daveon: (Default)
Interesting article here.  Basically thoughts on doing London on the cheap.  I'd only disagree with the idea of the 7 day travel card.  Get an Oyster card with the same amount of credit, it's easier to use, you won't accidentally demagnetize the strip, it won't crumple up in your pocket and get stuck in the machines by day 3, and you can use it without taking it out of your pocket/wallet/bag pocket.

Other things I recommend are the hop-on/hop-off bus tours.  Usually good fun, you get to see a lot and then you can decide to get off where you like.

If it is a first trip to London my personal must sees would be Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey.  Trafalgar Square, and walk/drive down the Mall to Buckingham Palace.  Horseguards parade.  Then over the city for St Pauls, the Tower and Tower Bridge.

General stuff: Science Museum, Natural History Museum, British Museum (where you can see the world's treasures thoughtfully taken and 'looked' after by a range of batshit crazy Victorians), National Gallery, Tate Modern.

Of interest to SF fans: HMS Belfast (next door to Tower Bridge) WW2 ship decked out as a museum, excellent one too.  Cutty Sark - now pretty much rebuilt and near Greenwich.  Imperial War Museum. Churchill's War Room (part of the IWM but in a different place), RAF Museum at Hendon,

For eating on the cheap - Weatherspoon's Pubs are cheap and cheerful and serve decent portions for little money and usually have beer and wine specials.

On the whole, Americans who live in large cities will be pleasantly surprised by the price of a pint of beer in the UK, even London.  Pints are Imperial 20oz pints and based on my last trip, you'd expect to pay $6/$6.50 a pint...  which is better than what I find myself paying in Seattle for a non-Happy Hour 16oz pint in Seattle.   In SF I'm seeing $8/$9+ for a Guiness and similar.  In Vegas at the weekend, a 12oz bottle of beer was $7...  And there's no expected tip on the price, so it's cheaper than you think.  Likewise, wine is MUCH cheaper in bars and restaurants than any city I've spent time in in the US.  You should have no trouble finding a decent bottle of wine for $25 or less, and in many places, two 250ml glasses will get the rest of the bottle for free.

One cautionary note.  Spirits.  They have to be served in exact measures of 25ml, and believe me, 25ml of spirits in the bottom of a glass is a very very sorry looking pour indeed :(

Generally speaking, as has been the case for decades, the best deal for a sit down meal with alcoholic beverages will always be a curry where for $40 a head, you'll have multiple courses with side dishes and drinks... probably lots of drinks... and if you pick the right restaurant a complementary after dinner drink.

I'll think more about tips for travel and what I'd do if I was seeing London for the first time.

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