Landing in London - what to see?

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Landing in London - what to see?

#1 Unread post by High_Side » Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:09 pm

A question for all of you Brits out there:

I'm planning a stopover in London for the first week in April and have 6 days to see the place before heading home. I'll be with the family so there won't be any bikes involved but we were thinking of renting a car and heading west from Heathrow. Any suggestions? Is accomodation hard to come by without a reservation?

I'll be the wanker(?) :laughing: driving on the wrong side of the road......

Cheers,

High_Side

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Re: Landing in London - what to see?

#2 Unread post by shane-o » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:28 am

High_Side wrote:A question for all of you Brits out there:

I'm planning a stopover in London for the first week in April and have 6 days to see the place before heading home. I'll be with the family so there won't be any bikes involved but we were thinking of renting a car and heading west from Heathrow. Any suggestions? Is accomodation hard to come by without a reservation?

I'll be the wanker(?) :laughing: driving on the wrong side of the road......

Cheers,

High_Side

I was in the UK in July 07 for about 3 weeks, I hired a car in Prestwick Scotland, drove north to the top of scotland then turned around and drove south to London (then drove over to europe and continued on for another 10 weeks).

I would suggest to you look north of London for a drive, admittedly, I didnt go west of London, but the trek north was amazing, some of the best countryside ive seen anywhere in the world, southern Scotland (northern england) is almost as picturesque as northern Scotland.

As for accommodation in London and in the UK, I found it extremely expensive and completely substandard for the money in comparison to any where Ive been yet !!!! I paid (reluctantly) 50-90 pounds sometimes for little more than rat infested sh.it holes, and accommodation wasn't that easy to come by, I would def' consider booking ahead if you know where your going to be, especially in London, not so bad heading out of the city.

If you have never driven in the UK or Europe your in for a surprise :), especially in the city, not a lot of room on their roads at all, very congested, and lots of road furniture to dodge ;)

So recap.....Have a look on the maps and google earth north of London its awesome, otherwise I look forward to hearing about west England :)
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#3 Unread post by joolz » Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:17 pm

Don't head West-That's baby eating country!! Go North through Yorkshire into Northumberland it's way better
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#4 Unread post by XJRJohn » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:06 pm

Whatever you do,Get out of London.Its dirty,noisy,crowded and a total rip off.The sight seeing aint worth the hassle.You want to see england head up north.Wales is gorgeous,Scotland is fantastic and you can pass through the Midlands(Robin Hood country)Yorkshire(the dales,the lake district).Decent accommodation can be found(Once you get out of London).If you do happen to end up in the Mids give us a shout.Can at least show you a bit of Robin Hood countryxjrjohn
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#5 Unread post by High_Side » Sat Feb 16, 2008 1:51 am

XJRJohn wrote:Whatever you do,Get out of London.Its dirty,noisy,crowded and a total rip off.The sight seeing aint worth the hassle.You want to see england head up north.Wales is gorgeous,Scotland is fantastic and you can pass through the Midlands(Robin Hood country)Yorkshire(the dales,the lake district).Decent accommodation can be found(Once you get out of London).If you do happen to end up in the Mids give us a shout.Can at least show you a bit of Robin Hood countryxjrjohn
This is sounding more like the direction that we should go. We weren't planning on spending much time in London, I'm not a city guy and I really want to see the country side, the castles etc. The original plan was to see Scotland but with only six days there this time I think I want to save that for next time around (with the bike hopefully).
Thanks for the tips John, as we get closer to blasting off I might be looking for a few more!

Cheers,

High_Side

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#6 Unread post by beardking » Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:09 am

If you do spend some time in London proper and want a decent "upscale" Italian meal, try out ASK located @ 160-162 Victoria Street (It's not too far from the Victoria Underground Station). I know it's a chain restaurant, and there are probably better places in the area, but it's one of my favorite memories of being in London.

Now, I will justify my recommendation a little. 1st, I went to this restaurant in Sept. 1999, so their quality may have gone down a bit. 2nd, I put upscale in quotes because I was backpacking through Europe with my friend and we were doing it on a fairly tight budget, so anything that was better than a hole in the wall was considered upscale to us. :mrgreen:
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#7 Unread post by sv-wolf » Sun Feb 17, 2008 9:24 am

Hi HS

It's worth having a day sight-seeing in central London if you have never done it before. There's a lot to see. But yep, after that get the hell out of the capital, as quick as you can. Finding good food in London is not difficult, but you need to be selective.

Going west? These other guys are biassed (they're Midlanders! :D ) The west is great. It's very beautiful. You can head out for the Cotswolds, the Somerset Levels or the West Country proper (Dorset, Devon and Cornwall). But, it's true you will have a lot more to see if you go north. It is more mountainous up there (well, what we call mountains, anyway!)

If you like dramatic landscapes then the places to head for are the Yorkshire Dales (North Yorkshire), The Peak District (Derbyshire), The Lake District (Cumbria), or Scotland (almost anywhere, though the North and West are more interesting than the east side of the country. Even the Scottish southern uplands just across the border are lovely if you don't get time to go any further.) Wales is great, especially Snowdonia and the north-west. North-west Scotland is likely to be very wet at this time of year.

Most visitors go to the tourist centres, and never realise that the UK has some of the most beautiful and varied scenery anywhere in the world. Stay away from the big towns (except perhaps some of the historic ones like Lincoln, York, Durham or Newcastle), and almost anywhere you go, you'll find something worth seeing.
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#8 Unread post by High_Side » Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:50 pm

Thanks SV....and how timely it was that this post was in your blog:
sv-wolf wrote:Well, noodle, it really rather depends what you like to get your mouth around on a Saturday night.

The American preference for for the term 'broad' on the other hand, merely suggests your nation's dreary obsession with size over quality. It's really not very edifying, you know.

Oh Lord! No, 'crumpet' is not like a strumpet. A 'tart' is like a strumpet, (or a 'mean' or a 'slag' or even a 'judy' if you are unfortunate enough to have been born north of Sheffield.) 'Crumpet' (as in 'a bit of crumpet') is more like a 'bird' or a 'bint' (Arabic deriv.) which are general terms for a woman - or possibly even a girlfriend if you have been careless enough.
:
Now I can print this off to take along to explain to my wife what all of you English blokes are talking about :laughing:
Back on topic: do you think reservations would be required if we just rent a car and cruise through the country side (on the wrong side of the road...), and look for a place to stay in the evening? Is everything usually so booked up that we could be SOL if we don't have a plan (er, and a reservation...)?
Thanks for the tips. Who needs a stinking travel agent? :lol:

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#9 Unread post by sv-wolf » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:56 pm

Hiya HS

You shouldn't need to book anywhere ('make a reservation') at this time of the year unless you intend to stay in top class hotels or are going to tourist honey-traps like Stratford-upon-Avon. If you are going for B&Bs or small hotels you should find plenty of places to stay. Most reasonable-sized towns in the National Parks and tourist areas have Tourist Board offices which will keep lists of recommended places. (Tourist Board offices may close at 5.00-ish - or possibly even earlier at this time of year - so you will need to get there reasonably early if you want to use them. In England the Tourist Board uses a red rose logo. Look out for it on their signboards. They are usually quite centrally placed. They will also advise you on routes and what there is to see locally.) Or you can just take pot luck. B&B's have improved dramatically over the last 15 years. Ask to see the room first though.

The Lonely Planet guides give pretty good info, if you want to do a bit of research.

If you want to travel reasonably fast then stick to the motorways. (I'm speaking relatively: our roads are the most congested in Europe). But if you want to see the countryside the 'A' roads can be good. They are slower, though, and they do vary in quality. Avoid getting caught in and around towns in the rush hours from about 8.00 to 9.30 in the mornings and 4.45 to 6.00 in the evenings. Our signage is appalling, so be prepared to do some serious map reading. You can pick up a good road map of the country or the local area at any garage ('gas station'). If you want to get out and explore, then the detailed Ordnance Survey maps are excellent. You can pick them up in book shops and some newsagents.

Judging by the experience of other West Ponders I know visiting the UK for the first time, it might be wise to learn the rules for going round roundabouts and what the traffic lights mean at pedestrian crossings (there are various kinds of crossings - zebra, pelican, puffin, toucan - whose lights do slightly different things.) :D The rest is pretty obvious and you can pick it up very quickly. It is just the mirror image of everything you do normally.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTr ... /DG_070338

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTr ... /DG_070339

If you do go north from London and want to drop in then give me a shout. I'm just 30 miles north of London in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. That's just off the A1(M), one of the major northern escape routes from the capital.

Enjoy.
Hud

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#10 Unread post by Nibblet99 » Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:06 am

sv-wolf wrote:Going west? These other guys are biassed (they're Midlanders! :D ) The west is great. It's very beautiful. You can head out for the Cotswolds, the Somerset Levels or the West Country proper (Dorset, Devon and Cornwall). But, it's true you will have a lot more to see if you go north. It is more mountainous up there (well, what we call mountains, anyway!)
Trying to think of what's west of London, all I can think of are plains, moors, cold beaches, Cheddar Gorge, and the M4.... Go North :lol:

I'd certainly recommend the peak district if you fancy a walk (some cracking roads there too, for a bike)
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#11 Unread post by sv-wolf » Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:54 pm

Nibblet99 wrote:
Trying to think of what's west of London, all I can think of are plains, moors, cold beaches, Cheddar Gorge, and the M4.... Go North :lol:
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Plains, yep (stonehenge), moors, yep, (wonderful), then a hundred miles of stunning UNESCO heritage coastline, Chesil Beach, Kynaston Cove, Durdle Door, the Mendips, the Malverns, the Quantocks, the Goonhilly Downs, South Wales, the Forest of Dean, the Wye Valley, the Lizard, Cornish cliffs and fishing villages, glorious old towns like Marlborough and Salisbury...

As for 'cold' beaches???? They're lined with palm trees in the deep south-west. Roseland is the hottest part of the country and there are sub-tropical gardens at Abbotsbury.

Nibblers? The west is just waiting for you, man! Forget the M4. Get out onto the groovy A303 and have the time of your life.
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#12 Unread post by High_Side » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:50 pm

sv-wolf wrote:Hiya HS

You shouldn't need to book anywhere ('make a reservation') at this time of the year unless you intend to stay in top class hotels or are going to tourist honey-traps like Stratford-upon-Avon. If you are going for B&Bs or small hotels you should find plenty of places to stay. Most reasonable-sized towns in the National Parks and tourist areas have Tourist Board offices which will keep lists of recommended places. (Tourist Board offices may close at 5.00-ish - or possibly even earlier at this time of year - so you will need to get there reasonably early if you want to use them. In England the Tourist Board uses a red rose logo. Look out for it on their signboards. They are usually quite centrally placed. They will also advise you on routes and what there is to see locally.) Or you can just take pot luck. B&B's have improved dramatically over the last 15 years. Ask to see the room first though.

The Lonely Planet guides give pretty good info, if you want to do a bit of research.

If you want to travel reasonably fast then stick to the motorways. (I'm speaking relatively: our roads are the most congested in Europe). But if you want to see the countryside the 'A' roads can be good. They are slower, though, and they do vary in quality. Avoid getting caught in and around towns in the rush hours from about 8.00 to 9.30 in the mornings and 4.45 to 6.00 in the evenings. Our signage is appalling, so be prepared to do some serious map reading. You can pick up a good road map of the country or the local area at any garage ('gas station'). If you want to get out and explore, then the detailed Ordnance Survey maps are excellent. You can pick them up in book shops and some newsagents.

Judging by the experience of other West Ponders I know visiting the UK for the first time, it might be wise to learn the rules for going round roundabouts and what the traffic lights mean at pedestrian crossings (there are various kinds of crossings - zebra, pelican, puffin, toucan - whose lights do slightly different things.) :D The rest is pretty obvious and you can pick it up very quickly. It is just the mirror image of everything you do normally.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTr ... /DG_070338

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTr ... /DG_070339

If you do go north from London and want to drop in then give me a shout. I'm just 30 miles north of London in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. That's just off the A1(M), one of the major northern escape routes from the capital.

Enjoy.
Thanks buddy. I'm glad to hear that we should be able to find places to stay without a reservation. This time I'll be travelling with the whole family but my usual plan is......no plan. It works great on the bike, but we'll see how it works with kids, a different continent, and driving on the wrong side of the road! It would be cool to catch some of the better sights. We have the travel books, and are scouting out a few of the castles worth checking out (hey, we don't have anything over 125 years old here). I can't wait. But first, Mauritius :P

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#13 Unread post by Nibblet99 » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:24 am

sv-wolf wrote:
Nibblet99 wrote:
Trying to think of what's west of London, all I can think of are plains, moors, cold beaches, Cheddar Gorge, and the M4.... Go North :lol:
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Plains, yep (stonehenge), moors, yep, (wonderful), then a hundred miles of stunning UNESCO heritage coastline, Chesil Beach, Kynaston Cove, Durdle Door, the Mendips, the Malverns, the Quantocks, the Goonhilly Downs, South Wales, the Forest of Dean, the Wye Valley, the Lizard, Cornish cliffs and fishing villages, glorious old towns like Marlborough and Salisbury...

As for 'cold' beaches???? They're lined with palm trees in the deep south-west. Roseland is the hottest part of the country and there are sub-tropical gardens at Abbotsbury.

Nibblers? The west is just waiting for you, man! Forget the M4. Get out onto the groovy A303 and have the time of your life.
Righty....
Malverns, Cotswalds, and Forest of Dean has always been north of London to me - Grew up in the Malverns :laughing: Sorry when you said west, I wasn't thinking to include the Welsh bordering counties in it
The Wye Valley I'll give you that one :D
Goonhilly makes me think of all the satellite dishes :?
As for palm trees, you really need to get over to the Isles of Scilly to appreciate the tropicalness of that area. Something thats a pain in the arse to do for a day trip.
Oh and salisbury... are you even allowed to fly a Kite there? Thought the military used a good portion of it, as a testing range :shock: :D

For me I like the hidden little places down that way, such as Polkerris http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en ... 8&t=h&z=17 The Rashleigh Inn, there, used to be a cross between a restaurant and a pub. I spent many holidays as kid, singing sea shanty songs with the rest of the pub. I don't know if they still do that now though
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