a VirtualTourist member from Sæby
Mé and my girlfriend (I'm 27 - she's 23) will be visiting London for 3 days this May. We arrive wednesday evening and départ early sunday morning.
Were going to see a musical (We Will rock you). And obviously see the sights. London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace etc.
Where dó you recommend we Stay? (Area and hotels)
Where are good places to Eat?
What Can you recommend we dó and see? Besides the obvious sights...
Ive visited London once before - i stayed near Paddington station.
A couple of years ago we stayed in Best Western Phoenix near Bayswater metro station. It's a quiet area, although there are shops and eateries nearby. And from there you easily can travel by metro to anywhere.
We mainly ate in pubs, which isn't so expensive. Coincidentally we got the same menu every day again, so probably all pubs we went are from the same owner.
Besides the famous sights like London Eye and Big Ben I liked Coventry Garden, Borough Market (just south of the Thames) and also Kew Gardens is great although it's outside the center, but definitely worthwhile to go.
Stay as centrally as you can, simply because you will save time and hassle and money if you do so. London is easy to explore on foot and it's best seen in that way as well (like all European cities).
Have a look at the Travelodge site for sound, basic accommodation at reasonable prices: they often have good deals and have several hotels in central London:
Don't have their breakfast though: you'll find cheaper and better food at local cafes.
Pubs are a very good option for reasonably-priced food. The Wetherspoon's chain (each pub is very different) has a good menu and also keeps its beer well:
Pubs sometimes have 'two meals for the price of one' offers if you eat early, so it's worth looking out for those.
Ethnic restaurants (there are thousands) are also usually good value.
With only 3 days you won't have much time to do anything but see the main sights/sites, but other possibilities include:
[original VT link]
or Hampton Court Palace:
or Windsor, Oxford, Cambridge, Salisbury (for Stonehenge as well), Bath, Brighton, Winchester, Canterbury...lots of choice and all feasible daytrips by train:
or, in the case of Brighton and Oxford, bus as well.
Put the placename into the searchbox top right to see tips and pages written by Vt locals and visitors.
More ideas about off-the-beaten path London here:
[original VT link]
And you might also consider visiting some of the markets:
Camden Market is very popular:
There are bank (public) holidays on May 6th and 27th, so if your trip falls around those dates I'm afraid you will find the city even more crowded than usual, with accom prices reflecting that.
If the London Eye appeals to you, you might also be interested in The Shard, which opened last month and is the tallest building in the EU http://www.theviewfromtheshard.com/.
As an alternative to the more expensive paid attractions, remember that many museums and galleries in London are free. The Museum of London (near St Paul's and not to be confused with the British Museum) is well worth a visit, particularly for the Modern London galleries.
You don't give a budget for a hotel, I haven't stayed in a Travelodge but a couple of other reasonably priced chains are Ibis and slightly more expensive Premier Inns. I stayed in an Ibis in Whitechapel last year, it was brand new at the time and the only thing I wasn't wild about was that the shower opened right into the bedroom. And it's a little off the beaten path for a 1st or 2nd time London visitor. I'm looking at a different Ibis near Euston for my next visit.
No one location will be ideal for everything, I try to stay near a tube station in the central part of London if the prices are reasonable. I've also stayed at a Premier Inn near Earl's Court, the transport options from there are excellent.
If you give some more information about your budget for food and what kind of food you like, you'll get better answers. Same with sightseeing recommendations. You can try googling something like Frommers London which should have a sample 3-4 day itinerary that can help you start planning.
One note about booking.com that Leics mentions, be sure to check the hotel's website after looking there, I have found for my upcoming trip that every single hotel I've looked at has a cheaper option on their own website (generally for advance purchase which is non refundable, booking.com seems to not have that option, at least not on the hotels I've been looking at)
Yes, the vast majority of rooms on www.booking.com (and venere.com) come with free cancellation (up to 24/48 hours in advance) although there are also quite a lot (mainly in the chain hotels) which show non-cancellable rates as well. Many people do prefer the freedom to cancel even if the rate is a little higher, especially when they are booking a hotel way in advance. I certainly do and I've only once found cheaper rates on the hotel's own website (but I only very rarely stay in chain hotels of any type).
It's really a matter of doing what suits you best.
Many of the restaurants in chinatown offer all-you-can-eat buffets for as little as £6. The evening buffet is normally a little more. The walk along the Thames on the south side of Westminster Bridge to the Tower of London is well worth doing with many attractions and views of the river and central London.
Climb up the Monument (Great Fire) for £3 and enjoy the view.
Take a trip to Hampton Court then walk across the park to Kingston and enjoy a walk by the river.
If you want to do things besides the top ones, try the London Bridge Experience, it was really good!
We saw the "Dirty Dancing" musical while in there, really really good, try it if you have the time and you're into the dance thing.
A stroll along the river is always a good thing to do, you'll find plenty of unknow things to see (that's how we found the London Bridge Experience) and try out as many pubs and different beers as you can ahah :)
Have a nive trip
A river boat trip is a good way to see a lot if you don't have a lot of time. We did a good early evening one recently with City Cruises (http://www.citycruises.com/) or if you're on a budget you could consider using the commuter boats, Thames Clippers (http://www.thamesclippers.com/) although you don't get a commentary with them.
There are also some good companies doing guided walks. London Walks are the best known (http://www.walks.com/) but there are others.
Nearer the date of your visit check the Londonist website (http://londonist.com/). They list things to do that are a bit out of the usual, many of them free. Time Out is of course another useful listings site (http://www.timeout.com/london)
For meals, try Toptable as they often list good deals such as 2 for 1, or free glass of wine included - toptable.co.uk/london-restau.... This is especially good if you'd like to try one of the better restaurants in town.
You've already had some good ideas on places to stay. I agree with leics that if you're only here for a few days it's best to be as central as possible, and although that may cost a little more you'll save a bit on travel costs and a lot on travel time. It would be worth looking at the small Imperial Hotels group (http://www.imperialhotels.co.uk/) - they have four hotels in the Bloomsbury area, very well-located and not too pricey. They're not fancy but the location can't be beaten - walking distance to Covent Garden and the West End theatres, and a short bus or tube (underground train) ride to many attractions.
Personally, I was wowwed by the War Cabinet Rooms near the Horse Guard Parade Grounds-. See the horse guards, too- you can actually see the horses and soldiers up close and personal. The bus (forget which #) - drops one off right in front. Want something totally different- go to the last remaining umbrella shop-James Smith and Sons very close to tottenham street station or Goodge street station (53 New Oxford Street). The men who work there are very patient and they will give you a umbrella folding lesson. The shop and the art of umbrella making are a slice of the past. We will treasure ours for the rest of our lives. Just walk away from the tourist areas and see things you have never seen before. We like the area around Goodge street- we used to stay at the Scala House which was sold. Tiny pub near there - can't think of the name. I am rambling!
It helps us to help if you take a moment to pick you interests on your home page. Just a thought for later.
I just have one tip If went to London and did not see the British Museum I would sit on the curb and weep bitter tears. It is free and it is beyond AMAZING.
If you have an ipod and like podcasts I would recomend that you listen to The history of The World in 100 Objects. It details many pieces found at the British Museum. My best friend (who is not too big on history) said it made the whole thing super fun. We listened to it on our commute and it really got us stoked for our time in England.
Here is a link
The 3 days will just fly by so have fun and embrace it all. London is a great place.
You have already had some excellent suggesti9ons from members here who really know London. I'd agree that if you give us an idea of what kind of things interest you, it would be helpful. With only three days, you really will be struggling to fit half of what you want to do in, there is just so much to see and do. If you have any specific interests, tell us about them and we'll try to tailor some specific answers for you.
Also, an idea of budget would help. London can certainly be a cripplingly expensive place to stay for a visitor but it really does not have to be if you do a bit of research first.
Additionally, if any of the members of the London - Calling group are in town, some of us may be able to meet with you if that would be of interest. Just look up our page here on VT and get in touch.
Hope this assists,
Staying central is the best option, such as the West End (my favourite and home to Oxford Street), Victoria, Kensington, Earls Court and Knightsbridge are great and central too. I stayed in an apartment with my partner and it worked out cheaper than a hotel and it was more than just a room, i booked through londonservicedapartments.co.... and they were great
I seen We will rock you... i won't spoil it but i definitely had fun!
For eating go to brick lane market (if you there on a sunday)... it is full of food markets housing all sorts of food. For actual restaurants try Sophies Steak House in Covent Garden
The Shard is something i'd like to do and my friends who have done it, said it was worthwhile. It is the tallest building in Europe after all
The tube connects you everywhere so don't be afraid to explore this large city!
Happy holidaying :)