I'm travelling to Europe in August (from NZ) and am spending my time mainly in Italy, Greece and Paris. I have most of my travels planned either on group tpurs or with friends and family but I'm a little stuck with London. I'm 22, a girl and I'll be in London for 3 nights/ 3 and a half days by myself. If anyone can help me I'd like to know:
1. Good places to stay that aren't too expensive - hotsels and cheap hotels
2. Where in London I should stay - I'm thinking probably Paddington area?
3. What are some good things to do in London aside from sightseeing
4. Whether its worthwhile going outside of London - eg to Bath
5. Good things to bring/do and places to eat if I'm by myself
Also, what is the best way to travel and are there any safety issues?
Paddington's ok for cheaper hotel accommodation, as is much of central west London, but might be a pretty miserable existence if you are on your own. I would suggest a hostel closer to the centre - which would probably answer your first three questions.
Whether it's worthwhile travelling outside of London is a tough one. Unless there was something you particularly wanted to see, I'd say stick around. But London can be hard going if you're just tramping around, so maybe a fast train out for the day might actually be a good idea. I wouldn't fancy being stuck on a coach if I've only three and a half days. Windsor is close if you like castles, or Brighton for the sea and the Royal Pavillion - and Bath itself, but others here will have suggestions. Places to eat? Soho is very good. Loads of choice and good prices. I like Jerk City on Wardour Street. Good food, massive platefuls, got absolutely bloated.
Nearly forgot - welcome to TP.
[ Edit: Edited on 24-Jun-2010, at 01:47 by fabyomama ]
My suggestion is, if you've never been to London before and you've only got three and a bit days, then stay there and soak it all up.
Yes, it's a jolly expensive city, but if you stay put - then you've no worries about excursion costs.
Day 1.... Get an off peak travelcard thats valid on the Underground, red buses and a few local overground trains. It's great value for money - and you can jump on and off as many times as you like between 09:30 and midnight. You'll be worn out before sun-down though. Back to your room - and as Fabyomama recommends, get changed and shoot over to Soho for some great food and drink at good prices.
Day 2.... Go to see a few of the finest shops in the World.... Harrods (£20,000 handbags and champagne thats more for one bottle than you might spend in 5 years on beer), Fortnum and Mason, Selfridges etc. and in the evening go and do a show. You're spoilt for choice and its a great experience.
Day 3.... Take a trip up the Thames, have lunch on board - and then take The London Eye for an hour. In the evening, get over to Covent Garden for some street entertainment at its very best.
Day 4.... Its over already. Look back at some great memories.
I really wouldn't do the trip out to Bath. It's along way, expensive - and you need a full day. Leaving at (say) 8am, getting there at 11, then coming back at 5 doesnt do one of the worlds finest cities, any justice.
Thanks for the help. I think I will stay in London then. I quite like shopping so I should enjoy checking out some of the famous shops. Can anyone recommend any hostels or cheap hotels in central London? I would prefer to pay a little extra for something a bit more comfy than go for the absolute cheapest.
I'll message you a good website.
Can anyone recommend any hostels or cheap hotels in central London? I would prefer to pay a little extra for something a bit more comfy than go for the absolute cheapest.
I stayed at the YHA London Central last year and it was nice (full review at that link). There's also a bunch more properties located here, and if you sort by rating after doing an availability search the best will pop up to the top
If you like shopping you may also like some of London's markets. Camden is popular and Brick Lane. Nearish to Brick Lane there's also Spitalfields, which is best on Thursdays and Fridays as there are more stalls. Spitalfields market has lost a lot of it's atmosphere since the revamp, but there are lots of stalls selling things from clothes to food to second hand books etc. There's also lots of cafés and restaurants around.
Bishops Square just in front of Spitalfields, also frequently has some form of entertainment going on and sometimes dance classes. Egs in August include, 5th and 19th free salsa classes and 26th Argentine Tango (all in the evening)
If you like shopping you may also like some of London's markets. Camden is popular and Brick Lane...
I'm wondering if you mean the old Truman Brewery yard between Brick Lane and Spitalfields? It's been a few years since I've been there. I do remember a 'scooter' shop full of Lambrettas/Vespas and stuff. Had them all lined up outside, though I don't know if it's still there. Noticed on the site there is an old vintage clothes shop, 30's through the 80's. Now that would be good for a chuckle.
I second (third?) Harissa's comment about markets if you don't want to do the traditional touristy stuff.
Camden is one of my favourite places in London. It used to be its own little village, but has been absorbed into North London, and now hosts half a dozen huge markets. You can get anything there, or just spend the day browsing. It can feel a little grungy - it seems to be where goth and punk have gone to die - but that's part of its charm. Parts of it are being 'renovated' and chic little boutiques are moving in (which is a little heartbreaking, actually - I liked the grunge), and they've opened up a whole new section of the stables market. Well worth a wander if you're over the whole sightseeing thing. One word of warning - it can get incredibly busy on the weekends and the Camden underground station becomes exit only until about 5pm. If you want to get back on before then, you have to walk to the next stop, so be sure to bring a map.
I also recommend Borough Market in South London. You can get to it from the London Bridge underground station. It's all tucked under the railway arches and still feels wonderfully Victorian. It sells mostly food, everything from the mundane to the exotic, and it's all delicious. There used to be someone there who sold fresh game, and you could see it all trussed up, but he wasn't there the last time I was. It's one of my favourite places to bring visitors. This one, though, is only open Fridays and Saturdays.
I used to live in London, so I exhausted a lot of the traditional tourist attractions. The last time I was there, I wanted to try things I had never done before. I took a boat cruise down the Thames to the Greenwich observatory (where they establish Greenwich Mean Time). I took a long walk along the South Bank, where the Globe and National theatres are, and the HMS Belfast (which you can tour), all the way out to Tower Bridge. I rode the London Eye after dark - the line ups were shorter (at least in October) and the views were prettier. All of them were great.