Monday, June 25, 2007

The Travelers Guide To London: Chapter Four

Welcome back to my American guide to London. Here is a list of all the places I would either recommend that you visit or skip followed by the reasons for each.

Where to go:

Madame Tussaud’s
Where else can you get a picture of yourself kicking Saddam Hussein in the nuts? We were pleased that it was more than just wax figures in a room and thought you got pretty much for the ticket price.

The Royal Albert Memorial
You just can’t understand the ornate grandeur of it without seeing it up close.

Changing of the Guards
Even though it’s just the Guard guys marching, it’s still pretty neat. The guards on horses provided another unique little show.

Piccadilly Circus
Since walking and looking at things is mostly all that London has to offer, the fun atmosphere of this area was a nice change of pace. The incredibly expansive Trocadero Arcade was pretty fun. And according to restaurant signs, it is the home of London’s best fish and chips.

Trafalgar Square
The National Portrait Gallery is here, as well as some famous statue that is so far up on this column that you can’t really see it. I especially like the view of Big Ben and the Admirals Arch from here. And according to restaurant signs, it is the home of London’s best fish and chips.

Hyde Park Corner
The original Hard Rock CafĂ©, and the Hard Rock Vault are here, so of course I liked this area. This is also a good picture spot for the Wellington Arch. And according to restaurant signs, it is the home of London’s best fish and chips.

Oxford Circus
This wouldn’t be on the list except there are some real good places to eat in this area. We got great Italian and Spanish food here. And according to restaurant signs, it is the home of London’s best fish and chips.

The Natural History Museum
The Awe inspiring building alone is worth the trip there.

The Tower Bridge Exhibition
I was simply expecting a small wall with some documents, sketches and blurry black and white pictures. So when we found the well produced movies at each tower along the self guided tour across the top walkways of the bridge, we were very pleased.

Tower of London
It’s an old castle, so you can talk like the Monty python comedians and nobody even thinks twice. It’s sort of like the middle ages version of Colonial Williamsburg.

Paul Patisserie’s
It’s a chain of deli-like bakeries and the only restaurant in London that I wish we had in Cincinnati as well. Try a "Le Croque", the are very tastey ham and cheese croisants that make a great breakfast.

The Orangery Tea Room
The fancy scenery and building are worth seeing. The fancy food was pretty good too.

Where not to go:

The Orangery Tea Room
You got there expecting a truly fine British experience, and are totally let down. Debby was seconds away from pimp slapping one of the Czech or Romanian servers that didn’t really know how to speak English.

London Dungeon
Apparently you wait 6 hours in line just to go through a haunted house. I was happy with just going through the one at Madame Tussaud’s.

The Science Museum
They actually perfected a method of portraying science to be more boring than even a nerd boy like me can take.

The Geology Museum
See the above Science Museum explanation. We stumbled into this one by accident thinking it was the Natural History Museum. I especially hate this one because it’s a one way trip through this museum and we lost all of our museum time trying to get out of it, and therefore ended up not having time for the really cool looking Natural History Museum.

The Apsley House
A dusty and musty old house with boring antique looking stuff. It was just plain boring.

Hyde Park
It may as well be [insert county park here] back home.

The Medieval Banquet at the Beefeater restaurant
The horribly high price seemed like a pretty good deal because it included unlimited beer and wine until we found out the beer was authentic, non-carbonated, nasty tasting “ale” and the wine was almost literally vinegar. They didn’t really try to make it authentic either, because the wenches were Hispanic and French, and the minstrels played Irish Christmas songs.
That's pretty much all I got for attractions. Tune in next time when I wrap up the American Travelers Guide for London with random nuggets of advice.


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Anonymous said...

Hey- Nice blog, but I think you are being a little unfair with regard to a few things... Firstly you shouldn't really go to London for a 'British experience' - certainly not in restaurants anyway. Waiters/Waitresses are some of the only people who are on the minimum wage- so any self-respecting Englishman would rather not do it. Also, London Dungeon has a lot going for it. Certainly more interesting than Tussauds. If you want a real English experience, perhaps head towards Kent, or the Lake District. There are a couple of gorgeous tea-rooms up there that I would be happy to recomend! Also, if you are looking for food- do not head for brand names. The little greasy spoons will do a great English Breakfast for a reasonable price. Try to get out of the tourist zone to experience this. Also try to get to Greenwich if you get the chance- it's a beautiful area, with a great park and some of the best buildings in the world. Again, if you want beautiful countryside that you don't have 'back home' try to head out towards the south- towards Cheddar Gorge (where real cheese comes from). Also, Beer is flat- lager is carbonated. That's how it was when it was invented some 800 years ago... So off the high horse buddy! ;) Otherwise, good job!

Arpeggio Andy said...

Unfortuantely I have given you the wrong impression about how I feel about London. I had a great time there and with the exception of Paul and Hard Rock Cafe, we ate all our meals at small local restaurants. I wrote this series of posts to document our trip in a lighthearted way and to find some humor in the differences between England and America. We actually did attempt to venture into the English countryside, but the car broke down 3 blocks from the rental place. To be totally fair, I used the term beer everywhere else, so thinking that ale was the uncarbonated stuff and beer was what I'm used to, the misunderstanding was understandable.

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