Questions for Londoners

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Shikarnov, May 24, 2010.

  1. Shikarnov

    Shikarnov Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Greetings,

    A friend of mine is an English teacher at the state university in Rostov na Danu, Russia. She and her class will be visiting London soon, and asked me if I could find out some information for her. Unfortunately, being an American, I'm ill equipped to answer her questions. I'm hoping you guys here can help:


    • Should they be carrying Euros or Pounds? Or are both accepted?
    • What are some traditional foods that must be tried? Any restaurant recommendations?
    • Are there any shops at which souvenirs (or authentic cultural products that are less cliche than a model of Big Ben) can be purchased at reasonable prices?
    • If you had only a week in London, as they do, what places would you visit? (In prioritized order just in case there's not enough time to do it all)
    Thanks in advance!

    ZS
     
  2. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    Can't help with the details about where to go in London particularly - but they need to take pounds rather than Euros. Some of the bigger stores might be dual currency, but they shouldn't assume it, and if they want to buy things from market stalls, they'll definitely need Sterling.
     
  3. Goliath

    Goliath Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Pounds.

    Chicken tikka masala.

    I don't eat out much in London, so I can't help you with restaurants. Sorry.

    None that I've noticed. There are lots of souvenir shops in the city centre, but from what I've seen, they all sell the same mass-produced crap. Though you might want to have a look in antique shops.

    The first time I visited Britain and Ireland, the only souvenirs I took home were some seashells I picked up on the Irish coast, just north of Dublin. I find things like that are much more meaningful than any manufactured "souvenir."

    This really depends on what they like. London is a huge city, and even the tourist-friendly city centre offers a wide variety of things to do and see.

    If your friend enjoys art, for example, I would recommend seeing the National Gallery, the Tate Britain, and (my personal favourite) the Tate Modern.

    If they want to see the picture-postcard stuff, then I recommend starting at Trafalgar Square, walking down Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, then turning right and heading up to Buckingham Palace, then turning right again and going back to Trafalgar Square.

    If they like museums, then the British Museum is an absolute must. It's huge--you could easily spend the whole day in there.

    If they like live theatre, there's lots of that. An English teacher might even be interested in seeing a performance at Shakespeare's Globe, which is a reconstruction of the original theatre.

    But these recommendations don't even scratch the surface. Personally, I enjoy just walking along the south bank of the Thames.
     
  4. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    Some places may take Euros but the pound is universally accepted.

    I can't really prioritise but try the Imperial War Museum and the Cabinet War Rooms.

    Oh, and one other small bit of advice - learn how to behave on the Tube before you go. Your time will be a lot more pleasant if you do. Though at the same time, if you can - WALK. I can't stress this enough. You'll miss so much of this city if you just sit in a dark, cramped box underground to get everywhere.
     
  5. Niorah

    Niorah Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Agreed, walk wherever you can.

    You'll find that a lot of places that are of interest to tourists are actually quite close to each other. Namely: The British Museum, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, The Strand, The South Bank (where the Houses of Parliament, the Big Ben, the London Eye and the London Aquarium are) and Westminster Abbey.

    Museums are free, so definitely go see the British Museum and the National Gallery, you won't regret it.
    Westminster Abbey is beautiful, but you have to pay to visit it, I think it's around £15.
    If you want to take the metro anywhere, go visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew (also more commonly known as Kew Gardens), again you'll have to pay to enter, but it will be a lovely experience.

    As for eating out, if you want a very traditional, very high class, very special lunch, go to Simpson's in the Strand. It's quite expensive but they do make a Sunday roast that is difficult to beat, and you will feel like a proper Lord. ;)

    As for everyday eating, you'll find restaurant chains like Nando's which are not expensive and have good, tasty food. There's also a pub chain, called J.D. Wetherspoon, where they serve a mean mixed grill (if you're a meat eater like me you'll love it).
     
  6. An Officer

    An Officer Vice Admiral Admiral

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    For souvenir shopping, I would try Harrods in Knightsbridge, or Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly. They are both large department stores, and they can be rather pricey, but their food halls are very reasonable, with traditional teas, biscuits, alcoholic beverages and such, which make very good gifts.

    I would also recommend a boat ride on the Thames - a picturesque experience in the summertime, and if you want that trip to have an interesting destination, the Greenwich observatory (to see the first meridian) is a great trip, they have a planetarium, and the Maritime museum is also there. And it's all set on lovely green lawns and great hilltop views.

    As to restaurant recommendations, I would eat at the Dining Rooms in the National gallery, they have great views overlooking Trafalgar square, the food is excellent and very British, and the service is faultless. A very elegant dining experience for a very reasonable price. One of the best eating establishments in London, in my view.
     
  7. Jadzia

    Jadzia on holiday Premium Member

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    Rubles all the way; all other currency should be debauched. It is the only way of defeating the bourgeoisie.

    In Leningrad, it is traditional to symbolize friendship by sharing the foods of bread and salt. Remember that a Bolshevik is a Bolshevik forever, no matter where he/she goes.

    ;)
     
  8. Shikarnov

    Shikarnov Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thank you all for your replies, advice, and recommendations. I have no doubt that it will all be quite valuable to my friend and her students.

    If I sent this link to them for more information, would that suffice?
     
  9. Zulu Romeo

    Zulu Romeo World Famous Starship Captain Admiral

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    You do realise Ken Livingstone's no longer the Mayor, yes? ;)
     
  10. MetalPants

    MetalPants Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just a week in London? What a poor experience. I spent a month there, and I'm still struck by the brevity of the visit.
     
  11. WillsBabe

    WillsBabe Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Should they be carrying Euros or Pounds? Or are both accepted?

    Well, since Sterling is our currency, they should be using that.

    • What are some traditional foods that must be tried? Any restaurant recommendations?
    Fish and chips; Sunday roast (also referred to as a carvery); curry; full English breakfast (also referred to as "a full English").

    • Are there any shops at which souvenirs (or authentic cultural products that are less cliche than a model of Big Ben) can be purchased at reasonable prices?
    Depends what you're looking for in the way of souvenirs. If the group are staying in central London, then check out the big stores there.

    • If you had only a week in London, as they do, what places would you visit? (In prioritized order just in case there's not enough time to do it all)
    Shakespeare's Globe; Houses of Parliament and Westminter; London Eye; Buckingham Palace; Tate Modern; British Museum, oh, there's too many to mention.

    And one day they should try to get out of London for a day trip to somewhere within day communting distance. My vote would be for the Westcountry. It's less than a 3 hour train journey. You can get from Paddington into the heart of Devon (Exeter) to see a provincial city with vast history, and then back to London within the day. Plan the train tickets ahead and it won't cost a fortune, either.
     
  12. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    I don't have a Facebook account so I can't dig much further in to that but there doesn't seem to be a lot of advice on there.

    Just some simple tips.

    - On the escalators, stand on the right, walk on the left. Don't swap these around unless you want to end up a crumpled heap at the bottom.

    - Let people off the train first, don't try to get on until everyone is off.

    - Try not to carry too much luggage around with you. Tube trains are cramped enough as it is. Obviously, there's not much you can do if you're going to the airport but backpackers on the Tube are annoying.

    - On top of that, don't put your bags on the seats. Seats are for people, not bags. Bags go on the floor.

    - Move down the platform. Don't just go through the entrance and stand there.

    - Don't start randomly talking to strangers. Nobody talks on the Tube.

    - Don't play music unless you've got headphones. Nobody else wants to listen to Lady Gaga on your mobile phone's crappy little mono speaker.
     
  13. clint g

    clint g Admiral Admiral

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    These rules sound alot like New York City rules :lol:

    NOTHING pisses me of more than when tourists block the damn escalator :mad:
     
  14. StolenThunder

    StolenThunder Poster Premium Member

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    In all fairness they're not rules universally followed by London denizens.
     
  15. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    No, definitely not. Londoners break them more often than tourists.
     
  16. TerokNor

    TerokNor Captain Captain

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    How is that loud, alternative market still called? On Saturday (?) Camden Market or such? I found that interresting as well... especially after all the normal sightseeing and museums its a bit varity and another side of London.

    TerokNor
     
  17. Geckothan

    Geckothan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Camden is full of emo kids :eek:
     
  18. TerokNor

    TerokNor Captain Captain

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    What are emo kids?

    TerokNor
     
  19. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    kids who are emo
     
  20. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. And I say this *as* a tourist. ;)

    I actually have my own question for Londoners. In preparation for when I visit my British relatives, I only have one issue: I understand that, on the Tube, you have to swipe your Oystercard when you enter *and* when you leave a station. Does this happen at *all* stations? Or just some? If the latter, how do you know to which stations this rule applies?

    Also, is "Oyster" a funny name for a farecard, or what? :guffaw: