the first day that the Palace was open for tours and we got advance tickets (an absolute must) so we went in after a short wait once the changing of the guards was over. Wow. Definitely worth the expense and the short wait. What an experience.
After Buckingham Palace we decided to make our way to Harrod's for high tea since high tea was definitely something we wanted to experience while in London. The only difficult thing about having high tea at Harrod's is finding the Georgian, the best restaurant for high tea at Harrod's, but one of over 20 some restaurants in the department store. The experience itself was overwhelming and decadent, much like everything else at Harrod's.
We finished the evening by watching the musical Oliver. Regardless of what you see, I think a play in London is a must. Oliver was fantastic, quintessential London.
It may sound odd, but I love to visit grocery stores in foreign countries or places. Nothing says more about a culture... more travel advice
I am not a shopper, but Harrod's Department Store is worth a couple hours (not including an hour longer for high tea at... more travel advice
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