Friday, January 02, 2009

Tour London Guide - Things to do in London and nearby

Things to do in London and nearby, places to visit in London. A ready guide prepared for you, enjoy!

the city which brings a sparkle to many an eye.

As Angela Carter said - Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual.
Or as William Shakespeare said Would I were in an alehouse in London. I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety.
Or again as William Shakespeare said I hope to see London once ere I die.

How many of us have grown up singing the nursery rhyme
London Bridge is falling down, Falling down, Falling down. London Bridge is falling down, My fair lady.

How many of us from India have wondered where the Kohinoor diamond has disappeared?

The rhyme was created to mark the difficulty faced in bridging the two sides of the River Thames and the bridge which collapsed which being built.

So if you happen to be in the city London which had the world’s busiest airport – Heathrow which handles the largest international traffic, what would you do? Yes you would roam and visit some historic places. I will try to give rough sketch of what to do in London, what to avoid or postpone as the last priority.

You can start your tour point from the London Waterloo railway station [$1$], a station which has existed from 1848 the largest station in the UK in terms of number of platforms and greatest floor area. The station has appeared in the movie The Bourne Ultimatum, starring Matt Damon, and Bollywood film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom was filmed here as well.

As you walk out of the station and in a few minutes you are treated to the London Eye [$2$], the largest Ferris wheel in Europe and ranks among the top three of the world. It can be accessed from the Westminster underground station as well.
As Richard Rogers says
The Eye has done for London what the Eiffel Tower did for Paris, which is to give it a symbol and to let people climb above the city and look back down on it. Not just specialists or rich people, but everybody. That's the beauty of it: it is public and accessible, and it is in a great position at the heart of London.

[If you use south west trains for any part of your journey you have a two for one ticket offer]
The views from the top of the London Eye are just incredible; as you won’t miss entering the floors of the Eiffel tower you should miss this.
London Eye

View For top

And as you walk further down you are greeted to the London Aquarium [$3$] and this can be given a miss, this doesn’t match anywhere close to the Singapore aquarium. Though this is Europe’s largest indoor aquarium
[If you use south west trains for any part of your journey you have a two for one ticket offer]

London Aquarium

There is a scary experience place right next to the aquarium and I haven’t been there, the other alternative for this is the London Dungeon [$4$] where they try to scare you and make you get worried, but well worth the price and good fun, but make sure you are not alone. This can be accessed from the Tower bridge station

London Dungeon

As you walk along you begin to see Big Ben building [$5$] Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock in the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. The clock is the world's largest four-faced, chiming clock ant the third largest free-standing clock tower in the world.

Big Ben

A complete View

You walk around the Big Ben and you come across the Parliament Square buildings known as the palace of Westminster [$6$]. A few rooms were damaged in the great fire of 1834 and few rooms were damaged during the World War 2 during a bombing raid.

Parliament Square

You can trace your path back a few meters back and walk to your left / right to the Westminster Abbey [$7$] Benedictine monks first came to this abbey in the middle of the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship. The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs.

Westminister Abbey

Next to the church is the St Margaret’s church [$8$],_Westminster

You can now proceed to Charring Cross from the Waterloo tube station or the Westminster tube station to visit Trafalgar square [$9$] its trademark is Nelson's Column which stands in the centre and the four lion statues that guard the column. Statues and sculptures are on display in the square, including a fourth plinth displaying changing pieces of contemporary art, and it is a site of political demonstrations.
The name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars. The original name was to have been "King William the Fourth's Square", but George Ledwell Taylor suggested the name "Trafalgar Square".

Trafalgar Square

As you walk further down the road you will enter the Buckingham Palace area and you can see the Buckingham Palace [$10$] at the end of the road. The change of guard [$11$] happens often and is worth to watch for few, though remember to get there early else your view won’t be too good.

Palace and the gates

Palace Square

Change of Guard

Now as you walk back you can enter the St James Park, Green Park [$12$] etc for a nice view of water birds, squirrels and nice greenery.

Royal Parks

Birds at the parks

Now if you hit lunch time Little Frankie’s [$13$] at the Trafalgar square is a good place to have some Italian and American dishes.

Now get to Charring cross station and take the tube to Baker Street for a visit of Madame Tussauds [$14$] - the famous wax museum in London with branches in a number of major cities. It was set up by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud.
[If you use south west trains for any part of your journey you have a two for one ticket offer]

Salman Khan at Madam Tussauds

As you walk back to the Baker Street station you can see the Statue of Sherlock Holmes – the famous fictional detective as his official address is 221 B Baker Street [$15$] an address that does not actually exist.

Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street

You can take the tube and get to BlackFriars station or London Bridge and walk down to the Shakespeare Globe theatre [$16$] Origin of Box Office – In earlier centuries the theatres didn’t have payment systems or ticket counters, there used to be a box where the people coming in would throw money and walk in to watch the play / show, as the collection gathered in the box, the box would be taken around to all the floors and then finally to a room / office room where it was stored, counted and kept in the safe. This bought the name as box office.
[Information gathered at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre tour]
[If you use south west trains for any part of your journey you have a two for one ticket offer]

Shakespeare's Globe theatre

Next you can walk down to the Tate Modern Art Gallery [$17$] next block, entrance is free and the art exhibits are as abstract as you can ever see.

Tate Modern Art Gallery

You can cross the river by walking on top of the millennium bridge - the London Millennium Footbridge [$18$] is a pedestrian-only steel suspension bridge crossing the River Thames. Londoners nicknamed the bridge the Wobbly Bridge after crowds of pedestrians felt an unexpected swaying motion on the first two days after the bridge opened.

The southern end of the bridge is near Globe Theatre, the Bankside Gallery and Tate Modern, the north end next to the City of London School below St Paul's Cathedral. The bridge alignment is such that a clear view of St Paul's south facade is presented from across the river, framed by the bridge supports, thus providing a scenic view of the cathedral.

Millennium bridge (Black Friars bridge in the back ground)

The view from the Millennium bridge

As you walk on the bridge you can see the Tower Bridge of London [$19$] to your right, Black Friars Bridge [$20$] to your right, St Paul’s Cathedral [$21$] directly in front.

St Paul’s Cathedral [$21$] is the Anglican cathedral on Ludgate Hill and the seat of the Bishop of London. Dates back to the 17th century. The cathedral sits on the edge of London's oldest region, the City, which originated as a Roman trading post along the edge of the River Thames. The cathedral is one of London's most visited sites.

The nearest London Underground station is St. Paul's.

St Paul’s Cathedral

Info: If you have taken a day travel card – you will have unlimited train, tube and bus usage plus if you have taken the day travel card from a south western train station you can get the two for one offers as well.

You can take the tube or bus and proceed to Piccadilly Circus [$22$] and roam around and walk towards Oxford Street [$23$], Bond Street [$24$] – these are the main shopping areas of London.

Shopping streets

For cricket buffs you can take a tour of the Mecca of cricket – The Lords cricket ground [$25$] – there are only few tour timings in a day -

Lords cricket ground

For other important palaces you can visit the South Kensington Palace [$26$]
[If you use south west trains for any part of your journey you have a two for one ticket offer]

Another famous Square is the Leicester Square [$27$]

For those who like going on boat rides there is a nice cruise from Waterloo to Greenwich passing through London Bridge [$28$], Tower Bridge of London, Tower Palace [$29$], Greenwich – this ride has a live commentary and is well worth the money.
[If you use south west trains for any part of your journey you have a two for one ticket offer] {33% percent off if you have a travel card}

Tower Bridge of London

Tower Bridge of London (in action)

London Bridge

Tower Palace

Greenwich [$30$] has many antiques selling markets and is a good place to roam about, it is best known for its maritime history and as giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. You can go and visit the zero degree line [$31$] and stand in the West and East hemisphere at the same time.

Royal Observatory

Greenwich Station

Zero Degree line

British Museum [$32$] is a must for the museum lovers -

Kew Gardens & the Treetop walkway[$33$] - its nice to walk in a garden among trees, but how nice would it be to walk among trees at the height of trees...

London, Europe - art flourishes, theater [$34$] floors you, the latest I have been to was a pantomime - Aladdin...for tickets (good deals)

Bird lovers can visit the Wet Land Center in Barnes, London [$35$]
- two for one offer applies

Shopping freaks can visit the Harrods Mall and get their bank accounts cleared of the excesses, London [$36$] - it has 11000 bulbs lighting up the outer walls...
- two for one offer applies

A really recommended Indian /Sri Lankan eat out in Wembley is the Gana Cafe, mind boggling food, [$37$]

Other places to visit within 1-2 hours of drive / train are
1) Oxfordshire
2) Bath Spa
3) Brighton
4) Bournemouth
5) Portsmouth harbor
6) Isle of Wight
7) Windsor Castle

Hope you liked reading this guide. Contact me for any help...



Karthick Prabu said...

Wow, read the entire post. Very lively coverage. I have covered 1 to 15 in that in one day :)

London hotels said...

I love what you wrote about the Waterloo railway station, I think it's a remarkably important place in London,I always get my flights and hotels from LM Travel, my hotel booking for next time I come is going to be close to the station and I'm really happy about it!

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Sunaina said...

Thanks Monish. This is amazing and very useful.

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