|Subject: Re: London|
Everyone has great suggestions but there's too much to see in just a couple of days. So what to see?
Well I suggest you see the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels. We took a tour with a guard who was amusing and told interesting stories about ghosts, beheadings and famous prisoners. Then walk across Tower Bridge and along the south bank past the Millennium Bridge to the Westminster Bridge (opposite Big Ben). You will pass many treats and have views of St. Paul's and more. It's a long walk though but worthwhile. Nearer Tower Bridge is Southwark Cathedral which has been rejuvenated, evidently. We had a drink in the George Inn, a galleried inn where, if I recall correctly, was the starting place of the Canterbury pilgrim's in Chaucer's tales.
I would go to the British Museum even if it is for a couple of hours. One good thing - museums are free so you don't have to spend ages there if you don't want to.
As far as the "best" museums and galleries - well, there are so many. I like to go to the National Gallery (again, free so you can pop in for a while) but my new favorite is a small museum not too far from the British Museum: Sir John Soane's Museum. http://www.soane.org/ You could visit Soane's after the British Museum and see Lincoln's Inn (courts of law) at the same time. I looked for Rumpole!
If the weather is fine, take a boat from Westminster Pier to Greenwich. You can come back on the Docklands Light Rail - through modernistic buildings. Greenwich has the Cutty Sark, a village feel, gorgeous naval museum, the home of Greenwich mean time, etc. We saw the painted hall the last time we were there. Lovely. The boat trip is fun because there is so much of London's history on the river - Traitor's Gate, the pubs, etc.
London eating is expensive so you might choose not to "dine". Instead see a play (get tickets at the half-price ticket booth - for more info, see www.theatremonkey.com/ And another good evening passtime is a walking tour - the Jack the Ripper tour or a pub tour. You could also visit the area around Covent Garden not too far from the theatres.
Someone mentioned London's parks. Yes! Spring comes early in London so you should enjoy a stroll in London's "lungs".
I suggest you see one of the big department stores, especially the food halls. Don't spend a lot of time, but it is neat to see one. You might also like to see a shopping arcade, such as the Burlington Arcade. You could see this when you wander around Piccadilly (Fortnum and Mason, Liberty). Take a walk down Regent Street: http://www.regentstreetonline.com
The streets with upscale designers' shops are Bond Street and New Bond Street, Savile Row, etc. Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo, MaxMara, etc.
See this for a list of shops: http://www.streetsensation.co.uk/mayfair/bs_intro.htm
Neat site - see this for a view from the Bond St underground station. http://www.streetsensation.co.uk/vistas/v_bond.htm
I also like markets. There are many - a couple of year's ago, we walked through Petticoat Lane on our walk over Tower Bridge (actually Middlesex Street and Wentworth Street, London E1). This time we plan to go to the Borough Market - very gourmet! Evidently jamie Oliver shops there.
All in all, I would focus on the areas between the Tower and the Houses of Parliament, the South Bank and the British Museum/Marble Arch with a soupcon of Greenwich!
Be prepared for high restaurant prices, though. We had a sandwich in a park with local office workers one day - cheapest from Boots, the pharmacy. Pret-a-manger is good too. Marks and Spencers has great take-out and we bought our breakfast there for a hotel room snack. Ethnic food is cheapest. Lots of cheaper chains (unfamiliar ones - not McDonald's!) like Stock Pot, Yo! Sushi, IT'S, La Perla, Wagamama. Nice but not too expensive meals, good service in the Tate Modern gallery on Southbank. A friend recommended Cafe in the Crypt (st. Martin-in-the Fields, Duncannon Street. It is also in my trusty Time Out Cheap Eats in London.
And even if you don't drink, go to a pub. If you need info about pub etiquette,checkout http://www.sirc.org/publik/ptpchap1.html
Have a great time. I will be in London for a weekend very soon - a mini vacation after a visit to inlaws and I am looking forward to it. Always something to discover in London.
Frances Toronto, Canada