toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
[personal profile] toujours_nigel
 UK flist, any idea of things to do in London 22-27 July? Other Half is going to the London Free School of Critical and Feminist Theory 17-21st, and then she's going to linger for a few days. This is her first trip, so we'd be grateful for suggestions.

Date: 2017-07-15 11:00 am (UTC)
naraht: Oxford spires (ox-Spires)
From: [personal profile] naraht
There are lots of things to do in London! What interests her? And is it worth recommending day trips as well, or is that already on the itinerary/not of interest?

Date: 2017-07-15 12:23 pm (UTC)
naraht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naraht
I still don't really know what tastes I'm suggesting for, so I'm going to throw out completely random suggestions. As said, it would help to know what interests her.

daytrip to Bristol to see Charioteer sites
daytip to Oxford or Cambridge (which involve a whole other list of "what to see")
daytrip to Paris by Eurostar (or Lille, or Brussels)
backstage tour at Royal Opera House
whatever exhibitions are on at Somerset House
exhibitions at the British Library
Stanfords, very large travel store
Thames path walk (could be multi-day if you continue outside London)
hipster London - Spitalfields, Hackney etc
Greenwich Park by DLR or river cruise
Camden Market

And I would recommend trying to see some villages/small towns as well... completely different than London but easily reachable in a day. Fordwich the tiny place where [personal profile] lilliburlero and I stayed recently, is like an hour and ten minutes from St Pancras station.

Date: 2017-07-15 03:51 pm (UTC)
naraht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naraht
I wouldn't personally do the Paris daytrip but I know people who have come to London from a long way away and thought that it was worth taking their chance!

The Thames walk is good fun in central London and fun in a different way outside of London, through the countryside. You can start at one railway station and walk to the next one (for instance, Oxford to Abingdon, which is the bit I'm most familiar with... some great pubs en route).

If she decides on Oxford, I can offer more detailed recommendations. Or, you know, if she fancies meeting for a cup of tea or something.

Date: 2017-07-15 11:11 am (UTC)
lilliburlero: victorian engraving of francis feeble in his workshop, text: 'I'll ne'er bear a base mind' (base mind)
From: [personal profile] lilliburlero
Go to see a play in the Globe! Yard tickets are only a fiver, and despite my whingeing about the Rice directorship, it's always great crack.

Date: 2017-07-21 08:46 pm (UTC)
fawatson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fawatson
So sorry for the late reply - I've only just seen this (was buried in legal paperwork and not accessing the internet for several days)

If she likes museums I recommend Sir John Soanes' Museum. It is small and doable in an afternoon (and close to other things). He was a famous architect in his day. The museum is his old house with an eclectic collection of art, historical artifacts, etc. The hiuse itself is interesting as he pioneered the use of mirrors and skylights to ensure natural light. The museum contains a famous series of Hogarth paintings (she should remember to ask to see 'the other side, please' as only half are on display at any time and the display wall moves to show the rest.

If she likes Canaletto paintings I recommend the Wallace Collection (also doable in a couple of hours).

If she is interested in the 1940s Blitz I recommend the Barbican Museum (they even tried to reproduce the smells in air raid shelters).

The War Rooms used during the Blitz are also open to the public.

Usually there are foot tours that leave from the Barbican which are usually led by history students who are earning a little money walking people around inner London looking at historical sites otherwise missed. The groups are normally quite small and manageable, unlike other more commercial tours by bus, and go places no bus could get to.

She can also tour the State Apartments at Kensington Palace, might want to see St Paul's Cathedral (Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece - and if she goes there tell her it is worth going up to the whispering gallery) or Westminster Abbey or the Tower of London, all historical sites of some significance and, apart from the Tower, also of some beauty. The difficulty with seeing some of them will be the crowds as this is the height of the tourist season for London.

For an enjoyable day trip within the greater London area I would suggest Hampton Court Palace.

I suggest she wanders around Covent Garden market and if she wants to see the London Transport Museum it is just across from that.

I highly recommend London Theatre; she would do well to go to the half-price theatre booth in Leicester Square to get tickets on the day. If she goes on a day with both matinee and evening shows she could potentially take in two different shows on one day. No one will look askance at her going to the theatre on her own. The London Theatre Guide is here:

If she is doing things in the West End I recommend she at least goes into The Salisbury Pub (see it here: to look round, if nothing else. It is one of the older pubs in the West End and famous for its period interior with magnificent mirrors (that somehow survived the Blitz). The food is decent too, as long as one likes traditional pub fare (pie, sausages, etc). Single women are safe in most London pubs (certainly safe in this one!).

And if she is into trying traditional English fare I suggest she tries fish and chips. If I fancy F&C and am in the West End I usually go to the Rock and Sole Plaice which serves hearty portions which are nicely cooked and still offers a variety of different kinds of fish (not just Cod and Haddock) and does dine in (not fancy at all) and takeaway. This is the website to the shop: It is a few minutes walk from the British museum (on the way down to Covent Garden). They will not look sideways at her as a single woman there (although if it is very busy she may well find herself sharing a table with another person).

I hope she enjoys her stay. London is a fascinating city with lots to see and do.

Date: 2017-07-22 08:37 am (UTC)
fawatson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fawatson
It is lovely she has had the chance to visit London; I just wish she had had more notice because if I had known earlier (and if she had wanted) I could have organised to meet her in London and shown her round a bit. It can feel very disorienting to be on your own the first time you visit a big city you've not been to before. Fortunately, lots of things in London are close to one another so once you get to the part you plan to explore after that you can get between places on foot. And it is (generally) a safe city so she need not be afraid walking round.

For example: the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery are both at Trafalgar Square and they are within 5 minutes walk of several theatres and the pub I mentioned, 10 minutes walk (15 if you are a slow walker) from Covent Garden and the Royal Opera House, and a further 15 min from the British Museum.

One thing I forgot to mention before: on one of the streets as you walk North from Covent Garden Market there are living statues (buskers who dress up and act like statues until someone puts a coin in the hat and then they move. Quite fun to watch for a few minutes and if she is at Covent Garden anyway...


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