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3 1/2 Days in London

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
We're taking the train from Edinburgh,arriving at Kings Cross around 2 p.m.. by the time we get to our AirB&B, settle in, and maybe start a load of laundry, it'll be time to walk to the Shard. According to Google maps it's about a 24 minute walk, past the Tower and Tower Bridge, and across the Thames. I made a reservation for 6:45 - sunset is at 8:17 that night, and there should be plenty of daylight views, and hopefully we can watch the lights come on all over London. Fingers crossed for clear weather!

I need to plan somethings for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Museums will be my rainy day alternative for now. For one day I think we'll go to Greenwich. We've never been and I think there's just the right amount of things to see/do for one full day.

I'd also like to go up inside the towers of Tower Bridge, and I think I'm okay with just looking at the Tower from the outside. Perhaps a stroll over to Borough Market after that. That doesn't sound like quite enough activity ofr one day!
I'm going to sign up for the £10 Hamilton tickets.
I don't think we'll be doing as much walking as on previous trips, but the Tube can get us anywhere we want to go.
I've been to London many times, seen the Palace, the V&A and British Muweum (and want to save them for a rainy day backup).

So - I still need to put together 2 days worth of sight-seeing, including the most troubling for me - Saturday. I'm still trying to avoid larger crowds, and figure Saturday will be even busier than weekdays. I'll try to keep an eye on the weather when we're in Scotland so I'll be (semi)prepared.

Any thoughts?

IT'S JUST DAWNED ON ME WHY THIS IS SO DIFFICULT! I think it's because both of us have seen all the famous/important sites, and now we're free to explore lesser known museums/neighborhoods/venues - and what I would choose is NOT what Art would choose. And getting Art to make helpful, creative, well-researched suggestions is never going to happen.

I just know what he DOESN'T want - no strolling thru markets, or down quaint streets. Strolling really makes Art's back act up, so there are lots of breaks, and then I get impatient. So no strolling. (and even when he's walking 'fast', his back still acts up, and it's really a challenge to figure out how much and how far we should plan to walk each day!

No strolling almost elimnates museums, but only the smaller, more specialized ones. We both still love the V&A and the British Museum, but I don't give a fig about a car museum, or something similar that Art might find interesting. River cruises don't really do much for either of us, unless it's on the way somewhere else, like Kew Gardens or Greenwich.

I think if he could find something that truly interested him he'd make the effort, but he has no hobbies, loves college basketball and Cubs baseball. He does love history, so perhaps I should dare to look for walking tours of a specific area? Hmmmmm....
 
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Mom83

100+ Posts
The Churchill War Rooms are very interesting, especially for someone who loves history. We have been twice..the last time in 2018. I believe they were expanded as it seemed much larger the second time we visited. But I do think you might need to get tickets ahead of time. We were there in October 2018 with reserved tickets. The line for those without reserved tickets was very long.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
I've booked The Shard for our first evening, and now I'm going to watch the weather forecast before booking more. I love having a list of several things to do each day, some for good weather, some for bad weather. Hopefully when we're a week out I'll be able to reserve tickets for sites that require booking.
 

Mom83

100+ Posts
It looks like you can get reserved tickets for the Churchill War Rooms fairly easily. I looked just now and tomorrow has quite a bit of availability. So waiting on this does not seem to be much of a problem.
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Borough Market on the 1st morning makes a lot of sense, as in addition to experiencing it, it's a fantastic way to get some lovely food in for the rest of the stay. One option might be to also collect enough for a super-fancy picnic and to do that either later that day or the following day.

Near Borough Market there is the 'wine experience' called Vinopolis, but I've never been. Also some historic ships e.g. HMS Belfast / reconstruction of the Golden Hinde (Drake's flagship)

For a sports fan, Lilywhites at piccadilly circus used to be a wonderful store, but I recall it going steadily downhill. Maybe worth seeing if it's still there?

Not really a recommendation, as it would be a version of hell for me, but would the open-top bus tours be an alternative for someone who doesn't like too much walking? Potentially even an option for you to pack Art off on one of those, whilst you do something else & then share stories? Ditto the 'London Eye'

There are some top sporting venues if a tour of them would appeal e.g. Lords (Cricket), Wimbledon (Tennis), Wembley or stadia of specific clubs (Football). I don't know what remains of the 2012 London Olympics site at Stratford (easy reach from where you are - 1 tube / train stop from Liverpool St).

Loads of history of course all over central London. I think someone may have mentioned it already, but 'Rules' restaurant has proper history behind it and the food is apparently good (and not a tourist trap). Going off at a serious tangent, I recall there being a 'Fawlty Towers' dining experience in London, with actors playing the lead characters whilst serving you a meal.

Windsor & Eton aren't far away (albeit somewhat of a journey across London from where you are) and both are pleasantly quiet compared to the big smoke. If the Eton kids are in school at that time of year, then you'll see them in their ridiculously historic uniforms (I was there visiting a friend and wasn't expecting that sight)
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
Thanks for so many thoughtful suggestions!

Borough Market is definitely on our list! After our 4 nights in London we're staying with friends who live in Braintree, just northeast of London. We met many years ago when we were living in Italy and they had a beautiful holiday apartment on Lago Tresimeno. I know there are some specialty shops in Borough Market, but is there anything uniquely Italian that they can't buy in their local Whole Foods/Sainsburys?
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Hi Barb
Yes indeed. Top of my suggestion list would be Bianca Mora for some very good aged parmeggiano and also also a very fine artisan salami that's completely sealed in beeswax.

Then if they like spicier food, De Calabria have a lot of generally store cupboard ready jars. Sadly they no longer sell the 'destroyer of colds', a honey from Fragiacomo apilcoltura called '31 erbe'. I know of nothing that could clear the sinuses like it, though a few of the miele balsamico honeys give a good go at the same experience.

Gastronomica are a good all-rounder and if looking for fresh pasta I'd recommend ignoring the somewhat OTT creations of la tua pasta, instead picking up Gastronomica's pre-packed agnolotti del plin. They usually have burrattine (round tubs of formed burrata), but I think they've also had the smoked version as well, which I love.

Tartufaia try to get truffles in all year round, but those Aussie ones are expensive. In October/November they'll have Emilia-Romagnan truffles, but scandalously I'll recommend the Essex black truffles if they have them - fresher and more fragrant when I tried them. I've been less impressed by their mushrooms, preferring either whatever Fitz fine foods have found, or the large fruit and veg stall with the stunning mushroom display (who also get truffles in)

Olive oil company have some very good Italian oils, including some first press oils in if timed right (~october) but they also have one regular oil that's got much of the fresh grassy taste of those first press oils. I think it's a sicilian oil, and it's one they have in multiple sizes. Sorry I can't remember the name of it, but ask them for advice and / or a taste.

That large fruit and veg stall I mentioned (it's the first stall on the right as you cross the road that divides the market) also often has Amalfi coast lemons, plus zucchini flowers in season.

I've not taken to the cheeses at L'Ubraico (wine / beer soaked), but maybe worth a try to see what you think.

Maggio's confectionary is a newer arrival I've not tried yet, but appear to be proud of their Italian almonds

Parma ham and mozzarella stand was IIRC the place that I got (wet) smoked mozzarella from - something I find irresistible and difficult to find in Italy itself.

Alpine deli are South Tyrol (which might mean Alto-Adige lIRC) and as well as some very good cheeses, also had some very good condiments to go with cheese.

p.s. the gelateria in a shop near Monmouth coffee house is decent, but gets crowded inside, is a little pricey and I'd say it's at best 'average' by Italian standards. Still worthwhile if the mood takes you, and even an average Italian gelato usually beats what England has to offer.

the stall listing is in the link below. Most of what I find interesting is in the back half of the market, on the Monmouth Coffee / Brindisa side of the market, but locations can change, so it's good to see what excites you as you see it.

 
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PatrickLondon

100+ Posts
. I don't know what remains of the 2012 London Olympics site at Stratford

The main stadium, the Aquatics centre, the Velodrome, one of the smaller halls, several new residential neighbourhoods and substantial amounts of parkland. What was the functional servicing area by the railway lines is currently turning into a new culture quarter, with new premises for a V&A outpost, the BBC and various other arts and culture organisations.

https://www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Ma
The main stadium, the Aquatics centre, the Velodrome, one of the smaller halls, several new residential neighbourhoods and substantial amounts of parkland. What was the functional servicing area by the railway lines is currently turning into a new culture quarter, with new premises for a V&A outpost, the BBC and various other arts and culture organisations.

https://www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/
Many thanks for that Patrick - It's good to know what the legacy is.
 

PatrickLondon

100+ Posts

SMJ

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Have you been to Greenwich?
There is the park there, and the museums and the Cutty Sark.
May not be as crowded as Central London on a Saturday.
Also, maybe take a train to another town not far away for the day?
 

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