metro mama

Thursday, January 25, 2007

London Calling

I've been having fun messing around with our itinerary for the trip in April. For me, half of the thrill of travelling is the anticipation. Anyway, here's what I got-please chime in with your suggestions, picks and pans. I'm interested in literary sites and gardens; BP is into military and marine stuff. We can only take so many museums. We like to walk a lot (I know there is a lot of walking on Day 1 but that is our way of coping with jet lag-along with drinking).

Day 1 Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Sq, Picadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Drinking in Soho

Day 2 Metro Mama - Keats House, Bloomsbury, Dickens House, Camden
Big Papa - Portsmouth
National Gallery?

Day 3 Hyde Park, Brick Lane, Globe Theatre, Tate Modern

Day 4 Rent car at Heathrow - Stratford-upon-Avon

Day 5 Cotswalds

Day 6 Bath

Day 7 Tower of London, Thames cruise, Greenwich, Spamelot

Day 8 Madame Tussauds, Kew Gardens, Eye

Day 9 Eurostar to Paris – Ile de la Cite, Notre Dame, Pont Neuf

Day 10 Jardin Du Luxembourg, Montparnasse, Place de la Concorde, Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower

Day 11 Musee d’Orsay, Seine cruise, Montmartre, Madame Arthur drag show

Day 12 Louvre, Seine Stroll

Suggestions?

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28 Comments:

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3:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

uhm, on Day 7, you are meeting Thomas Cruise?

Oh wait... that says Thames Cruise.

(Seriously, that's what I thought of when I read Day 7.)

Looks like an eventful trip. Since I haven't been to London I cannot offer any suggestions.

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever you do, don't miss the British Library museum. It's free, and amazing - gorgeous manuscripts of everything.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are going to have such an amazing trip!

I haven't been since '98 and it was all such a whirlwind that I don't have any suggestions.

8:41 AM  
Blogger penelopeto said...

my only suggestion is that you take me with you.

seriously tho, i have done quite a bit of travelling, and my advice would be to be careful about packing too much into each day. or at the very least, prioritize carefully so that you definitely see the things that you really really want to, and won't be too upset if there are things that fall off the itinerary. (particularly day one, when you are likely to be jetlagged. we always left day one completely free for acclimatization and general bearing-finding.)

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Need some restaurant suggestions? I have friends who are hip, childless and up on all the great places.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seems like a lot in 12 days.

i have the dearest friends in Bath, she runs a food co-op, if you want any local input on a best pub or restaurant!

9:54 AM  
Blogger metro mama said...

jen and mamalooper: yes, I'd love suggestions!

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, don't get me started:

If you need a break from the major tourist attractions, we visited this little grassroots museum called The Clink Prison Museum www.clink.co.uk on the other side of the Thames, in Southwark. Their website appears to be under construction, but it's really fun to visit, if you're up for some dark tales and some hilariously-homemade exhibits. Highly recommended (and cheap 5 pounds per adult).

There's also an amazing outdoor food market close by called Borough Market, which was a favouritestop for us. www.boroughmarket.org.uk/index.php

We also went to a wicked organic pub in Hackney but I can't, for the life of me, remember the name or the address...that doesn't help, I guess.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Penny said...

Imperial War Museum - its fantastic - http://london.iwm.org.uk/

2:08 PM  
Anonymous jen said...

alight, let me email them, will get back to you. cheers

4:29 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

I have no suggestions because i've never been, but I'm quite envious of your trip. Lucky you!

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are going to have a fabulous time.

The Musee d'Orsay is one of my very favorites. One of my other Paris museum favorites is the Rodin museum. Small, but cool.

http://www.musee-rodin.fr/welcome.htm

And of course the Spanish quarter at night... ;-)

5:30 PM  
Blogger Lisa b said...

Wow that is jam packed! I'd just agree with P that while you want to see everything you might want to prioritise so that you can take it easy if that is more your mood one day.
The walking on day one isn't really that bad. We walked from covent garden to the eye with a sleeping baby in a stroller so it should be no problem for you two.
Are you guys having lunch or dinner on brick lane? I'm v jealous.
I really like the V&A and British Museum. Especially the reading room in the British museum. Eveyone from Darwin to Ghandi has been there. Plus the rosetta stone is at the british museum. (Its now covered in glass since the banker and his uncouth friends would not stop touching it with their filty back-packer fingers)
Still I cannot see how you can cram in any more.
There is a nice restaurant on the third floor of the Musee d'Orsay that was the dining room when it was a train station. You might consider it worth the splurge for lunch.
I'm so excited for you!

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My interests are Art, Theatre and Food/Wine, so I don't know if I can be of much help, other than to say that on Day 10, you should go to my favourite Paris restaurant: Sébillon Elysées. It's on a side street of the Champs Elysées (66 Rue Pierre Charron), and I am still dreaming of their chocolate mousse.

And, in answer to your other question, I am taking courses at Ryerson right now, but will be applying to UofT and York for Teacher's College (fingers crossed for either). Where are you?

10:56 PM  
Blogger metro mama said...

nomotherearth: I'm at York now, and hopefully UofT in the fall for the MA.

8:31 AM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

gawd I am tired after taht itinerary....and jealous.

Um...the Pompidou Centre and the Rodin Museum.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check your email - restaurant suggestions in London...

1:50 PM  
Anonymous krista said...

Sounds completely dreamy.

6:45 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Wow, that seems ambitious - I take it Cakes isn't coming along? I loved Musee D'Orsay - in many ways, it toped the Louvre for me, though I wouldn't say skip that either, of course. But do at least see the Pompidou centre as crazymumma suggests - very cool. And the outside of the Opera, whihc is near the Louvre, is worth seeing even if you don't go in. Wonderful.

For restaurant suggestions, I might recommend that Zagat's has guides for cities all over the world, and a lot of it can e accessed online.

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhhhhhhhhh. (That's me whining. Because this trip looks so freaking awesome that I want to go with you!)

I want to see Jane Austen's childhood home too if I ever get to go!

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slobbering with too much jealousy to even think...

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

SOO JEALOUS. My brother spent 2 years in London, and we only got over for a whirlwind visit.

You've got several of my favorites listed already: Westminster, Parliament, Greenwich, etc., and it does sound like an ambitious plan, but I'll throw out some additional ideas for your consideration...

We also liked the Museum of London and the Victoria and Albert museum (huge though, so you'd have to just see bits). We also liked visiting some of London's green areas (parks). If you can, try to take high tea one day.

If you're into shopping, you might check out Harrod's (though it's touristy) and my favorite: Liberty of London. Also, the Canary Wharf area (east London) is filled with great restaurants and shops.

I know you will enjoy, and I can't wait to live vicariously through your stories!

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Oops, it's Harrods without the apostrophe, I think. Sorry to any Londoners I might have inadvertently offended. ;-)

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just tried to send a bunch of recommendations but blogger is conspiring against me...
will try again later.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Imogen said...

Hello,
I thought I would post a comment, since I live and work in London and might be able to help a bit. You definitley have a lot planned!
Day 1, is a lot of walking but really shouldn't be a problem, all the places you have mentioned are in a rough circle and relativley close to each other. Also around the Picadilly Circus area are Regent Street and Oxford Street where all the big department stores are. On Regent Street- Hamley's (huge 5 floor toy store) & Liberty's (Mock Elizabethan department store-my favourite shop but out of my price range!) are worth a look if you feel shopping inclined. And in Covent Garden for boutiques and funky shops try Neal Street- it's near the Tube station - and also off Neal Street is Neal's Yard where you can find organic vegan & vegetarian food and normal stuff too- delicious (also a shop selling sweetcorn ice cream-sounds wrong but it's surprisingly good).
For Day 2- Camden in particular- I don't know what day of the week you're planning to go on but Saturday and Sunday Camden is home to the lock markets. It's busier but in all honesty much more fun and colourful (my friend and I like to play spot the punk I think one day we got 26-proper punks with mohawks and studs). You can get canal cruises here, and stroll along the lock. If you were after nightlife here at all there are a few places I can reccomend.
As for Greenwich (Day 7) well that's where I work! It doesn't seem like you have an awful lot of time, so I would reccomend the following- National Maritime Museum (free entry as are all the National Museum's over here, so that goes for National Gallery too) the park- if you can face it- walk to the top of the hill- the view is spectacular- and have a look at John Harrison's clocks in the Royal Observatory (free) also you can take pictures on the Meridian Line - Back down the hill in to Greenwich are the Royal Naval College- built on the site of Greenwich palace (birth place off Elizabeth I) the painted hall and chapel are beautiful. As far as eating and drinking goes the Trafalgar Tavern, right on the river front does both nicely, you can I think get whitebait in the Tavern which is what Greenwich was famous for and they have a good selection of beer. Or if you want to try a local brewery the Greenwich Union on Royal Hill is fantastic and also does food. Again if you happen to be here on a weekend the markets are open, in particular the covered market in the centre of Greenwich which sells a host of wonderful things.
I saw spamalot just before Christmas- it's fantastic!
I think I've gone on for long enough, and I hope I've helped a little bit. I never comment on anything but I couldn't resist!

5:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments about Paris. The Rodin museum is one of my favourites, as is the modern art museum in the Pompidou Centre; I also love the Picasso Museum. I prefer the smaller museums, really; the Louvre makes my head spin! Although, you should definitely walk by the Louvre at night when it's all lit up - great photo op.

I'm going to Paris myself again in a couple of months - does anyone have any restaurant suggestions (not too expensive)? I've been there several times but I always seem to end up eating in overpriced tourist traps!

6:02 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

Hi,

I just came across your blog (as in 3 minutes ago), but as a frequent visitor to London and Paris, I have a couple suggestions/thoughts.

London:
-A curry on Brick Lane in East London cannot be beat! I'm glad you want to check it out
-The chain restaurant Wagamama has the BEST noodles ever. Try the Yaki Udon. There's one on Lexington near Oxford Circus in Soho and one in Camden just off the Lock
-Speaking of Camden, you'll want to spend a lot of time there. The markets have very reasonable prices as well as the food stands. It's a nice break from the commercial (and expensive) stores of Oxford St.
-Don't forget Carnaby st when you're near Oxford Circus!
-Madame Tussauds is about $50 USD to get in, Tower of London, I believe, is somewhere around $30 USD (sorry I don't know the Canadian exchange rate). Tower of London is nothing but a bunch of cells and fake jewels - you can get pics from the outside. I have not been to Tussauds, but from what I heard, it's not worth that much money. Unless you *really* want to go, I'd say skip them.
-In the tube station escalators, "stand on the right, walk on the left" You'll avoid a lot dirty looks and shouts from Londoners.
-Buy a 7-day Oyster Card for Zone 1-2 for your tube/bus journey. It's 22 pounds for unlimited travel. You'll spend an absolute fortune without one. You can buy them at the terminal in Heathrow (although your journey into central London will be a separate charge as it's in Zone 6. It will be about 6 pounds). If you have internet access, use http://journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk/user/XSLT_TRIP_REQUEST2?language=en to figure out the best way to get somewhere

Paris:
-What ever you do, do not miss St. Chapelle. It's a church on Ile de la Cite with these gorgeous blue stained glass windows. A description would not do it justice. It's amazing.
-The Latin Quarter has a lot of authentic character to it. I stayed on the Rue Mouffetard, which is this lovely little pedestrian street with not very many tourists.
-The Galleria Museum is Paris' fashion museum. It is one of my favorites.
- The Centre Pompidou is Paris' modern art museum. It's an "inside out" building and it some some wicked crazy exhibits. Defnitely fun!

I know this is long, so I hope it helps! You'll have a great time.

Cheers!

12:35 PM  

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