|Subject: Re: London accommodations, etc|
Hi Ziners and Gail,
My mother and I have traveled to London three times in the last six years and have always stayed at the same small hotel, James/Cartref House http://www.jamesandcartref.co.uk right on the edge of Belgravia. It is very central to major sights and to Victoria Station. We take the Gatwick Express from Gatwick to Victoria Station then walk less than a mile to James Carterf. You also can take the National Express bus from Heathrow to Victoria Bus Station and you are even closer to the hotel. This is not a fancy place but the hosts are a delight, the breakfast is big enough to last you most of the day and the rooms are well kept.
Our first trip to London, we rode the Underground a lot, not realizing how much we were missing by not walking to Buckingham Palace, Parliament/Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and Hyde/Green/St James Parks and Knightsbridge/V&A Museum. We love walking in Belgravia with its squares and elegant townhomes. Walking in London is awesome! We use the Penguin Map Guide to London (available at any bookstore in the US). It is a wonderful map book with all the info you need and is slim enough to fit in a purse or large coat pocket.
If you are in London for a week, I would recommend using the London Walks http://london.walks.com/ The guides are very experienced and knowledgeable and you get to see many areas that tourists would never see. London is full of mews, gardens and small areas just on the other side of a busy street and yet you would never know it. One of those places is Postman's Park close to St Paul's Cathedral. It is surrounded on all sides by buildings, has a few gravestones lined up along the sides of the buildings but the stunning paret is a shelter that covers a wall of tiles that honor the heroic efforts of the common man. One tile honors a man that dies while saving a woman and child from a fire. It is a very moving tribute. It is so quiet you would never know there is a busy street around the corner.
Hope you have a great time! Tracey in St Paul MN