week in london - hotel recommendations - entertainment recommendations?
March 28, 2006 9:38 AM   Subscribe

week in london - i wonder if mefiers have recommendations for hotels (preferably marble arch area moderate-high end) , entertainment, galleries, flea markets, off beat must not miss curiosities? march 31 - april 6?
posted by specialk420 to Travel & Transportation around London, England (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Here's my 2 cents:

- First day or so, do a hop off/hop on bus tour for the day... you'll be tired, but you'll be able to see all the major sights.

- Do the tate modern museum, without question.

- The only touristy thing that I really like is the Tower of London.

- If you want to get out of the city and see something cool, go to Leeds Castle in Kent. You can catch a coach bus at 9:30am from Victoria Station, get to the castle in an hour and some, do the tour of the castle and the grounds, which is AWESOME and then take the coach back and get to London Victoria at 5pm or so.

- Get a TimeOut London for a guide to entertainment.

- In my opinion Marble Arch is too far from a lot of fun stuff. I'd rather stay closer to Central London in Holburn, Bloomsbury, etc.
posted by k8t at 9:45 AM on March 28, 2006

Best answer: see here
posted by cillit bang at 9:51 AM on March 28, 2006

whenever my parents travel to london, they always stay at the Grosvenor Square Marriot (not to be confused with the Grosvenor House, which is being renovated). Excellent location near Hyde park, the Marble Arch and it is next door to the American Embassay. coincidentally, it looks like they will be in town around the same time you will. Enjoy your trip!
posted by jessica at 10:22 AM on March 28, 2006

The Cumberland Hotel is very close to Marble Arch tube, I've never stayed there, but looks very nice and, as you'd expect, expensive.

As for off beat curiousities, try Highgate cemetry.

Marble Arch is OK IMHO: you'd be within walking disctance of Bond Street (if you like high-end shopping), obviously you're very close to Selfridges Dept store and Hyde Park (and speakers corner) and within 4 or 5 tube stops of most of central London.

Personally if I had money to spend I'd stay close to Knightsbridge, slightly quieter (slightly) and has 2 hotels I'd like to try out Browns and the Berkeley and Harrods around the corner too.
posted by selton at 10:23 AM on March 28, 2006

If you're into wine (but not a sommelier), you might like Vinopolis, which is a touristy but fun wine tour. Lotsa samples.

For flea markets, check out Brick Lane. I really like Camden Market a lot and found Portobello Road to be wildly overrated unless you're in the market for pewter mugs and overpriced "antiques."

Stop by the Savoy and get a cocktail -- I'd recommend the White Lady, but they'll whip up a special cocktail just for you on the spot if it's a special occasion. Or so they say.

I second the Tower of London, but allow some time for that. The National Gallery's cool, too.

Not sure of your dining budget, but we had a great time at the Birdcage, which is a funky fusion restaurant.
posted by Atom12 at 11:05 AM on March 28, 2006

Camden Town on a saturday (you can combine this with a walk up to Highgate Cemetary if you're into that sort of thing), Greenwich on a Sunday with the Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark and some great views over Greenwich. For Greenwich, get the DLR from Bank to Island Gardens then walk under the foot tunnel - the DLR train takes you through the east end and Canary Wharf and is a sightseeing trip in itself. Both Greenwich and Camden have the combination of trendy shops, flea market, and craft market at weekends. Greenwich has fewer dodgy geezers trying to sell you skunk though.

Crystal Palace Park is pretty much the definition of quirky, with a ruined palace, maze and concrete dinosaurs. Wikipedia, Map. It's about 20 minutes by local train from Victoria.

You've got to eat a curry at some point, and the main options are Brick Lane for your "proper british curry" (mostly north Indian/Pakistani), or Drummond St. at the back of Euston for South Indian (mostly veggie), or "The Great Nepalese" on Eversholt St the other side of Euston for something a little different. My favourite's the Nepalese or there's one on Drummond Street I can't remember the name of, but if you start at the Euston end of the street it's the first or second on the left (with plain wooden fixed tables and benches, and fantastic pancakes).

Chinatown in Soho is another must see. A day spent wandering around Soho and Covent Garden just people watching is a very pleasant waste of time.
posted by handee at 11:42 AM on March 28, 2006

Response by poster: great help people! thanks so much.
posted by specialk420 at 11:56 AM on March 28, 2006

Best answer: I dunno if he's got any vacancies, but a friend of mine lets out a couple of rooms / a studio flat in Soho. They're fairly central, fairly cheap and are a bit less regimented than a hotel. (Well obviously, having a studio flat gives you more freedom + facilities. Renting a room might not be your cup of tea - depends what you want).
posted by handee at 12:02 PM on March 28, 2006

handee, are you thinking of Diwana Bhel Poori House, on Drummond?

I was the author of one of those London+Travel questions, about where to stay. We just got back, and if I had any advice to give, it would be that the neighborhood doesn't matter so much, as long as its central and close to a Tube stop. Like as close as possible. Unless you plan on spending all your time close to your hotel, I think that's a much more important factor--especially since we liked to wear something comfortable when out sightseeing during the day, then go back to the hotel and change for dinner and drinks.
posted by deadfather at 12:05 PM on March 28, 2006

Best answer: how about the great eastern?
posted by specialk420 at 12:05 PM on March 28, 2006

If you do want to go to Highgate (I'd highly recommend it) - call ahead. The cooler - older part of the cemetery (the western cemetery) is closed to the public with the exception of tours. There is one tour every day during the week and a bunch on the weekends.
I'd also recommend a proper English football match. There are a bunch of premiere league teams in London. You may not be able to get tickets for an Aresenal or Chelsea fixture - but tickets for Fulham or Charleton Athletic would probably be easy enough to come by.
The on and off bus is a great suggestion. Gives you a great sense of what you want to go back and explore further. The Tate Modern is well worth a visit - and the library in the British museum is one of the coolest looking rooms.
If you are music people - check out what's on. There are a bunch of rooms in London that have fantastic musical pedigree. If there is anything good on at the 100 club - I'd totally recommend a trip if for nothing else than to stand in the same room as legends from so many eras.
posted by Wolfie at 12:11 PM on March 28, 2006

Oh and this will be my last response to this question, but get an oyster card. Pay as you go oyster works on tubes and buses. The card costs you 3 quid then you can top it up anywhere.

Without an oyster, a tube journey is 3 quid. Using an oyster, it's 1.50. So you only need to take two journeys to make up the cost of the card, and then you don't have to queue for tickets. The price is capped, too, so if you get lots of tubes and buses the most you'll pay is something like 4.70. You can buy them at tube stations and various newsagents.
posted by handee at 12:13 PM on March 28, 2006

Go see a movie in the lovely Electric Cinema. And have a lovely Square Pie. Or a Gourmet Burger.

Slightly random suggestions, I know.
posted by ascullion at 2:00 PM on March 28, 2006

And the ICA is the best place in London to see bands, IMHO. If there's a band you think you might like playing there at the time, obviously.
posted by ascullion at 2:03 PM on March 28, 2006

The most interesting thing I have done in London is to visit the church of All Hallows by the Tower. It's not hard to find - it's right beside the Tower. In addition to being the official parish church for the port of London, it is also the church from which Samuel Pepys watched the Great Fire of London in 1666.

That said, the Anchor pub on the south side of the River isn't that off-beat, but has a very nice view of the river. And you get to sit under London bridge. Sure, it's a modern monstrosity, but hey, it's still London Bridge.
posted by jb at 2:48 PM on March 28, 2006

Oh - All Hallows also has surviving parts from early medieval to modern (including a medieval prayer chapel underground, and also memorials to the Blitz) - it is a small embodiment of London history.
posted by jb at 2:51 PM on March 28, 2006

My favprite London activity - the National Portrait Gallery. there is something about seeing so many faces one after another - they speak of history, and the passage of styles, yes - but there is magic there too.
posted by AuntLisa at 3:14 PM on March 28, 2006

You could always nibble on some authentic cockney food, including jellied eels.

I love the book market just outside the National Film Theatre on the South Bank. Hell, I love just walking along the South Bank, from Westminster to the Tower of London.

Depends what you're into, mostly.
posted by badlydubbedboy at 5:42 PM on March 28, 2006

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