Three girls tackle London



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Two of my girlfriends and I had a 8 day vacation in London...and we made the most of it. We kept the days full of sightseeing and shopping and went out every night. Because we stayed at a friend's flat, I can't vouch for the lodging in London, but if it's anything like the rest off the city it is, as they say, brilliant.

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Author: Alexi


Day 1 - London


We flew into London and, fighting jet lag, decided to walk around in the sunshine to acclimate ourselves at Hyde park. It is absolutely gorgeous. After the park we stopped by St. Paul's Cathedral, since the dome was visible from the flat we were staying at. Both highly recommended, and nice for a first day because they are fairly low-key.


1

Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens

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Location:

West Carriage Drive
W2 2UH London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: +44 (0)20 7298 2100


2

St. Paul's Cathedral

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Location:

St. Paul's Churchyard
St. Paul's Churchyard, EC4
EC4M 8AD London, England

Contact:

tel: 020/7246-8350
fax: +44 20 7248 3104


Day 2 - London


This was a day of wildly stereotypical tourist activities...and a total blast. My girlfriends and I got tickets for a double decker bus tour and drove around the cloudy city. Over the course of the day we saw Cleopatra's needle and Big Ben, and took a tour of Westminster Abbey. The Abbey was full of people wearing ugly sandals, flashing cameras and conversing in many different languages, but was still quite breathtaking. Make sure you catch a choir performance.


1

Big Bus Tours

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Location:

48 Buckingham Palace Road
SW1W ORN London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: +44 20 7233 9533
fax: +44 20 7828 0638


2

Big Ben

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Location:

Parliament Square
House Of Commons
SW1A 0AA London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: +44 20 7234 5800(Tourist Information)


3

Cleopatra's Needle

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Location:

Opposite Victoria Embankment Gardens
SW1 London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: +44 20 7234 5800(Tourist Information)


4

Westminster Abbey

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Location:

20 Dean's Yard
Broad Sanctuary, SW1
SW1P 3PA London, England

Contact:

tel: 020/7222-5152
fax: +44 20 7233 2072


Day 3 - London


Another day of sightseeing...The London Eye offers a great view of the city. Try to show up early to miss out on the line, and go on a clear day to really enjoy the view. Don't expect a thrill-ride, but do take a few moments to look at your fellow eye-travelers. They're part of the experience. Don't miss out on the Tower of London, either. The audio tour is a good idea because you can take your time and linger at any especially fascinating sites, or pause it for especially tempting photo ops. If you're feeling especially touristy, take pictures with the workers dressed in period costume. Oxo is upscale and serves excellent food - our friend's aunt took us out to dinner here, and we felt very high-society. I'm sure we didn't look it, but we felt it. Kabaret was also a good time; it's an interesting mix of dive and exclusivity. Not the most welcoming of places for three giggly Americans, but we felt as though we were getting a glimpse into authentic London nightlife.


1

London Eye

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Location:

Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road
(Riverside Building County Hall)
SE1 9TA London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: +44 870 500 0600


2

Tower of London

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Location:

Off Tower Bridge Approach
Tower Hill, EC3
EC3N4AB London, England

Contact:

tel: 0870/756-7070


3

Oxo Tower Restaurant

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Location:

22 Barge House St, S31
South Bank, Oxo Tower Wharf
SE1 9PH London, England

Contact:

tel: 020/7803-3888
fax: +44 20 7803 3838


4

Kabaret

Location:

16-18 Beak Street, Soho
W1F 9RD London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: 44 20 7287 8140


Day 4 - London


The British Museum is a marathon of a museum. It's big. And full. And potentially overwhelming. There are a few ways to tackle the Museum: 1. Decide beforehand what you want to see. Go and see it. Leave. 2. Pack a backpack full of food, flares and walkie talkies, pick a meeting point with your friends and hope that everyone is there by the end of the day. 3. Hit up the giftshop and buy several dozen postcards. When anyone asks you what your favorite part of the museum was, describe one of them. The Queen's Theatre in London has some fantastic productions. Check out their listings and if anything sounds good, it probably is. Thinking we were out for a night of classy theater, my friends and I dressed up...only to find that we were the only people in the theater wearing dresses. We just played it off like we had come from a fancy affair. And probably didn't fool anyone. But the play itself was excellent, and although there wasn't a local in sight, we had a wonderful time. After going back to the flat and changing out of our dresses, we headed out to a pub and met plenty of locals (who could, apparently, tell we were American even before we opened our mouths).


1

British Museum

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Location:

Great Russell Street
Great Russell St., WC1
WC1B 3DG London, England

Contact:

tel: 020/7323-8299
fax: +44 20 7323 8616


2

Asia de Cuba

Location:

45 Saint Martins Lane
St Martins Lane Hotel
WC2N 4HX London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: 44 20 7300 5588
fax: 44 20 7300 5501 (hotel)


3

Queen's Theatre

Location:

51 Shaftesbury Avenue
W1D 6BA London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: 44 20 7494 5041


Day 5 - London


The National Portrait Gallery is free, and full of paintings of English Aristocracy (surprise). Well worth a few hours of wandering. Try to pace yourself with the museums in England - it's easy to burn yourself out. High Tea at the Savoy is part of the quintessential English afternoon. We actually drank Earl Grey and ate scones. We went with a true Londoner, too (the nanny of the family we were staying with) and therefore didn't embarrass ourselves too much. Later, after we had digested our crust-less sandwiches and pots of tea, we went to Fabric for a multi-story night of DJs, British boys and sweaty dancing.


1

Savoy Grill (The)

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Location:

The Strand
The Savoy
WC2R 0EU London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: 44 20 7592 1600 / 44 20 7592 1373
fax: 4420 7592 1601 / 4420 7592 1366


2

Fabric

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Location:

77A Charterhouse St
EC1
EC1M 3HN London, England

Contact:

tel: 020/7336-8898
fax: +44 20 7251 6118


Day 6 - London


St. James park is a lush, relaxing, manicured green patch in the city. Lovely, just lovely, and perfect for a relaxing morning after a night of clubbing. Take breakfast and watch the passersby. Oxford circus is a shopping mecca. It is easy to drop pounds (of money) here. And boy, did we. But everyone needs a pair of British-flag underwear. The Edge is, well, edgier than some of the other nightlife venues we had sampled so far, but just as fun. Perfect for getting in touch with the grittier, local side of London after dark.


1

National Portrait Gallery

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Location:

Saint Martin's Place
(Trafalgar Square)
WC2H 0HE London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: +44 20 7306 0055


2

St. James's Park

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Location:

Horse Guards Road
SW1A 2BJ London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: +44 20 7930 1793
fax: +44 20 7839 7639


3

Oxford Circus

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Location:

Oxford Circus
Regent and Oxford Street
London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: +44 20 7234 5800(Tourist Information)


4

The Edge

Location:

11 Soho Sq
W1
W1D 3QE London, England

Contact:

tel: 0044/207-439-1313


Day 7 - London


Piccadilly Circus is great for shopping, people watching and ... well, that's good enough. For three young women it was more than enough to occupy us for an entire afternoon. Trafalgar square is nearby and is another iconic London site, well worth a few pictures. Also: if you are walking home from the pubs late at night, and London is in the middle of a heat wave, you and your friends may want to have a late-night splash in the fountain. The Palace Theatre produces, and has for many years, a fantastic version of Les Miserables. The music is wonderful, the costumes and the sets are great, and this, along with The Phantom of the Opera, is a definite theater-must-see.


1

Piccadilly Circus

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Location:

Piccadilly Circus
W1V 9LB London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: +44 20 7234 5800(Tourist Information)


2

Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column

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Location:

Trafalgar Square
WC2N 5DX London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: +44 20 7983 4750
fax: +44 20 7983 4137


3

Palace Theatre

Location:

109-113 Shaftesbury Avenue
W1V 8AY London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: 44 870 895 5579


Day 8 - London


We decided to spend the last day of our London stay at quintessentially London places. Buckingham palace is about as British as you can get, and is well worth a visit. The Black Friar and the Goat in Boots are two fantastic little pubs, each one low-key, comfortable and again, uber-British. We went to the Black Friar for lunch, wandered around the shops and streets of London one last time, and ended the day with a meal and a pint at the Goat in Boots before taking the train to Heathrow for the long flight back to the states.


1

Buckingham Palace

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Location:

Buckingham Palace
At end of The Mall (on the road running from Trafalgar Sq.)
SW1A 1AA London, England

Contact:

tel: 020 7766 7300


2

Black Friar

Location:

174 Queen Victoria St
Blackfriars, EC4
EC4V 4EG London, England

Contact:

tel: 020/7236-5474


3

Goat in Boots (The)

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Location:

333 Fulham Road
Fulham
SW10 9QL London, United Kingdom

Contact:

tel: 44 20 7352 1384


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