Need London Help RE: Hotels, Transportation and Tours

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#61
Cotswolds, UK
2,202 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Lots of things to do round the Pool of London - the other side of Tower Bridge you will find HMS Belfast, a WWII battleship, Southwark Cathedral by London Bridge, the Monument back on the North side of London Bridge. Borough Market, of course as well. Something a little unusual is the Old Operating Room and Herb Garrett, again down by London Bridge station.

Lots of info here (don't be put off by the website address, it covers the Pool of London, which is the stretch of river up to and beyond Tower Bridge:

http://www.discoverlondonbridge.co.uk
#62
virginia
7,489 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by Cotswold Eagle
Lots of things to do round the Pool of London - the other side of Tower Bridge you will find HMS Belfast, a WWII battleship, Southwark Cathedral by London Bridge, the Monument back on the North side of London Bridge. Borough Market, of course as well. Something a little unusual is the Old Operating Room and Herb Garrett, again down by London Bridge station.

Lots of info here (don't be put off by the website address, it covers the Pool of London, which is the stretch of river up to and beyond Tower Bridge:

http://www.discoverlondonbridge.co.uk
Oh, thank you. I have bookmarked this site. I had no idea there was that much to see on the South bank of the Thames. I kept reading that it was a good area to explore. Now I can see why.
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#63
California
775 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by milolii

Yes we experienced the " Ceremony of the Keys" I thought it was great fun. It was still drizzling a bit that night. I wrote for the tickets and included a small donation since the postage thing does not work. I happen to have some £s. I do not remember how much. Anyway the tickets came in about 2-3 weeks. I think they will send them anyway. We also made a donation after the Ceremony.



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I looked into getting tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys and the web site was so confusing and cumbersome that I just gave up! Tried to find comparable sized envelopes or paper to print out postage on line through their site, and American vs Britain's measurements aren't compatible. There are only 2 days available for the time we'll be there, and I'm afraid they'll be gone if I order postage to be mailed to my home address and then send in the letter of application. Do you know of a way to make ordering tickets from the U.S. easier?
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#64
London
22,031 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by Crystabel
Tried to find comparable sized envelopes or paper to print out postage on line through their site, and American vs Britain's measurements aren't compatible.
If you Google, you should be able to find the measurements of the standard size(s) that the Royal Mail website (probably) quotes. (The function is down at the moment so I can't check what it says.) That should allow you to find a comparable American size to use.

AFAIK, there is no other way than to follow these instructions. There is so much demand for tickets, and such a limited supply of them, that they don't really have to make it easy for anyone. I'm always surprised that it is as easy as it currently is.
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#65
virginia
7,489 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by Cotswold Eagle
Lots of things to do round the Pool of London - the other side of Tower Bridge you will find HMS Belfast, a WWII battleship, Southwark Cathedral by London Bridge, the Monument back on the North side of London Bridge. Borough Market, of course as well. Something a little unusual is the Old Operating Room and Herb Garrett, again down by London Bridge station.

Lots of info here (don't be put off by the website address, it covers the Pool of London, which is the stretch of river up to and beyond Tower Bridge:

http://www.discoverlondonbridge.co.uk
Just as a point of information. I looked up the distance between the two bridges. . . along the Queen's Walk is less than 1 mile. It is very doable.
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Brilliance of the Seas--North Atlantic TA: August 2014; Vision of the Seas--Southern Caribbean: November 2014; Serenade of the Seas--B2B Bahamas and Western Caribbean: March/April 2015; Southern Caribbean: November 2015; Grandeur of the Seas–June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean, April 2016: Eastern Caribbean, July 2016: Bermuda/Bahamas, Harmony of The Seas-- October 2016: Transatlantic, Equinox-- .February 2017: Mardi Gras cruise
#66
London
22,031 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by DragonOfTheSeas
Just as a point of information. I looked up the distance between the two bridges. . . along the Queen's Walk is less than 1 mile.
Yes - in fact, probably closer to half a mile than a mile.
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#67
Fresno CA & Milolii BI Hawaii
918 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Crystabel
I looked into getting tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys and the web site was so confusing and cumbersome that I just gave up! Tried to find comparable sized envelopes or paper to print out postage on line through their site, and American vs Britain's measurements aren't compatible. There are only 2 days available for the time we'll be there, and I'm afraid they'll be gone if I order postage to be mailed to my home address and then send in the letter of application. Do you know of a way to make ordering tickets from the U.S. easier?
Hi there! At the time I got my tickets, the postage was not required. I happened to have a few £s so I included it with my request. I briefly looked at the Royal Mail site. Is this the site u are referencing? I have never used it before, but it appears you can print out labels with postage included? However, I think it reads that the postage expires one day after printing so this would not help. Not really sure. Maybe someone else can explain.

This is the only way I know of securing the tickets. The ceremony is very popular now. If you want to order stamps, I would go ahead and do that. You did not say when you are traveling. I think we got our tickets about 3 months out for a late August trip.


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#68
68 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
I don't recommend taking the tube with 50# of luggage. I have done cab and private car to and from Heathrow. I think the cab fare was about 55-60 pounds recently, although I stayed in the Marble Arch area, which is closer to Heathrow than you'll be staying. I've used the tube extensively in the city, though, and there are lots of stairs, corridors, turnstiles, and other travelers. You will see people with large bags on the trains, and it's certainly doable, but I can't imagine it would be fun after a long flight.

The war rooms are excellent. I highly recommend them, especially given your teaching career. You will be glad you went.

My third recommendation is for an all-day city tour from a fabulous tour guide, Harry Norman (londonstours.com). I've done a city tour with Harry twice, and he wowwed me both times. Each tour is customized according to your interests. Let him know ahead of time what you'd like to see, and he'll make it happen. He is witty, engaged, and knowledgable. You can pepper him with questions all day long, and he'll tell you everything you want to know about London. He will pick you up at your hotel around 9:30 and drive you all over the city in his minivan. He has a parking permit that allows you easy access to all sites. You can stop to explore, take pictures, go inside, or he will just whiz you by for a good look if you have other places on your list. You'll enjoy lunch in a pub with him, followed by a full afternoon of exploring. He did an excellent job of organizing our interests geographically so we spent the maximum amount of time seeing the city and a minimum of time sitting in London's horrible traffic. (Booking on the weekend is a good option to avoid traffic.) There are no strangers in the van with you -- your tour is just for you -- although I suppose you could connect with other passengers on your cruise via Cruise Critic and agree to share the tour. We saw so many things we never would have had time to get to had we not booked with Harry. For my second tour with him, I booked for the day after we landed in order for my travel companion, who had never been to London, to get an overview and choose the things he wanted to see in more detail for the rest of the trip. Harry had excellent recommendations for us about the best days and times to go to various attractions.

Have a wonderful holiday!
#69
virginia
7,489 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Can someone who is from Great Britain or a cruiser that has stayed at the Tower Doubletree hotel suggest some restaurants in the area? I would like to know of some casual places with either a nice pub vibe and/or a special restaurant with views. Any suggestions?
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Brilliance of the Seas--North Atlantic TA: August 2014; Vision of the Seas--Southern Caribbean: November 2014; Serenade of the Seas--B2B Bahamas and Western Caribbean: March/April 2015; Southern Caribbean: November 2015; Grandeur of the Seas–June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean, April 2016: Eastern Caribbean, July 2016: Bermuda/Bahamas, Harmony of The Seas-- October 2016: Transatlantic, Equinox-- .February 2017: Mardi Gras cruise
#70
Boston area
230 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Can anyone help with transportation from London to Harwich? I'm staying at the Hilton at Hyde Park. My choices are purchasing transfers from Victoria Station or reserving the bus from London Toolkit. Any recommendations?
#71
virginia
7,489 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by WELDON
Can anyone help with transportation from London to Harwich? I'm staying at the Hilton at Hyde Park. My choices are purchasing transfers from Victoria Station or reserving the bus from London Toolkit. Any recommendations?
There are a number of private transfer companies that will take you from the hotel to the port. We were able to get 2 other roll call couples staying at our same hotel to share a ride. The prices from the companies I checked vary greatly. I found Totally Driven for 138 GBP. [had to pay via CC in advance to get that rate] When you split that 3 ways it is not bad at all--and so convenient.
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Brilliance of the Seas--North Atlantic TA: August 2014; Vision of the Seas--Southern Caribbean: November 2014; Serenade of the Seas--B2B Bahamas and Western Caribbean: March/April 2015; Southern Caribbean: November 2015; Grandeur of the Seas–June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean, April 2016: Eastern Caribbean, July 2016: Bermuda/Bahamas, Harmony of The Seas-- October 2016: Transatlantic, Equinox-- .February 2017: Mardi Gras cruise
#72
London
22,031 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by DragonOfTheSeas
Can someone who is from Great Britain or a cruiser that has stayed at the Tower Doubletree hotel suggest some restaurants in the area? I would like to know of some casual places with either a nice pub vibe and/or a special restaurant with views. Any suggestions?
I don't really do pubs. But here are a few casual places that might be quite fun.

Bodean's, on the north side of Byward Street opposite the ticket office for the Tower - American-style ribs etc (OK, OK, I know that's not what you came to London for, but it is quite a fun place). The proper restaurant is downstairs in the basement.

Wagamama (Japanese-inspired noodles and rice dishes etc) is down the hill towards the river from there. It's behind the ticket office and a bit further down, I think. It has a great view of the Tower and a bit of Tower Bridge too.

Otherwise, go down to the northwestern corner of St Katherine Docks (in the corner formed by Tower Bridge Approach and East Smithfield. The pick of the crop there is Cote (French brasserie). Strada is a decent chain Italian. Both have views of the (super)yachts and other boats moored in the basin.

A couple of other places we like but aren't quite what you're asking about: Cafe Spice Namaste on Prescot Street (good Indian cuisine) and Rosemary Lane on Royal Mint Street near the junction with Dock Street (almost fine dining).

But for views, they're right there in your hotel (even if the food may be bar rather than restaurant food): go up to the Skylounge.
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#73
virginia
7,489 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by Globaliser
I don't really do pubs. But here are a few casual places that might be quite fun.

Bodean's, on the north side of Byward Street opposite the ticket office for the Tower - American-style ribs etc (OK, OK, I know that's not what you came to London for, but it is quite a fun place). The proper restaurant is downstairs in the basement.

Wagamama (Japanese-inspired noodles and rice dishes etc) is down the hill towards the river from there. It's behind the ticket office and a bit further down, I think. It has a great view of the Tower and a bit of Tower Bridge too.

Otherwise, go down to the northwestern corner of St Katherine Docks (in the corner formed by Tower Bridge Approach and East Smithfield. The pick of the crop there is Cote (French brasserie). Strada is a decent chain Italian. Both have views of the (super)yachts and other boats moored in the basin.

A couple of other places we like but aren't quite what you're asking about: Cafe Spice Namaste on Prescot Street (good Indian cuisine) and Rosemary Lane on Royal Mint Street near the junction with Dock Street (almost fine dining).

But for views, they're right there in your hotel (even if the food may be bar rather than restaurant food): go up to the Skylounge.
Thanks so much for taking the time to post. . . all of these sound good. It seems we will have lots of choices.
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Brilliance of the Seas--North Atlantic TA: August 2014; Vision of the Seas--Southern Caribbean: November 2014; Serenade of the Seas--B2B Bahamas and Western Caribbean: March/April 2015; Southern Caribbean: November 2015; Grandeur of the Seas–June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean, April 2016: Eastern Caribbean, July 2016: Bermuda/Bahamas, Harmony of The Seas-- October 2016: Transatlantic, Equinox-- .February 2017: Mardi Gras cruise
#74
1,584 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by DragonOfTheSeas
Did you enjoy the Churchill War rooms? I was a history teacher and feel these would be very good.
My husband and I visited last year. This was our third trip to London since the 2003 expansion of the war rooms, but the first time the Churchill War rooms made it from the to-do list to the actually-visited list. The visit did not disappoint! The rooms are amazing! They are frozen in time with the papers and things in the exact position left when folks walked out the door for the last time.

Excellent informative exhbits combining artifacts, signage, and high tech displays.

Incidentally, when we purchased our tickets at the window of the War Rooms, we were told that our tickets would be tax deductible. Apparently, there is a US non-profit foundation that is one of the sponsors of the site and this makes the tickets tax deductible of US citizens. We haven't put that to the test yet since we're still a few days from April 15.
#75
virginia
7,489 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by Pet Nit Noy
My husband and I visited last year. This was our third trip to London since the 2003 expansion of the war rooms, but the first time the Churchill War rooms made it from the to-do list to the actually-visited list. The visit did not disappoint! The rooms are amazing! They are frozen in time with the papers and things in the exact position left when folks walked out the door for the last time.

Excellent informative exhbits combining artifacts, signage, and high tech displays.
We are glad to hear this. This was one of the places we were especially interested in. Do you remember how far it is from the Buckingham Palace? I am trying to plan out the day near the palace.
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Previous Cruises:Carnival Ecstasy– July 2000: Mexico; Carnival Fantasy– August 2006: Bahamas; Carnival Pride –October 2009: Bahamas; Celebrity Constellation–March 2010: Panama Canal; Enchantment of the Seas–June 2010: Eastern Caribbean, September 2010: New England and Canada, March 2012: Southern Caribbean; Celebrity Mercury–November 2010 Eastern Caribbean and January 2011 Bahamas and Florida; Carnival Legend –April 2011: Western Caribbean; Radiance of the Seas--Alaska; August 2012, Explorer of the Seas--Bermuda: October 2012; Legend of the Seas –Transatlantic, October 2013; Brilliance of the Seas--North Atlantic TA: August 2014; Vision of the Seas--Southern Caribbean: November 2014; Serenade of the Seas--B2B Bahamas and Western Caribbean: March/April 2015; Southern Caribbean: November 2015; Grandeur of the Seas–June 2005: Bermuda, April 2013: Caribbean reposition cruise; March 2014: Western Caribbean, April 2016: Eastern Caribbean, July 2016: Bermuda/Bahamas, Harmony of The Seas-- October 2016: Transatlantic, Equinox-- .February 2017: Mardi Gras cruise
#76
Minneapolis
445 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Dragon, as you know we stayed at the Doubletree last summer.

I'd like to second the mention of the brasserie "Cote" on St. Katharine's docks. It's a chain, but you can't tell when you're in there. Good service and food. There are many other places to eat within a few steps.

There's a pub nearby called "The Hung, Drawn & Quartered." We didn't eat there, but were sorry we didn't give it a try. I think it's on (upper? lower?) Thames street.

I really love Blackfriar's, a pub which isn't in the neighborhood of the hotel, but is at the Blackfriar's tube station a couple of stops away on the District or Circle line. It's not that the food is so great, it's the incredible building and interior design.
#77
Minneapolis
445 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Oh, and the recommendation for Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms? RUN, don't walk! It is one of our absolute favorites. You can combine it with a trip to the Westminster Cathedral, as they are very close to each other.
#78
Cotswolds, UK
2,202 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by DragonOfTheSeas
We are glad to hear this. This was one of the places we were especially interested in. Do you remember how far it is from the Buckingham Palace? I am trying to plan out the day near the palace.
If you are determined it's a 10 minute walk down Birdcage Walk. In reality, it will probably take up to 20 as you enjoy the views on the way as you stroll through St James's Park

Originally posted by SixOneTwo
Oh, and the recommendation for Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms? RUN, don't walk! It is one of our absolute favorites. You can combine it with a trip to the Westminster Cathedral, as they are very close to each other.
Did you mean the Cathedral or the Abbey? The Cathedral is up by Victoria, but still only 15 minutes away; the Abbey is just round the corner from the War Rooms.
#79
Cotswolds, UK
2,202 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Originally posted by SixOneTwo

There's a pub nearby called "The Hung, Drawn & Quartered." We didn't eat there, but were sorry we didn't give it a try. I think it's on (upper? lower?) Thames street.
It's actually on Great Tower Street, but at the junction with Lower Thames Street

Decent pub, a Fuller's Ale and Pie house. This is a chain of pubs almost always in converted buildings, often old banks, but dressed up to look as if they are old and traditional. Not a bad thing, they tend to have more room than actual old pubs, with very high ceilings and more presentable restrooms! Usually decent food and a good selection of beer - London Pride is a favourite, don't have too many ESBs at lunchtime if you have plans for the afternoon.... There are several of these pubs scattered throughout the City, all quite interesting inside and you know what you will get. The Barrowboy and Banker just on the south side of London Bridge is another, close by Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market.
#80
Chelsea, London, England
3,641 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
We revisited the Cabinet War rooms last weekend after about a ten year gap. The Churchill museum is fascinating - you can lose yourself in there for hours. It is not only a detailed look at Churchill's life but a comprehensive lesson in British history over the last 150 years. Not to be missed IMHO.
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