|Subject: Highlights of a short visit to London|
We've just returned from a two week trip in Ireland starting with three days in London where we stayed at the Jesmond Hotel (63 Gower Street, near the Goodge Street Tube station). Current rate is 84 pounds sterling for a double. We like this location - less than a 10 minute walk to the British Museum, Leicester Square/Soho, etc. London is very expensive, so the English breakfast is a good start to the day. http://www.jesmondhotel.org.uk/
We used Frommer's "Memorable Walks of London" as a guide, following these four: Dicken's Walk, City Walk, Historic Pub Walk, Clerkenwell Walk. I strongly recommend it (the Paris Walks guide is equally useful).
One day we took the Tube to Canary Wharf, walked through the area to the Thames Tunnel and through the tunnel to Greenwich, where we spent a few hours touring the Observatory and jumping back and forth over the Prime Meridien. We lunched at the Spanish Galleon (48 Greenwich Church Street). From Greenwich we took the light rail to Shadwell Basin Station and walked through Wapping. Here's where we made our new discovery: The Prospect of Whitby which dates from 1520 when riverside public houses were popular spots for river pirates, sailors and others of disrepute. There is a gallows outside the pub over the Thames. River thieves and other criminals were hung with the bodies left for three tides before being cut down. A message to all. http://www.pubs.com/prose1.htm
Other pubs on the walks: Gordon's, which is also a wine bar, The Duke of Buckingham, the Marquis of Granby, and the Salisbury are all in the Frommer's walk between the Embankment and Covent Garden. The Salisbury is an outrageous room of marble, cut-glass mirrors and brass. In the 19th century it was the site of bare-knuckle fights. The Captain Kidd, the Town of Ramsgate, and the Lamb and Flag are all in the Wapping area. All are different in character and in the type of beer sold.
We attended two plays and here's a tip to purchasing theatre tickets - subscribe to lastminute.com, a web-based theatre newsletter, and buy tickets at a discount before you go to London. http://tinyurl.com/azr7q
We found London to be expensive so it's a good idea to look for eating bargains. For example, we had lunch at the Tipperary Pub at 66 Fleet Street which offered "pie and a pint" for three pounds. The "Tip" is London's oldest Irish pub. After lunch we stopped in at Henry's Room (17 Fleet Street) which houses an exhibition dedicated to Samuel Pepys. It is one of the few buildings to survive the Great Fire.
We also visited the Museum of London. It is fascinating, well laid out in chronological order, and contains lively exhibits. The fact that it is located on the London Wall adds to its character. Standing in a darkened room watching a son et lumiere re-enactment of the Great Fire while listening to the words of Pepys brought the mid-17th century to life.
BTW, there has been some talk on the Zine about getting to and from Heathrow. We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington and the tube to Goodge Street. The Express cost 26 pounds return, which is expensive, but after an overnight flight we weren't prepared to negotiate the Tube all the way. From prior research, we were also concerned about taking the Tube on Sunday morning before 8:00 a.m. but it was in operation and the time from the hotel to check-in at Heathrow was under an hour.
It was a full three days and a hectic start to our next two weeks in Ireland.