Stefan Wood

London Recommendations

11 posts in this topic

Hey all,

I've taken advantage of a late winter airfare sale and am going to London for the first time in my life in early May. I was wondering if anyone has recommendations regarding music shops, art galleries (I will hit the museums, they are my main focus), restaurant, etc. etc.

:g

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Rays (Charing Cross Road) and Mole (Grays Inn Road) are the places for jazz records in the city centre. Musuems and galleries, The Tate, Tate Modern, National Gallery, British Museum. There are more depending on taste. If you are heading south towards Portsmouth (historic ships) I''ll buy you lunch.

You'll probably find decent food expensiv, no recs there I'm afraid.

Edited by JohnS

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My wife and I were in London (and Glasgow) for our honeymoon two years ago (our 2nd aniversary was yesterday!! - April 7th). Two musuems we really enjoyed were...

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Link: Design Museum

A museum of international design and architecture, focusing on 20th and 21st century mass produced products and systems.

A changing programme of exhibitions covers a wide range of themes, such as interiors, fashion, architecture, engineering, technology and graphics. The great variety of exhibitions will cater for all tastes and ages.

The museum is housed in an imaginatively renovated 1950s warehouse in Butlers Wharf, and includes a Conran restaurant on the first floor which looks out on a fabulous view of the River Thames. There is also a great shop on the ground floor for picking up unusual 'design' gifts.

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Link: The Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the jewel in the crown of London's famous South Kensington cultural area and a "must-see" on every London itinerary.

The V&A houses 7 miles of exhibition space, containing a collection of over 4 million objects drawn from 5000 years of cultural history.

Founded in the 1850s, it now boasts the greatest and most diverse collection of decorative art and design in the world, spanning all continents and dating from 3000BC to the present day. Alongside an innovative and challenging exhibitions programme, the Museum's constantly developing permanent collections encompass artforms as varied as photography, fashion, metalwork, sculpture, glass and ceramics.

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And, it looks like the V&A has a nice Art Deco exhibit going on now, through May 20th. (A personal favorite of mine!! - wish I could go too!!!

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Art Deco, 1910-1939

27 March 2003 - 20 July 2003

Certainly the most glamorous, and arguably the most popular style of the century, Art Deco took the world by storm during the 1930s. By the last part of the decade the style's profound impact was obvious everywhere from Paris to Shanghai. Displaying more than 300 masterworks from both public and private collections, the exhibition will be the most comprehensive to date.

With sculpture, painting, furniture, architecture, textiles, glass, metal, jewllery, graphic art, fashion, photography, and film from all parts of the world, it will be the first of its kind to depict art deco as a truly global style. After London, the exhibition will travel to Toronto, San Fransico, and Boston.

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Here's one I have posted before:

I can do the obvious and recommend you try Ronnie Scott’s. Definitely go to the Tate Modern, a modern art gallery in a fantastic recently converted building, and do not fail to take a ride on the amazing London Eye.

For opera, if you like dressing up and spending money, there is the Royal Opera House, or less expensive there is the English National Opera.

For classical music, I would definitely try to catch the London Symphony Orchestra, which is on awesome form, and for music and theatre in general investigate the Barbican and the South Bank Centre. Orchestral concerts in the UK are less expensive than those in the US, and subsidised orchestras such as the BBC SO and the London Sinfonietta offer interesting concerts of unusual material at a very modest cost.

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There is an excellent and inexpensive little Turkish/Greek restaurant in Islington, right near the Angel tube stop. If you're into that kind of food I can look up the name for you. They had this great special--a bottle of wine and a 3 course meal for under $20, if I remember.

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Ah, the magic of Google. I believe that restaurant is called Sofra, located at 341 Upper Street.

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I was there about 6 or so years ago for about 5 days, so I've got the 5 day plan all set for ya' ;)

The museums mentioned above are a must. I'm a big art lover and went to the Tate and National. The Tate Modern was still under construction. I also stopped at the smaller Courtald Gallery which was very nice. I stayed very near the V and A, which I visited. Had no time for the British Museum unfortunately. I was also just down the street from Harrod's. I would not make a special trip but if you're in the neighborhood by all means do walk in. Very interesting place. We were there just before Christmas so there was lots of Holiday shopping to do.

I took the Underground everywhere. It was safe, convenient and fast.

Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral are musts. You don't have to be religious to appreciate the history, beauty and architecture. I'm not (religious)

The Tower of London was fabulous. One can spend all day there. The Tower bridge is right around the corner from the Tower of London.

My wife and I had a fabulous time the night we went to Ronnie Scott's. We actually did not get in to Ronnie's as it seems that the extremely long line that we entered at about 7 PM (thinking it was for the early show) was actually for the second show. We decided to take a walk through Soho instead. It was one of the more memorable walks I've ever taken. If you don't mind some of the more lurid aspects of urban life - strip joints and porn shops with lots of neon lights and beads instead of doors - I highly recommend it. You'll see all sorts of urban curiosities, people having a wild time and just about anything you can imagine. We walked for hours, stopping at the odd pub for a brew and the moving on. The dimly lit and winding streets of London just added to the appeal. It was like Blade Runner meets Charles Dickens. Picadilly Circus was quite a scene. Punk Rockers, Hari Krisna, preachers with bullhorns mixed with tourists like me and those sketch artist types. The whole night left quite an impression.

We did tons of walking through the city neighborhoods. Very charming. We walked through Hyde Park and Kensington gardens. We checked out the palaces but did not get inside. I'm not even sure if they were open to the public then.

One thing that sounds corny but ended up being a ton of fun was the "Jack the Ripper Tour" I know, it seems ultra touristy. My wife insisted so naturally what could I say. They took you on a nice ride through London at night and headed for the Ten Bells Pub, where all of the victims were regulars. After a couple of brews, there was a walking tour through White Chapel conducted by a guide who was as much an actor as a guide. But it added to the "charm" as we walked through the dimly lit streets and alleyways. After the tour, we had a fish and chips dinner at one of the local pubs. Touristy? yes. but entertaining and fun.

I should note that I'm not a gourmet eater by any means. We ate at the Hard Rock cafe one night. The rest of the time, we just went in to the local pubs - had a great time, had more than a few of the local brews and ate - well, we ate ok food.

Have fun

Edited by Ed Swinnich

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Even if there's not a line outside Ronnie Scott, you should check out Pizza Express Jazz Club just a couple of minutes walk from RS. (Dean Street). Nice room - actually one of the best jazz rooms I ever attended - good music (British and international) - and you don't have to eat pizza if you don't want to.

Soho is crowded with good small and intimate restaurants - oriental, european - it's an entertaining task to check out a different one each night - you really should'nt go to the wellknown international ones, they're the same everywhere.

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Stefan, I'll second the recommendation for the London Eye. It's agreat ride and wont break the bank.

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Thanks all!

My first priority will be to hit the museums and galleries, but I will try to see a jazz gig if there is anyone interesting playing. Refrain as best as I can from going into a music shop, but that will be damn near impossible. Lots of digital pictures. And I will definitely take up the suggestions made here. I'll be staying around Picadilly Circus. Should be fun! :lol:

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If it helps, off the top of my head, I think JoAnne Brackeen might be playing at Ronnie Scott's at the very beginning of May...

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