Western Europe Summer 2011

I See London, I See… Still London

So I haven’t even finished up my posts from Portugal and Spain, but today Danielle and I arrived in London for our extended stay. You’ll remember my original plan was to live and work here in London for 2 1/2 months, but things have changed, I won’t be working, and instead we’ll be using London as our home base to explore the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, and possibly Ireland!

The next two weeks we’ll be getting situated here and I’ll be working for almost the entire time with a new company I’ve gotten involved with. I won’t be doing any London posts yet as we really aren’t going to explore too much this first week or two since I’ve got to work a lot… I will, however, catch up with the Portugal and Spain posts during that time.

I’d love to hear some suggestions of anyone who can help of places that we should visit during our stay here in London. So, if you have an answer to any of these questions that you can help us with I’d love to hear from you!

-What tourist attractions can we NOT miss?
-Where can we go for some off the beaten path experiences?
-Any suggestions for other towns/cities in the UK?
-Do you have, or know anyone who has, a room for rent in London? Or does anyone have a London timeshare they’d be willing to let some backpackers crash at 😉

So, if you can help with any of that, we’d greatly appreciate it. After we answer those four questions we’ll pretty much have the next two and a half months figured out! Thanks for following along and look for more posts later this week!

  1. inka

    I can help you with the room for rent. Look in the windows of any small newsagent/grocery shop. People put up cards in the shop window with details of rooms they have for rent. I have twice stayed for prolonged periods of time in Putney, making use of that opportunity.No paperwork, cash in hand monthly or weekly and you are set. Good luck.
    Places in the rest of the country I love: Chester and the Lake district.

    1. Matt

      Thanks Inka! I tried this, but before one of them worked out I got a couple of good leads from a friend. We’ll see where I end up tomorrow!

  2. Jeremy Branham

    I can’t help you out here. I’ve been all over Europe but never the UK. However, I did see a post today on the Lake district (as Inka mentioned) and that is definitely my kind of place. If you have time, might be good to get out of the city to hit that area.

    Good tip on places to stay Inka!

    1. Matt

      Yea I think I am going to hold off on the Lake District until September. My parents will be visiting and renting a car to go up there and I thought it would be nice to join them for that part of the trip. It sounds like a really great area.

  3. Georgia

    Hey Matt,
    I’ve havent been to London myself. I am going to London from 17th – 25th October 2011. So i have done a bit of research on what to do in London.
    I am very sure, you will do all of the below:
    1. Greenwich
    2. Windsor Castle
    3. Harold’s shopping mall
    4. Tower Bridge (secret view)
    5. The Monument
    6. London Bridge
    7. Thames
    8. Bond Street London
    9. Visit St Paul’s Cathedral
    10. Modern Tate Museum & Tate Britain Museum
    11. Millennium Bridge
    12. Houses of Parliament & Big Ben
    13. St Martin in the fields
    14. Trafalgar Square
    15. Buckingham Palace
    16. British Museum
    17. Victoria & Albert Museum
    18. Tower of London (Crown Jewels) & Ceremony of keys (nite)

    I do want to highlight that you may want to attend the Ceremony of Keys (happens every night) & you need to write in advance to get tickets. I’ve written in, and got myself a ticket to witness this 700 year old tradition. Its free. You can google Ceremony of Keys, and all the details will come up.

    Enjoy 🙂

  4. Christina

    Hey! Welcome to London!
    There is tons to see and do in London. If you want to visit other little towns outside, go to Cambridge, Oxford, Windsor (and W Castle) for old buildings galore or Brighton (by the sea), which are just about an hour away by train or bus, or to Bath (roman baths), which is about 2 – 2.5 hours away. Go punting in Cambridge.
    Camden Market is a must, with its recent re-vamp, it’s great for shopping (clothes, jewelry, arts and crafts, decorative stuff), for its alternative scene, and food stalls.
    Holland Park is a lovely little park just off High St. Kensington (shopping), with Japanese gardens (small but good).
    If you want to shop, go to Europe’s biggest mall, Westfield, in West London near Shepherd’s Bush, just opened two years ago.
    Go out in Fulham or Putney, plenty of twenty to thirty somethings, especially from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
    Make sure you go to the Proms, the world’s greatest classical music festival. Tickets from GBP 5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms
    And if you want a fancy restaurant, go to Dans le Noir, where you eat in complete darkness.

    Re: flats/rooms, check gumtree.co.uk, or 9flats.com, or airbnb.com, there should be plenty there! I can give you some recommendations on areas too if you let me know what you’re looking for.

    Want to meet up for a pint?

    1. Matt

      Thank you, thank you, and YES! Oh and what is punting?

        1. Matt

          Haha, looks great. You’ll have to show us the ropes!

  5. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    I really enjoyed Bath, Stratford on Avon, Winchester and anywhere in the Cotswolds. I have always wanted to spend time in the Cotswolds walking.

    Interested in reading a fantastic historical fiction book, pick up London by Rutherford.

    1. Matt

      Thanks Debbie! Bath is definitely on the list, we’ll see about the rest!

  6. The Travel Chica

    Definitely worth the trip to see Stonehenge. I also enjoyed a day trip to Bath.

    I really could just walk the streets of London for hours and then stop in a pub for some delicious cask ale.

    1. Matt

      This is what we’ve been doing so far. So many cool places to see and pubs to stop in. Pub crawling is going to be a blast.

  7. Globetrottergirls

    Camden Markets are amazing- Grab some food there and eat it down at the canal while watching the boats go through the locks. Borough Market on a Thursday morning (or Friday – but too full on Saturday) Go hungry, the food is amazing. Primrose Hill – it’s near Camden and you can actually walk there, along the canal (there are signs) – beautiful views over London on clear days. Any of the parks – Hyde Park, St James Park or Regents Park. There is a nice walk from Big Ben through St James Park to Buckingham Palace. East London for street art and some authentic cheap curry on Brick Lane. On Sundays there’s also a huge flea market there. Notting Hill is another Must– Portobello Road is very nice, but go on a weekday, weekends are too crowded, although the flea market along Portobello Road on Saturday is quite nice.

    The Monument in East London has amazing views over the ‘City’ (London’s financial district, some interesting new architecture) and it’s only GBP 3.00 to go up there. You can see over the whole river and Tower Bridge and the Tower. From there, there’s actually a good walk along the river to the Tower of London. If you want to sightsee – catch the RV1 bus in Covent Garden (ask someone where exactly it leaves, they’ll know) – it passes all the sights. I assume you have an Oyster card? (if not, you should get one)

    A walk along Southwark, along the river, is also great. Cross the bridge at Big Ben / Westminster Abbey, and then walk by the Aquarium etc. There are tons of street performers and you can actually walk until Tate Modern, which is a fantastic modern art gallery (and FREE!)

    The ‘Magnificent 7’ cemeteries are all well worth a visit. Abney Park, Highgate and Brompton are our favorites.

    Outside of London: Brighton at the South coast (look for the GBP 3.00 special train tickets online), Canterbury, Bath, Oxford (supercheap with Megabus) and Cambridge. Within the London tube network: Hampsted (and Hampsted Heath – great park, great views) Richmond (Richmond Park with hundreds of deer) and Greenwich.

    1. Matt

      Wow, thanks for so much info, this all sounds amazing. All we’ve done so far is the Borough Market area and I can easily say it is going to be a favorite we keep coming back to. Ok, partly because there is a killer beer store there, but still!

  8. adventureswithben

    It’s been a while since I’ve been to London, so I’m eager to see what you discover.

  9. Tom

    For other towns and cities, make sure to check out the northern England – it’s a lot cheaper than London, and the people are just a hell of a lot friendlier!

    Newcastle Upon Tyne is the party capital – it’s rated as one of the world’s top party cities for a reason. Huge population, and the friendliest and funniest locals I’ve ever met, anywhere in the world.

    Manchester can’t be missed – capital of the north.

    For something a bit more refined, stop off in Harrogate and have tea and creamcakes at the famous Betty’s cafe, and stroll through the beautiful town centre. It’s my hometown!

    These places are all easy to get to, and if you can’t find a good train fare online, try the National Express bus service http://www.nationalexpress.co.uk sometimes you can get a fare from London to Harrogate for about a ten pounds!

  10. ayngelina

    Hey I am arriving for a week on August 18th, if you’re still there we must go for a pint!

  11. Matt

    Without a doubt! I’ll email you!

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