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> London, Frequently Asked Questions
uncle_davros
post Oct 25 2006, 04:34 PM
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The TravelPod London Starter Kit

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From Londinium to London, this place has it all. Monuments and museums, galleries and ghettoes, parks are everywhere. Whatever you need to find, London has it all

This starter kit isn’t meant to replace a guide book. It’s a collection of top tips and frequently asked questions about the region. If you are headed to London, make sure to have a glance.

Contribute if you can by replying to this post!


Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Dress Sense

London is a city of extremes. Sunny one moment, pouring rain with the next! And this is in the summer. It gets cold in the winter, and if you are lucky, it might just snow one day of the year, so whenever you go, always pack an umbrella

Blogging

Internet access is everywhere. All computers at Internet café’s have USB ports which you can use to upload photos from your camera to your blog. The majority of PC’s are running Windows XP, so there is no problem either uploading your photos or burning them onto a CD.
Taking a laptop is not a challenge, the people are very trustworthy and friendly and a lot of cafes are now set up to let you plug your laptop into their network via Wifi or Ethernet. There are also coffee shops everywhere which do offer free Wifi. You can buy access through companies like BT.
Keep notes in your paper journal then write your entries when you get to a café.
If you would like to write your entries outside of a café, consider getting a small and sturdy PDA (handheld PC) or the like with a fold out keyboard.

Security

London, like any capital city in the world can be dangerous in the wrong place and time. There are good and bad places all over the city.
Keep your passport and valuables in a hidden money belt and never take it out when outside.
Walk with assurance, don’t look lost, even if you are.
When arriving in a new city from your home country, try to book your first night’s stay before you arrive.
Don’t draw attention to yourself, hide all of your expensive goodies.
Remove or obscure big name labels on bags and cameras.
If your day pack has a rain cover, use it when in cramped spaces to keep quick hands from opening zips.
Travel Insurance is a good idea and is generally cheap, make sure that it covers the types of activities you plan to do. TravelPod offers Adventure Travel Insurance.

Visas

You will need a visa to enter the country, unless you have a valid EU passport. Visas are generally granted at the customs gate upon arrival once you have satisfied the immigration officer. If wanting to work in the UK, you will require a working visa which must be applied before entering the UK

London Sights

The majority of sites in London are found in the West End. The list is endless, but I will supply a fair few

Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, House of Lords, St Stephens Tower (Big Ben), Number 10 Downing St (Home of the Prime Minister), Horse Guards, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Regent St, Oxford St, Hyde Park, The Globe Theatre, The London Eye, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Brick Lane, Covent Garden. Yes it does sound like a Monopoly board, but hey, this is London !!!

Shopping

Oxford St is the main shopping street in London. Always packed with people. Regent St and New Bond St are classier. London also has loads of markets. The largest market is in Camden. It has everything there and is spread out over the whole place. For antiques, go to Portobello road. General household goods can be found in Petticoat Lane and Leather Lane markets. For a proper East End experience, get down to Brick Lane early on a Sunday morning. Some say, that if your house was broken in on the Saturday, you can find and re-buy all your possessions here on the Sunday !!! Then there is Harrods. The local rumor here is that if you want something, and you want it badly, you will find it at Harrods. This place is located in Knightsbridge. Just around the corner from Harrods is the Kings Road. If you want to be seen, this is the place for you

Parks

If just hanging out, taking the sun in, when it is around, is your thing, London, has more parklands than the majority of capital cities in the world. From the centre of the west end, you can practically walk all the way to Kensington. St James Park to Hyde Park to Kensington Park. A little further out of the city is Richmond Park, where there are deer that run free. There are also loads of commons everywhere, including Clapham, Wandsworth, Hampstead Heath and Wimbledon

Sporting Events

The average Londoner is Soccer mad. Some of the biggest clubs in the Premiership are based in London. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are a few. There are more. Getting tickets can be hard and they are not cheap. There are other clubs in the lower divisions. Every year in June, tennis is the game. Barons Court for the Queens Stella Artois Championship is the lead up to Wimbledon. Both of these venues are serviced by the tubes. Tickets for Wimbledon can be purchased on the day. If you do want good tickets, you will need to line up early, maybe even sleep the night. Cricket is served by two grounds. Lords, which is in St Johns Wood, and has an excellent museum and tour guide service and the Oval, which is in Kennington. Tickets for tests are impossible for Lords, but the Oval matches, can be bought on the web. If worse comes to worse for all sporting events, there are always scalpers

Eating

Whether you are rich or poor, there is something for everyone. As there is a huge West Indian community, you can get your curried goat. In Brick Lane, there are a multitude of Bangladeshi curry houses. Remember that curried anything is the number one English dish !!! There are also loads of Thai, Chinese, Nepali, Japanese restaurants, or you can just go down to the local Chippy for a hit of fish and chips.

Museums and Galleries

The majority of the Museums and Art Galleries are free in London, unless there is a special show being shown at the time. In South Kensington, you could spend days in the Science, History and V & A Museums. The National Art Gallery and Portrait Gallery are located just off of Trafalgar Square. There are also the Tate Modern on the Southbank and the Tate Millbank which is just down from the House of Lords. The magnificent British Museum is so impressive and worth a full day on it’s own. For a look at how Churchill survived the war, head to the Cabinet War Rooms. Once WW2 had finished, the Government packed up and left everything how it is. To see more of WW2, there is also the Imperial War Museum. All through London, there are many little galleries and museums to be found

Shows

From Piccadilly to Covent Garden, there are stage shows everywhere. Practically all of Lloyd-Webbers are on show. There is always Ballet and theatre being shown somewhere, and if street performers are more your scene. All over Covent Garden during the day, there are buskers everywhere

Traveling Around London

Buses

There are buses to everywhere in London. You can buy tickets on the bus, but if you are in the centre, you will be required to buy a ticket from a machine before you get on the bus. To get around this, if you are there for up to three days, buy a three day travel card, between whatever zones that you require. If you are going to be there longer, you are better off getting an Oyster card. With this, you can get a weekly or put money on the card and when you use it, your journeys are far cheaper. There is also a huge Bus station in Victoria. These long distance buses are cheaper than the trains.

Trains and Tubes

There are tube lines to nearly everywhere, and where there are not, there are the trains. Tubes run often during the daytime, and less in the night. It takes around three minutes per station, but beware, in the summer, the heating goes on, and in the winter, what is heating? They can be heavily overcrowded and uncomfortable, but you will still catch them. Watch out for tube rage. For tickets, do the same as the buses, because the day card, three day card or Oyster card is valid on the tubes as well.

As for overground trains, there are quite a few main train stations. Waterloo for Paris. Victoria for Gatwick and South East. Kings Cross and Euston go North. Liverpool Street for North East. Paddington for North as well. There are other stations dotted around London as well

Taxis

There are two types of taxis. Your traditional and the mini-cab. Taxis are not cheap. And after 10pm, the normal taxis are hard to find. This is when the minicab comes along. These are not registered as a taxi and if you do go in one, you will pay an outrageous amount. Also, single women have been molested in the past, so my advice is to stay away.

Airports

Eventually, you will need to take a flight, either into London or out. There are the two main airports and three smaller airports.

Heathrow, which has currently four terminals and a fifth being built. They do all long haul flights to everywhere. They also do short haul and internal flights. There are no budget airlines flying out of Heathrow. There is a tube connected directly to the airport. For more money, you can catch the Heathrow Express to Paddington

Gatwick, which is actually in Sussex does get long haul flights but not as many. They do mainly charter flights mid distance and they also fly to the states. Both Easyjet and Ryanair fly from here. There is the Gartwick Express to Victoria or slower overground trains to Victoria as well

London City in the middle of Docklands has flights to Thailand and the States. Planes also fly into Europe from here. You can get the Docklands Light Railway to this airport

Stanstead is based in Essex, is the main airport for Ryanair. Easyjet fly from here as well as numerous cheap airlines. They fly all over Europe. You can catch a train, but the buses are far better and cheaper

Luton in Hertfordshire is the smallest of all the London airports. Both Easyjet and Ryanair fly from/to here. The bus is again the best way to and from this airport

Drinks

There are pubs everywhere in London. They sell everything. The local beer is known as bitter and is served without gas and is room temperature. If this is not for you, there is also lager for you to drink. There are also a multitude of coffee shops everywhere

Money

The official currency is the British Pound. Changing money is easy. There are banks that take cards, you can change travelers cheques very easily as there are exchange booths everywhere, but you are better off using a bank. There are also cash machines everywhere


And Finally


London, rags, riches and royalty. All in one square mile. Yes it is expensive, but it is a great city. So much to do, so much to see, you will be back. Trust me. I've been here over ten years and I still haven't seen it all!!!


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rbisset
post Oct 31 2006, 10:43 AM
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I'd recommend taking a trip to Greenwich as there is loads of stuff to do there that could take up the best part of the day. Parks, markets, museums, the Cutty Sark, the Observatory (stand on the line dividing east/west hemispheres). I remember going to the Greenwich markets as a kid and seeing pigs heads for sale but there is a lot more tat to buy there as well.

If you only go to one other place in the UK make it Brighton. Dubbed London by the sea and it's packed with clubbing Londoners at the weekend! It's a great little city with shopping galore (check out the lanes for anything you could possibly want), the pier, the beach (pebbles not sand), hundreds of restaurants and some of the best nightlife outside London. I went to university there for 3 years and loved every minute and when I get the money I'll be moving back there. I don't think there is a better place to be in England in the summer than sitting at one of the bars along the promemade drinking a beer. Only takes an hour to get there on one of the many trains from Victoria or Kings Cross.


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wakingdream
post Nov 1 2006, 11:21 PM
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I would like to know why it seems like such a pain in the ass to find a hotel room in London! Wait, I'll tell you why; b/c there are about 2 million and one hotel rooms to choose from!!! And they are all freakishly expensive!!!


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wakingdream
post Nov 2 2006, 12:32 PM
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I do have one good friend in London, but unfortunately his flatmate will not be leaving for the holidays until the day we leave for Spain! Arg!. Could've ended up saving us almost $1000 CDN!! The only other thing I am waiting on is another friend who works for a large hotel chain. She's looking into getting us a discount at an affiliate hotel, but I am not holding my breath. The cost guts me, but I do fully understand it. I just don't have the patience to sort thru all the different listings!! Oh London, you better be worth it!


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wakingdream
post Nov 3 2006, 08:30 AM
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That's great Uncle D. Without your help, I could end up being like 'Where's Waldo'? in London, but I would be the one who would have to find myself! Great information. It's good to have this source, but especially from someone who actually lives there.


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'Yesterday's the past and tomorrow's the future. Today is a gift - which is why they call it the present.'
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whereshegoes
post Nov 3 2006, 11:36 AM
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Is London a place that changes often or are things pretty much stable when it comes to tourism?


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whereshegoes
post Nov 3 2006, 02:23 PM
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QUOTE(uncle_davros @ Nov 3 2006, 11:06 AM) *

Also, I have been lucky. Because of the company I work for, I have been able to get into places that the average tourist would never be able to see


Ohhhh do tell!! What are some of the secret places?!


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wakingdream
post Dec 5 2006, 04:20 PM
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Madame Tussaud's eh? Well, what's the opinion on that? Go? Don't go? I think seeing life-like statues of the rich and famous would be slightly creeptacular. I think that's one I'll skip unless someone says otherwise....

Oh, sounds like the BT Tower and it's revolving resto is mimmicked after Toronto's CN Tower and it's revolving resto....how old's the BT Tower?


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wakingdream
post Dec 5 2006, 09:52 PM
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Well, well! Look at you up on your Channuck facts! Maybe the 40 months means we are just much more efficient? Could it be so??
Like I said, waxed people freak me out.
I think Tate Modern sounds cool. I want to go.


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wakingdream
post Dec 6 2006, 10:31 AM
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Sounds great. What is the show/exhibit of? Let us know how it is.


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rosie87
post Jun 11 2007, 05:27 AM
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hey guys,

was looking for places to go in london on the web and came across a really helpful website. it was www.londonlater.com
it was good cos it had everything you need to know about london late at night...whether its bars, restaurants, clubs, entertainment etc.
so thought i'd share it with you www.londonlater.com
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wakingdream
post Jun 11 2007, 08:18 AM
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Hey, thanks for the link. Nice one! It's good to have a bit of a guide to go by as nightlife in London is pretty nuts! yes.gif


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pdollo21
post Aug 26 2007, 06:00 AM
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In London if you keep your money for one expensive meal then you must try Nobu. A Japanese restaurant that serves amazing food, great service and you may even meet a famous celebrity. We did not take a lot of money for the weekend, but dinner here let us feel like one of rich Londoners for a night.

p.s. You need to go on the big wheel at sunset - gives you a sensational view of the city.


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doyve
post Oct 22 2007, 04:57 AM
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if your interested in alternative culture - the arts, music, nights out, etc - head down brick lane in shoredicth. theres lots going on, farily cheap as well. packed full of trendy students and dodgy eastend characters. make sure uved got one eye peeled and ull have lots of fun.
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tedandjane
post Nov 19 2007, 01:01 PM
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QUOTE(wakingdream @ Nov 3 2006, 08:30 AM) *

That's great Uncle D. Without your help, I could end up being like 'Where's Waldo'? in London, but I would be the one who would have to find myself! Great information. It's good to have this source, but especially from someone who actually lives there.


Having recently visited London, I can assure you that even major attractions are often updated and modernised. I am always amazed at how fresh and creative London tourist attractions are. If you visited last year… go again… you’ll be impressed!


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hammitt
post May 4 2009, 02:09 AM
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Or a place called Aladins. Cheesy name, but awesome food. And last time I was there I spotted Kate Moss - can't beat that.


QUOTE(thetoweroflondo @ Nov 5 2007, 12:40 PM) *

QUOTE(doyve @ Oct 22 2007, 04:57 AM) *

if your interested in alternative culture - the arts, music, nights out, etc - head down brick lane in shoredicth. theres lots going on, farily cheap as well. packed full of trendy students and dodgy eastend characters. make sure uved got one eye peeled and ull have lots of fun.


I agree with the Brick Lane comment. Try a bangaladesh restaurant called City Spice, you can't miss it on Brick Lane. Nearest tube aldgate east

Regards

Jon

The Tower of London Guide



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sarahindenmark
post Oct 21 2009, 11:32 PM
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QUOTE(wakingdream @ Dec 5 2006, 05:20 PM) *

Madame Tussaud's eh? Well, what's the opinion on that? Go? Don't go? I think seeing life-like statues of the rich and famous would be slightly creeptacular. I think that's one I'll skip unless someone says otherwise....

Oh, sounds like the BT Tower and it's revolving resto is mimmicked after Toronto's CN Tower and it's revolving resto....how old's the BT Tower?


Madame Tussaud's is awesome! You just need to be prepared. It IS a tourist trap. It IS a rip off. And you won't find a Londoner in sight. And there will be massive crowds!

And some of those celebs just don't turn out so well in wax. But it really is a ridiculously fun good time and you can do just about whatever you want to the wax figures. My favorite part was the presidents and kings section with Obama in the oval office. He was swarmed with people, none of them actually Americans. And as for George Bush, well...people take some really hilarious photos with him to say the least. There's probably a million things you should see in London first, but whatever. Also, you get a few pounds off admission if you book the London Eye and Madame Tussaud's together online.
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sarahindenmark
post Oct 21 2009, 11:34 PM
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and as for creeptacular, madame tussaud became popular when she started making wax heads of famous people in France who were guillotined. You can still see the original wax heads mounted on sticks today!
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samboandnae
post Jun 29 2011, 10:17 AM
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Another good trip is if you catch the train, they have a brochure with lots of discounts for the major attractions when you show your train ticket.
Check out http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/ for more info
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vic43ulau
post Mar 4 2013, 07:41 AM
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The list is endless, but I will supply a fair fewIPB Image
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