Travel Advice
London
Home
Berlin, Budapest, Prague
Iceland, Greenland
Argentina: Buenos Aires and Iguaz˙ Falls
Europe - General
Italy
London
Paris
Portugal
Spain
Latin America
Puerto Vallarta
United States
Canada
Canadian Rockies
Scandinavia
Russia
Africa, Mid East
Asia
General Info
Travel with Kids
Adventure Travel
Travel Writings

For personal travel, we have friends who swear by Hotel Beaufort as well located (Knghtsbridge), comfortable and warm in hospitality:

http://www.thebeaufort.co.uk/home.htm

Fifteen modest hotel ideas from an excellent piece in the Chicago Tribune:  London - Modest Hotels, Chicago Tribune

For business travel, I can recommend these hotels from personal experience:

Hotel The Savoy Phone:44-207-836-4343

THE STRAND, LONDON ENGLAND WC2 R0EU Fax:44-207-240-6040

As of 25Apr01, the equivalent rate for 219.00GBP is 315.60USD

Le Meridian Waldorf. Rate L- 205.

Address: Aldwych (near Drury Lane); London WC28 4DD

Telephone: 011-44-171-836-2400

Fax: 011-171-836-7244

Reservations from US: 1-800-543-4300

TRAVEL TIPS FOR LONDON

Westminster Abbey. This is our biggest suggestion. Find the times on the telephone for the Super Tour or Great Tour or whatever it's called at Westminster Abbey. This is a special tour that goes in very historic rooms that are otherwise closed to the public.

The following may be a bit much for the unchurched, but the aesthetics are great. Find out when there is a choral evensong service at the Abbey and go just as a regular worshiper. This will be at something like 4 or 5 p.m. Go a bit early. You don't really need to dress up very much, because dress is less formal than in US Protestant churches. If there are seats in the wooden stalls at the very front of the church, don't be shy, just take your seat. These are the ones where the choir members themselves will be. You will now be sitting in the seats where the monks assigned to the Abbey have sat for hundreds of years. These are also the seats where the guests of honor, such as members of the royal family, get to sit during royal events such as coronations, weddings and funerals. You don't need any special preparation to take part in the service. Just follow the order of worship as best you can for Evensong in the Book of Common Prayer that you will find in your pew. There is no communion, just song, so you don't have to worry about any theological issues about whether you are entitled to take communion. Remember, you are worshipers, not tourists, so just go and take your seats -- the best seats possible -- and let the music and the spirituality wash over you.

Transportation. The tube is great and very safe, but the cost has gone up a lot in recent years. Don't pass up the taxis. This is a wonderful way to get a feel for the city that you can't get from the underground. For two or more traveling together, taxis are only a small increase over two fares on the underground, and a lot more fun. Obviously, the underground is the only option during the rush hour.

Restaurants. One splurge meal to consider is Bibendum. This is actually owned by the Michelin company in a converted Michelin facility. Very interesting food; great atmosphere.  But don't expect Yorkshire pudding or steak and kidney pie. If you are going to the West End theatre, dinner is hard to fit in. The best thing to do is to look for an Italian or Chinese place that looks good in the Soho, Dean Street area. There are a number of little places there that look like the Italian restaurant in "Lady and the Tramp."

Globe Theatre. I was on the board of the effort to rebuild Shakespeare's Globe Theatre close to its original site. It is on the other side of the Thames, across from St. Paul's Cathedral.  The tour is interesting, and the experience of attending a performance will be memorable.  This whole project is the dream of late Chicago-born actor Sam Wanamaker. He fell in love with Shakespeare at the Chicago World's Fair in the 1930s, and the dream of rebuilding the Globe became his obsession. It is now completed, after many years of trials and tribulations. The experience is very authentic. Groundlings stand close to the stage and will be exposed to the weather. The "seats" are really benches.

Walking tour. I have never done this, but Roger Ebert wrote a book with the title something like, "Best Ever London Walking Tour." I have read it, and I always wanted to do it. He goes to London ever year, and follows his own advice religiously. The man has good taste, so the tour is probably a good bet, if you can find the book.

Museums. I would pick the British Museum over any of the others, such as the Victoria and Albert.   It all is a matter of taste and interests.  Pick a few things you want to see in advance, and then try to stick to your wish list; otherwise, you will be overwhelmed. See the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels, but go at the opening, or the crowds will be unbearable. From the Tower, you can walk over the Tower Bridge to the South Bank and get an unusual view of the city. The bridge, itself, has a little museum.

Castles. I think you can do a day excursion to Windsor Castle. Check your hotel. People often go the other way, to Hampton Court. You can do this in a combined trip with Greenwich, but I have not done that. Remember, that river trips are pleasant, but the progress is slow.

Courts. Sitting in on a court in session, even if only for a few minutes is fun. Ask the London office for advice. The contrasts to US courts will be obvious and entertaining.

Consider a day trip to London and Blenheim Palace, home of the Churchill family, in nearby Woodstock:

 

Oxford-Blenheim Day Trip

Last updated September 15, 2002.